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rest of the dead, and that God's provision to make alive through a second man all who died in the first secures to all their gracious opportunity, Dr. Salmond is driven to indulge his eternal hope without much warrant of Scripture, and Dr. Warfield is driven to deny it because he thinks that the horizon line which Calvin drew measures the full boundaries of the ways of God. There is an universal ransom, but it is a ransom from the grasp of death, bringing opportunity to all to be saved from sin, whose wages are death. But there is no reason to suppose that any man will, in any world, be forced to choose life against his will, or that none will choose the wages of death.
This doctrine of a death-penalty in hell before resurrection, and of this rescue from death as necessarily a ransom and a boon, enables us to hold fast to all that Scripture teaches about hell, as not an hypothetical, but a real punishment, and at the same time reveals to us a Father who, without setting aside His unchangeable law, that men must reap what they sow, cannot allow even death to defeat His gracious purpose to lift up out of the mire of sin all of His children, who will lay hold of His great salvation.
Ceeed Tests.—The Rev. J. M. Ludlow, D.D., in the July number of the Homiletic Review, asks this significant question, "Are not our evangelical churches injured in respect to both membership and ministers by the retention of the doctrinal standard of past generations?''
In answering it, while he argues with apparent candor, that . the injury is not so great as some suppose, he at the same time shows his evident sympathy with the position of the denomination known as "Christians" upon this subject, whose progress into "the foremost rank of American churches in respect to numbers " he attributes to the liberty of conscience they give to their ministry and members.
For our own part, we are convinced that, while there are confessed dangers attendant upon freedom, there is far greater danger in the suppression of such liberty as must exist where the Spirit of the Lord is, and that it is far better to trust Him to keep His people from errors and excesses, and to guide them into unity, than it is to seek to fence them in against these evils, and to force them into unity by an elaborate creed-system.
Conditional Immortality.—We have reason to believe that an increasing number of the clergy of all denominations are coming to the conviction that endless being belongs only to God, and that man becomes possessed of this unspeakable dignity, only as he receives power to become the son of God. Upon picking up recently a small book of sermons by the Rev. R. H. McKim, D.D., a well-known Episcopal clergyman of New York, upon eternal punishment, we find that he takes refuge from the enormities of the old doctrine in this view that the eternal punishment is eternal destruction. The July number of the Presbyterian Review, gives a short review of a similar series of sermons by another clergyman of that church, the Rev. Cameron Mann, of Kansas City, who takes this view. We have personal knowledge of quite a number of Presbyterian ministers who hold the same view, but privately, lest they should be put out of the synagogue. The scientific view of man's origin is much more in harmony with this view. And certainly there is no ground in Scripture for the belief that man, out of Christ, is endowed with endless life. Many persons fail to distinguish between "life after death " and " eternal life." When they speak of man as " immortal" they merely mean that death of the body does not make an end of him—that his soul survives. This no one can dispute. But this is a very different thing from the assertion that the soul can never be destroyed (Matt. x. 28). Nothing seems to be more true in reason, in science, and to Scripture, than that any form of life which is out of harmony with the universal life must either be reformed or come to an end. And here again a distinction—which the advocates of this doctrine have overlooked—must be made between that spirit of life from God which lives in man, and which is immortal, and a man's continued possession of it in separate personality as an eternal temple for God's indwelling. This spirit may return to God, its source. It can never die, but the being it animated may be left to vanish away. The man as to body and soul may be thus destroyed, albeit the spirit within him be indestructible. Somewhere here lies the meeting ground between the current theory of the native immortality of man, and the evident teaching of Scripture that only those who receive Christ receive eternal life. With the modification thus suggested we are at one with that growing class, which embraces many of the most thoughtful theologians in this country and abroad, that no such issue as a realm of lost souls sustained in endless life and suffering is conceivable. We have differed from this school however concerning the nature and purpose of the promised resurrection of the unjust. We believe that this provision secures that no man shall suffer this final penalty of extinction until after recovery to a new stage of being, and that this recovery is for the gracious purpose of bringing to the knowledge of the truth, in order that they may be saved, the multitudes who have never been put to a full moral testing under the gospel of Christ.
A Hindu Christian's Creed.—Pundita Ramabai, who visited Boston, and who has more recently been with Miss Willard at Evanston, Illinois, and who is preparing to return to India to engage in teaching high caste Indian women, does not find it easy here to tell what denomination she belongs to. A reporter asked the question, and she answered: "I belong to the universal church of Christ. I meet good Baptists, Methodists, Episcopalians and Presbyterians, and each one tells me something different about the Bible. So it seems to me better to go there myself and find the best I can. And there I find Christ the Saviour of the world, and to him I give my heart. I do not profess to be of any particular denomination, for I would go back to India simply as a Christian. To my mind it appears that the New Testament, and especially the words of our Saviour, are a sufficiently elaborate creed. This Hindu woman said much more as to the one only church, and that all who acknowledge Jesus as their Saviour are members of that church. She spoke in glowing language of her parents, saying: If any one wishes to say my father, so eager to learn of God, and my mother so tender and sweet, have gone to hell because no Christian ever reached them with the glad tidings of Christ, I have only to tell you, Never say so in my presence, for I will not hear it."
John Ward, Preacher.—Anyone familiar with current fiction will have observed the tendency among novelists to deal with the great religious questions of to-day. And more than any other the question of retribution is most frequently handled. It is observable too with what uniformity they accept restitutionism as the true solution of this mystery. It is surprising how widely this doctrine is being inculcated in popular literature. Both poets and novelists teach it. And these are the writers who have access to the popular mind, and who are doing more than theologians to shape its opinions. One of the most recent books of this class is " John Ward—Preacher." A Presbyterian minister, who is sincerely convinced that the old Calvanistic formulas present the truth of God upon this matter, and that the belief of them is essential to salvation, marries a young lady trained in a Episcopal rectory, where very different views of Christianity prevail. The book describes the sore trials this conscientious minister, who loves his wife sincerely, passes, because of her rejection of his severe doctrines, and her counter influence in the parish. The great defect of the book, is that, while the author is strongly sympathetic with her rejection of the doctrine of eternal punishment, it supplies no better basis for this rejection than one of sentiment. The author is incapable of discussing the subject on either its broad ethical or Scriptural grounds; and therefore she should not have attempted it.
Words Of Reconciliation.
Vol. IV.] OCTOBER, 1888. [No. 10.
In the last number we selected a passage from Ezekiel, by which to try this new principle of interpretation, namely, that Jehovah's promises to His people—sent down into sheol for their sins—look forward to their recovery from this captivity, and to their future blessing through a resurrection from the dead. We now ask our readers to examine carefully the three chapters of Jeremiah above specified, and to submit them to the test of this interpretation. As the whole passage is too long to quote we select what may be called a fair sample of its contents.
Moreover the word of the Lord came unto Jeremiah the sec- , ond time, while he was yet shut up in the court of the guard, saying, Thus saith the Lord that doeth it, that formeth it to establish it; the Lord is His name: Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and will show thee great things and difficult, which thou knowest not. For thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning the houses of this city, and concerning the houses of the kings of Judah, which are broken down to make a defence against the mounts and against the sword: they come to fight with the Chaldeans, but it is to fill them with the dead bodies of men, whom I have slain in my anger and in my fury, and for all whose wickedness I have hid my face from this city.