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shall repine? This good brother spoke as if he would be defrauded of his rights if after some poor soul had suffered in hell for, say, two thousand years, God should show to him any mercy, or give him any chance to repent. Is God then unrighteous who showeth mercy? He volunteered to advise me in his speech that I had better employ my " idle hands ", which he suggested Satan might have set at their present work, in saving souls. This is just my work. I am seeking to save such souls as his from false and cruel and inhuman thoughts of God. Men grow like the God they worship, L. C. Baker. Salem Sunbeam.
Sir; As the "Church Issue " before the West Jersey Presbytery referred to in your columns recently, has wider bearings than those which are merely personal, I beg leave to make a truer statement of it than is given in that part of your report which sums up the alternative presented to the Presbytery as the espousal of "a doctrine that at once annuls existing church systems and impairs the necessity for missions."
The point of Presbyterian doctrine which I have antagonized, and at which I have tried to induce the church to revise her confession, relates to the purpose of God in providing for the human race another life beyond that penal condition of death into which it must pass on account of sin. The standards make this provision to be wholly retributive, except in the case of an elect class. The resurrection of all others, after their previous punishment in death and hell, is stated to be merely for purposes of judgment and of a re-casting into hell, there to suffer "unspeakable torments in soul and body without intermission, with the devil and his angels in hell-fire forever." These statements misconceive the whole current of Scripture teaching as to the place and meaning of resurrection in the Divine economy and obscure the Gospel. And that the Church is not satisfied with them is shown by the fact that they are almost universally ignored in her pulpits when the doctrine of future punishment is set forth.
As a matter of common honesty, then, as well as of fidelity before God and man in a matter of the most tremendous human interest, I have urged the Church to allow a reverent re-investigation, and to bring her formulas upon this subject to the test of a careful re-examination of the Scriptures.
If this point of doctrine is the keystone of the " system," then my work- would be indeed destructive of it. But it is less and less being insisted upon as an essential of the faith. Moreover, I regard the Church as superior to the "system." If she has power to create, she can also amend it without impairing he integrity.
If my view that resurrection, while it is a process of sorting and judgment, has also a redemptive value " impairs the necessity for missions," it will be because it is misunderstood. If my brother-man, who is launched with me on this ocean of being, is in danger of losing his barque of life by reason of sin , I am not released from the obligation to warn him of his.danger and to point him to the only way of escape, because I have reason to hope that, after I know not what of untold loss and suffering, he may be launched again upon the perilous sea. Moreover, with regard to the heathen, the hope of another life, with its opportunities, is a far less objectionable solution of the dark problem of their future than the view fast gaining ground in the church that their present systems of religion are sufficient for salvation without faith on Him of whom they have not heard.
I include, also, in my view that line of Scripture teaching which shows that God's redemptive processes in the future ages are to be accomplished through a chosen seed to be gathered out of all nations. It, therefore, furnishes a double motive for missions, namely, the personal salvation of those who hear, and the gathering in of that company who, first saved themselves, are fitted to become the saviours of others, and through whom all the families of the earth are to be blessed. And the heathen are furnished with a gospel which does not misrepresent its Author, and which relieves their anxious cry not only for themselves, but for the generations of their fathers who have preceded them in countless procession to the regions of the dead. Philadelphia Press L. C. Baker.
AN OPEN LETTER TO THE REV. C. CUNNINGHAM.
Dear Brother:—I find in the lastnumber of Messiah's Herald a lengthy criticism made by you upon a recent book of mine— The Fire Of God's Anger. It is, in the main, fair and candid; although, it does not fairly grapple with the main principle of the argument, but expends its strength more upon the outposts. Is tVe provision made in Christ for the recovery of the human race from the pit of death into which it has been cast by sin a redemptive one? And is this God's way of making good his promise to bless all the families of the earth through a chosen seed? This is the question we are now urging upon the attention of the Church, and which we wish to see honestly answered, without evasion or quibbling.
Your criticism contains, however, one feature I cannot suffer to pass without a reply. You intimate that I have framed my doctrine as "a great effort to relieve the character of God," because "not fully reconciled to him as a sovereign." And then you proceed to make a similar effort. You say, "As all who die in infancy among all nations, and all believers of all nations, together with all irresponsible persons are saved," the promise to bless all nations in Christ will be abundantly fulfilled." That is, while I insist that when God says "all" he means all, and that for the purpose of making this promise good, Jesus Christ has become " Lord both of the dead and of the living," you go outside of Scripture and frame your theory outof assumptionswhichwe may all hope to be true, but for which we cannot quote chapter and verse. Is it possible that you can regard this theory of yours, which has to make up its balance on the side of mercy, and to seek its verification of God's promise, by peopling Heaven with infants and idiots, as a better one than mine? Are we then shut up to so barren a view of his economy of redemption as that, under it, infant mortality becomes an unspeakable blessing, and idiocy and iEsanity a sure passport to eternal bliss? In the New Testament some forms of insanity at least, are attributed to the devil. The unhappy victims were possessed of evil spirits. Is this class, then, of irresponsibles so highly favored? Surely it must be if their condition makes it sure that they shall be recovered to endless joy, while the same wide sweep of grace that takes them in has no deliverance in store for the countless multitudes of the race who have been enslaved in other ways by Satan. It was to save the Bible and "the character of God" from the aspersions cast by such miserable apologies as this that The Fire Of God's Anger was written, in which it is shown that all Old Testament promise, as well as New Testsment assertion, teaches that the provision of another life to all who died in Adam is a redemptive one, bringing to all, after judgment has been visited, not eternal life, but a gracious opportunity to win it, and that anything short of this is a denial of the gospel as "glad tidings of great joy to all people." Faithfully yours. L. C. Baker.
A Presbyterian minister wrote to us recently from the West, requesting that a copy of The Fire Oe God's Anger be sent at his expense to Colonel Ingersoll, and saying that he would follow it with his prayers. It was his request also, that we should accompany the book with a letter. We have sent the book, and as Mr. Ingersoll stands before the public as the most pronounced assailant of the Christian faith, it will be proper, under the circumstances, that we should make the letter sent, an open one. It reads as follows:
Colonel Robert G. Ingersoll.
I take the liberty of forwarding to you by this mail a copy of a recent book of mine, in which the Bible teaching upon future punishment is carefully examined from a new point of view. The book is sent by the request, and at the expense, of a Presbyterian minister in the West. The motive of this friend you will at once recognize. He feels, as I do, that your repugnance to Christianity, as the Divine solution of the mystery of man, is largely due to the false and monstrous conceptions of it which found their way into both the Catholic and the Reformed Theology. It is our hope that you will take some interest in a book which puts its finger on the point at which these systems went astray, and which explains from the Bible the divine plan of the world in a way much more worthy of its Author than that in which it was conceived of by our Presbyterian ancestors. It shows, in brief, that, while the wages of man's sin is death, the provision of another life for man beyond this judgment is a gracious boon to the race, and not an unspeakable curse.
Permit me to add by way of apology lor my apparent disloyalty to the standards of my own church, that any movement for their rectification must come from within the church itself, and that I have connected with my writing an effort to induce our church courts to take up the matter.
Trusting that you will ere long be brought to confess with me that Jesus Christ was sent of God to be the Saviour of mankind.
I remain very respectfully yours,
L. C. Baker.
EXTRACTS FROM LETTERS.
An esteemed brother in the ministry writes to us as follows:
I am glad to learn from your February number that the newspaper reports to the effect that charges of heresy had been entered against you in the "West Jersey Presbytery, are not correct and that matter still continues as a fraternal conference between the Presbytery and yourself. I earnestly hope that it may not be carried on to a judicial process, or. withdrawal from the Presbyterian ministry urged upon you. The impression that a minister ought, under circumstances corresponding to yours, to withdraw from the church is oftentimes conscientious, but is nevertheless, an immature position and one that is subversive of a full and true conception as to the body of Christ, which is His Church. A riper judgment will heartily sustain your course as entirely wise, faithful and consistent. The Evangelist is right when it says with reference to your work, —" It is always an attractive sight to see a good and able man lovingly laying his labors at the feet of his Church, especially