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have received, is not merely to be delivered from eternal death and enter into life, but to belong to a company of redeemed men whom God purposes to use when He lias glorified them, for the blessing of the whole world, during that last Dispensation of Redemption when His grace shall overflow in full measure to every nation and tribe and people. It is more than this : it is to belong to a body,—even the Body of Christ,—which shall to all eternity enjoy a pre-eminence among the hosts of the redeemed, as that divine Organism through which, (Christ being the head of it) God's power and love and wisdom, and His every perfection, shall be manifested unto the enraptured eyes of all the intelligent creation.
We have not yet beheld the best work of the Church of Christ. It has not even as yet come into existence as a Body. We know not how many more are to be added to it, in order that it may be fully furnished with all its parts. Its membership shall increase day by day until the times and opportunities of the Gentiles be fulfilled; and then, through the mighty power of Christ's Spirit, the whole shall be brought to perfection,—the wonderful instrument of God shall be comp'eted in the number of its parts; and the parts themselves shall all be perfected, each in itself and in its relation to the whole. When this is accomplished, by that first resurrection, which shall do for the Body what the third day did for the Head, then for the first time shall the Church of Christ be capable of exerting its full power for blessing. The hour when a wonderful piece of machinery is brought to perfection is not an hour when it is laid aside as no longer of use as before. It may do much good work before the builder says of it that it is perfect; but when he can say this of it, then he will begin to use it for perfect work. So with the Church. "Man has never yet beheld the full and perfect action of the Church as the Body of God's Christ. All that the world has yet seen has been a struggle between God and His enemies for the Body of Christ. The powers of the fallen creature and the prince of the power of the air have fought, on the one side to hold back from God every individual of the human race. On the other hand, through the Holy Ghost, Christ has endeavored to lay hold on men. This conflict and trial is all that we have seen. But the day cometh when it shall be said, ' Let us be glad and rejoice and give honor to Him; for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready.'"
For this all creation waits. "The earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God." (Rom. 8. 19). For this each Christian should be ardently waiting But alas, to have a knowledge of the purpose of God in the first resurrection, is to hold what are called " strange notions" by a large proportion of the Christian world.
And bow shall God prepare his people for that day, when it is about to dawn? He must first awaken among them a deep desire for what He shall be about to give them. Those who from among the living shall be changed, without seeing death, into the likeness of the Risen One, shall not receive so unspeakable a blessing as something which was more than either they desired or deserved." They shall attain it as something which they indeed did not deserve, but which nevertheless they did most earnestly desire and wait for. That will be the first thing. And that awakened desire and longing for what God is about to bring to pass will bring with it sincere repentance for sins, and due confession of sins. And full confession of sins, both individual and corporate, will make possible that which is scarcely possible now, Christian unity, organic unity, according to the Divine plan. The Church militant cannot be prepared for the Day of the Lord without these three elements of preparation. But these, elements shall be seen, for " the wife shall make herself ready."
Count Leo Tolstoi's Confessions bring very forcibly to our attention, the thought that the true and eternal life of man can only bo found in living for others. All systems of relig. on recognize this great truth, but only in the New Testament is it brought fully into light, and only there are we plainly taught that the life which surrenders itself for the good of others, is the life of God begotten in human souls and imparted through Jesus Christ, the Divine Man, who gave Himself for us. When we, therefore, talk about loviDg God, let us ask whether we love our brother also, "For he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? This commandment have we from Him, that he who loveth God loves his brother also." In the judgment scene of Matt, xxv., this is the test of character and destiny: "When i was an hungered ye fed me," " Inasmuch as ye did it unto one ot the least of these my brethren ye did it unto me," and as it is the Son of Man who is judge, we believe that he announces a principle here as broad as the race of man to which He joined Himself as the brother of us all. If all to whom kindness was shown were Christians, we cannot see how both classes should speak of their failure to recognize Him in the persons of His representatives, but the "all nations" here manifestly include those to whom Christ had been a stranger, and yet with whose poor and sick he identifies Himself. They also are tested to determine whether self had been the centre of all their conduct, or whether they had shown that, love of their fellowmen which proved that the love of God was dwelling in them.
This truth, that the love of the neighbor prepares one to inherit eternal life, is also the lesson of the story ot the Good Samaritan, Luke x., 25-37. From this point of view we see how necessary it is that the long-accepted interpretation of Matt, xxv., 31-46, should be revised. The class who "go away unto life eiernal"are not the redeemed church. They already have eternal life. They do not appear at all on this scene of judgment unless it be as the brethren referred to, and even here, the evidence, as stated above, favors the view that all sick and suffering humanity is here viewed as of one brotherhood with the Son of Man.
THE PHYSICAL SIDE OF MORAL EVIL.
Among the foreign dispatches in the morning newspapers of Dec. 21 there was this singular paragraph.
Pakis, Dec. 20 Prince Krapotkine delivered a lecture
here to-night on "The Moral Influence of Prisons." He argued in favour of suppressing prisons and of leaving crimes to be committed at will, his opinion being that the only safeguard of society was the curing of diseases of the brain, heart and stomach, from which, he said, all criminals suffer.
It would be a wild experiment indeed for society, if no hand of power held a sword over the heads of evildoers, and all criminals were allowed to work their own sweet will. And yet there is an aspect of truth in this way of tracing moral eul to physical causes. The mistake is in assuming that such an origin relieves the victim of all responsibility. Physical and congenital defects mayT palliate crime. But they cannot entirely change its character, They make it very much harder fur a moral agent to fight the battle of life and to maintain virtue, but they give him no discharge from that warfare.
The Bible never draws the sharp line between moral and physical evil which we find in our modern ethics. It views physical infirmities as a part of that disease of sin which affects man's whole nature. Hence it often speaks of disease as due to the power of the enemy. The sick, the maimed, the lunatics, whom Jesus healed were "oppressed of the devil" (Acts x. 38). It often views these maladies as the effects of sin. To the paralytic Jesus addressed this word of healing; •' Thy sins be forgiven thee." And it emphasized the fact that the salvation which shall go down to the bottom of men's ueed must biing healing to the body also.
And this brings us to notice the point where the above paragraph touches the truth, although it does so blindly. Moral regeneration is not complete without physical regenesis. This is true of the system of nature. It can come out into " the liberty of the glory of the children of God " only as it is emancipated from the yoke of the evil powers who hold it in bondage to corruption (Eom. viii 19-21). The new.heavens and earth come to sight only as all that is evil and abominable are cast out, and there is no more curse. So with the individual: his salvation requires a complete bodily as well as spiritual transformation. This is the high goal towards which he is tending, and the first fruits of the Spirit, which is all he can experience in this life, may be now manifest in the region of the body as well as the spirit. This was the first marked effect of Christianity. It blessed men in the whole region of their life. Men were invigorated and gladdened and healed, and out of weakness were made strong. And this, we believe, is the unspeakable boon which the Church is yet to confer upon the world. The miracles which were the signs of the kingdom when Jesus came, and, after his resurrection, the tokens of his presence with the apostles, are to be ordinary operations of that kingdom when it comes with power. Prince Krapotkine will look in vain to human sources alone, such as science and sanitary legis lation, for the cure of the diseases of the brain and heart and stomach to which, in his view, the abounding wickedness of the world is due. It is a well-known fact that, instead of civilization's overtaking and conquering some of these evils, they are on the increase. The proportion of the insane, the world over, is rather increasing than diminishing. The divine deposit of God's saving health for mankind has been made with his Church. It is indeed all now treasured up in her Head, but she she is yet too imperfect and chaotic an instrument to be qualified for its use. She must get back in