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Observer, June 1, 71.

The infidel

The account of the fall will bear the closest scrutiny. generally argues that God should have made a being incapable of falling; but surely this belongs to the very rinsings of unreason. In other words, God should have made another beast, for the creature of their imagination would not have been a moral agent, and would have been without character. As the fire-sparks rise heavenward, as the rivers run to the sea, as the stars wheel round the central sun-so man would have pursued the decreed road, but holiness would have been impossible. Everything of reality and glory in moral character depends upon the resolute pursuit of things which are true and good, in the face of temptation and trial. When the path of duty, which is the road of life, is chosen by the heart and seconded by an inflexible will Godward, then man becomes sublime and illustrious. It is in this way that character is formed. We are not teaching that such strife must be everlasting; it lies in the nature of things, through the mercies of God, that the period must arrive when the spiritual standing of the hero-angel or man-is determined and beyond all conflict or change. Nor can any imagination conceive or any speech declare in adequate manner the splendour and beauty of that country of life where successful soldiers of the holy war gather in the Paradise of God. Nor must we forget that though the shadows of sin be awful, the lights, miraculous and moral, are by consequence diviner and more resplendent. When the great dome of heaven is black as the wings of a raven, the starry lamps shine out all the brighter from that dark ground; the mingling of glooms and grandeurs gives sublimity to the painting. We have had such revelations of the infinite love of God, of His fathomless wisdom and terrible power, as could not have been given or conceivable under sinless circumstances. The deep heart of God has been revealed, yearning over a guilty and lost race, and all His greatness and majesty have come into the human field in the method of recovery. Corresponding with His matchless glories in the supernatural lights and spiritual training of educational ages, will be the final result in the condition of nature and of man. The transfigured earth will be fairer than the Eden of the prime, and the glorified immortals very far above Adam in the garden. No ancient harmonies of the unconscious period when nature was sleeping in God, charming as they were, could have nourished the breadth, force, and moral grandeur, the triumphal life and power of that throng who come shining out of great tribulation, having washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Nor has the education been confined to the ransomed from sin and death. Beings who needed no rescue have gathered enlargement in knowledge and blessedness. By the Church on earth there has been made known to the principalities in heavenly places the manifold wisdom of God. In the divine method of redeeming the bondsman and transforming him by love and life, they have seen the manifold wisdom of their Creator as they never saw it before, and doubtless the seraphic fire of adoration has burned with finer lustre. The symbolic thing was rich when golden cherubim with outspread wing had their faces directed to the mercy-seat; the reality exists when illustrious sons of God, from His immediate presence, desire to look into the things which relate to our salvation: the sufferings of Christ and the glory which follows.

The fact of long life among the Patriachs cannot be explained on natural principles. The physical vigour of life near the source and fountain, together with the freshness of the world and the absence of subtle diseases and grinding cares, might account for lives averaging some two hundred years; but when we come to lives of ages varying from six hundred to nine

Observer, June 1, '71

hundred years, and find that from such enormous duration there is rapid descent, first to one hundred and twenty years and afterwards to threescore years and ten, we can only resolve the matter into miracle. It is not, however, hard to see why so few arrive even at the seventy years. To countless masses life has become a travail and a burden. A thousand forms of disease descend in the blood from age to age; great cities reek with pollution in the soil and the atmosphere; all things are so full of labour and care and distraction, and humanity is torn by so many wild horses, that we have no reason for wonder that death should reap the fields of mortality before the corn is ripe. The reason of longevity is perhaps as inscrutable as the fact. One who utters the ordinary conclusion says, "We have no evidence that writing was known before the deluge; but without this incomparable art there seems to be no expedient for preserving tradition but extreme length of life. To this purpose, as has been frequently observed, the antedeluvian duration would be strikingly adequate. The lives of two patriarchs would reach nearly from the creation to the deluge; and as each was the contemporary of five or six generations (with the exception of Enoch), the testimony would be delivered to his sons and his sons' sons, with the united authority of the priest, the chieftain, and the ancestor." Another writer may be quoted, in whose conclusions on this question we have more confidence. In writing on the authority of Genesis, Dr. Lee condemns the theory of tradition as the first medium, pronouncing it a Jewish figment. "Nor can there, as far as I can see, any good reason be assigned why we may not suppose that this document was from the very first committed to writing. It will perhaps be said that writing was unknown at this early period. But who can prove this? Were not the nine hundred years during which the first man lived space sufficient for the invention of the rudest sort of writing imaginable (for even this would be infinitely superior to tradition)? Is it necessary, I ask, to suppose that none but Egyptians could have ingenuity enough to discover something like the hieroglyphical or picture-writing, which was found some years ago among the savages of Peru? In the first ages of the world savage life was unknown, if we may believe the Scrip tures, and to this the nature of the case will afford abundant support. If men could in those days build cities, establish governments, make progress in all the refinements of civilized life, I am at a loss to discover why we should suppose it impossible they could have been acquainted with any sort of writing. In the book of Job, which is manifestly as old as the Exodus, and a book of Scripture perfectly independent of anything which originated with the Jews, we have the mention of writing a book' Occurring as something well known,* and there is not the least reason for supposing that Job had any intercourse whatever with the Egyptians. The probability, therefore, is that writing was in existence before the days of Moses, nor can any good reason be adduced why it may not have been known as early as the days of the first man. When, moreover, we take into account the consideration that it was just as necessary the very first prophecy should be correctly delivered down as it was that it should be revealed, we are compelled, I think, to come to the conclusion that He who gave the revelation itself would have provided that it should be thus correctly retained." On this view of the matter there might be, and the presumption is strong that there were, prior records, from the days of the first family, to which Moses had access in drawing up his more comprehensive statement. Of course, as all Scripture is given by inspiration of God

* Job xix. 28; xxxi. 35.

Observer, June 1, '71.

the selection of the documents and the filling up of gaps equally belonged to the province of the Holy Spirit.

It is remarkable-in returning to the longevity-that the extraordinary long lives are found in the line of godliness. In the world before the flood

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we find the men of centuries from Seth to Noah; in the world after the flood we still find them in that division where truth and righteousness were found, from Shem down to Eber. The men who would not work with God, but were defiant and rebellious, had, comparatively speaking, brief and stormy passages from the gates of life to the glooms of Sheol. They were agitated by passions which shake the foundations of life, and driven on by wind and tempest to darkness and perdition. But where there was even comparative purity and reverence, where there were foundations for advancement and moral elevation, where there was choice material for life, hope, and promise, God distinguished his nobles by length of days; in their serene glory they shone for long ages, and the angel of death seemed afraid to look in upon them. If we were careful about finding secondary causes we might, perhaps, discover such, but we are satisfied in contemplating the prime reason-the affluent love of God. The princely men walked in the light of His face, the saving strength of His right hand held them up, He satisfied them with long life and showed them His salvation. One of the worthies may not be lightly passed over. We read concerning him, in Gen. v., "And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years." In the natural order of things we might expect to read "and he died," but something very different follows: Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him." More than two thousand years after God took another (2 Kings ii.), perhaps of loftier proportions in prophetic insight and moral grandeur. The method of removal in the latter case is known to us, for the chariot of fire and the horses of fire transported him into the invisible. How Enoch departed we know not, but we know the ground of his exaltation, for he "walked with God," which saying is pregnant with deep meaning. Connected with the mystery and glory of his translation there is more than ordinary conformity to the will of the Highest. The language points out a closeness of sympathy and fellowship, a depth and richness of communion not realized in the ordinary walk of believers. We learn from Heb. xi. that a mighty faith was the principle of action-" Before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God." We know that he was a prophet, and that he prophesied of the coming of our Lord with ten thousand of His saints, and we know little more concerning him. But how much we know when we learn that he "walked with God!" Some stopped the mouths of lions, were valiant in fight, and subdued or founded kingdoms; but this one "walked with God." His heroism was of the inner kingdom and his life of the inner presence, "and he was not, for God took him." Possibly enough he was sought with many cries, and tears, and wild lamentations, but he was not found, for he was gone into the unseen by an unknown road. The common' road is dreary and desolate Man, in the image of God, with his fine structure of materialism and his regal intellect, stricken down motionless and ghastly, with no speculation in the eye nor movement in the brain or the heart. He whose warm touch thrilled us, and on whose eloquent lips we hung for inspiration, has like the rest to come to a choking gurgle and sink in the waves of the black river.

Besides the moral necessity, which grew from transcendent holiness, there was the typical necessity. While we have One greater beyond

Observer, June 1, 71.

compare than either of them-who liveth and was dead, and is alive for evermore as the pattern and pledge of resurrection life, we have the famous two as types and representatives of the host alive when the King shouts with the voice of the archangel, and causes the trumpet to be sounded. A noble company who are alive and remain shall never see death, but be changed and glorified in a moment.

When it became thoroughly manifest, from the testimony of the old rocks, that death was in the world before sin, there was a perfect jubilee among unbelieving philosophers. A loud cry of victory, as though some ancient and pestilent superstition had been stricken with the iron into the heart, and could never rise again. But when the tumult subsided, and we quietly turned to our Bible, we began to wonder what had caused all the uproar. When our renowned Paul teaches that by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, he is not discoursing of animals from the mastodon to the beetle. He is standing in the moral world, with beings in his survey made in the image of God, and it is of men only that he declares the relation between sin and death. Man alone was a moral agent, he only had potential immortality, he only could forsake his own sphere, and in such wreck be swept from the prospect of the heavenlies to the shores of ordinary brute life, falling under all the conditions of inferior existence. G. G

(To be continued.)

CAN A CHRISTIAN BE A SOLDIER ?

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Ir should be borne in mind that those who take the affirmative of this question have to prove their proposition. The position they have to maintain, as put by "Truth Seeker," is this-That Christ under certain circumstances binds his followers to engage in war; for if they are not thus bound, then, to my mind, it seems clear that they are bound not to go to war. The nature of war is such, that it cannot be a matter of indifference whether we war or not, and if it is not a matter of indifference, whether we war or not, then it is a matter of duty one way or the other. I wish that "Truth Seeker and others who seem only to beat about the bush, would take this question up in a logical manner, realizing that upon them devolves the burden of proof. That they have to show that Christ has commanded His followers to engage in war. This appears to me to be especially the duty of "Truth Seeker," since he affirms war (other than defensive) to be unlawful. Defensive war is war, the difference between which and aggressive war is only in the motive that prompts to action. In defensive war we kill human beings; in aggressive war we do the same. "An act of war is going out to subdue an enemy by force "a deliberate intention to take his life, even many lives, should the opportunity present itself. The task of "Truth Seeker" is to show that a Christian is justified in subduing an enemy by force; that he is justified in killing him and all who take part with him. In a case of this kind we are right in demanding, not an inferential proof, not an applica tion" of principles of construction to passages said to condemn defensive war," but a "thus saith the Lord;" yes, as clear a "thus saith the Lord" as we would demand should any one propose to shew that stealing under certain circumstances would be right and proper.

On page 125 of E. O. for April "Truth Seeker" remarks "I only propose to prove that war is necessary, and that it may be consistent with

Observer, June 1, '71.

the most elevated piety." With the first part of this proposition we have at present nothing to do. Whether war is necessary or unnecessary is not now the question in dispute; but the second part places before your readers the proposition "Truth Seeker" has undertaken, according to his own words, to prove. Let us see how he proposes to do this. In the first place he commences to lay down what he terms " principles of construction," and then applies them to passages which he tells us are used to condemn war. It is not our business now to examine these so-called "principles of construction," nor, their application to the passages referred to. What we have to do, as taking the negative side of this question, is to examine the arguments presented to prove the proposition laid down. I trust "Truth Seeker" is not so illogical in his reasoning as to ask us to prove a negative. If we accept the “ principles of construction and their application to the passages said to condemn defensive war, this will not form a proof that war may be consistent with the most elevated piety. Suppose we admit that in the four passages given by "Truth Seeker" there is nothing to condemn defensive war. What then? Is the proposition proved because these passages do not condemn war? Verily, no! If you blot out all the passages said to condemn war, that will not prove war to be right. War, in the abstract, is admitted even by Truth Seeker" to be unlawful for a Christian to engage in. What we want is proof that what is wrong in it itself may, under certain circumstances, be lawful for a Christian to do.

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On page 126 there is an argumeut given by "Truth Seeker" to this effect that because the apostles do not give in their teachings to the first disciples a direct precept (commandment) against defensive war, therefore it is right. I will undertake to find as clear and definite a precept against defensive war as "Truth Seeker," or any other student of the writings of the apostles, can produce against war in the abstract. Where can you find a direct precept against war of any kind in the teachings of the apostles? If, then, there is any truth in this argument, it goes to shew what "Truth Seeker" himself declares to be unlawful, viz., that a Christian may engage in war of any kind; and the charge that he seeks to lay on the heads of those who condemn defensive war, viz., the charging of the sacred Scriptures not only with perilous omission, but with a tendency to mislead," falls on his own head with increased power and force. Again, this argument cannot be used upon this question only; but, if true, will admit of general application to all moral questions. It might be stated thus, without any violence to the way in which “ Truth Seeker has used it--whatever the apostles do not, by direct precept, condemn, is right, and consistent with the most elevated piety. With an argument like this, how many absurdities and incongruities could be maintained as right and proper for Christians to practice. Polygamy, slavery, and a host of vile iniquities are right, yea, binding upon us, if this argument be true. Polygamy and slavery were "rife in the world" when the apostles taught in the name of Christ; yet we find no direct command given by them against these evils. Why not? Because the principles upon which our holy religion is founded are directly opposed to such evils. And so it is with regard to war, aggressive or defensive. He whose advent was announced from the sky by the angelic host with, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and goodwill among men," taught principles, which if allowed their full force and power, will keep all His followers from engaging in war of any character. When the mind that was in Him is found also in us, we do not desire to kill, but to

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