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physical calamities, we would by no means assert that they contain no reference to woes that fall upon mankind in the spiritual sphere. As there may be "a famine of the word of God" in the land, so there may be scorching fires that drink up the energies of man's spiritual nature and turn him into an open blasphemer. And there may be unknown correspondences between the physical and spiritual blight which make one the visible token of the other. A vast deal of light is yet to come from the knowledge of the connection between things visible and invisible. The material world is filled with shadows of things spiritual. These visible happenings are the expression of things transpiring in the realm of things unseen. There is truth, therefore, in both these methods of Scripture interpretation. God. would not make the sun, His ordained minister of life and light to the world, a^means of smiting and death, unless there had first been a sinful abuse of His bounties, and an impious shrouding of His glory behind the glory of the creature. There must first have been a hellish energy in man before the energies of nature could be so stirred up against him. This principle of interpretation which makes the natural ever a parable of things spiritual, would convert for us the common things of human experience into the tokens of God's ways, and teach us to view the whole system of Nature and of Providence as only the clouds by which He now conceals Himself from our sight, and on the wings of which He is ever coming, both for judgment and for blessing. Some day these clouds will be parted and His glory will appear, and the earth be filled with it as the waters cover the sea.
We cannot then view the recent heat, which directly or indirectly caused the death of thousands, hr any other light than as a sign that the Judge is always standing at the door, and that, until men render to Him the homage which is His due, there will be increasing outbreaks of such hostility in Nature to human happiness and life. The subjugation of all her forces to promote the welfare of man will not be complete until man himself shall confess Jesus Christ as the enthroned Lord of Creation, and until His manifested glory shall break the fetters of the common bondage under which both man and the creature suffer by reason of sin.
REASONS FOR TOLERATION.
We believe the church should tolerate the effort we have made to induce her to amend her eschatology, and in the requisite discussion of the involved points, for these reasons:
1. It resides in the very idea of the church that there must be growth in divine knowledge until her ultimate unity and perfection are attained. To this end there must be room for the free operation of the Spirit of God in unfolding the truth. This requires opportunity for reverent investigation and discussion. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
2. Because of confessed obscurity in the whole of the church's teaching concerning the last things. Our wisest teachers admit that the Reformed Theology left many of these problems unsolved, and that a fuller investigation of them is a duty put upon the church in these last days by the Spirit and Providence of God.
3. Because a new era of investigation at points even more essential than this is coming upon the Presbyterian Church, which it is both unwise and impossible to resist. Whatever evils may result from this spirit of free inquiry, the evils of its suppression would be far greater.
4. Because a wide diversity already exists between the views of future punishment current among us, and as presented from our pulpits, and the statements of our Standards that both before and after the resurrection "the wicked are to be punished with most grievous and unspeakable torments, without intermission, with the devil and his angels in hell-fire forever." If fidelity to these statements is to be the test by which our right to remain in the church is to be determined, then we ask our brethren to honestly ask before God whether they are so free from sin in this respect as to have the right to cast a first stone at us.
5. Because we honestly believe that we have taken up this line of testimony in obedience to the Spirit of God, and from motives of sincere love for the whole church which needs this larger, better view of God's great plan of grace before it can be unified; and specially in the interest of the Presbyterian Church to whose welfare we have devoted a life-long ministry, and which greatly needs relief from the incubus of monstrous views of God's sovereign justice which obscure her own constant testimony to His fatherhood and grace.
In the current discussions of the question of Church Union we often hear the opinion expressed that organic union is not now to be thought of. Even if it were possible it is quite common to regard it as undesirable, and as likely to prove a hindrance rather than a help to the world's conversion. All that is hoped for is what is called "Christian Union," which is denned to be such an extension of the amenities of Christian intercourse among different denominations that their practical fellowship in the faith and hope of the gospel and in Christian work shall be acknowledged.
We need therefore to be reminded that the New Testament does not recognize any other union in the church than that which is organic, and no outward union as possible except it find expression through organic forms. The uniform description of the church is, that it is a body. A body is an organism. The church as the body of Christ is pervaded by one common life. Its members are knit together by joints and bands, as are the members of a livinghuman body. Each one is set in his place, not only that he may receive nourishment, but that he may fulfil a function for the welfare of the whole. Christ, as the Head of this body, has bestowed the gifts and appointed the offices requisite for the growth of the whole towards that unity of faith and perfection of life which shall bring it to the stature of its complete manhood in Him. This is the normal, the divine idea of the church No countenance is given to the idea that the church is a mere association, or an assemblage of societies, called by different names, and bound to one another only by ties of fraternal courtesy. The growth of one member of the human body, apart from the symmetrical growth of the whole, would be a monstrosity. So with the church. Denominations are excrescences. Nor can any individual member or denomination hope to attain perfection except as the whole advances toward it, and as their denominational life is absorbed and lost in that of the body.
The church therefore needs to keep before her no goal short of organic union. No other union belongs to this case but union in life. And such union must of necessity refuse all outward forms of expression except the one appropriate to it. And that is an organism. And this leads us to say that true church union will never be accomplished until our modern Christianity is stirred up to take a higher idea of the church. The association idea has fastened itself upon it. Its officers have come to be largely managers of associations. They have partly lost the true idea of office in the church as the organ and instrument of the Holy Ghost. Hence its idea of even organic union is that of enlargement of the denominational machine. No wonder that it shrinks from it if this be all. Our large denominations are already sufficiently cumbrous and unwieldy. But true organic union recognizes the Holy Spirit as the one organizer and director of the body. And office is sought or conferred only as it may become the channel of His ministry and life to the edifying of the whole. This was the idea of the primitive church before corruption stole in. Dare any one, with the New Testament in his hands, and after the Lord's final prayer for His church, say that it may not again be realized? All that is needed is that these choked and broken channels, which the denominational