A second class of passages in the epistles of Paul would naturally cause the common reader to conclude that he imagined that the unregenerate those unfit for the presence of God were to be annihilated when Christ, after his second coming, should return to heaven with his saints. "Those who know not God and obey not the gospel of Christ shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence and glory of the Lord when he shall come." "The end of the enemies of the cross of Christ is destruction." "The vessels of wrath fitted for destruction." "As many as have sinned without law shall perish without law." But it is to be observed that the word here rendered "destruction" need not signify annihilation. It often, even in Paul's epistles, plainly means severe punishment, dreadful misery, moral ruin, and retribution. For example, "foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition," "piercing them through with many sorrows." It may or may not have that sense in the instances above cited. Their meaning is intrinsically uncertain: we must bring other passages and distinct considerations to aid our interpretation.
From a third selection of texts in Paul's epistles it is not strange that some persons have deduced the doctrine of unconditional, universal salvation. "As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive." But the genuine explanation of this sentence, we are constrained to believe, is as follows: "As, following after the example of Adam, all souls descend below, so, following after Christ, all shall be raised up," that is, at the judgment, after which event some may be taken to heaven, others banished again into Hades. "We trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of them that believe." This means that all men have been saved now from the unconditional sentence to Hades brought on them by the first sin, but not all know the glad tidings: those who receive them into believing hearts are already exulting over their deliverance and their hopes of heaven. All are objectively saved from the unavoidable and universal necessity of Hadean imprisonment; the obedient believers are also subjectively saved from the contingent and personal risk of incurring that doom. "God hath shut them all up together in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all." "All" here means both Jews and Gentiles; and the reference is to the universal annulment of the universal fatality, and the impartial offer of heaven to every one who sanctifies the truth in his heart. In some cases the word "all" is used with rhetorical looseness, not with logical rigidness, and denotes merely all Christians. Ruckert shows this well in his commentary on the fifteenth chapter of First Corinthians. In other instances the universality, which is indeed plainly there, applies to the removal from the race of the inherited doom; while a conditionality is unquestionably implied as to the actual salvation of each person. We say Paul does constantly represent personal salvation as depending on conditions, as beset by perils and to be earnestly striven for. "Lest that by any means I myself should be a castaway." "Deliver such an one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus." "Wherefore we labor, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of the lord." "To them that are saved we are a savor of life unto life; to them that perish, a savor of death unto death." "Charge them that are rich that they be humble and do good, laying up in store a good foundation, that they may lay hold on eternal life." It is clear, from these and many similar passages of Paul, that he did not believe in the unconditional salvation, the positive mechanical salvation, of all individuals, but held personal salvation to be a contingent problem, to be worked out, through the permitting grace of God, by Christian faith, works, and character. How plainly this is contained, too, in his doctrine of "a resurrection of the just and the unjust," and of a day of judgment, from whose august tribunal Christ is to pronounce sentence according to each man's deeds! At the same time, the undeniable fact deserves particular remembrance that he says, and apparently knows, nothing whatever of a hell, in the present acceptation of that term, a prison house of fiery tortures. He assigns the realm of Satan and the evil spirits to the air, the vexed region between earth and heaven, according to the demonology of his age and country. 22
Finally, there is a fourth class of passages, from which we might infer that the apostle's faith merely excluded the reprobate from participating in the ascent with Christ, just as some of the Pharisees excluded the Gentiles from their resurrection, and there left the subject in darkness.
22 A detailed and most curious account of this region, which he calls Tartarus, is given by Angustine. De Gen. ad. lit. lib. iii. cap. 14, 15, ed. Benedictina.
"They that are Christ's," "the dead in Christ, shall rise." "No sensualist, extortioner, idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God." "There is laid up a crown of righteousness, which the Lord shall give in that day to all them that love his appearing." In all these, and in many other cases, there is a marked omission of any reference to the ultimate positive disposal of the wicked. Still, against the supposition of his holding the doctrine that all except good Christians would be left below eternally, we have his repeated explicit avowals. "I have hope towards God that there shall be a resurrection both of the just and the unjust." "We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ." These last statements, however, prove only that Paul thought the bad as well as the good would be raised up and judged: they are not inconsistent with the belief that the condemned would afterwards either be annihilated, or remanded everlastingly to the under world. This very belief, we think, is contained in that remarkable passage where Paul writes to the Philippians that he strives "if by any means he may attain unto the resurrection." Now, the common resurrection of the dead for judgment needed not to be striven for: it would occur to all unconditionally. But there is another resurrection, or another part remaining to complete the resurrection, namely, after the judgment, a rising of the accepted to heaven. All shall rise from Hades upon the earth to judgment. This Paul calls simply the resurrection, [Non ASCII Characters] After the judgment, the accepted shall rise to heaven. This Paul calls, with distinctive emphasis, [Non ASCII Characters] the pre eminent or complete resurrection, the prefix being used as an intensive. This is what the apostle considers uncertain and labors to secure, "stretching forward and pressing towards the goal for the prize of that call upwards," [Non ASCII Characters] (that invitation to heaven,) "which God has extended through Christ." Those who are condemned at the judgment can have no part in this completion of the resurrection, cannot enter the heavenly kingdom, but must be "punished with everlasting destruction from the presence and glory of the Lord," that is, as we suppose is signified, be thrust into the under world for evermore. As unessential to our object, we have omitted an exposition of the Pauline doctrine of the natural rank and proper or delegated offices of Christ in the universe; also an examination of the validity of the doubts and arguments brought against the genuineness of the lesser epistles ascribed to Paul. In close, we will sum up in brief array the leading conceptions in his view of the last things. First, there is a world of immortal light and bliss over the sky, the exclusive abode of God and the angels from of old; and there is a dreary world of darkness and repose under the earth, the abode of all departed human spirits. Secondly, death was originally meant to lead souls into heaven, clothed in new and divine bodies, immediately on the fall of the present tabernacle; but sin broke that plan and doomed souls to pass disembodied into Hades. Thirdly, the Mosaic dispensation of law could not deliver men from that sentence; but God had promised Abraham that through one of his posterity they should be delivered. To fulfil that promise Christ came. He illustrated God's unpurchased love and forgiveness and determination to restore the original plan, as if men had never sinned. Christ effected this aim, in conjunction with his teachings, by dying, descending into Hades, as if the doom of a sinful man were upon him also, subduing the powers of that prison house, rising again, and ascending into heaven, the first one ever admitted there from among the dead, thus exemplifying the fulfilled "expectation of the creature that was groaning and travailing in pain" to be born into the freedom of the heavenly glory of the sons of God. Fourthly, "justification by faith," therefore, means the redemption from Hades by acceptance of the dispensation of free grace which is proclaimed in the gospel. Fifthly, every sanctified believer receives a pledge or earnest of the spirit sealing him as God's and assuring him of acceptance with Christ and of advance to heaven. Sixthly, Christ is speedily to come a second time, come in glory and power irresistible, to consummate his mission, raise the dead, judge the world, establish a new order of things, and return into heaven with his chosen ones. Seventhly, the stubbornly wicked portion of mankind will be returned eternally into the under world. Eighthly, after the judgment the subterranean realm of death will be shut up, no more souls going into it, but all men at their dissolution being instantly invested with spiritual bodies and ascending to the glories of the Lord. Finally, Jesus having put down all enemies and restored the primeval paradise will yield up his mediatorial throne, and God the Father be all in all.
The preparatory rudiments of this system of the last things existed in the belief of the age, and it was itself composed by the union of a theoretic interpretation of the life of Christ and of the connected phenomena succeeding his death, with the elements of Pharasaic Judaism, all mingled in the crucible of the soul of Paul and fused by the fires of his experience. It illustrates a great number of puzzling passages in the New Testament, without the necessity of recourse to the unnatural, incredible, unwarranted dogmas associated with them by the unique, isolated peculiarities of Calvinism. The interpretation given above, moreover, has this strong confirmation of its accuracy, namely, that it is arrived at from the stand point of the thought and life of the Apostle Paul in the first century, not from the stand point of the theology and experience of the educated Christian of the nineteenth century.
JOHN'S DOCTRINE OF A FUTURE LIFE.
WE are now to see if we can determine and explain what were the views of the Apostle John upon the subject of death and life, condemnation and salvation, the resurrection and immortality. To understand his opinions on these points, it is obviously necessary to examine his general system of theological thought. John is regarded as the writer of the proem to the fourth Gospel, also of three brief epistles. There are such widely spread doubts of his being the author of the Apocalypse that it has seemed better to examine that production separately, leaving each one free to attribute its doctrine of the last things to whatever person known or unknown he believes wrote the book. It is true that the authorship of the fourth Gospel itself is powerfully disputed; but an investigation of that question would lead us too far and detain us too long from our real aim, which is not to discuss the genuineness or the authority of the New Testament documents, but to show their meaning in what they actually contain and imply concerning a future life. It is necessary to premise that we think it certain that John wrote with some reference to the sprouting philosophy of his time, the Platonic and Oriental speculations so early engrafted upon the stock of Christian doctrine. For the peculiar theories which were matured and systematized in the second and third centuries by the Gnostic sects were floating about, in crude and fragmentary forms, at the close of the first century, when the apostle wrote. They immediately awakened dissension and alarm, cries of heresy and orthodoxy, in the Church. Some modern writers deny the presence in the New Testament of any allusion to such views; but the weight of evidence on the other side internal, from similarity of phrase, and external, from the testimony of early Fathers is, when accumulated and appreciated, overwhelming. Among these Gnostic notions the most distinctive and prominent was the belief that the world was created and the Jewish dispensation given, not by the true and infinite God, but by a subordinate and imperfect deity, the absolute God remaining separate from all created things, unknown and afar, in the sufficiency of his aboriginal pleroma or fulness. The Gnostics also maintained that Creative Power, Reason, Life, Truth, Love, and other kindred realities, were individual beings, who had emanated from God, and who by their own efficiency constructed, illuminated, and carried on the various provinces of creation and races of existence. Many other opinions, fanciful, absurd, or recondite, which they held, it is not necessary here to state. The evangelist, without alluding perhaps to any particular teachers or systems of these doctrines, but only to their general scope, traverses by his declarations partially the same ground of thought which they cover, stating dogmatically the positive facts as he apprehended them. He agrees with some of the Gnostic doctrines and differs from others, not setting himself to follow or to oppose them indiscriminately, but to do either as the truth seemed to him to require.
There are two methods of seeking the meaning of the introduction to the fourth Gospel where the Johannean doctrine of the Logos is condensed. We may study it grammatically, or historically; morally, or metaphysically; from the point of view of experimental religious faith, or from that of contemporary speculative philosophy. He who omits either of these ways of regarding the subject must arrive at an interpretation essentially defective. Both modes of investigation are indispensable for acquiring a full comprehension of the expressions employed and the thoughts intended. But to be fitted to understand the theme in its historical aspect which, in this case, for purposes of criticism, is by far the more important one must be intelligently acquainted with the Hebrew personification of the Wisdom, also of the Word, of God; with the Platonic conception of archetypal ideas; with the Alexandrian Jewish doctrine of the Divine Logos; and with the relevant Gnostic and Christian speculation and phraseology of the first two centuries. Especially must the student be familiar with Philo, who was an eminent Platonic Jewish philosopher and a celebrated writer, flourishing previous to the composition of the fourth Gospel, in which, indeed, there is scarcely a single superhuman predicate of Christ which may not be paralleled with striking closeness from his extant works. In all these fields are found, in imperfect proportions and fragments, the materials which are developed in John's belief of the Logos become flesh. To present all these materials here would be somewhat out of place and would require too much room. We shall, therefore, simply state, as briefly and clearly as possible, the final conclusions to which a thorough study has led us, drawing such illustrations as we do advance almost entirely from Philo.1
1 The reader who wishes to see in smallest compass and most lucid order the facts requisite for the formation of a judgment is referred to Lucke's "Dissertation on the Logos," to Norton's "Statement of Reasons," and to Neander's exposition of the Johannean theology in his "Planting and Training of the Church." Nearly every thing important, both external and internal, is collected in these three sources taken together, and set forth with great candor, power, and skill. Differing in their conclusions, they supply pretty adequate means for the independent student to conclude for himself.
In the first place, what view of the Father himself, the absolute Deity, do these writings present? John conceives of God no one can well collate the relevant texts in his works without perceiving this as the one perfect and eternal Spirit, in himself invisible to mortal eyes, the Personal Love, Life, Truth, Light, "in whom is no darkness at all." This corresponds entirely with the purest and highest idea the human mind can form of the one untreated infinite God. The apostle, then, going back to the period anterior to the material creation, and soaring to the contemplation of the sole God, does not conceive of him as being utterly alone, but as having a Son with him, an "only begotten Son," a beloved companion "before the foundation of the world." "In the beginning was the Logos, and the Logos was with God, and the Logos was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was nothing made that was made." The true explanation of these words, according to their undeniable historical and their unforced grammatical. There is an English translation of it, by Professor G. R. Noyes, in the numbers of the Christian Examiner for March and May, 1849, meaning, is as follows. Before the material creation, when God was yet the sole being, his first production, the Logos, was a Son, at once the image of himself and the idea of the yet uncreated world. By him this personal Idea, Son, or Logos all things were afterward created; or, more exactly, through him, by means of him, all things became, that is, were brought, from their being in a state of conception in the mind of God, into actual existence in space and time. Thus Philo says, "God is the most generic; second is the Logos of God."2 "The Logos is the first begotten Son."3 "The Logos of God is above the whole world, and is the most ancient and generic of all that had a beginning."4 "Nothing intervenes between the Logos and God on whom he rests."5 "This sensible world is the junior son of God; the Senior is the Idea,"6 or Logos. "The shadow and seeming portrait of God is his Logos, by which, as by an assumed instrument, he made the world. As God is the original of the image here called shadow, so this image becomes the original of other things."7 "The intelligible world, or world of archetypal ideas, is the Logos of the world creating God; as an intelligible or ideal city is the thought of the architect reflecting to build a sensible city."8 "Of the world, God is the cause by which, the four elements the material from which, the Logos the instrument through which, the goodness of the Creator the end for which, it was made."9 These citations from Philo clearly show, in various stages of development, that doctrine of the Logos which began first arguing to the Divine Being from human analogies with separating the conception of a plan in the mind of God from its execution in fact; proceeded with personifying that plan, or sum of ideas, as a mediating agent between motive and action, between impulse and fulfilment; and ended with hypostatizing the arranging power of the Divine thought as a separate being, his intellectual image or Son, his first and perfect production. They unequivocally express these thoughts: that God is the only being who was from eternity; that the Logos was the first begotten, antemundane being, that he was the likeness, image, immediate manifestation, of the Father; that he was the medium of creation, the instrumental means in the outward formation of the world. History shows us this doctrine unfolded by minute steps, which it would be tedious to follow, from the Book of Proverbs to Philo Judaus and John, from Plato to Justin Martyr and Athanasius. But the rapid sketch just presented may be sufficient now.
When it is written, "and the Logos was God," the meaning is not strictly literal. To guard against its being so considered, the author tautologically repeats what he had said immediately before, "the same was in the beginning with God." Upon the supposition that the Logos is strictly identical with God, the verses make utter nonsense. "In the beginning was God, and God was with God, and God was God. God was in the beginning with God." But suppose the Logos to mean an ante mundane but subordinate being, who was a perfect image or likeness of God, and the sense is both clear and satisfactory, and no violence is done either to historical data or to grammatical demands. "And the Logos was God," that is, was the mirror or facsimile of God. So, employing the same idiom, we are accustomed to say
2 Mangey's edition of Philo, vol. i. p. 82.
3 Ibid. p. 308.
4 Ibid. p. 121.
5 Ibid. p. 560.
6 Ibid. p. 277.
7 Ibid. p. 106.
8 Ibid. p. 5.
9 Ibid. p. 162.
of an accurate representation of a person, It is the very man himself! Or, without the use of this idiom, we may explain the expression "the Logos was God" thus: He stands in the place of God to the lower creation: practically considered, he is as God to us. As Philo writes, "To the wise and perfect the Most High is God; but to us, imperfect beings, the Logos God's interpreter is God."10
The inward significance of the Logos doctrine, in all its degrees and phases, circumstantially and essentially, from first to last, is the revelation of God. God himself, in himself, is conceived as absolutely withdrawn beyond the apprehension of men, in boundless immensity and inaccessible secrecy. His own nature is hidden, as a thought is hidden in the mind; but he has the power of revealing it, as a thought is revealed by speaking it in a word. That uttered word is the Logos, and is afterwards conceived as a person, and as creative, then as building and glorifying the world. All of God that is sent forth from passive concealment into active manifestation is the Logos. "The term Logos comprehends," Norton says, "all the attributes of God manifested in the creation and government of the universe." The Logos is the hypostasis of "the unfolded portion," "the revealing power," "the self showing faculty," "the manifesting action," of God. The essential idea, then, concerning the Logos is that he is the means through which the hidden God comes to the cognizance of his creatures. In harmony with this prevailing philosophy one who believed the Logos to have been incarnated in Christ would suppose the purpose of his incarnation to be the fuller revelation of God to men. And Martineau says, "The view of revelation which is implicated in the folds of the Logos doctrine that everywhere pervades the fourth Gospel, is that it is the appearance to beings who have something of a divine spirit within them, of a yet diviner without them, leading them to the divinest of all, who embraces them both." This is a fine statement of the practical religious aspect of John's conception of the nature and office of the Savior.
Since he regarded God as personal love, life, truth, and light, and Christ, the embodied Logos, as his only begotten Son, an exact image of him in manifestation, it follows that John regarded Christ, next in rank below God, as personal love, life, truth, and light; and the belief that he was the necessary medium of communicating these Divine blessings to men would naturally result. Accordingly, we find that John repeats, as falling from the lips of Christ, all the declarations required by and supporting such an hypothesis. "I am the way, the truth, and the life." "No man cometh unto the Father but by me." But Philo, too, had written before in precisely the same strain. Witness the correspondences between the following quotations respectively from John and Philo. "I am the bread which came down from heaven to give life to the world."11 Whoso eateth my body and drinketh my blood hath eternal life."12 "Behold, I rain bread upon you from heaven: the heavenly food of the soul is the word of God, and the Divine Logos, from whom all eternal instructions and wisdoms flow."13 "The bread the Lord gave us to eat was his word."14 "Except ye eat my flesh and drink my blood, ye have no life
10 Mangey's edition of Philo, vol. ii. p. 128.
11 John vi. 33. 41.
12 Ibid. 54.
13 Quoted by G. Scheffer in his Treatise "De Usu Philonis in Interpretatione Novi Testamenti," p. 82.
14 lbid. p. 81.
in you."15 "He alone can become the heir of incorporeal and divine things whose whole soul is filled with the salubrious Word."16 "Every one that seeth the Son and believeth on him shall have everlasting life."17 "He strains every nerve towards the highest Divine Logos, who is the fountain of wisdom, in order that, drawing from that spring, he may escape death and win everlasting life."18 "I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread he shall live forever."19 "Lifting up his eyes to the ether, man receives manna, the Divine Logos, heavenly and immortal nourishment for the right desiring soul."20 "God is the perennial fountain of life; God is the fountain of the most ancient Logos."21 "As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father, so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me."22 Does it not seem perfectly plain that John's doctrine of the Christ is at bottom identical with Philo's doctrine of the Logos? The difference of development in the two doctrines, so far as there is a difference, is that the latter view is philosophical, abstract; the former, practical, historical. Philo describes the Logos ideally, filling the supersensible sphere, mediating between the world and God; John presents him really, incarnated as a man, effecting the redemption of our race. The same dignity, the same offices, are predicated of him by both. John declares, "In him [the Divine Logos] was life, and the life was the light of men."23 Philo asserts, "Nothing is more luminous and irradiating than the Divine Logos, by the participation of whom other things expel darkness and gloom, earnestly desiring to partake of living light."24 John speaks of Christ as "the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father."25 Philo says, "The Logos is the first begotten Son of God," "between whom and God nothing intervenes."26 John writes, "The Son of man will give you the food of everlasting life; for him hath God the Father sealed."27 Philo writes, "The stamp of the seal of God is the immortal Logos."28 We have this from John: "He was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin."29 And this from Philo: "The Divine Logos is free from all sins, voluntary and involuntary."30
The Johannean Christ is the Philonean Logos born into the world as a man. "And the Logos was made flesh, and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth." The substance of what has thus far been established may now be concisely stated. The essential thought, whether the subject be metaphysically or practically considered, is this. God is the eternal, infinite personality of love and truth, life and light. The Logos is his first born Son, his exact image, the reproduction of his being, the next lower personality of love and truth, life and light, the instrument for creating and ruling the world, the revelation of God, the medium of communication between God and his works. Christ is that Logos come upon the earth as a man to save the perishing, proving his pre existence and superhuman nature by his miraculous knowledge and works. That the belief expressed in the last sentence is correctly attributed to John will
15 John vi. 53.
16 Philo, vol. i. p. 482.
17 John vi. 40.
18 Philo, vol. i. p. 560.
19 John vi. 51.
20 Philo, vol. i. p. 498.
21 Ibid. pp. 575, 207.
22 John vi. 57.
23 John i. 4.
24 Philo, vol. i. p. 121.
25 John i. 18.
26 Philo, vol. i. pp. 427, 560.
27 John vi. 27.
28 Philo, vol. ii. p. 606.
29 1 John iii. 5.
30 Philo, vol. i. p. 562.
be repeatedly substantiated before the close of this chapter: in regard to the statements in the preceding sentences no further proof is thought necessary.
With the aid of a little repetition, we will now attempt to make a step of progress. The tokens of energy, order, splendor, beneficence, in the universe, are not, according to John, as we have seen, the effects of angelic personages, emanating gods, Gnostic aons, but are the workings of the self revealing power of the one true and eternal God, this power being conceived by John, according to the philosophy of his age, as a proper person, God's instrument in creation. Reason, life, light, love, grace, righteousness, kindred terms so thickly scattered over his pages, are not to him, as they were to the Gnostics, separate beings, but are the very working of the Logos, consubstantial manifestations of God's nature and attributes. But mankind, fallen into folly and vice, perversity and sin, lying in darkness, were ignorant that these Divine qualities were in reality mediate exhibitions of God, immediate exhibitions of the Logos. "The light was shining in darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not." Then, to reveal to men the truth, to regenerate them and conjoin them through himself with the Father in the experience of eternal life, the hypostatized Logos left his transcendent glory in heaven and came into the world in the person of Jesus. "No man hath seen God at any time: the only begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father, he hath revealed him." "I came down from heaven to do the will of Him that sent me." This will is that all who see and believe on the Son shall have everlasting life. "God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." "The bread of God is He who cometh down from heaven and giveth life to the world." The doctrine of the pre existence of souls, and of their being born into the world in the flesh, was rife in Judea when this Gospel was written, and is repeatedly alluded to in it.31 That John applies this doctrine to Christ in the following and in other instances is obvious. "Before Abraham was, I am." "I came forth from the Father and am come into the world." "Father, glorify thou me with the glory which I had with thee before the world was." "What and if ye shall see the Son of Man ascend up where he was before?" As for ourselves, we do not see how it is possible for any unprejudiced person, after studying the fourth Gospel faithfully with the requisite helps, to doubt that the writer of it believed that Jesus pre existed as the Divine Logos, and that he became incarnate to reveal the Father and to bring men into the experience of true eternal life. John declares this, in his first epistle, in so many words, saying, "The living Logos, the eternal life which was with the Father from the beginning, was manifested unto us;" and, "God sent his only begotten Son into the world that we might live through him." Whether the doctrine thus set forth was really entertained and taught by Jesus himself, or whether it is the interpretation put on his language by one whose mind was full of the notions of the age, are distinct questions. With the settlement of these questions we are not now concerned: such a discussion would be more appropriate when examining the genuine meaning of the words of Christ. All that is necessary here is the suggestion that when we show the theological system of John it does not necessarily follow that that is the true
31 John i. 21; ix. 2.
teaching of Christ. Having adopted the Logos doctrine, it might tinge and turn his thoughts and words when reporting from memory, after the lapse of many years, the discourses of his Master. He might unconsciously, under such an influence, represent literally what was figuratively intended, and reflect from his own mind lights and shades, associations and meanings, over all or much of what he wrote. There are philosophical and literary peculiarities which have forced many of the best critics to make this distinction between the intended meaning of Christ's declarations as he uttered them, and their received meaning as this evangelist reported them. Norton says, "Whether St. John did or did not adopt the Platonic conception of the Logos is a question not important to be settled in order to determine our own judgment concerning its truth."32 Lucke has written to the same effect, but more fully: "We are allowed to distinguish the sense in which John understood the words of Christ, from the original sense in which Christ used them."33
It is to be observed that in all that has been brought forward, thus far, there is not the faintest hint of the now current notion of the Trinity. The idea put forth by John is not at all allied with the idea that the infinite God himself assumed a human shape to walk the earth and undergo mortal sufferings. It is simply said that that manifested and revealing portion of the Divine attributes which constituted the hypostatized Logos was incarnated and displayed in a perfect, sinless sample of man, thus exhibiting to the world a finite image of God. We will illustrate this doctrine with reference to the inferences to be drawn from it in regard to human nature. John repeatedly says, in effect, "God is truth," "God is light," "God is love," "God is life." He likewise says of the Savior, "In him was life, and the life was the light of men," and reports him as saying of himself, "I am the truth," "I am the life," "I am the light of the world." The fundamental meaning of these declarations so numerous, striking, and varied in the writings of John is, that all those qualities which the consciousness of humanity has recognised as Divine are consubstantial with the being of God; that all the reflections of them in nature and man belong to the Logos, the eldest Son, the first production, of God; and that in Jesus their personality, the very Logos himself, was consciously embodied, to be brought nearer to men, to be exemplified and recommended to them. Reason, power, truth, light, love, blessedness, are not individual aons, members of a hierarchy of deities, but are the revealing elements of the one true God. The personality of the abstract and absolute fulness of all these substantial qualities is God. The personality of the discerpted portion of them shown in the universe is the Logos. Now, that latter personality Christ was. Consequently, while he was a man, he was not merely a man, but was also a supernatural messenger from heaven, sent into the world to impersonate the image of God under the condition of humanity, free from every sinful defect and spot. Thus, being the manifesting representative of the Father, he could say, "He that hath seen me hath [virtually] seen the Father." Not that they were identical in person, but that they were similar in nature and character, spirit and design: both were eternal holiness, love, truth, and life. "I and my Father are one thing," (in essence, not in personality.) Nothing can be more
32 Statement of Reasons, 1st ed. p. 239.
33 Christian Examiner, May, 1849, p. 431.
unequivocally pronounced than the subordination of the Son to the Father that the Father sent him, that he could do nothing without the Father, that his Father was greater than he, that his testimony was confirmed by the Father's in a hundred places by John, both as author writing his own words and as interpreter reporting Christ's. There is not a text in the record that implies Christ's identity with God, but only his identity with the Logos. The identity of the Logos with God is elementary, not personal. From this view it follows that every man who possesses, knows, and exhibits the elements of the Divine life, the characteristics of God, is in that degree a son of God, Christ being pre eminently the Son on account of his pre eminent likeness, his supernatural divinity, as the incarnate Logos.
That the apostle held and taught this conclusion appears, first, from the fact, otherwise inexplicable, that he records the same sublime statements concerning all good Christians, with no other qualification than that of degree, that he does concerning Christ himself. Was Jesus the Son of God? "To as many as received him he gave power to become the sons of God." There is in Philo a passage corresponding remarkably with this one from John: "Those who have knowledge of the truth are properly called sons of God: he who is still unfit to be named a son of God should endeavor to fashion himself to the first born Logos of God."34 Was Jesus "from above," while wicked men were "from beneath"? "They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world." Was Jesus sent among men with a special commission? "As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world." Was Jesus the subject of a peculiar glory, bestowed upon him by the Father? "The glory which thou gavest me I have given them, that they may be one, even as we are one." Had Jesus an inspiration and a knowledge not vouchsafed to the princes of this world? "Ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things." Did Jesus perform miraculous works? "He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also." In the light of the general principle laid down, that God is the actual fulness of truth and love and light and blessedness; that Christ, the Logos, is the manifested impersonation of them; and that all men who receive him partake of their Divine substance and enjoy their prerogative, the texts just cited, and numerous other similar ones, are transparent. It is difficult to see how on any other hypothesis they can be made to express an intelligible and consistent meaning.
Secondly, we are brought to the same conclusion by the synonymous use and frequent interchange of different terms in the Johannean writings. Not only it is said, "Whoever is born of God cannot sin," but it is also written, "Every one that doeth righteousness is born of God;" and again, "Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God." In other words, having a good character and leading a just life, heartily receiving and obeying the revelation made by Christ, are identical phrases. "He that hath the Son hath life." "Whosoever transgresseth and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ hath not God." "This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith" in the doctrine of Christ. "He that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God and God in him." "He that keepeth the commandments dwelleth in God and God in him." "He that confesseth that Jesus is the Son of God, God
34 Philo, vol. i. p. 427.
dwelleth in him and he in God." "He that doeth good is of God." "God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son." "The Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding that we may know the true God and eternal life." From these citations, and from other passages which will readily occur, we gather the following pregnant results. To "do the truth," "walk in the truth," "walk in the light," "keep the commandments," "do righteousness," "abide in the doctrine of Christ," "do the will of God," "do good," "dwell in love," "abide in Christ," "abide in God," "abide in life," all are expressions meaning precisely the same thing. They all signify essentially the conscious possession of goodness; in other words, the practical adoption of the life and teachings of Jesus; or, in still other terms, the personal assimilation of the spiritual realities of the Logos, which are love, life, truth, light. Jesus having been sent into the world to exemplify the characteristics and claims of the Father, and to regenerate men from unbelief and sin to faith and righteousness, those who were walking in darkness, believers of lies and doers of unrighteousness, those who were abiding in alienation and death, might by receiving and following him be restored to the favor of God and pass from darkness and death into life and light. "This is eternal life, that they should know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent."
The next chief point in the doctrine of John is his belief in an evil being, the personality of wickedness, and the relation between him and bad men. There have been, from the early centuries, keen disputes on the question whether this apostle uses the terms devil and evil one with literal belief or with figurative accommodation. We have not a doubt that the former is the true view. The popular denial of the existence of evil spirits, with an arch demon over them, is the birth of a philosophy much later than the apostolic age. The use of the term "devil" merely as the poetic or ethical personification of the seductive influences of the world is the fruit of theological speculation neither originated nor adopted by the Jewish prophets or by the Christian apostles. Whoso will remember the prevailing faith of the Jews at that time, and the general state of speculative opinion, and will recollect the education of John, and notice the particular manner in which he alludes to the subject throughout his epistles and in his reports of the discourses of Jesus, we think will be convinced that the Johannean system includes a belief in the actual existence of Satan according to the current Pharisaic dogma of that age. It is not to be disguised, either, that the investigations of the ablest critics have led an overwhelming majority of them to this interpretation. "I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the evil one." "He that is begotten of God guardeth himself, and the evil one toucheth him not." "He that committeth sin is of the devil, for the devil sinneth from the beginning." "Whosoever is born of God cannot sin. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil." "Ye are of your father the devil, and his lusts ye will do." There can be no doubt that these, and other passages of a kindred and complementary nature, yield the following view. Good men are allied to God, because their characteristics are the same as his, truth, light, love, life, righteousness. "As he is, so are we in this world." Bad men are allied to the devil, because their characteristics are the same as his, falsehood, darkness, hatred, death, sin. "Cain, who slew his brother, was of the evil one." The facts, then, of the great moral problem of the world, according to John, were these. God is the infinite Father, whose nature and attributes comprehend all holy, beautiful, desirable realities, and who would draw mankind to his blessed embrace forever. The goodness, illumination, and joy of holy souls reflect his holiness and display his reign. The devil is the great spirit of wickedness, whose attributes comprehend all evil, dark, fearful realities, and who entices mankind to sin. The wickedness, gloom, and misery of corrupt souls reveal his likeness and his kingdom.
The former manifests himself in the glories of the world and in the divine qualities of the soul. The latter manifests himself in the whole history of temptation and sin and in the vicious tendencies of the heart. Good men, those possessing pre eminently the moral qualities of God, are his children, are born of him, that is, are inspired and led by him. Bad men, those possessing in a ruling degree the qualities of the devil, are his children, are born of him, that is, are animated and governed by his spirit.
Whether the evangelist gave to his own mind any philosophical account of the origin and destiny of the devil or not is a question concerning which his writings are not explicit enough for us to determine. In the beginning he represents God as making, by means of the Logos, all things that were made, and his light as shining in darkness that comprehended it not. Now, he may have conceived of matter as uncreated, eternally existing in formless night, the ground of the devil's being, and may have limited the work of creation to breaking up the sightless chaos, defining it into orderly shapes, filling it with light and motion, and peopling it with children of heaven. Such was the Persian faith, familiar at that time to the Jews. Neander, with others, objects to this view that it would destroy John's monotheism and make him a dualist, a believer in two self existents, aboriginal and everlasting antagonists. It only needs to be observed, in reply, that John was not a philosopher of such thorough dialectic training as to render it impossible for inconsistencies to coexist in his thoughts. In fact, any one who will examine the beliefs of even such men as Origen and Augustine will perceive that such an objection is not valid. Some writers of ability and eminence have tried to maintain that the Johannean conception of Satan was of some exalted archangel who apostatized from the law of God and fell from heaven into the abyss of night, sin, and woe. They could have been led to such an hypothesis only by preconceived notions and prejudices, because there is not in John's writings even the obscurest intimation of such a doctrine. On the contrary, it is written that the devil is a liar and the father of lies from the beginning, the same phrase used to denote the primitive companionship of God and his Logos anterior to the creation. The devil is spoken of by John, with prominent consistency, as bearing the same relation to darkness, falsehood, sin, and death that God bears to light, truth, righteousness, and life, that is, as being their original personality and source. Whether the belief itself be true or not, be reconcilable with pure Christianity or not, in our opinion John undoubtedly held the belief of the personality of the source of wickedness, and supposed that the great body of mankind had been seduced by him from the free service of heaven, and had become infatuated in his bondage.
Just here in the scheme of Christianity arises the necessity, appears the profound significance in the apostolic belief, of that disinterested interference of God through his revelation in Christ which aimed to break the reigning power of sin and redeem lost men from the tyranny of Satan. "For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil."
That is to say, the revelation of the nature and will of God in the works of the creation and in the human soul was not enough, even when aided by the law of Moses, to preserve men in the truth and the life. They had been seduced by the evil one into sin, alienated from the Divine favor, and plunged in darkness and death. A fuller, more powerful manifestation of the character, claims, attractions of the Father was necessary to recall the benighted wanderers from their lost state and restore them to those right relations and to that conscious communion with God in which alone true life consists. Then, and for that purpose, Jesus Christ was commissioned to appear, a pre existent being of most exalted rank, migrating from the super stellar sphere into this world, to embody and mirror forth through the flesh those characteristics which are the natural attributes of God the Father and the essential conditions of heaven the home. In him the glorious features of the Divinity were miniatured on a finite scale and perfectly exhibited, "thus revealing," (as Neander says, in his exposition of John's doctrine,) "for the first time, in a comprehensible manner, what a being that God is whose holy personality man was created to represent." So Philo says, "The Logos is the image of God, and man is the image of the Logos."35 Therefore, according to this view, man is the image of the image of God. The dimmed, imperfect reflection of the Father, originally shining in nature and the soul, would enable all who had not suppressed it and lost the knowledge of it, to recognise at once and adore the illuminated image of Him manifested and moving before them in the person of the Son; the faint gleams of Divine qualities yet left within their souls would spontaneously blend with the full splendors irradiating the form of the inspired and immaculate Christ. Thus they would enter into a new and intensified communion with God, and experience an unparalleled depth of peace and joy, an inspired assurance of eternal life. But those who, by worldliness and wickedness, had obscured and destroyed all their natural knowledge of God and their affinities to him, being without the inward preparation and susceptibility for the Divine which the Savior embodied and manifested, would not be able to receive it, and thus would pass an infallible sentence upon themselves. "When the Comforter is come, he will convict the world of sin, because they believe not on me." "He that believeth on the Son hath eternal life; but he that believeth not is condemned already, in that he loveth darkness rather than light." "Hereby know we the spirit of truth and the spirit of error: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us." "Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ?" The idea is, that such a denial must be caused by inward depravity, could only spring from an evil character.
In the ground thought just presented we may find the explanation of the seemingly obscure and confused use of terms in the following instances, and learn to understand more fully John's idea of the effect of spiritual contact with Christ. "He that doeth righteousness is born of God." "He that believeth Jesus to be the Christ is born of God." "He that denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father." "He that hath the Son hath life." These passages all become perspicuous and concordant in view of John's conception of the inward unity of
35 Philo, vol. i. p. 106.
truth, or the universal oneness of the Divine life, in God, in Christ, in all souls that partake of it. A character in harmony with the character of God will, by virtue of its inherent light and affinity, recognise the kindred attributes or characteristics of God, wherever manifested. He who perceives and embraces the Divinity in the character of Christ proves thereby that he was prepared to receive it by kindred qualities residing in himself, proves that he was distinctively of God. He who fails to perceive the peculiar glory of Christ proves thereby that he was alienated and blinded by sin and darkness, distinctively of the evil one. Varying the expression to illustrate the thought, if the light and warmth of a living love of God were in a soul, it would necessarily, when brought into contact with the concentrated radiance of Divinity incarnated and beaming in Christ, effect a more fervent, conscious, and abiding union with the Father than could be known before he was thus revealed. But if iniquities, sinful lusts, possessing the soul, had made it hard and cold, even the blaze of spotless virtues and miraculous endowments in the manifesting Messiah would be the radiation of light upon darkness insensible to it. Therefore, the presentation of the Divine contents of the soul or character of Jesus to different persons was an unerring test of their previous moral state: the good would apprehend him with a thrill of unison, the bad would not. To have the Son, to have the Father, to have the truth, to have eternal life, all are the same thing: hence, where one is predicated or denied all are predicated or denied.
Continuing our investigation, we shall find the distinction drawn of a sensual or perishing life and a spiritual or eternal life. The term world (kosmos) is used by John apparently in two different senses. First, it seems to signify all mankind, divided sometimes into the unbelievers and the Christians. "Christ is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." "God sent not his Son to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved." It is undeniable that "world" here means not the earth, but the men on the earth. Secondly, "world" in the dialect of John means all the evil, all the vitiating power, of the material creation. "Now shall the Prince of this world be cast out." It is not meant that this is the devil's world, because John declares in the beginning that God made it; but he means that all diabolic influence comes from the darkness of matter fighting against the light of Divinity, and by a figure he says "world," meaning the evils in the world, meaning all the follies, vanities, sins, seductive influences, of the dark and earthy, the temporal and sensual. In this case the love of the world means almost precisely what is expressed by the modern word worldliness. "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him."
In a vein strikingly similar, Philo writes, "It is impossible for the love of the world and the love of God to coexist, as it is impossible for light and darkness to coexist."36 "For all that is in the world," says John, "the lust of the flesh, and the greed of the eyes, and the pomp of living, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passes away, with the lust thereof: but he that does the will of God abides forever." He who is taken up and absorbed in the gauds and pleasures of time and sense has no deep spring of religious experience:
36 Philo, vol. ii. p. 649.
his enjoyments are of the decaying body; his heart and his thoughts are set on things which soon fly away. But the earnest believer in God pierces through all these superficial and transitory objects and pursuits, and fastens his affections to imperishable verities: he feels, far down in his soul, the living well of faith and fruition, the cool fresh fountain of spiritual hope and joy, whose stream of life flows unto eternity. The vain sensualist and hollow worldling has no true life in him: his love reaches not beyond the grave. The loyal servant of duty and devout worshipper of God has a spirit of conscious superiority to death and oblivion: though the sky fall, and the mountains melt, and the seas fade, he knows he shall survive, because immaterial truth and love are deathless. The whole thought contained in the texts we are considering is embodied with singular force and beauty in the following passage from one of the sacred books of the Hindus: "Who would have immortal life must beware of outward things, and seek inward truth, purity, and faith; for the treacherous and evanescent world flies from its votaries, like the mirage, or devil car, which moves so swiftly that one cannot ascend it." The mere negation of real life or blessedness is predicated of the careless worldling; positive death or miserable condemned unrest is predicated of the bad hearted sinner. Both these classes of men, upon accepting Christ, that is, upon owning the Divine characteristics incarnate in him, enter upon a purified, exalted, and new experience. "He that hates his brother is a murderer and abides in death." "We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren." This new experience is distinctively, emphatically, life; it is spiritual peace, joy, trust, communion with God, and therefore immortal. It brings with it its own sufficient evidence, leaving its possessor free from misgiving doubts, conscious of his eternity. "He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself." "Hereby know we that we dwell in him and he in us, because he hath given us of his spirit." "That ye may know that ye have eternal life."
The objects of Christ's mission, so far as they refer to the twofold purpose of revealing the Father by an impersonation of his image, and giving new moral life to men by awakening within them a conscious fellowship with Divine truth and goodness, have already been unfolded. But this does not include the whole: all this might have been accomplished by his appearance, authoritative teachings, miracles, and return to heaven, without dying. Why, then, did he die? What was the meaning or aim of his death and resurrection? The apostle conceives that he came not only to reveal God and to regenerate men, but also to be a "propitiation" for men's sins, to redeem them from the penalty of their sins; and it was for this end that he must suffer the doom of physical death. "Ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins." It is the more difficult to tell exactly what thoughts this language was intended by John to convey, because his writings are so brief and miscellaneous, so unsystematic and incomplete. He does not explain his own terms, but writes as if addressing those who had previously received such oral instruction as would make the obscurities clear, the hints complete, and the fragments whole. We will first quote from John all the important texts bearing on the point before us, and then endeavor to discern and explain their sense. "If we walk in the light as God is in the light, the blood of Jesus Christ, his Son, cleanseth us from all sin." "He is the propitiation for our sins." "Your sins are forgiven through his name."
"The whole world is subject to the evil one." These texts, few and vague as they are, comprise every thing directly said by John upon the atonement and redemption: other relevant passages merely repeat the same substance. Certainly these statements do not of themselves teach any thing like the Augustinian doctrine of expiatory sufferings to placate the Father's indignation at sin and sinners, or to remove, by paying the awful debt of justice, the insuperable bars to forgiveness. Nothing of that sort is anywhere intimated in the Johannean documents, even in the faintest manner. So far from saying that there was unwillingness or inability in the Father to take the initiative for our ransom and pardon, he expressly avows, "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins." Instead of exclaiming, with the majority of modern theologians, "Believe in the atoning death, the substitutional sufferings, of Christ, and your sins shall then all be washed away, and you shall be saved," he explicitly says, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins." And again: "Whosoever believeth in him" not in his death, but in him "shall have eternal life." The allusions in John to the doctrine of redemption and reconciliation do not mean, it is plain enough, the buying off of the victims of eternal condemnation by the vicarious pains of Jesus. What, then, do they mean? They are too few, short, and obscure for us to decide this question conclusively by their own light alone. We must get assistance from abroad.
The reader will remember that it was the Jewish belief, and the retained belief of the converts to Christianity, at that time, that men's souls, in consequence of sin, were doomed upon leaving the body to descend into the under world. This was the objective penalty of sin, inherited from Adam. Now, Christ in his superangelic state in heaven was not involved in sin or in its doom of death and subterranean banishment. Yet at the will of the Father he became a man, went through our earthly experiences, died like a sinner, and after death descended into the prison of disembodied souls below, then rose again and ascended into heaven to the Father, to show men that their sins were forgiven, the penalty taken away, and the path opened for them too to rise to eternal life in the celestial mansions with Christ "and be with him where he is." Christ's death, then, cleanses men from sin, he is a propitiation for their sins, in two ways. First, by his resurrection from the power of death and his ascent to heaven he showed men that God had removed the great penalty of sin: by his death and ascension he was the medium of giving them this knowledge. Secondly, the joy, gratitude, love to God, awakened in them by such glorious tidings, would purify their natures, exalt their souls into spiritual freedom and virtue, into a blessed and Divine life. According to this view, Christ was a vicarious sacrifice, not in the sense that he suffered instead of the guilty, to purchase their redemption from the iron justice of God, but in the sense that, when he was personally free from any need to suffer, he died for the sake of others, to reveal to them the mighty boon of God's free grace, assuring them of the wondrous gift of a heavenly immortality. This representation perfectly fills and explains the language, without violence or arbitrary suppositions, does it in harmony with all the exegetical considerations, historical and grammatical; which no other view that we know of can do.
There are several independent facts which lend strong confirmation to the correctness of the exposition now given. We know that we have not directly proved the justice of that exposition, only constructively, inferentially, established it; not shown it to be true, only made it appear plausible. But that plausibility becomes an extreme probability nay, shall we not say certainty? when we weigh the following testimonies for it. First, this precise doctrine is unquestionably contained in other parts of the New Testament. We have in preceding chapters demonstrated its existence in Paul's epistles, in Peter's, in the Epistle to the Hebrews, and in the Apocalypse. Therefore, since John's phraseology is better explained by it than by any other hypothesis, it is altogether likely that his real meaning was the same.
Secondly, the terms "light" and "darkness," so frequent in this evangelist, were not originated by him, but adopted. They were regarded by the Persian theology, by Plato, by Philo, by the Gnostics, as having a physical basis as well as a spiritual significance. In their conceptions, physical light, as well as spiritual holiness, was an efflux or manifestation from the supernal God; physical darkness, as well as spiritual depravity, was an emanation or effect from the infernal Satan, or principle of evil. Is it not so in the usage of John? He uses the terms, it is true, prevailingly in a moral sense: still, there is much in his statements that looks as if he supposed they had a physical ground. If so, then how natural is this connection of thought! All good comes from the dazzling world of God beyond the sky; all evil comes from the nether world of his adversary, the prince of darkness. That John believed in a local heaven on high, the residence of God, is made certain by scores of texts too plain to be evaded. Would he not, then, in all probability, believe in a local hell? Believing, as he certainly did, in a devil, the author and lord of darkness, falsehood, and death, would he not conceive a kingdom for him? In the development of ideas reached at that time, it is evident that the conception of God implied an upper world, his resplendent abode, and that the conception of Satan equally implied an under world, his gloomy realm. To the latter human souls were doomed by sin. From the former Christ came, and returned to it again, to show that the Father would forgive our sins and take us there.
Thirdly, John expected that Christ, after death, would return to the Father in heaven. This appears from clear and reiterated statements in his reports of the Savior's words. But after the resurrection he tells us that Jesus had not yet ascended to the Father, but was just on the point of going. "Touch me not, for I am not yet ascended to my Father; but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father." Where, then, did he suppose the soul of his crucified Master had been during the interval between his death and his resurrection? Dormant in the body, dead with the body, laid in the tomb? That is opposed to the doctrine of uninterrupted life which pervades his writings. Besides, such a belief was held only by the Sadducees, whom the New Testament stigmatizes. To assume that such was John's conception of the fact is an arbitrary supposition, without the least warrant from any source whatever. If he imagined the soul of Jesus during that time to have been neither in heaven nor in the sepulchre, is it not pretty sure that he supposed it was in the under world, the common receptacle of souls, where, according to the belief of that age, every man went after death?
Fourthly, it is to be observed, in favor of this general interpretation, that the doctrine it unfolds is in harmony with the contemporary opinions, a natural development from them, a development which would be forced upon the mind of a Jewish Christian accepting the resurrection of Christ as a fact. It was the Jewish opinion that God dwelt with his holy angels in a world of everlasting light above the firmament. It was the Jewish opinion that the departed souls of men, on account of sin, were confined beneath the earth in Satan's and death's dark and slumberous cavern of shadows. It was the Jewish opinion that the Messiah would raise the righteous dead and reign with them on earth. Now, the first Christians clung to the Jewish creed and expectations, with such modifications merely as the variation of the actual Jesus and his deeds from the theoretical Messiah and his anticipated achievements compelled. Then, when Christ having been received as the bringer of glad tidings from the Father died, and after three days rose from the dead and ascended to God, promising his brethren that where he was they should come, must they not have regarded it all as a dramatic exemplification of the fact that the region of death was no longer a hopeless dungeon, since one mighty enough to solve its chains and burst its gates had returned from it? must they not have considered him as a pledge that their sins were forgiven, their doom reversed, and heaven attainable?
John, in common with all the first Christians, evidently expected that the second advent of the Lord would soon take place, to consummate the objects he had left unfinished, to raise the dead and judge them, justifying the worthy and condemning the unworthy. There was a well known Jewish tradition that the appearance of Antichrist would immediately precede the triumphant coming of the Messiah. John says, "Even now are there many Antichrists: thereby we know that it is the last hour."37 "Abide in him, that, when he shall appear, we may not be ashamed before him at his coming." "That we may have boldness in the day of judgment." The evangelist's outlook for the return of the Savior is also shown at the end of his Gospel. "Jesus said not unto him, 'He shall not die;' but, 'If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?'" That the doctrine of a universal resurrection which the Jews probably derived, through their communication with the Persians, from the Zoroastrian system, and, with various modifications, adopted is embodied in the following passage, who can doubt? "The hour is coming when all that are in the graves shall hear the voice of the Son of Man and shall come forth." That a general resurrection would literally occur under the auspices of Jesus was surely the meaning of the writer of those words. Whether that thought was intended to be conveyed by Christ in the exact terms he really used or not is a separate question, with which we are not now concerned, our object being simply to set forth John's views. Some commentators, seizing the letter and neglecting the spirit, have inferred from various texts that John expected that the resurrection would be limited to faithful Christians, just as the more rigid of the Pharisees confined it to the righteous Jews. "Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day."
37 See the able and impartial discussion of John's belief on this subject contained in Lucke's Commentary on the First Epistle of John, i. 18-28.
To force this figure into a literal meaning is a mistake; for in the preceding chapter it is expressly said that "They that have done good shall come forth unto the resurrection of life; they that have done evil unto the resurrection of condemnation." Both shall rise to be judged; but as we conceive the most probable sense of the phrases the good shall be received to heaven, the bad shall be remanded to the under world. "Has no life in him" of course cannot mean is absolutely dead, annihilated, but means has not faith and virtue, the elements of blessedness, the qualifications for heaven. The particular figurative use of words in these texts may be illustrated by parallel idioms from Philo, who says, "Of the living some are dead; on the contrary, the dead live. For those lost from the life of virtue are dead, though they reach the extreme of old age; while the good, though they are disjoined from the body, live immortally."38 Again he writes, "Deathless life delivers the dying pious; but the dying impious everlasting death seizes."39 And a great many passages plainly show that one element of Philo's meaning, in such phrases as these, is, that he believed that, upon their leaving the body, the souls of the good would ascend to heaven, while the souls of the bad would descend to Hades. These discriminated events he supposed would follow death at once. His thorough Platonism had weaned him from the Persian Pharisaic doctrine of a common intermediate state detaining the dead below until the triumphant advent of a Redeemer should usher in the great resurrection and final judgment.40
John declares salvation to be conditional. "The blood of Christ" that is, his death and what followed "cleanses us from all sin, if we walk in the light as he is in the light;" not otherwise. "He that believeth not the Son shall not see eternal life, but the wrath of God abideth on him." "If any man see his brother commit a sin which is not unto death, he shall pray, and shall receive life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it." "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that when he [Christ] shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure." The heads of the doctrine which seems to underlie these statements are as follow. Christ shall come again. All the dead shall rise for judicial ordeal. Those counted worthy shall be accepted, be transfigured into the resemblance of the glorious Redeemer and enter into eternal blessedness in heaven. The rest shall be doomed to the dark kingdom of death in the under world, to remain there for aught that is hinted to the contrary forever. From these premises two practical inferences are drawn in exhortations. First, we should earnestly strive to fit ourselves for acceptance by moral purity, brotherly love, and pious faith. Secondly, we should seek pardon for our sins by confession and prayer, and take heed lest by aggravated sin we deprave our souls beyond recovery. There are those who sin unto death, for whom it is hopeless to pray. Light, truth, and the divine life of heaven can never receive them; darkness, falsehood, and the deep realm of death irrevocably swallow them.
And now we may sum up in a few words the essential results of this whole inquiry into the principles of John's theology, especially as composing and shown in his doctrine of a
38 Vol. i. p. 554.
39 Ibid. p. 233.
40 See vol. i. pp. 139, 416, 417, 555, 643, 648; vol. ii. pp. 178, 433.
future life. First, God is personal love, truth, light, holiness, blessedness. These realities, as concentrated in their incomprehensible absoluteness, are the elements of his infinite being. Secondly, these spiritual substances, as diffused through the worlds of the universe and experienced in the souls of moral creatures, are the medium of God's revelation of himself, the direct presence and working of his Logos. Thirdly, the persons who prevailingly partake of these qualities are God's loyal subjects and approved children, in peaceful communion with the Father, through the Son, possessing eternal life. Fourthly, Satan is personal hatred, falsehood, darkness, sin, misery. These realities, in their abstract nature and source, are his being; in their special manifestations they are his efflux and power. Fifthly, the persons who partake rulingly of these qualities are the devil's enslaved subjects and lineal children: in sinful bondage to him, in depraved communion with him, they dwell in a state of hostile banishment and unhappiness, which is moral death. Sixthly, Christ was the Logos who, descending from his anterior glory in heaven, and appearing in mortal flesh, embodied all the Divine qualities in an unflawed model of humanity, gathered up and exhibited all the spiritual characteristics of the Father in a stainless and perfect soul supernaturally filled and illumined, thus to bear into the world a more intelligible and effective revelation of God the Father than nature or common humanity yielded, to shine with regenerating radiance upon the deadly darkness of those who were groping in lying sins, "that they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly." Seventhly, the fickle and perishing experience of unbelieving and wicked men, the vagrant life of sensuality and worldliness, the shallow life in vain and transitory things, gives place in the soul of a Christian to a profoundly earnest, unchanging experience of truth and love, a steady and everlasting life in Divine and everlasting things. Eighthly, the experimental reception of the revealed grace and verity by faith and discipleship in Jesus is accompanied by internal convincing proofs and seals of their genuineness, validity, and immortality. They awaken a new consciousness, a new life, inherently Divine and self warranting. Ninthly, Christ, by his incarnation, death, resurrection, and ascension, was a propitiation for our sins, a mercy seat pledging forgiveness; that is, he was the medium of showing us that mercy of God which annulled the penalty of sin, the descent of souls to the gloomy under world, and opened the celestial domains for the ransomed children of earth to join the sinless angels of heaven. Tenthly, Christ was speedily to make a second advent. In that last day the dead should come forth for judgment, the good be exalted to unfading glory with the Father and the Son, and the bad be left in the lower region of noiseless shadows and dreams. These ten points of view, we believe, command all the principal features of the theological landscape which occupied the mental vision of the writer of the Gospel and epistles bearing the superscription, John.
CHRIST'S TEACHINGS CONCERNING THE FUTURE LIFE.
IN approaching the teachings of the Savior himself concerning the future fate of man, we should throw off the weight of creeds and prejudices, and, by the aid of all the appliances in our power, endeavor to reach beneath the imagery and unessential particulars of his instructions to learn their bare significance in truth. This is made difficult by the singular perversions his religion has undergone; by the loss of a complete knowledge of the peculiarities of the Messianic age in the lapse of the ages since; by the almost universal change in our associations, modes of feeling and thought, and styles of speech; and by the gradual accretion and hardening of false doctrines and sectarian biases and wilfulness. As we examine the words of Christ to find their real meaning, there are four prominent considerations to be especially weighed and borne in mind.
First, we must not forget the poetic Eastern style common to the Jewish prophets; their symbolic enunciations in bold figures of speech: "I am the door;" "I am the bread of life;" "I am the vine;" "My sheep hear my voice;" "If these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out." This daring emblematic language was natural to the Oriental nations; and the Bible is full of it. Is the overthrow of a country foretold? It is not said, "Babylon shall be destroyed," but "The sun shall be darkened at his going forth, the moon shall be as blood, the stars shall fall from heaven, and the earth shall stagger to and fro as a drunken man." If we would truly understand Christ's declarations, we must not overlook the characteristics of figurative language. For "he spake to the multitude in parables, and without a parable spake he not unto them;" and a parable, of course, is not to be taken literally, but holds a latent sense and purpose which are to be sought out. The greatest injustice is done to the teachings of Christ when his words are studied as those of a dry scholastic, a metaphysical moralist, not as those of a profound poet, a master in the spiritual realm.
Secondly, we must remember that we have but fragmentary reports of a small part of the teachings of Christ. He was engaged in the active prosecution of his mission probably about three years, at the shortest over one year; while all the different words of his recorded in the New Testament would not occupy more than five hours. Only a little fraction of what he said has been transmitted to us; and though this part may contain the essence of the whole, yet it must naturally in some instances be obscure and difficult of apprehension. We must therefore compare different passages with each other, carefully probe them all, and explain, so far as possible, those whose meaning is recondite by those whose meaning is obvious. Some persons may be surprised to think that we have but a small portion of the sayings of Jesus. The fact, however, is unquestionable. And perhaps there is no more reason that we should have a full report of his words than there is that we should have a complete account of his doings; and the evangelist declares, "There are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should every one be written, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books."
Thirdly, when examining the instructions of Jesus, we should recollect that he adopted, and applied to himself and to his kingdom, the common Jewish phraseology concerning the Messiah and the events that were expected to attend his advent and reign. But he did not take up these phrases in the perverted sense held in the corrupt opinions and earthly hopes of the Jews: he used them spiritually, in the sense which accorded with the true Messianic dispensation as it was arranged in the forecasting providence of God. No investigation of the New Testament should be unaccompanied by an observance of the fundamental rule of interpretation, namely, that the strident of a book, especially of an ancient, obscure, and fragmentary book, should imbue himself as thoroughly as he can with the knowledge and spirit of the opinions, events, influences, circumstances, of the time when the document was written, and of the persons who wrote it. The inquirer must be equipped for his task by a mastery of the Rabbinism of Gamaliel, at whose feet Paul was brought up; for the Jewish mind of that age was filled, and its religious language directed, by this Rabbinism. Guided by this principle, furnished with the necessary information, in the helpful light of the best results of modern critical scholarship, we shall be able to explain many dark texts, and to satisfy ourselves, at least in a degree, as to the genuine substance of Christ's declarations touching the future destinies of men.
Finally, he who studies the New Testament with patient thoroughness and with honest sharpness will arrive at a distinction most important to be made and to be kept in view, namely, a distinction between the real meaning of Christ's words in his own mind and the actual meaning understood in them by his auditors and reporters.1 Here we approach a most delicate and vital point, hitherto too little noticed, but destined yet to become prominent and fruitful. A large number of religious phrases were in common use among the Jews at the time of Jesus. He adopted them, but infused into them a deeper, a correct meaning, as Copernicus did into the old astronomic formulas. But the bystanders who listened to his discourses, hearing the familiar terms, seized the familiar meaning, and erroneously attributed it to him. It is certain that the Savior was often misunderstood and often not understood at all. When he declared himself the Messiah, the people would have made him a king by force! Even the apostles frequently grossly failed to appreciate his spirit and aims, wrenched unwarrantable inferences from his words, and quarrelled for the precedency in his coming kingdom and for seats at his right hand. In numerous cases it is glaringly plain that his ideas were far from their conceptions of them. We have no doubt the same was true in many other instances where it is not so clear. He repeatedly reproves them for folly and slowness because they did not perceive the sense of his instructions. Perhaps there was a slight impatience in his tones when he said, "How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees?" Jesus uttered in established phrases new and profoundly spiritual thoughts. The apostles educated in, and full of, as they evidently were, the dogmas, prejudices, and
1 See this distinction affirmed by De Wette, in the preface to his Commentatio de Morte Jesus Christi Expiatoria. See also Thurn, Jesus und seine Apostel in Widerspruch in Ansehung der Lehre von der Ewigcn Verdamnniss. In Scherer's Schriftforsch. sect. i. nr. 4.
hopes of their age and land would naturally, to some extent, misapprehend his meaning. Then, after a tumultuous interval, writing out his instructions from memory, how perfectly natural that their own convictions and sentiments would have a powerful influence in modifying and shaping the animus and the verbal expressions in their reports! Under the circumstances, that we should now possess the very equivalents of his words with strict literalness, and conveying his very intentions perfectly translated from the Aramaan into the Greek tongue, would imply the most sustained and amazing of all miracles. There is nothing whatever that indicates any such miraculous intervention. There is nothing to discredit the fair presumption that the writers were left to their own abilities, under the inspiration of an earnest consecrating love and truthfulness. And we must, with due limitations, distinguish between the original words and conscious meaning of the sublime Master, illustrated by the emphasis and discrimination of his looks, tones, and gestures, and the apprehended meaning recorded long afterwards, shaped and colored by passing through the minds and pens of the sometimes dissentient and always imperfect disciples. He once declared to them, "I have many things to say unto you, but ye are not able to bear them." Admitting his infallibility, as we may, yet asserting their fallibility, as we must, and accompanied, too, as his words now are by many very obscuring circumstances, it is extremely difficult to lay the hand on discriminated texts and say, "[non ASCII characters]"
The Messianic doctrine prevalent among the Jews in the time of Jesus appears to have been built up little by little, by religious faith, national pride, and priestly desire, out of literal interpretations of figurative prophecy, and Cabalistic interpretations of plain language, and Rabbinical traditions and speculations, additionally corrupted in some particulars by intercourse with the Persians. Under all this was a central spiritual germ of a Divine promise and plan. A Messiah was really to come. It was in answering the questions, what kind of a king he was to be, and over what sort of a kingdom he was to reign, that the errors crept in. The Messianic conceptions which have come down to us through the Prophets, the Targums, incidental allusions in the New Testament, the Talmud, and the few other traditions and records yet in existence, are very diverse and sometimes contradictory. They agreed in ardently looking for an earthly sovereign in the Messiah, one who would rise up in the line of David and by the power of Jehovah deliver his people, punish their enemies, subdue the world to his sceptre, and reign with Divine auspices of beneficence and splendor. They also expected that then a portion of the dead would rise from the under world and assume their bodies again, to participate in the triumphs and blessings of his earthly kingdom. His personal reign in Judea was what they usually meant by the phrases "the kingdom of heaven," "the kingdom of God." The apostles cherished these ideas, and expressed them in the terms common to their countrymen. But we cannot doubt that Jesus employed this and kindred language in a purer and deeper sense, which we must take pains to distinguish from the early and lingering errors associated with it.
Upon the threshold of our subject we meet with predictions of a second coming of Christ from heaven, with power and glory, to sit on his throne and judge the world. The portentous imagery in which these prophecies are clothed is taken from the old prophets; and to them
we must turn to learn its usage and force. The Hebrews called any signal manifestation of power especially any dreadful calamity a coming of the Lord. It was a coming of Jehovah when his vengeance strewed the ground with the corpses of Sennacherib's host; when its storm swept Jerusalem as with fire, and bore Israel into bondage; when its sword came down upon Idumea and was bathed in blood upon Edom. "The day of the Lord" is another term of precisely similar import. It occurs in the Old Testament about fifteen times. In every instance it means some mighty manifestation of God's power in calamity. These occasions are pictured forth with the most astounding figures of speech. Isaiah describes the approaching destruction of Babylon in these terms: "The stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall give no light; the sun shall be darkened, the moon shall not shine, the heavens shall shake, and the earth shall remove out of her place and be as a frightened sheep that no man taketh up." The Jews expected that the coming of the Messiah would be preceded by many fearful woes, in the midst of which he would appear with peerless pomp and might. The day of his coming they named emphatically the day of the Lord. Jesus actually appeared, not, as they expected, a warrior travelling in the greatness of his strength, with dyed garments from Bozrah, staining his raiment with blood as he trampled in the wine vat of vengeance, but the true Messiah, God's foreordained and anointed Son, despised and rejected of men, bringing good tidings, publishing peace. It must have been impossible for the Jews to receive such a Messiah without explanations. Those few who became converts apprehended his Messianic language, at least to some extent, in the sense which previously occupied their minds. He knew that often he was not understood; and he frequently said to his followers, "Who hath ears to hear, let him hear." His disciples once asked him, "What shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?" He replied, substantially, "There shall be wars, famines, and unheard of trials; and immediately after the sun shall be darkened, the moon shall not give her light, the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken. Then shall they see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with great power. And he shall sit upon the throne of his glory, and all nations shall be gathered before him, and he shall separate them one from another." That this language was understood by the evangelists and the early Christians, in accordance with their Pharisaic notions, as teaching literally a physical reappearance of Christ on the earth, a resurrection, and a general judgment, we fully believe. Those ideas were prevalent at the time, are expressed in scores of places in the New Testament, and are the direct strong assertion of the words themselves. But that such was the meaning of Christ himself we much more than doubt.
In the first place, in his own language in regard to his second coming there is not the least hint of a resurrection of the dead: the scene is confined to the living, and to the earth. Secondly, the figures which he employs in this connection are the same as those used by the Jewish prophets to denote great and signal events on the earth, and may be so taken here without violence to the idiom. Thirdly, he expressly fixed the date of the events he referred to within that generation; and if, therefore, he spoke literally, he was grossly in error, and his prophecies failed of fulfilment, a conclusion which we cannot adopt. To suppose that he partook in the false, mechanical dogmas of the carnal Jews would be equally irreconcilable with the common idea of his Divine inspiration, and with the profound penetration and spirituality of his own mind.
He certainly used much of the phraseology of his contemporary countrymen, metaphorically, to convey his own purer thoughts. We have no doubt he did so in regard to the descriptions of his second coming. Let us state in a form of paraphrase what his real instructions on this point seem to us to have been: "You cannot believe that I am the Messiah, because I do not deliver you from your oppressors and trample on the Gentiles. Your minds are clouded with errors. The Father hath sent me to found the kingdom of peace and righteousness, and hath given me all power to reward and punish. By my word shall the nations of the earth be honored and blessed, or be overwhelmed with fire; and every man must stand before my judgment seat. The end of the world is at the doors. The Mosaic dispensation is about to be closed in the fearful tribulations of the day of the Lord, and my dispensation to be set up. When you see Jerusalem encompassed with armies, know that the day is at hand, and flee to the mountains; for not one stone shall be left upon another. Then the power of God will be shown on my behalf, and the sign of the Son of Man be seen in heaven. My truths shall prevail, and shall be owned as the criteria of Divine judgment. According to them, all the righteous shall be distinguished as my subjects, and all the iniquitous shall be separated from my kingdom. Some of those standing here shall not taste death till all these things be fulfilled. Then it will be seen that I am the Messiah, and that through the eternal principles of truth which I have proclaimed I shall sit upon a throne of glory, not literally, in person, as you thought, blessing the Jews and cursing the Gentiles, but spiritually, in the truth, dispensing joy to good men and woe to bad men, according to their deserts." Such we believe to be the meaning of Christ's own predictions of his second coming. He figuratively identifies himself with his religion according to that idiom by which it is written, "Moses hath in every city them that read him, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath day." His figure of himself as the universal judge is a bold personification; for he elsewhere says, "He that believeth in me believeth not in me, but in Him that sent me." And again, "He that rejecteth me, I judge him not: the word that I have spoken, that shall judge him." His coming in the clouds of heaven with great power and glory was when, at the destruction of Jerusalem, the old age closed and the new began, the obstacles to his religion were removed and his throne established on the earth.2 The apostles undoubtedly understood the doctrine differently; but that such was his own thought we conclude, because he did sometimes undeniably use figurative language in that way, and because the other meaning is an error, not in harmony either with his character, his mind, or his mission.
This interpretation is so important that it may need to be illustrated and confirmed by further instances: "When the Son of Man sits on the throne of his glory, and all nations are gathered before him, his angels shall sever the wicked from among the just, and shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." A few such picturesque phrases have led to the general belief in a great world judgment at the end of the
2 Norton, Statement of Reasons, Appendix.
appointed time, after which the condemned are to be thrown into the tortures of an unquenchable world of flame. How arbitrary and violent a conclusion this is, how unwarranted and gross a perversion of the language of Christ it is, we may easily see. The fact that the old prophets often described fearful misfortunes and woes in images of clouds and flame and falling stars, and other portentous symbols, and that this style was therefore familiar to the Jews, would make it very natural for Jesus, in foretelling such an event as the coming destruction of Jerusalem, in conflagration and massacre, with the irretrievable subversion of the old dispensation, to picture it forth in a similar way. Fire was to the Jews a common emblem of calamity and devastation; and judgments incomparably less momentous than those gathered about the fall of Jerusalem and the dispersion of the self boasted favorites of Jehovah were often described by the prophets in appalling images of darkened planets, shaking heavens, clouds, fire, and blackness. Joel, speaking of a "day of the Lord," when there should be famine and drought, and a horrid army of destroying insects, "before whom a fire devoureth, and behind them a flame burneth," draws the scene in these terrific colors: "The earth shall quake before them; the sun and moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining; and the Lord shall utter his voice before his terrible army of locusts, caterpillars, and destroying worms:" Ezekiel represents God as saying, "The house of Israel is to me become dross: therefore I will gather you into the midst of Jerusalem: as they gather silver, brass, iron, tin, and lead into the midst of the furnace to blow the fire upon it, so will I gather you, and blow upon you in the fire of my wrath, and ye shall be melted in the midst thereof." We read in Isaiah, "The Assyrian shall flee, and his princes shall be afraid, saith the Lord, whose fire is in Zion and his furnace in Jerusalem." Malachi also says, "The day cometh that shall burn as a furnace, and all that do wickedly shall be stubble, and shall be burned up root and branch. They shall be trodden as ashes beneath the feet of the righteous." The meaning of these passages, and of many other similar ones, is, in every instance, some severe temporal calamity, some dire example of Jehovah's retributions among the nations of the earth. Their authors never dreamed of teaching that there is a place of fire beyond the grave in which the wicked dead shall be tormented, or that the natural creation is finally to be devoured by flame. It is perfectly certain that not a single text in the Old Testament was meant to teach any such doctrine as that. The judgments shadowed forth in kindred metaphors by Christ are to be understood in the light of this fact. Their meaning is, that all unjust, cruel, false, impure men shall endure severe punishments. This general thought is fearfully distinct; but every thing beyond all details are left in utter obscurity.
In the august scene of the King in judgment, when the sentence has been pronounced on those at the left hand, "Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels," it is written, "and they shall go away into everlasting punishment." It is obvious to remark that the imagery of a fiery prison built for Satan and the fallen angels, and into which the bad shall be finally doomed, is poetical language, or language of accommodation to the current notions of the time. These startling Oriental figures are used to wrap and convey the assertion that the wicked shall be severely punished according to their deserts. No literal reference seems to be made either to the particular time, to the
special place, or to the distinctive character, of the punishment; but the mere fact is stated in a manner to fill the conscience with awe and to stamp the practical lesson vividly on the memory. But admitting the clauses apparently descriptive of the nature of this retribution to be metaphorical, yet what shall we think of its duration? Is it absolutely unending? There is nothing in the record to enable a candid inquirer to answer that question decisively. So far as the letter of Scripture is concerned, there are no data to give an indubitable solution to the problem. It is true the word "everlasting" is repeated; but, when impartially weighed, it seems a sudden rhetorical expression, of indefinite force, used to heighten the impressiveness of a sublime dramatic representation, rather than a cautious philosophical term employed to convey an abstract conception. There is no reason whatever for supposing that Christ's mind was particularly directed to the metaphysical idea of endlessness, or to the much more metaphysical idea of timelessness. The presumptive evidence is that he spoke popularly. Had he been charged to reveal a doctrine so tremendous, so awful, so unutterably momentous in its practical relations, as that of the endless close of all probation at death, is it conceivable that he would merely have couched it in a few figurative expressions and left it as a matter of obscure inference and uncertainty? No: in that case, he would have iterated and reiterated it, defined, guarded, illustrated it, and have left no possibility of honest mistake or doubt of it.