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end until the realm of the dead has yielded up all its captives
and the last enemy is himself destroyed.
Upon no subject are professed Christian people more troubled and bewildered than upon the vexed question of amusements. Here again the perplexity arises from this confounding of the saint-class with the larger class of professors and worldlings. The law of saintship demands severe dealing at these points of self-pleasing and self-indulgence. Scripture gives no arbitrary rules. The saint can render no acceptable obedience that is not voluntary. Hence the Bible refuses even to abridge for him the liberty wherewith Christ makes free. And yet the tastes and aspirations of the heaven-born child are away from mere earthly delights towards things that are above.
But many of even God's own children cannot yet bear this way of the cross. The twelve disciples had to be led along very gently in it, and so must they. Hence it is useless to bring these hard sayings to bear upon them. Still less can we expect the world to be governed by them. They are on a different plane. Tbey are not to be judged by these high standards. They are not in the position of contestants for eternal life. They may be in the future. And it is a matter of vast importance to them whether their present life shall fit them for success in this future trial, or for defeat. Their moral conduct, their selfcontrol, their kind treatment of others, their love for their neighbours, or their lack of these things will all be summed up in the account. But they cannot be weighed in the same balances of the sanctuary with the regenerate child of God. They have not his life. They do not feel his motives. They are not capable of his self denial and of his new obedience. They are not on the divine plane, but they wilL be judged on the lower human plane they occupy, and according to their works. A clear view of this principle makes plain to us much that is obscure in this matter of amusements. Things that would be deleterious to the spiritual life of the Christian may be healthful recreation to the merely natural man. The one is not to prescribe the law for the other. We of course do not mean to include in such things anything that feeds sinful appetite or inflames passion or degrades taste. Such effects are always evil, and any man who indulges in this way sins against his own soul. But within the range of what are called innocent amusements, the distinction must be observed between the standards of judgment applicable to these two classes. The spiritual man must not claim to enforce his standard on the natural man. For the natural man perceiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, as does he. And the Bible assumes that even on the natural plane there may be a patient continuance in well - doing which God will reward. To state an extreme case: no one of us would expect that, if St. Paul were living in our day, he would think it right for him to join a base-ball club, or a dramatic association. He would have so many higher things to think about and higher aims to pursue, that he would have neither time nor taste for such things. And yet for some young Christian on a lower plane they might be harmless, and, to a child of this world, positively useful. So God judges us all according to our light and opportunities, and the circumstances by which we are surrounded. And while He has but one way of eternal life, and that straight and narrow, He has paths of discipline and ways of judgment which lead up to that one way. And men will be kept in these or be suffered to stray away from them, according to their deeds. So that if the law of right living and good example control men in every sphere
of life, whether of business or pleasure, they may know that God's administration toward them in the future will bring them recompense, as they must also bring penalty to every soul of man that doeth evil.
SALVATION BY WOKKS.
We are aware that in all this we shall be accused of teaching salvation by morality. But all depends upon one's definition of salvation. If by it is meant the possession of eternal life which involves a share in the divine nature and glory, we say that no man can reach this goal except through a divine birth, and that this is the gift of God through Jesus Christ our Lord. But we may mean by the term such a salvation from death as shall issue in a " resurrection of life," and shall lift its subject to that platform of life in the world to come on which he may press forward to this high goal. This is not salvation in its fullest sense, but it is recovery to the path that leads toward it. And that men may set their feet toward this path by good works, or away from it by evil works, is one of the plainest truths of both the Old Testament and the New. We need to remember, indeed, that for all classes of men, even Christians, salvation is viewed in Scripture as a goal not yet reached, but toward which they are to strive. Christians indeed are spoken of as potentially "saved." But they are also warned that salvation, as a final result, depends upon their holding steadfast to the end the beginning of their confidence (1 Cor. xv. 2, Heb. iii. 14). So that Scripture presents to us salvation under both of these aspects, as the undeserved gift of God's grace, and something for which we are to strive. And while moral men cannot be said to be striving for it, because no man can purchase or earn it, they
may still be striving towards it. St. Paul speaks (Acts xx. 21) of "faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ." This would seem to be something lower than faith in Him, and yet in the same direction. So we may here discriminate between such as are saved, and such as are in the way of being saved (Acts ii. 47, E.v). In this latter way Cornelius was before he sent for Peter. But before he was "saved" (Acts xi. 14), he was in the way of being saved. For his prayers and Jiis alms had come up for a memorial before God and he was accepted before Him. He is called a "just" man (x. 22), and would have had part in "the resurrection of the just, " even if before his death he had not been born again of the Spirit through the revelation to Him of Jesus the Christ. And this is all there is n our view of salvation in the way of good works. We merely mean that such works put one in the way of this high blessing! and evil works lead away from it; and that God will render in this particular to every man according to his works. Por that salvation will be attainable beyond this present life lies in the very fact that God has provided to raise men to another life beyond the grave.
TWO EXPLANATORY LETTERS.
We have been obliged, either to submit to be judged by erroneous statements of our "case," or to make our own statement through the public press. The following letters appeared in the papers to which they are credited.
Editor Op The SUNBEAM Dear Sir A friend has just
sent me a copy of the recent issue of your paper in which you criticise my relation to the West Jersey Presbytery, and express the opinion that I ought at once to step down and out. If the Church be merely a creation of its standards, then doubtless you are right. But I have always supposed that the Church was master of its confession, and not the reverse, and that it retains within itself the power to revise and amend it. And this involves the right to discuss it. Let us suppose, for a m oment, that an error is found lurking at some point in its docitrinal statements, and that one of our ministers discovers it. If ct becomes his duty to at once withdraw, or to keep silent, how oan the mistake ever be rectified? Has the Church no power ot self-amendment or of growth in the knowledge of God? And have ministers no duty toward the Church in this regard, even though it may bring them under reproach?
As to the travesty of my teaching which you quote from the remarks of the good Elder from Daretown, I can only say that I have never taught nor held that "after a man h::s done all the wickedness he can in this world, he still has a chanee of coming out all right at the resurrection, and of receiving the reward that Christians have labored for all their lives on this earth." While holding that resurrection is redemptive, I have uniformly taught that it will both judge and sort men according to character. I have no idea that it will lift any sinful man up to the level of life and privilege attained by those who now believe in and follow Christ, or that it will bring to those who now persistently reject Him another opportunity. But it shall if bring to the multitudes of our race who have died in ignorance and moral darkness, after they have served out their death sentence in hell, that opportunity of knowing God's grace in Christ they never enjoyed here, who