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identified with those to come after them. Instead of the fathers were to be the children. The identity in life and destiny between successive generations which Scripture so constantly takes for granted and builds upon, together with the fact that the medium for the transmission of blessing from generation to generation is always a chosen "seed," furnishes the Scripture basis for this doctrine that the inferior order of resurrection is a re-birth into earthly life.
NOTES ON CURRENT TOPICS.
David Grieve.—Mrs. Humphrey Ward's new novel, reiterates the religious opinions brought out in Robert Elsmere, in which she sought to show that the Christianity of the future must be one freed from the dependence upon the "mythical," and even the historical elements which have hitherto been regarded as necessary to its existence. At the same time these opinions are put forth in a less offensive form, and one in which more tolerance and sympathy are shown to those who are not yet prepared to receive what she regards as essential truth, except it reach them through the channel of the traditions which they have been accustomed to respect.
The trouble with Mrs. Ward, and all that class of Neo-Critics which she represents, is that she has never risen to the true conception of what Christianity is, and what it proposes to do for the world. And she is not wholly to blame for this, for the Church itself has partly misconceived and misrepresented its mission. The tendency in modern Christianity to become practical, to expend its efforts in bringing to men and to society a present salvation from the burdens under which they suffer, shows that the church is coming partly around to the position of " David Grieve," that the first business of the saint is to be and to do good to his fellow-men here, and that in the effort to subdue self and to do good to others each man is to find within himself, rather than in any external authority, the only infallible proof of God and immortality.
And yet all this leaves out of view the fact that the Christ was something more than the supreme example of unselfish sacrifice for the good of others. Christianity claims that the idea of man as the Son of God first finds its true and perfect expression in Him, that as such He holds a pre-eminent relation to the race as the Head of humanity in whom it was redeemed and lifted above the power of sin and death and made immortal. It holds that the race, first organized on the natural and earthly plane, is being reorganized in Him, and uplifted to the spiritual and eternal plane of being on which man, as the true son of God, shall enter upon the sphere of existence and dominion suited to his divine origin and nature. There is a whole line of truth here, below the surface of Scripture, relating to the solidarity of the race, the ties that bind man to his fellow and the living to the dead, of which Mrs. Ward seems wholly ignorant; which even the Church has largely overlooked, and which, when once perceived, puts altogether a different complexion upon the argument for the Scriptures as the Word of God, and for the confession that Jesus is the Christ of God. Mrs. Ward's Christianity can get along without any witness that God has raised His Son Jesus from the dead. An open-eyed Christianity beholds God in humanity raising the whole body of it above the reign of death, through the power that wrought first in Christ and raised Him from the dead and set Him at His own right hand in heaven.
Easter.—The annual celebration of Easter, with the fact that nearly all the Christian bodies who held out against it for a long time are vying with the older Churches in the expressions of their faith and joy on that day, is one of the most hopeful signs of the times. The whole Church is showing a larger appreciation of the great fact on which all hope for herself and mankind is based. The gloomy associations of despair with which that doctrine has been invested in its bearing upon the future of the countless myriads of the dead and living who have been ignorant of God and of the gospel of His Son, are fast being dispelled, and the light of a larger " hope toward God" for all mankind is seen to legitimately arise from the fact that "As in Adam all died, so in Christ shall all be made alive; but every man in his own order."
When the Church comes to understand that there are but two orders of men spoken of in Scripture—the earthy and the heavenly—and to grasp the meaning of the limitation put upon the universalistic hope that "all shall be made alive," by the condition "every man in his own order," the way will be cleared for an eschatology that shall glorify God's boundless grace and at the same time throw around sinful men all those checks and motives which are needed to induce them to forsake sin and to fly for refuge to the hope set before them in the gospel.
Defeat Of The Bkiggs Delegates.—It was a genuine surprise to hear that the New York Presbytery which, last fall, virtually exonorated Dr. Briggs by a large majority, has declined to elect delegates to the coming Assembly favorable to his side in the controversy, or to Union Seminary which sustains him. This shows a decided reactionary spirit among the members. They have not even allowed the Seminary to be represented by Dr. Francis Brown, whom the officers of that institution were relying upon to plead their cause. This seems to us, to say the least, very unfair. With Dr. Patton slowly convalescing from a protracted illness, and forbidden by his physician to go to Portland, and the magnates of the'New York Presbytery who have been foremost for revision shut out from the discussion, it is difficult to forecast what the issue of this vaunted movement will be. Since many of its early advocates are repudiating it in its present form, we apprehend that Horace's old maxim, Monies parturiunt, etc., will be freely quoted against it.
For our own part we have no disappointments about it. As explained in the first article in this number, we saw from the first that the revision movement never touched bottom. We tried to start it in that way, and lost our eccleciastical life for our pains. But we are quite sure that the hand of God is directing this whole matter, and that the Presbyterian Church will in. the end have to face the question, whether her exclusion of all but the elect from any merciful design in God's provision to raise the dead is not a fundamental denial of the gospel with which she is put in trust.
Acknowledgment.—The Rev. E. Petavel, D. D., has added to the obligation -we were under to him for the French edition of his new work on The Problem of Immortality by sending us the English translation, made by Mr. Frederick Ash Freer, and published by Elliot Stock, 62 Paternoster Row, London. Many English readers will be made glad by this opportunity of access to Dr. Petavel's book. He is, in our judgment, the best and most broad-minded of extant writers on the conditionalist side of this question.
We have not space in this number to say what we desire to say in review of Dr. Petavel's discussion of this great problem. We shall hope to give it our attention in the next number.
ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS.
From a new subscriber:
I have read several copies of Words Of Reconciliation loaned to me by a friend. I am aware of your honorable course relative to the Presbyterian ministry. I find much in the magazine to approve and somewhat with which I am unable to agree. I believe that the human being is purely human, an organism akin to the beasts but more highly developed, a better, finer, more intricate machine, mortal purely, made wholly of material elements—water, lime, and ammonia—or, as Genesis generically puts it, "dust of the earth," and at death becoming utterly extinct, non est, practically, as though he had not been. As I read Genesis and Job (14th) and Jesus and Paul, trying only to extract the facts stated, irrespective of results, that description is their description. I do not believe that man is part man, part god or God, or that he is inherently or by nature possessed of any element not dissolved and terminated by the act of death. I do not know what portion of Scripture you may have to sustain the hypothesis of an Elohistic element in humanity, but I am unaware of any. Perhaps you can enlighten me. I believe in a resurrection, or making alive again of all men who have died, and in two classes at least, one immortal by divine bestowment, the other human but capable of acquiring endless life. I believe Jesus bought the right to raise up humanity by the giving of His own life. The traditional and (miscalled) '' orthodox" hell is a wicked speculation based on the immortal soul theory, and riveted by the deathends-all-probation theory. I believe the word "soul" in most places in the Bible means person, especially living person or being, and not an ethereal entity, though it is possible to use the term as a conventional label for the summation of our faculties, as strength is the1 quality of muscle and mentality of brain. The quality perishes with the substance. Many people are troubled with the fear that unless some part of them survives the shock of dissolution as a nucleus for future growth, to say the least, they do not see how they will ever get alive again. Before the world was, every creature must have been pictured perfectly in the creative mind. That picture remains before, during, and after the brief span of life. Hence the Creator who uncreates can create again. He giveth it a body as it pleaseth Him."
But I had no intention of making so long a confession of faith. I am glad that you emphasize the redemptive character of the resurrection. I wish you would send me Words Of ReconciliaTion for 1892.
We publish the above letter as illustrating how good men who are devout students of Scripture may easily mistake a part of the truth on this weighty subject for the whole.
We agree with our correspondent in his view that the soul is the person, and that it is not inherently immortal. But the spirit that animates the body and soul of a man, and that builds him up into a person, is immortal. Scripture affirms that the soul may be lost, or it may be saved, in which latter case the soul acquires immortality, or more strictly it receives from God the gift of eternal life. In this case the soul becomes penetrated and transformed by spirit, which is divine and imperishable. We find, then, in this constant teaching of Scripture that the soul may be lost or saved, proof, first, that it is destructible (Matt, x, 28), and second, that it is capable of eternal life. It could not be so capable, unless it had affinity for spirit, which is God. Hence there must be a spiritual, or, as our correspondent puts it, an Elohistic element in man,