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forth, he returneth to the earth. In that very day his thoughts perish.” Modern religious tract and hymn writers, and ministers in their funeral orations at Abney Park and elsewhere, inculcate notions quite the reverse. How often have we joined in singing

“ Then in a nobler, sweeter song,

I'll sing thy power to save,
When this poor lisping, stammering tongue,

Lies silent in the grave ;"

never suspecting anything in it unscriptural.

Those who believe that the souls of dead persons go to heaven or hell, and are in a state of consciousness, not only ignore or disbelieve many plain utterances of Scripture, but they give occasion to infidels and others to speak against God, as we are informed in the book of Ezekiel the house of Israel did, by saying: God's ways were not equal. Suppose Cain, who murdered his brother, died impenitent. As no murderer hath eternal life, there was nothing for him but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation-nothing for him but to be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone. Ho had then before him near seven thousand years of mental suffering; for that is about the length of the period between the creation of Adam, and the judgment of the great white throne. Supposing another man murders his brother during that little season that Satan is let loose at the end of the millennium, and he also dies impenitent. He also has a period of mental misery in looking forward to the time when he also will be cast into the fiery lake. That period is, let us say, three or four years. What a great difference in the punishment of the two individuals for the same crime. Near seven thousand years in one case, and only three or four in the other. When we tako such cases into consideration, if we shrink from saying God's ways are unequal, we cannot help thinking that they

But when we credit the statements of Scripture, that in the grave there is no remembrance, no thought, no work, no knowledge, we can say, God's ways are equal. We can admire and adore the Judge of all the earth, who has done, who now does, and will do, that which is right. But having read thus far, I fancy you are ready to say, “ What about

Ι the soul, the never-dying soul, about which we have sung, and read, and heard so much ? Is it not immortal ?". There is one thing you never heard about it: You never heard a Methodist preacher prove from the Bible that it was immortal, because it can't be done. The soul is mentioned sixteen hundred times in the Bible, but not once is it said to be immortal. I was amazed when I first read that statement, as I never had a doubt of its immortality; and I asked myself what were my reasons for believing it would never die. I thought of the inequalities of this life-the wicked prosper, the innocent suffer, the righteous often go unrewarded. That was the only reason I could find I had for believing in a future life ; for I could never see any force in the argument that the soul was immortal, because it was immaterial. Bat I saw at once that the inequalities of this life was no reason why all souls should live as long as God lives. All might receive their due in a future life without it being prolonged to eternity. So I had to give up the

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natural immortality of the human soul. Many think that because God breathed into man the breath of life, he became immortal. He certainly became a living soul, but an immortal soul is something widely different to a living soul; and if we read the account of the deluge we shall find that the breath of life is in animals, and even in fishes. Are they immortal too? But it is said God breathed into man the breath of life; but it is not said God breathed into animals and fishes the breath of life. It would be as well if such persons would tell us who did breathe into them the breath of life if God did not. It could not be Adam, for Adam was not created till the sixth day; whereas, on the fifth day God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly. God is, of course, the source whence came the breath of life, and all that is necessary to any and every living thing. The possession of the breath of life, instead of being any proof of immortality, is evidence of our mortality. “Cease ye from man,

, whose breath is in his nostrils; for wherein is he to be accounted of ?” (Isaiah ii. 22.) “For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; as the one dieth so dieth the other: yea they have all one breath.” (Eccles. iii. 19.) The Bible informs us, “God only hath immortality;" and Paul informs us in his letter to the Romans, it is something to be sought for and obtained by a patient continuance in well doing. Immortality is not inherent in mortal men, not possessed by any supposed birthright; but given to all those who have part in the first resurrection. Only believers in Christ will live for ever, and all the wicked will God destroy.

But if it be true that destruction only, and not eternal misery, is the consequence of sin, it had better not be made known to men. It will have a bad effect upon the righteous, and the wicked will become more thoughtless. I don't believe that. If it be true, it must be beneficial,

, and not mischievous. It will take a powerful weapon out of the hands of infidelity. The number of hard speeches spoken against God will be considerably diminished. Many a Christian father and mother are carrying burdens that are well nigh insupportable on account of unsaved children. To know that it never entered into the heart of the Almighty to punish their children, as they have hitherto fancied He would, with unending misery, will bring a great relief, and fill them with gratitude. Suppose there were two Gods : one has determined that the wicked shall suffer eternally, and the other has declared that the wicked shall be destroyed. Which of the two is the more worthy of our admiration and obedience would not take many minutes to decide.

Paul, in the fifth of Romans, contrasting the results of the sin of man with the results of the grace of God, says : “ Where sin hath abounded, grace did much more abound. The free gift is not like the offence. That as sin has reigned unto death, even so might grace reign throngh righteousness unto eternal life." But, according to the popular religious notions, a great multitude of the sons and daughters of Adam will people an eternal hell, and another great multitude will fill an eternal heaven. Thus, instead of grace much more abounding over sin, the results of grace and sin appear to be something like on a par. The believers in eternal sin and suffering had better see to this matter. Overhaul the Greek, and see if Paul's words have been correctly rendered. See if they can't revise, erase, and make such additions thereunto, as will make them harmonise with the popular creed.

Again, I have ceased to believe in a millennium before the second advent of our Saviour. Methodists think that they and the other denominations are going to convert the whole world, and then the Lord will return. But there is no foundation for this notion in the Bible, and there is a great disappointment in store for them. You remember when we were in our teens Hodgson Casson coming to a neighbouring circuit —what an excitement his preaching caused, how he filled the chapels, and doubled the societies? I attended many of his love-feasts. The 218th bymn in Wesley’s collection was one of his favourite hymns, and it was quite a treat to hear a chapel full of members sing it to the tune of “In my cottage near a wood." Here are the first and second verses :

“ See how great a flame aspires,

Kindled by a spark of grace ;
Jesu's love the nations fires,

Sets the kingdoms in a blaze.
To bring fire on earth He came,

Kindled in some hearts it is ;
O that all might catch the flame,

All partake the glorious bliss.

" When He first the work began,

Small and feeble was His day;
Now the word doth swiftly run,

Now it wins its widening way.
More and more it spreads and grows,

Ever mighty to prevail :
Sin's strongholds it now o'erthrows,

Shakes the trembling gates of hell.”

Of course, we all believed this, and sang it with all our hearts, and thought the latter-day glory, as the Methodist millennium was called, was not far off. About that time a minister named Young, one of the “ stars ” in the Methodist heavens, published a small pamphlet on the conversion of the world. He made it very plain indeed on paper how the world might be converted, and that in a very short time. Roughly estimate the present number of Christians in the world. Let eacb one convert another in the course of the year; the number would be doubled. The next year let the new converts, as well as the old ones, each “convert a sinner from the error of his ways," and the number would be doubled again. Let them go on thus doubling and doubling, and in a very few years indeed " earth's thousand millions" would be all converted. It is now more than fifty years since I joined with Hodgson Casson and his enthusiastic converts in singing

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and where are the nations that are fired with the love of Jesus ? Truly, the kingdoms are in a blaze, but with a very different fire to what Hodgson Casson alluded to. And as to the doubling process, I have never heard or read of a single instance of it. The truth is, the world will not be converted while the Saviour is absent in heaven. It is a very sad thing that there are blind guides among the teachers of religion. But there are others who are right upon most points, and partially blind upon some subjects. And it is a great pity that you anå your family have the disadvantage and danger of sitting under the latter class. Good John Wesley's gospel is a more truthful one than John Calvin's. But Paul's gospel is better than either, he having received it direct from Jesus Christ. The doctrine of eternal torment—the immortality of the human soul—the soul remaining conscious when the body dies, and if saved, flying to a sky-kingdom, and if unsaved, dropping into hell—a world saved while Jesus is absent in heaven, and His second personal appearing a long, long way off—are errors that find no place in Paul's gospel.

One Sunday morning, a few years ago, I entered the Wesleyan Chapel in New North Road, London, and the preacher, instead of saying as the Scriptures say, “The Judge is at the door; the Lord is at hand. Behold, I come quickly," said, those who were expecting the Saviour to come soon were much mistaken, for there were many prophecies which had to be fulfilled first; and he quoted one to prove his point, which actually disproved it. It was the 26th verse of the 11th of Romans : “ There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.” Before He can come out of Zion, He must have first come to Zion ; and it is plain this great turning from sin will follow and not precede His return. And when He does return, He will come to the very place from which He ascended,and His feet shall stand upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem, on the east." (Zechariah xiv. 4.) This confusion may have been the result of not reading and understanding the Bible as we would any other book. I once heard a Methodist minister say, “ Zion always means the Church." The fact is, Methodists neglect the Scriptures. At their prayer-meetings, and class-meetings, and love-feasts, the Bible is scarcely ever opened. I have been at class thousands of times, and have never once seen it opened ; and during all the years that I was a class-leader, I don't remember once opening the Bible. The fact is, it is not customary to do so. This, with the absence of Bible-classes and expository preaching, will account in a great measure for the imperfect knowledge of the Scriptures which they possess.

Although I thus write so freely of Methodist ministers, I am not blind to their excellences. I am very thankful that early in life I was brought into contact with them, for I learned from them some very important truths ; but I am very thankful that there are other ministers of the gospel who are more liberal and tolerant—who know more of Scripture, and who are not afraid to follow truth wherover it may lead them. But for a knowledge of some of the most interesting and glorious truths I am not indebted to Methodism. Hoping these remarks will receive your serious consideration, I am, your affectionate brother,

L. F. T.

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A CONVERSATION.

CHAPTER I.

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YDNEY.—Now that we are alone once again, Bertram, for a quiet

talk, I will, if agreeable to you, relate what occurred to me on my journey home to Manchester.

Bertram.—I shall be delighted, my dear brother; and glad I am, after all the late driving and pushing, that we have the prospect of resuming our pleasant mode of passing one of our leisure evenings. I conclude that what you have to say will be of interest. Pray proceed.

Sydney.-In my “run down” from London, it was my fortune to travel with only a single fellow-passenger : as healthy, and happy-looking, a gentleman with silvery locks," as one need wish to see, whose face seemed literally to beam with intelligence. You know I am not over eager to enter into conversation with travellers. As a rule, there is some indefinite feeling on my part which prompts me rather to note and observe my companions in a journey, both as regards their appearance and in what they may say-unless, indeed, their remarks are supposed to be private, or meant only for particular persons. But in a train, and in a mixed company, there is not much fear of playing the eaves-dropper. This gentleman, however, was so genially courteous—not to say considerate for my comfort—that I felt drawn to him from the first hearty greeting he gave me as I entered the compartment. I was only just in time to catch the train.

“Good morning,” said be, taking one of my packages to make my entrance the more easy. “I was beginning to think I was to be the only occupant of this compartment, which was a prospect not over agreeable. One does not mind riding alone for an hour or so, but when it stretches to four, five, or six, with none to look at or speak to, it has rather a depressing effect on one's spirits :"at least that is my experience; the more so that the motion of the train makes reading to me a difficult matter. I am bound for Manchester, and I hope to be favoured with your company all the way, if you will kindly excuse my freedom in saying so. Perhaps I am the more bold by the reaction that has set in since you entered, and I speak from feelings of pleasure. I am afraid I should make a very poor imitation of Robinson Crusoe, were it my hap to be cast on a desolate island."

Of course he did not say all this without some replies on my part. I remarked that I was afraid the pleasure he anticipated from my companionship would not be realised.

“Well,” said he, "I am in the enjoyment of some pleasure already. And being a pretty good judge of indications, I augur that this is the commencement of a pleasant journey, which, but for your society, might have proved somewhat different."

Seeing a newspaper in my hand, he shortly added,

“ It is needless to inquire if you have seen the news of the attempt on the life of the Emperor of Russia; nor that you detest all such acts ? It is a wicked, insane purpose ; yet one, I fear, not to be crushed by measures of repression such as will probably be brought to bear upon it. Have you examined the working of these secret societies so far as they have been made known by the press ?"

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