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when these labors have been in the Word of God and have in His judgment resulted in eliciting new light."
I am reminded, also, of what Prof. Allen says in his "Continuity of Christian Thought" concerning Athanasius: "It is sometimes forgotten in ecclesiastical circles, where it most needs to be remembered, that he fought not only the world in the shape of an intriguing imperial court, but his hardest conflicts were with the church itself, his greatest victory over the oriental bishops arrayed against him in a large majority. His name stands for the encouragement of those who resist the church in the interest of some higher truth which it has not yet learned to appreciate; his experience illustrates that one man standing out against the church may be right and the church may be wrong; and further, his life demonstrates how, at all critical moments, the faith takes refuge, not in institutions, but in individual men."
In your present retirement from pastoral work you have leisure for the investigation of these questions which we pastors have not. As surely as the dawning of a better day, will come the revision and restatement of the faith which our branch of the Church of Christ confesses and it is to the honor of the Church that she keep at work and unmolested those who have been born and nurtured within her pale, in the re-examination of her confessional statements. It is quite easy and all too common, to address the prejudices of human nature in advocating blind adherence to the watchwords of a sect. Thereby denominational success is oftentimes better assured. But when we aim purely at the success of the cause of Christ, then it becomes our duty in the light of the Word of God to bring out the truth that is contained in the old theological statements into better expression. And to do this many excrescent growths, which are stumbling-blocks to faith must be sloughed off. May God cheer and prosper you in your work.
A correspondent in Boston, who, when living in the west, was an esteemed elder in an influential Presbyterian Church, gives his views thus upon our " case :"
"There has never taken place an advance in morals, religion nor hardly in science, but what pioneers, and even martyrs, have been a necessary feature. The birth of every advanced movement toward higher conditions is necessarily attended with some pain, friction and disturbance. This principle is brought out in Ex-Pres. "White's article in the last Popular Science Monthly. I have all along expected that the outcome of your controversy with the Presbytery would very likely be a separation—you cannot put "new wine into old bottles." I feel sure, however, that if such should be the issue, your influence and power for good will be greatly increased. The Presbyterian Church will need to be condoled with rather than you. It is a sad fact that it includes within itself so much intolerance and literalism and that these elements are in the majority, and are likely for some time longer to control the policy of the Church. It seems intolerable that the cast-iron literalism embodied in creeds made under the narrow conditions of two or three hundred years ago should be regarded as so much superior, not only to the plain teaching of Scripture, but to the best thought of the present time."
A minister of the gospel who withdrew from the Presbyterian Church because he "could no longer subscribe to its confession" writes: "I desire to assure you of my sincere sympathy in your present attitude of opposition to a manifest error of the Presbyterian system as formulated in the ' Westminster Standards.'
It is a position the maintaining of which must, of necessity, bring upon you contumely, ostracism, and the loss of very much that was sweet, and fondly cherished; and which must require supreme confidence in God, unswerving belief in the truth of His Word, and strong sustaing faith.
The precious truths clustering around the Resurrection, and upon which God is giving His saints new and increasing light, have been received by me with very great joy.
And though their reception has cost the loss of all things, yet I count it all joy."
A Minister of the gospel writes from Dakota,—I received by mail a copy of Words of Reconciliation, and hail with delight the truths therein advocated especially the article "Truth for the times."
It is an occasion of devout thanksgiving to God that some are endeavouring to stem the current of modern theology, so called. I hail with delight the good news of a gospel free from such awful teachings as eternal conscious suffering in hell.
I should be pleased to aid in an endeavour to spread abroad any antidote against such an abhorrent denial of the gospel if it was in my power.
But I am at present, and have for some time, been suffering isolation because of what is termed unevangelical views. Well I thank God that light has shone in my soul, and I view my Heavenly Father as a being of love rather than as delighting in the continual endless suffering of His finite creatures.
For this and some other views, I am left without work as a Minister of the Gospel and have to depend on my manual labor in my declining old age for my family's support."
However I desire to secure a copy of the " Eschatology of the future" and your tract on "resurrection, a redemptive process.
Please forward to my address and find stamps enclosed for same.
I hope in the coming summer season to be able to subscribe for Words of Reconciliation.
Go on, my Brother, in your effort to spread the truths of the gospel free from human traditions and false theology.
Yours in Christ Jesus.
NOTES ON CURRENT TOPICS.
Nothing is more certain than that no denomination has a right to exist which is not willing at any time, and at all times, to subordinate its own interests to the welfare of the whole body of Christ.
The Rev. J. D. Childs, of Shelby, N. Y., has sent to us a copy of an article of his, published in the HERALD oF GOSPEL LIBERTY, in which he accepts the challenge made some time ago by The IndePendent, that not a single evangelical minister in the whole country has dared to announce publicly his belief in a future state of probation for anybody, neither has a single man been heard from who has had the courage to name a single passage of Scripture which in his opinion clearly teaches it.
If this be true, it is a sad proof of the bondage in which the evangelical ministry is held, that among the many who, we are sure, are so convinced, no one is found with honesty and courage enough to avow it.
Mr. Childs, however, announces himself as squarely on this ground, and then gives his theory of probation, which he defines as a state of moral testing which runs parallel with a man's existence, and cannot be therefore affected by the accident of death. We have not space for his articie, in which there is much to commend, but quote from it his general principles, with the comments we are constrained to make:—
1. God's rich provisions of love and mercy are not limited by place, time, or space.
2. Human ability. Will, the power of choice is illimitable— is not cramped by three-score-and-ten years.
3. Will-power, being an attribute of mind, is coexistent witb mind; if not, heaven is a paradise of fools, and sheol a gehenna of imbeciles.
4. Death takes away no moral nor intellectual power, and adds none.
5. If the added years of a man's life are a state of probation, a time of trial, then each year must have been a season of probation; and, as the years were in the future, a man has as many states of future probation as he is years old. If probation holds good for seventy years in a man's life, why not for a thousand, a million, a billion, ad infinitum?
6. If one man is saved by faith in the Christ—if he is the one Name by which we must be saved—then no man can be saved without a knowledge of the historic Christ.
7. If all must be taught of God in order to be intelligently saved, then the knowledge of the Christ must be brought to each human mind.
8. God will never damn a man that has hot light enough to save him.
9. A man is saved through his intelligence; therefore God will make every man, woman, and child an intelligent offer of salvation, beginning at some link iu the mystic chain of their unending life. This the ever-living God, whose offspring we are, who has created us in his own image, has bound himself by every attribute of his nature to do. Not to do it would be to deny himself.
10. God, to bring us home to the bosom of his love, if necessary, will exhaust all the rich resources of heaven.
11. Not one member of the human family will be left to the never-ending flames of unendng agony. No sane man believes there is such anguish in store for any one. Many of our best citizens—sons and daughters—have passed the river poorly equipped. To believe they will have no probation beggars all credulity. There is eternal access to the holy city—"And the gates thereof shall in no wise be shut." Rev. 21: 25. "The river of life is there, and the tree of life spans the great river. And on this side of the river and on that was the tree of life; and the leaves cf the tree were for the healing of the nations." Rev. 22: 5. All may partake and live, or refuse and die. This is good tidings of great joy to the poor, belated weaklings,
With principle 1. we fully agree. As to Nos. 2. and 3. they are theoretically true, but we are quite sure that, like most theologians, Mr, Childs puts upon this doctrine of human ability, or "the freedom of the will " a burden it cannot bear. It is always brought in to help explain the hard points. And yet it is a fact that man's will may be so weakened by self-indulgence and enslaved by sin that "human inability" is a more correct term by which to describe it. To No.