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But this death he conceives of as not annihilation, but as a destruction qua homo.
Commenting upon the narrative of Adam's creation and fall he says,—
What is the nature of man thus formed and endowed with the principle of life? Is he of necessity immortal and therefore eternal, or only so in part and conditionally? If conditionally, then life must be conditioned on obedience to the command of God to eat only of the good fruit, including the tree of life. As Adam failed under these conditions, we find ourselves under the sentence of death.
To eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was death. For God said, " In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." If in the constituent parts of man's being there is a principle of life which is without beginning and without end, that principle must be eternal.
Whatever has a beginning must have an end. God is without beginning, therefore he is without end. Life existing as man had a beginning: therefore it has an end; but the principle of life in man, as emanating from God, is from everlasting to everlasting. Therefore all mortals may become immortal because they have the principle of immortality abiding in them. But that life of man which had a beginning, on account of disobedience, stands condemned under the sentence of death. Adam was driven out from the presence of the Lord and strictly guarded from the tree of life lest he eat and live forever. Thus God wisely guarded him from such an act, which, doubtless, would have resulted in the perpetuity of sinful life eternally through fallen man.
From the following plain passages we may learn something of the consequences or penalties of partaking of the forbidden fruit;
Gen. 2: "In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." Ezek. xviii. 4: "The soul that sinneth it shall die." Rom. vi. 23: "The wages of sin is death." Matt. x. 28: "Fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." Ezek. xxxiii. 11: "As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways, for why will ye die." Now, in the light of these sayings, what may I ask, is this death that God would have us escape? It cannot be a death which destroys the body only, for none escape that save a few translated ones. No; he speaks to us of a spiritual death, that destroys the soul also, but from which we may now escape if we willingly accept Him who hath so lovingly died in our stead.
To know what death is, we must first consider what life is. If in the creation of man there is life, then evidently in his death there is the cessation of life. If in creation there is a beginning, so in destruction there is an end. Therefore there must be an end of that which is destroyed.
God not only hath power to create, but he hath power also to destroy. Our Lord said, " Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."
Of the distress, pain and anguish of this death as portrayed in the Scripture, I care not to speak, only so far as to set forth the falsity of the idea conscientiously held by some, namely, that all who die unregenerate not only keep right on sinning forever, but will inevitably suffer at the hands of a loving Father prolonged agonies of remorse, anguish, misery and torments of hell-fire throughout eternity. I fail to find such teaching in the Bible. How can such a state of existence be death? The true idea of death is lost sight of in such punishment.
The soul may be much longer in the process of dying than the body. But it cannot live on forever in sin. Who can imagine any possible good to grow out of such a state of endless sinning and suffering?
Do we not often kill our domestic animals to end their sufferings 1 A human sovereign who would prolong the life of a doomed criminal for purposes of torture would be execrated.
Is man more merciful than God? But the sinner must be punished and in that punishment suffer the penalty of the law which is death; that is, be destroyed or perish, and so end his existence as a man. This death is not necessarily annihilation. But the man no longer exists as such.
As to the nature and effect of resurrection out of this death, the writer does not touch these points, and so leaves the problem but half solved. It is gratifying to know that since his studies upon this subject some two years ago, he expresses himself as having obtained light from what we have written concerning the redemptive character of resurrection. As we have often stated, the doctrine of conditional immortality gives but an unsatisfactory explanation of this mystery unless it be held in connection with the hope of the resurrection of the dead. We need constantly to remember Jehovah's emphatic words in the Song of Moses (Deut. xxxii. 39). "I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal."
NOTES ON CURRENT TOPICS.
The New Theology In The Antipodes.—The Independent of August 9th contains a noteworthy article under the above title from the Eev. B. B. Warfield, D.D., Professor of Theology at Princeton. We wish we had room to transfer it to these pages. It is an account of what Dr. Warfield describes as the "outbreak of the New Theology" in the Presbyterian Church in Southern New Zealand. In this Church there is a Theological College at Dunedin, in which the Kev. Wm. Salmond, D.D., has for many years served as principal Professor. Dr. Salmond was bred in the Scotch United Presbyterian Church, and is, we are told, a man of high gifts and acquirements. "The confidence and support of the ministry of his adopted home were given to him, and have been continued up to the present time." Recently he has been transferred to a Professorship in a secular university. Scarcely was he well seated there before he startled the Church by the publication of a pamphlet under the title of The Reign of Grace, in which he becomes the advocate of the teachings of the New Theology in their extremest form.
"We advocate nothing more," he says, " than an extension of the time during which the mercy of God endures for repentant sinners." By this he means, however, not only to deny that death ends probation, but to affirm that to all alike the mercy of God is persistently extended during this life and the next. He perceives that this is virtual universalism; and although he will not dogmatically affirm "that all men will be restored to God," he claims the right to exercise " eternal hope," and admits that his theory allows "no kind of answer," "if any one soul were lost." The love of God being equal to all men, to all of whom alike he is Father, he cannot but follow (so he argues) every man with proposals of mercy, until the fullness of time comes to each and he embraces the offer. A metaphysical possibility may be admitted that men may persistently refuse; and this allows for a hypothetical hell, which accordingly the Scriptures proclaim. But we may cherish the hope that this necessary hypothesis may not be realized as ultimate fact; and for himself Dr. Salmond cannot believe that even in the possible case that one will persistently refuse God's mercy, God will uphold him in existence for no reason but to inflict torture on him through endless ages, but must think that "in this issue such souls will be banished out of God's universe and cease to be."
As we may well suppose, this pamphlet aroused a great clamor in the community. The secular journals have taken up the matter, and several leading pastors have issued their pamphlets in reply. The Presbytery of Dunedin was forced to take up the matter, with what result is not yet known.
We are interested specially however, in Dr. Warfield's comments upon the affair. He says:
"This outbreak of the New Theology at the ends of the earth brings once more sharply before us the fact which was already evident, that the New Theology of to-day is simply a judgment of history on that New Theology of a generation ago, whose legitimate child it is. The candor with which Dr. Salmond has written, leads him to affirm the essential affiliation as strongly from his side as we should affirm it from ours. If men insist on affirming, he tells us, and tells us truly, 'without qualification, the universal Fatherhood of God, and his equal love to all men, that Christ died for all men and every separate man [in the same sense], and that God unequivocally wills that all men should be saved,' then they must learn to understand that they 'cannot bring this same way of thinking into harmony with the ways of God in Providence, and the facts of human life, if death puts an absolute limit to the possibility of salvation.' 'Let us go back if we will,' he justly advises, 'to the stern attitude of those who pointed to these things [God's unequal dealing with men] as proof of God's eternal decree of pretention; but if not, let us not shrink from the inevitable inference that here we see but a part of the ways of God with men, and that the message of mercy must needs resound in both worlds.' The dilemma is well drawn. The New Theology of to-day is simply the New Theology of the past, brought to its legitimate conclusion by the unfeeling logic of history. As such it is God's scourge to drive us back to the old theology of his Word, which has been most fully formulated in what has been sometimes facetiously called 'seventeenth century Calvinism,' but between which and a naturalistic universalism there is no safe or stable standing place. If the teachers of the Church of Otago learn this lesson, Dr. Salmond will not have written in vain."
What is most remarkable here is Dr. Warfield's confession that there is no middle ground between the stern Calvinism of the 17th century, with its doctrine of limited atonement and reprobation of the non-elect, and downright universalism. He virtually tells us that the whole modern conception of the universal fatherhood of God must be given up, or we must all go over to universalism. Be it so then; we are very sure that the Christian church of to-day will never take this backward step. But with a true doctrine of election, such as St. James teaches when he tells us that "Of His own will begat He us with the word of His truth that we might be a kind of first-fruits of His creatures," and with a right conception of the purpose of God in redeeming all men to a future life through resurrection, we may avoid on the one hand Dr. Salmond's " crass universalism " and on the other Dr. Warfield's harsh Calvinistic mask with which he would hide from us the face of our Father God. From lack of knowing that God's choice of a first-fruits implies that there must be later fruits, and that the church of the first-born from the dead has its mission of recovery to the