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self-surrender to God. This surrender indeed requires that it finally be yielded up in death into His hands, confident that " He who wrought in Christ and raised Him from the dead " will also renew and transfigure our personality into the same form of glorified manhood.
But the effects of this transforming process are not all postponed until after the death of the body. They begin here and now, and manifest themselves in us just so far as we " bear about in our bodies the dying of the Lord Jesus that the life also of Jesus may be made manifest in us."
The phenomena of spiritualism, so far as they are genuine, may be explained by the principle that in the organism of the human race the unjust dead are preserved in being through connection with the living. Spiritualists themselves admit that only the spirits of the imperfect dead lurk among these earthly scenes, and seek to communicate with the living. It is plain also that the phenomena of these apparitions are mainly subjective—that is, they are connected with the mental states and impressions of those who witness them.
This is the fundamental question in the inquiry about spiritualism. Are these alleged phenomena objective to the persons who witness them, or are they produced within the region of their own personality? We believe the latter to be true, but we cannot therefore pronounce them to be mere imaginings. Scripture bears too constant witness to the fact that spirits do operate and speak through men, to admit this explanation. (See e. g. I Tim. iv, 1, 2, Rev. Vers.) But the doctrine that the human race is an organism explains both sides of this subject. It shows that these experiences may be subjective, and yet not unreal. That which the spiritist observes is due to the operation of his own mental powers, but it is not therefore of necessity illusive. The dead, who speak through him, or an impression of whose forms become visible to him, are really connected with his own existence and are thus able to influence his mental conditions. Such influence is a load from the past, which every man must more or less carry during his earthly discipline. But it is the Christian's prerogative to keep all such influences under check and restraint of the Divine Spirit within him, and so to preserve the spirit of moderation and of a sound mind.*
It is important that Christianity should concede whatever of truth may be involved in this fundamental fact in Scripture of the solidarity of the human race, living and dead, for nowhere else can she find any scientific basis for her doctrine of a future life. Science knows of no future life for men, except as their existence is continued in the life of the race to which they belong. We have been blind to the fact that it is just here that Scripture originally places its hope of a future existence for man, and that its redemptive scheme for his restoration operates strictly within
* A writer in a recent number of the Free Christian well remarks, "We must not overlook the deeply significant fact that, while Christ gave to His apostles power over unclean spirits to cast them out, we never once read of their invoking any spirit, good or evil."
these limits. Only Christianity goes further than science in revealing that not only is the generic life of the race thus preserved, but the being of the dead remains embosomed within that life, and that the Divine power and love which lie behind the whole scheme of nature are operative for their redemption and perfection.
In the camp of reconstruction a working opinion is no doubt harder to form, and demands more of the individual than is the case in the camp of tradition. Nevertheless, it is within the reach of everybody who seeks it with some conscience and earnestness.—Selected.
NOTES ON CURRENT TOPICS.
An English Clergyman's Views.—At the recent Grindelwald Conference on Christian Union, the Rev. W. Hay Aitken, whom we recall as an English clergyman who conducted a " mission " a few years ago in New York city, spoke as follows upon the differing views concerning future punishment:
Some believed in an infinite amount of suffering in the world of retribution; others believed the suffering would not be infinite but indefinite. Referring to his personal belief, Mr. Aitken said the doctrine of Life in Christ, or Conditional Immortality," had so worked itself into the tissue of his theology as to give a new meaning and a new reality to the terms and phrases with which, as an evangelist, he was most familiar. But whatever their views on the mysterious subject of retribution might be, all would surely agree in exclaiming with the patriarch Abraham, " Shall not the Judge of all the world do right?" With man's limited knowledge they could not pretend to say what God would do, but he would boldly affirm that men might safely follow Abraham's example in affirming that there are some things that God will not do; and to Him, personally, it was plain that the Judge of all the world would not inflict an infinite punishment for a finite sin; nor reward the faults and failures of a couple of decades with the unutterable agonies of protracted torture through seons, beside which the geological record of this planet, vast as it is, must seem but as a " watch in the night."
Honest Investigation.—Prof. T. J. Dodd, of Nashville, Tenn., in The Old and New Testament Student, in a plea for a more thorough study of the Bible in the original texts, says:
There should be more honest investigation in the schools for the discovery of what is really the truth of God, as distinguished from formulated creeds or other prevailing interpretations of the same. The theological plummet should be removed from the lecture-room, and it should be the aim of professors to teach not what the students are to believe, but how they are to believe concerning the
merely for the purpose of establishing ourselves more securely in previously formed beliefs—rejecting such new light as may not easily blend with that already shed upon the sacred page—is unworthy the spirit of the profound lover of the truth, and is to-day one of the most prolific sources of the semi-infidel disposition of large numbers of our most intelligent men.
If theological schools are established for the purpose of propagating creeds as distinct from the unbiased teachings of the Word of God, the sooner we dispense with them altogether the better. Or let us candidly announce that Augustine, Turretin, Calvin, Arminius, Wesley, or the Pope is our standard of sacred truth.
Is there in the country a seminary where the pure Word of God is preached, and where the great fundamental principles of Protestantism are consistently applied in its interpretation?
The Organic.—Prof. W. J. Tucker, of Andover, in a recent address before the Phi Beta Kappa Society, at Harvard University, struck the same key-note with ourselves, in the way in which he characterizes one of those great movements of humanity in the midst of which we now are, and which make themselves powerfully felt in Church and State. He says:
The fact which I now wish to emphasize is this : thatthegreat constructing force which we are taking over from the results of physical science, and which we are trying to apply to the current problems of humanity, is the sense of the organic, which, as we transfer it to things human, becomes the consciousness of a vital
oracles of God and their teachinj
The study of the original texts unity. Man has found a new place for himself in the physical world, with new partnerships, alliances, affinities. By the same method and under the same impulse he is now beginning to discover and realize new relationships to himself, each man to every other man, the individual to the whole. It is this sense of the organic, the inheritance of the last results of thought, and now permeating all our thinking, which is giving us the new conception of humanity, which, as I have said, is virtually giving us a new humanity. It marks the movement from liberty to unity.
Faith.—In a recent sermon the Rev. Lyman Abbott, D. D., says: "Faith is faith in God, not in a creed. Faith is faith in Christ, not in a Westminster divine. Faith is faith in the life revealed in the Bible, not in the teaching of the nineteenth century concerning the teaching of the sixteenth century about the Bible. I indict this spirit of traditionalism because it engenders the spirit of hypocrisy; because it demands that men shall believe; because it throws them from the pulpit and the Church if they do not believe; because it bids them believe that they believe; because it offers to them creeds and symbols and signs to believe, though those creeds and symbols do not exactly represent their belief; because it asks them to say words in a double sense. The result in the community is that men have almost come to believe that the minister does not preach what he thinks, but what it is proper to believe, or what he thinks it proper to believe, or what his people think it proper for him to believe."
ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS.
A correspondent, who is a Presbyterian minister, and a valued friend, writes:
I have looked for and read with interest your explanation of the atonement. That this is a deep subject there can be no question, and it is probably impossible for any human mind to grasp all the fullness of its meaning as it lies in the mind of Jehovah, much more to set it forth exhaustively in human language. I wish I could now find the number of the Herald and Presbyter, of a few months back, in which a paragraph quoted what I thought was your language, to the effect that the cross is not a device to take