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which arises from the use of the two words for one; still I had no doubt which ought to have been chosen, which thrown aside." He says afterwards, if everlasting had been used strictly in the sense of eternity, he would have made no objection; and he thinks, moreover, the translators of our English version did use it in that sense. "They were too well acquainted with the controversies of the fourth century and with the history of theology not to know how important it is that there should be a word expressing a permanent fixed state, not a succession of moments. The word alov, or aetas, served this purpose. Like our own word "period," it does not convey so much the impression of a line as of a circle. It does not suggest perpetual progress, but fixedness and completeness. The word alw Vos, or aeternus, derived from these, seemed to have been divinely contrived to raise us out of our time-notions - to suggest the thought of One who is the same yesterday, today, and forever; to express those spiritual or heavenly things which are subject to no change or succession. The king James translators, therefore, hailed the word with , which Tyndale or some one else had provided them, as a generous addition to the resources and powers of the language. And they wished, I conceive, to raise their own Saxon word "everlasting" to its level. By using them indiscriminately, often together, they effected, to a great extent their object. Even in colloquial language, much more in considerate books of human and divine science, everlasting has acquired that impression of permanence which belongs to eternal, in virtue of its derivation." 1 The import which Mr. Maurice gives to the words "eternal" and "eternity" is, that they denote, primarily, a permanent, fixed state of relationship to God; which state is not a mere negation of time, nor is it, in any possible way, subject to time, but altogether excludes the idea of time; and is a state into which the soul may enter as soon as it comes into the true knowledge of God and union with his Eternal Spirit; even 1 Letter to Dr. Jelf, p. 15.
as it is said in the Gospel of John (xvii. 3), and as John speaks of it in his Epistles. Eternal life, therefore, is, he thinks, in its full and perfect sense, something real and absolute, something like the nature of God. It has reference solely to the infinite things and nature of God. It is "the righteousness, truth, love, which cannot be measured by time, which do not belong to time, but may be brought within the apprehension of the meek and lowly."1 "The eternal life is the righteousness and truth and love of God which are manifested in Jesus Christ; manifested to men that they may be partakers of them, that they may have fellowship with the Father and with the Son. This is held out as the eternal blessedness of those who seek God and love him." And what, then, is eternal death but the exact converse of this? It is the absence of this true knowledge of God. "What is perdition but a loss? What is eternal damnation, but the loss of a good which God had revealed to his creatures, of which he had put them in possession?"; "Men are in eternal misery because they are still covetous, proud, loveless." Hell is the state of unrighteousness; heaven is the state of righteousness. Eternal death is no more connected with time than eternal life, but is essentially that state of darkness and sin, whether in this world or the future, which results from the total loss of the knowledge and love of God.
In regard to the character of the punishment of the future life, Mr. Maurice thinks that it is punishment enough to be without the knowledge and love of God. "I believe wickedness, impenitence, and unbelief to be the worst tortures to which men can be subjected; that, as the possession of righteousness, love, and truth constitute eternal blessedness, these constitute eternal damnation and misery." 5
"There is a sense of wrath abiding on the spirit which has
1 Letter to Dr. Jelf, p. 18.
2 Concluding Essay and Preface to 2d ed. of Mr. Maurice's Essays, p. 34. 3 Ibid., p. 39.
♦ Ibid., p. 40.
Letters to Dr. Jelf, p. 25.
refused the yoke of love. This is one part of the misery. There is a sense of loneliness and atheism. This is another. And surely this, this is the bottomless pit which men see before them, and to which they feel they are hurrying, when they have led selfish lives, and are growing harder, and colder and darker every hour. Can we not tell them that it is even so, that this is the abyss of death, that second death, of which all material images offer only the faintest picture?" 1
As to the limits or extent of that death and condemnation, he says: "I ask no one to pronounce, for I dare not pronounce myself, what are the possibilities of resistance in a human will to the loving will of God. There are times when they seem to me-thinking of myself more than of others almost infinite. But I know that there is something which must be infinite. I am obliged to believe in an abyss of love which is deeper than the abyss of death. I dare not lose faith in that love. I sink into death, eternal death, if I do. I must feel that this love is compassing the universe. More about it, I cannot know. But God knows. I leave myself and all to him." 2
He defends himself from the charge of being a Universalist: "I have said distinctly that I am not a Universalist; that I have deliberately rejected the theory of Universalism, knowing what it is; and that I should as much refuse an article which dogmatized in favor of that theory as one that dogmatizes in favor of the opposite. I object to the Universalists because they seem to me to stand on the very ground upon which you stood. The word aivos is with them a word of time. Far from saying, as I have, that the substantive alov, by its very limitation, serves to suggest the thought of a fixed state out of time, they eagerly dwell on the fact that an age must consist of a certain number of years; it is terminable, they say, by its very nature. Therefore, at the end of a certain term, say thirty or forty thou
1 Concluding Essay to 2d ed. of Essays, p. 59.
2 Preface to concluding Essay of 2d ed. of Essays, p. 61.
sand years, we may believe that God's punishment of wicked men may be over, and they may be restored to favor. I have an utter want of sympathy with statements of this kind; they clash with all my convictions."1 "You asked me in one of your earlier letters to tell you what I thought of the cases of Judas and Voltaire; you complain in your final letter that I avoided the question. I certainly passed it by, because I wished to speak only of what is revealed. Nothing has been revealed to me about the state of Voltaire. I know a little about my own sin, about my own resistance to God's will; nothing at all about the length and breadth of his. Something is said about Judas: "It were [or had been] good for that man if he had not been born." This is our version of our Lord's words in Matt. xxvi. 24, and in Mark xiv. 21; the construing of them is difficult, but I have no other to offer. I receive them with awe and reverence, as the words of him who knows what is in man, and who died for man. Nor do I find them merely terrible, though they are so terrible. I think the inference of those who walk the streets of Christian London, from their observation of what is passing there, might naturally be, that it would be good for ninety-nine hundredths of its people, and of all the people in the world, if they had never been born. This natural opinion is immensely strengthened by the current doctrine among religious men respecting the fixed doom awaiting those hereafter who are sunk so low here."2 Viewing this doctrine practically, in reference to preaching, Mr. Maurice says: "But, be that as it may, I do not find these everlasting torments, upon which you dwell, are brought home in our sermons to the consciences of particular evil doers. They float vaguely about in the rhetoric of preachers; the individual drunkard, adulterer, gambler, parasite, oppressor, does not in the least perceive they are intended. for him. In his study he may have settled that they must apply to such and such persons; when he is brought face to face with them, he begins to think of all the influences 2 Ibid., p. 27.
1 Letter to Dr. Jelf, p. 24.
which may have acted upon them from childhood upwards to tempt them into evils to which he has never been tempted; he stammers, mutters dangerous encouragements, and leaves them to think that they may go on in their destructive habits and find some "uncovenanted mercies" to help them at last. If they had been told plainly that the state of body and of mind which they have brought themselves into, or in which they have become fixed, is an accursed, damnable state; that from this they need a present deliverance; that God offers them one; do you think that they would have nothing in their daily experience, or in their inmost conscience, to confirm the words?1 This is important and instructive; but if we omit distinct scriptural enunciations of the infinite evil and consequences of sin we lessen our hold of the conscience, we sap the foundations of morality, and make void the need and the reality of the infinite work of Christ.
Mr. Maurice looks upon the church as the living witness and revelation of the love of God.2 It is that portion of the human race who, being baptized unto Christ, have come ruly to know God, that he is their Father. It is they in whom he is revealed. They do acknowledge that God is in them, and has redeemed them in Christ. All men are thus redeemed; but the church consists of those who duly acknowledge this blessed fact, and live accordingly. In them the light that is come into the world really shines. As to the true foundation of the church, he says: "I believe that this universal church is founded on the union established between manhood and Godhead in the person of Jesus Christ, and upon all those acts of birth, death, burial, descent into hell, resurrection, and ascension, in which his union with our race was realized, and his union with God manifested. I believe that as this union of God. head and manhood rests, so the church itself rests, ulti
2 Theological Essays, p. 10.
1 Letters to Dr. Jelf, p. 37. VOL. XXII. No. 88.