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consent, a new theological dictionary; and men of all churches are opening their eyes to the fact, that when they get down below the letter and technicalities of their systems of faith, all that is really essential to Christianity they hold in common. In nearly all that relates to God, and Christ, and the Holy Spirit, and the Atonement, and Salvation, there is a measure of agreement. Doctrinal differences are growing less and less every day. If we were asked whether we believe in the doctrine of the Trinity, we would say, No; but we believe in a doctrine of the Trinity, we believe in a tri-manifestation of God, or a three-fold revelation of Him. So if you were to ask an intelligent and liberal Christian of the evangelical school, —and you need not hunt long to find him, whether he believes in the doctrine of Endless Punishment, he would answer you nay, and tell you that he belives in a doctrine of endless punishment. It is very common to hear it said now-a-days, that punishment in the future state will not be infinite in duration. In the weight of its descending blows it will be proportioned to the sinner's guilt. In other words, the largely modified doctrine now is, that although punishment in some form may endure forever, yet that hell will be a pretty comfortable place after all!
The doctrine of post mortem probation is also getting a fast hold upon the Christian mind and heart. This, too, is a result of the religious growth of our times. It is the putting on in larger measure of the likeness of Christ. Men whose hearts have been baptized into the loving spirit of Jesus cannot see why the mere event of death should change God, and reverse the principles and the administration of His moral government, and make Christ other than the Saviour of sinAnd so they are coming to believe that in all worlds. where the human soul shall be lost, there it shall be sought after, and, if possible, found. In the future world, as here, space for repentance shall be granted to the sinful; and the wrecked and foundering soul, freighted with untold treasure, may, after all, survive the storm and enter the port of eternal peace.
Thus through this growing love to Christ and to man, the true idea of the Church is being realized in a constantly increasing degree. For the men and women who have been converted to Christ, who believe in him, who have opened wide the doors of their hearts to let him in, and have come under the dominion of a new love, constitute the Church, though they be separated by wide seas or broad differences of creed.
It is a question frequently asked, "Why, seeing the conditions and credentials of membership in this Church of Christ are so simple, should there be anything sectarian amongst Christians? why, since they are enlisted under the same banner, are ruled avowedly by the same faith and love, are built upon the same foundation, and are members of one spiritual household,-why should they not meet as one church? take one common name? and know no distinction or difference of any kind whatever?" Incidentally we have already answered this question. It is one that "throws us back, not upon Christ, but upon human nature, in which there are endless varieties of temperament, capacity, culture, susceptibility and relationship." For this reason it is impossible, no doubt, that men, that Christians, even with their one faith, one Lord, and one baptism, should not divide upon theological points, and should agree in their criticisms, and all interpret alike, and reach the same conclusions. Still, divide up as they may, travel as diverging roads as they may, worship in Jerusalem or on Mount Gerizzim if they will, the unity of the Church is not interrupted. There may be many members with differing gifts, and yet the body is one. The temple is built, not of material all hewn and squared and shaped alike, but of that prepared in many quarries, and wrought into various forms for the builder's use. And whether it be in column, or arch, or cornice, or tower, or the solid and enduring walls, it grows upon its eternal foundation into a holy temple in the Lord.
Let us notice now these other words of St. Paul: "In whom ye also are builded together for a habitation of God." We
take the meaning of the Apostle in this special clause to be, that not only were these Christians of Ephesus, by virtue of their citizenship with the saints and their adoption into the household of God, that not only were they built into the broad Church of Christ as so much prepared material; but in Christ, the chief corner-stone and foundation of the Church, they were builded together into a visible branch of this Church.
Notice the expression: "Builded together." They were not so much loose and scattered material not so many unhewn and unwrought stones-thrown together without order or architectural arrangement; but they were builded together, each in his place on the foundation, in a shapely way. They were builded together for a habitation, and therefore after a plan. First, there was the Rock to build upon; then upon this Rock rose the walls of the edifice into which they were wrought. It is meant, too, that they were cemented together, so as to form one solid, compact structure not easily shaken nor thrown down. That is, they were a unit, — not all thinking alike not all squared down to the same dimensions, but one in their love for Christ and each other. It is religious vitality, it is Christ enthroned in the heart, it is Christian consecration, through which unity must come. Without these, men cannot be built up together a habitation for God. Christ must pervade all the building; he must give strength, solidity, to the material employed; every stone must be laid, as it were, under his direction; or the walls cannot rise into a holy temple, beautiful and enduring. All else must be a jumble, an unsightly pile, crumbling under the least touch, and utterly falling in pieces, a mass of ruins, when the first hard wind blows upon it, or it is shaken by some internal convulsion.
The Apostle speaks of growth ;-" groweth up," is his expression. Now, dead things do not grow living things do grow. Let it be a church, if it is full of spiritual life, is builded on the eternal Rock, and not on a catechism or a minister, its unity not that of opinion merely but of love; if all its members are baptized not with water only but with the Holy Ghost, and so
are all on fire with zeal, and are unswerving in their loyalty to Christ; then no matter how small its numbers, nor how humble its condition, nor how heavy the burdens it carries, it is a growing church, and nothing in the shape of adverse circumstances can beat it down. If, on the other hand, it is not vitalized by the faith of which we have spoken, and therefore has no love for Christ or of one another in it, no loyalty, no consecration, and is waiting to be carried forward in some unknown way rather than pressing forward in the Christian race, and relying upon its own activities for winning the prize it covets; then, instead of its growing into a holy temple, it will only go into decay and finally disappear.
Do we Universalist people understand that the Church we have set out to build will be full of life and growth, or of death and decay, just in the proportion that we, its members, are living, earnest, devoted, self-sacrificing Christian disciples; or are cold, indifferent, selfish and dead? Does the fact impress us that the Universalist Church will take its character from our individual characters? - that its influence will be. precisely that which springs from the lives we live? — and that the good it accomplishes will be that, and that only, to which each heart and hand has contributed? If it shall stand for nothing, it will be because we stand for nothing. If it shall not be a living instrument for good in all our communities, an agent of God doing His work, it will be because we are lifeless and are not growing up as holy temples in the Lord. The chief matter of concern therefore is, that we make our individual selves what we ought to be that by our Christian activities, and in the use of all the means of grace, we grow daily toward the measure of the fulness of the stature of Christ.
We will conclude this article by adding, that exhortations, entreaties, expostulation, argument, employed to move or incite us to faithfulness, zeal, loyalty, self-sacrifice, consecration, will all be wasted words or breath if we are a branch severed from the living Vine, or are not builded on Christ "for a habitation for God through the Spirit." We shall succeed or fail, shall go forward or backward, shall rejoice in victory or hide
our faces in the shame of defeat, according as we possess the spiritual life, flowing from heart-fellowship with Christ, or possess it not. For this life is the source and inspiration of all fidelity, earnestness, strength, fervor, self-denial, and allabounding in the work of the Lord. Once built as living stones into the temple, each wrought by the divine Builder's hand, the Church will no longer be run in worldly grooves secular methods will give place to higher methods - our sanctuaries instead of being so largely places of entertainment as now, will be holy and unprofaned places of worship — and money, instead of being drawn out of our pockets, through trick and device, in little driblets of contribution, will come without strain, and ungrudgingly, and in unstinted measure, because we are set apart by a holy anointing and by self-consecration to the service of Christ, and the new love in us will make giving and sacrificing a privilege and a joy.
Paul's Four Leading Epistles, and His Visits at Jerusalem.
PROF. GEORGE P. FISHER, in one of his notable contributions to our recent American theological literature, quotes from Paul's Epistle to the Galatians the passage, chap. i. v. 18, "Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days;" and adds, by way of incidental remark, "A memorable visit, and a fact fraught with interest in its bearing on the evidences of Christianity!" The observation is a just one. The more we read and study the New Testament accounts of the great Apostle and of the Early Church, the more is our attention drawn to, and fixed upon, those simple words of Scripture which the author of Beginnings of Christianity so fittingly refers to,— as if they marked a certain pivotal point in their writer's history and afforded us a most invaluable clew to a satisfactory understanding of the