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Mount Zion and the tops of Libanus, pouring floods of light on these pages ; from the election of Shem-Melchizedek, the great type of the Christ, down to the final consummation when the Mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst under the feet of the redescended Christ Himself. See how the story of Israel unravels the tangled skein of history, the rise and fall of empires, the steady but tremendous growth of the British dominion and influence; still extending month by month, until it become the Fifth Monarchy, to overshadow all the kingdoms of the earth. See how the election of Israel is the clue to the Divine purposes for the government of human affairs; and how the recovery of Israel is the event set forth in the Scripture which, by its startling and overwhelming magnitude, is to be the means to bring the outer nations to the foot of the cross of Christ, that all may know Him, from the least to the greatest. For Isaiah saith (lxvi. 8), “ Who hath heard such a thing? Who hath seen such things ? The earth shall bring forth in one day. A nation shall be born at once.” And Micah (iv. 1),
- In the last days, many nations shall come, and say, Let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob, and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths. For the Law shall go forth from Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” And, again, Isaiah (xliii. 8-12.) “Bring forth the blind people that have eyes, and the deaf that have ears. Let all the nations be gathered together. Let them bring forth their witnesses. Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord. Beside me there is no Saviour. I have saved, and I have showed.
Therefore ye are my witnesses, that I am God.” And (xliv. 5-8), “One shall say, I am the Lord's, and another shall call himself by the name of Jacob; and another shall subscribe with his hand unto the Lord, and surname himself by the name of Israel.” And who, as I, shall call, and declare it, and set it in order for me, since I appointed the Ancient People? And the things that are coming, and shall come, let them show unto them.” “Have not I told thee from that time, and declared ?
Even ye are my Tl'itnesses.” And (xlix. 1-6), “Listen, O isles, and hearken from far. It is a light thing that Thou (the Messias) shouldst be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel. I will also give Thee to be a light to the Gentiles, that Thou mayest be my salvation to the end of the earth,” Again (lxi. 4-6), “Ye shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of
, many generations. Strangers shall feed your flocks, and the sons of the alien be your plowmen. But ye shall be named the Priests of the Lord, the Ministers of our God.”. And (lxii
". The Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory. Thou shalt be a royal diadem in the hand of thy God. No more be termed Forsaken, no more thy land be called Desolate ; but thou shalt be called Hephzi-bah (my delight is in her), and thy land Beulah (married), for the Lord delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married.” But Ezekiel saith (xxxvi 22), “ I do not this for your sakes, O House of Israel, but for mine holy Name's sake, which ye profaned among the heathen whither ye went.” And Paul (Rom. xi. 11-29), “ If the casting-away of them was the reconciling of the world, what shall the recovery of them be but Life from the Dead ?” " For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance," on His part. When shall these things be ? “ The gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world, for a witness unto all nations. Then shall the End come (Matt. xxiv. 14). This Scripture is fulfilled. Then the End is come.
Where shall these things be ? The disciples asked the question (Luke xvii. 37). He answered, “Where the carcase is, thither the Eagles will be gathered together.” This Scripture also is fulfilled. The eagle, single or double, is the cognizance of Russia, Austria, Germany, Roumania, France, Servia. Then the End is come.
When shall these things be? When shall Israel be raised up? Hear what Hosea spake, as he was moved by the Holy Ghost: “ After two days will He revive u8 ; in the third day He will raise us up, and we shall live in His sight. Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord.” And note by what follows how the separateness of the Jews is accentuated, -" Also, 0 Judah, He hath set an barvest for thee, when I returned the captivity of my people.” (Hos. vi. 2-11.)
Now, Peter tells us, with express reference to the time of the End, that with the Lord a thousand years are as one day, and one day is as a thousand years. It is now two thousand and six hundred years since Israel went into captivity. We are, therefore, past the noontide of the third day in which, we know by the sure word of prophecy, the God of our fathers will revive and restore Israel. The time of the Scripture is fulfilled.
Doubtless, you will be as the Bereans, who “ were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily whether these things were so." They are worth searching. I have read as many books, in one language or another, as most men, but I know none to compare with This Book, if only for the intellectual appetite; for majesty of diction, refinement of style, poetic fervour, dramatic force. The more closely it is read, the clearer it becomes that the Old Scripture and the New are one and indivisible, that the one cannot be interpreted without the other.
So now, read the sublime description by the hand of Ezekiel (xxxvii. 1-22) of the Resurrection of Israel, how Saxon was brought to Kelt, Norman to Saxon, Scoth to Norman, how the Stars and Stripes have to be quartered with the "young lions," and how Judah is to be reunited with them all. The vision of Ezekiel, - one hundred commentators, one hundred interpretations. The vision of Ezekiel,—this is the interpretation thereof. Let us read it.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, They shall prosper that love her. For Christ His sake.*
A GLORIOUS WORK. AN
N able correspondent writes :-" Thinking and guessing must give
way to literal and lexical teaching apon the most momentous points of man's nature and future. You must brace yourself and friends up to the conflict, and develop the whole theology of Scripture upon the basis and in harmony with man's true nature and God's revealed character. It is a glorious work, casting that of Luther into the shade.'
* The subject of the next lecture is— Fulfilment in the British Folk of the Scriptures anent Israel.
It is perfectly obvious to all who have escaped from the bondage of brainless prejudice that the work in which we are engaged is profoundly important. Sometimes, in musing mood, we have had a vivid conception of the startling possibilities of its issues. Is it too much to imagine the theology of Christendom purged of its dread paganism, which makes man an immortal rebel and God an omnipotent tyrant, and brought back to the apostolic platform with its exquisite picture of God in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them? If Christian men were “ braced up” to the enormous dishonour done to the Divine character and government by the pagan dogmas which theology mixes with the doctrines of revelation, neither man, nor money, nor mental energy would be wanting to do battle with the evil and drive it out of the church and the world with all possible speed. The teachers of Judea crucified Christ; the teachers of Christendom have crucified Christianity. O that those Christians who understand the truth would come to the rescue and redeem their Father's character and government from calumny !
The vital force of Luther's reformation was a weapon chosen from the Divine arsenal-justification by faith in Christ. With this he bravely fought for God and men against a gigantic system of fraud and falsehood which had oppressed the nations for ages in the insulted name of Truth. But that potent weapon had been in the Book ever since the days of the apostles. The false church concealed the Book from which it pretended to draw its authority for inquisition, purgatory, saint worship, Mariolatry, and all the other impostures with which it deluded the world. And we who are to-day pleading for a thorough doctrinal reformation also find that our chief weapon – immortality by faith in Christ-has always been in the Book. Luther's master-doctrine was part of the faith delivered to the saints, and so is ours. The one doctrine is as clear as the other. Justification is by grace through faith in Christ. Eternal life is the gift of God in Christ. Both divine gifts are expressed in the same words.
But now let us think of the momentous fact that the Romish purgatory, if the Divine doctrine of life only in Christ were universally believed, would no longer be treated by Protestants as an error, but would be rejected both by them and Roman Catholics as an impossibility. This ghastly ghostly underworld of purgation through fire supposes a population of conscious, immortal, disembodied souls." That is to say, it supposes that which has no possible existence and never had. If those to whom immortality is given by union to Christ, nevertheless "fall asleep” until His second coming-which the Scriptures most clearly teach,-it is very certain that those who die out of Christ, the unholy dead, who have no immortality, either inherent or bestowed, must be entirely and utterly unconscious. That is to say, they are DEAD, literally and absolutely; a fact upon which it would not have been needful to insist, in our efforts to restore apostolic doctrines respecting man, had not false doctrine, invented to fill the coffers of covetous priests, corrupted even language itself, and given to words a meaning the very opposite of that which they naturally and lexically
bear. It makes one mourn with very shame over the perversity of those who professed themselves divinely appointed teachers that they have actually compelled language to wear chains of slavery and to say that death means life, and many similar absurdities, by which truth is concealed, and the good news turned into a message of terror.
This non. natural use of words has "crept" into the theological vocabulary, as the ungodly mon of whom Jude speaks crept into the church, vitiating the blessed truths of the Gospel, making God say what“ never came into his mind," * and thus driving the inquirer into a labyrinth of subtilties where he cannot find the salvation and peace for which he yearns. Nothing can be plainer and simpler than the teachings of Scripture about sin and salvation, death and life, if we will accept the words as exactly representing the things of which they speak; but commentators and theologians have found in each term such a multiplicity of " senses” that the sense is difficult to discover. While professing to shed light upon the language of Christ and His apostles, they have covered it with a cloud of metaphysical speculations understood neither by themselves nor any one else. We are not bearing false witness, but stating sad truth. We are protesting against the doctrinal errors which have been invented and supported by the arbitrary attachment of a meaning to words which they do not bear, for the support of theological systems of which the Bible knows nothing.
Probably it is altogether hopeless to expect harmony of belief until the Lord comes, but some ground in this direction would be gained if Christian men would do a very simple thing, namely, give up in religious thought that which they would scorn as absurd in secular or commercial thought,—the non-natural, or mystical use of words. Common sense and the practical experience of every-day unite in teaching us the necessity of giving the right name to the article we wish to purchase from the shopkeeper or merchant. Common sense likewise guides our understanding in reading a book of history or travels, or the editorial commentary in a newspaper on the events of the day. The author or editor says what he means, and we understand him to mean what he says. It is only-mournful perversity of our boasted intelligence !-when we come to that book which, with Divine authority and infallibility, speaks of the nature and destiny of man, that we lose common sense and teach that punishment means probation, destruction means preservation, and death means life! In the history of the race, with all its astounding mistakes, blunders, and delusions, there is nothing to equal this amazing folly. When God says “ They are dead,” how dare we say,
“ They are alive ?” This “speaking against God” has for some time been, and is increasingly becoming, a habit among men whose piety is unquestionable, but who are, without knowing it, swayed by a theory of human nature for which there is no evidence whatever in any region of testimony, physical, mental, or supernatural.
And it is here that the theory of a church, or school, or evangelistic system in Hades comes in. As a theory it is absolutely without Scriptural foundation. There is not a word in the Bible to give it the shadow of support. The Bible teaches us that we are mortals, that when we
* Jer. xix. 5 ; xxxii. 35.
die our being ceases, and that without resurrection we can never live again. And, of course, a theory which is contrary to Scripture must be dangerous to men. Tell the man who will not yield his heart and mind to the loving Redeemer that there will be a scheme of probation, evangelisation, and restoration in the underworld after “the death of the body "-error is fertile in the invention of phrases !—and he will roll his sweet morsel of sin under his tongue, and thank you for the delightful gospel which assures him of ultimate safety though he revel in present iniquity.
This doctrine cannot be true. It is self-condemned by the terms which define it. Its lawlessness thunders its doom. Its immorality declares it rotten at the heart. That poor noisy empty thing, Antinomianism, the remnants of which still linger in a few dark corners of the island, is a sweet child of heaven compared with this Protestant delusion of reformation in Hades. We understand the nonsense of “indulgences" in Popish regions. The thing is profitable as an article of merchandise to the holy men who sell, whatever it may be to the simpletons that buy. But we do not understand the modern Protestant pargatory which proclaims deliverance after death to men who rejected salvation whilst in life. It appears to us irrational, and unphilosophical, whilst we are certain that it is antiscriptural and glaringly immoral. Preach a post-mortem salvation, and if the Spirit of God do not graciously counteract the delusion, your hearers will adopt Hades as the most agreeable road to Heaven. Alas! that we should be compelled to write thus, but fidelity to God and conscience, and love to men, make it imperative. We have narrowly noticed the doctrine of Universalism, and its younger sister partial restoration, in England and America, and the result is—Let the servants of Christ denounce both with holy vehemence!
We may not dismiss this part of our subject without an expression of unfeigned surprise that some writers who have rejected the error of man's natural immortality, nevertheless teach evangelisation and recovery in Hades. Terribly delusive as this subterranean gospel is, there is no difficulty in seeing how it commends itself to the humanity of men who believe that every human creature possesses a never-dying soul.” We sympathise earnestly with the humane feeling that recoils-and which, we boldly say, God Himself has taught to recoil—from the ideawe do not say conception, because the thing is altogether inconceivable -of suffering protracted through endless cycles of time, for which we generally use the awful word "eternity.” If we believed the dogma of immortal souls we should- under the pressure of moral and mental necessity, under the impression that justice would be outraged by endless woe as the penalty of, say, seventy years of sin, and, above all, under the holy conviction that our heavenly Father's character must be vindicated from the terrible aspersion of implacable tyranny-we should, I say, cry aloud, pray earnestly, and call the intelligent universe to join us in the agonising petition for universal restoration ! But there is no need for this distress in relation to men, for they are all mortal by nature, or for the loyal anxiety for the Divine reputation, for that is safe in the estimation of those who know the truth, and will continue to gather fresh lustre and glory through all the ages, “ for ever and ever !"
But how writers who see clearly that man is destitute of inherent