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Western Christendom no advance upon the civilization of the Orient? Can The Path lead the world back that way to God?
A SUMMARY OF PRINCIPLES.
God at first created man for sonship and immortality, endowing him with a nature which is divine, and in which resides his permanent selfhood, which survives all changes, and which must finally attain its perfect personal expression in that form of manhood which is the image of the invisible God.
To reach this high estate, this essential man must needs pass through lower stages of objective expression until the perfect personality is reached. The story of man's fall and punishment in death, and final destruction from the presence of the Lord, relates not to the essential man, born out of God, and who therefore cannot sin or die, but to the objective man, which is the husk in which God's image is enshrined, and which must be burnt up as chaff, so far as it fails to express that image. The work of salvation is the subjugation of this outward man to the rule of the inward, so that the existent personality shall be saved and fitted up as God's enduring temple. The doctrine of the resurrection of the dead reveals the gracious method by which the treasures of our present personality are gathered up and restored to us, while the wood, hay, and stubble wrought into the structure are burnt up in God's consuming fire. Resurrection is essentially liberating and redemptive. In its inferior stages, however, it is necessarily a process of judgment. There is nothing unscriptural, and certainly nothing unscientific, in the view that in its lower stages it takes the form of re-incarnation or re-birth into earthly manhood. This would be the case where further judgment and discipline under conditions of creature bondage are required. But after spiritual life has been evoked, resurrection must introduce to higher stages of life and dominion than the earthly stage affords. A select seed of mankind, of whom Christ is the Head, have already reached the highest pinnacle of resurrection life and power, while others of this high class are in various stages of progress toward it. But in order to the working of the power of deliverance for the race that resides in them, the race is constituted into an organism whose solidarity cannot be broken by death. The saintly and glorified class must still act in and upon and through the living generations of mankind for the perfection of the whole, while those living on the earth must still hold within the circle of their being the past generations of the dead who must find through them deliverance. In this way—the power of Christ's resurrection extending itself in ever-widening circles—the whole race will be finally lifted above the dominion of sin and death into the life and light of God. But this universal hope, so far as it is cherished by the earthly man, must always be tempered and chastened by the thought that his existing personality can be saved and become a dwelling-place for God only so far as it can furnish materials suited to His abode; that, therefore, all that now enters into his existing manhood can survive the ordeal of death only so far as it is yielded to the control of the divine Spirit within him.
True Orthodoxy.—" That man or Church whose orthodoxy does not make progress ceases thereby to be orthodox, and from the necessities of the case becomes heterodox. He refuses to accept the truth that is offered him by the advances in science, philosophy, history, and the more exact study of the Sacred Scriptures. He is heterodox in that he falls short of the revealed truth that the truly orthodox have already accepted. He is also heterodox in all that he does accept and teach, for he keeps his thinking and teaching in the shadow of stereotyped forms of thought; he declines to bring his knowledge- into the full light of the truth, which like the sun has risen higher toward its zenith; he prefers his darkness to the light of God; he fears to look the truth in the eyes, lest he should be convicted of error and be compelled to change his position, his convictions and statements. Intellectual timidity and cowardice are not consistent with Christian orthodoxy. True orthodoxy is brave, manly, and aggressive; it marches forward. Truth is so connected and interwoven in an organism that an advance in any department exerts an important influence upon the whole system. Any man or Church that refuses to accept the discoveries of science, or the truths of philosophy, or the facts of history, or the new light that breaks forth from the word of God to the devoted student, on the pretense that it conflicts with his orthodoxy or the orthodoxy of the standards of his Church, prefers the traditions of men to the truth of God, has become unfaithful to the calling and aims of the Christian disciple, has left the companionship of Jesus and His apostles, and has joined the Pharisees, the enemies of the truth. 'He that is born of God heareth God's words.' The man who has within him the spirit of truth and is following the guidance of the divine spirit of truth will hail the truth and embrace it, whether he has seen it before or not, and he will not be stayed by Jhe changes that he fears may be necessary in his preconceptions or prejudices,' or his civil, social, or ecclesiastical position. A traditional attitude of mind is one of the worst foes to orthodoxy. We have an infallible standard of orthodoxy in the Saored Scriptures. God Himself, speaking in His holy word to the believer is the infallible guide in all questions of religion, doctrine, and morals."—Professor C. A. Briggs, D. D.
I said it in the mountain path,
I gay it on the mountain stairs;
Are those which every mortal shares.
The grass is softer to my tread,
For rest it yields unnumbered feet;
Because it makes the whole world sweet.
As Men live outside of self—have their life in their fellows and in God—the divine image in them is uncovered. The false ego of sensuous personality is lost, and the true self found. God is Love; and love is the giving out of good.—Henry Wood, in " God's Image in Man."
A Foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divinesWith consistency a great soul has nothing to do. He may
as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall. Out upon your guarded lips. Sew them up with packthread, do. Else if you would be a man, speak what you think to-day in words as hard as cannon balls, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict everything you said to-day.—Emerson.
NOTES ON CURRENT TOPICS.
Peetebition.—Evidently the bite noir of the Revision question among our Presbyterian friends is the doctrine of preterition. The friends of the movement insist that this dark and repulsive feature of the Calvinistic system must be stricken out of the Confession. The conservatives are equally strenuous that the integrity of the Calvinistic system demands it, and the General Assembly has instructed the Committee that it must not be impaired. As an evidence of how strong the feeling is upon this point the Rev. Paul Vandyke, Professor of Church History at Princeton, has been constrained to resign his position, because he was unwilling to commit himself to an unswerving loyalty to the Confession, as it has always been interpreted at Princeton, and specially to its doctrine of preterition as a test of orthodoxy.
If these brethren would only revise their doctrine of election in the light of the truth of Scripture, their difficulty about preterition would soon disappear. Both election and preterition are taught in Scripture. The one indeed involves the other. But the election of a chosen seed implies that a harvest is to spring from that seed. The "first fruits of God's creatures" begotten "of His own will " implies that there are to be later fruits. "The Church of the first-born " implies later born. Preterition therefore is the passing by of those who are unworthy of a place among those whom God chooses as His special agents and the channels of His grace to all mankind. The eleventh of Romans sets forth