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another. This would have led the ministers of Christ in this city first to meet together for humiliation and confession before their one Lord, of the sins and ignorances that have wrought this alienation and strife. It would have led to earnest prayer that He, by His Spirit, given for that end, would guide His church out of this confusion, revealing to her the truth about the things in which we differ, and leading her on to that unity of the faith through which alone she can come to the measure of the stature of his fullness. Some day this divided church has got to learn that division is radical weakness, that God will not bestow the plentitude of His Spirit—His gift to the whole body—upon competing factions. A broken vessel cannot contain nor impart to men life from God in its fullness. The Lord will not bestow much honor or success upon a church that will not confess the sin and shame and carnality of her rivalries, and that is not seeking to remove them. Therefore, we say. this evangelistic movement has not gone down to the bottom of the case. The church must grapple first with this crying sin of division, before it can fight the evil of the world. The world will continue the taunt, "Physician, heal thyself." And the Lord will not come to her aid, nor fill her powerfully with His presence and Spirit. A shattered temple is no fit place for His abode. If the churches of Philadelphia would but come together on the basis of this common confession, and unite their prayers fervently before God for such light and wisdom from, the Holy Ghost as would lead them out of this distraction into unity, there would be such another baptism as first came upon the disciples when they were with one accord in one place. They would soon shake this city to its foundations. The towering evils before which they stand now bewildered and almost powerless would fall before them.
The great trouble and weakness of the church now is that God, the Holy Ghost, is quenched in her. He does not go up with her against the enemy. Nor will he, so long as she harbors this great sin of divided ranks in the one army of the living God. We have had enough of banners bearing the name of Luther, or Calvin, or Wesley. We have but one Lord over us, and His name must be one. Is Christ divided? Were we baptised into either of these names? So long as we suffer ourselves to be led by them, Paul teaches us that we must remain babes in Christ, carnal, among whom there must spring up envying, and strife, and divisions, making us to "walk as men;" so that other men will only count us as like themselves, and refuse to believe in a gospel that does not lift us above their level.
Prayer.—0 Almighty God, who didst call out Thy Church to be one holy body, filled with thy divine presence and life, and instructed in Thine eternal truth; Bless, we beseech Thee, the whole congregation of Thy people. Lead them out of their wanderings and divisions, and heal all mutual hatred, variance, and animosities, that they may all be one in Jesus Christ, as He is one with Thee. Endow it once more with the manifold gifts of the Spirit, and prepare it as the Bride of Christ against the day of His appearing. So shall we with one heart and mouth evermore praise Thy Holy Name, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
It is commonly supposed that a doctrine which holds out a hope for any class of mankind beyond the grave, except they be believers on the Lord Jesus Christ, must work disastrously upon both preachers and hearers of the gospel in removing the sense of present peril, and of the imperative need of immediate salvation. The effect of that view, fast coming into vogue, of a probation during a so-called intermediate state before the judgment must be in this direction. If such a probation be demanded even for the heathen, the common sense of most people will suggest that there are many in Christian lands who are virtually heathen, and that a merciful Father will also see that a fairer chance be given them than they have had in this world.
And yet on the other hand there is an almost universal revolt throughout the bounds of the Christian church against the old doctrine of an eternal hell, as a misrepresentation of the character and purposes of God, as they are revealed in the Scriptures, and in the consciousness of enlightened Christians.
These differing aspects of the case are harmonized when one comes to perceive the place and meaning of resurrection in the divine economy. We then see that there is a door of hope in the distant future for multitudes of men who die out of this world unsaved, but that it is only opened in this way, through their recovery from death after the wages of sin have been fully exacted of them. And even then resurrection introduces them, not to eternal life, but to a life which is still under trial and judgment.
Now it is for escape from this fearful suffering and loss through which sinful men must pass before resurrection, and from the hazards that follow it that the gospel offer comes to them. If we would come to see that all our Saviour's words about hell and eternal fire apply to this immediate danger, we would realize something of the magnitnde of that destruction which overhangs wicked men, and which Jesus describes under the terms, "unquenchable fire," the " worm that dieth not," the " destruction of soul and body in hell." By locating all these terms beyond a far distant day of resurrection and of judgment, we have robbed them of their force. And practically they have well nigh dropped out of modern preaching, because the Spirit of Christ within us protests against our receiving or enforcing them as descriptive of the unchanging attitude of God toward His creatures through endless ages. But our view enables us to recover these expressions for use in preaching, and to wield them with tremendous power over the minds and consciences of men. For they describe a destruction of man's present endowment of life, and of his present physical frame, whose first fruits are apparent before our eyes. They describe that abyss into which the outraged laws of Nature, which are a form of the law of God, are continually thrusting all forms of degraded life. They show that men are now walking on the edge of this fearful pit. They tell how in it, beyond the death of the body, the soul may be racked with torments and finally destroyed. And so preparation is made for the gospel message, which tells how God has stooped down to us In Christ to forgive our sins and to save our lives from destruction. The salvation of the soul, or life, becomes from this point of view the one thing needful, the infinite blessing, to secure which a man had better forsake all things that he hath.
We see also that, whatever deliverance from this pit of hell resurrection may hereafter bring to a lost spirit, it cannot repair the loss of this present boon of life. That is gone forever. Another gift of life may be conferred, but the gift which now is so dear to us becomes hopelessly bankrupt, unless saved through Christ. Hence some of our Lord's words about it seem to imply the sinner's loss of personal being. He says, " For what is a man profited if he gain the whole world and lose himself, or be cast away," or as the New Version puts it, "lose or forfeit his own self" (Luke, ix. 25). If such a lost one recovers personal identity at the resurrection, there must be at least the loss of all personal assets.
We see then that the present salvation set before us in the gospel is a personal salvation, and that the opportunity of this life, once lost, is lost forever. All this can be held without denying the "hope toward God" implied in the provision to raise the dead. In this view the warning messages of Jesus can be more faithfully adhered to and applied than under the old distorted, unscriptural view of hell, which modern preaching no longer dares to be faithful to, because it instinctively ieels that it misrepresents the character and purposes of God. And yet we need a true doctrine of hell. It is one of the Spirit's