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mine own self do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and my judgement is just, because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me."
That the future world is here had in view, as a figure, the same as in other passages, I think may be safely affirmed, in view of the language with which this question begins. The Father raiseth up the dead and quickeneth them he raises up the dead to immortal life he raises up all men to that state. Even so the Son quickeneth whom he will-he raises up and quickens the morally dead-he quickens all true believers. The one resurrection is an emblem of the other. But Christ has other work to do besides raising up and quickening the dead. The Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgement unto the Son. Quickening and judging, however, are regarded as separate and distinct offices. Those that are judged, are not quickened; those that are quickened, are not judged. These classes are regarded as being in two separate existences; and there is nothing in the resurrection state that can properly represent a state of condemnation. That state, as we have seen, is often used to represent the life of the true believer; but it is never used to denote a condition of unbelief, sin, or condemnation. This fact is exceedingly significant. But to proceed. He that hears Christ's word, and believes on him that sent him, is not come into condemnation, but is passed from death unto life. He has entered the spirit world. The unbeliever is yet in the flesh. To the one there is now no condemnation; (Rom. viii. 1;) the other is condemned already.
"The hour is coming, and now is." The moral resurrection is now in progress-believers are constantly passing (so to speak) into the state of the blessed. Unbelievers are still in the lower world. The Saviour has life for the one, and condemnation for the other. And the time is ultimately to come, when all shall hear his voice and come forth; they that have done good, (they that hear his voice and believe, as before stated,) unto the resurrection of life; but they that have done evil, (they that hear his voice but do not believe,) to the resurrection of damnation.
The term resurrection is here applied to the bad, as
well as to the good; but this is because the form of language here employed, seemed, by a sort of affinity, to require it; but the construction forbids the supposition, that this class of persons are changed to the resurrection state. They are still in the lower world, and subject to condemnation. They have not passed from death unto life. The figure employed, not only shuts them out of the same condition with the believer, but from the same state of existence. Indeed, nothing is said directly of the believer's condition. He passes into life beyond the resurrection; and the presumption that that state is a happy one, is all the assurance that this figure gives us that their condition is better than one of unbelief. It is the universal recognition of the resurrection state as exclusively a happy one, by the sacred writers, that gives significance and propriety to this figure, when thus employed.
We say, again, that the resurrection state is a common figure to represent the condition of the true believer; but it is never used to denote a state of sin, unbelief, or condemnation. And yet, if men are raised to a state of sin and misery hereafter, as well as to a state of purity and joy, why is not the figure as applicable to represent the one condition as the other, in the present world? And I may add, when Paul exhorted his brethren to imitate those that are alive from the dead, why did he not qualify his language, by defining which class of the dead he would have them imitate?
Other passages, in this same Gospel, will receive elucidation from our present discussion. "Labor not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life." "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven." "For the bread of God is he that cometh down from heaven and giveth life unto the world." "I am the bread of life; he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst." "All that the Father giveth to me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out." "This is the will of him that sent me, that every one that seeth the Son and believeth on him, may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day." "No man can come to
me, except the Father which hath sent me, draw him; and I will raise him up at the last day." "It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God." ،، Every man therefore that hath heard and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me." "He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. I am that bread of life." "This is the bread than cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof and not die." "If any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever." "Whoso eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day." "As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father; so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me." "He that eateth this bread shall live forever." "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing; the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life." (See John vi. 27– 63.)
All through these quotations, which are found in one continuous discourse of the Saviour, the leading idea on which their peculiar phraseology is based, is that of an analogy between the resurrection state and the present condition of true believers. The strong language employed, "shall never hunger," "shall never thirst," "shall never die,” “the last day," &c., are all to be referred to the figure; and by that only can be rationally accounted for or explained. So the language of Jesus to Martha, (John xi. 25, 26.) "I am the resurrection and the life; he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live; and whosoever liveth and believeth in me, shall never die," finds a sufficient vindication only in the views we have presented.
There is another class of passages where the figure we have been discussing appear but obscurely; and yet their peculiar forms of expression are doubtless suggested by the same train of thought as in those we have already examined. For it will readily occur to every one, that when a figure of speech becomes common with a writer, or class of writers, it will many times make its appearance in parts, or in a manner quite obscure; and yet it must be recognized, or the passage where it occurs, will not be understood. This remark, will apply, I appre hend, to the passages about to be introduced.
(1 Cor. iii. 3.) "Ye are carnal; for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men." True Christians, being in the spirit-world, should walk as angels, and not as men. Those who walk as men, are evidently yet carnal, or in the flesh.
(1 Cor. vi. 3.) "Know ye not that we shall judge angels; how much more things that pertain to this life?" The passage last quoted will help to explain this. Christians are not men, but angels; and if they are qualified to judge each other in spiritual matters, they should be regarded as no less competent to judge in matters pertaining to this life.
(1 Cor. v. 5.) "To 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." To subject such an one to a discipline that will tend to his repentance and salvation, is all that need be understood from this passage. For, to crucify the flesh, or destroy it with its affections and lusts, is enjoined on all men; and the design is that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
(1 Cor. xv. 29.) "Else what shall they do, which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? Why then are they baptized for the dead?" It has been seen, from several passages, that baptism is an emblem of the resurrection. May not this usage be sufficient to explain the language of Paul just quoted? There can be no doubt that some of those whom he was addressing had been baptized on embracing Christianity. This ceremony, however, as an emblem of the resurrection, is unnecessary, unless the dead are raised up. If "for the dead" be understood as "instead of the dead," which has been the common opinion, I believe, this need not conflict with our construction. Baptism was not death or the resurrection; but it was in the place of these. It represented them, as an emblem. The baptized were not the dead; but they were for the dead, or in the place of the dead. This may seem a forced construction; but it is the best one we know of, and requires the least constraint.
(1 Pet. i. 23.) "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which
liveth and abideth forever." (1 John iii. 9.) "Whosoever is born of God, doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him, and he cannot sin, because he is born of God." The Christian life is represented as immortal, incorruptible and sinless. Is not such language suggested by a comparison of this condition with the immortal state?
W. E. M.
The Divine Character our Moral Standard.
OUR Saviour says, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect,"—not as perfect as your Father, but perfect in the same way with him. Nor do we suppose he meant that we can become thus perfect, in our current sense of the word; because that would be attributing to us a capacity transcending our nature. The epithet "perfect," in the New Testament, has a signification somewhat different from that which we commonly understand by it in modern speech; it admitted various degrees of positive excellence, as our word does not. It was nearly tantamount to "true," or "right," when used in a moral sense. The purport of the passage may be sufficiently expressed in the following form: Be ye of the same mind with your Father in heaven. We are to imitate him, to be like him, to take his moral perfections for our example; and, in all our feelings and principles of action, to keep his character before us as the standard to which we are to conform our own.
We shall better see the force of this injunction, if we take it in connection with the words preceding. Says Christ, "Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, . . . . that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven; for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth