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of the book, and one, we think, that is sufficient to counterbalance all its good. There is a subtle thread of argument introduced, by way of conjecture, or candid exhibition of opposing opinion, for the annihilation of the souls of wicked men. Let it not be understood that Archbishop Whately positively advocates this theory; but he introduces it and argues it fully. He says that in the passages in which the words "death," "destruction," "eternal death," are spoken of, these words may be taken as signifying literal death, real destruction, an utter end of things. The "unquenchable fire" may mean that fire which utterly consumes what it is burning upon. The "worm that dieth not," may be that which entirely devours what it feeds upon. "Everlasting perdition" may mean that perishing from which the soul cannot be saved, but it will be final, annihilating.1 It is written that Christ "must reign till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death." This affords some ground for thinking, according to Whately, that there may be a " final extinction of evil and suffering, by the total destruction of such as are incapable of good and happiness. If eternal death mean final death — death without any revival — we can understand what is meant by death being destroyed, viz.: that none henceforth are to be subjected to it."9 And he concludes this scriptural argument by this sentence: "On the whole, therefore, I think we are not warranted in concluding (as some have done) so positively concerning this question as to make it a point of Christian faith to interpret figuratively, the ' death and destruction' spoken of in the Scripture as the doom of the condemned; and to insist on the belief that they are to be kept alive forevermore." Is this a settling or an unsettling method? If the author is in favor of the theory of annihilation, let him say so boldly, and let him come out and be its champion on independent grounds; but thus to insert it advisedly in his lectures to plain men,
1 These and similar arguments for the annihilation of the wicked are drawn out in greater fulness in the more recent work of C . F. Hudson on the Doctrine of a Future Life, a book of great learning and subtlety.
2 Page 184.
and then to publish it in a book meant to clarify the doctrine of a future life, seems hardly right. To enter into the scriptural argument against the annihilation of soul, we have no space.1 If the intensely active, continuous, and infinite idea of "everlasting punishment," could possibly be joined with the brief and hewn down truth of literal annihilation, then it were well to introduce such a doctrine to a " mixed audience" of good and bad, of believers and unbelievers. With the drowsy theory of unconsciousness to smooth the way and take off the edge of eternity, we may conceive that it would be on the whole quite satisfactory to those who have their "good things" in this life. Could our author himself desire that this view should become popular, — that the great hand of Almighty Justice and Love, stretching from eternity, and laying itself upon the passionate human heart, should at the end of this life quench that heart out forever; and that the wicked man should feel that he might revel here in evil pleasures, and bear down in ironhanded oppressions, and at the dying hour like Mirabeau, be crowned with roses and drowned in perfume, and sink into the abyss of annihilation? Would the writer annihilate the moral power of the future life? Has it not been justly thought that it was a great work of Christ to restore the law of holiness, to clear the mists from its celestial purity, to make men come up to it in Divine strength, to stamp sin with everlasting opprobrium, and to force the wicked, God-resisting conscience to echo back its own infinite condemnation? Is not the never-dying worm, the vile and terrible self-destroying death-energy of sin in the evil soul 1 It may be this, and more. Is not the unquenchable fire, the everlasting flame of pain and despair kindled in the mind made for God, but never giving up its sin? Then treading the depths of this overwhelmingly painful subject, we must lean alone on the arm of God, and keep close to Christ.
The chapter on "the Heavenly State," contains much strong sense and clear reasoning. Heaven is a place to
1 Dr. T. M. Post in the New Englander of Feb. and May 1856, has presented this argument with exceeding eloquence, force, and Christian feeling.
the author's substantial mind. It is not a mere crystallized state of abstract virtues and apotheothized doctrines. It is vivified by the living personal presence of Christ, and by a spiritual oneness with him. The seeds of this heaven must be sown here, in the soul reconciled and made harmonious in its deepest will to God. "This is eternal life, to know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent." This possession of" God in Christ," is the opening life of heaven. The child of God lives part in heaven on earth. Like the sweet indescribable silence that broods on the mind after an exquisite strain of music, so after a penitent prayer, or holy thought, or righteous word, or pure self-denying action which has Christ in it, the believer dwells, for the moment, peacefully and blissfully in heaven with the Saviour. But that Saviour's full love is inherited by the soul hereafter. And the soul is made capable of infinite love. Even here, how great is the capacity of the soul to love. Every new child given by God to a parent is enfolded in that fulness of parental love, nor is that fulness diminished. So in heaven, the human soul, separated from the contracting and deathly influences of sin, and nourished in the atmosphere of Divine love, learns to receive into itself all that is like God, and to love like God. But the Scriptures do not mean that we should know anything of heaven out of Christ. "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is." The types of heaven all lead to Christ. The everbearing tree of life is Christ. The river of the water of life, is Christ. The new Jerusalem is the city actually lighted by the presence of God and the Lamb. The white-robed multitude therein, is composed of those whose souls are made white by a purifying faith in the great sacrifice of Divine love for sin. We are not told particularly about the employments of "the saints in light," beyond the general truth of holy and delightful praise of God. Every service will be praise. There will be an eternal progress of the soul, because led by Christ himself to the living fountains of truth. We are not informed about the meeting of friends in heaven; though not a shade of doubt rests on this, from the pointing of many passages of Scripture, and from the whole meaning of life as developed in the broad, social, and affectionate light of the gospel; but the simple yet intense Scriptural idea of heaven as the union of those who love one another in Christ. Friendship will have pure objects, purged from all human weaknesses in the flame of the love of Christ. The family of Bethany, the brothers James and John, and the Marys, will meet each other again; but we are only told, in the Bible, that they loved Christ. That was enough.
Mr. Whately throws out a brief opinion, that the ministry of the blessed saints in acts of beneficence to man, is not entirely opposed to the tone of Scripture, although there is nothing in the way of positive proof. But he does not say, that the secret ministrations of God's love through these spiritual messengers, are ever made known to men themselves. Pure spirit could not manifest itself to men's bodily senses; could not be seen, or felt, or heard; could not speak, or lift, or strike. If it made itself known in any way through a material agency, it must appear in the body, and no one has yet risen from the dead except by miracle. God himself, as a spirit, has never yet been seen, or felt, or heard, by the bodily sense. "For a spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye see me have." And even if the departed spirit visited earth again, it would not be to make revelations of the future state. The work of redemption could not be aided by this. ""They have Moses and the prophets,"—Christ and his gospel,—" and they would not be persuaded, though one rose from the dead." There is no necessity at all for any departed spirit to come back here to tell us anything. We have enough for our salvation, consolation, profoundest reason, and eternal responsibility. It would be bringing in human after Divine testimony,—a flickering ghost after "the strong Son of God." The susceptibilities of many respectable people, in these days, are taken up in the revelations of departed spirits. They do not, in some instances, look beyond them, to God and Christ. They rely on them, and make them their religion. They are comforted and strengthened by their appearances or messages. They would have the world to be guided by them, and to depend upon them. But to rely on human beings, whether in or out of the body, is to neglect and reject a Divine Mediator; for the Mediator could not be a mere man, or an angel; and we are sometimes reminded of the apostle's words : "let no man beguile you of your reward, in a worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind; and not holding- the Head." That debatable ground between soul and body, where corporeal nerves and tissues run into their vanishing points of union with mind, has not yet been explored, and cannot be, perhaps, thoroughly. Science will clear up these mists of spiritualism, and of every new revelation, and the future state will be left, as the Bible sublimely left it, even its glories seen " as through a glass darkly."
The book closes with two sensible chapters on " a Christian death, and its preparation." There are many mistakes, even among intelligent believers, the author thinks, respecting a Christian departure. It is an error, according to his view, to suppose that there can be any such thing as the sudden death of the true Christian. If one be a loving:, active Christian, he is always prepared for death; and it is thus in any man's power to secure himself against sudden death. Especially to prepare to die, is an unnecessary idea to the living Christian. We are hardly so ready to assent to the writer's opinion, that the approach of death should ever be concealed from an irreligious man, for the £ake of leaving him a calm mind for religious choice and thought. We are reminded of the close of one of Wordsworth's thoughtful sonnets on a man condemned to suffer death:
"Then mark him, him who could 80 long rebel,