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removing this corner-stone. All this is of the very essence of Antichrist.
We are not of those, therefore, who pooh-pooh at once the great idea which sought for itself expression some fifty years ago in the formation of the Catholic Apostolic— sometimes called Irvingite-Church. The attempt may have been premature. There may have been extravagances connected with it. About all this we do not feel qualified at this distance of time and place to judge. But for any man to say that such extraordinary spiritual manifestations and guidance is now impossible, and the expectation of it absurd, is to virtually throw overboard the whole argument for anything supernatural in the Christian system, and to lay the foundation for the supreme denial of Antichrist—that Christ is not risen from the dead.
That there has always been in the church an expectation of signs and wonders in the closing days of this dispensation is well-known. That this anticipation is warranted by Scripture cannot be disputed. We go further, and affirm that the changes there foretold as to come over the face of society and upon the earth are of such a character that something more than the slow process of development must bring them about. They require such an intervention of divine power as is uniformly spoken of in Scripture, and described to us under the general terms of "the appearing and kingdom of Jesus Christ." That kingdom once came nigh to men and made its presence felt by "signs and wonders." The blind were made to see; the deaf to hear; the dead were raised. All manner of sicknesses, even leprosies and palsies, were healed. Multitudes were thus relieved and blessed. The hungry were miraculously fed,
and even the winds and the seas obeyed the Christ. And this marvelous life was fitly crowned by a resurrection from the dead, which was the introduction of this divine Man to a far wider dominion over the forces that rule in the system of nature and in the sphere of human souls. And so His disciples, after His enthronement, went on with this wonderful work of spreading the kingdom of God, with its plenitude of blessings for both the bodies and souls of men.
Now, we say, the age of miracles is past. Christianity, for eighteen centuries has ceased to rely upon these special supernatural aids to its progress. Its conquests have been spiritual, its wonders wrought in the transformation of human souls.
But it is worth while to inquire whether this kingdom of God, which began with blessing to the bodies as well as the souls of men, was intended to be thus restricted to one side of man's nature. Was it not to embrace and ultimately to tranform his body also? If it was not, what is the meaning of the Christian doctrine of the resurrection? And what the meaning of those glowing prophecies in both the Old and the New Scriptures of an earth redeemed from sin and death, from sickness and pain, in which there is no more curse, for the tabernacle of God has come down to men? We say, therefore, instead of the Church abandoning all hope of a return of supernatural gifts as a part of her endowment, they are the very things pledged to her, and which she is to ardently desire. She is the ordained channel of this saving health of God to men. These are the "greater works" she is yet to do. The early miracles were but the first drops of a future plentiful shower. This. earth is yet to witness the beneficent action of a triumphant Church, filled with the energy of God, and made the channel of His saving grace and bounty to all mankind; yea, to even that portion of it held fast in the prison-house of death. We shall some day have not only apostles and prophets, but even our old men and young men and maidens baptized and enthused with the Spirit of the ascended Christ (Acts ii. 17-20). The Church will have not only supernatural guidance, but be filled with divine power of healing and blessing the nations. The evils of human society have their roots largely in physical causes. The only adequate remedy must be one that can track these evils to their sources, even though they be entrenched in the system of nature, and be due to the ongoing of its forces. A Christ above nature, through a resurrection out of its death to eternal life, is the corner-stone of our faith. A church called to share with Him in His dominion over this natural system is the temple built on this corner-stone. Not to expect that the Lord shall come to dwell in His temple, is to be deceived by Antichrist. Not only are we to look for a revival of miracles in the last days; we are to pray for it and to earnestly ask why the Church is yet counted an unfit receptacle for this grace and power. One chief hindrance we will find to be her lack of unity, and, worse than this, her lack of ardent desire for it. When she is fairly ready for it, we may not doubt that He who ascended on high that He might fill all things, will endow His Church with all needful gifts and ministries, and make her the channel to the world of a salvation that shall go to the bottom of its great disorder, and cast out its prince from this fair heritage which he has so long corrupted and despoiled.
An old friend has written, reproaching us for our use of the phrase "ill success in winning the heathen," and for the apathy toward modern missions implied in the fact that we teach that the church must first be perfected before the world can be won for Christ. It is more than hinted also that the "gospel of the resurrection" in holding out a hope for the dead must needs make one thus apathetic. To this we reply.
1. We rejoice in all that God has done, even by means of a mutilated gospel, in heathen lands. And yet the results have been such as to fully justify our use of the term "ill-success." A paragraph has been going the rounds of the religious press in which it is stated that there are 100,000,000 more of Pagans and Mahomedans in the world to-day than when this era of modern missions began. We first saw it in The Christian of London, in the report of a missionary address made by the Secretary to the committee who managed the late International Missionary Conference, and who was largely instrumental in that gathering. We are glad to believe that the progress of Christianity cannot be measured by numbers, but the fact referred to justifies our use of the term complained of.
2. The criticism implies that the condition of the church at home is a matter of less importance than the preaching of the gospel abroad. But our Lord did not so estimate it when He prayed that they all might be one in order that the world may believe. Nine-tenths of the New Testament is occupied with truth that relates to the perfection of the church. If she is God's instrument for the salvation of the world, surely the perfection of the instrument cannot be of secondary importance. We believe that the prime cause of her apathy in missionary labors, and of her divisions in prosecuting them, by reason of which her success is so hindered and the heathen bewildered, is that she does not understand the gospel with which she has been put in trust, nor her own relation to the divine plan of the world. Hence we believe that just now the truest missionary labor is that which expends itself in teaching the church the true hope of her calling, and in urging her, as the depositary of God's grace toward a perishing world, to come into that unity that shall make her a fit channel of His salvation.
3. To this end we have accepted it as our mission to seek to open the eyes of our brethren in the church to the full meaning of the gospel. She has been carrying to the heathen a gospel which is yet no gospel. Instead of being glad tidings of great joy it has been a message of despair. Her gospel has been stripped of all hope for the dead. The foundation stone in this divine scheme of redemption— the resurrection of the dead—has been displaced; and the office of our Lord Jesus Christ as the Judge of the dead as well as of the living has been shorn of every grace and invested only with terror. A paragraph on another page of this number shows how the sensitive heathen mind, even after conversion, is affected by such a gospel which denies that God has any wonders to show to the dead. The wonder is that modern missions, with their cruel distortion of the character of God, and their pall of horror and despair thrown over the fate of the countless generations of mankind who have died in ignorance and sin, have made any converts. Were it not that these dark features of their