Imágenes de páginas

is represented as creative and life-giving: soul, never. (c) Spirit is directly symbolized by wind: soul, not. (d) A dead body is occasionally called a soul (Lev. xix, 28; xxi. I, 11).probably in deference to the lingering of personality in the corpse; spirit is never so applied, (e) As we might have supposed, from facts already stated, there is a closeness of relationship between God's spirit and man's which does not appear as between the Divine Spirit and the human soul, simply as such. The intimacy is so great that some have pronounced it absolute identity. As we have seen, the identity must be denied; but assuredly the close kinship and designed intimacy cannot be questioned. Indeed, this latter goes so far as to sometimes leave us in honest doubt which spirit it is that is spoken of in individual cases, whether God's or man's; and it is a well-known difficulty, here and there, in translating the Scriptures, whether to employ a capital "S " or not for "spirit." (/) Moreover, though we have seen clear proof that man as man has a spirit as a part of his nature, yet we cannot shut our eyes to the fact that in some sense the ungodly man's hold of spirit is feeble: he has it—he has it not. "These are they who make separations, men of soul, not having spirit" (Jude 19). (g) Accordingly the adjective psychical or "soulical" at least leans over towards the sense of "animal ": the adjective "spiritual," not at all—the very reverse. Then (2) there are the two famous tripartite passages (1 Thess. v. 23 and Heb iv. 2), in which a formal distinction is made between soul and spirit. These passages could never have been penned, had soul and spirit been wholly and always synonymous.

Let us now confront the grave question suggested in the course of these observations , viz.: Is it permissible to us to think that in those extreme cases in which God will exercise his awful prerogative of destroying both body and soul in Gehenna, there may nevertheless be such a salvation of the " spirit" of the destroyed—as distinguished from their body and soul—as that the persons (the men) may be said to be saved? Candidly, we think not. But let us not confound this problem with any other which may bear a measure of resemblance to it. We are far from thinking it impossible that some men may not suffer eternal damage to their persons. We fear that many will. At all events, the case is distinctly assumed by our Lord as possible, that men may enter into life maimed of an eye or a limb (Matt. v. 29~3o). Again, the anxiety of the Apostle Paul for the Thessalonians (i Thess. v. 23), that their " spirit and soul and body might be preserved entire at the coming (or in the presence) of our Lord Jesus Christ," clearly points in the same direction. Why "entire," if men must of necessity be wholly saved or lost? Plainly some part of them may be lost. We need not forget that on one occasion the Apostle Paul may be thought to have gone a step further. He counsels that a certain corrupt professor of the faith should be "delivered to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord " (1 Cor. v. 5). Most true; and yet we cannot quite confound "flesh" and "body," as if they were perfectly identical; and, besides, this is a destruction by Satan and not by God, and is not, that we know of, accomplished in Gehenna at all, but may find its fulfilment in wasting sickness and premature death, and in a word be temporary ruin if prolonged, and be followed by serious eternal loss; and yet not amount to final and utter loss of embodiment—a late and inglorious resurrection being more likely than not the very thing that the Apostle meant by the saving of the spirit. It is not in evidence that according to the Apostle's conception the spirit could be said to be saved at all, if deprived of a body for ever. And if this be true of the body, how much more of the soul? And this, indeed, is the precise form that our final answer to the question before us must take, namely, that if soul and body be destroyed, the man is destroyed. In especial, the soul carries the personality. A good deal of the evidence that goes to establish this position has already come before us. My soul is myself—par eminence. And be it very carefully noted that the tri partite nature of man, though discoverable in Scripture, is not extremely prominent therein, and is by no means to be pressed on all occasions. To our mind it is utterly repugnant to suppose for a moment that, when our Lord spoke those fearful words about soul and body being destroyed in Gehenna, He was practicing a species of reserve, so that, although He seemed to be predicating a possible destruction of the whole man, yet He did not really mean that. Suffice it, however, to allow Him to be His own commentator; which assuredly He is in Luke ix. 24-25, where He plainly avows that for a man to lose his "soul" (his psyche) is to lose Himself. And elsewhere He teaches that he who hateth his soul (his psyche) in this world preserves it (guards it) unto life everlasting (John xii. 25). On all the evidence, then, it plainly appears that he whose soul is not saved, is not saved at all: his personality is gone; the man has perished; the ego is no more. What becomes of his spirit when his soul is finally lost is no longer a practical inquiry. Whether it perishes with the soul and body, or is received back by and is absorbed in God, does not change the issue by a hair's-breadth. The man is no more. The sublime gift of personal life has been trifled with, bartered away, forfeited. God has interposed. He would uphold that life no longer. Such is the dread doom which men have to fear. It is dreadful. It is not incredible.—y. B. R. in The Rainbow.

Embodiment.—If through aversion to matter as defiling the spirit, or clogging and hindering it, the disembodied state is regarded as the heavenly and the highest, we import into the Scriptures a pagan notion which destroys the unity of the divine purpose, and makes their consistent interpretation impossible. The true goal to which God points us—likeness to His Son raised from the dead and glorified—being lost, the true nature of redemption, as embracing all the elements of our humanity, body, soul, and spirit, joined in indissoluble union, is misapprehended; the resurrection becomes meaningless; and the existence of the material worlds an enigma. Mortality is not swallowed up of life, but life of mortality. The human race, like a river which pours itself forth upon the sands and disappears, sinks away in its successive generations into the depths of the grave. It needs scarcely be said that a religion which exalts a transient and imperfect form of our humanity, the fruit of sin, into its perfected and permanent form ; and finds in death, not in resurrection, the door into eternal life, makes open confession of its impotence to solve the problem of man's destiny. It goes backward to the vague, shadowy, ghostly future of pagan religions, that know nothing of our humanity as redeemed and ennobled in Christ, and made immortal and incorruptible ; but only as abiding dismembered under the law of death. To the Christian alone it is given to see the Man, Christ Jesus, radiant in resurrection life, filling with His brightness the eternal future ; and with Him, His redeemed, perfected in their humanity, body, soul, and spirit.—Ben. 8. J. Andrews.

Restitution.—People seem to be afraid of the idea, and of the very word "restitution," as if it were essential heresy. And yet no thought is more common to the Scriptures. The subject matter of all Old Testament revelation is thus defined by St. Peter at Pentecost: "The restitution of all things which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began." (Acts iii. 21). We might as well say there is no redemption in the Bible as no restitution. The only question is, How far does this restitution extend? The Universalist says it restores all men to eternal life. But all men never had eternal life. Adam was not endowed with it. Otherwise, he could not have died. Eternal life is the gift of Qod, through Jesus Christ our Lord, unto them that believe on His name. But something must be restored to all men. For nothing is more common in Scripture than to include under the phrase, "all things," all men. All men are doomed to the loss of that noble gift of embodied life with which God first invested man. It is forfeited by sin. Death has passed upon all men. "But, as in Adam, all died, so in Christ shall all be made alive." The resurrection of all is the restoration of all. It does not invest all with eternal life, but it brings back the gift and the opportunites of life. It is, therefore, so far as man is concerned, that share in the "restitution of all things" secured for him. And yet it cannot be such a restoration as shall set aside the great harvest-law that men must reap as they sow, and receive in their bodies according to the things they did.

Charles Kingsley remarks toward the close of one of his works that "if all the things herein detailed be not strictly true, something a great deal letter than these is true."

« AnteriorContinuar »