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ence as "the word made flesh," but the eternal Word himself, whose being and activity are not limited by time; who, both before and since his incarnation, is always present with his Church, as the centre and source of her spiritual light and life; who spake first by " Moses and the prophets," and afterwards in his own person as "the man Christ Jesus;" and who, having returned to the Father's bosom whence he came, continued to speak by the lips of his apostles, and now speaks by his word and ministry " with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven;" who is with his church always, from Abel to the trump of the archangel, and is always calling the children of men to himself.
This view comprehends all that is valuable of the views named in the beginning of this Article, and much more which they, in their narrowness, exclude; and by this comprehensiveness it commends itself as the true view.
BY REV. JAMES 31. llorrix. SALEM, MASS.
The revelation of a future state is given us in such a form as to be purely practical. It is to quell the sin and establish the faith of the soul. The 15th chapter of the 1st of Corinthians, that rich and wonderful leaf of inspiration concerning a future existence, is simply for this, that we may continue "steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord." The whole is a divinely urged argument for the faithful service of God in this life. Its business
1 A View of the Scripture Revelations concerning a Future State. By Richard Whately. D. D., late Archbishop of Dublin. Philadelphia: Lindsay and Blakiston. 1855.
Vol. XV. No. 58. 33
is not to show heaven, but to bring to heaven. Like a glass that gathers the rays of heaven into one focus, it points and pours "the powers of the world to come" on the conscience and heart. They are powers, because they influence and hold us even in the world that now is. There is no theory in the word of God. Man theorizes, but God furnishes original truth. Man has a free and in one sense prophetic spirit. He has in him a basis of command over worlds that he does not see. From materials which he has, he throws out bridges and structures of thought over into that invisible region which he does not possess. He is not shut up in what he knows, but is allowed to go on into what he may know. He must philosophize, or deny his reason. From the nature of the mind, he is inly urged to complete the utmost circle of his knowledge, to follow truth back to its absolute cause, and out to its possible result. He may thus reverently theorize upon what is revealed of the future state, just as he does upon the nature of God and the principles of his moral government. But theory cannot add to revealed truth itself; even as science cannot add to the revelation of God's truth in nature. We may have "physical theories of a future life," but not. new truths of a future life The doctrine of the resurrection of the body may be philosophically studied, and the sublime fact may be relatively harmonized with all physical and psychological truth; but no new truth can be ingrafted upon the fact itself, or its circumstances, or the state of the raised body, or the reasons of its resurrection. Here is the falseness of Swedenborg's manifestation of a future state. It gives new facta. It is not a philosophy, but a revelation. It paints the architecture of heaven and hell, and lets us gaze into and scrutinize the apartments of glory and shame. The revelator says: "I can sacredly and solemnly declare, that the Lord Himself has been seen of me, and that He has sent me to do what I do, and for such purpose has opened the interior part of my soul, which is my spirit, so that / can see what is in the spiritual world, and those that are therein." 1 Phi
1 Quoted from Bush's Memorabilia.
losophy may indeed carry its rationalizing process in relation to revealed truth too far, while Cant cleaves off too much of liberty. There is sometimes an air of dictation in religious philosophizing, to which a simple believer of the Scriptures will not submit. After all its analysis of causes and development of laws, he says, " leave me to the honest Word of God." There has been much of this species of refined speculation in respect to the future life. Men are treated as unintelligent who will not assent to certain philosophical views of the next world, and to a kind of metaphysical immortality, and who even prefer the holy silence of inspiration.
Archbishop Whately's recent work on the Future State consists of lectures delivered to "a mixed congregation," 1 and was intended to be " plain and popular;" 2 and it certainly is so in its transparent style and admirable arrangement of topics. There is not a word or sentence in it which a plain man could not comprehend. It has many of the unequalled qualities of Whately's writings, his precision in the use of language, robust reasoning, and sound common sense. The design of the book is distinctly said to be, "to clear and settle "8 the scriptural doctrine of a future state. It is to bring out the mind of the Spirit on this important theme. To give the theories and assertions of men is not the purpose of the work. The Christian world needs such a book; for, as the writer hints, even the familiar views of the pulpit on a future life are generally vague, contradictory, and unimpressive. Yet, instead of " clearing and settling" all things, has not the author left many wholly theoretical and conjectural views standing bald and unsettled, very troublesome rocks for his common-sense hearer to break the ploughshare of his thought and faith upon?
The opening chapter is upon the Immortality of the Soul. We stand as it were on the coast, and look on the dim ocean of eternity, before embarking upon it. The truth of immortality was revealed, the writer thinks, to the Jew, but not in
its practical power. God seemed willing to have rested in the revelation of His own being, and of a moral government over His people, which drew its energy chiefly from the narrower compass of this life. Moses pointed the people principally to temporal rewards and punishments. Job and his friends did not seem to use the key of immortality to unlock the problem of evil. "Sheol," in its shadowy boundaries, may have afforded to them and to the general Jewish mind, the hope of a lengthened vitality, and even of a higher spiritual life; but so weak in comparison with the vivid promises and threatenings of God for the present life, as to be of less moment. But there is a marked advance in the Psalms and Prophecies in regard to this truth; and the advance is ever in connection with a growing clearness of faith in a Redeemer. Christ can never be disconnected from the truth of immortality throughout revelation, even from its beginning. The believing minds among the old Jews, as was the case with Abraham, grasped the truth of immortality. These susceptible and inspired minds stood like the peaks of an Alpine range along the line of Hebrew history, tinged with the light of immortality from their elevation of faith alone; . they caught the rising of the Sun of Righteousness; but the greater mass of minds were in the struggling gloom and light, the duskiness of the first dispensation. The instinct of immortality was visible even in the classic pagan mind, though our author is positive in asserting its impractical and hopeless impotency. His view here is much stronger than that of most writers on the rational argument for the soul's immortality, who see in Plato's reasonings something of the depth and spirit of New Testament truths, drawing the necessity of the soul's immortality from God Himself. Whately may be regarded by some as finding too little of immortality in the Old Testament; but if eternal life were fully revealed to the ancient Jew, and yet Christ as the way of life was not fully revealed to him, then of course eternal life was won or lost by him through his obedience or disobedience of the law. But this could not be; for obedience is a simple debt to God, not a ground for reward, and more than
that,'of infinite bliss. "Eternal life is the gift of God;" and that "through Jesus Christ our Lord." Should not, then, the truth respecting the Old Testament be maintained, that it was a dawning light, in order that the glory of the gospel may be seen?" Our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel" — this is the rising of the sun; and, living as we do in its light and heat, we forget there ever was a time when it had not risen upon the earth. Whately has perhaps done good by his arguments in favor of the consummate glory of the gospel. We read the Old Testament from the higher point of view in the New. It is new to the Christian mind, just as a chaotic landscape of night is brought out and, as it were, created by the morning light. It was there before; but we see in it what the old Hebrew never could have seen in it. Our gratitude to the Lord Jesus should be the more intense. "And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son." The lesser idea of immortality or incorruption is comprehended in the greater idea of " eternal life," which has a glorious moral truth, and which can even be begun to be blessedly realized in this life. The soul disconnected from God by sin is united in Christ to God, and has from Him a spiritual and divine life. "He that hath the Son hath life" — not a mere continuous existence, but a living in the Good, a partaking of the Divine.
The next three lectures, forming a large part of the book, are upon the Intermediate State. There is and always will be a certain irrepressible desire to know where the soul, when it has left the body like a piece of kneaded clay, has instantly gone. What is its immediate condition? It is said at the outset of the lectures that there are two views of the intermediate state between death and the resurrection, the one that it is a condition of consciousness, the other, of unconsciousness. The arguments are then given in full for the two theories, the writer leaving them both standing without his decided approbation of either, but strongly leaning towards the theory of unconsciousness. Was this the way,