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and excesses of the carnal mind, as some claim must be the consequence of this negative belief, I have been drawn closer to Him in love and gratitude and confidence. I trust I have as great fear of offending Him, of grieving the Holy Spirit and lapsing into sinful enjoyments, and of a failure to grow in grace as at any time in my Christian life.
But the question which you seem to have solved of the doom of the finally impenitent was one that I had not yet found an answer to, although inclining to annihilation as the sinner's probable fate. It had not occurred to me that this might not be until after a suitable future probation. Your theory that the resurrection may afford opportunity for renewed trial although "in accordance with the harvest law that prevails in all God's realms of life—To every seed his own body seems to be so entirely reasonable that I want to know more of your views and teachings which I suppose are embodied in your magazine. In order to this will you be kind enough to send me a copy with price so that I may become a subscriber.
We have been sometimes told that our view of future punishment tends to make people careless. We know of one case at least in which a reader has been awakened to new interest in the solemnity of the subject. Concerning this case a ministerial friend writes:
"I was greatly interested to know from one of your subscribers that the views of punishment, etc., presented in Words Of Reconciliation had been the means of kindling a more serious and even anxious attention to these subjects than she had before realized. The truth is that the old representations had proved so repulsive and dreadful as simply to work their own rejection.
"I enjoyed your resume1 of the General Assembly, and sympathize with your view of what it leaves undone that ought to he done. One might almost conclude that God did not purpose to give the seekers after truth any leading at all through the agency of the General Assembly. And that body seems most indifferent to anything like growth in the apprehension of truth. Its ambition, like that of Princeton Seminary in theological matters, seems to extend beyond nothing more than (as Professor Patton calls it) ' keeping faith with the dead.' I almost wish that one could now and then come back to us from the dead to show us what is their present faith, and how much better worth the keeping it is than that which we are so careful to observe with all its imperfections."
From a Presbyterian Minister:—
I do not think that you have needed any formal assurance to make you aware of my sympathy in your trials. You have my prayers for the all-sufficient grace of God to be with you. I do hope that you will not be compelled to suppress your testimony and your work for the promotion of greater freedom of investigation in the searching after the truth of God as contained in His word. I do not think your work is yet done, and I trust the Lord will enable you to carry it on effectively. I am glad that you emphasize what so many seem disposed to shut their eyes to—that your reasonings are only an endeavor to show what the Lord reveals in His word, and that no attempt has been made by your adversaries to refute your scriptural arguments.
I could not but notice in the article of the Herald and Presbyter, which you attribute to Dr. DeWitt, the two things in the first paragraph which do not seem to match—" no one who has read his magazine will deny that he has presented his opinions with clearness," and then, " if we understand him."
Your mention of the overture of the Presbytery of Nassau is the only one that I have seen of it. I saw no notice of it in the Assembly proceedings, though, of course, its only fate could be squelching. But it is a significant evidence that there is motion in the Church, at least, that such an overture could have
Swsed even in a small Presbytery. It is an indication that if rother Baker had been a member of that Presbytery, he would not have been invited out. And the Presbytery of West Jersey, in its majority decision, is not the Presbyterian Church, as a whole, though probably any Assemby that might be gathered would render a similar decision on such a question. But we may rest in the confidence of the final triumph of the truth, and that is what you desire, I know, whether it be with the establishing or overturning of your own views.
Words Of Reconciliation.
Vol. IV.] SEPTEMBER, 1888. [No. 9.
THE FUTURE OF THIS MAGAZINE.
We know not how many of our subscribers are strongly interested in the continuance of this magazine. But to such it is but fair that we should state that the burden of it seems too much for us to bear alone beyond the current year. Few persons know the trouble and expense involved in carrying on a work like this. Very few religious magazines pay: and where one, like this, is established in the interest of what most Christians regard as a novel, if not a dangerous, doctrine, it cannot expect to sustain itself. Indeed the work must be, as in this case, largely gratuitous. We have cheerfully contributed the labor and most of the funds required. But, cut off, as we are from the ordinary employments of a minister of the gospel, there is a limit to the sacrifices we are able to make to sustain this work. Under these circumstances we deem it right to state to our friends frankly the situation, in the hope that there are some among them who would esteem it a duty and a privilege to share with us in this burden. This they may do by interesting themselves to obtain subscribers, and so enlarge the circle of those who will give the work sympathy and support. Just now we have a letter in hand from an intelligent lady who, with her subscription, sends. something to aid in the gratuitous distribution of the magazine. After expressing warm sympathy in the solitariness involved in withdrawal from the church in which we had so long served, it reads,—
"I am deeply grateful, as I doubt not many of your readers are, for the light shed upon a subject which hitherto has been enveloped in mystery and uncertainty. There has always been a discrepancy between the triumphant allusions to the resurrection in the Scriptures, and the undefined and obscure place it held in the preaching of our church, which was both painful and bewildering. That you have rescued this hidden gem from its obscurity, and set it before us as in the apostolic days—' the joyful hope of the future'—will be ample compensation for what you have endured in doing so. Most heartily I bid you Godspeed in your blessed mission."
We believe there are hundreds of such intelligent Presbyterians who are thirsting for the light and relief which the truth we have been setting forth is designed to give. We frequently hear of instances where it has been thus welcomed. Now cannot our friends do more than they have been doing to bring this Magazine to'the attention of this class, and so aid in what we sincerely believe to be its "blessed mission."
But, beyond this, are there not some of our readers who can well serve the Master, and aid in this attempt to preach His full gospel of the resurrection by direct contributions toward its support? We should be ashamed to ask this on any personal grounds. There is no possible gain for ourselves in this work, and we desire no help from any one who does not believe that it would be a real service to Christ and to the church for whose perfection He ardently waits. But if there are those who would regard it as a service done unto Him, and in which He has need of them, we would most gladly receive their aid.
We hope, therefore, to soon hear from a number of our friends, if not in the way of aid, at least in the way of opinion and advice as to the desirability of going on with this Magazine, and what seems to them to be our duty in reference thereto. They will thus aid us to determine— what seems to us now uncertain—the will of God.
It was stated in our last number that the Scripture proof for our doctrine is to be sought not so much in single passages as in a new principle of interpretation which so lights up all Scripture as to make the whole appear consistent with itself, and with the character of the God whom it reveals. That principle is so simple and so imbedded in the whole plan of redemption that it is a wonder anyone can deny it. It is this: that while God cannot interfere with the operation of His eternal law that death must be visited for sin, He has provided a way by which, through and beyond death, He may bring grace and succor to men by a resurrection from the dead. All His great promises of blessing to the human race, e. g. Gen. xii, 3, look forward to this recovery from death. There is no such thing therefore as a resurrection unto damnation, as the mistranslation of John v. 29 has long taught us. Damnation precedes resurrection. It may long delay it. But whenever it reaches a man it is a recovery. It cannot introduce a sinful man to eternal life—only to new conditions of trial