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"Love your neighbor as yourself," is the great divine law which Christians and heathen alike hold, but which the Christians ignore. This is what keeps me the heathen I am! And I earnestly invite the Christians of America to come to Confucius.
THE SACRIFICE OF THE BODY.
The constant tendency of man's physical nature is to gravitate into sloth and sluggishness and consequent enfeeblement of health. This tendency is resisted by activity. Hence the value of work as a means of grace.
We need to stand guard against and beat back that languor and debility which are the result of a want of proper employment of our life-powers, and especially in God's service. There is no elixir of life for the body like the presence in it of God's Spirit. This is His saving health. This is the joy of the Lord which is our strength. It is just at this point that Satan seeks to defeat the purpose of our calling, by oppressing in us this new life from God which can vivify us in body as well as soul, and which certainly should overcome that heaviness which so clogs the spiritual life, and makes so many Christians dead lumber in the house of God where they ought to be "living stones."
And this leads up to speak further of the duty of standing guard at all the inlets and outlets of our life in the body against the invisible enemies of our salvation. Man's physical nature has long been a tramping-ground for these enemies. Satan and evil spirits enter into men now as truly as in the days of Judas and Ananias. The prince of the power of the air is still the spirit that worketh in the children of disobedience. (Ephes. ii. 2.) Our bodily appetites, our mental cravings and emotions, are all inlets at which these enemies may enter. Around all the weak points of the fortress the enemy prowls. We have seen that our conflict is essentially a fight for the prize of inheritance and dominion in this vast system of God's works, Our success involves the overthrow of the kingdom of darkness, and the advancement of a new race of kings and priests in embodied immortality on to the throne of power. It is a life-struggle therefore, which provokes Satan to great rage, for his time is short. And God's word is forever settled in heaven that the seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head. This offering of our bodies, then, upon God's altar enters into the very heart of that conflict against principalities and powers about which Paul writes, and during which he exhorts us so earnestly to stand fast, girt with the whole armor of God.
And let us never forget that, great as is this conflict, they that be for us are more than they that be against us. Jesus is our Forerunner in it all. In a body like ours, He offered unto the Father the sacrifice of a perfect human life. He, through fierce temptations, in which He agonized unto blood, subdued and held captive all these warring elements of which man's nature is the seat and bound them forever to His throne. And, through death, He gave the death-wound to him who hath power over them all. He rescued our nature, body and spirit, from his fatal dominion and raised it to the right hand of power in the heavens. And now He is the Friend and Brother, the sympathetic High-Priest to every man who desires a like deliverance and trusts Him for it.
And let no man imagine that because this is the path of restraint and self-denial, it may be of harsh discipline, that it is therefore a way of sorrow and gloom. Rough though this path may be, it opens out, even in this world, into new and glad regions of life. For it is the carnal mind which is death. While to be spirituallyminded is even now life and peace. And beyond, this path opens out into regions of unclouded light, of everlasting dominion and fulness of joy.—Mystery of Creation and of Man.
A Presbyterian minister sends us the following: In all the defenses I have seen, of the old dogma of eternal, endless torment, I think there is not one, even of those that claim to prove the doctrine from the Scriptures, in which there is not at least ten times as much of argument to show that the inspired Word must be so understood, as there is of solid quotation from the Word itself. Where so much pounding with the hammer of human reason is required to shape God's Word into conformity to a traditional or preconceived theory, or to weld something upon that Word to supply a supposed deficiency, are we not justified in challenging the right of such a doctrine to demand our acceptance?
I^et the explicit declaration of the Westminister Confession and Catechism be written on one side; on the other side place all the Scripture references or proof texts, with any other passages, that bear on this subject. Now is there any one in his right mind who will look carefully at the language on both sides, and then affirm that these form an equation? or that they can be made equal without adding, subtracting or transposing? And dare any Christian claim authority thus to tamper with God's Word?
In your call for a revision of the standards of this "important point," brother, you have my sincere sympathy and heartiest wishes for your success. And suffer me to suggest, by way of giving definite shape to the matter, that the amendment be made by substituting for the language of the Standards The Very Words Of Holy Writ in our best translation. I can see of no other way in which the whole matter can be settled beyond cavil or dispute, and surely no reasonable ob jection can be made by any believer in the inspiration of the Scriptures, while no one could then complain of undue restraint of his liberty, whether he holds or rejects the tradi tional theory.
NOTES ON CURRENT OPINIONS AND EVENTS.
Thk "Independent" And Propessor Smyth.—Mr. Henry C. Bowen, proprietor of the Independent, publishes in his paper of July 28th a correspondence between himself and Professor Smyth, in which Mr. Bowen seeks to compel the exponent of the Andover teaching to show passages from Scripture, chapter and verse, which sustain that view. Professor Smyth, who is pressed by special engagements, offers to substitute his friend and colleague, Professor E. G. Hincks, D. D., who asks the privilege of about three columns of the paper for a "review of Biblical reasons." This Mr. Bowen declines, on the ground that he only «sked for and only desires plain texts, without note or comment.
We have often expressed bur conviction that the Andover hypothesis of a continued probation in an intermediate state before judgment and before resurrection cannot be sustained by Scripture.
That class of interpreters fail to see that judgment is visited in and after death, and that the whole period before resurrection is penal. The fragments of the sinner's shattered being must be regathered, and a new life in manhood be conferred, before the responsibilities and privileges of another life can begin. Resurrection is redemptive. With this key the Andover professors would have no difficulty in finding an immoveable foundation in Scripture for their larger hopes. But even with their imperfect view they have not failed to see that there is a wide range of Scripture teaching which cannot be compressed within the limits of the old view.
Mr. Bowen is no theologian. He seems rather to pride himself in being a plain, common sense reader of Scripture. But he ought to know that many most important truths of Scripture are pur. posely veiled. They cannot adequately be presented by a mere citation of chapter and verse. This was true of the Old Testament prophecies concerning the death and resurrection of the Christ. These truths were veiled from the common understanding. Few of