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fresh recognition of the infinite value and the permanence of His divine Presence in the Church, that she will find her way back into unity. He is able to guide her into all truth. He can adjust these parts of doctrine, held in different branches of the Church, and given to them to develop, into one perfect system. He can show where each is partial, what it can contribute, and how it must needs be supplemented. He can bring order out of all this confusion, and light out of this darkness. What the Church needs is not more discussion, nor even a more zealous study of texts, but light and wisdom from God, the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of life. And. it is because we believe in His Presence, although He is now grieved and quenched, that we believe the scattered members of Christ's distracted Church will yet come together into a true unity of life and faith in Him. This must be so, or the prayer of Jesus for His Church, and for the world; which was to be brought to faith through her, must remain unanswered. Let us each ask, at the beginning of this new year, what of prayer and effort each one of us is responsible to contribute to this end.
THE TIME OF RESURRECTION.
Upon this point a variety of opinions prevail among Christians.
1. The traditional opinion is that the countless multitudes who have lived upon the earth are all to be raised together, good and bad, at the last day.
2. The extreme opposite doctrine is that of Swedenborg, which has also its adherents in various evangelical churches. It is that, upon the death of the material body, man emerges into a spiritual world in a spiritual body. Death and resurrection are two parts of but one process.
3. Many advocates of conditional immortality hold that all men, even the saints, remain unconscious in death until the resurrection, which they believe will occur at a great crisis of the future—the coming of the Lord. They believe, however, in the first resurrection of the saints, and that, after a long interval, the wicked will be raised and punished by being consigned to extinction in the lake of fire, which is the second death.
4. Others, who reject the idea of the unconscious sleep of the soul—especially in the case of the saved—before resurrection, still hold to the idea that it is eclectic and progressive. "Every man in his own order."
As between the old traditional opinion that resurrection is simultaneous, and this view that it is progressive, there can be no doubt that the latter is taught in Scripture. The passage which seems most to favor the view that all classes are raised together is St. John v. 28, 29. But the "hour" of vs. 25 is so manifestly a period of long continuance that we are not only justified, but obliged to regard the hour of universal resurrection (vs. 29) as a prolonged administration of the Son of Man, during which He shall recover all the captives in the realms of death. And various other passages teach plainly that there is "a first resurrection" (Rev. xx. 5, 6); that there is a chosen company first gathered from the harvest fields of death (Phil. iii. 11), "out from among the dead." "They that are Christ's at his coming."
The first view,which we have classed as Swedenborgian, makes the Scripture promise of anasiasis, or resurrection, to be simply the promise of a future life. And that man enters upon this life immediately upon death is affirmed from such Scriptures as our Lord's conversation with the Sadducees (Luke xx. 26-38), in which He establishes the fact of resurrection by declaring that God's words to Moses about Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob imply that these patriarchs were still living, and, therefore, raised out of death. The appearance of Moses and Elijah, with Jesus, on the Mount is also appealed to. Also His words to the dying thief, "To-day shalt thou s be with me in Paradise." Paul's words in 2 Cor. v, also seem to imply that immediately upon his putting off of this earthly tabernacle, he would find a "heavenly house" awaiting him in which he would be at home with the Lord. Other of his writings, however, assume that during the interval preceding the Lord's manifestation from heaven the saints would be asleep (1 Cor. xv. 51; 1 Thess. iv. 13-15), out of which they would be aroused by the trumpet-sound of some signal triumph over the empire of death.
The truth, we believe, lies between these two views. The Swedenborgian view is defective,
1. In the fact that it does not give proper weight to the fact of death as the wages of sin, and of that death-state which lies beyond the grave,—the sheol and hell of Scripture. It makes death to be simply the loss of well-being, and strips of its proper meaning the sentence, " The soul that sinneth it shall die."
2. It does not appreciate the fact that man is more than "a spiritual being." He holds relation to this created system. He is destined to unfettered dominion over it. For this purpose his body is to be redeemed and the whole creation to be delivered into the liberty of his glory (Rom. viii. 19-21). While, therefore, it is freely conceded that saved men enter upon a future life at once upon their departure out of this world, and that the words of Jesus that such "never die" require this, we must also hold that they do not attain the complete glory of the resurrection state, nor enter upon its full activities, until this emancipation of the creature. The full redemption of man requires his re-investure with a body suited to a redeemed creation. Such a cosmical change seems plainly set forth in Scripture. Its closing pages are gilded with the glory of it.
Both sides of the truth concerning man's future life may be reconciled by bearing in mind what we have learned of his nature as body, soul, and spirit. We have seen that the "soul" is virtually an intermediate embodiment of the spirit, that it survives the death of the carnal body, that the righteous man saves his soul alive through this crisis, and is therefore never completely disembodied or "unclothed," while the soul of the wicked may be destroyed in hell. All that Scripture hints at, therefore, concerning the continued and blessed life of the righteous after death, is conserved by this view of the salvation of his soul. This answers all the requirements of an intermediate etherial body. While all that it suggests concerning a future investiture of the saints with a glorified humanity, crowned on the summit of creation as its head and lord, is provided for by this view of a completed resurrection when all things shall be made new. And all that it teaches concerning the death of the wicked, their ejection out of the sphere of man's life and heritage, and their inferior and long-delayed recovery through resurrection, is held fast to. While its doctrine of resurrection as eclectic ahd progressive corresponds with that doctrine of Science which requires that cosmical changes, and transformations in created life, be viewed as proceeding by stages and each in their own order. It can reach no one until he is prepared for it, and it can lift no one above that plane of being for which he is prepared. Scripture, however, shows that a blessed principle has been incorporated into humanity, by which those who reach the highest plane are made capable of reaching down a helping hand to those who are struggling on the arenas below. Saved themselves, they find their highest happiness in becoming saviours of others.
As to the time, then, of the resurrection of the good, we would say that they enter upon the future life at once, and in this sense are raised out of death, their souls surviving this crisis. But they do not take on that form of glorified manhood, which is the heir of all things, until all things are ready for their manifestation as the sons of God. As to the wicked, while their souls in suffering survive the death of the body, yet the light of life in them must vanish away. And resurrection cannot reach them until after their death-sentence has been exhausted. Their release seems to be connected with, and dependent, upon certain future triumphs over the empire of death and hell, and certain changes in the