Imágenes de páginas

root in man's being a new personality and to develop it into a perfect manhood. Man, therefore, as we know him, and as he knows himself, is not saved from death, the penalty of sin, at all. On the other hand, he is consigned to it. And on the eternal foundation of Himself in every man God builds up a new manhood in Christ Jesus, a true son of man and son of God. No law, therefore, is set aside in this divine proceeding, no penalty or penalties are remitted ; sin is put away by the putting away of the whole evil structure in which it is intrenched. Nothing is saved of the old personality but such features of it as have come under the transforming power of the Spirit of God, and which may, therefore, be used as material for the new structure, which must properly express and be the vehicle of the life of God.

The remaining questions relate to our teaching that the human race is

One Organism.

11. "The human race is so constituted that the living and the dead are bound together in one organism."

Is the " one organism" here literal or figurative? If the human race were only one organism literally, how could there be any individual responsibility?

12. "They each (the generations of mankind) inherit the infirmities and evils of those that preceded them, so that in bearing their iniquities they may also work out their deliverance."

How can any generation of mankind who have inherited the evils of their predecessors work out their own deliverance? If they cannot work out their own deliverance, how can they work out that of their predecessors? Have they not to be delivered from the evils which they have inherited before they can work out any deliverance at all?

The principle of organic union between the individual members of a nation, or of the race, is frequently recognized in Scripture. When Paul speaks of the Church as one living body, of which each believer is a member in particular, and compares their functions to those of the human body, does any one suspect that he thereby denies to each particular member individual responsibility? The real difficulty here we imagine to be in the assertion that the dead constitute with the living the one body of humanity. But this principle is recognized in Scripture. - Is not Adam, in whom "all died," still a member of the human family? Do not Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob still constitute a part of the nation of Israel, to be blessed with it in its final blessing? We have admitted that to carry out this view, and to make good all the Scriptures which teach this corporate union, it is necessary to suppose that the vanished existences of these dead retain some kind of connection with those of the living. We are not yet able to explain what this connection is, but the idea of it is not more startling than are the surprising wonders which are all the time being disclosed to us in the realms of nature and of life. The old idea in physics was that no two substances can occupy the same space at the same time. And yet now we are told that all space and all bodies are pervaded by a subtle ether which is as hard as steel, and yet infinitely tenuous, so that all substances move through it without resistance. If other senses were opened up in man, he would probably perceive other universes of being in with and under the universe of-which he takes cognizance. There is nothing therefore unreasonable in the view that a spiritual universe lies in with and under the material, and that imperfect spirits of the dead are held within this sphere of the living in order to recovery to embodied life in manhood. Nor is there anything unreasonable in the supposition that the living suffer under the burden of their sins and infirmities, and that victory on their part over these may inure to the benefit of the dead. Mr. Moffitt assumes that the living cannot work out their own deliverance, and therefore can do nothing for the dead. We do not, of course, imagine that any man can set himself free-from this ancestral burden, or from the consequences of his own vices, except as the power of God works in him to this end. Our sufficiency is wholly of Him.

The whole difficulty between Mr. Moffitt and us lies in the fact, that he throughout regards us as attributing to the existent man what we affirm only of the essential man. He may, perhaps, not admit with us that man is divine in the essence of his being, and believe that only regeneration makes him so. Our view is, that what makes him capable of regeneration is that he has in him the germ of a divine nature which cannot die, which is receptive of the life of God, and which must finally take on the form of a son of God.


There seems to be at present a marked revival of interest in stories of apparitions and other spiritualistic phenomena, about which the human mind must always be concerned as bearing on the question of a future life. The Society for Psychical Research is gathering a large mass of facts from which it hopes to arrive at some conclusions which will be reliable, and stepping-stones to further progress. A recent number of Tlie Review of Reviews, of which over a hundred thousand copies were sold, was filled with similar recitals. Quite a number of books and magazine articles are being written in the interest of this general subject. Even scientific men are exploring the borders of this debatable land in their experiments with hypnotism and telepathy, while the spirit-circles and trance-mediums seem to be as abundant as ever.

It is thus a significant fact, that while a materialistic science seemed to be about ready to banish from the world all faith in God and in a future life for man, the human mind asserts its refusal of such dreary and despairing philosophy in ways, which, however grotesque and still unverified, are yet emphatic and prophetic.

These fresh and persistent attempts to lift the veil show how ineradicable from the human breast is the faith and hope of things unseen; and they testify to the fact that the things which lie behind that veil are real, and that they will before long be disclosed.

What should be the attitude of the Christian toward this revived interest in such investigations?

In the first place, he should be aware of the great dangers which surround one in the attempt to explore these mysteries. The Bible utters many warnings against these perils. Necromancy, resort unto them that have familiar spirits, was most severely denounced in the Mosaic law. Our Lord gave warning against the evil spirits who seek opportunity to infest the bodies and souls of men, and a marked feature of His healing ministry was to deliver men from their power. That we are liable both to bodily disorder and mental obscuration and deception from this source is most plainly taught in the New Testament.

We must also be on guard against any doctrine or revelation that in any way impugns the authority of Scripture, or derogates from the honor of that Name which the Christian holds in reverence above every other name. Here comes in the warning of St. John: "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God; because many false.prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God. Every spirit that confesseth Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit which confesseth not Jesus is not of God, and this is the spirit of anti-christ, whereof ye have heard that it should come, and even now already is it in the world."

And yet, on the other hand, we must not assume such an attitude as involves the denial of the reality of spiritual beings, and of the unseen world. We sometimes hear even Christians speak of these subjects in a way that leads to the logical denial of even the spiritualistic phenomena of the New Testament. It is there recorded that evil spirits do possess men, speaking through their lips and producing violent disorders of body and mind. We have sometimes been divided between a feeling of indignation and of contempt at the cool assumption with which modern science dismisses the " old superstition of demoniacal possession" as an explanation of insanity, because forsooth it has discovered that it is always attended with certain changes in cellular nerve tissue; just as if such a material change necessarily excludes the assumption of some deeper spiritual cause. We must be careful to hold fast to the truth of the existence of such spiritual agents. And we must be equally sure that there are good angels—ministering

« AnteriorContinuar »