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nal salvation or eternal punishment. It is popularly supposed to concern itself chiefly with the future condition of men, but it rather draws away from such a field. It is less assertive here than in any other region of theological thought. It is, however, critical of the Old Theology, deeming it to be wise above what is written and out of line with the logic of the Faith; but it does not follow it into the future existence, with denials that imply a statement of the contrary, nor with positive assertions of its own. And the reason is that it transfers, to a large extent, the scene of the action of the truths pertaining to the subject from the future world conceived as a world of time and space to a world above time and not set in dimensions of space. In briefer phrase, it does not regard the future world as identical with the eternal world. Hence, its constructions on the subject turn largely on the word “ eternal,” which it does not regard wholly as a time-word, but as a word of moral and spiritual significance; it has little to do with time, but rather has to do with things that are above time; there is no more and no other relation between time and eternity in the future world than there is in the present world. This conception of the word does not necessarily imply that eternal punishment will not be everlasting; only, if that belief is entertained, it does not rest on this word, but is to be based on other grounds. And the battle waged over it is due simply to the mistaken anxiety of one side lest it shall be robbed of a text. But this rendering of the word does not antagonize the doctrine it has been held to teach ; it simply separates it from the doctrine.
The New Theology emphasizes this use of “eternal” as a word of moral and spiritual import, because it puts in their right place and relation the action of all the great processes of the Faith. The Faith is not a finite thing, but an infinite; its truths are not conditional, but absolute; the play of its laws. is not within time, but above time; its processes are not hedged about by temporal limits, - in time it may be, but not bounded by it; its facts have an eternal significance, which is other than that measured by “the cycles of the sun.” Thus the Christ is the eternally begotten Son of God, and He is the Lamb that hath been slain from the foundation of the world. This conception carries the interpretation of the Faith into the region of God, and allies it in its processes to his existence and his thought, which are above time. It proceeds on the specific belief that the Christ spoke and acted as in the eternal world. He would not otherwise have been a manifestation of God, nor would He have spoken eternal truth. It holds this logic with stern cogency, for it sees that only thus the historic life of the Christ becomes an ever-present and ever-enduring reality; only thus can it regard the Faith as free from the chance and mischance of time, as larger than the confines of Judea, as broader than the stretch of centuries, as independent of the incidents and accidents of a changing world. Only thus can a correlation be established between the life and words of the Christ and the action of the Spirit.
They do not mean the same, the One is not a carrying out of the Other, the One does not take the things of the Other and show them unto us, except as there is accorded to One the same absolute and eternal method that confessedly belongs to the Other.
But the New Theology does not plant its entire conception of the subject upon one word. It seeks rather to enlighten itself by the general light of the entire revelation of God; and thus it finds itself driven to such conclusions as these : namely, that every human being will have the fullest opportunity for attaining to the end of his creation as a of child of God; that every human being will receive
from the Spirit of God all the influence impelling to salvation that his nature can endure and retain its moral integrity ; that no human being will be given over to perish while there is a possibility of his salvation. These are the very truisms of the faith, its trend, its drift, its logic, its spirit, and its letter, when the letter is interpreted under the spirit; and they are equally the demand of the human reason. It might also be added as a truism that if the Gospel is intended for the world it is a Gospel for the world in very fact; if there is a true light which lighteth every man coming into the world,” it will surely lighten every man. If, in its present action, the faith is conditioned by time and proceeds under a law of development, we need not conclude that its application to the world of mankind is limited to time, or is bounded by periods or stages of development; this may involve essential injustice and other equally improbable elements. And so we are told that the Old Testament worthies are lifted by their faith out of their age and stage of development, and, by waiting, are “made perfect” with those of a later age, and under “ some better thing" that God had provided ; that is, the final condition of character for these ancient believers was not gained in their own age. But in what sphere did they await a perfection not to be gained except in connection with future generations ? The specific truth involves the general one, namely, that character is not necessarily determined in any given stage of development. There is reason in this : man is an eternal being, and the great processes that affect his destiny take eternity for their field. It is thus that the seeming injustice and inequality that are incidental to his life under time are met by a transfer to the eternal world. The first fact pertaining to man is that he is eternal by virtue of the image in which he is created; the second fact is that he is temporal : his destiny takes its rise in one and is greatly affected by it, but its completion and adjustment must be through the other. Only thus is he properly coördinated ; only thus can be be justly treated.
If it be said that these truisms conflict with certain texts, we waive yet do not grant the point, and answer that it is on the basis of these truisms there is such a consensus between Reason and Revelation that we accept it and hail it as a Gospel. If it be said that this makes Reason the judge of Revelation, we dissent, and yet assert that Rev
elation is not loaded with characteristics that shut it off from appeals to reasonable belief. It is not denied by any that the Gospel, in its inmost spirit and in its largest expression and purpose, means salvation. As such, it invests and presides over all other truths that may be connected with it. The key-note of the Old Testament is deliverance, and the Christ is the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world. It is not in accord with nature in the limited field in which we observe and feel it. The Gospel is not within the category of sensible nature; if it were we would not need it. Nor is it in accord with a legal system ; it is the antagonist of such a system. We may find in nature, and in human law and custom, analogies to processes in the Gospel, but we do not find in them the measure and total method and scope of the Gospel.
The immediate form under which the subject is now engaging attention is that of “probation,”with the question whether there is one or more. An immense advance has been made in rational thought and scriptural interpretation in regard to it; concessions are made on every side which, if not new, are unfamiliar. Still, the feeling cannot be avoided that the process of clearing is attended by a certain hardness of treatment not properly belonging to it, and under terms that are foreign to its meaning, and with limitations that are not justified by generous thought. It is largely associated with the phrase "a chance,” — a poor word in itself, an unscientific, a chaotic word. To interpret