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because it is unscriptural. Let any intelligent man open the Bible for the first time, without any prepossessions, and with perfect ignorance of its contents, and he never, we believe, could form such a conception of salvation as the term now suggests to a majority of minds. Where has Christ told us that such was his office and mission? There is not one instance in the whole New Testament, not one, in which the word salvation, or save, or Saviour, is used to express deliverance from penalties in the future state. Whatever other phrases may state it, these words never do. The only expression which seems to intimate such an idea occurs in the fifth chapter of Romans, where Paul speaks of being "saved from wrath through Christ." But here he does not say that it was the office of Jesus to save us from wrath, or that this wrath is laid up in store in another world, and to be unsealed only in that world.

Such a view of salvation misinterprets life, and the relation of the gospel to life, and the work which Christianity would accomplish in the soul. The gospel is not a plan of salvation from future woe. Its privileges and blessings cannot be represented as tickets to introduce us into paradise through the avenue of death. Its interest in man does not consist chiefly in what it can do for him at the grave and beyond the grave, but in what man can do for himself by its aid, here and now.

The desire of God, the purpose of his government, is to have men advance and rise in spiritual life; in other words, to become good and pure like the Father. Christ published the laws of spiritual life; showed men how to attain it, and gave them in his own character an exhibition of its nature, loveliness and joys. Christ came to reveal God to men, and to instruct them how to live,-to aid in lifting them out of sin, and assist, as no other being could, in redeeming them from evil and depravity. To be saved, in the Christian sense, is to be raised from spiritual ignorance to knowledge, to rise out of sin into goodness, to become released from the thraldom of vice and passion, and feel the liberty of love. Likeness to Christ is salvation; possession of Christ's spirit is the essence of salvation; and just in proportion to our possession of it, is the degree of our salvation. Mark this, that Jesus did not come to

save men from the arbitrary penalties of depravity and sin to be awarded hereafter, but to save them from the penalties and miseries of sin here; from the degradation of sin itself. The eternal life which he promises to the good begins here; it is the same here that it will ever be. "This is life eternal," said the Saviour, "to know thee and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent." The bliss of salvation can be enjoyed here as well as in any other state. "He that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God and God in him." The misery which the gospel describes as the penalty of sin, is experienced here, and is of the same kind with that which will ever, or can ever, be experienced. Salvation is the reign of love in the heart. A man is saved when his soul is translucent with the rays of God and goodness that find free passage through. A man is lost when he is given up to evil, when the love of evil reigns in his spirit, when his soul is dark and foul, because of the absence of those heavenly beams. "This is the condemnation," said the Saviour, "that light is come into the world and men love darkness rather than light." There is no other salvation here or hereafter, no higher bliss in store for men, than a Christ-like spirit; there is no other damnation, no more terrible misery in time or eternity, than an evil heart.

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Is it said, this is a dangerous theory, a loose and licentious doctrine? Is it urged that this theory removes the most solemn sanctions from virtue, and cuts away the terrible and wholesome penalties of sin? Ah! here is the degradation of our popular theology. It sees something worse in the universe than sin. It has found something better in the universe than goodness. It cannot see the foulness of vice; it cannot realize that evil is spiritual death, and the most dreadful thing which can befall a soul, and therefore it strains rhetoric to paint the tortures which shall, one day, be reaped as a vindictive harvest, and exhausts the power of language in finding symbols of physical anguish that shall make man refrain from evil, from sensual fear. It does not see that goodness, Christian excellence, is salvation, is in itself the highest possible joy, and so it would describe heaven as a shelter from an eternal tempest, and whip souls into it with a lash of fire. This is to insult virtue, and to misconceive the inherent

ugliness of vice. Is evil to be feared chiefly because, at some future time, it may cause the nerves to wince with pain? Are we to fortify the claims of goodness, by pleading the security from distant torment which it ensures, and by describing the banquet of bliss which is its future prize? Cannot men recoil from the danger of degenerating into brutes, unless they are told that they will be roasted, too, when they become so degraded? Is there not something attractive enough in the inherent beauty of a saintly character to charm men into desire of it, but must the coarse fear of torment be added as an incentive and attraction? Is degradation to be measured by physical pain? Must a man look into a furnace in order to brace his will for service of God and right?

Here is the worth of liberal Christianity; it shows us that it is a good thing to live in God, and with God, that it is in itself the best thing, the only life, the true joy, the sole salvation. It teaches us that it is a bad thing to live away from God, and without the life of love, that it is the worst thing in the universe, the loss of life, and, in itself, darkness and perdition. The danger of the path of vice is, not that there are pit-falls in it which, at the grave, let us suddenly into a sea of flame, but that it is a gradual descending slope into spiritual degradation and death,—a slope, the inclination of which depends on the human will, and which, perhaps, keeps the same angle into eternity. The glory of the path of virtue is, not that it leads to a door which opens into a paradise of rewards, but that it is an ascending path of light and love, whose landscape is at every moment most inspiring, and which rises steadily both here and hereafter into the purer atmosphere of God

and heaven.


Salvation, then, is not the purchase of an inheritance, nor is it rescue from an outward danger. It does not consist in being carried to any place, but in becoming pure and good within. Christ speaks of the kingdom of heaven, and of entering the kingdom of heaven. the kingdom of heaven is within you." It is not a place, but a society. It is the spiritual aristocracy of the world. It is formed of those who live on the same plane, and who are united by the affinities of holiness. To belong to the kingdom of heaven is salvation. But we belong to it Vol. x. 7

when we are Christ-like and saintly, not when we are carried to a place, but when we rise into fellowship with the pure and saintly of the earth.

To be saved is to inspire, and fill our souls with, the atmosphere of goodness. Salvation is deliverance from sin. It is easy now to answer the question, "What must we do to be saved?" Very evidently we must do something; practically we must do all. Plainly, we become holy, we become pure, we become charitable, through our own effort, and by private culture. Christ is our Saviour because he is our helper, teacher, pattern. He is our Saviour, because without his life and teachings we should not know what God, and goodness, and the highest life are, nor understand how to reach them. But we must save ourselves by living according to light, by accepting his help, by obeying his instructions.

It is an unpleasant task to criticise and disturb the language of pietistic emotion, but a false estimate of spiritual life underlies much of the pietistic phraseology which we hear. Good men often talk as though it is sin to trust in their own merits for salvation. We do not rely upon our righteousness to be saved, they say, but we hope for heaven through the atonement and God's mercy alone. If by merits is meant the state of heart, why, the state of heart is salvation. If by righteousness is meant the grade of Christian excellence which we have reached, or the quantity of love which we contain, why, that grade of excellence and that quantity of love constitute our heaven. There is no other possible salvation, no other essential heaven to be attained. There is a sense in which salvation is of God's grace and favor alone, and to this sense Paul sometimes has referred. It is of God's grace that Christ has come, and the gospel given, and immortality endowed upon us. The means of salvation are of divine grace. But here God's province ceases. We are saved when we become channels of the spirit of the gospel, when we become holy and pure. Our characters constitute our heaven or our salvation. By the laws of life we cannot know any other. There is no other. If heaven were a place to be entered physically, into which men could be admitted at the pleasure of the door-keeper, without regard to differences of character, we might

properly talk of casting ourselves upon God's mercy alone for salvation. But our redemption is internal. We get the heaven we earn, only what we earn, and just as much as we earn.

The common theology of Christendom fails to see that salvation consists in being something, not in getting something. It is mistaken piety for a good man to say that he deserves hell and not heaven, and that he trusts solely to the mercy of God for heaven. Things work by spiritual laws. If he deserves hell, it is because he is inwardly vile, and then he is in hell. We do not enter into heaven; heaven enters into us, and according to the quality of our inward life. Salvation is of grace only as the inward peace and joy that spring up after a good deed are of grace; only as health which follows care and exercise is of grace. Why talk of casting ourselves upon the mercy of God for salvation, when salvation is a spiritual state, and when all which that mercy can do in the case is to furnish the opportunity and means for our own culture. As well might the farmer throw himself upon the mercy of God to produce his harvest from an unplanted and untilled soil, or the student trust in divine goodness to fill his mind with knowledge, while he only muses upon learning, as the heart expect salvation from a mere reliance on creative goodness, when that goodness itself has made it, and its degrees, to depend rigidly on law. All the language which implies that heaven is a place, and that it depends on the pleasure of God to take us in, or that hell is a place, and that it is God's special mercy that will keep us out, however commendable the piety that may dictate it, is fundamentally wrong, and ought carefully to be avoided. No man would cast himself on the mercy of God to make him holy to-morrow, or next week. Every man knows that God has made his holiness dependent on his own faithfulness. And a man's holiness is his heaven and his salvation here; and the holiness he carries with him through the tomb gives him his rank and constitutes his salvation at the commencement of his future career.

We see, too, from this consideration, the error of those who look forward with a feeling of rapture to entrance into a future state, as though such an entrance will make all men instantly happy. I do not mean that any class of

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