Page images
PDF
EPUB

compelling Love of God, save that Love itself, - that He is in liell, too, and that if they make their bed in hell they shall not escape him, and then, perhaps, they will have some true presentiment of the “worm that dieth not and the fire that is not quenched.”

Eric Ericson, a young student, honestly doubting, and naturally atheistic (but yet deploring his lack of faith), in a conversation with Robert regarding a narrow-minded and dogmatic sermon which the latter had heard, said,

“ Robert, one thing is certain : if there be a God at all, He is not like that. If there be a God at all, we shall know Him by His perfection,- His grand perfect truth, fairness, love,a love to make life an absolute good, — not a mere accommodation of difficulties, not a mere preponderance of the balance on the side of well-being. Love only could have been able to create. But they don't seem jealous for the glory of God, those men. They don't mind a speck, or even a blot, here and there upon Him. The world doesn't make them miserable. They can get over the misery of their fellowmen without being troubled about them, or about the God that could let such things be. They represent a God who does wonderfully well, on the whole, after a middling fashion. I want a God who loves perfectly. He may kill; He may torture even; but if it be for love's sake, Lord, here am I. Do with me as Thou wilt."

Another quotation from the same book :

“He strengthened his heart for the conflict by saying that if he would do this for his father, what would not God do for His child ? Had he not proved already that, if there was any truth in the grand story of the world's redemption through that obedience unto the death, that his devotion was entire, and would leave nothing undone that could be done to lift this sheep out of the pit into whose darkness and filth he had fallen ?

All who have read “ Robert Falconer" must remember his talk with his grandmother, in which he tells her bis plan of emptying hell, when by the grace of Jesus Christ he has entered heaven, and is seated with the blessed at the heavenly feast:

“Weel, if I win in there, the verra first nicht I sit down wi' the lave o' them, I'm gaein' to rise up an' say-that is if the Maister at the heid o' the table disna' bid me sit doon — an' say : Brithers an' sisters, the haill o'ye, hearken to me for ae minute; an', O Lord! if I say wrang, jist tak’ the speech frae me, and I'll sit doon dumb and rebukit. We're a' here by grace and no by merit, save His, as ye a’ ken better nor I can tell ye, for ye hae been langer here nor me. But it's jist ruggin' an' rivin’at my hert to think o' them 'at's doon there. Maybe ye can hear them. I canna. Noo, we hae nae merit, an' they hae nae merit, an' what for are we here and them there? But we're washed clean and innocent noo; and noo, when there's no wyte lying upo' oursel's, it seems io me that we micht beir some o' the sins o' them 'at hae ower mony. I call upo' ilk' ane o' ye 'at has a frien' or a neebor down yonner, to rise up and taste nor bite nor sup mair till we gang up a'thegither to the fut o' the throne, and pray the Lord to lat's gang and du as the Maister did afore's and beir their griefs, and carry their sorrows doon in hell there; if it maybe that they may repent and cet remission o' their sins, an' come up here wi' us at the lang last, and sit doon wi' 's at this table, a' throu' the merits o' oor Saviour Jesus Christ, at the heid o' the table there. Amen.'”.

He has represented the Universalist faith very precisely in “ David Elginbrod," a grand ideal representative of the Scotch race. The statement of David's belief is very brief: In the Bible, in the world, in time, in eternity, he saw nothing but the interpretation or expansion of the sentence, “ God is Love." In the following conversation between David and a young tutor, Hugh Sutherland, this doctrine is clearly exemplified. They have been speaking on religious topics, and Hugh says :

“ Would you do nothing that other people should know God, David ? "

“Onything 'at he likes, but I wad tak tent o interferin'. He's at it himsel frae mornin' to nicht, frae year's en’ to year's en’."

“ But you seem to me to make out that God is nothing but love."

“ Ay, naething but love ; what for no ?” " Because we are told he is just.'

“ Wad he lang be just gin he did not loe us ?” “ But does he not punish sin ?”

“ Wad it be ony kindness no to punish sin, no to 1180 all means to put awa the ae ill thing frae us ? Whatever may be meant by the place of meesery, depen' uport, Mr. Sutherlan', its only anither form o' love, love shinin' through the fogs o' ill an' so gart leuk verra different thereby. Man, rather nor see my Maggy, - an' yo'll no doubt 'at I loe her,— rather nor see my Maggy do an all thing, I'd see her lyin' deid at my feet. · But supposin' the ill thing ance done, its not at my feet 1 wad lay her, but upon my hert, with my auld arms aboot lier to haud the further ill aff her. An' shall mortal man be inore just than God? Shall a man be more pure than his Maker ?

From one of MacDonald's unspoken sermons, “ It shall not be forgiven,” the following extract is taken :

“ No one, however, supposes for a moment that a man who has once refused to forgive his brother, shall therefore be condemned to endless unforgiveness and unforgivingness. What is meant is that while inan continues in such a mood God cannot be with him as liis friend ; not that He will not be his friend, but the friendship being all on one side — that of God - must take forins such as the man will not be able to recognize as friendship. Forgiveness, as I have said, is not love merely, but love conveyed as love to the erring. so establishing peace toward God, and forgiveness towards our neighbor.

6. To return, then, to our inmediate text: Is the refusal of forgiveness contained in it a condemnation to irrecoverable impenitence? Strange righteousness would be the decree that because a man has done wrong - let us say has done wrong so often and so much that he is wrong he shall forever remain wrong! Do not tell me the condemnation is only nezative a leaving of the man to the consequences of his own will, or at most a withdrawal from him of the spirit which he has despised. God will not take shelter behind such a jugglery of logic or metaphysics. He is neither schoolman nor theologian, but our Father in Heaven. He knows that that in Him would be the same inforgivingness for which He refuses to forgive man. The only tenable ground for supporting such a doctrine is that God cannot do nore; that Satan has overcome, and that Jesus, amongst his own brothers ar sisters in ihe image of God, has been less strong than the ad

versary, the destroyer. What, then, shall I say of such a doctrine of devils as that, even if a man did repent, God would or could not forgive him ?”

From the sermon on “ The Consuming Fire,” we have the following passages, as logical as they are eloquent :

“But at length, O God, wilt Thou not cast death and hell into the lake of fire even into Thine own consuming self?

“Death shall then die everlastingly, and hell itself shall pass a way. Then, indeed, wilt Thou be All in all. For then our poor brothers and sisters everyone O God, we trust in Thee, the Consuming Fire,— shall have been burnt clean and brought liome. For if their moans myriads of ages away would turn heaven for us into hell — shall a man be more merciful than God? Shall of all His glories His mercy alone not be infinite? Shall a brother love a brother more than the Father loves a son ? more than the brother Christ loves his brother? Would lie not die yet again to save one brother more?. It is su plain that every one may see it, every one ought to see it, every one shall see it. It must be so. He is utterly good and true to us, nor shall anything withstand His will

Our longing desires can no more exhaust the fulness of the treasures of the Godhead, than our imagination can touch their measure. Of Him not a thought, not a joy, not a hope of one of His creatures can pass unseen ; and while one of them remains unsatisfied He is not ‘Lord over all.”

From these extracts we may get a clear conception of the faith which animates the works and governs the life of George MacDonald Nerer himself doubting the Fatherly care and omnipotent love of God, he constantly aims to stimulate the consciences and to develop the faith of his readers.

Charles L. Simmonx.

ARTICLE VI.

Theories of Skepticism Materialism.

PART II. In a previous article on materialism, I reviewed the argu ments presented by the advocates of this much vaunted theory of Skepticism, and attempted to show that the hypothesis of the eternity of matter, persistence of force, indestructibility of energy, and the doctrine of erolution had not been demonstrated as doctrines of science, and even if they had been, they would not prove materialism. There are two other theries of the origin of life and inind upon which materialists rely, known among scientific writers as that of the spontaneous generation of living organisms, and the kindred theory that mind is the result of the molecular action of the brain.

The first is necessary to enable materialists to bridge the chasın between the living and the dead without an act of creation, which would show in nature the presence of creative mind and will. The second is necessary to show how mind springs from matter, and to reveal the method by which a material cause can produce an effect greater than itself. It is true that this is a violation of an axiom of philosophy ; but what does materialism care about the first principles of science, laws of thought, the intuitions of the reason, and the axioms of philosophy ?

The theory of the spontaneous generation of living organisms has not been verified. It is not a faci of science. Dr. Bastian claims to have demonstrated it by experiment;1 but Dr. Tyndall, by a long series of experiments carefully conducted, has slown that he was mistaken. But if spontane. ous generation was a verified fact, it would not prove materialism by proving the material origin of life. Generation, whether spontaneous or from living geris, is the method and not the cause of the origin of living organisins. The existence of the method proves the existence of a cause that works 1 Bastian's Beginnings of Life.

2 Popular Science Monthly.

« PreviousContinue »