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precisely the kind of pretention which has place in the plans and purposes of God. In Israel there was "a remnant according to the election of grace," while "the rest were blinded." This is pretention; not a fore-ordination to everlasting death, but a doom to blindness of mind and hardness of heart which their sins deserved, and under the ban of which they must remain until God's time to visit them in mercy should arrive. The same principles are affirmed of God's treatment of the Gentiles and of the world. But it is also declared that God's ultimate purpose is to save all Israel, to reconcile the world and to "have mercy upon all," both Jews and Gentiles.
The point especially at which the horizon of our Presbyterian brethren needs to be enlarged is as to the meaning of the word "all." Does "all Israel" include the dead of Israel, and does the "all "of the Gentiles upon whom He will have mercy include past generations? Just here is the point where Calvinistic theology fatally stumbles. In denying that the promise to "all" embraces the dead, it is forced into a doctrine of pretention which means fore-ordination to eternal damnation. The only hope of its rescue from this fatal error is that it should learn anew the meaning of the gospel hope of the resurrection of the dead, and of its sublime declaration, "For as in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive: but every man in his own order."
Some day the conscience of the Presbyterian Church will be aroused by the conviction that in denying that there is any mercy in store for the unjust in the provision to raise them from the dead, they have been concealing and perverting a most important feature in the gospel with which they have been put in trust. When that day comes the question of revision will be speedily settled.
Dr. Petavel's " Problem Of Immortality."—Our last number contained a brief notice of this book, which is now open to all English readers through the excellent translation published by Mr. Elliott Stock, No. 62 Paternoster Row, London.
In introducing what we have now to say of this book, we will first repeat what we have before said, that it furnishes the most able and exhaustive argument for Conditionalism that has yet appeared. It is difficult to see how anything more could be culled to add to its force from the fields of Scripture or Science or Christian literature, ancient and modern. The style and literary finish of the work are admirable.
What we wish now to do is to speak to Dr. Petavel, and to the large company of those who accept his views, a " word of reconciliation." We do this the more freely because Dr. Petavel in two or three places mentions this Magazine and our other writings, and names the editor as on his side. He also does us the justice to explain how we have modified the ordinary view of Conditionalism by our doctrine of redemptive resurrection (p. 363), and later by our view of a possible destruction of personality which leaves untouched, and liberates for a new effort toward perfect personal expression, the essential man.
Now it is just at this point that we find the possibility of reconciliation between the divided schools of Christian thought on this subject. Hitherto the orthodox side have shut their eyes to the resistless force of the argument for Conditionalism. They have fallen back upon their Christian instincts, which persist in their protest against the doctrine. And, on the other hand, the Conditionalists have refused to give proper heed to these intuitions.
Now we have to suggest that this is a case in which neither side can dispense with the other, and that the truth held by each is necessary to a complete doctrine. Even Dr. Petavel admits (p. 373) that " the suppression of the personality is precisely the supreme chastisement according to the Conditionalist view." But then he proceeds to ask: "When once the personality is destroyed, what value could there be in the remainder, if remainder there be? Absolutely none; at least none for the individual who thus, along with his identity, has lost his autonomy, without which he is no longer a man, but a thing."
But in this reply Dr. Petavel falls into the common mistake of identifying the personal man with the essential and individual man. Individuus defines that which cannot be divided. Persona relates to expression. It defines the external and existent man. Our claim is that man in essence is of God, and that therefore his individuality can never be lost. As God is spirit, so man, made in His image, is essentially spirit. As such he must finally attain complete expression in perfect personal manhood, and be manifested as the son and heir of God. But in his progress toward this high estate, he may pass through imperfect forms of personal expression. Body and soul, both of which pertain to person, may be an unworthy "habitation of God through the spirit." They must be therefore destroyed. This is the destruction of personality, but not, as we have seen, of the essential man who is divine and indestructible. It may carry with it the loss of that self-consciousness which the outward man has developed, and which seems to him his true ego, his real I. Such a destruction would fulfill the warning word of Jesus against the danger of losing the soul, of losing one's self and being cast away. But we shall mistake, if we sup'pose with Dr. Petavel that there is nothing of man surviving such destruction, and that he becomes "only a thing." There is left, what is so well described in the words he quotes from the Kev. M. Godet, "at the bottom of this ruined personality an impersonal human existence which God can take back into His hands to draw from it by a subsequent development a personality which shall answer to His thought."
Now, just here comes in the significance of resurrection. The weak point in Conditionalism, in every phase of it, is its failure to furnish a good reason for resurrection of the unjust dead. Their resurrection is defined in Scripture as one "of judgment." The being stripped of the accumulated treasures of their former life would be indeed a judgment. And the being compelled to go over the ground of their former trial, and to recover standing where they had failed, would be of necessity a process of judgment. But it is in order to furnish this opportunity that God provides to raise them from the dead. Here comes in the grace of this new gift of life in Christ. Such a view enables the Conditionalist to hold on to all that is essential in his view—that man as now existent is mortal, that he obtains immortal life only through union in life with Christ, that the personality of wicked men must be destroyed, and at the same time it affords scope for a worthy view of the purpose of God in resurrection, and of the final destiny of man as created in His image and partaking of His nature. At the same time it guards against the perils of Universalism, of which Dr. Petavel is justly afraid. For this peril consists in the fostering in the minds of men an idea that their sinful selves can somehow escape the damnation of hell, that God's consuming fire will leave them somehow the possessors of the things they now count dear. Thus they are tempted to hold on to their lives, not knowing that the only way of saving them is through yielding them to the well-deserved death pronounced against them. The doctrine we propose shows how that personal continuity of being depends upon char acter, that only they "that have done good" come forth to the resurrection of life, and shows how that it is only in this life, and through submission to God's judgments of us as "men in the flesh," that we can be prepared to live hereafter "according to God in the spirit."
We therefore respectfully suggest to Dr. Petavel and all our brethren of that school that they content themselves with our view of the "destruction of the existent personal man" as satisfying this threat of Scripture—" all the wicked will He destroy," and that they make room for the larger meaning we find in the hope of resurrection.
The Truth Makes Free.—The Rev. Charles H. Parkhurst, D. D., of New York, has this to say in a recent sermon on this subject:
"There is a principle involved here that we cannot state too frequently, nor reiterate too emphatically, in these days when so much of religious mind is struggling toward larger enfranchisement. To greater or less degree every thinking man is a slave to his own convictions and conceptions. It is next door to impossible to have an idea and not be entangled and handicapped by it. And the truer the idea, and the more the man who thinks it believes in that idea, the more likely it is that he will never get beyond that idea. Statements of the truth are not truth; they are only pictures that we make of the movement of a mind that is feeling after the truth. This is not a protest against conservative statements of doctrine, one whit more than it is a protest against radical statements of doctrine. All statements are dangerous, except with the utmost caution in the handling and using. If only we use them, then well enough, but the mischief lies in this, that they use us. Any thought that our minds may frame in regard to religious things may at the moment that it is gendered be the very perfection of pliancy and plasticity, but there is nothing in the world that will grow inflexible, rigid, and knotty quicker than a thought will. And in that sense there is nothing that will hold a man more snugly prisoner than his own thought will. We weave the silken threads of the cocoon that we call our theology, and when we get through, we are on the inside of it, as neat a prisoner as ever slept in a jail. Some men are small, simply because their ideas are small, and have been on so long, and have been put on so tight that they have not been able to burst them. Ideas are dangerous things. The possibilities of the direst bondage are in them. Probably we cannot get along in our religious life without having some system of doctrine, but I wish we could. But the next thing to it is to hold our formulae of doctrinal opinion purely as a provisional arrangement. When I say hold them as a provisional arrangement, I mean hold them just as we do the rounds of a ladder, clinging to each succeeding round only as something that will help to brace us for a new pull upward. What we want to say frankly and appreciate intensely is that we have reached no finality in these things."
As Re-incarnation describes the method by which the animal man is advanced along the plane of life until he reaches the spiritual plane and escapes the further necessity of it, you could not expect to find a doctrine of it set forth in Scripture, any more than you would look for a doctrine of evolution there. The Bible deals rather with the development and destiny of the spiritual man. It is only the wicked, whom it speaks of as "destroyed" and who "lose their souls and are cast away," who come under the operation of this law, and come forth in this way to their "resurrection of judgment." Re-incarnation cannot be a "resurrection of life," for renewed bondage to the flesh is renewed subjection to the law in its members which worketh death.
ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS.
A friend of long standing, who is a Presbyterian pastor, in writing to subscribe for the magazine, says that he is interested to inquire into its eschatological teachings, but states frankly that he