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quite silent respecting the departed; to give not a remote hint as to their state ; to cast not one feeble ray on the darkness behind the veil. That would leave the condition of the gone, one might be prompted to say, shrouded in uncertainty, or something very closely resembling uncertainty. Men in all ages have been peering into the gloomknocking at the door of the sepulchre, anxious to catch but the faintest whisper of hope that the loved ones withdrawn from the scenes and services of life were perhaps not so completely undone as accumulated appearances betokened. The thoughtful or bereaved Jew, more particularly if he allowed the record of man's creation to slip from his memory, must have had a kindred experience. Have they—the dear ones removed—no thought of us now, no love, no longings towards friends they once prized beyond gold and gems? Is the end a blank ? Is light utterly quenched in the night into which they have retired ? That was a tremendous word, “ Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” Can it be literally true ? a broken heart by a newly-occupied tomb groans out in its desolation. Every sign indicates that it is so, but can the thought be endured ? To believe him, so lately strong and loving and valiant, whose voice spoke in manly tones to the last, and whose faculties were all energetic as formerly when the shaft, winged by the unerring marksman, reached its destination, and the golden bowl was broken, and the eyes were closed, and the pulses of life stood still ; -to believe him utterly oblivious of everything is a trial and an agony almost too crushing for nature to bear. We cannot tell what shadofancies, what delusive hopes, might have been constructed. Men, the world over, guided, we suspect, by unseen agents of falsehood, have conjured for themselves wild and soothing conceptions regarding the dead; and many of them are still displayed on sad and on sacred occasions to comfort the weary, the woe-worn, the longing, and the perplexed. In these circumstances, had no explanations been afforded, we

. could not have wondered if surviving friends had wished eagerly for some sure and plain announcement to end their doubts—to compose for ever the cry ascending from the depths of the heart, In death what is man ?

Actually such a response sounded through the ages. We have assembled and commented upon a host of its testimonies, and they are precise and unequivocal,—" In death there is no remembrance of Thee; in the grave who shall give Theo thanks ? ” By such authoritative words, the appalling tokens that arrest the eye are confirmed; the end is silence and darkness, accompanied with the cessation of thought, volition and desire. All is over! God wills it, and it must be right.

But if there had been no interposition from heaven up to the date of Messiah's appearance in the flesh to disclose the actual condition of things-to quiet the longings and anxieties, and bow the heart of man ander the stern reality of facts—He, the Grandest of all Teachers, might have stood up amongst the Jews and cast light on the dread un. known, if perchance there had been any light to diffuse, without assaulting testimonies no less divine than His own. But could He assert that men continued to think after death, when the Divine Spirit that guided His utterance had also led another voice to proclaim, “In that very day man's thoughts perish ?” The ancient instruments of revelation spake

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as “they were moved by the Holy Ghost," and was it possible for the Spirit of God to contradict by the lips of Jesus what He bad communi. cated to seers in earlier days ? To ask such questions is to answer them. He was manifested to ratify, not to overthrow what inspiration had imparted to Moses, to Job, to David, to Isaiab, and others in earlier epochs. He assumed the truth of previous revelations when proceeding with His own, and absolute concord reigned, could not but reign, among them all. Hence even devout men in this age realise not what they do when they contend that His words, “He is not a God of the dead, but of the living : for all live unto Him," inculcate the prevailing notion about the dead. Teach what they may, they cannot teach that.

9. Finally, on this department. — Too prominently it cannot be kept in mind that the purpose of Jesus was, from the ancient Scriptures, to establish a resurrection, in opposition to the Sadducean doctrine that when a man was dead he had eternally parted with existence. Where does the argument lie ? In the words, “ I am the God of Abraham,” &c. It is there, and nowhere else in His reply. The addition, “For He is not a God of the dead, but of the living,” &c., is, by an act of condescending grace, merely an expansion of the proof, explanatory of its point, and bearing, and force. To tell the Sadducees that those who had ceased to breathe were alive somewhere, as the common interpretation asserts He did, would have been an offence to their understanding, and more than ever harden them against His claims as the Messiah. Could homage be paid by them to a flat contradiction of their own Bible ? Not with patience would they have borne it for a moment, be the speaker whom he might. To tell them, even were an after-death consciousness within the range of possibility, that it alone involved a physical resurrection, would in their esteem have been, as it ought to be in the esteem of all considerate men, like suspending an anchor by a spider's thread: there was no valid and self-evident connection between the premises and the deduction. So the work of exposition, we feel warranted to declare, has yet to be commenced ; the adversaries were not driven into a corner, out of which escape was hopeless. To state it otherwise :-it remains, for the glory of the “Master," to show that His argument was clear, simple, straightforward, and unanswerable. We have all of us

have-an antecedent conviction that such must be its essential characteristics. Then, “I am the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob " how does that establish this proposition, that those worthies, and by implication the vast company interested in the spiritual promises made to them, are yet to be aroused from the sleep of death ?

(To be continued.)

IT IS FINISHED. WHAT IS FINISHED ? DOES OES this question awaken surprise ? Does it seem tainted with

impiety ? “What!” it may be indignantly replied, “Sball any doubt, hesitation, or limitation, be permitted to stand in arrest of the sublime utterance which closed the tragedy of the Cross, and sent its echoes through all the succeeding centuries? Had not the sin of a

revolting world been imputed to the illustrious Victim, and has He not borne it to the tree, and has He not on the tree exhausted the curse ? And if so, then who will deny that the cry, It is finished, was a declaration that the Divine scheme of man's redemption was, in that hour, fulfilled to the uttermost, and that a crucified Jesus was the culminating spectacle in earth's drana ?

Such may be the popular conception, and such we know to be a very frequent and favourite pulpit deliverance. Yet, in spite of both, the question again recurs. What is finished ?

It is true that the imputed sin of a revolting world has been borne to the Tree, but it is not true that with the tortures of that Tree the curse has been exhausted. It is true that, in accepting the penalty, man's representative has poured out His human soul unto death, and yet it is not true that the Divine scheme of man's redemption is an accomplished fact. Let it be furtber admitted that, in so doing, He has encountered every possible liability which the broken law required, and drunk the cup of expiation to the very dregs—not, of course, the enduranco of eternal misery: that were absurd, for eternal misery was not the alternative threatened to Adam ; but death was. Death, therefore, our Lord sustained. And yet man lives not, in consequence.

How is this? And now the answer to the above inquiries deftly presents itself to view. So long as the Victim remains under the power of death, so long He is under the curse, and man's redemption is at a standstill. To adopt Paul's representation of the matter : Stopping short of the Lord's resurrection, we are yet in our sins.” Surely this is emphatic enough. So that it comes to this : that at the crisis now reached, Jesus Christ, crucified, dead, and buried, is of no value to the race; for in this momentous affair, while anything remains to be done, nothing is done. An entire world is lying stricken to death for sin, and He is only another victim added to the general holocaust. Then, the reply to the question with which we began, “ What is finished ? " must surely, take the following form, All is finished which He could undertake as a man, but nothing beyond. This brings us to the next stage.

Alas! how familiar we are with the statement that He suffered in weakness and rose in power; yet how insensible to the illustrious issues involved. Must it again be repeated that, though His manhood had been subjected to the degradation of utter destruction, yet, as the Son of God, possessing the spirit of holiness, it was impossible that He co holden of the bands of death ; that, consequently, by the spirit of huliness, He burst those bands asunder, and proved Himself to be the Son of God with power.

No longer He acts as a mortal man. He rises an immortal man-a life-giving Spirit-a God.

Is it now all finished ? Is the work of redemption now complete ? No, not yet.

The Divine Spirit must descend into individual hearts, and by an act of sovereign favour, quicken them into life, and cause them to be one with their living Head in every conceivable sense. Such hearts constitute His Church-His Bride. Christ has taken His Bride with her dowry of sin and shame. That dowry He has borne to the Tree. She now takes and shares His place as one body and one spirit with Him ; and, therefore, is as acceptable before the Father as Christ Himself. Henceforth her service is a loving service; not that of trembling bondage, but the outcome of loyal elastic freedom ; for there is no longer any condemnation to those which are in Christ.

And what does the Bride get with her Husband in this case ? She gets Life, to begin with. It is called “ passing from death into life, “ a new birth, regeneration.” How appropriate, then, is the term “ Justification of life.” With the gift of Life she gets everything. She shares with her Husband, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption --His spirit of holiness in short, which ensures an individual personal resurrection to every member. And the resurrection of the Bride is a resurrection to immortality.

Immortality, then, is the inheritance of the regenerate, and of the regenerate only. Is not this the legitimate, the logical, the inevitable, nay, the triumphant outflow of the course of thought which we have been traversing?

This is the mystery, not written in nature, not written in science, not written in the literature of this world; but it is written in the Word of God which liveth and abideth for ever. This is the doctrine of justification of life. This was the doctrine of the apostolic church. This was the doctrine which the church of the priests very speedily discovered to be unfavourable to their reign, and therefore very speedily resolved to exterminate. And this was the doctrine which, in defiance of the priests, Martin Luther was raised up by God to re-proclaim, and, if possible, to re-establish throughout newly-awakened Europe.

But did Luther succeed in re-establishing it ? No. Is it established by any government on earth ? No. And why not? For the self-same reasons which procured its abolition in the early church. Personally, because it upset man's beloved self-righteousness; polemically, because it would not suit the governmental purposes either of priest or civil ruler. A Gospel such as this was seen to be an appeal to personal love and to personal chivalry of the sublimest order. Though not necessarily antinational, the oatflow of its sympathies was manifestly cosmopolitan; whereas governmental appeals, whether ecclesiastic or civil, must always bə addressed to slavish fears and to local attachments. So long as two rival powers, like those designated the civil and the ecclesiastic, can each command an army of supporters, and can both keep the field, they find themselves compelled for mutual safety to play into one another's hands. Should one fall, it is commonly supposed that the other must go too; though this is by no means a logical necessity. Still, so long as they co-exist, sitting in conclave, they may be heard debating somewhat after the following fashion: “ This gospel of freedom may suit the common people, but it suits not us. It evades our control and impoverishes oor exchequer. How then shall it be most effectually arrested and counterworked? Why, simply thus: by restoring the old rotten belief of righteousness won by keeping the law; by letting in again upon the church the Greek and Egyptian philosophies; by re-investing every man with an immortal soul as his inherent right, independently of any Divine Redeemer; and by allowing Plato once more to usurp the canonical chair of theology, and to wear the diploma of doctor of divinity. Re-establish the reign of terror by assuring your ignorant, unsuspecting auditory that they have inalienable immortality, whether they like it or

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not; and when this position is universally enforced and popularly accepted, our joint dominion over their consciences, and over their purses, is secure.

The result has shown that this reasoning and this line of policy, down through all the ages since the reign of Constantine, has been eminently adapted to secure the end in view; and that end, without any verbal circumlocution, is simply the subjugation of the masses. Many of Luther's contemporaries apprehended the doctrinal truth in debate as well as he did our own William Tyndale by pre-eminence ; but the despotic instincts of those who, at that era, were prominently engaged in modelling the new Protestant States, suggested that it was safer to relinquish and suppress some portion of apostolic truth than to leave the people entirely without ecclesiastical guidance—which means ecclesiastical pillage. A governmental religion never can be the religion of Jesus Christ; but far better than the religion of Jesus Christ it answers the purposes of coercion, by suppressing inquiry, and removing the burden of individual responsibility. All you have to do is to bring into prominence (whether visible to the bodily eye or not, matters little) the two tables of the law, administer what are called the sacraments, and enforce the principle of ecclesiastical obedience. But especially and above all things, keep out of the people's sight the doctrine of the justification of life; and, should the national conscience demand its articulation in their creeds, “the conspiracy of silence' preachers may easily avail to render it nugatory.

Need we go any farther than this in search of the dark delusion styled in Scripture " the mystery of iniquity”? The Apostle Paul said it was already working in the church, as he wrote. There it is! Tell the people that, by their very constitution as men, they have before them an eternity of bliss or an eternity of misery; invest the clergy at the same time with the power of the keys; and, so long as the people believe it, you have them at your mercy. Yes, just so long as they believe it they will render you the homage of their fears. But let them once begin to think for themselves, and the prompt result will be that they will throw Christiacity overboard as an imposture; just what we see taking place around us at the present moment.

To arrest this headlong rush of the nations towards an irrevocable Hades might be rhetorically set forth as an illustrious vocation and an angelic enterprise, could it be shown that such a mission has ever been committed to the militant church. But no where does Scripture represent that such is her task. The Bride's duty is to make herself ready; and this will tax her utmost capacity. Are the professed participants of Life in Christ at all aware of the necessity which lies upon them in this behalf ? Is the confident hope of personal salvation habitually worn as a helmet, conspicuous in the world's battles (to adopt a metaphor from a far less tragic warfare) as the traditional white plume of Henry of Navarre? If so, then let the crisis come. Blessed is he who shall be permitted to carry his insignia into the thickest of the fight. To the eyes of spectators the emblem of victory may seem alternately to rise and fall; to glitter for a while in the sunlight, and anon to go down in dust and dishonour.

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