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ture, be said of evil? Is the soul's love for evil innate ? Is it indestructible? Is it true that, while the love of evil can be completely destroyed in a soul, the love of good never can be destroyed, not even in the Dantean abysses !
It is not to be denied that the love of evil may be so strong in a soul that it may be designated as the soul's second nature. This is, however, widely different from the proposition that the love of evil is innate — that the original structure of human nature, conceived in its primal integrity, has in it the faculty of evil love. Not even the unmodified Calvinistic doctrine of total depravity quite says this. The fact that the desire for evil can be eradicated from human nature, and has been in saintly lives, and the fact that the love of good cannot be eradicated froin a human soul - a fact Mr. Cook changed his definition of perdition on purpose to recognize are premises from which the unnaturalness of evil may be logically deduced.
How can endless continuance he logically affirmed of any unnatural thing? Not to press the argument too strongly, does not a natural, indestructible desire of the soul prophesy its owu final predominance, more truly than a desire which, however powerful for the time, is confessedly contrary to nature, can prophesy its final predominance ?
It is a fact of human experience recognized by Mr. Cook in his definition, that no one can ever find content in sin. The conscience may be dulled and hardened, but never destroyed. Sin, therefore, necessarily tends to unrest an discontent. Nero comitted suicide ; Lady Macbeth, Mr. Cook's familiar, was not apparently very happy while looking at the crimson stains on her hands which the waters of the ocean could not wash out. The logical moral is that the sinner is at warfare with himself. Truly the innate love of good — the
subsidiary” yet indestructible desire for holiness—is no insignificant factor in this problem of finalities. In its actual workings it prophesies predominance, because no one can ever find rest or content, or a final state, in warfare against it.
I hope I do not underrate the significance of the fact of the persistency of evil habits. But, within the range of our experience, we know nothing of the final persistence of any evil habit. Every creed in Christendom, save pure Calvinismı, says the vilest sinner may effectively repent any day or moment this side of death. Prodigals actually do repent, even after they have become morally companionable with swine. It is altogether gratuitous, therefore, to assume from any thing we know of human experience that evil, in any life, tends to permanence.
I see nothing in sin, or in the experience of sin, which, in itself considered, necessitates the belief that it will always continue. Evil carries in itself the seeds of its own destruction. " The natural penalty of sin,” says Phillips Brooks,“ is repentance.” Mr. Cook often quotes Herbert Spencer in the saying that the soul can never be at peace unless liarmonized with its environment. Why does he not do justice to Herbert Spencer by quoting his entire proposition, which is, that good is the natural, hence the permanent in the universe ; that evil is unnatural, hence evanescent, and destined to ultimate disappearance ? Arthur Fuller read the world's history correctly when he said, “Nothing is finally settled which is not settled right.” The destiny of no soul can be finally settled till it is settled right — till it is harmonized with itself and its environment.
I by no means exhaust my reasons for demurring from Mr. Cook's assuinption of the inmortality of evil. My reading of history, including that of some buried nations, has confirmed me in the belief that evil carries in itself the seeds of its own destruction. But not longer to delay on this part of my argument, I claim that it is, at least, an open question whether evil, in itself considered, tends to permanence. A larger analysis of human nature and experience suggests that the destiny of evil is not immortality but extinction.
II. Mr. Cook's assumption in his definition that death is a misfortune to a sinful soul, is altogether too stupendous a proposition to rest on slight or doubtful proofs. It should rest on definite and irresistible support.
The question is not now what does Calvinistic orthodoxy teach. It is not what the Bible teaches. I do not claim to be technically orthodox; but I do not think myself unbiblical in believing that death is gain : a sowing in corruption, a rising in incorruption ; the change from a natural body to a spiritual body; the mortal being clothed upon with immortality. Nevertheless, the query is not whether Calvinistic orthodoxy teaches that death is a natural calamity to the sinful soul-it is unquestioned that it does so teach ; nor is it whether the Bible teaches this doctrine. Let it be acknowledged that Mr. Cook and his school think that they read that doctrine in the Bible ; I am completely convinced that I read an entirely different doctrine. Our test is reasonableness, by the scientific method ; a test Mr. Cook professedly welcomes for the Bible itself.
What natural reason is there for the proposition that death will lessen the moral power of any soul ? What is there in the nature of death — the change from the natural to the spiritual — which would even suggest that its experience will decrease the moral power of any soul ? Does Mr. Cook offer any scientific proof of the assumed fact? I can recall none whatever. He has, it seems to me, vitiated his scientific argument by his appeal at this pivotal point to traditional prooftexts which in my view are twisted from their true purport when offered as his Scriptural support, for every one of these passages has been explained by eminent Orthodox commentators in a sense radically different from that which Mr. Cook ascribes to them. This breaking of the “ laws of the game," by appealing in a scientific argument to traditionally interpreted proof-texts, appears to me a confession of conscious weakness. While Mr. Cook in my view makes a miserable failure of his exegesis, it is no less a failure in his argument for him to attempt exegesis at all.
What does science teach in regard to death? I limit the question to the immediate application. I do not raise the question whether science teaches that there will be a survival of soul-life beyond the dissolution of the body. I think it
does—but do not think even this so clearly as to make a strictly scientific faith in immortality altogether confident. It is scientifically demonstrable, however, that in death we are done with our material bodies. They go back to the dust; the spirit, if so be the spirit continue to live, is emancipated from its material weight. What scientific reason is there for the assumption that in the article of death” there is any permanent lessening of spiritual power or resource ? Such limitations and temptations as pertain to a material body exclusively, cannot be possible in the spiritual body one instant beyond death. All analogies of experience suggest, if they do not in fact prove, that there will be an immediate increase of spiritual knowledge in the soul emerging from death, and correspondingly stronger appeals to its heaven ward aspirations. This occasion of spiritual knowledge may be a means of divine judgment; but from my point of view this can be no evil, for divine punishments are corrective. Because death must be complete deliverance of the soul from its degrading besetments in this world, it must be an introduction to a condition favorable, rather than unfavorable, to repentance and salvation. The sequences of sin, as I think, will extend into that world. But I know no sound reason for the assumption that repentance beyond death is impossible or improbable. It seems to me altogether contrary to scientific analogies, and an altogether gratuitous and illogical inference from Scriptural teaching, to say that what we call death is, under divine appointinent, a calamity to any immortal soul.
III. We come now to the third assumption in Mr. Cook's delinition of perdition, namely, that for the soul dying in sin the doom is absolutely endless. Let us cadeavor to understand what this proposition means. I have tried by various mental processes to form a conception of endlessness ; but I can go only a little way before the thought transcends my powers of comprehension. The abstract idea becoines plain to us only in illustrative applications. Here is one of many I have used. It was a surprise to me, some time since, to hear it mathematically demonstrated that the cloth woven by the looms of America in one year, if it were in a continuous web, “ would circle the globe thirty-nine times, with some thousands of miles to spare.” It takes no little time to imagine such a web of cloth, nearly a million miles in length. Imagine on this web a line of closely written numerals, the first six inches of which will exhaust our multiples of millions, billions, quintillions and nonillions; the next six inches utterly transcending the computing power of our most patient thought. Imagine this line of figures extending to the end of the web, and that every unit of the total stands for a year. It is a mathematical calculation to stagger the strongest mind. Yet it gives no adequate symbolization of endlessness in time. When such a period shall have passed, and shall be repeated, the end will be no nearer. Not so much as a moment's progress will have been made toward the end of endlessness.
When Mr. Cook, therefore, with polemic enthusiasm and even apparent enjoyment, asserts and claims to prove that all souls passing the moment of death unrepentant will be fixed in evil endlessly — absolutely fixed, beyond remedy however remote ; and when I see a great audience listen with satisfaction, and hear it applaud with fervor, — what must I think? Does Mr. Cook realize what he says? Do the smiling people
realize what they hear ? If they did, even in the case of one · lost soul, for the credit of human nature I must believe that instead of the exultant applause which greeted the lecturer in his oratorical periods, there would have been such a wail in Tremont Temple as would have filled all Boston with horror.
Yet how.easy it seems for the genuine Andoverites to continue to assert the condemnation of guilty souls to endless punishment. These doctrinaires tell us that after the finali- . ties of destiny have all been reached — after the human race is at an end on the earth, after such a period as we have vainly tried to picture shall have elapsed, after God's plan in the universe shall have been brought to its complete consummation, — the lost will continue to remedilessly suffer. Why? Because at the moment of death they had not attained to pre