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or Man in Life and Death:  The Reward of the Righteous and the Destiny of the Wicked


by Uriah Smith


Originally published by:  Review and Herald Publishing Association, Washington, D.C., 1897.  Now in the public domain since the copyright has expired.





            This particularly brilliant book was written a little over one hundred years ago by Uriah Smith (1832-1903), who was for decades (with a few brief interruptions) the editor of The Review and Herald, the official house organ for the Seventh-day Adventist Church.  Although perhaps best known today for writing Daniel and the Revelation, a detailed analysis of  two of the most important books of prophecy in the Bible, Smith wrote other books as well.  Using the Bible as its foundation and lodestar, Here and Hereafter deals with whether or not the dead are conscious, the soul is immortal, and the wicked will be eternally tortured.  This book provides comprehensive coverage of the disputes over these teachings; almost every relevant text, “pro” or “con,” is brought to bear on the controversies at issue.  The passage of over a century has hardly made this book obsolete, since it deals with fundamental issues of Biblical interpretation on the doctrines concerning the state of the dead. What makes this book truly remarkable is the author’s skill in writing, including his sense of humor and use of metaphor.  Using Scripture alone, Smith decisively destroys the doctrines of the immortality of the soul and eternal torment.  Although he discusses some philosophical arguments favoring unconditional immortality, these are a mere epilogue to the vast bulk of his case.  All people on either side of the dispute, whether they affirm or deny that men and women have souls that go to heaven, hell, or purgatory upon death, will find Smith’s book spiritually profitable to read.


            For this Internet edition, some editing has been done to the original text.  Most importantly, the Greek and Hebrew characters originally used in the 1897 edition for many of the words from the original languages have been struck out and transliterated into English.  A leading reason for this change is that many readers find looking at Greek and Hebrew words in their original characters an automatic and immediate turn-off.  Since I wish to encourage the circulation of this book, this is a good enough reason alone to eliminate them in favor of English transliterations.  Also, by eliminating them, they won’t come up as gibberish in many word processing programs that either lack Greek and/or Hebrew fonts or don’t have them activated when file format conversions occur.  In addition, in many cases Smith’s punctuation, and in some cases, his capitalization of words, and that of sources he cites, have also been changed to bring them up to contemporary standards.  Therefore, no scholar or other person who needs exact precision for quoting material from Here and Hereafter in a book, essay, or article they are writing should consult this edition of Smith’s work.  In order to retain the value of the original indexes and table of contents for Here and Hereafter, the original page numbers using double brackets (e.g., [[66]]) have been systematically inserted into the text.  They are placed at the bottom of the material of the page they originally appeared on.  In some cases, to avoid splitting words or a Scripture citation, they have been put after the full word in question in cases in which in the original edition the word (or citation) was started on one page and continued on the next. The general index, obviously done by Smith partially tongue in cheek, has been more systematically alphabetized than it was by his own hand, thanks to the marvels of modern word processing technology.  In this section, the double-bracketed page numbers here have been moved to the end of the alphabetized section (by letter) they originally would have appeared in the cases when a page ended and began while still having the same letter at the beginning.  In a small number of cases, original errors that appeared in the original edition, such as transposed digits in a Scripture citation, have been corrected.  In a few instances, in footnotes using double brackets that have my initials at the end (e.g., [[EVS]], I have commented on where I believe Smith has made a significant error of Biblical interpretation or of philosophy.  Nevertheless, in a book of this length, the number of doctrinal mistakes is remarkably few.  Indeed, in one doctrine, that concerning their belief that the ultimate fate of Satan and the evil angels is destruction, not eternal torment, standard Seventh-day Adventist doctrine has been more correct than that usually taught within the Churches of God that have followed the general teachings of Herbert W. Armstrong and the old Worldwide Church of God (pre-1986).  Therefore, whether you never have heard about the Biblical teaching about conditional immortality or you have known it your whole life, you should find Uriah Smith’s Here and Hereafter spiritually insightful and mentally uplifting.  One of the greatest weights seriously committed Christians can bear is their belief in eternal torment; read this book, and you’ll be amazed how much anxiety can be lifted off your mind by embracing the belief that immortality can only be found by embracing Christ as Savior.


Eric V. Snow

Wixom, Michigan





            Does the reader ask for what object this book is written?  The inquiry shall be candidly and courteously considered.  There are certain serious questions which, in a world like this, force themselves upon all thoughtful minds. It should be a matter of absorbing interest to all to learn with what nature man is constituted; what his condition in death may be; what future awaits him, if any, beyond the grave; and how that future is affected by his course of conduct here.


            These are inquiries of most weighty moment; but all expe­rience proves that man of himself is not able to answer them. Only a revelation from God can throw light on these questions. Happily we have such a revelation which purports to have an­swered them; for it claims to be able to make men “wise unto salvation.” What that answer is, the following pages undertake to show. That is the object of this book.


            On the subjects here discussed there is a widespread and daily increasing agitation throughout the theological world at the present time. Breaking away from long-established tra­ditions, men are turning their attention more particularly to what the Bible says upon these points; and in all the leading nations of Christendom the views of Bible students are in a state of transition. The old theology is being brought to the bar of the Bible, and judged accordingly. The doctrine that there is no eternal life out of Christ, and that, consequently, the punishment of the wicked is not to be eternal misery, is now able to present an array of adherents so strong in num­bers, so cultivated in intellect, and so correct at heart, that many of its opponents are changing their base of operations toward it, and taking steps looking not only to a toleration of its existence, but to a compromise with its claims.  [[3]]


            In adding another book to the many which have been writ­ten on this subject, the object has been to give in a concise manner a more general view of the teaching of the word of God, the ultimate source of authority, on this topic, than has heretofore been presented. A chapter on the Claims of Philosophy is appended to the Biblical argument, more to an­swer the queries of those who attach importance to such con­siderations, than because they are entitled to any real weight in the determination of this question.


            The interest that has of late years arisen on the subject of the state of the dead, is most timely. Spiritualism has arisen and is seeking to spread its doctrines and baneful influence over all the land. This great delusion appeals to the popular views of the condition of man in death as a foundation for its claims. The teaching of the Bible on this point is the most effectual antidote to its seductive poison. Before the true light on the intermediate state, and the destiny of the wicked, not only Spiritualism, with its hosts of darkness flees away, but purgatory, saint-worship, universalism, and a host of other errors all go down.


            In this period of agitation and transition, let no man blindly commit himself to predetermined views, but hold him­self ready to follow truth always and everywhere. Let him hold his sympathies entirely at its disposal. This is the course of safety; for truth has angels, Christ, and God, upon its side; and though it had but one adherent on the earth, it would triumph all the same. Truth can receive no lasting detriment from the opposition of the world, and the powers of darkness, all combined. Its triumph is assured by the pledge of Omnipotence; and all who follow it, few in number though they be, at last will triumph with it too.  U.  S.




Table of Contents[1]



Chapter                                                                                                               Page

I.    Introduction........................................................................................................ 5

II.   The Creation of Man......................................................................................... 10

III.  Objections Examined........................................................................................ 16

             The Image of God--The Breath of Life--The Living Soul.

IV.   Bible Use of the Terms "Immortal" and "Immortality"........................................ 27

              Aphthartos (Immortal)--Athanasia (Immortality)--

                Aphtharsia (Immortality).

V.    The Words "Soul" and "Spirit".......................................................................... 31


VI.   Concerning the Human Spirit............................................................................ 37

              The Spirit Returns to God--From Whence Comes the Spirit?--

                Who Knows the Spirit of Man?--Committing the Spirit to

                God--The Spirits of Just Men Made Perfect--The Spirits

                in Prison--A Spirit Hath not Flesh and Bones--Neither

                Angel nor Spirit--Destroy Flesh, Save the Spirit.

VII.  Concerning the Human Soul............................................................................. 56

              Departure and Return of the Soul--Can the Soul be

                Killed?--The Souls Under the Altar--Body, Soul, and


VIII. The Death of Adam......................................................................................... 66

IX.   Condition of Man in Death............................................................................... 72


X.    Objections Answered...................................................................................... 76

              Gathered to His People--Samuel and the Woman of Endor--

                The Transfiguration.  Matt. 17:1-9--The God of the

                Living--The Rich Man and Lazarus--With Me in Paradise--

                Absent from the Body--In the Body and Out--Departing

                and Being with Christ--Remaining Texts Considered.

XI.   The Resurrection of the Dead......................................................................... 115

              The Doctrine of the Resurrection Destroys the Theory of

                the Immortality of the Soul--The Resurrection a

                Necessity--Identity in the Resurrection--Bible

                Testimony for the Resurrection--The Resurrection of

                the Wicked.

XII.    The Judgment to Come................................................................................ 130

XIII.   The Life Everlasting..................................................................................... 132

XIV.    The Wages of Sin...................................................................................... 134

XV.        Objections Answered.............................................................................. 142

                Shame and Everlasting Contempt--Everlasting Fire--

                  Everlasting Punishment--Degrees of Punishment--The

                  The Undying Worm and Quenchless Fire--Tormented

                  Forever and Ever.

XVI.    God's Dealings with His Creatures.............................................................. 154

XVII.   The Claims of Philosophy........................................................................... 158

XVIII.  Historical View of the Doctrine of Immortality............................................ 165

XIX.      Influence of the Doctrine.......................................................................... 172

Appendix.............................................................................................................. 174

            The Doctrine Illustrated

Index of Authors Referred To................................................................................ 176

Index of Texts of Scripture..................................................................................... 178

General Index................................................................................................... ….184




Chapter 1




            FORTUNATELY there are some things which men can­not deny. There are plenty of them who deny God, deny Christ, deny the Holy Spirit, deny divine revelation, and deny any hereafter. But they cannot deny that which may be called the “Here.” The present state of existence is a fact which cannot be ignored. Man finds himself in a real, material, world, on a plane of existence which is full of mystery and marvel. He finds himself with a bodily organism wonderfully constructed; with capabilities opening before him a wide field for activity; with a mind able to reason, reflect, draw conclusions, and lay plans for the future. He can pry into the secrets of nature, resolve substances of the earth into their original elements, and with instruments that multiply his vision a thousandfold, explore the blue expanse above him, and study the stellar worlds in their grand procession through boundless space. The wonders of nature and the marvel­ous achievements of his fellow men excite in his own mind conceptions of almost infinite possibilities.


            But amid all the phenomena of life, he sees another, if possible stranger still — the phenomenon of death. The [[7]] man of most skilful acquirements and mightiest intellect, falls in death. Immediately, so far as anything appears to the outward sense, his powers are gone. His mind ceases to act; his body, unable longer to resist decay, disintegrates and mingles with the dust. Truly one must be of very stolid and stupid mold, who under such cir­cumstances does not let his mind run out beyond the limits of his visible horizon, and have some inquiries to make in the regions of “things not seen.” And the broad plane of one’s present existence— a realm of reality not shadow, of fact not fancy— affords a firm basis from which to extend one’s deductions into other fields, even the hereafter.


            Without either counsel or co-operation of our own, we find ourselves on the plane of human existence, subject to all the conditions of this life, and hastening forward to its destiny, whatever it may be. A retinue of mysterious inquiries throngs our steps. Whence came this order of things? Who ordained this arrangement? For what purpose are we here? What is our nature? What are our obligations? And whither are we bound? Life, what a mystery! Having commenced, will it ever end? Once we did not exist; are we destined to that condition again? Death we see everywhere around us. Its victims are silent, cold, and still. They give no outward evidence of retaining any of those faculties, mental, emotional, or physical, which distinguished them when living. Is death the end of all these? And is death the extinction of all human beings? These are questions which have ever excited in the human mind an intensity of thought and a strength of feeling which no other subjects can awaken.


            To these questions, so well-defined, so definite in their demands, and of such all-absorbing interest, where [[8]] shall we look for an answer? Have we any means within our reach by which to solve these problems? We look abroad upon the earth, and admire its multiplied forms of life and beauty; we mark the revolving seasons and the uniform and beneficent operations of nature; we look to the heavenly bodies, and behold their glory, and the regularity of their mighty motions — do these answer our questions? They tell us something, but not all. They tell us of the great Creator and upholder of all things; for, as the apostle says, “The invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead.” They tell us upon whom our existence depends, and to whom we are amenable.


            But this only intensifies our anxiety a thousandfold. For now we want to know upon what conditions his favor is suspended. What must we do to meet his require­ments? How may we secure his approbation? He surely is a being who will reward virtue and punish sin. Sometime our deeds must be compared with his require­ments, and sentence be rendered in accordance therewith. How will this affect our future existence? Deriving it from him, does he suspend its continuance on our obedi­ence? Or has he made us self-existent beings, so that we must live forever, if not in his favor, then the conscious recipients, of his wrath?


            With what intense anxiety the mind turns to the future! What is to be the issue of this mysterious problem of life?  Who can tell? Nature is silent. We appeal to those who are entering the dark valley. But who can reveal the mysteries of those hidden regions till he has explored them? And the “curtain of the tent into which they enter, never outward swings.” Sternly the grave closes its heavy portals against every attempt to catch a glimpse of the [[9]] unknown beyond. Science proves itself helpless on this momentous question. The imagination breaks down; and the human mind, unaided, sinks into a melancholy, but well-grounded despair.


            Multitudes, however, profess to be able to answer these queries. The world has so long been so taught on this sub­ject, that hundreds upon hundreds of minions now believe, and have believed, that man has, inherent in his own nature, an undying principle, an “immortal soul,” which is the real, intelligent, responsible man — the living element in the body — but which is independent of the body, and can exist as well without the body as with it; which is just as much alive after the body is dead as it was before; which is therefore conscious, active, and in­telligent in that condition known as death, or while the body is in the grave; and which, after the Judgment, according as that great tribunal decides, must live in conscious happiness or misery through all eternity.


            One cannot but stand dazed and confounded before the awful possibilities involved in such an answer; and before accepting it, one would do well to search most carefully to ascertain beyond all reasonable question whether it be true. For if it be true, the first great appalling fact that stands out before us is that the greater portion of the human family are destined to exist forever in conscious torture beyond the power of language to describe — torture inflicted without the intention or possibility of accomplishing one iota of good either for themselves or others, and from which they can never gain one moment’s relaxation through an agonizing duration that shall never, never end. And all for what — Generally speaking, as a punishment for a life of less than fifty years of carelessness and sin in this world. Is there a man with a spark of human kind­ness in his soul, or the least shadow of a sense of justice [[10]] and mercy in his heart, who could endure the sight? Is there one who can tolerate the thought? Then how must the Creator of mankind be looked upon who can thus deal with them, even though they be sinners? Is it any wonder that God, under such teaching, has come to be regarded by an ever-growing army of skeptics, as a heart-/’ less, revengeful tyrant, who delights in rendering as mis­erable and wretched as possible, the creatures of his hand, whom he preserves alive for that very purpose?


But aside from the overwhelming terror of eternal con­scious misery, a long train of conclusions follows, con­cerning which we should consider whether we are prepared to accept them or not, before we subscribe to the answer above given. If it be true that man has an immortal soul that cannot die, it follows (1) that he who assured our first parents in Eden that they should not surely die (Gen. 3 4, 5), told the truth, and a belief of the truth was the deception which brought sin into the world to destroy the peace and happiness of mankind; (2) that the deification of dead men and the worship of ancestors, which prevail throughout heathendom, and upon which so much of idola­try is founded, has at least some foundation; (3) that the saint-worship, Mariolatry, purgatory, and mass, of the Roman Catholic and Greek churches, are true doctrines (4) that the future coming of Christ, and a future general Judgment, and a resurrection of the dead, can all be set aside as inconsistent and unnecessary; (5) that Restora­tionism, Universalism, and Spiritualism can be, on this hypothesis, defended from the Scriptures.


On the other hand, if man possesses no such undying principle by nature, as an immortal soul; if the dead are not conscious; if future eternal life depends on Christ alone all the doctrines and practises named above, top-pie over as gigantic frauds, deceptions, and superstitions; [[11]] Christ, in his position and work, as the Source of life and immortality, stands forth in his true light and untarnished glory; the coming of Christ, the resurrection of the dead, the Judgment, and the time of rewards and punishment, all find a place which corresponds to the testimony of the Scriptures; and apparent harmony reigns in all branches of this subject. Surely the decision of a question, on the answer to which so much depends, cannot be left to human testimony. He who alone has knowledge of the unseen world, must resolve the doubts, dispel the mysteries, and explain the queries which cluster about these momentous problems. God must tell us, or we can never know what lies beyond this state of existence, till we experience it for ourselves. He who has placed us here, must himself make known to us his purposes and his will, or we are forever in the dark. Of this, all reverent and thoughtful minds are well assured.


            Stuart, in his “Exegetical Essays on Several Words Relating to Future Punishment” (pp. 13, 14), says:


The light of nature can never scatter the darkness in question. This light has never yet sufficed to make the question clear to any portion of our benighted race, whether the soul is immortal. Cicero, incomparably the most able defender of the soul’s immor­tality of which the heathen world can yet boast, very ingenuously confesses that, after all the arguments which he had adduced in order to confirm the doctrine in question, it so fell out that his mind was satisfied of it only when directly employed in contem­plating the arguments adduced in its favor. At all other times he fell unconsciously into a state of doubt and darkness. It is notorious, also, that Socrates, the next most able advocate, among the heathen, of the same doctrine, has adduced arguments to establish the never-ceasing existence of the soul, which will not bear the test of examination. If there be any satisfactory light, then, on the momentous question of a future state, it must be sought from the word of God.


      Alvin Hovey, D. D., “State of Men after Death,” p. 35, says: [[12]]


But what does the sacred record say of departed spirits? For if we are to know anything in respect to their condition after death, light from revelation is indispensable; the testimony of reason, conscience, aspiration, leaves us still in doubt; the eye of sense cannot pierce the veil; and our only refuge is the word of God.


            H. H. Dobney, Baptist minister, of England (“ Fu­ture Punishment,” p. 107), says:


Reason cannot prove man to be immortal. We may devoutly enter the temple of nature; we may reverently tread her emerald floor and gaze on her blue, ‘star-pictured ceiling,’ but to our anxious inquiry, though proposed with heart-breaking intensity, the oracle is dumb, or like those of Delphi and Dodona, mutters only an ambiguous reply that leaves us in utter bewilderment.


            And what information have they been able to give us, who have either been ignorant of divine revelation, or, having the light, have turned their backs upon it?  Listen to a few of their words, which sufficiently indi­cates the character of the knowledge they possessed.  Socrates, about to drink the fatal hemlock, said:  “I am going out of the world, and you are to continue in it; but which of us has the better part is a secret to every one but God.”  Cicero, after recounting the various opinions of phi­losophers on this subject, levels all their systems to the ground by this ingenuous confession: “Which of these is true, God alone knows; and which is the most probable, is a very great question.”  Seneca, reviewing the arguments of the ancients on this subject, said:  “Immortality, however desirable, was rather promised than proved by these great men.”


            And the skeptic Hobbes, when death was forcing him from this state of existence, could only exclaim, with dread uncertainty, “I am taking a leap in the dark?”--dying words not calculated to inspire any great degree [[13]] of comfort and assurance in the hearts of those who are inclined to follow in his steps.


            With a full sense of our need, we turn, then, to the revelation which God has given us in his word. Will this answer our inquiries? It is not a revelation if it does not; for this must be the very object of a revelation. Logicians tell us that according to the plainest principles of their science, there is “ an antecedent probability in favor of a divine revelation, arising from the nature of the Deity and the moral condition of man.” On the same ground, there must be an equal probability that, if we are immortal, never-dying beings, that revelation will plainly tell us so.


            To the Bible alone we look for correct views on the important subjects of the character of God, the nature of life and death, the resurrection, heaven, and bell. But our views upon all these must be, to a great extent, governed by our views of the nature and destiny of man. On this subject, therefore, the teachings of the Bible must, of consistency, be sufficiently clear and full.


            And when we say the Bible, let it be understood that the Bible just as it reads, and just as it stands, is in­tended, not the Bible as emasculated by the modern “higher criticism.” We have no use for a Bible such as these critics leave us, its earlier records lost in the fog of myth and fable, while claiming to be given by inspira­tion of God. The Bible is a unit, and as a whole stands or falls together. Its earliest records, and most disputed portions, are openly recognized as genuine by Christ and his apostles; and one word of endorsement from such a source, is worth more than all the criticism which all the world upon the other side can offer. The story of the creation, the fall of man, and the scheme of human redemption, there revealed, is the only rational [[14]] ground on which to account for the presence and con­tinuance of sin and suffering in a world under the control of an Omnipotent Being whose name and nature is pu­rity and love. This record, then, will, in this work, be accepted as a straightforward narrative of plain, un­varnished verities.


            Prominent upon the pages of this book of inspiration, we see pointed out the great distinction which God has put between right and wrong, the rewards he has promised to virtue, and the punishment he has threatened against sin; we find it revealed that but few, comparatively, will be saved,[2] while the great majority of the human family will be lost; and as the means by which the perdition of ungodly men will be accomplished, we find described in fearfully ominous terms, a lake of fire burning with brim­stone, all-devouring and unquenchable.


            How these facts intensify the importance of the ques­tions, Are all men immortal? Are these wicked immor­tal? Is their portion an eternity of incomprehensible, Conscious torture and unutterable woe? Have they in their nature a principle so tenacious of life that the severest implements of destruction with which the Almighty can assail it, an eternity of his intensest devouring fire, can make no inroads upon its inviolate vitality? Fearful questions! — questions in reference to which it cannot be that the word of God will leave us in darkness, or perplex us with doubt, or deceive us with falsehood.


            In commending the reader to the word of God on this great theme, it is unnecessary to suggest to any candid mind the spirit in which we should present our inquiries. Prejudice or passion should not come within the sacred precincts of such an investigation. If God has plainly revealed that all the finally impenitent of mankind are doomed to an eternity of Conscious misery, we must accept [[15]] that fact, however hard it may be to find any correspond­ence between the limitation of the guilt and the infinitude of the punishment, and however hard it may be to har­monize such treatment with the character of God, who has declared himself to be “LOVE.” If, on the other hand, the record shows that God’s government can be vindicated, sin meet its just deserts, and at the same time such dispo­sition be finally made of the lost as to relieve the universe from the horrid spectacle of a hell forever burning, fined with sensitive beings, frenzied with fire and flame, and blaspheming in their ever-strength a dispo­sition which accords with the sense of justice and emotions of benevolence which reign in every undepraved heart —can any one be the less ready to accept this fact, or hesi­tate, on this account, to join in the ascription, “Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and tine are thy ways, thou King of saints”? [[16]]




Chapter II


The Creation of Man


            The most direct way to learn what man’ s nature is, seem to be to study the story of his creation, if such a record can be found, and search for the sub­stances and elements that were made use of in his forma­tion. Happily such a record has been furnished, and it rests on higher authority than the deductions of human reason or the speculations of men. Here we fall back upon the testimony of the Bible, and take its language in its most obvious and literal sense. If any think that it comports better with the dignity and glory of an omnipo­tent Creator to suppose that he limited his creative energy to the production of an infinitesimal amount of protoplasm somewhere, and left that to evolve itself through countless ages, into all conceivable organisms, developing at last, through mollusks, vertebrates, mammals, and monkeys, to man, they are at liberty, of course, to enjoy that opinion; but the reader will allow us to prefer the record in Genesis, and here to put that forth in evidence, as a more satisfac­tory account of the origin and nature of the human family. That record gives, in a few plain, straightforward declara­tions, the account of man’s creation, as follows: “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Gen. 2: 7.


            This record accounts for every feature and faculty pos­sessed by man, and all the mental and vital phenomena, [[17]] manifested through him. God had fashioned this beau­tiful world glowing with life and beauty; but yet there was no one to exercise dominion over it, no one to till the soil, and cause all its multiple forms of life to praise and glorify the Creator. To provide for this lack, God took a portion of the dust of the earth, wrought it into the form of a man, and by a process of organization, of which we can form no conception, made it flesh. All the organs of the body were there, fashioned for their different uses. They were all ready for action, but there was no life. Then God breathed into the man’s nostrils the breath of life, with its vitalizing, life-giving power, and man became a living soul. This body, before inert and helpless, be­came a living, moving power. The heart began to beat, and the life current flowed through all its channels; the lungs began their work, and the process of breathing appeared; the nerves assumed their office, and the man began to feel; the muscles were quickened, and he began to move; the brain acted, and he began to think and manifest that intelligence by which he could understand the instructions of his Maker, and exercise his will to do his bidding. Thus treated “man became a living soul.”


            The record states all that was done in reference to man, and all that was imparted to him, to make him the being that he was. And was not this sufficient? O, no! Exclaims the theologian; this was not enough; this was all material; but there must have been a soul, some im­material and immortal part, given him, to make possible the manifestation of the phenomena of mind; for “matter cannot think.” But who knows all these additional par­ticulars? Remember, we are here going by the record. We are supposed to know nothing beyond what the rec­ord states. Man, as a “living soul,” was of course capa­ble of exercising every faculty of body and mind common [[18]] to the human family. But by the process here described — the formation of the body, and the setting it in motion by the breath of life—man became just this “living soul.”  Now what right has any one to take this word “soul,” and give it a new meaning to be the vehicle of a new idea, and thrust it in here to change the whole scope and tenor of the record? This word “soul “is the very word theologians use to signify this immaterial and immortal part, which they so ardently wish to show was here in­terjected into Adam’s organism; but whatever this word expresses, that the record says the man, by the breathing into the nostrils of the breath of life, had “become.” He “became” a living soul.”


            But it is insisted that, as man could then think, there must have been something superadded to his nature; for matter, it is assumed with all assurance, cannot think; only spirit, it is repeated, is capable of such a process as at.[3] It might be a sufficient reply to such a claim, to simply call attention to the fact that in this declaration, people are setting up assumptions in a field of which they know nothing. It would perhaps be unbecoming to make such a charge, did not the very ones to whom reference is made, openly confess it. What is matter? And what is spirit? Those who presume the heaviest on the contrast between matter and spirit, acknowledge that they “do not understand the nature of either the one or the other.’ Thus an authority, high in the religious world, says:


If it is asked what is meant by matter, or what matter is, we must confess that we know not what constitutes its essence. In this respect its autology is beyond our reach; and the only advance we find it possible to make, is to point out some of the properties of matter, as discerned by our senses, and to exhibit some of the laws by which it is governed.[4] [[19]]


That renowned philosopher, John Locke, says:


We have the idea of matter and thinking, but possibly shall never be able to know whether any mere material being thinks or not; it being impossible for us, by the contemplation of our own ideas, without revelation, to discover whether Omnipotence has not given to some systems of matter, fitly disposed, a power to perceive and think, or else joined and affixed to matter so disposed, a think­ing, immaterial substance; it being, in respect of our notions, not much more remote from our comprehension to conceive that God can, if he pleases, superadd to matter a faculty of thinking, than that he should superadd to it another substance with a faculty of thinking; since we know not wherein thinking consists, nor to what sort of substance the Almighty has been pleased to give that power which cannot be in any created being but merely by the good pleas­ure of the Creator. For I see no contradiction in it, that the first eternal, thinking Being should, if he pleased, give to certain systems of created, senseless matter, put together as he thinks fit, some degrees of sense, perception, and thought.[5]


Mr. Clark, quoted before, makes a like confession con­cerning spirit:


We confess that we know not in what the essence of soul, or spirit, consists. We readily acknowledge our ignorance of the essence, the subject-being, of matter. We make the same confession — and under the same limitations—concerning the soul.[6]


But notwithstanding such acknowledgments as these, we find Mr. Clark arguing as follows, in reference to mind and matter:


We are accustomed to say the eye sees, the ear hears, the finger feels, and so forth; but such language is used only in accom­modation to our ignorance, or from the force of habit. It is incor­rect. The eye itself no more sees than the telescope which we hold before it to assist our vision; the ear hears not any more than the trumpet of till which the deaf man directs toward the speaker to convey the sound of his voice: and so with regard to all the organs of sense. They are but instruments which become the media of intelligence to the absolute mind, and it uses them whenever it is inclined or obliged to do so. [[20]]


Again Mr. Clark speaks further as follows:


The opinion that even organic matter could by any possibility be made to exhibit such power, cannot be received without the most clear and indubitable evidence. What is there to be found in the composition of the brain or nervous system, or in their organization, that would lead us to look for the development of thought, feeling, or conscience in them? The brain has been an­alyzed, and more than eight tenths of its substance has been found to be water.  Indeed, this, mixed up with a little albumen, a still less quantity of fat, osmazone, phosphorus, acids, salts, and sul­phur, constitutes its material elements. In all cases water largely predominates. Take even the pineal gland — that interior and mysterious organ of the brain, supposed by Descartes, and by many philosophers after him, to be the peculiar seat of the soul — even this has been analyzed. Its principal elements are found to be phosphate of lime together with a smaller proportion of carbonate of lime and phosphates of ammonia and magnesia. If the brain at large constitutes the soul, then the soul is only a peculiar com­bination of oxygen and hydrogen, with albumen, acids, salts, sul­phur, etc. Or, if the pineal gland constitutes the soul, then the principal element of the soul is phosphate of lime.[7]


A soul, such as has been invented by modern theology, or rather by ancient mythology, or rather by the great ophidian philosopher in Eden, it is no wonder it is found impossible to discover. But it seems a most useless pro­cedure to look for it through the analysis of dead matter. Men assume that certain things of most common occurrence cannot be done except by such a “soul,” and thus take upon themselves the unnecessary and embarrassing problem of trying to account for its origin and union with man. The simple concession that matter can be so or­ganized and vitalized as to exhibit all these phenomena, at once simplifies the matter, and relieves it of all diffi­culty. And in the arguments of these gentlemen, where is God? Where is Omnipotence? They confess that they not know what matter is. Are they sure that they now all the kinds of matter which God has at his command? [[21]] Are they aware of all the combinations of matter which God is able to make, and are they able to tell the results of all these? Is matter the vile and contemptible substance which their words would indicate? God has certainly seen fit to make use of it in all the worlds which he has created; and at the birth of our own world, “the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy.” And the glorious terminus of the Christian pathway is set before us in terms that suggest materiality — it is a city which has foundations whose builder and maker is God; a city which has streets of gold and gates of pearl.


Matter takes on new properties by new combinations and new arrangements. A sufficient illustration is found in the household article, water, so necessary, in one con­dition, to all life and vegetation. In one state it is ice, hard and cold; in another, a liquid, useful for innumerable purposes; if raised to steam, it becomes an invisible giant, able to rend the strongest bars of steel, and compete with the lightning in destructive power. Yet it is all the time the same matter, only under different forms and combina­tions. In one form matter is sweet; in another, sour; in one, white like snow; in another, black like coal; in one, strong; in another, weak; in one, soft; in another, solid; in one, precious and beautiful; in another, of little worth; for the glittering diamond, held to be of almost priceless value, and the charcoal, unsightly to the eye and touch, are identically the same substance — pure carbon — only with its particles differently arranged. The difference between body and the so-called “spirit,” between senseless matter and thinking matter, could scarcely be greater.


Matter can be endowed with life. Here are two seeds; left upon the shelf they would continue unchanged for an indefinite length of time. Now take these seeds and put [[22]] them under different conditions: crush one to powder, and plant it; will it grow? No--its life has been des­troyed. Plant the other; the moisture and warmth of a congenial soil quicken into action the germ of life, and the seed swells, sends forth a sprout, strikes down into the earth its roots, and becomes a towering plant which flowers and fruits to delight the eye, or furnish sustenance to the bodies of men. What produced this marvelous result? Was there an immaterial spirit or intelligence enshrined within to bring it all about? — No; it was a power inherent in the matter itself. This is vegetable life; and the world is full of it— indeed, would be a waste, barren desert without it.


            Ascending a step we have something more wonderful still in animal life. The egg is simply a quantity of matter; but subject it to suitable conditions, and in due time a chicken comes forth full of life and activity. Is there an immaterial being in the chicken that makes it see and act, seek food and fly from danger?   No--it is simply matter organized to act in these strange and self-determining ways. Every animal below man is consid­ered to b9 only matter. It will not be admitted that such animals are endowed with immortal souls and never-dying spirits; yet what powers do they manifest! They see, hear, feel, taste, and smell; they exhibit fear, love, anger, hatred, and revenge; they give every evi­dence of memory, will, reflection, and reason.[8] But all this is matter; and yet we are told that matter cannot “think.” Can matter see? Can it hear, feel, taste, and smell? In its primary state of course it cannot; but it can be organized so that it is able to do all these things. No illustration nor enlargement is needed here; for it cannot be denied. Now is there anything unreasonable in the thought that God should put the finishing touch [[23]] of a higher degree of organization upon man, so that through the power of a more highly developed brain, he should become the intelligent, morally responsible being that he is?


            Those who deny that matter can be so organized as to think, are guilty of a strange inconsistency in their logic. The characteristics of matter are form, size, weight, loca­tion, etc. But as these are not attributable to love, hope, fear, and like emotions, they claim that these cannot be matter, but must be the production of a separate intelligent entity. They seem to forget that the attributes or results of the organization of matter cannot be contrasted with matter itself. The questions they ask concerning love, fear, bate, etc., whether they are round, square, or flat, we might well supplement with the same questions concerning light, heat, or cold. If any doubt that some eminent philosophers do reason thus, let them read the following from Joseph Cook:


When Caesar saw Brutus stab, and muffled up his face at the foot of Pompey’s statue, was his grief round, square, or triangular? [Laughter.] When Lincoln, by a stroke of the pen, manumitted four minion slaves, was his choice hexagonal or octagonal? . . These questions show that the terms which we apply to matter are totally inapplicable when applied to mind.”[9]


            This can easily be paralleled by questions referring to matter alone. In sight of the writer, as these lines are being penned, a dog is attempting to drive a hog from a neighboring field. The hog shows fight. With bristles erect, and glaring eyes, he makes a dash at the dog. With growl and bark the dog evades the onslaught, and keeps up his part of the contest by a charge from another quarter. Was that hog’s anger round, square, hexagonal, or octagonal? Were that dog’s plans to foil his antagonist, [[24]] rectangular or three-cornered, one thickness or three-­ply? Here was matter against matter, but how broad and thick were the specimens of fury exhibited, and how much did they weigh? — “[Uproarious laughter. Great applause.]”


       There are operations of matter as inexplicable as matter itself. Light, heat, cold, and even that subtle essence, electricity, which electricians describe as “an unknown force, acting in an unknown way,” are conceded to be a form of matter, or at least, incapable of manifestation without matter. So of mind, it cannot exist independent of matter. Brain material is necessary to its existence. Who can conceive of thought existing apart by itself? What would it be like, and how would it act? It is claimed that this inward man, this spirit being, which feels, sees, hears, etc., is of the same shape and size as the natural body, and is indivisible, so that if a man loses his natural leg or arm, the spirit leg or arm remains in its place just the same If this is not so, and the spirit body is divisible, then one might lose his spirit head, — and what would his condition then be? But to show that there is no such spirit body which does the feeling, seeing, etc., just try to strike, pinch, or pierce the spirit leg or arm after these corporeal members are removed, and what is the result?   Nothing--and this reveals the exact constitution of this supposed spirit body--nothing.


       Another question:  In what condition is this spirit body when it is put into man? What is its status? Has it full -power, or is it limited in its capabilities? If it has all its powers in the beginning, why does not the infant exhibit all the mental power and intelligence of a full-grown man? If it is not endowed with all its powers in the beginning, why not? As a separate creation, could not [[25]] God make it so?  Then why clog and cumber it with a body at all? But if it has at first simply the size and power of the infant, and can only expand and mature with the body, then it is dependent on the body, and sub­ject to all its conditions. And that such is the case with respect to the powers of the mind, Paul expressly affirms. He says: “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” 1 Cor. 13:11. Here is a plain statement that the understand­ing and thinking power is circumscribed by the limitations of the body. Then if it expands or shrinks with the body, strong or imbecile, childish or mature, just according as the body is in these conditions, when the body perishes, does it not perish with it? We speak of “it” to accom­modate the discussion to the claims of popular theology. But with this idea we find the argument hopelessly en­tangled in absurdities at every step. But with the view that these marvelous powers are simply the result of man’s superior organization, all becomes simple and plain, and easy of comprehension. In another chapter devoted to the question of the origin of the spirit, more will be said on some of the points here alluded to.


            Thus the record of Adam’s creation is amply sufficient to account for all the physical and mental phenomena exhibited by living men. The body was framed of the dust of the ground; the organs were alt formed complete and adapted to their various uses; the organization was of the most superior kind; the machine was perfect in all its parts; the breath of life was breathed into it, carrying with it the vital principle, the life- giving power which God had placed therein. Then man sprang into life; he stood erect, a “living soul,” intelligent through the action of the brain, and able to carry out the purposes of [[26]] life by the action of the body; capable of thinking, reason­ing, and exercising his will to do the bidding of his Maker, through the moral qualities of the nature thus im­parted to him. The same principle of life was imparted through the breath of life to all other breathing creatures; but having an inferior organization, they do not stand on the same plane of being as man, nor possess his nature. 


            But the Bible not only describes the creation of man, it also describes his dissolution; and this process we find to be just the reverse, the complete counterpart, of the other. It required, as we have seen, but few words to describe the creation of man, the putting together and setting in motion of this wonderful machine; so it requires but few words to describe the stopping of the machine, the taking of it apart and laying it in the tomb; the one record begins where the other ends, and goes right back through the reverse process. Thus David says: “Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.” Ps. 146:3, 4. In the creation of man, the body was first brought forth out of the earth; then the breath of life was put into it. Here this breath goes out of it, and then the body goes back to its earth. Solomon describes the same thing in little different language. He says: “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was; and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.” Eccl. 12:7. What God gave to man, as the record in Genesis states, was the “breath of life,” containing the life principle. This made man alive. This God withdraws, takes back to himself, and as a consequence the body, the dust, goes back to the earth as it was. Job also states the same thing in lan­guage calculated to throw still greater light upon the sub­ject. These are his words: “If he set his heart upon [[27]] man, if he gather unto himself his spirit and his breath; all flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn again unto dust.” Job 34:14, 15. That is, if God should form this purpose concerning man, to take away his life, all he would need to do would be to take back — gather unto himself what he gave to man— “his spirit and his breath;” and then the body of every man would turn again to dust. That Moses by the words “breath of life,” means the same as Solomon, by the word “spirit,” Job proves by using them both together on the same subject. None can fail to see the correspondence be­tween the Bible records of man’s creation and his death; and in neither of them do we find any mention of any separate and independent, immaterial and immortal, entity, worked into his composition, to make him the dual being which popular theology claims that he is.


Chapter III


Objections Examined


Examination of Expression Connected with the Record of Man’s Creation, which Are Supposed to Prove that He is in Possession of an Immortal Soul.



1.  The Image of God



            It is supposed by some that the expressions used in con­nection with the record of man’s creation, are such as to show that he has an immortal soul, or is an immortal being. Let us candidly examine them to see if such is really what they teach.


            The first of these expressions is the opening testimony of the Bible concerning man, which asserts that he was to be made in the image of God. Gen. 1:26, 27: “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our like­ness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”


            The first impulse of a person unacquainted with this controversy would be to ask in astonishment what this has to do with the immortality of man; nor would his astonishment be in any wise diminished when he heard [[29]] the reply that “as God is immortal, man must be im­mortal also” because made in his image. Has God, then, no other attribute but immortality, that we must confine it to this? Is not God omnipotent? — Yes. Is man? — No. Is not God omnipresent?--Yes. Is man?— No. Is not God omniscient? — Yes. Is man? — No. Is not God independent and self-existent? Yes. Is man — No. Is not God infallible? — Yes. Is man? —No. Then why single out the one attribute of immortality, and make the likeness of man to God consist wholly in this? In the form of a syllogism, the popular argu­ment stands thus:


            Major Premise: God is immortal. 1 Tim. 1:17.

            Minor Premise: Man is created in the image of God. Gen 1:27.

            Conclusion:  Therefore man is immortal.


            This is easily quashed by another syllogism equally sound, thus:


            1.  God is omnipotent.

            2.  Man is made in the image of God.

3.      Therefore man is omnipotent.


            This conclusion, by being brought within the cogni­zance of our own senses, becomes more obviously, though it is not more essentially, absurd. It shows either that the argument for immortality drawn from the “image” of God, is unqualified assumption, or that puny and finite man is clothed with all the attributes of the Deity.


In what respect, then, is man in the image of his Maker? The only correct and safe rule of interpretation, applying to language in the Bible as well as elsewhere, is to allow every word its most obvious and literal import, unless some plain reason exists for giving it a mystical or figurative meaning. The plain and literal definition of “image” (see any good lexicon), is, “An imitation, representation, [[30]]­ or similitude of any person or thing, sculptured, drawn, painted, or otherwise made perceptible to the sight; a visible presentation; a copy; a likeness; an effigy.” We have italicized a portion of this definition as containing an essential idea. An image must be some­thing that is visible to the eye. How can we conceive of an image of anything that is not perceptible to the sight, and which we cannot take cognizance of by any of the senses? Even an image formed in the mind must be conceived of as having some sort of outward shape or form. In this sense the word is used in the thirty-one times of its occurrence elsewhere in the Old Testament.


            The second time the word “image “is used, it is used to show the relation existing between son and father, and is a good comment on the relation which Gen. 1:26, 27 asserts to exist between man and God. Gen. 5:3:  “And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image.” Every one would at once understand by this language, physical resemblance, and similarity of nature. Now put the two pas­sages together. Moses first asserts that God made man in his own image, after his likeness; and a few chapters farther on he asserts that this same man begat a son in his own likeness, after his image. And while all must admit that this latter includes bodily form or physical shape, the theological schools tell us that the former, from the same writer and with no intimation that it is used in any other sense, must refer solely to the attribute of immortality. There is no room for any other conclusion than that just as a son is, in outward appearance, the image of his father, and possesses like mental and moral character­istics, so man possesses, not the attributes of God in all their perfection, but a likeness, or image, of him in his physical form and moral nature. [[31]]


            It may be said that the word “image” is used in a different sense in the New Testament, as, for example, in Col. 3:9, 10:  “Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.” Granting that the word here refers only to the inward nature, instead of the out­ward form, it must still ever be borne in mind that the point which popular theology has to prove is that man is immortal because in the image of God. This text is against that view; for that which is here said to be in the image of Him that created him, is not the natural man himself, but the new man which is put on, implying that the original image had been destroyed, and could be restored only in Christ.  If, therefore, it meant immor­tality as used by Moses, this text would show that that immortality was not absolute but contingent, and having been lost by man, can be regained only through Christ.


            Eph. 4:24 shows how this new man is created:  “And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” Nothing is said about immortality even in connection with the new man. It is simply a new moral nature.


            Again: the word here translated image (eikon) is defined by Greenfield as meaning, by metonymy, “an exemplar, model, pattern, standard; Col. 3:10.” No such definition as this is given by Gesenius to the word in Genesis. So, though this Greek word may here have this sense, it affords no evidence that the Hebrew word in Gen. 1:26, 27 refers to immortality, and may not be confined to man’s outward form and moral nature.


            The same reasoning will apply to 1 Cor. 15:49, where the “image of the heavenly,” which is promised to the righteous, is something which is not in possession of the [[32]] natural man, but will be attained through the resurrection:  “We shall also bear the image of the heavenly.” It cannot, therefore, refer to the image stamped upon man at his creation, unless it be admitted that that image, with all its included qualities, has been lost by the human race — an admission fatal to the hypothesis of the believ­ers in the natural immortality of man.


            In 1 Cor. 11:7 we read that man, as contrasted with woman, is “the image and glory of God.” To make the expression “image of God” here mean immortality, is to confine it to man, and to rob the better part of the human family of this high prerogative.


            In Gen. 9:6 we read: “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.” Substituting what the image is here claimed to mean, we should have this very singular reading: “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood [or taketh man’s life], by man shall his blood be shed [or his life be taken]: for immortal made he man,” so that his life could not be taken. Evidently the reference in all such passages is not only to “the human face divine,” but to the whole physical frame, with its men­tal and moral capabilities, which, in comparison with all other forms of animated existence, is upright and godlike.


            But here the mystical interpretation of our current theology has thrown up what is considered an insuperable objection to this view; for how can man be physically in the image of God, when God is not a person, is without form, and has neither body nor parts? In reply we ask, Where does the Bible say that God is a formless, impersonal being, having neither body nor parts?  Does it not say that he is a spirit (John 4:24)? — Yes; and we inquire again, Does it not say that the angels are spirits? Heb. 1:7, 14. And are not the angels, saying nothing [[33]] of those instances in which they have appeared to men in bodily form, and always in human shape (Gen. 18:1-8, 16-22; 32:24; Hosea 12:4; Num. 22:31; Judges 13:6, 13; Luke 1:11, 13, 28, 29; Acts 12: 7-9, etc., etc.) — are not the angels, we say, always spoken of as beings having bodily form? A spirit, or spiritual being, as God is, in the highest sense, so far from not having a bodily form, must possess it, as the instrumentality for the mani­festation of his powers. 1 Cor. 15:44.


            Again:   it is urged that God is omnipresent; and how can this be, if he is a person? Answer: He has a rep­resentative, his Holy Spirit, by which he is ever present and ever felt in all his universe. “Whither shall I go,” asks David, “from thy Spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence?” Ps. 139: 7. And John saw stand­ing before die throne of God seven lamps, which are declared to be “the seven Spirits of God,”[10] and which are “sent forth into all the earth.” Rev. 4:5; 5:6.


            We now invite the attention of the reader to a little of the evidence that may be presented to show that God is a person, and so that man, though of course in an im­perfect and finite degree, may be an image, or likeness, of him, as to his bodily form.


            1.  God has made visible to mortal eyes parts of his person. Moses saw the God of Israel. Ex. 33:21-23. An immaterial being, if such a thing can be conceived of, without body or parts, cannot be seen with mortal eyes. To say that God assumed a body and shape for this occasion, places the common view in a worse light still; for it is virtually charging God with a double deception:  first, giving Moses to understand that he was a being with body and parts; and, secondly, under the promise of showing himself, showing him something that was not himself. And he told Moses that he would put his [[34]] “hand” over him as he passed by, and then take it away, that he might see his “back parts,” but not his “face.” Has he hands? Has he back parts? Has he a face? If not, why try to convey ideas by means of language?


            Again:  Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and seventy of the elders saw the God of Israel. Ex. 24: 9-11: “And there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone.” Has he feet? Or is the record that these persons saw them a fabrication? No man, to be sure, has seen his face, nor could he do so and live, as God has declared. Ex. 33:20; John 1:18.


            2.  Christ, as manifested among men, is declared to be the “image” of God, and in his “form.” Christ showed, after his resurrection, that his immortal, though not then glorified, body had flesh and bones.[11] Luke 24:39. Bodily he ascended into heaven, where none can presume to deny him a local habitation. Acts 1:9-11; Eph. 1:20; Heb. 8:1. But Paul, speaking of this same Jesus, says, “Who is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of every creature.” Col. 1:15. Here the antithesis expressed is between God, who is invisible, and his “image” in the person of Christ, which was visible. It follows, therefore, that what of Christ the disciples could see, which was his bodily form, was the image to give them an idea of God whom they could not see. This of course would not exclude the moral attributes manifested by Jesus, but which could not be manifested without some bodily organization.


            Again:   “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God.” Phil. 2:5, 6. It remains to be told how Christ could be in the “form ‘of God, and yet God have no form. [[35]]


            Once more: “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners, spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person,” etc. Heb. 1:1-3. This testimony is conclusive. It is an inspired declaration that God has a personal form; and to give an idea of what that form is, it declares that Christ, just as we conceive of him as ascended up bodily on high, is the express image thereof. It is said that the word “person,” should here be rendered “substance.” But this does not affect the conclusion in the least; for if there is substance, there must be shape, and the only indication given in the Bible of what that shape is, is the human form.


            The evidence already presented shows that there is no necessity for supposing that the image of God, in which man was created, consists of immortality; and Paul, in his testimony to the Romans, forever destroys the possi­bility of making it apply to immortality. He says (Rom. 1:22, 23): “Professing themselves to be wise, they be­came fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things.” ‘The word here rendered “uncorruptible” is the same word that is translated “immortal,” and applied to God in 1 Tim. 1:17. Now if God by making man in his image, stamped him with immortality, man is just as uncorruptible as God himself. But Paul says that he is not so; that while God is uncorruptible, or immortal, man is corruptible, or mortal. The image of God does not, therefore, confer immortality, though it does indicate the high organization and godlike nature of man. [[36]]



2.  The Breath of Life


            Another expression, which is supposed by some to prove immortality for man, is the “breath of life,” as applied to him in Gen. 2:7. Gen. 1:27 states, in general terms, the form in which man was created, as contrasted with other orders of animal life. In Gen. 2:7 the process is described by which this creation was accomplished. Finding no proof in the former passage that man was put in possession of immortality, we turn to the latter text to -examine the claims based upon that. The verse reads:  “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”


            Here the advocates of man’s natural immortality endeavor to make a strong stand, as it is very proper they should do, unless they are prepared at once to abandon their theory; for certainly if in that inspired record which describes the building up of man, the putting together of the different parts or constituent elements of which he is composed, there is no testimony that he was clothed with immortality, and no evidence furnished upon which an argument for such an attribute can be based, their whole system falls into irretrievable collapse. The claim asserted -on the strength of this passage is that man is composed of two parts: the body formed of the dust of the ground, and an immortal soul placed therein by God’s breathing -the breath of life into the nostrils of that dust-formed body. Two representative men shall be allowed to speak -on this point, and state the popular view. Thomas Scott, D. D., on Gen. 2:7, says:


The Lord not only gave man life in common with the other animals which had bodies formed of the same materials; but im­mediately communicated from himself the rational soul, here de­noted by the expression of breathing into his nostrils the breath of life.


Adam Clarke, D. D., on Gen. 2:7, says:


In the most distinct manner, God shows us that man is a compound being, having a body and soul distinctly and separately created, — the body out of the dust of the earth, the soul immediately breathed from God himself.


            Critics speak of this expression in a different manner from theologians; for whereas the latter make it confer immortality, and raise man in this respect to the same plane with his Maker, the former speak of it as suggestive frail nature, and his precarious tenure of life itself. Thus Dr. Conant says:  “In whose nostrils is breath. Only breath, so frail a principle of life, and so easily extinguished!”


            And in a note on Isa. 2:22, where the prophet says, “Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of?” he adds:  “Not as in the common English version, ‘whose breath is in his nostrils,’ for where else should it be? The objection is not to its place in the body, which is the proper one for it, but to its frail and perishable nature.”


            To the same intent the psalmist speaks (Ps. 146:3, 4):  “Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.”


            But let us examine the claim that the “breath of life,” ‘which God breathed into man, conferred upon him the attribute of immortality. There was nothing naturally immortal, certainly, in the dust of which Adam was com­posed. Whatever of immortality he had, therefore, after receiving the breath of life, must have existed in that breath in itself considered. Hence it must follow that the “breath of life” confers immortality upon any crea­ture to which it is given. Will our friends accept this [[38]] issue? If not, they abandon the argument; for certainly it can confer no more upon man than upon any other recipient. And if they do accept it, we will introduce to them a class of immortal associates not very flattering to their vanity nor to their argument; for Moses applies the very same expression to all the lower orders of the animal creation.


            In Gen. 7:15 we read: “And they went in unto Noah into the ark, two and two of all flesh, wherein is the breath of life.” It must be evident to every one, at a glance, that the whole animal creation, including man, is comprehended in the phrase “all flesh.” But verses 21 and 22 contain stronger expressions still: “And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man. All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died.”


              Here the different orders of animals are named, and man is expressly mentioned with them; and all alike are said to have had in their nostrils the “breath of life.” It matters not that we are not told in the case of the lower animals how this breath was conferred as in the case of man; for the immortality, if there is any in this matter, must reside, as we have seen, in the breath itself, not in the manner of its bestowal; and here it is affirmed that all creatures possess it; and of the animals, it is declared, as well as of man, that it resides in their “nostrils.”


            It is objected that in Gen. 2:7 the phrase “breath of life,” as applied to man, is plural, “breath of lives” (see Clarke), meaning both animal life and that immortal­ity which is the subject of our investigation. But, we reply, it is in the same number in Gen. 7:22, where it is applied to all animals; and if the reader will look at the margin [[39]] of this latter text, he will see that the expression is stronger still, “ the breath of the spirit of life,’’ or of lives. The same plural form is also found in the expression, “the tree of life,” in Gen. 2:9.


            The language which Solomon uses respecting both men and beasts, strongly expresses their common mortality:  “For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man [in this respect] hath no pre-eminence above a beast: for all is vanity. All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.” Eccl. 3:19, 20.


      Thus the advocates of natural immortality, by appeal­ing to Moses’ record respecting the breath of life, are crushed beneath the weight of their own arguments; for if “the breath of life” proves immortality for man, it must prove the same for every’ creature to which it is given. The Bible affirms that all orders of the animal creation that live upon the land, possess it. Hence our opponents are bound to affirm the immortality of birds, beasts, bugs, beetles, and every creeping thing. We are sometimes accused of bringing man down, by our argument, to a level with the beast. What better is this argument of our friends, which brings beasts and reptiles all up to a level with man?   We deny the charge that we are doing the one, and shall be pardoned for declining to do the other.


3.  The Living Soul


      Finding no immortality for man in the breath of life which God breathed into man’s nostrils at the commence­ment of his mysterious existence, it remains to inquire if it resides, as is so generally claimed, in the “living soul,” which man, as the result of that action, immediately [[40]] became. “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Gen. 2:7.


            On this point also it is proper to let the representatives of the popular view define their position. Professor II. Mattison, on the verse just quoted, says: 


That this act was the infusion of a spiritual nature into the body of Adam, is evident from the following considerations: The phrase ‘breath of life,’ is rendered ‘breath of lives’ by all Hebrew scholars. Not only did animal life then begin, but another and higher life which constituted him not only a mere animal, but a living soul.’ He was a body before; he is now more than a body,— a soul and body united. If he was a ‘soul’ before, then how could he become such by the last act of creation? And if he was not a soul before, but now became one, then the soul must have been superadded to his former material nature.[12]


            Dr. Clarke, on Gen. 2:7, as already quoted, says: 


In the most distinct manner, God shows us that man is a compound being, having a body and soul distinctly and separately created: the body out of the dust of the earth, the soul immediately breathed from God himself.


      To the same end, see the reasonings of Landis, Clark (D. W.), and others. Aware of the importance to their system of maintaining this interpretation, they’ very con­sistently rally to its support the flower of their strength. It is the citadel of their works, and they cannot be blamed for being unwilling to surrender it without a decisive struggle. For if there is nothing in the inspired record which undertakes to give us a correct view of his nature—to show that he is endowed with immortality, their system is not only shaken to its foundation, but even, the foundation itself is swept entirely away.


The vital point, to which they bend all their energies, is somehow to show that a distinct entity, an intelligent [[41]] part, an immortal soul, was brought near to that body as it lay there perfect in its organization, and thrust therein, and then immediately began through the eyes of that body to see, through its ears to hear, through its lips to speak, and through its nerves to feel. Query: Was this soul capable of performing all these functions before it entered the body? If it was, why thrust it within this prison-house? If it was not, will it be capable of performing them after it leaves the body?


            Heavy drafts are made on rhetoric, in favor of this superadded soul. Figures of beauty are summoned to lend their aid to the argument. An avalanche of flowers is thrown upon it to adorn its strength, or perchance to hide its weakness. But when we search for the logic, we find it a chain of sand. Right at the critical point, the argument fails to connect; and so, after all their expendi­ture of effort, after all their lofty flights and sweating toil, their conclusion comes out — blank assumption. Why? — Because they are endeavoring to reach a result which they are dependent upon the text to establish, but which the text directly contradicts. The record does not say that God formed a body, and put therein a superadded soul, to use that body as an instrument; but he formed man of the dust. That which was formed of the dust was the man himself, not simply an instrument for the man to use when he should be put therein. Adam was just as essentially a man before the breath of life was imparted, as after that event. This was the difference:

Before, he was a lifeless man; afterward, a living one. The organs were all there ready for their proper action. It only needed the vitalizing principle of the breath of life to set them in motion. That came, and the lungs began to expand, the heart to beat, the blood to flow, and the limbs to move; then were exhibited all the phenomena of  [[42]] vital physical action; then, too, the brain began to act, and there were exhibited all the phenomena of mental action — perception, thought, memory, will, etc.


            The engine is an engine before the motive power is applied. The bolts, bars, cylinders, pistons, pitmans, cranks, shafts, and wheels are all there. The parts designed to move are ready for action. But all is silent and still. Apply the steam, and it springs, as it were, into a thing of life, and gives forth all its marvelous exhibitions of velocity and power.


            So with man. When the breath of life was imparted, which, as we have seen, was given in common to all the animal creation, that simply was applied which set the machine in motion. No separate and independent organi­zation was added, but a change took place in the man himself. The man became something, or reached a con­dition which before he had not attained. The verb “be­came” is defined by Webster, “to pass from one state to another; to enter into some state or condition by a change from another state or condition, or by assuming or receiving new properties or qualities, additional matter, or a new character.”  And Gen. 2:7 is then cited as an illustration of this definition. But it will be seen that none of these will fit the popular idea of the superadded soul; for that is not held to be simply a change in Adam’s condition, or a new property or quality of his being, or an addition of matter, or a new character, but a separate and independent entity, capable, without the body, of a higher existence than with it. The boy becomes a man; the acorn, an oak; the egg, an eagle; the chrysalis, a butterfly; but the capabilities of the change all inhere in the object which experiences it. A superadded, independent soul could not have been put into main, and he be said to have become that soul. Yet it is said of Adam, [[43]] that he, on receiving the breath of life, became a living soul. An engine is put into a ship, and by its power propels it over the face of the deep; but the ship, by receiving the engine, does not “become” the engine, nor the engine the ship. No sophistry, even from the dark­est depths of its alchemy, can bring up and attach to the word “become” a definition which will make it mean, as applied to any kind of body, the addition of a distinct and separate organization to that body.


            To the inquiry of Professor Mattison, “If he was ‘a soul’ before, then how could he become such by the last act of creation?" it may be replied: The antithesis is not based upon the word “soul,” but upon the word “living.” This will become evident by trying to read the passage without this word: “And the Lord God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a soul.” That is not it. He became a living soul. He was a soul before, but not a living soul. To thus speak of a lifeless soul, may provoke from some a sneer; nevertheless, the Hebrews so used the terms. (See Num. 6:6: “Dead body,” nephesh math, “dead soul” [Cruden]. The same in Lev. 21:11; Num. 19:13; Haggai 2:13.)


            Kitto, in his Religious Encyclopedia, under the term “Adam,” says:


“And Jehovah God formed the man (Hebrew, the Adam) dust from the ground, and blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living animal.”  Some of our readers may be surprised at our having translated nephesh chaiyah by ‘living animal.’ There are good interpreters and preachers, who, confiding in the common translation, ‘living soul,’ have maintained that here is intimated a distinctive pre-eminence above the inferior animals, as possessed of an immaterial and immortal spirit. But, however true that dis­tinction is, and supported by abundant argument from both philosophy and the Scriptures, we should be acting unfaithfully if we were to assume its being contained or implied in this passage. [[44]]


            The “abundant argument from both philosophy and the Scriptures” for man’s immortal spirit, may be more difficult to find than many suppose. But this admission that nothing of the kind is implied in this passage, is a gratifying triumph of fair and candid criticism over a very popular, but wholly unfounded religious dogma.


            But we are not left to our own reasoning on this point; for inspiration itself has given us a comment upon the passage in question; and certainly it is safe to let one inspired writer explain the words of another.


            Paul, in 1 Cor. 15:44 and onward, is contrasting the first Adam with the second, and our present state with the future. He says: “There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.’’ Here Paul refers directly to the facts recorded in Gen. 2:7. In verse 47 he tells us the nature of this man that was made a living soul:  "The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.” In verse 49 he says, “And as we have borne the image of the earthy,” have been, like Adam, living souls, “we shall also bear the image of the heavenly,” when our bodies are fashioned like unto his glorious body. Phil. 3:21. In 1 Cor. 15:50, 53 he tells us why it is necessary that this should be done, and how it will be accomplished: “Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.” “For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.”


            Putting these declarations all together, what do we have? — We have a very explicit statement that this first man, this living soul which Adam was made, was of the earth, earthy, did not bear the image of the heavenly in [[45]] its freedom from a decaying nature did not possess that incorruption without which we cannot inherit the kingdom of God, but was wholly mortal and corruptible. Would people allow these plain and weighty words of the apostle their true meaning upon this question, it would not only summarily arrest all controversy over the particular text under consideration, but leave little ground, at least from the teachings of the Scriptures, to argue for the natural immortality of man. 


            But the term "living soul,” like "the breath of life," is applied to all orders of the animate creation; to beasts and reptiles as well as to man. The Hebrew words are nephesh hhayah;[13] and these words are in the very first chapter of Genesis four times applied to the lower orders of animals: Gen. 1:20, 21, 24, 30. On Gen. 1:21, Dr. Adam Clarke offers this comment:


Nephesh chaiyah: a general term to express all creatures en­dued with animal life, in any of its infinitely varied gradations, from the half-reasoning elephant down to the stupid potto, or lower still, to the polyp, which seems equally to share the vegetable and animal life.”


            This is a valuable comment on the meaning of these words. He would have greatly enhanced the utility of that information, if he had told us that the words “living soul,” as applied to man in Gen. 2:7, are the very same words that are rendered “living creatures,” and applied to the lower orders of animals in chapter 1.


            Professor Bush, in his notes on Gen. 2:7, says:


The phrase “living soul” is in the foregoing narrative repeat­edly applied to the inferior orders of animals, which are not con­sidered to be possessed of a “soul” in the sense in which that term is applied to man. It would seem to mean the same, therefore, [[46]] when spoken of man that it does when spoken of beasts; viz., an ani­mated being, a creature possessed of life and sensation, and capable of performing all the physical functions by which animals are dis­tinguished, as eating, drinking, walking, etc. . . .  Indeed, it may be remarked that the Scriptures generally afford much less explicit evidence of the existence of a sentient, immaterial principle in man, capable of living and acting separate from the body, than is usually supposed.


            And there is nothing in the term “living” to imply that the life with which Adam was then endowed would continue forever; for these living souls are said to die. Rev. 16:3: “And every living soul died in the sea.” Whether this means men navigating its surface, or the animals living in its waters, it is equally to the point as showing that that which is designated by the term “liv­ing soul,” whatever it is, is subject to death.


            Staggered by the fact (and unable to conceal it) that the term “living soul” is applied alike to all animals, the advocates of man’s immortality then undertake to make the word “became" the pivot of their argument. Man “became” a living soul, but it is not said of the beasts that they “became” such; hence this must denote the addition of something to man which the animals did not receive. And in their anxiety to make this appear, they surreptitiously insert the idea that the animal life of man is derived from the dust of the ground, and that something of a higher nature was imparted to man by the breath of life which was breathed into him, and the living soul which he became. Thus Mr. Landis, in his work, “The Immortality of the Soul,”[14] p. 141, says: “Hence something was to be added to the mere animal life derived [[47]] from the dust of the ground.” Now Mr. L. ought to know, and knowing, ought to have the candor to admit, that no life at all is derived from the dust of the ground. All the life that Adam had was imparted by the breath of life which God breathed into his nostrils, which breath all breathing animals, no matter how they obtained it, possessed as well as he.


            No emphasis can be attached to the word “became;” for everything that is called a living soul must by some process have become such. “Whatever was or is, first became what it was or is.”


            Take the case of Eve. She was formed of a rib of Adam, made of pre-existent matter. It is not said of her that God breathed into her nostrils the breath of life, or that she became a living soul; yet no one claims that her nature was essentially different from Adam’s, with whom she was associated as a fitting companion.


And it will be further seen that this word “became” can have no value in the argument unless the absurd principle be first set up as truth, that whatever becomes anything must forever remain what it has become. Re­member that the question before us is, whether or not man’s soul is immortal, and will live forever despite all contingencies. He might reach a certain condition, and lose it again. The fact that he had reached it, would not prove that he would forever retain it. (See the argument on the use of the word “image “in the New Testament, presented in the first part of this chapter.) Now if it should be conceded (which it is not) that man, by becom­ing a “living soul” became exempt from death so long as he retained that position, the real and vital question whether he must always remain so, would still be un­touched. [[48]]









Chapter IV



Bible Use of the Terms, “Immortal” and “Immortality”



It is unnecessary to remind the reader that the main object of this study concerning the nature and destiny of man, is to ascertain what the Bible teaches on this question. And as the Bible is our only source of instruc­tion, so its testimony must be the last source of appeal. We have seen that neither in the record of man’s creation, nor in any of the expressions used concerning it, is there any evidence that man is by nature immortal. But may it not be that in its use of the terms “immortal” and “immortality,” it has somewhere said that man is immortal, or has at least predicated immortality of him? It would be most natural to suppose that if man is immor­tal, the Bible would somewhere announce so important a fact.  Let us then inquire what use the Bible makes of these terms “immortal” and “immortality.” How fre­quently does it use them? To whom does it apply them? Of whom does it make immortality an attribute? Does it affirm it of man or any part of him?


            Should one, without opening the Bible, endeavor to form an opinion of its teachings from the current phrase­ology of modern theology, would he not conclude it to be full of declarations in the most explicit terms, that man is in possession of an immortal soul and deathless spirit; for the popular religious literature of to-day, which claims to be a true reflection of the declarations of God’s word, is [[49]] full of these expressions. Glibly they fall from the lips of the religious teacher. Broadcast they go forth from the religious press. Into orthodox sermons and prayers, they enter as essential elements. They are appealed to as the all-prolific source of comfort and consolation in case of those who mourn the loss of friends by death. We are told that those who go into the grave are not dead; for we are told in poetic strain, “There is no death; what seems so is transition;” they have only changed to another state of being, only gone before; for the soul is immortal, the spirit never-dying; and it cannot for a moment cease its conscious existence.


            This is all right provided the Bible warrants such dec­larations. But it is far from safe to conclude without examination that the Bible does warrant them; for who­ever has read church history knows that it is little more than a record of the unceasing attempts of the great enemy of all truth to corrupt the practises of the profes­sors of Christianity, and to pervert and obscure the simple teachings of God’s word, with the absurdities and mysti­cisms of heathen mythology. It has been only by the utmost vigilance that any Christian institution has been preserved, or any Christian doctrine saved, free from some of the corruptions of the great systems of false religions which have always held by far the greater por­tion of the human family in their chains of darkness and superstition. And if we arraign the creeds of the multi­tudinous Protestant sects as containing many unscriptural dogmas, it is only what every one of them does, in refer­ence to all the others.

To the law, then, and to the testimony. What say the Scriptures on the subject of immortality? The reader is requested to take note of three facts, and the conclusion which inevitably follows from them:  [[50]]


            Fact 1:  The terms “immortal” and “immortal­ity” are not found in the Old Testament, either in our English version or in the original Hebrew. There is, however, one expression in Gen. 3:4, which is, perhaps, equivalent in meaning, and was spoken in reference to the human race; namely, “Thou shalt not surely die.” But unfortunately for believers in natural immortality, this declaration came from one whom no person would like to acknowledge as the author of his creed. It is what the Devil said to Eve, the terrible deception by means of which he accomplished her fall, and so “brought death into the world and all our woe.” But does not the New Testament supply this seemingly unpardonable omission of the Old, by many times affirming that all men have immortality?


            Remembering, thoughtful reader, the many times you have heard and read that all men were in possession of an immortal soul, how many times do you think the New Testament declares that you have such an immortal soul? One hundred times? No. Fifty?—No. Ten?— No. Five?—No. Twice?—No!  ONCE?—NO!! Does not the New Testament then apply the term immortal to anything? — Yes; and this brings us to —


            Fact 2:  The term “immortal” is used but once in the New Testament, in the English version, and is then applied to God. The following is the passage: I Tim. 1:17: “Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.”

The original word, however, aphthartos, from which “immortal” is here translated, occurs in six other instances in the New Testament, in every one of which it is rendered “incorruptible.” The word is defined by Greenfield, “Incorruptible, immortal, imperishable, undying, [[51]] enduring.” The following is a complete list of the texts where it is found:




Rom. 1:23          the glory of the uncorruptible God.

I Cor. 9:25         a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.

I Cor. 15:52       the dead shall be raised incorruptible.

I Tim. 1:17         the King eternal, immortal, invisible.

I Peter 1:4          to an inheritance incorruptible.

I Peter 1:23        not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible.

I Peter 3:4          that which is not corruptible.


            According to these references it will be seen that this word is used, first, in Rom. 1:23, to describe God: “And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things.” Here man is placed in contrast with God. God is incorruptible, or immortal, but man is corruptible, or mortal.


            It is used in 1 Cor. 9:25 to describe, not the soul of man, but the heavenly crown of the overcomer: “And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.”


      It is used in 1 Cor. 15:52 to describe the immortal bodies of the redeemed:   “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”


      It is used in 1 Tim. 1:17 to describe God, as already quoted.


      It is used in 1 Peter 1:4 to describe the inheritance reserved in heaven for the overcomer: “To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you.” Nothing about an immor­tal soul thus far in the list. [[52]]


      It is used in 1 Peter 1:23 to describe the principle by which regeneration is wrought in us: “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever.”


      It is used in I Peter 3:4 to describe the heavenly adorning which all should labor to secure: “But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not cor­ruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.”


            And these are all the instances of its use. In not one of them is it applied to man or any part of him, as a natural possession. But does not the last text affirm that man is in possession of a deathless spirit? The words “incorruptible” and “spirit” both occur, it is true, in the same verse; but they do not stand together, another noun and its adjectives coming in between them; they are not in the same case, “incorruptible” being in the dative, and “spirit” in the genitive; they are not of the same gender, “incorruptible” being masculine or femi­nine, and “spirit’’ neuter. What is it which is in the sight of God of great price? — The ornament of a meek and quiet spirit. What is the nature of this ornament? -—It is not destructible like the laurel wreath, the rich ap­parel, the gold and gems, with which the unsanctified man seeks to adorn himself; but it is incorruptible, a disposi­tion molded by the Spirit of God, some of the fruit of that heavenly tree which God values. Does man by nature possess this incorruptible ornament, this meek and quiet spirit? — No; for we are exhorted to procure and adopt this instead of the other. This, and this only, the text affirms. To say that this text proves that man is in pos­session of a deathless spirit, is no more consistent nor logical than it would be to say that Paul declares that man has an immortal soul, because in his first epistle to [[53]] Timothy (chapter 1:17) he uses the word “immortal,” and in his first epistle to the Thessalonians (chapter 5:23) he uses the word “soul.” The argument would be the same in both cases.


Fact 3:  The word “immortality” occurs but five times in the New Testament, in our English version. The following are the instances:


In Rom. 2:7 it is set forth as something for which we are to seek by patient continuance in well-doing:  “To them who by patient continuance in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality [God will render], eternal life.” This shows that we do not possess immor­tality here; for if we do, how can we be exhorted to seek for it?


In 1 Cor. 15:53, 54 it is twice used to describe what this mortal must put on before we can inherit the kingdom of God: “For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.”


In 1 Tim. 6:16 it is applied to God, and the sweep­ing declaration is made that he alone has it: “Who only has immortality, dwelling in the light which no man approach unto; to whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honor and power everlasting. Amen.”


In 2 Tim. 1:10 we are told from what source we receive the true light concerning it, which forever cuts off the claim that reason or science can demonstrate it, or that the oracles of heathenism can make it known to us: “But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” [[54]]


How has Christ brought life and immortality to light? Answer:  By abolishing death. There could have been no life nor immortality without this; for the human race was hopelessly doomed to death through sin. Then by what means and for whom has he abolished death? An­swer: He has abolished it by dying for man and rising again, a victor over death; and he has wrought this work only for those who will accept of it through him; for all who reject his proffered aid, will meet at last the same fate that would have been the lot of all had Christ never undertaken the work of redemption in our behalf. Thus through the gospel-- the good news of salvation by his sufferings and death--he has brought to light the fact, not that all men are by nature in possession of immor­tality, but that a way is opened whereby we may at last gain possession of this inestimable boon.


            As with the word “immortal,” so with the word “im­mortality;” it occurs in the Greek, in a few instances, where it is not translated “immortality “in the English version. There are two words from which the English term is rendered. These are athanasia and aphtharsia. The former, athanasia, is defined by Greenfield and Robinson simply “immortality,” and is so translated in every instance. It occurs only three times, and the following are the instances of its use.




I Cor. 15:53     must put on immortality

I Cor. 15:54     shall have put on immorality

I Tim. 6:16       who only hath immortality



The latter word, aphtharsia, is defined by the same authorities, ‘‘incorruptibility, incorruptness; by implica­tion, immortality.” The following is a complete list of the texts where it occurs:  [[55]]




Rom. 2: 7         seek for glory, honor, and immortality.

1 Cor. 15: 42   it is raised in incorruption.

I Cor. 15:50     neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.

I Cor. 15:53     must put on incorruption.

I Cor. 15:54     shall have put on incorruption.

Eph. 6: 24        love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity.

2 Tim. 1:10       brought life and immortality to light.

Titus 2:7           gravity, sincerity.


            In addition to remarks already made on Rom. 2:7 and 2 Tim. 1:10, where this term is rendered, in our version, ‘‘immortality,” we may add that in 1 Cor. 15:42 it refers to the body after the resurrection from the dead; and in verses 50, 53, and 54 of the same chap­ter, it is that incorruption which cannot be inherited by corruption; that is, by our present mortal condition; and it is that which this corruptible must put on before we can enter into the kingdom of God. In Eph. 6:24 it is used to describe the love we should bear to Christ, and in Titus 2:7 the quality of the doctrine we should hold; in both of which instances it is translated “sincerity.”


            We now have before us all the testimony of the Bible relative to the use of the words “immortal” and “im­mortality.” So far from being applied to man, the terms are used, as in Rom. 1:23, to point out the contrast be­tween God and man. God is incorruptible, or immortal; man is corruptible, or mortal. But if the real man, the essential being, consists of an undecaying soul, a death­less spirit, he, too, is in this respect incorruptible, and this contrast could not be drawn. Immortality is placed before us as an object of hope for which we are to seek, a declaration which would be a fraud and deception if we already have it. The word is used to distinguish be­tween heavenly and eternal objects, and those that are [[56]] earthly and decaying. In view of these facts, no candid mind can dissent from the following—


            Conclusion:  So far as its use of the terms “immor­tal” and “immortality” is concerned, the Bible nowhere says that man is “immortal;” nowhere says that he has “immortality;” and it contains no evidence that he has in his nature any incorruptible, undying principle, but everywhere asserts just the reverse, by applying these terms in every instance to other objects. [[57]]


Chapter V


The Words “Soul” and “Spirit”


Examination of the Meaning of the Words “Soul” and “Spirit,” and What Use the Scriptures Make of These Terms


            The discussion of Gen. 2:7 (as in foregoing pages) brings directly before us for solution the question, What is meant by the terms “soul” and “spirit,” as applied to man? Believers in unconditional immortality point triumphantly to the fact that the terms “soul” and “spirit” are applied to human beings, and seem to regard that as settling the question, and raising an insuperable barrier against all further discussion. This arises simply from their not looking into this matter with sufficient thor­oughness to see that all we question in the case is the popular definition that is given to these terms. We do not deny that there is a “soul” and a “spirit” pertaining to man; we only say that if our friends will show that the Bible anywhere attaches to them the meaning with which modern theology has invested them, they will supply what has thus far been a perpetual lack, and forever settle this controversy. The trouble is, men borrow from heathen philosophy and their own imagination, the conception of an immaterial, immortal entity, and call it the soul; then when they find the term used in the Bible, they attach to, it their own definition, and call the question settled. This is not only illogical, but wicked. [[58]]


What do theologians tell us these terms signify? Buck, in his theological dictionary, says: “Soul, that vital, immaterial, active substance or principle in man whereby he perceives, remembers, reasons, and wills.” On spirit, he says:  “An incorporeal being or intelligence; in which sense God is said to be a spirit, as are the angels and the human soul.” On man, he says: “The constitu­ent and essential parts of man created by God are two,  body and soul. The one was made out of dust; the other was breathed into him.” This soul, he further says, “is a spiritual substance;” and then, apparently feeling not exactly safe in calling that a substance which he claims to be immaterial, he bewilders it by saying “subsistence,” and then adds, “immaterial, immortal.”


This position must strike one as considerably open to criticism. On this definition of “soul,” how can it be denied to the lower animals?  For they “perceive, re­member, reason, and will.” And if spirit also means the “human soul,” the question arises, Has man two immortal elements in his nature? For the Bible applies both terms to him at the same time. Paul, to the Thes­salonians, says: “And I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Does Paul here use tautology, by applying to man two terms meaning the same thing? That would be a serious charge against his inspiration. Then has man two immortal parts, soul and spirit both? This would evidently be overdoing the matter; for, where one is enough, two are a burden. And further: on this hypothesis, would these two immortal parts exist hereafter as two independent and separate beings?


This idea being preposterous, one question more re­mains:  Which of these two is the immortal part?  Is it the soul or the spirit? It cannot be both; and it matters [[59]] not to us which is the one chosen. But we want to know what the decision is as between the two. If it is said that what we call the soul is the immortal part, then such texts as Eccl. 12:7: “The spirit shall return unto God who gave it;” and Luke 23:46: “Into thy hands I commend my spirit,” etc., must be given up as proof of any such immortal part; for these texts do not use the term “soul.” On the other hand, if it is claimed that it is the spirit which is the immortal part, then such texts as Gen. 35:18: “And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing, (for she died);” and 1 Kings 17:21: “Let this child’s soul come into him again,” must be given up as favoring man’s immortality for they do not use the term “spirit.”


And, further, if the body and soul are both essential parts of a man, as Mr. B. affirms, how can either exist as a distinct, conscious, and perfect being without the other?


Foreseeing these difficulties, Smith, in his Bible Dic­tionary, distinguishes between soul and spirit, thus:  “Soul (Hebrew nephesh, Greek psuche). One of three parts of which man was anciently believed to consist. The term psuche is sometimes used to denote the vital principle, sometimes the sentient principle, or seat of the senses, desires, affections, appetites, passions. In the latter sense, it is distinguished from pneuma, the higher rational nature. This distinction appears in the Septuagint, and sometimes in the New Testament. 1 Thess. 5:23.” Then he quotes Olshausen on 1 Thess. 5:23, as saying: “For whilst the [[psuche]] (soul) denotes the lower region of the spiritual man— comprises, therefore, the powers to which analogous ones are found in animal life also, as understanding, appetitive faculty, memory, fancy —the (pneuma) includes those capacities which constitute the true human life.” [[60]]


So it seems that, according to these expositors, while the Hebrew nephesh, and the Greek psuche, usually trans­lated “soul,” denote powers common to all animal life, the Hebrew ruahh and the corresponding Greek pneuma, so often translated “spirit,” signify the higher powers, and consequently that part which is sup­posed to be immortal.


Let us now inquire for the true definition of these terms. The definition of each word will be given by standard lexicographers, and then references showing how these words are used in the Scriptures.


Hebrew nephesh, Greek psuche:  Soul

Hebrew ruahh, Greek  pneuma:  Spirit.


To these no one is at liberty to attach any arbitrary meaning. Their signification must be determined by the sense in which they are used in the sacred record and whoever goes beyond that, does violence to the word of God.  






Nephesh Defined —Gesenius, the standard Hebrew lexicographer, defines nephesh as follows:


“1. Breath. 2. The vital spirit, as the Greek psuche, and Latin anima, through which the body lives; i.e., the principle of life manifested in the breath.” To this he also ascribes “whatever has respect to the sustenance of life by food and drink, and the contrary.” “3. The rational soul, mind, animus, as the seat of feelings, affec­tions, and emotions. 4. Concr. living thing, animal in which is the nephesh, life.”


Parkhurst, author of a Greek and a Hebrew lexicon, says: [[61]]


As a noun, neh-phesh hath been supposed to signify the spiri­tual part of man, or what we commonly call his soul. I must for myself confess that I can find no passage where it hath undoubtedly this meaning. Gen. 35:18; 1 Kings 17: 21, 22; Ps. 16:10, seem fairest for this signification. But may not neh-phesh, in the three former passages be most properly rendered, breath, and in the last, a breathing, or animal frame?


Taylor, author of a Hebrew concordance, says that neh-phesh “signifies the animal life, or that principle by which every animal, according to its kind, lives. Gen. 1:20, 24, 30. Which animal life, so far as we know anything of the manner of its existence, or so far as the Scriptures lead our thoughts, consists in the breath (Job 41:21; 31:39) and in the blood. Lev. 17:11, 14.” This will suffice for definition. Now for its use.


Nephesh as Used in the Scriptures. — The word nephesh occurs 745 times in the Old Testament, and is translated by the term “soul” about 473 times. In every instance in the Old Testament where the word “soul” occurs, it is from nephesh, with the exception of Job 30: 15, where it comes from n’dee-bah, and Isa. 57: 16, where it is from n’shah-mah. But the mere use of the word “soul” determines nothing; for it cannot be claimed to signify an immortal part, until we somewhere find immortality affirmed of it.


Besides the word “soul,” nephesh is translated “life” and “lives,” as in Gen. 1:20, 30, in all 118 times. It is translated “person,” as in Gen. 14:21, in all 29 times. It is translated “mind,” as in Gen. 23: 8, in all 15 times. It is translated “heart,” as in Ex. 23: 9, in all 15 times. It is translated “body,” or “dead body,” as in Num. 6: 6, in all 11 times. It is translated “will,” as in Ps. 27:12, in all 4 times. It is translated “appe­tite,” as in Prov. 23: 2, twice; “lust,” as in Ps. 78: 18, twice; “thing,” as in Lev. 11:10, twice. [[62]]


Besides the foregoing, it is rendered by the various pronouns, and by the words, “breath, beast, fish, crea­ture, ghost, pleasure, desire,” etc., in all forty-three dif­ferent ways. Nephesh is never rendered “spirit.”


Nephesh Is Mortal:  This “soul” (nephesh) is repre­sented as in danger of the grave. Ps. 49:14, 15; 89:48; Job 33:18, 20, 22; Isa. 38:17. It is also spoken of as liable to be destroyed, killed, etc. Gen. 17:14; Ex. 31:14; Joshua 10:30, 32, 35, 37, 39, etc.




Psuche Defined:  Greenfield gives to psuche the fol­lowing definition:


“Breath; life; i. e., the animal soul, principle of life; Luke 12:19, 20; Acts 20:10; life; i. e., the state of being alive, existence (spoken of natural life); Matt. 2:20; 6:25; and by implication, of life as extending beyond the grave; Matt. 10:39; John 12:25; by metonymy, that which has life, a living creature, living being; 1 Cor. 15:45; spoken of a man, person, individual; Acts 2:41.”


Bagster’s Analytical Greek Lexicon gives substantially the same definition, as follows:


Breath: the principle of animal life; the life, Matt. 2:20; an inanimate being, 1 Cor. 15:45; a human individual, soul, Acts 2:41; the immaterial soul, Matt. 10:28; the soul as the seat of religious and moral sentiment, Matt. 11:29; the soul as a seat of feeling, Matt. 12:18; the soul, the inner self, Luke 12:19.


Psuche as Used in the Scriptures:  The word “soul” in the New Testament comes invariably from the Greek psuche; which word occurs 105 times. It is trans­lated “soul” 58 times; “life” 40 times; “mind” 3 times; “heart” twice; “us’’ once; and “you” once; six different ways.




Ruahh Defined:  For the definition of this word we appeal again to Gesenius:  [[63]]



“[[Ruahh]] 1. Breath, a breathing, blowing; i. e., (a) breath of the nostrils, a snuffing, snorting; (b) breath of the mouth. Often of the vital breath, breath of life; fully, Gen. 6:17; (e) breath of air, air in motion. 2. The same as psuche, anima; i. e., the vital spirit, breath of life. 3. The rational soul, mind, spirit; (a) as the seat of the affections; (b) in reference to the disposition, the mode of feeling and acting; (c) of will, counsel, purpose; (d) more rarely of the understanding. 4. The Spirit of God.


Ruahh as Used in the Scriptures:  This word occurs in the Old Testament 442 times. The word “spirit,” in every instance of its occurrence in the Old Testament, 234 times, is from this word, except in Job 26:4 and Prov. 20:27, where it is from n’shah-mah. Besides be­ing rendered 232 times “ spirit,” it is translated “wind “97 times, “breath” 28 times, “smell” 8 times, “mind” 6 times, “blast” 4 times, also “anger, courage, smell, air,” etc.; in all sixteen different ways.


“Spirit” in the New Testament is from the Greek pneuma in every instance.




Pneuma Defined:  Robinson, in his Greek Lexicon of the New Testament, defines this word to mean, primarily, “1. A breathing, breath, breath of air, air in motion.  2. The spirit of man; i. e., the vital spirit, life, soul, the principle of life residing in the breath breathed into men from God, and again returning to God.” Parkhurst, in his Greek Lexicon, says: “It may be worth remarking that the leading sense of the old English word ‘ghost’ [which in Matt. 27:50; John 19:30, and ninety other places is from this word pneuma] is breath; . . . that ghost is evidently of the same root with gust of wind; and that both these words are plain derivatives from the Hebrew, to move with violence; whence also gush, etc.”


Pneuma as Used in the Scriptures:  This word occurs in the New Testament 385 times; and besides being rendered [[64]] “spirit” 288 times, is rendered “ghost” 92 times, “wind” once, and “life” once; four different ways. 


There is another word rendered “spirit,” in the Old Testament, and that is




N’shah-mah Defined:  Gesenius gives to this word the following definitions:


“[[N’shah-mah]] 1. Breath, spirit, spoken of the breath of God, i. e., (a) the wind; (h) the breath, breathing, of his anger; (c) the spirit of God, imparting life and wisdom. 2. Breath, life, of man and beasts; Gen. 2:7; and breathed into his nostrils, the breath of life; more fully, Gen. 7:22. Hence, anima, the vital spirit, psuche, the same as . . .  3. The mind, the intellect. 4. Concrete, living thing, animal.


N’shah-mah as Used in the Scriptures:  This word occurs in the Old Testament 24 times. It is 17 times rendered ‘‘ breath,” 3 times “ blast,” twice “ spirit.” once “soul,” and once “inspiration;” five different ways.


We now have before us the definitions and use of the words from which “soul “ and “spirit” are translated. From the facts presented, we learn that a large variety of meanings attaches to them; and that we are at liberty, wherever they occur, to give them that definition which the sense of the context requires. But when a certain meaning is attached to either of these words in one place, it is not saying that it has the same meaning in every other place.


By a dishonorable perversion on this point, some have tried to hold up to ridicule the advocates of the view here defended. Thus, when we read in Gen. 2:7, that Adam became a “living soul,” the sense demands, and the [[65]] meaning of the word “soul” will warrant, that we then apply it to the whole person; Adam, as a complete being, was a “living soul.” But when we read in Gen. 35:18, “And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing (for she died),” we give the word, according to another of its definitions, a more limited signification, and apply it, with the lexicographer Parkhurst, to the “breath of life.”


But, strange to say, doctors of divinity have on this point descended to such trifling as the following: “Mate­rialists tell us that ‘soul’ means the whole man; then let us see how it will read in Gen. 35:18: ‘And it came to pass, as her whole man was in departing (for she died).’”  Or they will say, “Materialists tell us that ‘soul’ means the breath; then let us try it in Gen. 2:7:  ‘And Adam became a living breath.’”


Such a course, while it is no credit to their mental acu­men, is utterly disastrous to all their claims of candor and honesty in their treatment of this important subject. But in the whole list of definitions, and in the entire use of the words, we find nothing answering to that im­material, independent, immortal part, capable of a con­scious, intelligent, active existence out of the body as well as in.


It will be noticed also that some of the definitions are determined by the theological views extant upon this sub­ject; as, for instance, when psuche is defined to mean the “immaterial soul,” and Matt. 10:28 is quoted to prove it. We shall find, when we come to an examination of that passage, that no such “immaterial” thing can be there referred to. But let it be marked that in all the definitions of the words “soul” and “spirit,” and in all the instances of their use in the Scriptures, they are never once described or referred to as existing, or capable of existing, without a body. Dr. McCullock[15] says: “There [[66]] is no word in the Hebrew language that signifies either soul or spirit in the technical sense of implying something distinct from the body.”


And now we would commend to the attention of the reader another stupendous fact, the bearing of which he cannot fail to appreciate. We want to know if this “soul,” or “spirit,” is immortal. The Hebrew and Greek words from which they are translated occur in the Bible, as we have seen, seventeen hundred times. Surely, once at least, in that long list, we shall be told that the soul is immortal, if this is its high prerogative. Seven­teen hundred times we inquire if the soul is once said to be immortal or the spirit deathless. And the invariable and overwhelming response we meet is, Not once!  No­where, though used so many hundred times, is the soul said to be “undying “in its nature, or the spirit “death­less.” Strange and unaccountable fact, if immortality is an inseparable attribute of the soul and spirit!


           An attempt is sometimes made to parry the force of this fact by saying that the immortality of the soul, like that of God, is taken for granted. We reply, The im­mortality of God is not taken for granted. Although this might be taken for granted if anything could be so taken, yet it is directly asserted that God is immortal. “Now unto the King eternal, immortal,” etc., 1 Tim. 1:17; “The King of kings, and Lord of lords; who only hath immortality,” etc. 1 Tim. 6:15, 16. Let now the advocates of the soul’s natural immortality, produce one text where it is said to have immortality, as God is said to have it (1 Tim. 6:16), or where it is said to be immor­tal, as God is said to be (1 Tim. 1:17), and the ques­tion is settled. But this cannot be done; and the ignoble “taken-for-granted” argument falls dead to the floor. [[67]]


Chapter VI.


Concerning the Human Spirit


Examination of All the Texts in the Bible, in which the Term “Spirit” Is Used in a Way which Is Supposed to Prove that It Can Exist in a Conscious State Separate from the Body, and that It Is Immortal.


THE first of these is that oft-quoted declaration by Solomon, that--


1.  The Spirit Returns to God


            Eccl. 12:7: “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.” It is natural for men to appeal first and most directly to those sources from which they expect the most efficient help. So the advocates of man’s natural immortality, when put to the task of showing what scriptures they regard as containing proof of their position, almost invariably make their first appeal to the text here quoted.


      In the examination of this text, and all others of a like nature, let it ever be remembered that the question at issue is, Has man in his nature a constituent element which is an independent entity, and which, when the body dies, keeps right on in uninterrupted consciousness, being capa­ble of exercising in a still higher degree out of the body all the functions of intelligence and activity which it mani­fested through the body, and destined, whether a subject [[68]] of God’s favor or of his threatened and merited wrath, to live so long as God himself exists?


            Does this text assert anything of this kind? Does it state that from which even such an inference can be drawn? We invite the reader to go with us, while we endeavor to consider carefully what the text really teaches.  Those who hold that man has a spirit which can exist in a conscious, intelligent condition, separate from the body, appeal to this passage as direct testimony in favor of that view. Let us see how far we can go with them:


        1.         Solomon, under a series of beautiful figures, speaks in Eccl. 12:1-7 of the lying down of man in death. Granted.

        2.         Dust, that is, the body, and the spirit are spoken of as two distinct things. Granted.

        3.         At death, the spirit leaves the body. Granted.

        4.         The spirit is disposed of in a different manner from the body. Granted.

        5.         The spirit returns to God. Granted.

        6.         This spirit is therefore conscious after the dissolution of the body.  Not granted.  Where is the proof of this? Here our paths begin to diverge.  But how could the spirit return to God, it is asked, if it was not conscious? Answer: In the manner Job describes: “If he [God] set his heart upon man, if he gather unto himself his spirit and his breath; all flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn again unto dust.” Job 34:14, 15. This scripture speaks of God’s gathering to himself the “breath” of man — something which no one supposes to be capable of a separate, conscious existence. Moreover, this spirit and breath, given for awhile to man, God calls his own; and depriving man of it, he calls “gathering it to himself,” an expression fully as strong as that contained in the words, “the spirit shall return unto God who gave [[69]] it.” This proposition we are therefore compelled to reject as unsustained.

      7.         The next claim is that this spirit is therefore to exist forever. From this conclusion we must also dissent.  It is not expressed and does not seem to be even in the remotest manner implied. Thus the only two propositions which vital to the position for which our friends contend, are wholly assumed.


       But if the word “spirit” here does not mean what it is popularly supposed to mean, what is its signification? And what is it that returns to God? It will be noticed that that which returns to God is something which God at first “gave” to man. And Solomon introduces it in a familiar manner, as if alluding to something already re­corded and well understood. He makes evident reference to the creation of man in the beginning. His body was formed of the dust; and in addition to this, what did God do for man, or what did the give unto him? — He breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. This is the only spirit that is distinctly spoken of in the record as having been given by God to man. No one claims that this, like the body, was from the dust or returns to dust, but it does not therefore follow that it is conscious or immortal.


            Landis (p. 133) falls into this wrong method of reason­ing. He says:


If the soul were mortal, it, too, would be given up to the dust; it would return also to the earth. But God affirms that it does not return to the earth; and therefore it is distinct from the mortal and perishable part of man.


        The breath of life, to be sure, is distinct from the body, and did not come from the dust of the ground; but to say that it can exist in a conscious state independent of the body, and that it must live forever, is a leap in logic most marvelous to behold.  [[70]]


            But it still it is asked, If “spirit” here means “the breath of life,” how or in what sense does it return to God? Landis (p. 150) thus falsely treats this point also:  “How can the air we breathe,” he asks, “return to God?” The answer is that between the breath of life, as imparted to man by God, vitalizing the animal frame, and air considered simply as an element, we apprehend there is a broad distinction. Solomon is showing the dissolution of man by tracing back the steps taken in his formation. The breath of life was breathed into Adam in the beginning, by which he became a living soul. That breath of life is withdrawn from man, and as a con­sequence he becomes inanimate — a lifeless soul again. Then the body, deprived of its vitalizing principle, goes back to the dust out of which it had been formed.


       That the “breath of life” came from God to man, none will deny. Do they ask how it returns to him? Tell us how it came from him, and we will tell how it returns.  In the same sense in which it came from God to man, in that sense it returns to God again. That is all there is of it. The explanation is perfectly simple, because one division of the problem is comprehended just as easily as the other. It is an easy thing to turn off with a flippant sneer an explanation which, if allowed to stand, takes the very “breath of life” out of a cherished theory.


But there is a grave objection lying against the popular exposition of this text, which must not pass unnoticed. It is involved in the question, What was the state or condi­tion of this spirit before God gave it to man? Was it an independent, conscious, and intelligent being before it was put into man, as it is claimed that it is after man gets through with it, and it returns to God? Solomon evidently designs to state, respecting all the elements of [[71]] which man is composed, as is expressly stated of the body, that they resume the original condition in which they were before they came together to form the com­posite being — man. We know it is argued that the expression respecting the body, that it returns to the dust “as it was,” is good ground for an inference that the spirit returns not as it was; but every principle of logic requires the very opposite conclusion. For, having set the mind upon that idea of sameness of condition respect­ing the body, and then referring us to the source from whence the spirit came, and stating that it goes back to that source, the language is as good as an affirmation that it goes back to its original condition also, and must be so understood unless an express affirmation is made to the contrary. The question is therefore pertinent, Was this spirit before it came into man, a conscious being, as it is claimed to be after it leaves him? In other words, have we all had a conscious pre-existence? Is the mystery of our Lord’s incarnation repeated in every member of the human race?--Yes! if popular theologians rightly ex­plain this text. And the more daring or reckless spirits among them, seeing the logical sequence of their reason­ing, boldly avow this position.


       Mr. Landis (to whom is made occasional reference as, a fair exponent of the popular theory) recoils at the idea of pre-existence, and claims (p. 147) that the spirit does ‘not return as it was, but acquires “a moral character, and so is changed from what it was when first created and given to man”! Oh! Then, when man’s body is formed, a spirit is created (from what?) and put into it!  Where did he learn this? To what new revelation has he had access to become acquainted with so remarkable a fact? Or whence derives he his authority to man manufacture statements of this kind? His soul swells with indignation [[72]] over some whom he styles “materialists,” and whom he accuses of manufacturing scripture. Thou that sayest a man should not, dost thou? Nothing is said of the “creation of a spirit” in connection with the formation of the body. Take the case of Adam: the body having been formed, God by an agency, not created for the pur­pose, but already existing with himself, endowed it with life, and Adam became a living soul.


        Having thus artfully introduced the idea that the spirit was created for the occasion, Mr. L. takes up this reason­ing which shows that if the spirit is conscious after leaving the body, it must have been conscious before it entered the body, and, applying to it a term doubtless suggested by his own feelings in view of the assumptions to which he was himself obliged to resort, calls it “silly.” Nevertheless here is the rock on which their exposition of this text is inevitably and hopelessly dashed to pieces. The popular view is wrong, because it inevitably implies the pre-exist­ence of the spirit.


        There is another consideration not without its bearing on this question. The words, “And the spirit shall return unto God who gave it,” are spoken promiscuously of all mankind. They apply alike to the righteous and the wicked. If the spirit survives the death of the body, the spirits of the righteous would, as a natural consequence, ascend to God, in whose presence they are promised fulness of joy. Ps. 16:11. But do the spirits of the wicked go to God also? If so, for what purpose do they go to him?  The immediate destination usually assigned to them is the lake of fire. Is it said that they first go to God to be judged? Then the question arises, Where does the Bible once affirm that a person is judged when he dies? On the contrary, the Scriptures invariably place the Judgment in the future, arid assert in the most explicit [[73]] terms that God has appointed a day for that purpose.  Acts 17:31.


       Thus the Bible doctrine of the Judgment is directly contradicted by this popular misconception of the text under notice. According to the Scriptures, no man has yet received his final judgment; yet according to the view under examination, the spirits of all who have ever died, good and bad, righteous and wicked, have all gone to God. For what purpose, we ask again, have the spirits of the wicked gone to him? Are they there still? Does God so deal with rebels against his government; that is, keep them with him, or give them heaven from one to six thousand years, more or less, and hell afterward? Or have they been judged and sent to hell already? Then there is no place for a future general Judgment, which the Scriptures declare there is to be. A view which in­troduces such inconsistencies into God’s dealings with his creatures, surely cannot stand.


      How infinitely preferable that view which alone the record warrants; that is, that the “spirit” which returns to God who gave it, is the “breath of life,” that agency by which God vivifies and sustains these physical frames. This breath of life, so far as the record goes, is just what God did give and all he did give to man in the beginning. The definition of the term sustains such an application. This spirit, without doing violence to either thought or language, can return to God in the same sense in which it came from him. And this view should be adopted, above all other considerations, because it harmonizes all the record, and avoids those inconsistencies and contra­dictions in which one finds himself inevitably involved the very moment he undertakes to make the spirit mean a separate entity, conscious in death, and immortal in its nature.  [[74]]


2.  From Whence Comes the Spirit?


      Another text claimed to be positive proof that man has a spirit which is above and beyond the power of death, is Zech. 12:1: “The burden of the word of the Lord for Israel, saith the Lord, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundations of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him.”


      As to the nature of this “spirit” which God forms in man, its characteristics and attributes, this text affirms nothing. Above all, respecting the main inquiry, Is this spirit immortal? The text is entirely silent. Why, then, is it introduced? — Because it contains the word “spirit.” But, as has been shown, nothing is proved by the mere use of the words “ soul’’ and “spirit,’’ till some affirmation can be found in the Scriptures that these terms signify an independent entity, which has the power of uninterrupted consciousness, amid the endowment of immortality. For men to take these terms, and give them definitions, and clothe them with attributes which are the offspring of pagan philosophy, or figments of their own imagination, and then, claim that because the Bible uses these terms, it sustains their views, is, to say the least, a very unworthy display of logic. But, from the persistency with which this course is followed by those of the so-called orthodox view, one might conclude that it is the only way they have of sustaining their position.


      God “formeth the spirit of man within him.” So the text asserts. The word “form" is from the Hebrew yatsar, which means “to form, to fashion,” and the parti­ciple yotsar is used to signify a “molder, potter.” The Septuagint translates it by the word plasso. The definition of this word, as given by Liddell and Scott, is, “To form, mold, shape, Latin fingere, strictly used of [[75]] the artist who works in soft substances, such as earth, clay, wax.” The word, then, signifies giving shape and form to something already in existence; for the artist does not create his clay, wax, etc., but only changes its form. The second definition seems, however, to be more appli­cable to the case in hand. Thus, “II. Generally, to bring into shape or form, [[pl. ten psuchen, to soma]] to mold and form the mind or body by care, diet, and exercise.” Thus God makes man the crown of creation by forming in him (through a superior organization of the brain) an intellec­tual and moral nature; amid we can still further forum or mold it by care and cultivation. There is nothing here to favor the idea of the creation of a separate, immaterial, and immortal entity, and its introduction from without in­to the human frame.


      This text is illustrated by Job 32:8:  “But there is a spirit in man and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding;” not “giveth it [the spirit] under­standing’’ as it is often quoted. That is, men are en­dowed with a superior mental organization; and by means of that, God gives them understanding.


      Since, however, Zech. 12:1 is used by immaterialists, to prove that souls are specially created, it raises the ques­tion, which may as well be considered in this connection as any other, whence the spirit, whatever it is, is derived. In the text under consideration, the present tense is evidently used for the past; and hence it might be read, “The burden of the word of the Lord . . . which stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of earth, and formed the spirit of man within him.’’ If now this means the creation of an immortal entity to be added to man, called his spirit, it applies only to the first man, the man formed at the creation of the world. The question then remains, How do all succeeding members of [[76]] the human race get an immortal spirit? Is it by a special act of creation on the part of God, or is it by generation from father to son? Has God, for every member of the human race since Adam, by special act created a soul or spirit? They who say he has, contradict Gen. 2:2, which declares that all God’s work of creation, so far as it per­tains to this world, was finished in the first week of time. Surely that work was not finished if it is certain that God has been at work ever since, creating human souls as fast as bodies were brought into existence to need them, the greater part of the time thousands of them every day.


      Has God thus made himself the servant of the human race, to wait upon their will, caprice, and passions? For how many of the inhabitants of this earth are the offspring of the foulest iniquity and the most unbridled lust! Does God hold himself in readiness to create souls which must come from his hand immaculate and pure, to be thrust into such vile tenements at the bidding of godless lust? The reader will pardon the irreverence of the question, for the sake of an exposure of the absurdity of that theory which necessitates it. Again, who stands ready to thrust the soul into the new body just in the nick of time?


      But if we say that the soul is transmitted in the natural process of generation with the body, then what becomes of its incorruptibility and immortality? For “that which is born of the flesh is flesh.” John 3:6. And Peter says (1 Peter 1:23-25): “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever. For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away but the word of the Lord endureth forever.”


There could hardly be a plainer testimony that man as a whole is mortal and perishable. He is born of “corruptible” [[77]] seed. But more than this, it is added, “All flesh is as grass.” Should it be said that this means simply the body, we reply that the term “flesh” is fre­quently used in the New Testament to signify the whole man. Thus, Rom. 3:20: “By the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified.” Paul does not here talk about the justification of bones, sinews, nerves, and muscles; he refers to the whole responsible man. In the same sense the term is used in many other passages. But Peter himself, in the passage just quoted, cuts off its application exclusively to the body; for after saying that “all flesh is as grass,” he continues, “and all the glory of man as the flower of grass.” The glory of man must include all that is noble and exalted about his nature. If the soul is the highest and most godlike part of man, it is included in this glory; but lo! It is all like the flower of the grass — transitory amid perishable.


      The word “mortal,” which means ‘‘liable to death,” occurs five times in our English version; and in every instance it is used to describe the nature of the real man. Rom. 6:12; 8:11; 1 Cor. 15:53, 54; 2 Cor. 4:11. It occurs in the original in one other instance (2 Cor. 5:4), where it is rendered “mortality.”


      The texts usually relied upon to prove that souls are immediately created, are Eccl. 12:7; Isa. 57:16; Zech. 12:1. The first of these was examined in the last chapter. The word translated “form” in the last of these passages, as shown in this present chapter, is not a word that signi­fies “to create,” but only to put into form, mold, and fashion. Isa. 57:16 speaks of the souls which God has “made.” But there are numerous other texts, as Job 10:8-11; Isa. 44:2; 64:8; Jer. 1:5, etc., which speak in the same manner of the body. But if such ex­pressions can be used with respect to the body, produced [[78]] by the natural process of generation, the same expression with reference to the soul contains no proof that that is not also transmitted with the body.


      God said to our first parents, and the commission was repeated to Noah after the flood, “Be fruitful and mul­tiply.” Multiply what? — Themselves, of course. Did that mean that they should multiply bodies, and God would multiply souls to fit them? — Nothing of the kind; but they were to multiply beings having all the charac­teristics, endowments, and attributes of themselves. So Adam (Gen. 5:3) “begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth.” This son was like Adam in all respects, having all the natures that Adam possessed, and that which was begotten by Adam was called Seth. But according to the doctrine of creationism, Adam begat only a body, and God created a soul, which is the real man, amid called his name Seth, and put it into that body. Neither this text nor any other gives countenance to any such absurdity. If the soul is the seat of a person’s mental and moral qualities, and is a separate creation from the body, how does it happen that children resemble their parents so much in these par­ticulars? On the ground of creation, it would not be so.


            Some prominent theologians, both ancient and modern, have adopted the doctrine of traduction, that is, that the soul, like the body, is the product of natural generation as opposed to that of creationism, believing the latter to be contrary to philosophy and revelation, but the former to be in harmony with both. In “Wesley’s Journal,” vol. v, p. 10, is found the following entry: 


I read and abridged an old work on the origin of the soul. I never before saw anything on the subject so satisfactory. I think the author proves to a demonstration that God has enabled man, as all other creatures, to propagate his whole species, consisting of soul and body.  [[79]]


            The testimony of Richard Watson (“ Institutes,” pp. 362, 363) is equally explicit. He says:

A question as to the transmission of this corruption of nature from parents to children has been debated among those who, never­theless, admit the fact; some contending that the soul is ex traduce, others that it is by immediate creation. It is certain that, as to the metaphysical part of this question, we can come to no satisfactory conclusion. The Scriptures, however, appear to be more in favor of traduction. ‘Adam begat a son in his own likeness.’ ‘That which is born of the flesh is flesh,’ which refers certainly to the soul as well as to the body. . . . The tenet of the soul’s descent appears to have most countenance from the language of Scripture:  and it is no small confirmation of it that when God designed to incarnate his own Son, he stepped out of the ordinary course, and formed a sinless human nature immediately by the power of the Holy Ghost.


       The evidence is thus rendered conclusive from both reason and Scripture, that the soul is transmitted through the process of generation with the body. What then, we ask again, becomes of its immortality? For “that which is born of the flesh is flesh,” and mortality cannot gener­ate itself to a higher plane, and beget immortality. This is not saying that mind is matter; for the results of organization are not to be confounded with the matter of which the organization is composed.


3.  Who Knows the Spirit of Man?


       With the words “who knoweth” Solomon here intro­duces, in Eccl. 3:21, a very important question respect­ing the spirit of man, He says: “Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?” Deeming this a good foundation, the advocates of natural immortality proceed to build thereon. They take it to be, first, a positive declaration that the spirit of man does go up, and that the spirit of the beast does go downward to the earth. Then the superstructure is easily erected thus:  Solomon [[80]] must have believed that man had a spirit capable of a separate and conscious existence in death; and this spirit, in the hour of dissolution, ascends up on high, and goes into the presence of God. It therefore survives the stroke of death, and is consequently immortal.


       Here they rest their argument; but we would like to have them proceed; for the text speaks of the spirit of the beast, which must also be disposed of. If the spirit of man, because it separates from him and goes up, is conscious, is not the spirit of the beast, because it sepa­rates from it and goes down, conscious also? There is nothing in the supposed fact that man’s spirit goes up, which can by any means show it to be conscious, any more than there is in the fact that the spirit of the beast goes down, to show it to be conscious. But if the spirit of the beast survives the stroke of death, then all beasts have just as much immortality as man has. This line of argument, therefore, proves too much, and that which proves too much would better be abandoned.


       But is not the word “spirit,” as applied to the beast, a different word in the original from the one translated ‘‘spirit” and applied to man? —No; they are both from the same original word, and that word is ruahh, the word from which “spirit” is translated in the Old Testa­ment in every instance with two exceptions, as has been already explained. A beast has the same kind of “spirit” that man has.


       Immaterialists feel the weight of the stunning blow which this fact gives to the popular view, and endeavor to parry its force by the following desperate resort. Solomon, they say, is here describing the state of doubt and perplexity through which he had formerly passed; and, to use their own words[16],’ “in this perplexity he [[81]] attributes to both man and beast a ruahh.” But they say that Solomon got over this state of doubt and uncertainty, and “never again attributed a ruahh to beasts.” Thus they are obliged to resort to the position that Solo­mon, with all his wisdom, was a skeptic, and wrote down his skepticism in this passage; and somehow it secured a place upon the sacred page as a part of inspiration! But before he got through the book, he experienced a change of heart, and then (chapter 12:7) could tell the truth about man’s spirit, that it went directly to God. But, unfortunately, he has left on record no indication of these two conditions of mind, nor of his transition from one to the other. He simply had no occasion to speak of beasts again in such a connection, and hence no occa­sion to speak of their ruahh. What we regard as the Bible view of man’s nature is not unfrequently denomi­nated “infidelity” by the popular theologians of the present day; but it strikes us as rather a bold position to go back and accuse the sacred writers themselves of laboring under a spirit of infidelity when they penned these sentiments. But if they were not infidels when they wrote, it is not infidelity to believe their writings.


      But if we take Solomon’s words to be a declaration that the spirit of man does go up, his question even then would imply a strong affirmation that we are ignorant of its essential qualities. Who knoweth this spirit? Who can tell its nature? Who can describe its inherent characteristics? Who can tell how long it shall continue to exist? On these vital points, the text, granting all that is claimed for it, is entirely silent.


      But, further, if this text asserts that the spirit of man goes up to God, it will be noticed again that it is spoken promiscuously of all mankind. Then the same queries would arise respecting the spirits of the wicked, for what [[82]] purpose they go to God, and the same objections would lie against that view, that were stated in the examination of Eccl. 12:7, in previous paragraphs of this work.


       To arrive, however, at the correct meaning of Eccl. 3:21, a brief examination of the context is necessary. In verse 18 Solomon expresses a desire that the sons of men may see that they themselves are “beasts” — not that he intended to be understood that man is in no respect superior to a beast; for no one, inspired or not, above the level of an idiot, would make such an assertion in view of man’s more perfect organization, his reasoning faculties, his moral nature, and above all, his future prospects, if righteous. He simply means, as plainly expressed in the next verse, that in one respect, namely, their vital organization and their dissolution in death, man possesses no superiority over the other orders of animated existence. “For,” he says, “that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one timing befalleth them: as the one dieth [here is the point of similarity], so dieth other; yea, they have all one breath [ruahh, the same word that is rendered “spirit” in verse 21]; so that a man [in this respect] hath no pre-eminence above a beast.  All go unto one place [Is that place heaven? And is this a declaration that all, men and beasts alike, go there?]; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.”


       Thus definite and positive is the teaching of Solomon that, in respect to their animal life, here upon earth, and their condition in death, men and beasts are exactly alike. And now can we suppose that, after having thus clearly expressed his views of this matter, he proceeds in the very next sentence to contradict it all, and assert that in death there is a difference between men and beasts? That men do have a pre-eminence? That all do not go to one place? That the spirit of man goes up conscious to God, [[83]] and the spirit of the beast goes down to perish in the earth.  This would be to make the wisest man that ever lived, the most stupid reasoner that ever put pen to paper.


       How, then, is his language in verse 21 to be under­stood Answer: Understand it as a question, whether the spirit of man goes up, and the spirit of the beast down, as some asserted in opposition to the views which he taught. John Milton, author of “Paradise Lost,’’ so translates it: “Who knoweth the spirit of a man [an sur­sum ascendat], whether it goeth upward?” The Douay Bible renders the passage thus: “Who knoweth if the spirit of the children of Adam ascend upward, and if the spirit of the beasts descend downward “ The Sep­tuagint, the Vulgate, the Chaldee Paraphrase, the Syriac, and the German of Luther give the same reading.


       This puts the matter in quite a different light, and saves Solomon from self-contradiction; but alas for the immaterialist! It completely overturns the fabric of im­mortality which he builds thereon.


       The notion prevailed in the heathen world that men s spirit ascended up to be with the gods (and this is the foundation of heathen mythology), but the spirit of the beast went down to the earth. It was the old lesson taught by that unreliable character in Eden, “Ye shall not surely die,’’ but ‘‘ye shall be as gods.” Solomon contradicts all this by stating the truth in the case, namely, that death reduces man and beast alike to one common condition. Then he asks, Who knows that the opposite heathen doctrine is true, that the spirit of man goes up, and that of the beast down? He had declared that they all went to one place, in accordance with God’s original sentence, “Thou shalt surely die;“ now he calls for evidence, if there be any, to show that the opposite doc­trine is true. Thus he smites to the ground this pagan [[84]] notion by putting it to the proof of its claims, for which no proof exists. Only by perversion are they made to bolster up a doctrine which he intended them to condemn.


4.  Committing the Spirit to God


       There is another class of expressions respecting the word ‘‘spirit,’’ which properly comes under consideration at this point. The first is Ps. 31:5, where David says: “Into thine hand I commit my spirit.” Our Lord used similar language, perhaps borrowed from this expression of David’s, when, expiring on the cross, he said, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.” Luke 23:46. And Stephen the martyr, in the same line of thought, sent lip this expiring prayer: “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." Acts 7:59. What was it which David and our Lord wished to commit into the hands of God, and Stephen into the hands of Christ? “A conscious entity” our friends would say; “the living and immortal part of man; for nothing less could properly be committed to God.” Thus Mr. Landis (p. 131) asks: “What was it then? The mere life which passed into nonentity at death? And can any one suppose they would have commended to God a nonentity? This would be a shameless trifling with sacred things.” But David, on one occasion (1 Sam. 26:24), prayed that his life might be much set by, or be precious, in the eyes of the Lord. That which is precious in his sight, it seems, night very properly be commended to his keeping, especially when for his sake it was to be taken away from one by one’s enemies. And in the very psalm (31) in which he commits his ‘‘spirit’’ to God, he does it in view of the fact that his enemies had devised to take away his life. Verse 13.


       It is a fact that the same or similar acts are spoken of frequently as done in reference to the life, that are said to [[85]] be done in reference to the spirit. Can a person commit his spirit to God? So he can commit to him die preservation of his life. Thus David says (Ps. 64:1):  “Preserve my life.” What! Mr. Landis would exclaim, preserve a nonentity? Jonah prayed (chapter 4:3), “0 Lord, take, 1 beseech thee, my life from me.” Christ says (John 10:15): “I hay down my life for the sheep;” and in John 13:38 he asks Peter, “Wilt thou lay down thy life for my sake?”


        Thus our “life” is something that we can commit to another for safekeeping; it can be taken away from us; we can give it up, or lay it down. Is it, therefore, a dis­tinct entity, conscious in death? If it is not, then, equiva­lent expressions applied to the “ spirit” do not prove that to be conscious in death, and immortal; for they prove the same in the one case as in the other; and what­ever they fail to prove in the one case, they fail to prove also in the other.


      But if the spirit, as is claimed, lives right along after death, just as conscious as before, and a hundredfold more active, capable, intelligent, amid free, where would be the propriety of committing it to God in the hour of death, any more than at any point during its earthly existence? — There would be none whatever. Entering upon that permanent, higher life, it would be much more capable of caring for itself than in this earthly condition. The expression bears upon its very face, evidence that those who used it desired to commit something into the care of their Maker which was about to pass out of their posses­sion; to commit something into his hands for safekeeping until they should be brought back from the state of uncon­sciousness and inactivity into which they were then falling. And what was that? — It was what they were then losing; namely, their life, their pneuma, which Robinson defines [[86]] as meaning, among other things, “The principle of life residing in the breath, breathed into man from God and again returning to God.” And when the life is thus given up to God by his people, where is it? — “Hid with Christ in God.” Col. 3:3. And when will the believer receive it again? — When “Christ, who is our life, shall appear.”  Verse 4.  Then Stephen will receive from his Lord that which, while dying, he besought him to receive. Then they who for Christ’s sake have lost their life (not merely their bodies while their life continues right on), will have that life restored to them again, to be enjoyed eternally in the world to come.


5.  The Spirits of Just Men Made Perfect


       “But ye are come Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the first-born, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.” Heb. 12:22-24.


       With a great show of confidence, either pretended or real, the advocates of man’s immortality bring forward this text in proof of their position. That portion of the foregoing quotation upon which they hang their theory is the expression, “the spirits of just men made perfect,” which they take to be both a declaration and a proof thereof, that the spirits of men are released by death, and thereupon are made perfect or glorified in the presence of God in heaven. A little further examination of the lan­guage will show any one that such an assertion is not made in the text, and that even such an inference cannot justly be drawn from it.  [[87]]


     That Paul is here contrasting the blessings and privi­leges enjoyed by believers under the gospel dispensation with those possessed by the Jews under the former dis­pensation, will probably not be questioned on either side. ‘‘Ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched [Mount Sinai],” ‘and the sound of a trumpet,” etc., that is, to that system of types and ceremonies instituted through Moses at Sinai, of which an outward priesthood were the ministers, and Old Jerusalem the representative city; but ye are come to Mount Zion, to the New Jeru­salem, to Jesus, and to his better sacrifice. These things to which we are come, are the superior blessings of the gospel, over what was enjoyed under the former dispen­sation. But where or how does the fact come in, as one of these blessings, that man has a spirit which is conscious in death, and is made perfect by the dissolution of the body? It will be seen that if this be a fact, it is brought in, at best, only incidentally. There is no proof of it in the expression, “spirits of just men made perfect,” in itself considered; for they could be made perfect at some future time, without supposing them conscious from death to the resurrection. The only proof that can here be found, then, lies in the fact that we are said to have come to these spirits. This is supposed to prove that they must be spirits out of the body, and that they must also be con­scious. Then we inquire, How do we come to the spirits of just men made perfect, and what is meant by the expression?


       It is not difficult to determine how we “come” to all the other objects mentioned by Paul in the three verses quoted; but how we come to the spirits of just men made perfect, according to the popular view of that expression, is not so clear. If we mistake not, the common view will have to be modified, or the explanation never be given.  [[88]]


       Let us see: “Ye are come [or, putting it in the first person, since Paul brings these to view as present bless­ings all through the gospel dispensation, we are come] unto Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem.” That is, we, in this dispensation, no longer look to Old Jerusalem as the center of our wor­ship, but we look above, to the New Jerusalem, where the sanctuary and Priest of this dispensation are. In this sense, then, we are come to them.


       “And to an innumerable company of angels.” Angels are the assistants of our Lord in his work, who now medi­ates for his people individually. Dan. 7:10. They are sent forth to minister to them who shall be heirs of salva­tion. Heb. 1:14. They are therefore more intimately concerned in the believer’s welfare in this dispensation than in the old. We have thus come to their presence and ministration.


       “To the general assembly and church of the first-born, which are written in heaven.” That is, we have now come to the time when believers, of whatever nationality, whose names are recorded in the Lamb’s book of life in heaven, constitute a general assembly, or compose one church. We do not now look to Jewish genealogies to find the people of God; but we look to the record in heaven. And God now takes his people into covenant relation with himself as individuals, and not as a nation. Thus we are come in this dispensation to the general as­sembly, the church of the first-born.


            “And to God, the Judge of all.” Directly, through the mediation of his Son, we draw near to God. Passing over for a time the expression under discussion, “the spirits of just men made perfect,” we read on:


            “And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant.”  We now come to Jesus, the real mediator, instead of to [[89]] the typical priesthood of the former dispensation, which were only types of the true.


      “And to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.”  That is, there is now minis­tered for us the blood of Jesus, the better sacrifice, which takes away from us sin in fact, instead of the blood of beasts, which took it away only in figure.


      It can readily be seen how we “come” to all these things under this dispensation; how these are all privileges and blessings under the gospel, beyond what was enjoyed in the former dispensation. But now, if the expression, the “spirits of just men made perfect,” means disem­bodied spirits in the popular sense, how to we come to these as a gospel blessing? This is what we would like to have our friends tell us. In what respect is our rela­tion to our dead friends, the supposed spirits of the departed, changed by the gospel?  If there is any sense in which we may be said to have “come” to these, any more than before, we would like to know it. Spiritual­ists might perhaps set up a claim here; but even that would not hold; for, according to their view, our dead friends come to us, not we to them.


       But again: When do we come into closest contact with a man’s spirit?  Is it when that spirit is supposed to have become disembodied, and has gone far away to dwell in the presence of God, and is to have no more forever with anything that is done under the sun? Eccl. 9:6. Is it not rather right here in this life, when the spirit of a man through the eyes of that man, looks upon us, through his mouth speaks to us, and through his hands handles us? Outside the ranks of Spiritualists, will any one say that we enjoy more intimate relations with a spirit when it is out of the body than we do while it is in the body? A consideration of this point, must convince [[90]] any one that the idea of coming to the “spirits of just men made perfect” cannot possibly be applied to spirits out of the body.


        It will be noticed further that the text does not speak of spirits made perfect, but of men made perfect. The Greek (kai pneumasi dikaion tetleiomenon) shows that the parti­ciple, “made perfect,” agrees with ‘‘the just,” or ‘‘just men,” and not with “spirits.” When, then, are men made perfect? There is a certain sense in which are made perfect in this life through the justification of the blood of Christ, and sanctification of his Spirit; and they are made perfect in an absolute sense, as in Heb. 11:40, only when they experience the final glorifi­cation, and their corruptible bodies are made like unto Christ’s most glorious body. Phil. 3:21.


        If it is said that the text refers to this latter perfection, then it is placed beyond the resurrection, and affords no proof of a conscious, disembodied spirit. If it refers to the former, then it applies to persons still in this state, and not in death. To one or the other it must refer; and apply it which way we may, it does not bring to view a disembodied spirit conscious in death. Therefore it fails entirely to prove the point in favor of which it is adduced.


       In harmony with the context, it can only be applied to the present state, to men in this life, to a blessing pecul­iar to the gospel, to the justification and sanctification which the believer now enjoys through Christ. And in this sense it is easy to see how we come to it, as to all the other things mentioned by Paul. We come to the enjoyment of this blessing ourselves, and to communion and fellowship with those who are also in possession of it.


       Finally, to show that this is not a view devised to meet any exigency of the position here advocated, a name can be appealed to, in its support, which will have great [[91]] weight with all, and will be final authority with many:  the name of Dr. Adam Clarke. On this text, he says:


In several parts of this epistle [to the Hebrews], teleios, the just man, signifies one who has a full knowledge of the Christian system, who is justified and saved by Christ Jesus; and teteleiomenoi are the adult Christians, who are opposed to the nepioi, or babes in knowledge and grace. (See chapter 5:12-14; 8:11; Gal. 4:1-3.) The spirits of just men made perfect, or the righteous perfect, are the full-grown Christians; those who are justified by the blood and sanctified by the Spirit of Christ. Being come to such implies that spiritual union which the disciples of Christ have with each other, and which they possess how far soever separate; for they are all joined in one Spirit (Eph. 2:18); they are in the unity of the Spirit (Eph. 4:3, 4); and of one soul (Acts 4:32). This is a unity which was never possessed even by the Jews themselves in their best state it is peculiar to real Christianity; as to nominal Christianity, wars and desolations between man and his fellows are quite consist­ent with its spirit.


            Although these remarks are a sufficient explanation of the text, we quote also the following paragraph from Dr. Clarke’s note at the end of Hebrews 12, as found in the original edition of his work:


Only the high priest, and he but one day in the year, was per­mitted to approach God under the Old Testament dispensation; but under the New, every believer in Jesus can come even to the throne, each has liberty to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, and to real Christians alone it can be said, Ye are come to God — the Judge of all — to him ye have constant access, and from him ye are continually receiving grace upon grace. We have already seen that ‘the righteous perfect,’ or just men made perfect,’ is a Jewish phrase, and signified those who had made the farthest advances in moral rectitude. The apostle uses it here to point out those in the church of Christ who had received the highest degrees of grace, possessed most of the mind of Christ, and were doing and suffering most for the glory of God; those who were most deeply acquainted with the things of God and the mysteries of the gospel, such as the apostles, evangelists, the primitive teachers, and those who presided in and over different churches. And these are termed the ‘spirits [dikaion teteleiomenon] of the just perfected,’ because they were a spiritual people, forsaking earth, and living in reference to that spiritual rest that was typified by Canaan.



6.  The Spirits in Prison


        “For Christ also bath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:  by which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; which sometime were disobedient, when once the long-suffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls, were saved by water.” I Peter 3:18-20.


       The advocates of natural immortality are not long in finding their way to this passage. Here, it is claimed, are “spirits” brought to view, out of the body; for they were the spirits of the antediluvians: and they were con­scious and intelligent; for they could listen to the preach­ing of Christ, who, by last conscious spirit, while his body lay in the grave, went to their prison and preached to them.


        Let us see just what conclusions the popular interpreta­tion of this passage involves, that we may test its claims by the Scriptures. 1. It is held that these were disem­bodied spirits, but they were the spirits of wicked men; for they were disobedient in the days of Noah, and per­ished in the flood. 2. They were consequently in their place of punishment, the place to which popular theology assigns all such spirits immediately on their passing from this state of existence—the burning, quenchless hell of fire and brimstone. 3. The spirit of Christ went into this hell to preach to them. These are the facts that are to be cleared of improbabilities, and harmonized with the Scriptures, before the passage can be made available for the popular view.


       But the bare suggestion of so singular a transaction as Christ’s going to preach to these spirits, under these con­ditions, immediately gives rise to the query, for what purpose [[93]] Christ should take pains to go down into hell, to preach to damned spirits there; and what message he could possibly bear to them. The day of their probation was past; they could not be helped by any gospel mes­sage: Then why preach to them? Would Christ go taunt them by describing before them blessings which they could never receive? Or by raising in their bosoms hopes of a release from damnation, which he never designed to grant?


         These considerations fall like a mighty avalanche across the way of the common interpretation. The thought is felt to be almost an insuperable objection, and many are the shifts devised to get around it. One thinks that the word “preached” does not necessarily mean to “preach the gospel,” notwithstanding almost every instance of the use of the word in the New Testament describes the preaching of the gospel by Christ or his apostles; but that Christ went there to announce to the lost that his sufferings had been accomplished, and the prophecies con­cerning him fulfilled. But what possible object could there be in that? How would that affect their condition?  To add poignancy to their pain by rendering their misery doubly keen? And were there not devils enough in hell to perform that work, without making it necessary that Christ should perform such a ghostly task, and that, too, right between those points of time when he laid down his life for our sins, and was raised again for our justification?


         Another thinks these were the spirits of such as re­pented during the forty days’ rain of the flood; that they were with the saved in paradise, a department of the under world where the spirits of the good are kept (the Elysium, in fact, of ancient heathen mythology), but that they “still felt uneasy on account of having perished [[94]] [that is, lost their bodies] under a divine judgment,” and “were now assured by Jesus that their repentance had been accepted.”


      Such resorts show the desperate extremities to which the popular exposition of this passage is driven, and afford aid and comfort to the Romish purgatory.


      Others frankly acknowledge that they cannot tell what, nor for what purpose, Christ preached to the lost in hell. So does Landis (p. 236). But he says it makes no dif­ference if we cannot tell what he preached nor why he preached, since we have the assurance that he did go there and preach. Profound conclusion! Would it not be better, since we have the assurance that he preached, to conclude that he preached at a time when preaching could benefit them, rather than at a time when we know that it could not profit them, and there could be no occa­sion for it whatever?


       The whole issue thus turns on the question, When was this work of preaching performed? Some will say, “While they were in prison, and that means the state of death, and shows that the dead are conscious, and can be preached to.” Then, we reply, the dead can also be benefited by preaching, and led to repentance; and them the Romish doctrine of purgatory springs at once full-fledged into our creed; and not only that, but that worse than the Romish purgatory, the modern doctrine of pro­bation after death, is sustained.


         But does the text affirm that the preaching was done to these spirits while they were in prison? May it not be that the preaching was done at some previous time to persons who were, when Peter wrote, in prison, or, if you please, in a state of death? So it would be true that the spirits were in prison when Peter makes mention of them, and yet the preaching might have been done to [[95]] them at a former period, while they were still in the flesh and could be benefited by it. This is the view taken of the passage by Dr. Clarke.  He says:  He went and preached] By the ministry of Noah one hundred and twenty years.”


       Thus he places Christ’s going and preaching by his spirit in the days of Noah, and not during the time his body lay in the grave.  Again, he says: 


The word pneumasi, ‘spirits,’ is supposed to render this view of the subject improbable, because this must mean disembodied spirits; but this certainly does not follow for the spirits of just men made perfect (Heb. 12:23) certainly means righteous men, and men still in the church militant; and the Father of spirits (Heb. 12:9) means men still in the body; and the God of the spirits of all flesh (Num. 16:22 and 27:16) means men not in a disembodied state.[17]


      The preaching was certainly to the antediluvians. But why, according to the popular notion, should Christ single out that class to preach to, about twenty-four hundred years afterward, in hell? The whole idea is forced, un­natural, and absurd. The preaching that was given to (them was through Noah, who, by the power of the Holy Ghost (1 Peter 1:12), delivered to them the message of warning. Let this be the preaching referred to, and all is harmonious and clear; and this interpretation the con­struction of the original demands; for the word rendered in our version, “were disobedient,” is simply the aorist participle; and the dependent sentence, “when once the long-suffering of God waited in the days of Noah,” limits the verb “preached “ rather than the participle. The whole passage might be translated thus: “In which also, having gone to the spirits in prison, he preached to the then diso­bedient ones, when once [or at the time when] the longsuffering [[96]] of God waited in the days of Noah.” Christ is said to have preached, because it was Christ’s Spirit in Noah. Noah was his representative; and according to the Latin maxim, “Qui facit per alium, facit per se,” “What one does through another, he does himself,” the preaching of Noah by this means, was the preaching of Christ.


       But in what sense were they in prison? — In the same sense in which persons in error and darkness are said to be in prison. Isa. 42:7: “To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison-house.” Also Isa. 61:1: “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he bath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound.” Christ himself declared (Luke 4:18-21) that this scripture was fulfilled in his mission to those here on earth who sat in darkness and error, and under the dominion of sin. So the antedilu­vians were shut up under the sentence of condemnation. Their days were limited to a hundred and twenty years; and their only way of escape from impending destruction was through the preaching of Noah. Gen. 6:3.


        So much with reference to the spirits to whom the preaching was given. Now we affirm further that Christ’s Spirit did not go anywhere to preach to anybody while he lay in the grave. If Christ’s Spirit, the real being, the divine part, did survive the death of the cross, then —


1.  We have only a human offering as a sacrifice for our sins; and the claim of Spiritualists, which no Chris­tian can hear without a shudder, is true, that the blood of Christ is no more than that of any man. [[97]]


       2.  Then Christ did not pour out his soul unto death, and make it an offering for sin, as the prophet declared that he would do (Isa. 53:10, 12); and his soul was not sorrowful even unto death, as he himself affirmed that it was.  Matt. 26:38.


       3.  The text says Christ was “quickened by the Spirit;” and between his death and quickening no action is affirmed of him; and hence for any one to affirm that he was alive and active during this time, is only assumption. There can be no doubt but the “quickening” here brought to view was his resurrection. The Greek word is a very strong one, zoopoieo, “to impart life to make alive.” He was put to death in the flesh, but made alive by the Spirit. Mr. Landis (p. 232) labors hard to turn this word from its natural meaning, and make it signify, not giving life, but continuing alive. It is impossible to regard this as anything better than unmitigated sophistry. The verb is a regular, active verb. In the passive voice it expresses an action received. Christ did not continue alive, but was made alive by the Spirit. Then he was for a time dead. How long? — From the cross to time resurrection. Rom. 1: 4. So he says himself in Rev. 1:18, “I am he that liveth, and was dead.” Yet men will stand up, and for the purpose of sustaining a pet theory, rob the world’s Offering of all its virtue, and nullify the whole plan of salvation, by declaring that Christ never was dead!


       The word “quicken “ is the same that is used in Rom. 8:11: ‘‘But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead, dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.” God brought again our Lord from the dead by the Holy Spirit; and by the same Spirit are his followers to be raised up at the last day. [[98]]  But that Christ went anywhere in Spirit, or did any action between his death and quickening, is what the Scriptures nowhere affirm, and what no man has a right to claim.


        Mr. Landis (p. 235) argues that this preaching could not have been in the days of Noah, because the events narrated took place this side the death of Christ. Why did he not say this side the resurrection of Christ?—Oh! That would spoil it all. But the record shows upon its very face that if it refers to a time subsequent to Christ’s death, it was also subsequent to his resurrection; for if events are here stated in chronological order, the resurrection of Christ, as well as his death, comes before his preaching. Thus, (1) he was “put to death in the flesh;” (2) “was quickened by the Spirit,” which was his resurrection, as no man with any show of reason can dispute; and (3) ‘‘went and preached to the spirits in prison.” So the preaching does not come in, on this ground, till after Christ was made alive from the dead.


        Some people seem to treat time Scriptures as if they were given to man that he might exercise his inventive powers in trying to misunderstand or pervert them to avoid the doctrines they teach. But no inventive power that the human mind has yet developed will enable a titan, let him plan, contrive, devise, and arrange as he may, to fix this preaching of Christ between his death and resur­rection. If he could fix it there, what would it prove?  The man of sin would rise up and bless him from his papal throne, for proving his darling purgatory. Such a position may do for Mormons, Mohammedans, pagans, and papists; but let no Protestant try to defend it, and not hang his head for shame. Mr. Landis says that “Mr. Dobney and the rest of the fraternity conveniently forget that there is any such passage [as 1 Peter 3:19] in the word of God.”  But we cannot help thinking that it [[99]] would have been well for him, and saved a pitiful display of distorted, not to say dishonest, logic, if he had been prudent enough to forget it too.


            Another testimony in favor of the correct view, which is entitled to respectful consideration, may here be intro­duced. It is from Alvah Hovey, D. D., of Newton Theological Seminary, and is issued in a pamphlet enti­tled, ‘‘State of Men after Death,” published by the American Baptist Publication Society, Philadelphia. He contends that those to whom Christ went and preached, were those who were disobedient in the days of Noah, and that he preached during the time when Noah was prepar­ing the ark; and he declares that ‘‘neither human reason, nor the word of God give a shadow of support” to the assumption that any who have not repented of sin in the present life, will be likely to do so in the intermediate state. From his argument we quote the following pas­sages (pp. 82—86): 


It seems to me that the apostle intended to represent the going and preaching as belonging to the same period of time with the disobedience and long-suffering . . . The participle may be rendered when they were disobedient ‘ just as a similar participle is translated by Hackett, Conant, Noyes, and Alford (Acts 19.2). ‘Did ye receive the Holy Spirit when ye believed)’ ... Nay, it is possible that the phrase ‘spirits in prison,’ was Peter’s cus­tomary designation for the ungodly of former times, even when he was referring to their earthly career .. If the Spirit, then, was Christ’s Spirit, the preaching of the illuminated prophet was Christ’s preaching, and any contempt or disobedience to that preaching, was contempt or disobedience to him. . . .  But if the preaching referred to by Peter was accomplished in hades, it is not so easy to understand why the contemporaries of Noah are singled out as the particular spirits addressed. [If this view be taken of it, he says,] we have no knowledge whatever of the message deliv­ered by Christ in spirit if he went and preached to the dead in hades, we are profoundly ignorant of what he announced: and it is not surprising that those who adopt this theory, differ greatly as to the nature of his supposed message. [[100]]


7.  A Spirit Hath Not Flesh and Bones


            There are a few other texts which contain the word “spirit,” an explanation of which may be properly intro­duced at this point:


            Luke 24 39: “Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.” These are the words of Christ as on one occasion he met with his disciples after his resurrection; and as he then possessed a spiritual body which is given by the resurrection, it is claimed that his words prove the existence of spirits utterly disembodied, in the popular sense. But we inquire, What did the disciples sup­pose they saw?— Verse 37 states: “They supposed they had seen a spirit;” and on this verse Greenfield puts in the margin the word phantasma instead of pneuma, and marks it as a reading adopted by Griesbach. They supposed they had seen a phantom, apparition, specter. This ex­actly cot-responds with their action when, on another occa­sion, Christ came to them walking on the sea (Matt. 14:26; Mark 6:49), and they were affrighted and cried out, supposing it was a ‘‘spirit,” where the Greek uses “phan­tom’’ in both quotations. The Bible nowhere counte­nances the idea that phantoms or specters have any real existence; but the imagination and superstition of the human mind have ever been prolific in such conceptions. The disciples were of course familial- with the popular notions on this question; and when the Saviour suddenly appeared in their midst, coining in without lifting the latch, or making any visible opening, as spiritual bodies are able to do, their first idea was the superstitious one of an apparition or specter, and they were affrighted.


         Now when Jesus, to allay their fears, told them that a spirit had not flesh and bones as he had, he evidently [[101]] used the word “spirit ‘‘ in the sense of the idea which they then had in their minds; namely, that of a phantom; and though the word pneuma is used, which in its very great variety of meanings may be employed, perhaps, to express such a conception, we are not to understand that the word cannot be used to describe bodies like that which Christ then possessed. He was not such a spirit as they supposed; for a pneuma such as they then conceived of in the sense of a phantom, had not flesh and bones as he had. Bloomfield, on verse 37 says:  “It may be added that our Lord meant not to countenance those notions, but to show his hearers that, according to their own notions of spirits, he was not one.”





8.  Neither Angel Nor Spirit


     Acts 23:8: ‘‘For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit: but the Pharisees confess both,” Paul declared himself, in verse 6, to be a Pharisee; and in telling what they believed (verse 8), it is claimed that Paul plainly ranged himself on the side of those who believe in the separate, conscious existence of the spirit of man. But does this text say that the Phari­sees believed any such thing? Three terms are used in expressing what the Sadducees did not believe, “resur­rection, angel, and spirit.” But when the faith of the Pharisees is stated, these three are reduced to two: ‘‘The Pharisees confess both.’’ Both means only two, not three. Now what two of the three terms before employed unite to express one branch of the faith of the Pharisees?--Evidently the terms “angel and spirit;” for they be­lieved that there were ‘‘angels” and “spirits” in the unseen world, but not disembodied human spirits; inas­much as they believed in the “resurrection,” by which alone human beings are to live again. [[102]]


            Appeal is made to the incident here narrated to try to array the apostle Paul on the side of the popular view that there are disembodied human spirits in conscious existence in the spirit world. But before this can be done, it must be shown that the Pharisees entertained such a belief, and that the apostle avowed himself a Pharisee in this respect. But we apprehend that neither of these points can be proved; for had they believed this, they would have had no use for the doctrine of the “resurrection.” It appears from verse 6 that Paul avowed himself a Pharisee only so far as pertained to their views of the resurrection of the dead. This seems to be plainly implied by the manner in which he joins his two affirmations together: “I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee: of the hope and resur­rection of the dead I am called in question.” He cer­tainly was not a Pharisee in the broad acceptation of the term; for he was a Christian, and, from a theological point of view, not a Jew at all. Now whatever the Phari­sees may have believed concerning spirits, it in nowise in­volves the apostle so far as this narrative is concerned. But there is no evidence here that they believed in dis­embodied human spirits. When they say (verse 9), “If a spirit or an angel hath spoken to him,” they doubtless refer to his experience on his way to Damascus, with which they were familiar, and used those two words in apposition. A voice had called to him from heaven. He did not claim that it was an angel. There were other spirit organizations in the heavenly world besides angels, without supposing disembodied human spirits; hence they say, “If a spirit or an angel hath spoken to him.” This incident therefore furnishes no support to the popular view; for the whole issue before them was not concerning the condition of man in death, but concerning the resurrection of the dead. [[103]]


9.  Destroy Flesh—Save the Spirit


1 Cor. 5:5: “To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” Although this text is quoted to prove the separate, conscious existence of a part of man between death and the resurrection, the reader cannot fail to notice that the time when the spirit is saved; is in the day of the Lord Jesus, when the resurrection takes place. This text proves nothing, therefore, respecting the condition of the spirit previous to that time; and, so far as our present purpose is concerned, we might dismiss it with this remark; but a word or two more may serve to free the text still further from diffi­culty. What is meant by delivering the person to Satan? And what is the destruction of the flesh? Satan is the god of this world; and if any man is a friend of this world, he is on the side of Satan and an enemy of God. The church is the body of Christ, and belongs to him. A person committing the deeds spoken of in this chapter must be separated from that body, and given back to the world. He is thus delivered unto Satan. This is for the destruction of the flesh. The flesh is often used to mean the carnal mind. Gal. 5:19-21. The spiritually minded man has crucified or destroyed the flesh. Now a person who desires eternal life, when he finds himself set aside from the church and placed back in the world, the king­dom of Satan, on account of his having the carnal mind, understands that to gain eternal life he must then put away the carnal mind, or crucify and destroy the flesh. If he does this, he becomes spiritually minded, joined again to the body of Christ; and the old man, the flesh, being destroyed, he, as a spiritually minded man, will be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. Spirit we understand [[104]] to be used in contrast with the flesh, the one denoting a person in a carnal state, the other in a spiritual. To deal with a person as the apostle here directs, set him aside from the church till he sees and repents of his sins, is often the only way to save him. In the day of the Lord Jesus, a person is saved by having his body fashioned like unto Christ’s glorious body, not destroyed. Phil. 3:21. The destruction spoken of in the text cannot therefore be the literal destruction of the body in contrast with the dis­embodied spirit. The true condition which the apostle desired such a one to reach, is expressed in Rom. 8:10:  “And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.”




Concerning the Human Soul


Examination of All the Texts in the Bible, in which the Term “Soul” Is Used in a Way which is Supposed to Prove that It can Exist in a Conscious, Intelligent Condition, Independently of the Body, and that It is Immortal


1.  Departure and Return of the Soul



         We have now examined all those passages in which the word “spirit” is used in such a manner as to fur­nish what is claimed to be evidence of its uninterrupted consciousness after the death of the body. We have found them all easily explainable in harmony with other positive and literal declarations of the Scriptures, that the dead know not anything, that when a man’s breath goes forth and he returns to his earth, his very thoughts perish, and that there is no wisdom nor knowledge nor device in the grave to which we go. And so far the unity of the Bible system of truth on this point is unimpaired, and the harmony of the testimony of the Scriptures is maintained.


       We will now examine those scriptures in which the term “soul” is supposed to be used in a manner to show that it is a separate entity in man, immortal in its nature, and able to exist as well out of the body as in. The first of these is Gen. 35:18, which speaks of the death of  [[106]]

Rachel, and says: “And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing, (for she died) that she called his name Ben-oni.” This is adduced as evidence that the soul departs when the body dies, and lives on in an active, conscious condition.


            Luther Lee, in his day a prominent Wesleyan Methodist, wrote on this passage:


Her body did not depart. Her brains did not depart. There was nothing which departed which could consistently be called her soul, only on the supposition that there is in man an immaterial spirit which leaves the body at death.


       We may offset this assertion of Luther Lee’s with the following criticism from Professor Bush:


As her soul was in departing. Hebrew, betzeth naphshah, in the going out of her soul, or life. Greek, en to aphienai auten ten psuchen, in her sending out her life. The language legitimately implies no more than the departing, or ceasing, of the vital principle, whatever that be. In like manner, when the prophet Elijah stretched himself upon the dead child (1 Kings 17:21), and cried three times, saying, O Lord my God, . . . let this child’s soul come into him again, he merely prays for the return of his physical vitality.[18]


       The Hebrew word here translated “soul” is nephesh, rendered in the Septuagint by psuche; and it is unneces­sary to remind those who have read the chapter on “Soul and Spirit” that these words mean many other things be­sides ‘‘body “ and ‘‘brains.”


       They often signify that which can be said to leave the body, as we shall presently see, rendering entirely uncalled for the supposition of an immaterial spirit, which Mr. Lee makes such haste to adopt.


            What, then, did depart? And what is the plain, simple import of the declaration? We call the reader’s attention again to the criticism of Parkhurst, the lexicographer, on this passage: [[107]]


As a noun, nephesh hath been supposed to signify the spiritual part of man, or what we commonly call his soul. I must for myself confess that I can find no passage where it hath undoubtedly this meaning. Gen. 35:18; 1 Kings 17:21, 22; Ps. 16:10, seem fairest for this signification. But may not nephesh in the three former pas­sages, be most properly rendered breath, and in the last, a breathing or animal frame?


     Thus, while Mr. Parkhurst admits that Gen. 35:18 is the fairest instance that can be found where nephesh could be supposed to mean the spiritual part of man, yet he will not so far hazard his reputation as a scholar and a critic, as to give it that meaning in this or any other instance, declaring that here it may most properly be rendered “breath.” And this is in harmony with the account of man’s creation, where it is seen that the im­parting of the “breath of life” is what made Adam a living soul; and the loss of that “ breath,” of course, reduces man again to a state of death.


       1 Kings 17:22: “And the Lord heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived.” In the light of the foregoing criticism on Gen. 35:18, this text scarcely needs a passing remark. The same principle of interpretation applies to this as to the former. But one can hardly read such passages as this without noticing how at variance with the popular view they read. The child, as a whole, is the object with which the text deals. The child was dead. Something, called the “soul,” which the child is spoken of as having in possession, had gone from him, which caused his death. This element, not the child itself but what belonged to the child as a living being, came into him again, and the child revived.


       But according to the immaterialist view, this passage should not so read at all. For that view makes the soul to be the child proper; and with this idea, the passage [[108]] should read something like this: “And the Lord heard the voice of Elijah, and the child came back and took possession of his body and the body revived.” This is the popular view. Mark the chasm between it and the Scripture record.


       Verse 17 tells what had left the child, and what it was therefore necessary for the child to recover before he could live again. “His sickness was so sore,’’ says the record, “that there was no breath left in him.” That was the trouble: the “breath of life” was gone from the child. And when Elijah comes to pray for his restoration, he asks, in the most natural manner possible, that the very thing that had left the child, and thereby caused his death, might come into him again, and cause him to live; and that was simply what verse 17 states — “the breath of life.”


Thus in neither of these passages do we find any evi­dence of the existence of an immaterial, immortal soul, which so confidently claims the throne of honor in the temple of modern orthodoxy.


2.  Can the Soul Be Killed?


Matt. 10:28:  “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”


       Luke records the same sentiment in these words:  “And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.” Luke 12:4, 5.


       This is considered a stronghold by all immaterialists. The estimate which they put upon these texts is thus expressed by Mr. Landis (p. 181):  [[109]]


This text (Matt. 10:28), therefore, must continue to stand as the testimony of the Son of God in favor of the soul’s immortality, and his solemn condemnation of the soul-ruining errors of the anni­hilation and Sadducean doctrine.


            The reply comes, without calling, on this wise: Mr. L. evidently applies the argument to a wrong issue; for what­ever it may teach concerning the intermediate state, it is most positively against the doctrine of eternal misery, and the consequent immortality of the soul. It teaches that

God can destroy the soul in hell; and     there is no force in our Lord’s warning unless we understand it to affirm that he will thus destroy the souls of the wicked. We never could with any propriety be warned to fear a person because he could do that which he never designed to do, and never would do. We are to fear the civil magistrate to such a degree, at least, as not to offend against the laws, because he has power to put those laws into execu­tion, and visit upon us merited punishment, but our fear is to rest not simply upon the fact that he has power to do this, but upon the certainty that he will do it if we are guilty of crime. Otherwise there could be no cause for fear, and no ground for any exhortation to fear.


       Now we are to fear God, that is, fear to disobey him, because he is able to destroy body and soul in hell. And what is necessarily implied in this I — It is implied that he certainly will do this in the cases of all those who do not fear him enough to comply with his requirements. So the text is a direct affirmation that the wicked will be destroyed, both soul and body, in hell.


       The next inquiry is, What is the meaning of the word “destroy”? — We answer that, take the word “soul” to mean what we will, the word “destroy” here has the same meaning and the same force as applied to the soul, that the word ‘‘kill’’ has as applied to the body in the [[110]] sentence before. Whatever killing does to the body, destroying does to the soul. Don’t fear men, because they cannot kill the soul as they kill the body; but fear God, because he can and will kill the soul (if wicked) just as men kill the body. But every one well understands what it does to the body to kill it. It deprives all of its functions and powers of life and activity.  It would do the same to the soul to destroy it, supposing the soul to be what is popularly believed. The word here rendered “destroy” is apolluo, and is defined by Greenfield, ‘‘to destroy, to kill, to put to death,” etc.


       Having seen that the text affirms in the most positive manner the destruction of soul and body, or the complete cessation of conscious existence, for all the wicked, in hell, we now inquire whether it teaches a conscious exist­ence for the soul in the intermediate state? This must be, it is claimed, because man cannot kill it. But the killing which God inflicts, according to the popular view, is torment in the flames of hell, and that commences im­mediately upon the death of the body. Let us, then, see what the Scriptures testify concerning the receptacle of the dead and the place of punishment.


       The word “hell “in our English version is from three different Greek words. These words are hades, gehenna, and tartaroo (a verb signifying to thrust down to Tartarus). These all designate different places; and the following full list of the instances of their occurrence in the New Testament, will show their use.


       Hades occurs in the following passages:


       Matt.    11:23, shall be brought down to hell.

                        16:18, the gates of hell shall not prevail.

            Luke    10:15, shalt be thrust down to hell.

                        16:23, in hell he lifted up his eyes.

            Acts     2:27, wilt not leave my soul in hell.

                        2:31 his soul was not left in hell.  [[111]]

            1 Cor. 15:55, O grave, where is thy victory?

             Rev.    1:18, have the keys of hell and of death.

                        6:8, was Death and hell followed

                        20:13, death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them.

                        20:14, death and hell were cast into the lake of fire.


            Gehenna signifies Gehenna, the valley of Hinnom, near Jerusalem, in which fires were kept constantly burn­ing to consume the bodies of malefactors and the rub­bish which was brought from the city and cast therein. It is found in the following places:


Matt.    5:22, shall be in danger of hell fire.

            5:29, whole body should be cast into hell.

            5:30, whole body should be cast into hell.

            10:28, destroy both soul and body in hell.

            18:9, having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.

            23:15, more the child of hell than yourselves.

            23:33, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?

           Mark     9:43, having two hands to go into hell.

            9:45, having two feet to be cast into hell.

            9:47, having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.

Luke    12:5, hath power to cast into hell.

James   3:6, it is set on fire of hell.


       Tartaro-o is used only in the following text: “God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell.” 2 Peter 2:4.


       From these references it will be seen that hades is the place of the dead, whether righteous or wicked, from which they are brought only by a resurrection. Rev. 20:13. On the contrary, Gehenna is the place into which the wicked are to be cast alive with all their mem­bers, to be destroyed soul and body. These places, there­fore, are not to be confounded together.


       Now the punishment against which the text warns us is not a punishment in hades, the state or place of the dead, but in Gehenna, which is not inflicted till after the resurrection. Therefore we affirm that the text contains [[112]] no instruction whatever concerning the condition of mat in death, but passes over the entire period from the death of the body to the resurrection. And this is further evi­dent from the language in which Luke records the passage:  “Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he bath killed bath power to cast into hell.”


        Luke does not use the term “soul” at all; yet he expresses the same sentiment as Matthew. Man can kill the body, or destroy this present life; but he can accom­plish no destruction beyond that. But God is able not only to kill the body, or destroy the present life, but he can cast into Gehenna, or destroy the life that we may have beyond the resurrection.  These two things alone the text has in view.  And now when we remember that psuche, the word here rendered “soul,” means “life,” either the present or future, and is forty times in the New Testament so rendered, the text is freed from all difficulty.  The word “kill,” to be sure, is not such as would naturally be used in connection with “life;” but the word “destroy,” which is among the definitions of the original word, apokteino, can be appropriately used with “life.” Thus: Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to destroy the future life; but rather fear him who is able to destroy the body, and put an end to all future life, in hell. And it is worthy of notice that the destruction in hell here threatened is not inflicted a person without his body.  Nothing is said about God’s destroying the soul alone; but it is at some point beyond this life, when the person again has a body; which is not till after the resurrection.


        Another declaration front the lips of our Lord, found in Matt. 16:25, 26, will throw some light on our present [[113]] subject “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it:  and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” The word “soul” should here be rendered “life.” What shall a man give in exchange for his life? That is, his future life. Dr. Clarke, on verse 26, says: “On what authority many here translate the word psuche in the 25th verse, ‘life,’ and in this verse, ‘soul,’ I know not; but am certain it means ‘life’ in both places.”


       Verse 39 of Matthew 10 is also a good comment on verse 28, now under notice: “He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.” Here the same word, psuche, rendered “soul” in verse 28, is twice used, and rendered “life.” The teaching of the passage is very evident. “He that findeth his life shall lose it;” that is, he that rejects Christ for the sake of preserving this present life (psuche), shall lose it (the future psuche) in the world to come; “and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it;” that is, he that will follow Christ, though it cost him his present life (psuche), shall find it (psuche) in the world to come; for man cannot touch that life; as in verse 28, they may kill the body, deprive us of this present life; but they cannot destroy the psuche that remains to God’s children after this, that is, the life to come.


       Rendering psuche as it is rendered in verse 28, this 39th verse would read: “He that findeth his soul shall lose it; and he that loseth his soul for my sake shall find it.” Let us now take the expression to “find “or “save the soul,” and to “lose the soul,” in the sense of popu­lar theology, and see how ridiculous the teaching of the passages above referred to would be. Whosoever will [[114]] save his soul (to save the soul meaning to save it from hell) shall lose it (that is, shall go into hell torments); but whosoever will lose his soul (suffer eternal misery) for my sake shall find it (shall be saved in heaven). This makes utter nonsense of the passage, and so is sufficient condemnation of the view which makes such an interpre­tation necessary.


       The passage simply refers to the present and future life. Thus: Whosoever will save his life (that is, will deny Christ and his gospel for the sake of avoiding perse­cution or the loss of his present life), shall lose it (the future life) in the world to come, when God shall destroy both soul and body in Gehenna; but he who shall lose his present life, if need be, for the sake of Christ and his cause, shall find it (the boon of immortality) in the world to come, when eternal life is given to all the overcomers.


         Here the life is spoken of as something which can be lost and found again. Between the losing and the finding, no one can claim that it maintains a conscious existence.  And what is meant by finding it? — Simply that God will bestow it upon us in the future, beyond the resurrection. What, then is meant by the expression that man cannot kill it? — Simply the same thing, that God will, in the resurrection, endow us with life again — a life which it is beyond the power of man to take from us.


         The life of all men is in the hands of God. The body was formed of the dust, but the “life” was imparted by God. Man, by sin, has made this present life a tem­porary one. But through the plan of salvation, by which the human race was placed upon a second probation after Adam’s fall, with the privilege of still gaining eternal life, a future life is decreed for all; for there shall be a resur­rection of the just and the unjust. With the righteous, this life will be eternal; for they have secured the forgiveness [[115]] of all their sins through Jesus Christ; but with the wicked it will soon end in the second death; for they have thrown away their golden privilege, and clung to their sins, the wages of which is death. Evil men may, by persecution, hasten the close of the Christian’s present temporary life — may cut it short by killing the body — for some years before it would close in the natural course of events; but that future life, which in the purpose of God is as sure as his own throne, they cannot touch.


       The exhortation is to those who are striving to serve God, and who thereby are liable to lose their present lives at the hands of wicked men, for the truth’s sake. Fears them not, though with the bloody arm of persecution they may deprive you of the present life; for the life which is to come, they cannot reach.


       And the warning is to the wicked, that unless they fear God more than they fear men, and are governed by his glory more than by worldly considerations, he will bring their existence to an utter end in the fire of Gehenna.


       The text, therefore, so far from proving the existence in man of an independent, death-surviving, entity called the immortal soul, speaks only of the present and future life; and, passing over the entire period between death and the resurrection, then promises the righteous a life which man cannot destroy, and affirms that the wicked shall utterly cease to be, in the second death.


       In Rev. 6:9-11 is another instance where the word “soul” is used in a manner which many take to be proof that there is in man a separate entity, conscious in death, and capable in a disembodied state, of performing all the acts, and exercising all the emotions, which pertain to this life. The verses referred to read:  [[116]]


And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: and they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, 0 Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.


       On the hypothesis of the popular view, what conclu­sions must we draw from this testimony?


       1.  It is assumed that these souls were in heaven; then the altar under which John saw them must have been the ‘‘altar of incense,” as that is the only altar brought to view in heaven. Rev. 8:3. But the altar spoken of in the text, is evidently the altar of sacrifice upon which they were slain. Therefore to represent them as under the altar of incense, which was never used for sacrifice, is both incongruous and unscriptural.


            2.  We must conclude that they were in a state of confinement, shut up under the altar — not a condition we would naturally associate with the perfection of heavenly bliss.


     3.  Solomon says of the dead, that their love, their hatred, and their envy is now perished. Eccl. 9:6. But that makes no difference; for here are the souls of the holy martyrs still smarting with resentment against their persecutors, and calling for vengeance upon their devoted heads.  Is this altogether consistent? Would not the superlative bliss of heaven swallow up all resent­ment against those who had done them this good, though they meant them harm, and lead them to bless rather than curse the hand that had hastened them thither?  [[117]]


    But further: the same view which puts these souls into heaven, puts the souls of the wicked, at the termination of this mortal life, into the lake of fire, where they are racked with unutterable and unceasing anguish, in full view of all the heavenly host. In proof that the worlds of bliss and torment are held to be in full view of each other, we have only to refer to the common interpretation of the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, in which Abraham in bliss and the rich man in torment, are supposed not only to behold each other, but to converse together. But is it so? If it is not, then the popular exposition of the parable must be abandoned.  But that supposed stronghold will not readily be surrendered. It is proper, therefore, to look at the bearing it has upon the case before us.


         According, then, to the orthodox view, the persecutor of these souls were even then, or certainly soon would be enveloped in the flames of hell, right before their eyes, every fiber of their being quivering with a keenness of which no language can express, and of which no mind can adequately conceive.


      Here they were in their agony, in full view of these souls of the martyrs, and their piercing shrieks of infinite and hopeless woe, ringing in their ears — for the rich man and Abraham, as we have seen, could converse together across the gulf. And was not the sight of all this woe enough to satisfy the most insatiate desires for vengeance? Is there a fiend in hell who could manifest the malevolence of planning and praying for greater ven­geance than this? Yet these souls are represented, even under these circumstances, as calling upon God to avenge their blood on their persecutors, and saying, “How long?” as if chiding the tardy movements of Providence, in commencing or intensifying their torments. Such is [[118]] the character which the common view attributes to these holy martyrs, and such the spirit with which it clothes a system of religion, the chief injunction of which is mercy. Does it find endorsement in any breast in which there remains a drop of even the milk of human kindness?


      These souls pray that their blood may be avenged — an article which the uncompounded, invisible, and im­material soul, as generally understood, is not supposed to possess.


      These are some of the difficulties we meet, some of the camels we have to swallow in taking down the popular view.


      But it is urged that these souls must be conscious; for they cry to God. How easily our expositors forget that language has any figurative use, when they wish it to be literal, or that it is ever used literally, when they wish it to be figurative. There is supposed to be supposed to be such a figure of speech as “personification,” in which, under certain conditions, life, action, and intelligence are attributed to inanimate objects. Thus the blood of Abel is said to have cried to God from the ground. Gen. 4:9, 10.  The stone cried out of the wall, and the beam out of the timber answered it. Hab. 2:11. The hire of the labor­ers, kept back by fraud, cried; and the cry entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth. James 5:4. So these souls could cry, in the same sense, and yet be no more conscious than Abel’s blood, the stone, the beam, or the laborer’s hire.


            So incongruous is the popular view, that Albert Barnes makes haste to set himself right on the record as follows:


We are not to suppose that this literally occurred, and that John actually saw the souls of martyrs beneath the altar, for the whole representation is symbolical; nor are we to suppose that the [[119]] injured and the wronged in heaven actually pray for vengeance on those who wronged them, nor that the redeemed in heaven will continue to pray with reference to things on earth; but it may be fairly inferred from this that there will be as real a remembrance of the wrongs of the persecuted, the injured, and the oppressed, as if such a prayer was offered there; and that the oppressor has as much to dread from the divine vengeance, as if those whom he has injured should cry in heaven to the God who hears prayer, and who takes vengeance.[19]


       But it is said that white robes were given them; hence it is further urged that they must be conscious. But this no more follows than it does from the fact that they cried. What were the circumstances? — This scene is located at the opening of the fifth seal, and the souls brought to view are those who had been martyred under preceding papal persecutions. They had gone down to the grave in the most ignominious manner. Their lives had been mis­represented, their reputations tarnished, their names de­famed, their motives maligned, and their graves covered with shame and reproach, as containing the dishonored dust of the most vile and despicable characters. Thus the church of Rome, which then molded the sentiments of the principal nations of the earth, spared no pains to make her victims an abhorring unto all flesh.


       But the Reformation commenced its work. It soon began to be seen that the Romish Church was the corrupt and disreputable party, and those against whom it vented its rage were the good, the pure, and the true. The work went on among the most enlightened nations, the reputa­tion of the church going down, and that of the martyrs coming up, until the corruptions of the papal abomination were fully exposed, and that huge system of iniquity stood before the world in all its naked deformity, while the mar­tyrs were vindicated from all the aspersions under which [[120]] that anti-Christian church had sought to bury them. Then it was seen that they had suffered, not for being vile and criminal, but “for the word of God and for the testimony which they held.” Then their praises were sung, their virtues admired, their fortitude applauded, their names honored, and their memory cherished. And thus it is even to this day. White robes have thus been given unto them.


       The whole trouble on such passages as this, we conceive to arise from the theological definition of the word “soul.” From that definition, one is led to suppose that this text speaks of an immaterial, invisible, immortal essence in man, which soars into its coveted freedom on the death of its hindrance and clog, the mortal body. No instance of the occurrence of the word in the original Hebrew or Greek will sustain such a definition. It often­est means “life;” and is not unfrequently rendered “per­son.”  It applies to the dead as well as to the living, as may be seen by reference to Gen. 2:7, where the word “living” need not have been expressed were life an inseparable attribute of the soul; and to Num. 19:13, and many other passages where the Hebrew literally reads, “dead soul.”


       The reader is also referred to a previous chapter on Soul and Spirit. From the definitions there given, it is evident that the word “soul” may mean, and the con­text requires that it here should mean, simply the martyrs, those who had been slain; the expression, “the souls of them,” being used to designate the whole person. They were represented to John as having been slain upon the altar of papal sacrifice on this earth, and lying dead be­neath it. So Dr. Clarke, on this passage, says, “The altar is upon earth, not in heaven.” They certainly were not alive when John saw them under the fifth seal; for [[121]] he again brings to view the same company in almost the same language, and assures us that the first time they live after their martyrdom, is at the resurrection of the just.  Rev. 20: 4-6. Lying there, victims of papal blood­thirstiness and oppression, the great wrong, of which their sacrifice was the evidence, called upon God for vengeance. They cried, or their blood cried, even as Abel’s blood cried, to God from the ground.


       Thus all becomes clear and plain when we treat the Bible as we would treat any other book; that is, let figures have their place, and perform their office; but let all figurative language be explained by the literal. Before this simple rule, the strongholds of man’s natural immortality go down one after another like cardboard breastworks before a charge of modern artillery.


4.  Body, Soul, and Spirit


1 Thess. 5:23: “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the com­ing of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Because the words ‘‘soul” and ‘‘spirit” are here used, the common reader, misled by the popular definitions given to these terms, is apt to take this text at once as a recognition of such an immortal part of man as current theology pictures before us. But it will be noticed that here are two terms each of which is, at different times, thrust forward as meaning the immortal part of man. In the face of this text, one or the other of these terms must now be surrendered as bearing that signification; for surely man has not two immortal parts. Here, then, it must be conceded that either the term, “spirit” does not signify an immaterial and immortal part of man, or that the term “soul” does not signify any such part. Now one term has just as [[122]] much claim to be considered an immortal part of man as the other, and whichever one is surrendered as not signi­fying such part, it will be just as easy to disprove the claims of the other. Three terms here are applied to man, with the evident idea of giving enough to make it sure that man’s entire being is intended. This is apparent from the opening expression: “The very God of peace sanctify you wholly,” etc.; and later the use of the word “whole,” conveys the same idea: “Your whole spirit and whole soul and [whole] body.” But it will be noticed that no wish is expressed in regard to any one part independently of the others. Paul does not say, May your spirit be preserved blameless, without the soul and body, or your soul without the spirit and body, or your body without the soul and spirit. But the prayer takes in all three together as an inseparable compound, the whole constituting the entire man. In the Bible description of man, there is no “line of cleavage” between these different parts. It takes them all to make the whole responsible being.


       If one that any exposition which does not locate these different parts, is unsatisfactory, it is very easy to make such location. The “body” is composed of matter— it is a quantity of material; the organization into a condition capable of being endowed with life, makes a “soul,” or an ‘‘organized being;” and the “spirit,’’ or “breath of life,” gives it vitality; and as a result an organized, living, rational being appears. The material of which man is composed, the organization and the life with which he is endowed, makes the whole being. The definitions of the terms as already shown, will fully bear out this application. It is a periphrasis, or expression drawn out in full, to describe the whole person. As such it is an unfortunate text for the popular view.  [[123]]



Chapter VIII


The Death of Adam



            Thus far in these pages, the inquiry has been concern­ing the creation of man, and what was conferred upon him in that creation in respect to life and immortality.  It has been found that there is no expression used in the record of man’s creation, or in immediate connection with it, which shows that he was endowed with an undying nature; that the Bible nowhere affirms that he is immor­tal, or has immortality; and that no text uses the terms “soul” and “spirit,” in connection with man, in such a way as to show that he is in possession of anything answering to the immaterial and immortal entity claimed for him by so-called orthodox teachers; but just the reverse.  As a next step in this study, it is pertinent to inquire con­cerning the death of man; that is, to what condition death reduces him; and then the general testimony of the Scrip­tures concerning the condition of the dead may be ex­amined. Let us, then, see what is to be learned from the record of the death of Adam.


       The inquirer into the nature of man and his condition in death, must ever turn with the deepest interest to the record which has been given concerning the father of our race. In the first chapters of Genesis we have an account of the origin of the human family, at once so simple and consistent that the jeers of skepticism fall harmless at its feet, and science, in comparison, only makes itself ridicu­lous in trying to account for it in any other manner. And [[124]] in the sentence pronounced upon Adam, the first man, when he fell under the guilt of transgression, we are shown to what condition death was designed to reduce all other men. In the creation and death of Adam, we have a vivid account of the building up and the unbuilding of a human being; and this case, being the first and most illustrious, must furnish the precedent and establish the rule for all the other members of the human family.


       Of the creation of Adam and the elements of which he was composed, sufficient, perhaps, has already been said. The record brings to view a formation made wholly of the dust of the ground. “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground.”  This body was endowed with a high and noble organization, and into life by the breath which the Lord breathed into its nostrils. The body, before it was made alive, had no power to act; the breath before it was breathed into the body, had no power of voluntary action; but when these two elements were brought together, when this breath was breathed into this body, the body was quickened, the machinery was set in motion, by this vital principle, and all the phenomena of physical life and mental action at once resulted.


       The Author of this creative work would necessarily, as the ruler over all, require the creatures of his hand to obey him. But he would not compel them to do so; for only a spontaneous love, and a voluntary and willing obedience can constitute true service. He therefore placed the man whom he had formed, as was meet, upon a state of probation, to test his loyalty to his Maker. The scene of his trial was the beautiful garden, in which was everything that was pleasant to the sight and good for food; and over all that adorned or enriched his Eden home, with one exception, he had unlimited control.  [[125]] And this exception, the condition upon which he was to be tested, is thus definitely expressed: “And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.’ Adam and Eve could not mistake the requirement of this law, nor fail to understand the intent of the penalty. And before Satan could cause his temptation to make any impression on the mind of Eve, he had to contradict this threatening, assuring her that they should not surely die. A question of veracity was thus raised between God and Satan; amid, strange to say, the theological world, in in­terpreting the penalty, have virtually, with the exception of a small minority, sided with Satan. This is seen in the interpretation which is commonly put on this threat­ened penalty of death, making it consist of three divisions: (1) alienation of the soul from God, the love of sin, and the hatred of holiness, called ‘‘death spiritual; ‘‘ (2) the separation of soul and body, called “death temporal (3) immediately after death temporal, the conscious tor­ment of the soul in hell, which is to have no end, which is called “death eternal.” The Baptist Confession of Faith, art. 5, says:


We believe that God made man upright; but- he, sinning, involved himself and posterity in death spiritual, temporal, and eternal from all which there is no deliverance but by Christ.


            Let us look at the different installments of this penalty, and see if they will harmonize with the language in which the original threatening is expressed; namely, “Thou shalt surely die.” Adam incurred the penalty by sinning. After he had shined, he was, as the result of his action, a sinner. But a state of sin is that state of alienation from God which those of the orthodox school make to be a part [[126]] of the penalty of his transgression. In this they confound the punishment of sin with that which was simply its result, and thus practically give the sentence this pro­foundly sensible reading:  “In the day that thou sinned, thou shalt surely be a sinner”!  It will never do to charge such a construction upon the sacred record; hence no more need be said about the claim that “death spiritual” was a part of the threatened penalty. Let another point now be noticed.


       Because Adam wickedly became a sinner, and brought himself into a state of alienation from God, the doom was pronounced upon him, “Thou shalt surely die.” Could this mean that he should suffer the punishment of eternal death? If so, Adam never could have been released therefrom.  But he is to be released from the death incurred by his transgression; for “in Christ,” the Scriptures assure us, all shall again “be made alive.” These two installments, then, “death spiritual” amid “death eternal,” utterly fail when brought to the test of the language in which the sentence is expressed:  one is not reasonable, and the other not possible.


       Temporal death, then, alone remains to be considered; but the interpretation which is given to this completely nullifies the penalty, and makes Satan to have been cor­rect when he said, “Thou shalt not surely die.” Tem­poral death is interpreted to mean the separation of the soul from the body; the body alone to die, but the soul, which is called the real, responsible man, to enter upon an enlarged and higher life, which is to continue forever. In this case, there is no death; amid the sentence should ­have read. In the day thou eatest thereof, thou shalt be freed from the clog of this mortal body, and enter upon a new and eternal life. So said Satan, “Ye shall not surely die,” but “ye shall be as gods;” and true to this assertion [[127]] from the father of lies, the heathen have all along deified their dead men, and worshiped their departed heroes; while modern poets have sung, “There is no death; what seems so is transition.” If ever the skill of a deceiver, and the gullibility of a victim, were manifested in an unaccountable degree, it is in this fact: that right in the face and eyes of the pale throng that daily passes down through the gate of death, the Devil can make men believe that after all his first lie was true, and there is no such thing as death.


From these considerations, it is evident that nothing will meet the demands of the sentence but the cessation of the life of the whole man. But that, says one, can­not be, for he was to die in the very day he ate of the forbidden fruit; yet he did not literally die for nine hundred and thirty years. If this is an objection against the view here advocated, it is equally such against every other. Take the threefold penalty above noticed. If death spiritual, death temporal, and death eternal was the penalty, how much was fulfilled on the day he sinned?—Not death eternal, surely, and not death temporal which did not take place for nine hundred and thirty years, but only spiritual. But this was only the first install­ment of the penalty, and far less decisive than the other two. The most that the friends of this interpretation can say, therefore, is that the penalty began on that very day to be fulfilled. But as much can be said in behalf of the view of temporal death only. “Dying, thou shalt die,” reads the margin; which some understand to mean, “Thou shalt inherit a immortal nature, and the process of decay shall commence.” As soon as man sinned, he came under the sentence of death, and the work of dis­solution began. He bore up against the encroachments of [[128]] age for nine hundred and thirty years, and then the work was fully accomplished.


But there need be no misunderstanding here; for the unfortunate event called forth such words from God, and rendered such a course of action on his part necessary, as to set forth in the most unmistakable manner the nature of the penalty he had affixed to disobedience.


When Adam sinned, it remained for God to carry out that of which he had forewarned him. Adam must be brought to account, and receive sentence for his deeds. Having before him the three guilty parties, the man, the woman, and the serpent, God began with Adam — “Hast thou eaten of the tree whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldst not eat?” Adam acknowledged the crime, but laid the blame of it upon the woman. God then ad­dressed the woman, “What is this that thou hast done?” and she laid the blame upon the serpent. God then turned to the serpent and proceeded to sentence the par­ties, reversing the order, beginning with the serpent and ending with Adam. And when the case of Adam came up, the narrative proceeds in these plain words: “And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou and unto dust shalt thou re­turn.” Gen. 3:11-19.


            In these words the Lord himself gives himself give us an authoritative interpretation of the penalty, from which there is no [[129]] appeal. Mark again the closing language of the sentence (Gen. 3:19): “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” The return to dust is here made a subsequent event, to be preceded by a period of wearing toil. And being finally overcome by the labors and ills of life, the person addressed was to return again to the dust from which he was taken. With Adam, this process com­menced on the very day he transgressed, and the penalty threatened, which covered all this condition of things from the beginning to the end, was executed in full when this process was fully completed in Adam’s death, nine hundred and thirty years thereafter.


Two things are connected together in the penalty affixed to Adam’s disobedience. These are the words “day” and “die:” “In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” The dying, whatever view we take of it, must at least include temporal or literal death. But this was not accomplished on that very day. Therefore, to find a death which was inflicted on that literal day, a figurative sense is given to the word and it is claimed that a spiritual death was that day wrought upon Adam. But the inquiry arises, If either of these terms, “day” or “die,” is to be taken figuratively, why not let the dying be literal then and the day figurative, especially since the sentence which God pronounced upon Adam, when he came up for trial, shows that literal death, and that only, was intended in the penalty?


The use of the word “day” in such a sense, meaning an indefinite period of time, is of frequent occurrence in the Scriptures. An instance in point occurs in 1 Kings 2: 36-46. King Solomon bound Shimei by an oath to [[130]] remain in Jerusalem, under the sentence that on the “day” he went out in any direction, he should be slain. After three years, two of Shimei’s servants ran away to Gath, and he went after them. It was then told Solomon that Shimei had been to Gath and returned. Solomon sent for him, reminded him of the conditions on which his life was suspended, and the oath he had broken, and then commanded the executioner to put him to death.


       Gath was some twenty-five miles from Jerusalem. That Shimei could go there, and get his servants, return, be sent for by Solomon, and be tried and executed, all on the same day, is a supposition by no means probable, even if it were possible. Yet in his death the sentence was fulfilled, that on the “day” he went out he should be slain; because on the very day he passed out of the city, the only condition that held back the execution of the sentence was removed, and he was virtually a dead man.


So with Adam. He was immediately cut off from the tree of life, his source of physical vitality. So much was executed on that very day. Death was then his inevitable portion, to be accomplished within the limits of period covered by the word “day.”  But it is claimed by some that the sentence in Gen. 3:19, was spoken only of the body, not of the soul. The poetry of Longfellow,  “Dust thou art, to dust returnest/ Was not spoken of the soul,” takes much better with the people than the plain lan­guage of inspiration itself.


To whom, then, or to what, was this sentence ad­dressed, “Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return”? Let this question be carefully studied. Ad­mitting that there is such a creature as the popular, independent, [[131]] immortal soul, was the language addressed to that, or to the body? If there is such a soul as this, what does it constitute, on the authority of the friends of that theory themselves? — It is held that it is the real, responsible, intelligent man. Watson says, “It is the soul only which perceives pain or pleasure, which suffers ­or enjoys;” and D. D. Whedon says, “It is the soul that hears, feels, tastes, and smells through its sensorial organs.’’  The sentence, then, would be addressed to that which could hear; the penalty would be pronounced upon that which could feel. The body, in the common view, is only an irresponsible instrument, the means by which the soul acts. It can, of itself, neither see, hear, feel, will, nor act.  Who, then, will have the hardihood to assert that God addressed his sentence to the irresponsible instrument, the body merely? This would be the same as if the judge in a criminal court should pro­ceed deliberately to address the knife with which the murderer had taken the life of his victim, and pronounce sentence upon that instead of upon the murderer himself.


In the sentence, the personal pronoun “thy” is once, and the personal pronoun “thou” is five times, applied to the “Adam” whom God addressed. “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” When we address our fellow men by the different personal pronouns of our lan­guage, what is the object we address? Is it not the conscious, intelligent, responsible man, that which sees, feels, hears, thinks, acts, and is morally accountable? But this, in popular parlance, is the ‘‘soul;” these pro­nouns must every time, then, stand for the soul. The pronouns “thy” and “thou,” in Gen. 3:19, must, therefore [[132]] refer to Adam’s soul. If they do not mean the soul here, how does the same pronoun “thou,” in Luke 23:43, mean the thief’s soul, when Christ said to him, “To-day shalt thou be with me in paradise”? Or the “I” and “my” in 2 Peter 1:13, refer to Peter’s soul, as we are told they do, when he says, “Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle”? The friends of the popular view must be consistent and uniform in their interpretations. If in these instances the pronouns do not refer to the soul, then these strong proof texts, to which the immaterialist always appeals, are abandoned; if they do here refer to the soul, they must likewise, in Gen. 3:19, refer to the soul, and the words, “Unto dust shalt thou return,” must mean the soul. In that lan­guage, then, God addresses Adam’s soul; and we have the authority of Jehovah himself, the Creator of man — against whose sentence, and the sunlight of whose word, it does not become puny mortals to oppose their short­sighted dictums, and the rushlight of human reason — that what the Bible means by mans soul is wholly mortal, and that in the dissolution of death it goes back to dust again! There is no avoiding this conclusion; and it forever settles the question of man’s condition in death. It shows that the intermediate state must be one in which the conscious man has lost his consciousness, the intel­ligent man his intelligence, the responsible man his re­sponsibility, and in which all the powers of his being--mental, emotional, and physical — have ceased to act.


No further argument need be introduced to show that the Adamic penalty was literal death, and that it reduced the whole man to a condition of unconsciousness and decay. But a few additional considerations will show that the popular view is cumbered with absurdities on [[133]] every hand, so plain that they should have proved their own antidote, and saved the doctors of theology from the preposterous definitions they have attached to death.


We have the authority of Paul for stating that through Christ the human family is released from all the penalty incurred through Adam’s transgression. “As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” If the in which we are involved through Adam, is “death spiritual, death temporal, and death eternal,” then all the human family are to be redeemed from these through Christ, Universalism is a true doctrine.


Again: Christ tasted death for every man. He hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us. That is, Christ died the same death for us which was introduced into the world by Adam’s sin. Was this death eternal? If so, the Saviour is perished, and the plan of salvation must prove an utter failure.


 In Rom. 5:12-14 occurs this remarkable passage:  “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned; for until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of Him that was to come).”


In the first part of the verse, Paul speaks of the death that came in by Adam’s sin, and then says that it reigned from Adam to Moses over them that had not sinned. From this language, accepting the popular interpretation of the Adamic penalty, we must come to the intolerable conclusion that personally sinless beings from Adam to Moses, were consigned to eternal misery! From such a sentiment, every fiber of our humanity recoils with horror. [[134]] The death threatened Adam was literal death, not eternal life in misery.


To the view that the Adamic penalty was simply literal death, many eminent men have given their unqualified adhesion.


John Locke says:


By reason of Adam’s transgression, all men are mortal and come to die. . .. It seems a strange way of understanding a law which requires the plainest and directest words, that by death should be meant eternal life in misery. . . . I confess that by death, here, I can understand nothing but a ceasing to be, the losing of all actions of life and sense. Such a death came upon Adam and all his posterity, by his first disobedience in paradise, under which death they should have lain forever had it not been for the redemp­tion by Jesus Christ.[20]


Isaac Watts, though he was a believer in the immor­tality of the soul, has the candor to say:

There is not one place of Scripture that occurs to me, where the word “death” as it was threatened in the law of innocency, nec­essarily signifies a certain miserable immortality of the soul, either to Adam, the actual sinner, or to his posterity.[21]


Dr. Taylor says:  “Death was to be the consequence of his [Adam’s] disobedi­ence, and the death here threatened can be opposed only to that life God gave Adam when he created him.”


With two more considerations we close this chapter:

1.  Adam was on probation. Life and death were set before him. “In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die,” said God. The only promise of life that he had in case of disobedience, came from one whom it is not very flattering to the advocates of a natural immortality, to call the- first propounder and natural ally of their system. But had Adam been endowed with a [[135]] natural immortality, eternal life could not have been sus­pended on his obedience. But it was so suspended, as we learn from the first pages of Revelation. Immortality was, therefore, not absolute, but contingent. Immortal he might become by obedience to God; disobeying, he was to die. He was not created either mortal or immor­tal. Which he should be, was to be decided by his own actions. He did disobey, and was driven from the gar­den now,” said God, “lest he put forth his and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever “— therefore the cherubim and flaming sword were placed to exclude thereafter his approach to the life-giving tree. Quite the reverse of an uncontingent immor­tality is certainly brought to view here. Adam could bequeath to his posterity no higher nature than he him­self possessed. The stream that, commencing just out­side of the garden of Eden, has flowed down through the lapse of six thousand years, has certainly never risen higher than the fountainhead; and we may be sure we possess no superior endowments, in this respect, to those of Adam.


2.  The second consideration under this head is the exhortations we have in the word of God to seek for immortality, if we would obtain it. “Seek the Lord, and ye shall live,” is his declaration to the house of Israel. Amos 5:6. “The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Rom. 6:23. Gift to whom? To every man irrespective of character? — By no means; but gift through Christ, to them only who are his. Again: “To them who by patient continuance in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality [God will render], eter­nal life.” Rom. 2:7. Varying the language of the apostle a little, we may here inquire, What a man hath, [[136]] why doth he yet seek for? The propriety of seeking for that which we already have, is something in regard to which it yet remains that we be enlightened by the advo­cates of the dominant theology. These testimonies from inspired writers, show most positively that we have not immortality in this life, and that in death man does not soar to heaven or sink to hell, but rests quietly in the dust of the earth till the resurrection shall call him thence. [[137]]



Chapter IX



Condition of Man in Death



            From the testimony of the Scriptures concerning the death of Adam, already examined, it is clear that the death which has “passed upon all men” reduces them to a state of inactivity and unconsciousness in the dust of the earth. This conclusion will be found to be strength­ened and buttressed on every side by much other testi­mony which the Bible furnishes on the condition of man in death.


First, the Bible clearly describes the place of the dead. The word used for this purpose in the Old Testament is sheol, and the corresponding word in the New Tes­tament is hades. They denote, as their use proves, a place of silence, secrecy, sleep, rest, darkness, corrup­tion, and worms. They are names for the common re­ceptacle of the dead, both righteous and wicked. The righteous dead are there; for at the resurrection they raise the victorious shout, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave [Greek, hades], where is thy victory?” I Cor. 15:55. And the wicked dead are there; for at the resur­rection to damnation, it is said that death and hell (Greek, hades) deliver them up. Rev. 20:13. That the hades of the New Testament is the sheol of the Old, is evident from Psalm 16, compared with Acts 2:27. Thus, Ps. 16:10 says: “Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell [He­brew, sheol]; and the New Testament makes a direct quo­tation of this passage, and for sheol uses the word hades. Acts 2:27. [[138]]


1.  All Alike Go into Sheol.—Thus Jacob says, “I will go down into the grave [sheol] unto my son mourning.” Gen. 37:35. Korah and his company went down into sheol. Num. 16:30, 33. All mankind go there.  Ps. 89:48.


2.  What Goes into Sheol. — Sheol receives the whole man bodily at death. Jacob expected to go down with his gray hairs to sheol. Korah, Dathtan, and Abiram went into sheol bodily. The soul of the Saviour left sheol at his resurrection. Ps. 16:10; Acts 2:27, 31. David, when restored from dangerous sickness, testified that his soul was saved from going into sheol. Ps. 30:2, 3.


3.  The Duration of its Dominion. — Those who go down into sheol must remain there till their resurrection. At the second coming of Christ, all the righteous are deliv­ered from sheol. All the living wicked are then turned into sheol, and for one thousand years it holds them iii its dread embrace. Then it gives them up, and judgment is executed upon them. Rev. 20:11-15.


4.  Location of Sheol. — It is in the earth beneath. It embraces the interior of the earth as the region of the dead, and the place of every grave. Eze. 32:18-32. It is always spoken of as beneath, in the interior of the earth, or in the nether parts of the earth. (See Num. 16:30, 33; Isa. 5:14; 14:9-20; Eze. 31:15-18; 32:18-32.) Referring to the fires now preying upon the interior parts of the earth, and which shall at last cause the earth to melt with fervent heat, the Lord, through Moses, says: “For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest sheol, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains.” Deut. 32:22. Jonah went down into sheol when he descended into the depths of the waters, where none but dead men had ever been. Jonah 2:2.  [[139]]


5.  Death Is Compared to Sleep.— There must, then, be some analogy between a state of sleep and a state of death, and this analogy must pertain to that which renders sleep a peculiar condition. Our condition in sleep differs from our condition when awake simply in this, that when we are soundly asleep, we are entirely unconscious. In this respect, then, death is hike sleep; that is, the dead are unconscious. This figure is frequently used to repre­sent the condition of the dead. Dan. 12:2: “Many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake.” Matt. 27:52:  “Many bodies of the saints which slept arose.” After Stephen beheld the vision of Christ, and was stoned to death, the record says (Acts 7:60) he ‘‘fell asleep).” In 1 Cor. 15:20, Christ is called the first-fruits of them that slept; and in verse 51 Paul says, “We shall not all sleep.” Again, Paul writes to the Thessalonians (1 Thess. 4:13, 14), that he would not have them ignorant concerning them which are asleep. In verse 14 he speaks of them asleep in Jesus, and explains what he means, in verse 16 by calling them “dead in Christ.” And the advocates of the conscious state cannot of these expressions by saying that they apply to the body merely; for they do not hold that the consciousness which we have in life (which is the same that we lose in death pertains to the body merely.  Job plainly declares that they will not awake till the resurrec­tion at the last day. “Man dieth, and wasteth away:  yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where is he? As the waters fail from the sea, and the flood decayeth and drieth up: so man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep.” Such declarations as these are decisive concerning the condition of man in death. [[140]]


            6.  The Dead Are in a Condition as though They Had Not Been.—So Job testifies; for he affirms that if he could have died in earliest infancy, like a hidden, untimely birth, he would not have been; and in this respect he declared he would have been like kings, counselors, and princes of the earth, who built costly tombs in which to enshrine their bodies when dead. To that condition he applies the expression so often quoted, “There the wicked cease from troubling; and there the weary be at rest.” Job 3:11-18. And Obadiah (verse 16) speaks of the dead as in a condition “as though they had not been.”


7.  The Dead have No Knowledge. — Speaking of the dead man, Job says (chapter 14:21): “His sons come to honor, and he knoweth it not; and they are brought low, but he perceiveth it not of them.” Surely, if the  “real man” is conscious and intelligent in death, he would follow the history of his sons with great interest. As this passage says that he does not, it follows that he has no knowledge. Again, when the Lord was about to bring judgments upon Jerusalem, he told King Josiah that he should go into his grave in peace, and that his eyes should not see the evil. 2 Kings 22:20. But would he not see it if conscious in death? Most cer­tainly. This proves, therefore, that he would not be conscious. Ps. 146:4: “His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.” David here refers to the weakness and inability of men to be of service to their friends, because they are subject to death. They lose the breath of life, and their bodies go back to dust. Then, says David, their thoughts perish. The word rendered here “thoughts,” more than simply one’s plans and purposes in life; it means the act of the mind in the process of thinking and [[141]] reasoning. In the day of one’s death, that power with him ceases or perishes. How, then, can there be any immortal soul, surviving death? — There cannot be. As proof that this is the intent of this passage, hear the words of Solomon, David’s son, in Eccl. 9:5, 6: “For the living know that they shall die; but the dead know not anything. . . . Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion forever in anything that is done under the sun.” Verse 10: “There is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.” Evidence like this can neither be mistaken nor evaded. It is vain f or the immaterialist to claim that it applies to the body in distinction from an immortal soul; for they do not hold that the thoughts (dialogismos, thought, reasoning) but to the to Solomon, that which knows when the man is living, does not know when he is dead. There is no way for the immaterialist to avoid this testimony except to deny that Solomon told the truth.


8.  The Dead Are in the Dust of the Earth.— Job 17:13: “If I wait, the grave is mine house.” In chapter 14:14, he said, “All the days of my appointed the will I wait, till my change come.” The change referred to must therefore be the resurrection, and he describes his condi­tion till that time, in the following language: “I have made my bed in the darkness. I have said to corruption, Thou art my father: to the worm, Thou art my mother, and my sister, . . . when our rest together is in the dust.” Job 17:13-16. The dead are not therefore in heaven or hell, but in the dust. Isa. 26:19: “Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust:  for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall [[142]] cast out the dead.” Is it possible that the phraseology of this text can be misunderstood? It speaks of the living again of dead men, of the arising of dead bodies, and of the earth’s casting out the dead. And the command is addressed to them thus: “Awake and sing.” Who? Ye who are still conscious, basking in the bliss of heaven, and chanting the high praises of God? — No; but, “ye who dwell in dust;” ye who are in your graves.  If the dead are conscious, Isaiah talked nonsense.  If we believe his testimony, we must look into the graves for the dead.


            9.  The Dead have No Remembrance of God.— Ps. 6:5: “For in death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks?” Ps. 115:17:  “The dead praise not the Lord, neither any that go down into silence.” These texts do not say that it is the wicked only who do not remember and praise the Lord; but it applies to all who are “in death.” But who can suppose that the righteous, if they are conscious in death, would not remember God and give him thanks? Good King Hezekiah, when praising the Lord for adding to his days fifteen years, gives his as the reason why he thus rejoiced (Isa. 38:18, 19): “For the grave cannot praise thee, death cannot celebrate thee: they that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth. The living, the living, he shall praise thee, as I do this day: the father to the children shall make known thy truth.” No stronger contrast between the living and the dead could be drawn than this. Modern doctors of divinity have Hezekiah in heaven, praising God. He declared that when he was dead, he could not do this. Whose testimony is the more worthy of credit, that of the inspired king of Israel, or that of uninspired theologians tangled in the meshes of a (7) false theology, in the labyrinth of error and confusion?  If we can believe Hezekiah, and we think we can, the [[143]] righteous dead do not praise their Maker as long as they are in their graves. They are therefore wholly uncon­scious.


10.  The Dead Are Not Ascended to the Heavens.— So Peter testifies respecting the patriarch David (Acts 2: 29, 34, 35): “Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulcher is with us unto this day.  For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, until I make thy foes thy footstool.” We call the special attention of the reader to the whole argument presented by Peter, beginning with verse 24. Peter undertakes to prove from a prophecy recorded in the Psalms, the resurrection of Christ. He says (verse 31): “He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell [hades, the grave], neither his flesh did see corruption.”


And how does he prove that David speaks of Christ, and not of himself? — He proves it from the fact that David’s soul was left in hades, and his flesh did see cor­ruption; and his sepulcher was with them to that day. For David, he says, has not ascended into the heavens. Now if David’s soul did live right on in consciousness, if it was not left in hades, but did ascend into heaven, no man can show that David, in that psalm, did not speak of himself instead of Christ; and then Peter’s argument for the resurrection of Christ would be entirely destroyed. But Peter, especially when speaking as he was on this occasion, under the influence of the Holy Ghost, knew how to reason; and his argument entirely destroys the dogma of the immortality of the soul. Thus the doctrine of the conscious state of the dead is not only without any foundation in the Scriptures themselves, but it directly [[144]] antagonizes some of the most important doctrines of the Bible. David will in due time ascend to heaven, but it will be by a resurrection from the dead. So he himself says (Ps. 17: 15): “I shall be satisfied, when I awake [from the sleep of death] with thy likeness.”


11.  Without a Resurrection, the Dead Are Perished.— This is the conclusion Paul draws in his masterly argu­ment in 1 Corinthians 15, and it applies even to those who have fallen asleep in Christ. Verses 16-18: “For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: and if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.”


As we read this testimony, we pause in utter amazement that any who profess to believe the Bible, should cling with tenacity to the doctrine of the immortality of the soul, and conscious state of the dead, which so di­rectly contradicts it. If the souls of the dead live right on, are they perished? What! Perished? And yet living in a larger sphere? Perished? And yet enjoying the attendant blessings of everlasting life in heaven? Per­ished? And yet at God’s right hand where there is fulness of joy, and pleasures forevermore? Perish amid the ruins of the heathen mythology from which it springs, that theory which thus lifts its dead men on high, contrary to the teachings of the word of God!


Paul speaks of the whole being. As in Adam we die in alive, so in Christ shall we be made alive. Is it conceivable that Paul drops out of sight the real man, the soul which soars away to realms of light, and frames all this argu­ment, and talks thus seriously about the cast-off shell, the body, merely? The idea is utterly preposterous.


After stating that if there is no resurrection, we perish, he assures us, that Christ is risen, and that there is a resurrection [[145]] for all. Then he takes up the resurrection of those who sleep in Christ, and tells us when that resurrec­tion shall be. It is to take place, not by the rising from this mortal coil of an ethereal, immaterial essence when we die, but it is to be at the great day, when the last trump shall shatter this decrepid earth from center to circumference.


The testimony on this point is well summed up by Bishop Law, who speaks as follows:


I proceed to consider what account the Scriptures give of that state to which death reduces us. And this we find represented by sleep; by a negation of all life, thought, or action; by rest, resting-lace, or home, silence, oblivion, darkness, destruction, or corruption.


This representation is abundantly sustained by the scriptures referred to; and by all these the great fact is inscribed in indelible characters over the portals of the dark valley, that our existence is not perpetuated by means of an immortal soul, but that, without a resurrec­tion from the dead, there is no future life. Can we do otherwise, reader, than accept this conclusion?


Chapter X


Objections Answered


Examination of Texts Supposed to Prove the Conscious State of the Dead


1.  Gathered to His People


The pleasing doctrine that man can never die, though unfortunate in its parentage, is very tenacious of its life. In treating this subject in previous chapters, we have found that the record of man’s creation brings to view no immortal element as entering into his being; that the Bible, in its use of the terms “immortal” and “im­mortality,” never employs them to express an attribute inherent in man’s nature; that no description of soul and spirit, and no signification of the original words will sus­tain of these terms; that the soul and spirit, though spoken of in the Bible, in the aggregate, seventeen hundred times, are never once said to be immortal, or never-dying; and that no text in which these words are supposed to be employed in such a manner as to show that they signify an ever-conscious, immortal principle, can possibly be interpreted to sustain such a doctrine. And an abundance of direct testimony has bee introduced to show that the Bible teaches that the dead rest unconscious in the grave till the resurrection.


Yet the dogma of natural immortality very reluctantly yields the ground. To a twentieth proof text, it will [[147]] cling even the more tenaciously, if the preceding nineteen are all swept away. Besides the texts already noticed, there are a few other passages behind which it seeks refuge; and with alacrity we follow it into all its hiding-places, confident that in no passage in all the Bible can it find a shelter, but that into every one which it claims as its own, it has entered not by right of possession, but as an intruder and a usurper, and a short and speedy process of eviction can be Scripturally served upon it in every place. 


            Behind the obituaries of the patriarchs it seeks to shield itself. It is claimed, for instance, that the death of Abraham is recorded in such a manner as to show that his conscious existence did not cease with his earthly life. We might justly insist that believers in natural immor­tality should go farther back, amid take the recorded close of the lives of the antediluvian patriarchs as the basis of their argument. One of these, Enoch, was translated to heaven without seeing death; and all the others, accord­ing to popular belief, went to heaven just as effectually, through death. But how different is their record! Of Enoch it is said, that he ‘‘ was not; for God took him; while of the others it is said, And they “died.’’ Surely these two records do not mean the same thing; and Enoch, whom God took, and who is consequently alive in heaven, must be, judging from the record, in a different condition from those who died.


But to return to the case of Abraham. The record of his death reads: “Then Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years; and was gathered to his people.” On this verse, Landis (p. 130) thus remarks:


What, then, is this gathering? Does it refer to the body or the soul? It cannot refer to the body, for while his body was [[148]] buried in the cave of Machpelah, in Canaan, his fathers were buried afar off; Terah, in Haran, in Mesopotamia, and the rest of his ancestors far off in Chaldea. Of course, then, this gathering relates, not to the body, but to the soul; he was gathered to the assembly of the blessed, and thus entered his habitation.


To show how gratuitous, not to say preposterous, is this conclusion, we raise a query on two points: 1. Does the expression, “gathered to his people,” denote that he went to dwell in conscious intercourse with them? 2. Were his ancestors such righteous persons that they went to heaven when they died?


In answering these queries, the last shall be the first. It is a significant fact that Abraham had to be separated from his kindred and his father’s house, in order that God might make him a special subject of his providence. And in Joshua 24:2 we are plainly told that his ancestors were idolators; for they served other gods. Such being their character death would send them, according to the popular view, to the regions of the damned. At the time, then, of Abraham’s death, they were writhing amid the lurid waves of the lake of fire. And when Abraham was gathered to them, if it was in the sense which the the­ology of our day teaches, he, too, was consigned to the flames of hell! O, to what absurdities will men suffer themselves to be led, blindfold, by a petted theory! God had said to Abram (Gen. 15:15): “And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age.” Was this the consoling promise that he should go to hell in peace in a gold old age?  And is the record of his death an assertion that he has his place among the damned? — Yes; if the immaterialist theory be correct. Children of Abraham, arise! And with one mouth vindi­cate your “righteous father” from the foul aspersion. Renounce a theory as far from heaven-born, which com­pels you thus to look upon the “father of the faithful.” [149]


Does, then, the expression, “gathered to his people,” mean his personal, conscious intercourse with them? If man has an immortal soul which lives in death, it must mean that; and if it does Abraham is in hell. There is no way of avoiding this conclusion, except by repudiating the idea that man has such a soul, and denying his conscious happiness or misery while in a state of death.


But how, then, could he be gathered to his people? Answer: He could go into the grave into which they had gone, into the state of death in which they were held.  Jacob said, when mourning for Joseph, whom he sup­posed dead: “I will go down into the grave, unto my son mourning,” — not that he expected to go into the same locality, or the same grave; for he did not suppose that his son, being as he then thought devoured by wild beasts, was in the grave literally at all; but by the grave he evidently meant a “state of death;” and as his son had been violently deprived of life, he too would go down mourning into the state of death; and this he calls going unto his son. In Acts 13:36 Paul, speaking of David, says that he “was laid unto his fathers.” This, all must acknowledge to be the exact equivalent of being “gathered to his people;” then the apostle immediately adds, “and saw corruption.” That which was laid unto his fathers, or was gathered to his people, saw corruption. Men may labor, if they choose, to refer it to the immortal soul; but in that way they do it a very doubtful favor; for the suc­cess of their argument is the destruction of their theory; and the soul is shown to be something which is perishable and corruptible in its nature.


The peaceful death of our father Abraham furnishes no proof of an immortal soul in man, and from his hallowed resting-place no arguments for such a dogma can be drawn.  [[150]]


Another text may properly be considered in this con­nection: Ps. 90:10: “The days of our years are three-score years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.”


On the authority of this text it is claimed that some­thing flies away when our strength is cut off in death; that that “something” is the immortal soul, and that it flies away, it is therefore conscious; and if it thus sur­vives the stroke of death it is therefore immortal: rather a numerous array of conclusions, and rather weighty ones, to be drawn from the three words, “we fly away.” Let us look at David’s argument. The reason given why our strength is labor and sorrow, is because it is soon cut off, and we fly away. If, now, our flying away means the going away of a conscious soul, into heaven, for instance, if we are righteous, his argument stands thus: “Yet is their strength labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we go to heaven.” Singular reasoning, this! But his argument is all consistent if by flying away he means that we go into the grave, where Solomon assures us that there is no work, wisdom, knowledge, nor device. Let us not abuse the psalmist’s reasoning.


The text plainly tells us what flies away; namely, we fly away. “We” is a personal pronoun, and includes the whole person.  According to Buck’s assertion that man is composer of two essential elements, soul and body, the man is not complete without them both; and the pronoun we could not be used to express either of them separately. The text does not intimate any separation; it does not say that the soul flies away, or that tie spirit flies away; but we, in our undivided personality, fly away. To what place does the body, an essential part of the “we,” fly?--To the grave, and there only.  [[151]]


This is confirmed by Eccl. 9:3: “The heart of the eons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live, and after that they go to the dead.” Had this text read, “And after that they go away,” or “fly away,” it would have been exactly parallel to Ps. 90: 10; for no essential difference can be claimed between going and flying. But here it is expressly told where we go:  We go to the grave. What is omitted in Ps. 90: 10 is here supplied.


We may also add that the Hebrew word gooph, ren­dered “fly away,” signifies, according to Gesenius, “First, to cover, spec. with wings, feathers, as birds cover their young; secondly, to fly, properly of birds; thirdly, to cover over, wrap in darkness; fourthly, to with darkness, to faint, to faint away.”


The idea is plainly this: Though our days be four­score years, yet is their strength labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we sink away, go to the grave, and are wrapped in the darkness of death. Viewed thus, David’s language is consistent, and his reasoning harmo­nious; but his language we pervert, and his logic we destroy, the moment we try to make his words prove the separation from the body of a conscious soul at death.


2.  Samuel and the Woman of Endor


In all arguments for the continued life and conscious­ness of the dead, 1 Sam. 28:3-20 usually holds a con­spicuous place. In examining this scripture, we will look at (1) the narrative, (2) the claim that is based upon it, (3) the character of the actors in the incident, (4) the facts to be considered, and (5) the conclusions to be drawn.


1. The Narrative.— Samuel was a prophet of God in Israel from 1112-1058 before Christ. Saul was king of Israel from 1096-1056 before Christ. Samuel anointed [[152]] Saul to his office as king, and from time to time commu­nicated instruction to him from the Lord, as his counselor and adviser. At the time when the incident recorded in I Sam. 28:3-20 occurred, Samuel was dead. There was war between the Israelites and the Philistines. The Philistines pressed hard upon Israel. They gathered their forces together in Shunem, and Saul, assembling all Israel to oppose them, pitched in Gilboa. Dismayed at the mighty array of the Philistine host, Saul’s heart sunk within him, and he was sore afraid. In anxiety and trembling, he cast about him for help. He sought the Lord, but the Lord answered him not. No dream was given; no token by Urim appeared; no prophet had a word from the mouth of the Lord to meet the circum­stances of his deep distress. He thought of his old-time friend, the prophet Samuel, to whom he had so often gone, and who had so often directed his steps in times of doubt and danger. But Samuel was dead, and how could he consult him?


There was in the land a class of people who claimed to have power to communicate with the dead. This work, called necromancy (a “pretended communication with the dead.” — Webster), had been strictly forbidden by the Lord. Lev. 19:31; 20:27; Deut. 18:9-12, etc. And Saul, in obedience to the command of the Lord (Ex. 22:18), had cut off, so far as they could be found, all persons of that class out of the land. Yet a few still practised, with caution and secrecy, their ghostly orgies.


Whether Saul had ever believed in the reality of this work or not, we are not informed. But it is certain that in his present extremity, his belief gave way to the pre­tensions of these necromancers, and the evil thought took possession of him that he could consult in this way with [[153]] the prophet Samuel. So he inquired for a woman that had a familiar’ spirit, and was told of one at Endor.


Disguising himself, in order that the woman, knowing Saul’s decree against witchcraft, might not fear to com­municate for him, and going secretly by night, he sought the woman. The woman being assured that no evil was intended and no punishment should happen to her, asked whom she should bring up. Saul answered, “Bring me up Samuel.” And when she saw the object which her conjuration had evoked, she cried out with fear, and said to her royal guest, “Why hast thou deceived me? For thou art Saul.’’ He told her to fear not, but tell what she saw. She answered, “An old man, . . . covered with a mantle.” “And Saul perceived,” says the nar­rative, “ that it was Samuel.”


Samuel asked Saul why he had disquieted him to bring him up: and Saul answered, that he might make known what he should do; for the Philistines made war upon him, and God was departed from him, and he was sore distressed. Samuel then asked him why he came to him, since God had departed from him, and had become his enemy. Then he proceeded to tell him that the king­dom was rent out of his hand because he had failed to obey the Lord; that the Philistines should triumph in the battle; and that on the morrow he and his sons should die. This was the finishing stroke to the already break­ing heart of Saul; and, utterly overwhelmed with his calamities, he fell senseless to the earth.


Such are the essential facts brought to view in the narrative. Let us now look at what is claimed from them.


2. The Claim.— This can be expressed in few words. It is claimed that Samuel actually appeared on this occasion, and that therefore the dead are conscious, or that there is a spirit in man that lives on in consciousness [[154]] when the body dies; and, therefore again, the soul is immortal.


The validity of this claim rests very much on the question whether the transaction here recorded was wrought by the power of God or by the Devil. If by God, then the representation was a true one; if by the Devil, we may look for deception; for he commenced his work I by becoming the father of all the lies in the world, and / continues it by assiduously circulating them. We will therefore consider —


3.  The Character of the Actors.— These actors were, first, the woman who had a familiar spirit; and familiar spirits are spirits of devils. Compare Num. 25:1-3; Ps. 106:28; and 1 Cor. 10:20. This work of dealing with familiar spirits, God had declared to be an “abomination” to him; he had expressly forbidden it, and sentenced to death all who practised it.


The other chief actor in this scene was Saul. And what was his condition at this time? — He had so long hived in violation of divine instruction that God had de­parted from him, and answered him no more by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets, which were the ways he had himself appointed to communicate with his people. Query: Would the Lord refuse to communicate with him in ways of his own appointing, and then come to him by the means the use of which he had expressly forbidden? We see, then, that neither of the actors in this scene were persons through whom, or for whom, we should expect the Lord to work. We will therefore notice further—


4.  The Facts to be Considered.

a. The wonders wrought on this occasion were all accomplished by the familiar spirit with whom this woman consorted. There were two things for this spirit to do:

(1)  Either to bring up in reality the dead person that was [[155]] called for, or (2) to counterfeit the dead man so perfectly that those who were conversing with the familiar spirit would believe that they were conversing with their dead friend.


b. That it was not Samuel, but the familiar spirit per­sonating Samuel, that appeared, is evident from the fact that this supposed Samuel, before holding any communi­cation with Saul, put the woman on her guard, telling her that her guest was none other than Saul himself. This is shown by the fact that the woman, as soon as she saw him, cried out with fear, not because Samuel really ap­peared, contrary to her expectations, as some have sup­posed; for she did not cry out, “Samuel has come, indeed!” but because of what the appearance told her; for she immediately turned to Saul, and said, “Why hast thou deceived me? For thou art Saul.” This would not be the work of the real Samuel, to put the woman on her guard, to aid her in her unholy work of incantation.


c. According to the claim based on this transaction, it was Samuel’s immortal soul that appeared on this occa­sion; but its appearance was, according to the description of the woman, an old man covered with a mantle. Do immortal souls go about in this way, in the form of old men covered with mantles? This renders it still more evident that it was the familiar spirit, imitating Samuel as he appeared while here upon earth.


d. Saul did not see Samuel at all. But does it not read that “Saul perceived that it was Samuel”? — Yes; but perceived how? — Not by the sight of the eyes, but from the woman’s description. The words “saw,” as applied to the woman, verse 12, and “perceive,” as applied to Saul, verse 14, are from two words in the Hebrew. The first is räah, which signifies “to look, see, view; “ the second is from yäda which [[156]] means “to become informed, to be made aware of.” The Septuagint maintains the same distinction. The woman actually saw the appearance before her; and here the word eido is used, which signifies, according to Liddell and Scott, “to see, behold, look at;” but when it is said that Saul ‘‘perceived,” the word is gig­nosko, which signifies, according to the same authority, “to know, perceive, gain knowledge of, observe, mark, be aware of, see into, understand,” by an operation of the mind. In harmony with this view, is Saul’s language to the woman: “What sawest thou?” and “What form is he of?” If any should say that Saul might have seen all that the woman saw if he had not been prostrate upon the ground, it is sufficient to reply that it was not till after he asked these questions that he “stooped with his face to the ground, and bowed himself.” Verse 14. If Samuel had actually been present, Saul could have seen him as well as the woman. How completely had Saul now fallen into the snare! He was willing this abandoned woman should be for him both eyes and ears in matters of the greatest moment.


e. The appearance which the woman saw, came up out of the earth. Was that Samuel’s immortal soul? Are these souls in the earth? We supposed —that is, are we not told?—that they are in the heavenly glories of the world above.


f. Is it said that, as the form came up out of the earth, Samuel had a resurrection? Then the conscious-soul theory is abandoned. But if this was a resurrection of Samuel, how could he come up out of the ground here at Endor, near the sea of Galilee, when he was buried in distant Ramah (verse 3), near Jerusalem? And if the old man was raised from the dead, what became of him? Did he go through the pains of a second dissolution, and [[157]] enter the grave again?  If so, well might he complain to Saul for disquieting him to bring him up!


g.  This pretended Samuel told Saul that he and his sons would be with him the following day. Verse 19. If he was an immortal spirit in glory, how could Saul, whom God had rejected because of his sins, go to be with him there?


h.  Another sacred writer mentions this event in Saul’s life, and assigns it as one of the two reasons why he was given up by the Lord to die. 1 Chron. 10:13.


5.  Conclusions. — What conclusions are inevitable from the foregoing facts? It is first of all evident that Samuel was not present on that occasion, either as an immortal spirit from the third heaven, or as one resurrected from the dead. For—


a.  It is not consistent to suppose that God, having refused to answer Saul’s petitions when presented in any legitimate way, would have respect to them when pre­sented through this forbidden channel.


b.  It is not consistent to suppose that an immortal soul from glory would come up out of the earth, as did the form which the woman evoked with her forbidden incantations.


c.  It is inconsistent to suppose that Samuel was resurrected bodily here in Endor, when he was buried in Ramah.


d.  If he was raised, it must have been by God or the Devil. But the Devil cannot raise the dead, and it is evident that God would not, at least in answer to these agencies, the use of which he had forbidden under pain of death. God would not thus raise up his servant to talk with Saul on the Devil’s own round.


e.  It is incredible that such a man as Samuel, who held witchcraft as such a heinous sin (1 Sam. 15:23), [[158]] should first hold friendly converse with this abandoned woman in the midst of her incantations, and put her on her guard, before delivering his message to Saul.


It is the boldest assumption to suppose that any one, through this agency of the Devil, would have power to summon at will any immortal soul from glory, or to raise any one from the dead, or that this woman, through her diabolical incantations, would have power to behold the holy Samuel, while Saul could see nothing.


But is it not said that the woman saw Samuel? — Yes; and here is the only seeming difficulty in all the narrative. We find these four expressions: “The woman saw Sam­uel,” verse 12; “and Samuel said to Saul,” verse 15; “then said Samuel,” verse 16; and, “because of the words of Samuel,” verse 20. And how could it be so written, it is asked, if Samuel was not there, and the woman did not see him, and he did not say the things here recorded?


Answer:  This is easily explained by a very common law of language. Consider the circumstances. The woman stood ready to bring up any one that might be called for. She believed, of course, that the one called for came, just as mediums nowadays believe the forms they see are those of their departed friends. Samuel was called for, and this mantled old man appeared. The    woman supposed it was Samuel; and Saul supposed it was Samuel; and then, according to the general law of the language of appearance, the narrative proceeds according to their supposition. When it says Samuel, it only means that form that appeared, which they supposed to be Samuel.


Secondly, the conclusion is apparent that this was only a manifestation of ancient necromancy, sorcery, witchcraft, or Spiritualism; a wholesale deception palmed off [[159]] upon his dupes by the Devil in disguise. Between the ancient and modern manifestations there is this difference:  Then the Devil had to pretend to bring up the dead from the ground; for the people then believed that the dead were in the lower regions of the earth; now he pretends to bring them down from the upper spheres; for the pre­vailing belief now is that those regions are populous with the conscious spirits of the departed.


Let no one then appeal to the workings of the witch of Endor to prove the immortality of the soul, unless he is prepared to claim openly that the Bible is a fiction; that ancient necromancy was a divine practise; and that mod­ern Spiritualism, with all its blasphemies and corruptions, is the only reliable oracle of truth and purity.


3.  The Transfiguration.  Matt. 17:1-9


When our Lord was, transfigured on a high mountain of Galilee, before Peter and James and John, there appeared with him two other glorified personages, talking with him. These, the inspired narrator says, were Moses and Elias, and such the disciples at once knew them to be. Luke 9:30-33.


With what pleasure does the immaterialist meet with an account of any manifestation or action on the part of those who have long been dead; because it has so spe­cious an appearance of sustaining his views, or at least of furnishing him ground for an argument; for, says he, the person was dead, and this manifestation was by his conscious spirit, or immortal soul. 


So far as the case of Elias is concerned, as he appeared at the transfiguration, it affords that theory no benefit; for he, having been translated, never saw death, and so could appear in the body with which he ascended.[22] This is conceded by all; and for this reason his case is never [[160]] put in as a witness on this question, except by those who are so unfamiliar with the record as to suppose that he, too, once died, and here appeared as a disembodied spirit.


We have in the Bible a plain account of his death and burial; yet here he appeared on the mount, alive, active, and con­scious; for he talked with Christ. And so, with an air of triumph, perhaps sincere, Landis asks (p. 181), “What then have our opponents to say to this argument? For they must meet it, or renounce their theory.”


Were we Sadducees, denying the resurrection, and any future life beyond the grave, this case would lie as an insuperable barrier across our pathway; but so long as the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead is taught in the Bible, the incident is not necessarily against those who deny the existence of any such thing as a conscious, disembodied human spirit, since the presence of Moses on the mount can be accounted for on the hypothesis that he had been raised from the dead.


This scene was either a representation, made to pass before the minds of the disciples, or it was a reality as it appeared. The view that it was merely a representation, receives some countenance from the fact that it is called a vision. “Tell the vision to no man,” said Christ; and, while the word “vision” is sometimes applied to real appearances, as in Luke 24:34, it also is taken represent things that do not yet exist, as in John’ s vision of the new heavens and new earth. Again: Luke says that they (Moses and Elias) “appeared in glory.” Our Lord himself has not yet attained unto the full measure of glory that is to result to him from his work of redemption (1 Peter 1:11; Isa. 53:11); and it may well be doubted, likewise, if any of his followers have reached their full state of glory. If, then, the expression quoted [[161]] from Luke refers to the future perfected glory of the redeemed, we have another evidence that this was only a representation, like John’s visions of future scenes of bliss, and not then a reality. But, if this was only a vision, no argument can be drawn from it for the inter­mediate existence of the soul; for, in that case, Moses and Elias need not have been even immaterially present.


But let us consider it a reality. Then the presence of Moses can be accounted for by supposing his resurrection from the dead. Against this hypothesis our opponents have nothing to offer but their own assertions; and they seem determined to make up in the amount of this commodity what it lacks in conclusiveness. Thus Landis says: “Moses had died and was buried; and as his body had never been raised from the dead, he of course ap­peared as a disembodied spirit.” And Luther Lee says:  “So far as Moses is concerned, the argument is conclu­sive.” But against these authorities, we bring forth another on the other side, as weighty, at least, as both of them together. Dr. Adam Clarke says on the same pas­sage, “The body of Moses was probably raised again, as a pledge of the resurrection.”


Before presenting an argument to show that Moses was raised, let us look at one consideration which proves beyond a peradventure that what appeared on the mount was not Moses’ disembodied spirit. It will be admitted by all that the transfiguration was for the purpose of pre­senting in miniature the future kingdom of God, the king­dom of glory. Thus Andrews says:


The Lord was pleased to show certain of the apostles, by a momentary transfiguration of his person, the supernatural character of his kingdom, and into what new and higher conditions of being both he and they must be brought ere it would come. . . . They saw in the ineffable glory of his person, and the brightness around them, a foreshadowing of the kingdom of God as it should come [[162]] with power; and were for a moment “eye-witnesses of his majesty.” 2 Peter 1:16.[23]


Who are to be the subjects in this heavenly kingdom?  Answer:  The righteous living who are translated at Christ’s coming, and the righteous dead who are raised from their graves at that time. Will there be any disembodied spirits there? — None; for the accepted theory on this question of theology is that at the resurrection, which precedes the setting up of this kingdom, the disembodied spirits of the human family again take possession of their reanimated bodies. Of this kingdom, the transfiguration was a representation. There was Christ, the glorified king; there was Elias, the representative of those who are to be translated; and there was Moses; but if it was simply his disembodied soul, then was a representation of something that will not exist in all; and the representation was an imperfect one, and so an utter failure.  But if Moses was there in a body raised from the dead, then the scene was harmonious and con­sistent, he representing, as Dr. Clarke supposes, the righteous dead who are to be raised, and Elias, the living who are to be translated.


The question now turns upon the resurrection of Moses from the dead; and if Scriptural evidence can be shown that Moses was thus raised, this passage immediately changes sides in this controversy. That Moses was raised we think is to be necessarily inferred from Jude 9, which reads: “Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the Devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.”[24] It will be noticed that this dispute was about the body of Moses. Michael (Christ, John [[163]] 5:27-29; 1 Thess. 4:16) and the Devil each claimed, it appears, the right to do something with his body.


Some have endeavored to reconcile Jude’s testimony with the idea of the non-resurrection of Moses, by claim­ing that the Devil wished to make known to the children of Israel the place of Moses’ burial, in order to lead them into idolatry; and that the contention between him and Michael had reference to this. Such a conjecture, how­ever, cannot be entertained, as in this case the contention would have been about the grave of Moses, rather than about his body.


But this dispute did have reference solely to the body of Moses. Then we inquire further what dispute the Devil could have had on this point; for what has he to do with the bodies of men? He is said to have the power of death; hence the grave is his dominion, and whoever enters there he claims as his lawful prey. On the other hand, Christ is the Life-giver, whose prerogative it is to bring men out from under the power of death. The most natural conclusion, therefore, is that the dispute took place on this very point; that it had reference to the bringing back to life of that dead body, which the Devil would naturally wish to keep, and claim the right to keep, in his own power. But Christ rebuked the adversary, and rescued his victim from his grasp. This is the nec­essary inference from this passage, and, as such, is entitled to weight in this argument.


The chief objection to this view is this: If Moses was raised so many years before the resurrection of Christ, how can Christ be called the “first-fruits of them that slept,” as in 1 Cor. 15:20, 23? How can he be said to be the “first that should rise from the dead,” as in Acts 26:23? Or be called the “first begotten,” and “first-begotten of the dead,” as in Heb. 1:6 and Rev. 1:5? [[164]] Or the “first-born among many brethren,” the “first-born of every creature,” and the “first-born from the dead,” as in Rom. 8:29 and Col. 1:15, 18?


In answering these queries, we first call attention to an important fact: Several individuals, of whom we have explicit account, were raised to life before the resurrection of Christ. The following cases may be cited: (1) the widow’s son (1 Kings 17:22); (2) the son of the Shumanite (2 Kings 4:35); (3) the unknown man raised to life by touching the bones of Elisha (2 Kings 13:21); (4) the son of the widow of Nain (Luke 7:14); (5) the rulers’ daughter (Luke 8:50, 55); and (6) Lazarus.


These instances cannot be disposed of by making a distinction between a resurrection to mortality and one to immortality; for where does the Bible make any such distinction in these cases, or in the resurrection per se? Or where does it give even an intimation of anything of the kind? Christ, in sending word to John of the results of his work, told the disciples to tell him, among other things, that the dead were raised up. And when the wicked are restored to life (which will be to mortal life only), it is called a resurrection, no less so than the restoration of the righteous to eternal life. (See John 5:29; Acts 24:15; Rev. 20:5.) Therefore in the matter of being raised from the dead, the Bible recog­nizes no distinction in the act itself on account of the different conditions to which the different classes are raised. Hence the cases referred to above, were “resur­rections from the dead” just as really as though they had been raised to immortality; and the distinction which some attempt to make, is thus shown to be wholly gra­tuitous, and is excluded from the controversy.


The objection now lies just as much against the cases of those of whose resurrection we have the most explicit [[165]] account, as against that of Moses; and the question next to be met is, Can those passages which declare that a number of the dead were raised before the resurrection of Christ, and those which speak of Christ as the first to be raised, be shown to be free from contradiction?


It will be noticed that the objection, so far as the words ‘‘first-fruits,” ‘‘first-begotten,’’ and “first-born’’ are concerned, rests wholly upon the supposition that these words denote exclusively priority in time. It in­stantly vanishes when the fact is presented that these words are not confined to this meaning.


Christ is called the “first-fruits “ in 1 Cor. 15:20, 23, solely in reference to his being the antitype of the wave-sheaf, and in contrast with the great harvest that will take place at his second coming. This word is used in different senses, as we learn from James 1:18 and Rev. 14:4, where it cannot have reference to antece­dence in time. This is all that need be said on this word.


The word rendered “first-begotten” and “first-born” is prototokos. This word is defined by Robin­son thus: ‘‘Properly the first-born of father or mother;” and, as the first-born was entitled to certain prerogatives and privileges over the rest of the family, the word takes another meaning; namely, “first-born, the same as the first, the chief, one highly distinguished and pre-eminent. So of Christ, as the beloved Son of God. Col. 1:15.” Greenfield’s definition is similar. This word is used in the same sense in the Septuagint. In Ex. 4:22 Israel is called the first-born; and in Jer. 31:9 Ephraim is called the first-born; but, in point of time, Esau was before Israel, and Manasseh before Ephraim. Their being called the first-born must therefore be owing to the rank, dignity, and station, to which they had attained. [[166]]


And hence the conclusion is not without foundation that these words, when applied to Christ, denote the pre­eminent rank and station which he holds in the great work, rather than the order of time in which his resurrec­tion occurred, a point to which no importance whatever can be attached. All hinges upon Christ, and all is accomplished by his power, and by virtue of his resur­rection. He stands out foremost and pre-eminent in all these displays, whether they take place before or after his advent to this world.


There is, however, in Acts 26:23, another and a dif­ferent expression, and one which presents, apparently, the greatest difficulty of any. The verse reads: “That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should show light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.” As it stands in our com­mon version, it is difficult to reconcile this statement with the fact that a number were raised from the dead previous to the resurrection of Christ, as already noticed; and we are led to wonder why Paul, knowing of all these cases, should make such a statement. But, if we mistake not, the original presents a different idea. In Greenfield’s Testament, the text stands thus:  Ei pathetos o Xristos, ei protos ez anastaseos nekron phos mellei kataggellein to lao kai tois ethnesi.”


We call the attention of those familiar with the Greek, to this passage, and submit that it can be properly ren­dered as follows: “That Christ was to suffer, [and] that first from [or by] the resurrection of the dead he was to show light to the people and to the Gentiles.”


Bloomfield, in his note on this verse, says that the words “may be rendered either ‘after the resurrection from the dead,’ or ‘by the resurrection;’ but the latter is [[167]] preferable.” And Wakefield translates it thus: “That the Christ would suffer death, and would be the first to proclaim salvation to this people and to the Gentiles by a resurrection from the dead.”


This is in accordance with what the same apostle declared to Timothy (2 Tim. 1:10), that Christ brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. And viewed in this light, the text is freed from all difficulty. It simply teaches that Christ would be the first to demon­strate before the people, by a resurrection from the dead, future life and immortality for the redeemed.


The resurrection of Lazarus, and other similar cases, though they might show that the power of death could be so far broken as to give us a new lease of mortal life, shed no light on our existence beyond this mortal state. And the resurrection of Moses, supposing him to have been raised, was not a public demonstration designed to show the people the path to a future life. So far as we have any account, no one knew that he had been raised till he appeared upon the mount of transfiguration.  Christ was the first one to show to the world, by his rising from the dead, the great light of life and immor­tality beyond the grave.


Thus the last seeming objection against the idea that Moses had a resurrection, is taken away; while in its favor we have his appearance on the mount, and the language of Jude, which can be explained on no other ground.


Let us then take that view which a consistent regard for Scriptural harmony demands, though another sup­posed strong pillar on which rests the dogma of the immortality of the soul, goes down before it into the very dust.  [[168]]


We may add, as a conclusion to this section, that Dr. Kendrick, the editor of Olshausen’s Commentary, in a note in reference to the transfiguration, takes the posi­tion that the words of the Saviour in Matt. 16:28, “the Son of Man coming in his kingdom,” refer to the trans­figuration, which is immediately introduced, and hence that “the transfiguration is thus regarded as a type of the Saviour’s future glory in his kingdom.”


And Olshausen himself takes the narrative to be lit­eral, and explains it on the hypothesis of the resurrection of Moses. He says: 


For if we assume the reality of the resurrection of the body, and its glorification — truths which assuredly belong to the system of Christian doctrine — the whole occurrence presents no essential difficulties. The appearance of Moses and Elias, which is usually held to be the most unintelligible point in it, is easily conceived of as possible, if we admit their bodily glorification.


4.  The God of the Living


Christ quotes to the Jews a declaration from the Old Testament that God is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and then adds, “God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” From this it is argued that therefore Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are living; but they are living, of course, as immaterial, disembodied, immor­tal spirits; for their bodies are in the grave.


The occasion on which these words were spoken is described in Matt. 22:23-32. To understand the words of Christ, we must understand fully the point at issue, and what his words were designed to prove; and to do this, we must look carefully at the whole narrative:


The same day came to him the Sadducees, which say that there is no resurrection, and asked him, saying, Mas­ter, Moses said, If a man die, having no children, his [[169]] brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. Now there were with us seven brethren: and the first, when he had married a wife, deceased, and, having no issue, left his wife unto his brother: likewise the second also, and the third, unto the seventh. And last of all the woman died also.  Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven? For they all had her. Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God.  For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.  But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.


What, then, was the point at issue between Christ and the Sadducees? Verse 23: “The same day came to him the Sadducees, which say that there is no resurrection and asked him,” etc. The Sadducees professed to believe the writings of Moses, but denied the resurrection. Christ also believed the writings of Moses, but taught the resur­rection. Here, then, was a fair issue between them. They hear him teaching the resurrection; and to object their faith to his, they refer to the law of Moses concern­ing marriage, and then state either an actual occurrence, or at least one which was possible, which would answer their purpose just as well; namely, that seven brothers, one after another, according to the instruction of Moses to which they refer, had all been the husbands of one woman, and all died. Now arises a problem which they no doubt thought would completely overthrow the doctrine of a resurrection which Christ taught; namely, how will [[170]] this matter be arranged in the resurrection, when all the parties are made alive again together? Whose wife shall she be then?


Let it be noticed that the controversy between Christ and the Sadducees had no respect whatever to an inter­mediate state nor does their query or Christ’s answer have any reference to such a state. They do not inquire whose wife she is now, or which of the men’s immortal souls claims her immortal soul in the spirit world; but, Whose wife shall she be in the ­future event)?  Christ tells them that they err, “not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God.” And then, to defend himself and condemn them out of their own mouths, he proceeds to prove out of the writings of Moses —What? A conscious, intermediate state? — No; but the resurrec­tion of the dead. “But as touching the resurrection of the dead,” says he (as “touching the dead, that they rise says Mark; and ‘‘that the dead are raised,” says Luke), “have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.”


Let it now be shown that this quotation did prove the resurrection, and the argument on this passage is closed. That Moses, by this language, did teach the resurrection of the dead, is easily evident. Thus, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were dead; but God is not the God of the dead (or those who are irrecoverably and eternally dead, as the Sadducees believed them to be), but he is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. What therefore, shall we logically and Scripturally conclude from this fact? —Why, simply that they shall live again, or have a resurrection from the dead.  In this view of the subject, Christ [[171]] reasoned well, proved the point he aimed to prove, con­founded the Sadducees, and gained the applause of the Pharisees, who believed in the resurrection.


But grant for a moment that the language means what is popularly claimed for it; namely, that all the dead are alive, as disembodied, conscious spirits in the spirit world, and what becomes of Christ’s reputation as a reasoner, and a teacher of wisdom sent from God?  He set out to prove the resurrection; but when he closes his argument, lo, mirabile dictu! He has proved that all the dead are now alive, and that therefore there will never be any resurrection, because in this case there would be no need of any, and that the Sadducees have a good point in their illustration. He neither meets the query of the Saddu­cees, nor defends himself, but quite the reverse. Believe that our Lord would reason thus, ye who can!


If any should admit that a resurrection is proved by the language, but claim from it that such resurrection takes place at death— a theory not uncommon at the present time— we reply that they thereby abandon the conscious-state theory, and affirm the existence of those who have died, on another ground, viz., a resurrection. But, further, this is equally foreign to what Christ set out to prove; for he had reference to an event which was then future to the seven brethren and the woman that died. They asked him, saying, “In the resurrection, therefore, when they shall rise, whose wife shall she be of them “And Jesus answered and said. ‘‘ When they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven.” Mark 12:23-25. Again, in Luke’s account, Jesus says, “But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage.” Luke 20:35.  [[172]]  Thus we see that a future event is everywhere referred to; and if he in reality proved that an event had already taken place, which he designed to show would take place in the future, it speaks no better for his reasoning or his wisdom than the former supposition.


Why God calls himself the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, though they are yet dead, we learn from Heb. 11: 16. It is not because they now alive, but because in God’s purpose, who speaks of things that are not as though they were (Rom. 4: 17), they are to live, and “he hath prepared for them a city.” Wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for he hath prepared for them a city, into possession of which they will of course come in the future.


In view of these facts, our friends should be careful lest they expose themselves to the rebuke Christ gave to the Sadducees: “Ye do err, not knowing the Scrip­tures;” for this instance, like all others, when properly understood, so far from sustaining their position, becomes an irrefragable evidence of the resurrection of the dead, and a future life, and for that very reason destroys the argument for consciousness in death.


5.  The Rich Man and Lazarus


The hoary fable that every man has in his own na­ture an immaterial, ever-conscious, never-dying principle, vaulting from the gloomy regions of heathen mythology over into the precincts of Christianity, and claiming the positive authority of Christ and his apostles, instead of the uncertain speculations of Socrates and Plato, conceives that it finds a secure intrenchment in Luke 16:19-31, or the record concerning the rich man and Lazarus. Into this record, as into the strongest of strongholds, it enters with every demonstration of confidence; and from its [[173]] supposed impregnable walls, it hurls mockery and defiance against all opposing views, as the infatuated subjects of Belshazzar defied the soldiers of Cyrus from the walls of Babylon.


We venture to approach, at least to reconnoiter. We venture further, from the record itself, even to lay siege to it, and dig a trench about it, which, if we mistake not, will soon effectually reduce it and all the arguments for immortality it is supposed to contain.


The first fact to which we call the attention of the reader, is that Christ, as the result of this narrative, or parable, or whatever it may be, refers us to Moses and the prophets for light and information respecting the place and condition of the dead. In the record, the rich man is represented as requesting that Lazarus might be sent to his brethren on earth, lest they should come into the same place of torment. How would he prevent them? — By carrying back to them information respecting the state that follows this life; by telling how it fared with the covetous rich man who had enjoyed his good things in this life, and inducing them to live such a life here as to avoid the condition into which he had fallen.


And what was Abraham’s answer — “They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. . . . If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead.” Verses 29—31.     That is to say, Moses and the prophets had given them just as positive information respecting the condition into which man passes from this life, as could be given them were it possible for any one to retrace his steps through the portals of the grave, and rise from the dead.


The significance of this declaration should not be over­looked. It throws us right back upon the records of Moses and the prophets for information upon that subject [[174]] respecting which the incident here related is claimed to be full and sufficient testimony.


We therefore inquire what Moses and the prophets have taught us respecting the place where the scene here depicted is represented to have taken place. What place was this? Answer: hades; for this is the word from which “hell” is translated in verse 23. In hell, hades, the rich man lifted up his eyes, and saw Abraham and Lazarus afar off, though still within sight and speaking distance. The New Testament was written in Greek, while Moses and the prophets wrote in Hebrew. Sheol is the Hebrew word answering to the Greek hades. These are the equivalent terms in the two languages. All that a Hebrew writer meant by sheol, a Greek writer meant by hades, and vice versa. The question, then, is simply this: What have Moses and the prophets taught us respecting sheol, and the condition of those­ who enter therein?


            The testimony respecting sheol has already been pre­sented. We have found it to be the receptacle of all the dead, righteous and wicked. It takes in the whole per­son, and will hold dominion till the last day. It is located in the lower parts of the earth, and is a place of silence, darkness, and corruption. There the dead sleep, are unconscious, praise not the Lord, have no knowledge, exercise no emotions of love or hate. (See pp. 138-146.)


Such are the great facts concerning sheol, or hades, revealed to us in the books of “Moses and the prophets.” Their statements are literal, plain, explicit, and unequivocal. In opposition to all these, can it be main­tained that in sheol and hades there is consciousness, wis­dom, device, knowledge, happiness, and misery, as is popularly claimed on the authority of this record about the rich man and Lazarus? If not, and if sheol is such [[175]] a place of silence, darkness, inactivity, and unconscious­ness as they declare, can the use of such language as is employed respecting the rich man and Lazarus in this very place, be accounted for?


These considerations leave us with the problem on our hands whether it were better to try to overthrow all that Moses and the prophets have written respecting sheol and the condition of those who enter therein, as we should be obliged to do, if we try to sustain the common view of the rich man and Lazarus; or shall an effort be made to account for the use of the language used in that narrative, in harmony with what Moses and the prophets have said respecting that place?


In the first place, we cannot set aside what Moses and the prophets have written; for Christ, in the very case under consideration, endorses them, and refers us to them for instruction. How, then, can we account for the fact that the rich man is represented as conscious, intelligent, and active, in hades, when Moses and the prophets have taught us that hades is a place of darkness and silence, without knowledge, wisdom, or device? If the record of the rich man and Lazarus is a parable, the use of such language is at once accounted for; for if it is a parable, the language is allegorical; and in allegory, life and action are often attributed to inanimate objects, for the sake of enforcing or illustrating some particular truth.


Some notable instances of this style of writing are furnished us in the Old Testament. In Judges 9:7-15 the trees are represented as going forth to anoint a king over them; and they appealed to the olive-tree and to the fig-tree and to the vine, and received answers from them in which they declined to leave their stations of usefulness to be promoted over them. Finally, they appealed to the bramble; and the bramble accepted the trust. Now this [[176]] representation was not designed to teach that trees literally ordain civil government, walk about, and converse together; but it was to illustrate the folly of the men of Shechem in electing Abimelech king. Again: in 2 Kings 14:9, we read that the king of Israel sent to the king of Judah, saying, “The thistle that was in Lebanon sent to the cedar that was in Lebanon, saying, Give thy daughter to my son to wife.” This is not to teach that thistles and cedars have sons and daughters who unite in marriage, but to illustrate the contempt which the king of Israel felt for the proposition which the king of Judah made to him.


Landis (p. 188) claims that it makes no difference whether the case of the rich man and Lazarus is a parable or not since a parable should not be so worded as to con­vey a wrong impression to the mind, which this would do if the soul is not conscious in death. We reply, It makes all the difference in the world; for if it is a parable, the life and action attributed to the inanimate inhabitants of hades, is not to teach anything respecting their real con­dition, any more than the life and action attributed to the trees and brambles in the cases referred to, is designed to teach what their condition is; but this intelligence and action are attributed to these inanimate objects, to illustrate some great truth which the speaker wished to en­force.


In the case of the rich man and Lazarus, what was the object in view? Answer: To rebuke the Pharisees for their covetousness (“And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided him.” Verse 14); to show to them, since they thought that riches in this life was a mark of divine favor, and would secure God’s blessing in the next, that if they gave themselves up to the sensual enjoyments of their riches, neglecting [[177]] and oppressing the poor, they would, in the future, meet God’s wrath instead of his favor; and that the poor, whom they despised and oppressed, might attain to that very state of felicity set forth under the figure of Abraham’s bosom, of which they thought themselves so sure.


That this is a parable seems abundantly evident:  1. It stands in connection with a long list of parables. The preceding chapter, Luke 15, contains three. This chapter opens with the parable of the unjust steward; and there is no intimation of a change from parable to literal narration in this case. 2. It is said that this cannot be a parable, because it is introduced by a direct assertion. “There was a certain rich man,” etc. But others which are parables are introduced in exactly the same manner. Thus, verse 1: “There was a certain rich man, which had a steward.’’ etc. And chapter 15: 11: “A certain man had two sons,” etc. 3. The prophets to whom we are referred, speak figuratively of the dead in sheol, in the nether parts of the earth, as conversing together, taunting each other, weeping bitterly, refusing to be comforted, etc., represen­tations exactly similar to those made in the case of the rich man and Lazarus, and fully as striking, but which no one can regard as setting forth the actual condition of the dead.


Thus in Isa. 14:9-20, it is represented that when the king of Babylon is overthrown, he goes down into sheol, and the DEAD (for there are no others in its dark domain) are stirred up to meet him. The kings that had been destroyed by the king of Babylon, are represented as having thrones in sheol beneath, and when the king of Babylon joins them in their dark abode, they show their contempt for him by rising up in mock obeisance, as in life they had rendered him real homage. And they say, “Art thou also become weak as we? Art thou become like [[178]] unto us? . . . Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms?” No one can suppose that they literally acted or spoke thus. But all this is a striking figure to represent that death would reduce the king of Babylon to the same level with his subjects and prisoners.


Again: in Eze. 31:15-18 and 32:17-32, Pharaoh and his host, slain in battle with the king of Babylon, are set forth in the same manner. The strong among the mighty are represented as speaking to him out of the midst of sheol, as he enters therein. And this sheol, in “the nether parts of the earth,” full of graves and of the dead, is contrasted with the land of the living. These victims of slaughter went down to sheol with their weap­ons of war; and their swords they “laid under heads;“ and when Pharaoh, lying among them, saw the multitude of his enemies that were slain also, he was comforted at the sight.


Another case, perhaps still more remarkable is that of Rachel. (Jer. 31:15—17; Matt. 2:17, 18; Gen. 35:16-20.) Long ages after Rachel had died, and entered into sheol, a dreadful slaughter took place among her posterity. Thereupon she is represented as breaking forth into lamentation and bitter weeping, and refusing to be comforted because her children were not. And the Lord says to her: “Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears: for thy work shall be rewarded, saith the Lord.”


No one can suppose that Rachel literally wept at the murder of her children, nearly 2000 years after her death; nor that the slaughtered Egyptians put their swords under their heads as they were lying in sheol, and conversed together in the nether parts of the earth, some being comforted, and others ashamed; nor that the kings overthrown [[179]] by the king of Babylon rose up from their sepul­chral thrones in mock solemnity, and taunted him with becoming weak as they.


But these were all figures to set forth great and salu­tary truths. May not our Lord then, for once, be per­mitted for a like purpose to use a like figure, so largely employed by the prophets, and so well known to his hear­ers, by personifying persons in hades to perform actions which were not there literally to occur? We have cer­tainly as good reason to suppose that Rachel, the Egyp­tians, and the king of Babylon, were real personages, and their descent into sheol and the accompanying circum­stance as related by the prophets, veritable history, as to suppose that Dives was a real character, and his torment in hades, and his conversation with Abraham, a real transaction.


Those who held in their hands the Old-Testament Scriptures were perfectly familiar with such figures. There the “trees of the field” converse and “clap their hands,” the “floods” lift up their “voice,” the hills and mountains “sing,’’ stones from the wall “cry out,” and beams “answer,” the blood of Abel finds a “voice,” and “cries out from the ground,” and dead men rejoice over the fall of their rivals, slain by the sword.  In a volume abounding with such figures, can­not for once a rich man, representing a class of living persons endowed in hades with life and speech? Must this one figure of personification be singled out from all others, as a rigidly literal narrative, and be made to sus­tain the weight of the most terrific doctrine of which the mind can conceive?


Moreover, it is said that the Jews held a tradition involving the very points introduced in this case, a place of reward called “Abraham’s bosom,” and a place of [[180]] punishment for the unworthy. Taking it in this light, it would appear that Christ simply took them on their own ground, and presented an argumentum ad hominem..


Sufficient evidence has been produced to show that this is a parable. And now we invite the attention of the reader to the testimony of two eminent authors respecting the use which should be made of parables.


Dr. Clarke says:


Let it be remembered that by the consent of all (except the basely interested), no metaphor is ever to be produced in proof of a doctrine. In the things that concern our eternal salvation, we need the most pointed and express evidence on which to establish the faith of our souls.[25]


And Trench, in his work on parables, lays down this very important rule:


The parables may not be made first sources of doctrine. Doc­trines otherwise and already grounded, may be illustrated, or indeed further confirmed by them, but it is not allowable to constitute doc­trine first by their aid. They may be the outer ornamental fringe, but not the main texture of the proof. For from the literal to the figurative, from the clearer to the more obscure, has ever been recognized as the law of Scripture interpretation. This rule, how­ever, has been often forgotten; and controversialists, looking round for arguments with which to sustain some weak position, one for which they can find no other support in Scripture, often invent for themselves supports in these.


But some persist that this is not a parable, but a literal narrative; and not to seem captious, we will consider it in this light. If this is veritable history, all the particulars taken literally. Then the wicked, tormented in the flames of hell, are within sight and speaking distance of the saved in heaven. In other words, heaven is but the shore of hell; and on that shore the redeemed can sit and watch the damned in their fearful contortions of  [[181]] agony for which there is no name, and listen to their entreaties for relief and their shrieks of fathomless de­spair, for which there is no remedy, to an extent, it would seem, sufficient to satisfy the most implacable revenge. If this be so, our friends must certainly abandon the argument they build on Rev. 6:9,10, where they have it that the souls of the martyrs, disembodied and conscious, cry to God to visit vengeance upon their persecutors. If they were where they could look over into the fiery gulf, and behold their persecutors vainly battling with its flaming billows, or if not already there, destined in a few short years to be plunged therein, let no one say of the holy martyrs that they would, under such circumstances, cry impatiently to God to hasten or intensify his vengeance. The arguments based on the narrative of the rich man and Lazarus, and Rev. 6:9, 10, must, one or the other of them, be given up; for they devour each other. Let the advocates of the popular theory look to this, and choose which it shall be.


The beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died, and was buried. Let it be noted that the persons themselves, as a whole, are spoken of, not any of their essential elements, or immaterial appendages. Nothing is said of the soul of either the rich man or Lazarus. As we are now con­sidering this as a literal transaction, a question vital to the argument is, When do the angels bear those who have died, as persons (for there is nothing anywhere said about the angels carrying their souls), into Abraham’s bosom, or the state of the blessed? Such scriptures as Matt. 24:30, 31; 1 Thess. 4:16, 17, answer this question very explicitly: “And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the [[182]] other.” When? — At the second advent of the Son of Man in majesty and glory; for then it is that the voice of the Archangel, ringing through the long galleries of hades, shall wake the righteous dead from their silent slumbers, and angels shall bear them upward on wings of light to be forever with the Lord.


The rich man dies and is buried; and his next experi­ence is the suffering of torment in consuming flame. How long after his burial he finds himself in this torment, we are not directly informed. But he has bodily organs; for he has eyes to see, and a tongue to be cooled; but these the dead are not usually considered to possess till the resurrection. This drives Landis (p. 191) to the un­usual admission that the soul retains the human form, with its corresponding organs— hands, feet, eyes, tongue, etc. Again, the rich man sees Lazarus in Abraham’s bosom; but, as we have already seen, Lazarus is not liter­ally borne there by the angels till the resurrection.


As a literal transaction, the scene is inevitably located, by the concurrent testimony of all Scripture, beyond the resurrection. How, then, it can be said to transpire in hades, we leave those to decide who believe that it is a literal transaction. Certain it is that no such scenes can really occur in hades, if the representations of that place given us by Moses and the prophets, as already noticed, are correct; while analogous scenes will really take place beyond the resurrection: there the righteous are rewarded, and the wicked punished in devouring fire; there the Lord told the impenitent Jews that they should see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of God, and they them­selves thrust out, and that then there would be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Luke 13:28.


That this scripture does not teach the existence of con­scious souls between death and the resurrection is forever [[183]] settled by the fact that Lazarus could return only by a resurrection from the dead. When the rich man requested that Lazarus might be sent to warn his brethren, Abraham replied that they had Moses and the prophets, and if they would not hear them, they would not “be persuaded though one rose from the dead.” The conversation not therefore relate to the coming back of the immortal soul of Lazarus; and indeed no mention is made of any such thing in the whole transaction.


Therefore, interpret it as we may, it cannot be reason­ably or Scripturally used to prove the entrance of man’s naked, unclothed spirit into bliss or woe at the hour of death.


6.  With Me in Paradise


According to Luke’s account of the crucifixion of our Saviour, Luke 23:33-36, one of the two malefactors who were crucified with him, said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily, I say unto thee, To-day shalt thou be with me in paradise.”  Verses 42, 43. This, says the immaterialist, “must ever stand as a clear announcement of the uninterrupted immortality of the soul.”[26] The “clear announcement” is made out in this manner; Christ and the thief, it is claimed, both died that day; they both went to paradise that day; and their condition while there was, of course, one of consciousness and intelligence.


There is one fact which stands somewhat in the way of this “clear announcement;” and that is, that Christ did not go to paradise that day. In answer to the popu­lar view, we first set forth this unqualified proposition, and undertake its proof; and if this shall prove to be [[184]] well grounded, the doctrine of annihilation will be found in a degree true; for the claims usually built on the scrip­ture above quoted, are utterly and forever annihilated by this fact.


In entering upon the argument to show that Christ did not go to paradise that day, we first inquire what paradise is, and where it is. The word “paradise” occurs but three times in the English version of the Scriptures, all in the New Testament; twice besides the verse under consideration; but these are amply sufficient to define and locate it.


First, Paul, in 2 Cor. 12:2, says: “I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell:  God knoweth:) such an one caught up to the third heaven.” In verse 4 he affirms that the place to which this man was caught up was “paradise.” This estab­lishes the fact that paradise is where the third heaven is.


Again:   in Rev. 2:7, we read the profuse which the Saviour gives to the overcomers; he says: “To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.” This establishes another equally important fact, that paradise is where the tree of life now is. Now, if the Scriptures anywhere give us any further information respecting the place where the tree of life is to be found, we have still further testimony respecting paradise.


In Revelation 21 and 22 we have a description of the New Jerusalem, the holy city which is above. Gal. 4:26. In Rev. 22:1, 2 we read: “And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it [the city], and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner [[185]] of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month.” By this testimony, we learn that the tree of life, which grows in the midst of the paradise of God, is in the holy city, fast by the river of life, which proceeds from the throne of God. Nothing could be more explicit than this. We have now found the paradise of the New Testament. It is in the third heaven, where the tree of life is, and where God maintains his residence and his throne. Whoever, therefore, goes into paradise, goes into the presence of God. If the Saviour went there on the day of his cruci­fixion, with the impenitent thief, he went into the pres­ence of his Father.


Bear this fact in mind while we reverently listen to the words of the Lord, and believe what he says while he himself testifies whether he went to paradise on the day of his crucifixion or not. On the morning of his resur­rection, the third day AFTER his crucifixion, he said to Mary, who was about to embrace his feet in accordance with the ancient custom of deference or worship, “Touch me not; FOR I AM NOT YET ASCENDED TO MY FATHER.”  John 20:17. The third day, remember from the crucifixion, and not ascended into paradise yet!


Struck into a state of bewilderment by this stunning fact, Landis (pp. 209, 211) clutches wildly for some sup­ports by which to rear again his prostrate structure. He feigns to find evidence in John 16:16 that Jesus told his disciples that at death he would go to his Father —a scripture which very evidently has reference not to his death, but to his bodily ascension, forty days after his resurrection. Then, referring to the fact that the word “ascend” is from anabaino, he says: “Now every tyro knows that in composition ana has very frequently [?] the force of again. Baino alone means simply to ascend; ana adds a shade of meaning.”  [[186]]


It is frequently the case that writers try to drive others into an admission of their statements by representing that they will appear very ignorant and stupid to deny them. But Mr. L., not being a tyro, doubtless understands that nearly every statement in this criticism is false in itself considered, and every one of them wholly so, as applied to the case in hand. Ana, in composition with baino, does not have the force of “again.” In neither Liddell and Scott, Robinson, Greenfield, nor Parkhurst, is there any such definition as “ascend again” given to anabaino. Baino alone does not mean “to ascend.” No such definition is given to it in the standard authorities here named. It means simply “to go,” without any ref­erence to the direction; other words, either in composi­tion with it or in the context, signifying whether this motion is up or down, forward or backward, over or under, etc. In no one of the eighty-one instances of the use of the word in the New Testament, is it translated “ascend again.” And finally, in those texts which Mr. L. quotes as containing the word “again,” — as Matt. 3:16, which he quotes, “Christ went up again, or re­turned,” and Matt. 5:1, which he quotes, “He went up again into a mountain — the word “again” is not expressed in the English nor implied in the Greek. In only one instance is the word “again” used with ana­baino; that is Gal. 2:1, where Paul says, “I went up again to Jerusalem;“ but here the word “again” is from another word (palin), explicitly inserted in the text, and anabaino is translated simply “went up.” As baino simply means “to go,” as noticed above, it is the prefix ana, which means “up,” which gives the word the mean­ing, “to go up,” or “to ascend.” The idea of “again” is not in the word. It takes the whole word with its prefix to convey the idea “to ascend.”


Rarely do we meet with an instance of more reckless desperation in the line of criticism. And what is the object of it? — It is to have us understand that- when Christ says, “I am not yet ascended to my Father,” he means to say, I am not yet ascended again to my Father. And from this he would have us further draw the lucid inference that Christ had ascended once, that is, in his disembodied spirit, between his death and resurrection, and now tells Mary not to touch him, because he has not ascended again! It would be difficult to conceive of a more unnecessary and far-fetched inference. And will seriously contend for such a view, shows the orbless obstinacy with which they will cling to preconceived and petted ideas. Nothing can be more evident than that Christ, when he said, “I am not yet ascended to my Father,” affirmed in the most direct manner that since his advent into this world, he had not, up to that time, ascended to his Father.


Rather than thus summarily lose the argument that the thief was still conscious in death, and that the soul is therefore (?) immortal, some theologians attempt to adjust the matter thus: Although Christ did not go to his Father, he nevertheless went to paradise, which is not where the Father dwells, but the intermediate resting-place of departed souls. Do we then understand them? We found them, a little while ago, arguing from Eccl. 12:7, that the disembodied spirit did return to God which they claimed to be proof positive that the soul is immortal, and thought it would puzzle the annihilationists not a little. Do they now give this up, and admit that the soul or spirit does not go to God, but only into some intermediate place, called paradise? It matters not to us which position they take, only we wish to know which one it is. We cannot hold our peace and allow them to [[188]] take one position on one text and another on another, and so keep continually shifting their ground to avoid the embarrassments into which their theory plunges them at every turn.


That paradise is no intermediate state, a half-way house between the grave and the resurrection, we have fully shown; for we have the positive statements of the Scrip­tures to show that paradise is in the third heaven, where God sits upon his throne; and Christ told Mary, the third day after his crucifixion, in so many words, that he had not at that time ascended there.


But besides this, we have other positive evidence that Christ did not go to heaven nor to any intermediate half­way place, between his death and resurrection. The Scriptures tell us explicitly just where he was during this time, and the place was not “Gehenna,” the place of punishment for the damned, where it is claimed he went to preach to the spirits in prison; and it was not “para­dise.” To those who came to the sepulcher, the angels said (Matt. 28:5, 6), “Ye seek Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said.  Come see the place where the Lord lay.” No testimony could be more explicit than that he was not in the tomb simply because he had risen; that is, that he, the Jesus who was crucified, was in that very place till he left it by rising from the dead. Who may set aside such testimony?


The popular interpretation of Christ’s language to the thief thus utterly failing, we are thrown back upon the text for some other explanation of the phraseology there used: “Verily I say unto thee, To-day shalt thou be with me in paradise.”


There are but two probable ways in which this lan­guage can be interpreted: One is, to let the phrase “to­day” refer to the time to which the thief had reference in [[189]] his request. He said, “Lord, remember me when thou comest into[27] thy kingdom.” He looked forward to the day when Christ should come into his kingdom. And if the “to-day “ in Christ’s answer refers to this time, then the sense would be, “Verily I say unto thee, To-day, or this day, the day to which you refer, when I come into my kingdom, thou shalt be with me in paradise.” The word “to-day “ is from the Greek sermeron; and all the definitions we find of it would seem to confine it to present time, excluding an application of it to the future. This interpretation, therefore, we think cannot be urged.


The other, and only remaining method of interpreting the passage, is to place the comma after “to-day,” ma­king to-day an adverb qualifying the word “say.” The sense would then be, “Verily I say unto thee to-day, Thou shalt be with me in paradise,” at that period in the future when I shall come in my kingdom. This method of punctuation, if it is allowable, clears the subject of all difficulty. Let us, then, candidly consider what objections can be urged against it.


As to the punctuation itself, we all know that this is not the work of inspiration; and withal that it is of recent origin, the comma in its present form not having been invented till the year A. D. 1490, by Manutius, a learned [[190]] printer of Venice. It is therefore allowable to change this in any manner that the sense of the passage, the con­text, or even other portions of the Scriptures, may demand. So the Bible Societies (Ives, p. 66) have found it neces­sary to change the punctuation of Matt. 19:20, and other passages are still in question. But the objector accuses us of making sad nonsense of the text by this change; and he asks in bitter irony, “Didn’t the thief know it was that day without Christ’s telling him?” Very true as a matter of fact; but let the objector beware lest his sarcasm fall upon the Scriptures themselves: for such very expressions do occur therein. See Zech. 9:12:  “Turn you to the stronghold, ye prisoners of hope: even to-day do I declare that I will render double unto thee.” Transposing this sentence, without altering the sense, we have phraseology similar to that of Luke 23:43; namely, “I declare unto you even to-day, I will render double unto thee.” The events threatened here were to take place in the future, when the Lord should bend Judah, etc. (See context.) So the phrase “to-day” could not qualify the “rendering double,” etc., but only the verb ‘‘ declare.


Here, then, is an expression exactly parallel with that in Luke, and the same irony is applicable; thus, “Did not the prisoners of hope know it was that day when the declaration was made to them?” But let our opponents now discard their unworthy weapon; for here it is leveled against the words of inspiration itself. (See also Deut. 8:19; 15:15; 30:16; Acts 26:29.)


But when we take into consideration the circumstances of the case, we see a force and propriety in the Saviour’s making his declaration emphatically upon that day. He had been preaching the advent of the kingdom of heaven to listening multitudes. He had promised a kingdom to [[191]] his followers. But the powers of death and darkness had apparently triumphed, and were crushing into the very grave both his prospects, and his promises. He who was expected to be the king of the coming kingdom, stretched upon the shameful cross, was expiring in ignominy and reproach; his disciples were scattered; and where now was the prospect of that kingdom which had been preached and promised? But amid the supernatural influences at work upon that memorable day, a ray of divine illumination may have flashed in upon the soul of the poor thief, traveling the same road of death beside his Lord. A conviction of the truthfulness of his claims as the Messiah, the Son of God, may have entered into his mind; and a desire have sprung up in his heart to trust his lot in his hands, leading him to put up a sincere peti­tion, Lord, in mercy remember me when the days of thy triumph and glory shall come. Yes, says the suffering Saviour, in the hearing of the mocking multitude, I say unto thee to-day— to-day, in this hour of my darkness and agony— to-day, when the fatal cross is apparently giving the lie to all my pretensions—to-day, a day of forlorn prospects and withered hopes, so far as human eyes can see— verily, to-day I say unto thee, thou shalt be with me in paradise, when my kingdom shall be estab­lished in triumph and glory.


Thus there is a divine force and beauty in these words of our Lord, as uttered on that occasion. How like a sun at midnight would they have broken in upon the gloom that enshrouded the sorrowing hearts of the dis­ciples, had they fathomed their import! For who had occasion to sink in despair, if not He upon whom all depended, and that, too, when expiring under the agonies of the cross? But lo! No cloud of gloom is sufficient to fix its shadows upon his serene brow. His divine foresight, [[192]] riding calmly over the events of the present, fixes itself upon that coming period of glory, when he shall see of the travail of his soul and be satisfied. There, in the hour of his deepest humility, he points them to the joys of paradise.


Thus, by a simple removal of the comma one word forward, the stone of stumbling is taken out of this text, by making it harmonize with other scriptures; and thus the promise, by having reference to something in the future, and not to anything to be performed on that day, contains no affirmation of consciousness in death.


There is another objection, equally valid, against the idea that Christ and the thief went to paradise that day, and that is that the thief did not die that day. It was a Jewish law that no criminal should hang upon the cross over the Sabbath day.  John 19:31.  Therefore, if the criminal was alive when the time came to take him down from the cross, they broke his legs so that he could not escape, and then took him down. This was found to be the case with the thieves, when the time came to take the bodies from the cross. They were alive, and so their legs were broken. But when they came to Jesus and found that he was dead already, they brake not his legs. John 19:32, 33. Now if any one can maintain that Christ and the thief went to paradise that day, in face of these two facts, first, that Christ expressly declares that he did not go to paradise that day, and secondly, that the thief did not die that day, he shows that he is governed by prejudice and caprice and not by reason.


7.  Absent from the Body


Another passage, supposed to teach the separate, con­scious existence of the soul, is found in 2 Cor. 5:8:  “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent [[193]] from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” On the acknowledged principle that it is illogical to endeavor to build any great doctrine upon an isolated passage with­out taking into consideration the general tenor of the con­text, if not also other writings from the same author, let us look at some of the statements which Paul has made in this connection.


In verse 1 of this chapter, Paul introduces an earthly house and a heavenly house, and says, “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” He states our condition while in the earthly house. Verse 2: “In this we groan” (verse 4) “being burdened.” He tells us what we desire in this state. Verses 2, 3:  “Earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: if so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked.” In verse 4 Paul repeats all these facts, in order to state the result of the work which he desired: “For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon.” Now he states the result of being clothed upon with the house from heaven which he so earnestly desired: “But clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.”


Then he states that the condition he had in view is that for which God in the beginning designed the human race:  “Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God.” That is, God designed that we should ultimately reach that condition which he here designates as being clothed upon with our house from heaven. Then he states what assurance we have in this life that we shall eventually attain to this condition: “Who also hath given unto us the earnest [assurance, pledge, token of the Spirit.” That is, the Spirit dwelling in our hearts, [[194]] is the assurance, or pledge, we have that we shall finally receive the desire of our hearts, and be clothed upon with our house from heaven. In verse 6 he states this to be the ground of his confidence, although while “we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord.” And then, after incidentally stating the secret of the Christian’s course in this life—“we walk by faith, not by sight”— he penned the text quoted at the commence­ment of this topic, stating that he was willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.


We now have before us quite fully the subject upon which Paul is here treating. A thought now as to the meaning of the terms he employs. What does he mean by the “earthly house” and the “heavenly house”? By being “clothed upon “and “unclothed”? By “mortality being swallowed up of life”? And by being “absent from the body” and “present with the Lord”?


What he calls, in verse 1, “our earthly house,” he designates, in verse 6, as being “at home in the body.” The chief characteristic of this house is that it may be dis­solved, or is mortal. This earthly house is therefore our mortal body, or, what is essentially the same thing, this present mortal condition. The house from heaven is eternal, or immortal. This, therefore, by parity of rea­soning, is the immortal body, or the state of immortality which awaits the redeemed beyond the resurrection.


Paul, in Rom. 8:22, 23, speaks very plainly of these two conditions:  “For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first-fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within our­selves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.” None can fail to see the parallel between this passage in Romans and that portion of 2 Corinthi­ans 5 [[195]] now under consideration. To the Corinthians Paul says that in our earthly house we groan, being burdened; to the Romans he expresses the same thought by saying that we “groan within ourselves,” or in this mortal body; to the Corinthians he writes that while in this state we have the “earnest of the Spirit;” to the Romans he says that we have the “first-fruits of the Spirit,” which is the same thing — the pledge, assurance, or earnest; to the Corinthians he writes that we desire “to be clothed upon with our house from heaven;” to the Romans, that we “wait for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.” The ultimate object in view in both cases, as a matter of hope and desire, is redemption, or the eternal state; but in the one case it is called being “clothed upon with our house from heaven,” and in the other it is said to be “the redemption of our body.” These two expres­sions, therefore, denote one and the same thing.


Returning to a consideration of the meaning of the terms which Paul uses in 2 Corinthians 5, we inquire what is meant by being unclothed. And the evident answer is, The dissolution of our earthly house, or the falling of our mortal body in death. The state of death, then, is that condition in which we are unclothed.  And the being clothed upon is being released from this state if dead, or changed if living, when mortality is swallowed up of life, and we are taken into the presence of the Lord. Then Paul states a conclusion, very apparent from his premises, that “while we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord,” and adds that he is “willing rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.”


The only verse in which consciousness in death can even be supposed to be intimated, is the eighth verse, which speaks of our being “absent from the body” and [[196]] “present with the Lord.” But even here it will be seen that the whole question turns on the time when we enter the presence of the Lord.  Is it immediately on the dissolution of our earthly house? On this point the text does not inform us; but the preceding verses are very explicit, as we shall presently see.


Let us now look at a few considerations which show that it is impossible to harmonize the popular view of consciousness in death with the statements which the apostle here makes. It is claimed that the house which we have eternal in the heavens is the immortal soul with which we immediately enter into heaven when the earthly house is dissolved. Granting that this is so, let us go forward a little, and mark the difficulty in which this view finally becomes involved. The time comes when the mortal body is raised from the dead and made im­mortal. The soul, according to the popular view, again takes possession of this body. In these redeemed bodies we are to live in the kingdom of God to all eternity. This is finally our eternal house. But when we take possession of this, what becomes of our house that we occupied between death and the resurrection? If we pass from our mortal bodies at death immediately into a spiritual body prepared for us, which is the house we have in heaven, and in which we live till the resurrection, when our natural bodies are redeemed, and we take pos­session of them, it necessarily follows that we vacate that second house which we had occupied in heaven. Then what becomes of that house? Are the saints to have “tenements to let”? Moreover this view introduces something of which Paul has made no mention; for here we have three houses, but Paul’s language allows of only two; and one of these three houses, on the view before us, has to be abandoned, to go to ruin, or to be otherwise [[197]] disposed of, when we take possession of our redeemed bodies. All this is unscriptural and absurd. Such a view is impossibility.


Again: Paul affirms in verse 5 that God hath wrought for us this self-same thing, that is, created man for such a state of being as we shall enjoy, when clothed upon with our house from heaven. Is this condition the sepa­rate existence of an immortal soul? — No; for if man had never sinned, he would have reached that state without seeing death, and the idea of an immortal soul would never have had an existence. The whole doctrine is the offspring of sin, for it is the result of the fall. It is the second falsehood which the Devil found it necessary to invent to sustain his first one, “Ye shall not surely die.” For when all that is outward, tangible, and visible of man does fall in death, his untruth would be very apparent un­less he could make them believe that there is an invisible medium through which they still continue to live. Paul therefore, in the scripture under notice, does not have any reference to an intermediate state.


He further says that we have through the Spirit an earnest, or pledge, that this condition, which is set forth as the chief object of desire, will finally be reached, and we shall be clothed upon with our house from heaven. But of what is the Holy Spirit in our hearts an earnest or pledge? What does it signify that we have a measure of the Holy Spirit here? Is it a proof or assurance that we have immortal souls that will hive when the body is dead?— No; but that we shall be redeemed and made immortal. See Eph. 1:13, 14: “1n whom also after that ye be­lieved, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemp­tion of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.” And in Rom. 8:11 Paul again says: “But if [[198]] the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.”


There are the glorious promises of which the Holy Spirit in our hearts is a pledge and assurance; that these quickened from the dead, even as Christ was raised up, and that we shall share in the inher­itance when the purchased possession shall be redeemed. (It looks not to any intermediate state, but to the ultimate reward. And finally, Paul forever bars his teaching against the entrance of the conscious-state dogma by saying that when we are clothed upon with our house from heaven, mor­tality is swallowed up of life. How can mortality be swallowed up of life? — It can be only by having a principle of life come upon it which shall overpower and absorb it. Mortality can be swallowed up only by im­mortality, or eternal life. Is this the passing of the soul from the mortal body at the hour of death? Let us look at it. What is there about man, according to the com­mon view, which is mortal?— The body. And what is immortal? — The soul. At death, the body, that part which is mortal, does not become immortal, but loses all its life, and goes into the grave to crumble back to dust. And the soul, which was immortal before, is no more than immortal afterward. Is there any swallowing up of mortality by life here? — Just the reverse. Mortality, or the mortal part, is not swallowed up by death.  There is not so much life afterward as before; for after death, the soul only lives, while the body, which was alive before, is now dead.


But Paul, before penning this language in 2 Corin­thians 5, had already told the Corinthians when mortality [[199]] would be swallowed up of life, and how it would be ac­complished; so he knew, when he penned this portion of his second epistle, that they would understand it perfectly. See the 15th chapter of his first epistle, verses 51-55:  “Behold, I show you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twink­ling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on in­corruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption,” then “death is swallowed up in victory.”


           In verse 50, he says: “Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.” Corruption does not inherit, or possess, incorruption. Mortality does not possess immortality. The mortal body does not inclose an immortal principle, which it has power to hold within its grasp till that grasp is rendered nerveless by the stroke of death, and the soul flies away in glad release.  But this mortal--all that there is about man that is mortal — must put on, must be itself invested with, immortality, and this corruptible — all about us that is perishable — must itself become incorruptible; then it will not be this corruptible flesh and blood; and then it can inherit the kingdom of God, and enter with boldness and vigor on its race of endless life; and outside of this change, and independent of this grand investiture of our mortal nature with immortality, there is no eternal life for any of the human family. And when this is accom­plished, then death is swallowed up in victory; then we are clothed upon with our house from heaven; then mor­tality is swallowed up of life. But at the last trump, when the Lord appears in glory, [[200]] and the dead are raised, and the righteous living are changed in the twinkling of an eye. How can the re­ligious world stumble in a path so plain?


But if the heavenly house is our future immortal body, it may be asked how Paul can say, as he does in 2 Cor. 5:1, “We have [present tense] a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” We have this in the same sense that we have, at the present

time, eternal life. And John tells us how this is:  It is by faith, or by promise, not by actual possession.  I John 5:11:  “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life.” God hath given it to us; and on the strength of this promise we have it. But where is it now? “And this life is”—in us?—No, but “in his Son.” And when he, the Son, who is our life, shall ap­pear, we shall be clothed upon with our heavenly house, and “appear with him in glory.” Col. 3:4.


Again: it may be asked how Paul can speak of two houses, as though we moved from one into the other, if it is only a change of condition from mortality to immor­tality. He illustrates this in the figure he takes to rep­resent conversion. Eph. 4:22-24: “That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts: And be renewed in the spirit of your mind: and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” Here the simple change of heart, the change of the disposition, from sin to holiness, is spoken of as putting off one man and putting on another. With even greater propriety may the change from mortality to im­mortality be spoken of as removing from an earthly, perishable house to an immortal, heavenly one.


The terms Paul uses to describe the two states are clearly defined. On the one side they are an “earthly [[201]] house,” groaning with burdens, “mortality,” “absent from the Lord.” On the other, the terms used are “clothed upon with our house from heaven,” “mortality swallowed up of life,” “present with the Lord.” He did not desire to be unclothed, which, as already noticed, signifies the condition of death; but he did desire to be present with the Lord; therefore in death he would have us understand that the Christian is not present with the Lord.


From all this, we can only conclude that when he says he is willing to be absent from the body and present with the Lord, he means to be understood that he is willing to be absent from this burdened, groaning, mortal body; that is, that this mortal condition, of which this body is a representative, should come to an end; and he was willing, ­or desirous to be present with the Lord, that is, to have that spiritual, immortal body which is promised, and in which alone we can dwell in the presence of God. And being confident, through the presence of the Spirit God in his heart, that when this change should be he would have a glorious part therein, he was more than willing it should come. It was but the breath­ing again of that prayer which has arisen like a continual sigh from the heart of the church through all her weary pilgrimage, “Thy kingdom come; yea, come, Lord Jesus, come quickly;” not, ‘‘Let our immortal souls,” which they did not suppose they possessed, “enter a conscious state in death” — in which they did not believe.


8.  In the Body and Out


It is confidently asserted that Paul believed a man could exist independently of the body, from certain ex­pressions which he uses in 2 Cor. 12:2-4:


I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell: or whether out of the body, I cannot tell; God knoweth:) such an one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man, (whether in the body or out of the body, I cannot tell; God knoweth:) how that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.


By the man whom he “knew,” it is generally sup­posed that the apostle means himself, and the language he uses is a record of his own experience. Paul was taken to the third heaven, to paradise, and heard words which it was not lawful (Greek ezon, possible) for a man to utter; but whether he was in his body, or out, he did not know.


This instance then, furnishes no example of a spirit actually existing in a conscious condition outside of the body, even if this is what is meant by the expression, “out of the body;” for Paul assure us that he did not know that he was in that condition. Yet it is claimed that it has all the force of an actual example; for such a condition is recognized as possible. It is very readily admitted that such a condition is recognized, as is ex­pressed by the term, “out of the body;” but that this means an immaterial spirit, an immortal soul, the real, intelligent man, speeding away through the universe even to the third heaven, there to hear unspeakable words, and gather up heavenly information, and return at will to resume its abode in the body, which it had for a time deserted, should not be too hastily inferred from this passage.


Of what is the apostle speaking? He says in verses 1, 2: “It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. [[203]]  I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. I knew a man in Christ, above fourteen years ago,” etc., as previously quoted. His subject, then, is the visions and revelations he had received from the Lord; and the language from verse 2 to verse 4 is the record of one such remarkable revelation, perhaps the most remarkable one he had ever experienced. He was given a view of para­dise, and heard unspeakable words. And so real and clear and vivid was the view, that he did not know but that he was transported bodily into that place. If not in this manner, the view was given in the ordinary course of vision, that is, by having the scene presented before the mind by the power of the Holy Spirit.


All must concede that only these two conditions are brought to view— either his transportation bodily to paradise, or the ordinary condition of being in vision. If he went bodily to paradise, the instance has no bearing of course on the question of consciousness in death. And if it was an ordinary vision, how does this prove con­sciousness in death? The question is reduced to this one point; and the answer turns on the definition given to the expression, “out of the body.” Did Paul mean by it what modern expositors wish us to understand by it Paul meant by it, simply being in vision; the expositors aforesaid mean by it, the going out of the immortal spirit from the body, and its existence for a time in a separate, conscious, intelligent condition independent of the body. But let us look a little further and see what this condition is. According to the common view, the separation of the soul the body is death! This is what death is defined to mean.  There can be no such thing as the separation of soul and body, and death not result. And the return of the soul to again inhabit the body is a resurrec­tion from the dead. This is what is claimed in the case [[204]] of Rachel, whose soul departed, and she died (Gen. 35:18); and the widow’s son, whom Elijah raised, whose soul came into him again, and he revived. 1 Kings 17:22.


But does any one suppose that Paul meant to say that he did not know but that he died and had a resurrection? That is what he did say, if the words, “out of the body,” mean what some would have us understand by them. His soul went off to paradise, and his body lay here, we know not how long, a corpse upon the earth! And when his soul returned, he had a resurrection from the dead!  A necessary conclusion so preposterous must be sufficient to convince any one that Paul, by the expression, “out of the body,” does not mean a state of death. He simply means that he was in vision, a state in which the mind, controlled for the time by the Holy Ghost, is made to take cognizance of distant or future scenes, and the per­son seems to himself to be really and bodily present, viewing the scenes, and listening to the words that are spoken, before him. Dreams, which all have experi­enced, are doubtless good illustrations of how this can be, and the case of John, in the Revelation, furnishes a notable example; for he was carried forward far into the future, and seemed to be present and taking part in the scenes that did not then exist, and at which he could not really have been present, even in his supposed immate­rial, immortal soul. We also have an expression in com­mon parlance about parallel to this, when we say of a person that he is “out of his head;” but no one sup­poses that this expression signifies the separation of any immortal part from the person. No more would the expression, “out of the body,” signify such separation.


Paul, then, had no reference whatever to a state of death in 2 Cor. 12: 2-4. To suppose him to refer to that, according to the immaterialist view, runs us into [[206]] the greatest absurdity. Hence his language affords no proof that there is a soul in man which can live on in a conscious, intelligent state, while the mortal body crum­bles back to dust.


9.  Departing and Being with Christ


            When will all men come to agree respecting the state of the dead?  When will the question whether the dead are alive, conscious, active, and intelligent, or whether they rest in the grave in unconsciousness and inactivity, cease to be a vexed question? When shall it be decided whether the shout of triumph which the ransomed are to raise, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” is the celebration of a real victory, or only an unnecessary and useless as it transaction, as it must be if the grave holds not the real man, but only the shell, the mortal body, which is generally considered an incum­brance and a clog? Never will this question be decided till men shall be willing to follow the Scriptures, instead of trying to compel the Scriptures to follow them — never, while they put the figurative for the literal, and the literal for the figurative, mistake sound for sense, and rest on the possible construction of an isolated text, instead of, and in opposition to, the general tenor of the teaching of the inspired writers.


Paul has told us often enough, and, it would seem, explicitly enough, when the Christian goes to be with his Lord. It is at the redemption of the body. Rom. 8:23. It is in the day of the Lord Jesus. 1 Cor. 5:5. It is at the last trump. 1 Cor. 15:51-55. It is when we are clothed upon with our house from heaven. 2 Cor. 5: 4. It is when Christ, our life, shall appear. Col. 3:4. It is when the Lord descends from heaven with a shout, and [[206]] the dead are raised. 1 Thess. 4:16, 17. It is at the coming of the Lord. 2 Thess. 2:1. It is to be at “that day,” an expression by which Paul frequently designates the day of Christ’s appearing. 2 Tim. 4:7, 8.


Yet Paul, in one instance, without stopping to explain, uses the expression, “to depart and to be with Christ;” whereupon his words are seized by religious teachers as unanswerable evidence that at death the spirit enters at once into the presence of its Redeemer. The passage is found in Phil. 1:21-24, and reads as follows:  “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labor; yet what I shall choose I wot not. For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:  nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.”


Willing to go with our friends as far as we can in their interpretation of any passage, we raise no issue here on the word “depart.” Paul probably means by it the same as in 2 Tim. 4:6, where he says, “The time of my departure is at hand,” referring to his approaching death. Then was not Paul, immediately on dying, to be with Christ? — O no! The very point intended to be proved, has, in such a conclusion, to be assumed. Paul had in view two conditions: this present state and the future state. Between these two he was in a strait. The cause of God on earth, the interests of the church, stir­ring to its very depths his large and sympathetic heart, drew him here; his own desires drew him to the future state of victory and rest. And so evenly balanced were the influences drawing him in both directions, that he hardly knew upon which course he would decide, were it left to him as a matter of choice. Nevertheless, he said [[207]] that it was more needful for the church that he remain here, to give them still the benefit of his counsel and his labors.


The state or condition to which he looked forward was one which he greatly desired. About four years before he wrote these words to the Philippians, he had written to the Corinthians, telling them what he did desire, and what he did not desire, in reference to the future. Said he, “Not that we would be unclothed.” 2 Cor. 5:4. By being unclothed, he meant the state of death, from the cessation of mortal life to the resurrection. This he did not desire; but he immediately adds what he did desire; namely, to be “clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life;” and when this is done, all that is mortal of us is made immortal, the dead are raised, and the body is redeemed. Rom. 8 23; 1 Cor. 15:52, 53.


In writing to the Corinthians, he thus stated that the object of his desire was to be clothed upon, and have mortality swallowed up of life; to the Philippians he stated that the object of his desire was to depart and be with Christ. These expressions, then, mean the same thing. Therefore, in Phil. 1:23, Paul passes over the state of death, the unclothed state, just as he had done to the Corinthians; for he would not tell the Corinthians that he did not desire a certain state, and four years after writing to the Philippians that he did desire it. Paul did not thus contradict himself.


But this intermediate state is the disputed territory in this controversy; the condition of the dead therein is the very point in question; and on this the text before us is entirely silent.


This is the vulnerable point in the popular argument on this text. It is assumed that the being with Christ takes place immediately on the departure. But, while [[208]] the text asserts nothing of this kind, multitudes of other texts affirm that the point when we gain immortality and the presence of Christ, is a point in the future beyond the resurrection. And unless some necessary connection can be shown between the departing and the being with Christ, and the hosts of texts which make our entrance into Christ’s presence a future event, can be harmonized therewith, any attempt to prove consciousness in death from this text is an utter failure.


Landis seems to feel the weakness of his side in this respect, and spends the strength of his argument (pp. 224-229) in trying to make the inference appear necessary that the being with Christ must be immediate on the departure. He would have us think it utterly absurd and nonsensical to suppose a moment to elapse between the two events.


Let us, then, see if there is anything in Paul’s lan­guage which contradicts the idea that a period of utter unconsciousness, of greater or less length, intervenes be­tween death and our entrance into the future life. In the first place, if the unconsciousness is absolute, as is to be supposed, the space passed over in the individual’s experience is philosophically an utter blank. There is not the least perception, with such a person, of the lapse of a moment of time. When consciousness returns, the line of thought is taken up at the very point where it ceased, without the consciousness of a moment’s interruption. This fact is often proved by actual experience. Persons have been known to become utterly unconscious by a fracture of the skull, and having a portion of it depressed upon the brain, suspending its action. Perhaps when the accident happened, they were in the act of issuing an order, or giving directions to those about them. They have lain unconscious for months, and then been relieved [[209]] by a surgical operation; and when the brain began to act, and consciousness returned, they have immediately spoken, and completed the sentence they were in the act of utter­ing when they were struck down, months before. This shows that to these persons there was no consciousness of any time intervening, more than what passes between the words of a sentence which we are speaking. It was all the same to them as if they had at once completed the sentence they commenced to utter, instead of having weeks and months of unconsciousness thrown in between the words of which that sentence was composed.


So with the dead. They are not aware of the lapse of a moment of time between their death and the resurrection.  A wink of the eyes shuts out for an instant the sight of all objects, but it is so instantaneous that we do not perceive any interruption of the rays of vision. Six thousand year in the grave to a dead man is no more than a wink of the eye to the living. To them, consciousness, our only means of measuring time, is gone; and it will seem to them when they awake that absolutely none has elapsed. When Abel awakes from the dead, it will seem to him, until his attention is attracted by the new scenes of im­mortality to which he will be raised, that he is but rising up from the murderous blows of Cain, under which he had seemingly just fallen. And to Stephen, who died beholding the exaltation of Christ in heaven, it will be the same as if he had, without a moment’s interruption, entered into his glorious presence. And when Paul him­self shall be raised, it will seem to him that the stroke of the executioner was his translation to glory.


Such being the indisputable evidence of facts upon this point, we ask how a person, understanding this matter, would speak of the future life, if he expected to obtain it in the kingdom of God? Would he speak of passing long [[210]] ages in the grave before he reached it?— He might, if he designed to state, for any one’s instruction, the actual facts in the case; but if he was speaking simply of his own experience, it would not be proper for him to men­tion the intervening time, because he would not be con­scious of any such time, and it would not seem to him, on awaking to life again, that any such period had elapsed.


Accordingly, Bishop Law lays down this general prin­ciple on this question:


The Scriptures, in speaking of the connection between our present and future being, do not take into the account our interme­diate state in death; no more than we, in describing the course of any man’s actions, take into account the time he sleeps. Therefore, the Scriptures (to be consistent with themselves) must affirm an im­mediate connection between death and the judgment. Heb. 9:27; 2 Cor. 5:43, 8.


John Crellius says: 


Because the time between death and the resurrection is not to be reckoned, therefore the apostle might speak thus, though the soul has no sense of anything after death.


Dr. Priestly says:


 The apostle, considering his own situation, would naturally connect the end of this life with the commencement of another and better, as he would have no perception of any interval between them. That the apostle had no view short of the coming of Christ to judgment, is evident from the phrase he makes use of, namely, being with Christ, which can only take place at his second coming.  For Christ himself has said that he would come again, and that he would take his disciples to himself, which clearly implies that they would were not to be with him before that time.


So in harmony with this reference to our Lord’s teach­ing is the language used by Paul in 1 Thess. 4:16, 17, that we here refer to it again: “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the Archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and [[211]] remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”


As Christ taught that the time when his people were to be with him again was at his second coming, so Paul here teaches. We call attention to the word “so” in the last sentence of the quotation. “So” means “in this way,” in this manner, by this means. “So “ in this manner, by this means, “shall we ever be with the Lord.”  When Paul, as he does here, describes, without any limitations, the way and means by which we go to be with the Lord, he precludes every other means. He the same as says that there is no other way by which we can be with the Lord; and if there is any other means of gaining this end, this language is not true. If we go to be with the Lord by means of our immortal spirit when we die, we do not go to be with him by means of the visible coming of Christ, the resurrection of the dead, and the change of the living; and Paul’s language is a stupendous falsehood. There is no possible way of avoiding this con­clusion, except by claiming that the descent of the Lord from heaven, the mighty shout, the voice of the Arch­angel, the sounding of the great trump of God, the resur­rection of the dead, and the change of the living, all take place when a person dies— a position too absurd to be seriously refuted, and almost too ridiculous to be even stated.


Shall we, then, take the position that Paul taught the Philippians that a person went by his immortal spirit immediately at death to be with the Lord, when he had plainly told the Thessalonians that this was to be brought about in altogether a different manner, and by altogether different means? No one who would have venerated that that holy apostle when alive, or who has any proper regard [[212]] for his memory now that he is dead, will accuse him of so teaching.


Why, then, does he say that he has a desire to depart, that is, to die? — Because he well understood that his life of suffering, of toil, and trial here was to terminate by death; and if the church could spare him, he would gladly have it come, not only to release him from his almost unbearable burdens, but because he knew further that all the intervening space between his death and the return of his Lord would seem to him to be instantly annihilated, and the glories of the eternal world through his resurrection from the dead, would instantly open upon his view.


It is objected again that Paul was very foolish to express such a desire, if he was not to be with his Lord till the resurrection; for, in that case, he would be with him no sooner if he died than he would if he did not die. Those who make this objection, either cannot have fully considered this subject, or they utterly fail to comprehend it. They have no difficulty in seeing how Paul would be with Christ sooner by dying, provided his spirit, when he died, immediately entered into his presence; but they can­not see how it would be so when the time between his death and the coming of Christ is to him an utter blank, and then, without the consciousness on his part that a single instant has elapsed, he is ushered into the presence of his Redeemer. Remember that Paul’s consciousness was his only means of measuring time; and if he had died just as he wrote these words to the Philippians, it would have been to him an entrance into Christ’s presence just as much sooner as what time elapsed between the penning of that sentence and the day of his death.  None can fail to see this point, if they will consider it in the light of the fact we have here tried so fully to set [[213]] forth— that the dead have no perceptions of passing time.


In the light of the foregoing reasoning, let us read and paraphrase this famous passage to the Philippians:


For to me to live is for the furtherance of the cause of Christ, and for me to die is still gain [not to me but] to that cause (because ‘Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life or death.’ Verse 20). But if I live in the flesh, this, the furtherance of Christ’s cause, is the fruit of my labor; but what course I should take were it left for me to decide, I know not; for I am in a strait betwixt two: I know that the church still needs my labors, but I have a desire to end my mortal pilgrimage, and be the next instant, so far as my expe­rience goes (for the dead perceive no passing time), in the presence of my Lord. Consulting my own feelings, this I should esteem far better; but I know that it is more needful for you that I abide still in a condition to labor on for your good in this mortal state.


Who can say, bearing in mind the language Paul fre­quently uses in his other epistles, that this is not a just paraphrase of his language here? The only objection immaterialists can have against it is, that, so rendered, it does not support the conscious-state dogma. But it makes a harmony in all that Paul has taught on the subject; and is it not far more desirable to maintain the harmony of the sacred writings than to try to make them defend a dogma which involves them in a fatal contradiction?


10.  Remaining Texts Considered


We have now examined all the principal texts of the Scriptures which are supposed to have a bearing on the question of the intermediate state. A few others of minor importance are occasionally urged in favor of the [[214]] popular view, and as such are entitled to a passing notice. We give them in consecutive order as follows:


a. Rom. 8:38, 39: “For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, . . . shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  It is claimed that death cannot separate us from the love of God; but, as God cannot exercise his love toward any but a rational and conscious creature, therefore the soul must be alive after death.[28]  We should not introduce this passage were it not used as an objection to the view here advocated. The reasoning of the apostle has to be completely inverted before any argument (pardon the misnomer) can be manufactured out of it for the con­scious-state theory. For it is of our love to God through Christ, and not of his to us, that the apostle speaks. It has reference, also, wholly to this life. Thus he says (verse 35):  “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” That is, shall these things which we have to endure in this life on account of our profession of the gospel and our love for Christ, quench that love in any wise? Shall we com­promise the gospel, and alienate ourselves from the love of Christ, who has done so much for us, and through whom we hope for so much (see the whole chapter), to avoid a little persecution, peril, and distress? The sepa­ration from the love of Christ by death, of which he speaks, is the same as the separation by persecution, etc.; but tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril, and sword, do not necessarily kill us; they have respect to this life; the separation, therefore, is something which takes place here — simply an alienation of our hearts from him. And shall all these things, he asks—nay, [[215]] more, shall even the prospect of death on account of our profession of Christ, prevent our loving and following him? No! is the implied and emphatic answer.


But looking at this scripture from the objector’s stand­point, the singular inquiry at once forces itself upon us, Can the immortal soul in its disembodied state suffer tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril, and sword?


b. 2 Cor. 4:16: “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.”  Is this inward man the immortal soul? We answer, No; but the new man which we put on, Christ formed within, the hope of glory. (See Col. 3:9, 10; Eph. 4:22, 24; 3:17, 18; Col. 1:27.)


c. 1 Thess. 4:14: “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.”  Yes, says the believer in the conscious state of the dead, bring them from heaven; so they must now be with him there in a conscious state. Not quite so fast. The text speaks of those who sleep in Jesus. Do you believe those who have gone to heaven are asleep? We always supposed that heaven was a place of unceasing activity and of uninterrupted joy. And again, are all these persons going to be brought from heaven asleep? What a theological incongruity! But, from what place are they brought, if not from heaven? The same place, we answer, from which God “ brought’’ our Lord Jesus Christ. See Heb. 13:20: “Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus,’’ etc. We may then read the text in Thessalonians as follows:  “For if we believe that Jesus died, and God brought him from the dead, even so them also which sleep in Jesus, [[216]] will God likewise bring with him from the dead.” Sim­ply this the text affirms, and nothing more. It is a glo­rious pledge of the resurrection, and so far diametrically opposed to the conscious-state theory.


d. 2 Tim. 4:6: “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.”  It is claimed that the departure here referred to is death, which is doubtless true. No exception is taken to the remark so often made, “Departed this life,” etc. But as Paul does not here intimate that his departure was to be to heaven, or even to any conscious intermediate state, we have no right to infer this. He simply speaks of leaving this state of existence, which every one does who goes into the unconscious condition of death.


e. Heb. 12: 1. It is claimed that the “great cloud of witnesses” by which we are surrounded, are the im­mortal, disembodied spirits of the patriarchs, looking down upon us as we run the heavenly race. From a superficial reading of the English version, an unscholarly person might possibly gather such an idea. But it is open to two insuperable objections: 1. The word “encompassed “ is perikeimenon, and means “lying around,” involving the idea of an incumbent posture. The whole expression is, hemeis echontas perikeimenon hemin, (‘‘we having lying about us,” so great a cloud of witnesses, etc). This would well refer to the ancient worthies as lying in their graves, but not to the position they are supposed to hold in heaven. 2. The word ‘‘witness’’ is marturon from mar­tus, which does not mean a looker-on, one who beholds another, but one who bears witness, or testifies to any­thing. It is the word from which comes our English word “martyr,” — one who has borne witness by death to the strength of his faith. Paul simply speaks of the [[217]] ancient worthies, not as disembodied spirits, but as those who have “borne witness” to the faithfulness of God; and having these “lying all about us” — having the full account of them given in the word of God (Paul had just mentioned many of them in Hebrews 11), we should run with patience the race set before us.


f. 2 Peter 1:14: “Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath showed me.”  It is here claimed that the “I” that speaks, and the “my’’ that is in possession of a ‘‘tabernacle,’’ is Peter’s soul, the man proper, and the tabernacle is the body which he was going to lay off: That Peter here has ref­erence to death, is doubtless true; but it was to be as the Lord Jesus Christ had showed him. See John 21:18, 19: “But when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not. This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God.” Here we are shown that the “thou” and the “he,” claimed on 2 Peter 1:14 to be Peter’s soul — the man proper — was going to die, and by death, glorify God. And Peter himself says in the next verse, “Moreover, I will endeavor that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance.” Here then, then, the same “my” (Peter’s soul, the man proper, remember), which in the verse before is in the possessive case, and governed by “tab­ernacle,” is again in the possessive case, and governed by “decease,” or death! Yes, Peter himself was going to die. No one can find any proof of a double entity here, or of a conscious intermediate state.


This phraseology is well illustrated by Job 7:21, which shows that the man proper, the “I,” sleeps in the dust:  “And why dost thou not pardon my transgression, and [[218]] take away mine iniquity? For now shall I sleep in the dust; and thou shalt seek me in the morning, but I shall I not be.”


g. 2 Peter 2:9: “The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust unto the day of Judgment to be punished.”  This testimony shows that the unjust do not enter into a place of punishment at death, but are reserved to the day of Judgment. Where are they reserved? Answer:  In the general receptacle of the dead, the grave. (See Job 21:30, and previous remarks on sheol.)


h. Rev. 20:5: “But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.”  By this first resurrection a portion of the dead are restored to life, consciousness, and activity; while it is said of those whose condition is not affected by this resur­rection, that they lived not for a thousand years. This proves that up to the time of this resurrection, all the dead were in a condition just the opposite of life — a con­dition in which it might be said of them that they “lived not.” And this, be it noticed, is spoken of the whole conscious being, not of the body merely. No language could more positively show that in death the whole person is in a state just the opposite of life.


i. Rev. 19:10, and Rev. 22:8, 9: “And I John . . . fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which showed me these things. Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren the prophets.”  This text is supposed to prove that one of the old prophets came to John as an angel, showing that the dead exist in a conscious state. But it does not so teach. The personage which here appears is called an angel; but [[219]] angels are not the departed spirits of the dead, inasmuch as they are brought to view as a distinct class of beings before any of the human family had died. (See Job 38:6, 7; Gen. 3:24). This angel does not declare himself to be the disembodied spirit of one of the prophets; and whoever takes the ground that he was, is to all intents and purposes a Spiritualist; for the very groundwork of Spiritualism is that it is the disembodied spirits of dead men that communicate through their mediums. No! The glorious scene that transpired upon Patmos was not a manifestation of the dark workings of Spiritualism. The angel simply stated that he was John’s fellow servant, and the fellow servant of John’s brethren, the prophets, and the fellow servant of them which keep the sayings of this book. The Being of whom they were all worshipers together was the great God. Therefore, says the angel, do not worship me, since I am only a worshiper, with you, at the throne of God; but worship God. This angel had doubtless been sent to the ancient prophets to reveal things to them, as he had now come to John.


A. Hovey, D. D., assents to this view. He says:  “The angel simply asserts that he is a fellow servant of John, and of his brethren, the prophets, literally, ‘a fellow servant of thee and of thy brethren, the prophets’—that is, a servant of God along with them, a servant of God as well as they, and therefore not entitled to wor­ship.”[29]  Such we believe to be the legitimate teaching of this scripture, the last that is found in the book of God supposed to teach an intermediate conscious state.











Chapter XI



The Resurrection of the Dead



            As clearly as human beings have been taught by the experience of six thousand years, that death is their common lot, so clearly are we taught by the word of God, and by some notable exhibitions of divine power, that all who have gone into their graves shall come forth again to life.

The words in the New Testament which express this fact are anastasis, egersis, and exanastasis. The last two occur but once each, the first in reference to the resurrec­tion of Christ, in Matt. 27:53; the last in Phil. 3:11, where Paul expresses a desire to attain to a resurrection out from among the dead. Anastasis occurs forty-two times, being the word which is invariably used in the New Testament, with the exceptions just named, to ex­press the resurrection. This word is defined by Robinson to mean, literally, a rising up, as of walls, of a suppliant, or from a seat; specially in the New Testament, the resur­rection of the body from death, the return of the dead body to life, as, first, of individuals who have returned to life on earth (Heb. 11:35); secondly, of the future and general resurrection at the end of all things (John 11:24). It is often joined to the word “dead,” as in the expres­sion, “the resurrection of the dead.”


From these well-established meanings of the word, it is evident that that which goes down will rise again. That which goes into the grave will come up again out of the grave. The rising again of the body is certainly [[221]] assured by this word, and the manner in which it is used. This resurrection is a future event: “The hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth.” John 5:28, 29. Paul said, when disputing with Tertullus before the governor, I “have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust.” Acts 24:15. And he tells us in chapter 26:7 that unto that “promise” the twelve tribes hope to come.


If, then, this is a firmly established fact, that God is to make such a mighty manifestation of his power as to reanimate the scattered dust of those whom the grave has consumed from time’s earliest morn, there must be some cause for such an action. This great event has a tremendous bearing on the question of the intermediate state, and all views of this subject must be adjusted to harmonize therewith. If any view is entertained which virtually renders such an event unnecessary, it must be shown that the resurrection as here defined is not taught in the word of God, or it must be admitted that the doc­trine which nullifies it is unscriptural.


1.  The Doctrine of the Resurrection Destroys the Theory of the Immortality of the Soul


The important inquiry now arises respecting the popu­lar view, If the real being, the intelligent responsible entity, ceases not its life and consciousness at death, but continues on in a more enlarged and perfect sphere of existence and activity, what need is there of the resur­rection of the body? If the body is but a trammel, a clog to the operations of the soul, what need that it should [[222]] come back and gather its particles from the silent tomb, and refetter itself with this material robe?


William Tyndale, defending the doctrine of Martin Luther, that the dead sleep, addressed to his opponent the same pungent inquiry. He said:  “And ye in putting them [departed souls] in heaven, hell, and purgatory, destroy the argument wherewith Christ and Paul prove the resurrection. . . . If the souls be in heaven tell me why they be not in as good case as the angels be? And then what cause is there of the resurrection?”  Andrew Carmichael says:  It cannot be too often repeated: If there be an immortal soul, there is no resurrection; and if there be any resurrection, there is no im­mortal soul.[30]  Dr. Muller says:  “The Christian faith in immortality is indissolubly connected with a promise of a future resurrection of the dead.”[31]


We now propose to show that the resurrection is a prominent doctrine of the Bible; and if this can be estab­lished, it follows, upon the judgment of these eminent men, that the immortality of the soul cannot be true. We need not stop to notice that impalpable and ground­less theory which makes the resurrection take place im­mediately at death, by supposing it to be the rising of the soul from the earthly house of this tabernacle, and its entering at once into its spiritual house; — this to be inhabited, and the former abandoned, forever; for in this case there is no resurrection; since the soul lives right on, and does not die at all. The resurrection which the Bible brings to view is a resurrection of the dead. It cannot be applied to anything that continuously lives, however many [[223]] change it may pass through. A person must go down into a state of death before he can be raised from the dead. Hence this theory is no resurrection at all, and so is at war with all the Bible says about the resurrection of the dead. Moreover, it is utterly impossible to harmo­nize this with the many references to the general resur­rection at the end of the world.


2.  The Resurrection a Necessity


Another point to be noted in considering the subject of the resurrection, is that the resurrection is absolutely necessary to any future existence. The reader is re­quested to turn to the preceding chapter on the Condition of Man in Death, and mark that all the arguments there presented and all the scriptures there referred to are so many proofs showing the condition of the dead to be such that they can have no further existence, unless they are raised from that condition. It is utterly futile to try to reconcile the doctrine of the immortality of the soul with that of the resurrection of the dead, as will still further appear in the following pages.


3.  Identity in the Resurrection


But it is objected that, from the standpoint of the un­consciousness of the dead, a resurrection is impossible; for if a person over ceases to exist as a conscious being, the reorganization of the matter of which he was com­posed would be a new creation, but not a resurrection.  It is sufficient to say in reply, that continued consciousness is not necessary to preserve identity of being. This is proved by nearly every member of the human family every day. Did the reader ever enjoy a period of sound, unconscious sleep? If so, when he awoke, how did he know that he was the same individual he was before? [[224]]


How does any one know, after a good night’s sleep, that he is the same person that retired to rest the night before?— Simply because his organization is the same on awa­king that it was when he became unconscious in sleep, and his consciousness, through his mental organization, is resumed. Now suppose that during this period of un­consciousness, while the soul itself (if there is in man such a distinct entity as is claimed) is also unconscious, the body of a person could be cut up into innumerable fragments, the bones ground to powder, the flesh dis­solved in acids, and the entire being, soul and all, de­stroyed. After remaining in this condition a little time, suppose all those particles could be put back again substantially as they were before, the general arrange­ment of the matter, especially of the brain, the organ of the mind, being identically what it was; and then sup­pose that life could be imparted to it again, and the person be allowed to sleep on till morning; when he woke, would he be conscious of any break in the line of his existence? Any one must see that he would not. Being organized just as before, his mind would resume its consciousness just as if nothing had happened.


So with the dissolution of death. After its period of unconsciousness is passed over, in the resurrection the matter necessary to the new body is reorganized and rearranged essentially as it existed in the person at the moment of death, and it is then reanimated; then the line of life is taken up, and the current of thought resumed just where it was laid down in death, it matters not how many thousands of years before. This the power of God can do; and to deny this is to “err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God.” In this way we can have a true and proper resurrection, a living again of the whole person, as the Bible affirms. On the supposition [[225]] of continued consciousness, this is impossible; for in this case the real man lives right on, the body, which the Bible makes of so much importance, being only the gar­ment with which it was temporarily clothed; and in this case the resuscitation of the body would not and could not be the resurrection of the man.


It is further urged, by way of objection against this view of the resurrection, that if persons come up in the resurrection as they went down in death, we should have a motley group, bloated with dropsy, emaciated with consumption, scabbed, scarred, ulcered, maimed, and de­formed; which would be both unreasonable and disgust­ing. And this, it is claimed, is a necessary consequence from the view that the same body is raised that went into the grave, and so far reorganized according to its previous arrangement as to constitute identity of being. But when we speak of the rearrangement of the particles of the body, is it not evident to all that there are fortuitous and abnormal conditions which are not to be taken at all into the account? And that the essential and elemental parts are only to be understood? Who would imagine that the body might not differ in the resurrection from what it was before, as much, at least, as it differs at one period in its earthly history from its condition at another, and yet its identity be preserved? But we are sometimes in health, sometimes in sickness; sometimes in flesh, and some­times wasted away; sometimes with diseased members, and sometimes entirely free from disease—and in all these changes we are conscious that we have the same body. Why? —Because its essential elements remain, its organization is continued, and the mental organs, the source of consciousness, remain. Whatever change can take place in our bodies during our earthly life, and our identity be continued, changed to the same or even a [[226]] greater degree may the body be when raised from the dead, and yet it be the same person. But a missing member might be instantly replaced, a diseased limb healed, the consumptive restored to the bloom of health, or the body, swollen with dropsy, reduced to its natural size, and the individual still be conscious that he was the same person.


It is said still further, by way of objection, that the matter of one body, after being decomposed by death, is absorbed and taken into other bodies, and becomes constituent parts of them; so that at the resurrection the same matter may have belonged to several different bodies, and cannot be restored to them all; therefore the doctrine of the “resurrection of the body” is unphilosophical.


As set forth above, it is not here contended that all the matter of which a body is composed at the moment of death must be restored to constitute that resurrection “of the body” of which the Scriptures speak. Unessential changes may take place, involving the larger proportion of the material. But identity must be preserved; and this can be done only through consciousness and the power of, memory, without which all past life, and even a previous existence, would be a blank. But the power to go back in memory over a past life is possible only because that portion of the brain through which memory is exercised, has experienced the changes and received the impressions of that life. In no other way could that brain matter be brought into the condition it is in at the moment of death; and no other brain matter but that would produce the con­sciousness of that past life. Thus every man’s identity is preserved. This much is essential to the new body. It is peculiarly organized by the experience through which it has passed; and that same matter and that identical organization [[227]] being restored, the individual is conscious that he is the same person, whatever other changes in his system may appear. New matter could not be taken and organized into these memory cells in a new being, so that the new-made person would be able to look back over a past life, and think he had lived that life when he had not; for “God cannot lie.”


The question now before us is how the future life, passing over the time between death and the resurrection, is connected with the present life so as to be a continua­tion of the same. At the moment a person loses con­sciousness in death, he can look back and remember the events of a past life. He can do this through the power of the mind, which is dependent on the action of the brain, and particularly that portion of the brain in which resides the power of memory. Memory can thus assert its sway only because that brain matter through which it is exercised has been brought into a peculiar state of organization or condition essentially its own, by the experiences through which it has passed on the plane of this life. Any other brain matter to be identically the same, must have been brought through the same process. This is why no two lives will ever clash, because God has not seen proper to give two individuals the same identical experience any more than the same identical countenance.


Now is it not evident that, at any future time, the same matter brought back into the same condition and revivified, will resume its consciousness just where it was dropped, run back over the same track of memory, and thus connect the future life truly with the past? This is all that will be required; but the amount of matter neces­sary for this operation is very small compared with the entire body; and there is no liability of its ever becoming inseparably mingled with any other matter, and no pos­sibility [[228]] of its ever becoming an essential part of any other being. Thus the objection arising from the supposed confusion of matter in the resurrection, vanishes entirely away.[32]


But as all vital phenomena result from organization, and the matter of which the body is composed consists only of certain chemical elements, the question may arise why the same chemical elements, without reference to the previous body, put together, or reorganized in the same manner, would not be all that is necessary in the resurrec­tion, or to constitute the resurrection. Largely this would be very true. One limitation only would seem to be nec­essary; and that is that that portion of the body through which consciousness and memory had been exercised dur­ing its earth life, should enter into the new body. And why this necessity? — Because no such matter elsewhere exists in the universe, inasmuch as this matter has been brought into the condition it is in, only by the experience through which the body has passed; and hence without this matter, identity of organization would be an impossibility. Therefore the Lord could not take, at random, a sufficient amount of chemical elements, for instance, for two bodies, and organize them precisely as two other bodies had been organized as they went down into the grave, and giving them life, thus cause two individuals to think that they had lived lives which they had not; or, organizing them pre­cisely alike, cause two individuals to think they had lived the same life, which they had not; for the Lord will keep himself within the absolute bounds of truth. He could, of course, if he saw fit, cause two individuals to live iden­tically the same life; and then, in the resurrection, they would have identically the same organization, and be able to look back over a life identically the same, which would all be true if each had lived that life, but not otherwise. [[229]] But this the Lord has never done, and therefore each one’s life in the resurrection will be identically his own.


That such part of the old body is necessary to the new, to preserve continuity of consciousness and memory, is made necessary in view of the statements of the Scrip­tures, which show that when the dead are raised, they must come from certain definite localities. Thus Isaiah says: “Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust,” etc. Isa. 26:19. ‘‘All that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth.” John 5:28. And the prophet, doubtless referring to the resurrection, records the words of the Lord, as follows: “I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back:  Bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth.” Isa. 43:6. And in the last gathering to the Judgment, it is said that “the sea gave up the dead which were in it.” Rev. 20:13.


Now why call the dead out of the graves where they have been buried; why from the north and the south; and especially why from the sea, if the bodies can all be made up together from chemical elements found in common in any convenient locality? But more than this, why not form all the bodies necessary from better material up in heaven, and save the trouble of coming down here to form the bodies out of earth’s poor elements, and take so great a multitude of bodies back to heaven? A few angels only would suffice to gather the righteous living.


It is the resurrection of the body of which the Bible treats. It knows no other. In 1 Cor. 15:35, 36, Paul asserts an obvious fact, that nothing can be quickened (revived or resuscitated, as from death, or an inanimate state. — Webster), except it first die. To talk of a quick­ening or making alive of that which does not die, or [[230]] of a resurrection from the dead of that which does not go down into death, is richly deserving of the epithet which Paul there applies to it.


And what is it that shall be quickened in the resur­rection? The word of God replies, This mortal body. Rom. 8:11: “But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus Christ from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.” Again, in verse 23, Paul says: “Even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.” And in 1 Corinthians 15 Paul is as ex­plicit as he well can be on this subject. Verse 44: “It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body.” What does he mean by the natural body, and by its being sown? — He means the burial of our present bodies in the grave. So he says, in verses 42, 43: “So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: it is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power:  it is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body.” What is sown? — The natural body. Then what is raised?— The very same thing. IT is sown; IT is raised—raised in incorruption, in glory, in power, a spiritual body. Raised in this manner, the natural body becomes a spiritual body. Why? — Because the Spirit of him that raised up Christ quickens, resuscitates, or makes it alive again, as Paul wrote to the Romans. Should it be said that there is a natural body and a spiritual body in existence at the same time, we answer that, according to Paul, that is not so. He says (verse 46): “Howbeit, that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and after­ward that which is spiritual.” In verse 49 he says we have borne the image of the earthy, and we shall bear [[231]] (future) the image of the heavenly; and this will be when this mortal and corruptible, which is this mortal body, puts on incorruption (verses 52, 53), or is clothed upon with the “house from heaven.” 2 Corinthians 5.


To the Philippians, Paul testifies again on this point:  “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body.” This language is explicit. A change is to be wrought in the vile, mortal, or corruptible, body of this present state, not a spiritual body released from it, which never sees death and needs no change; and the change that is promised is that this body, taken as it now is, is to be fashioned, changed over, into the likeness of Christ’s glorious, immortal body.


4.  Bible Testimony for the Resurrection


Having thus shown that a future resurrection is an event of the most absolute necessity, inasmuch as without it there is no future existence for the human race (a fact which entirely destroys at one blow the doctrine of the immortality of the soul), we now propose to notice the prominence given to this doctrine of the resurrection in the sacred writings, and some of the plain declarations that it will surely take place.


1. The resurrection is the great event to which the sacred writers looked forward as the object of their hope. In the far distant ages, a day rose to their view in which the dead came forth from their graves, and stood before God; and before the coming of that day, they did not expect eternal life.


So Job testifies: “I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:  [[232]] and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.” Job 19:25, 26.


David entertained the same satisfactory hope. “As for me,” he says, “I shall be satisfied when I awake with thy likeness [that is, awake from the sleep of death].” Ps. 17:15.


Isaiah struck some thrilling notes on the same theme:  “Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust:  for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.” Isa. 26:19.


It was the hope of Paul, that eminent apostle, through all his sufferings and toils. For this he could sacrifice any temporal good, and take up any cross. He assures us that he considered his afflictions, his troubles on every side, his perplexities, persecutions, stripes, imprison­ments, and perils, but light afflictions; yea, he could utterly lose sight of them; and then he tells us why he could do it: it was in view of “the glory which shall be revealed in us,” “knowing,” says he, “that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.” 2 Cor. 4:14. The assurance that he should be raised up at the last day, and be presented with the rest of the saints, when the Lord shall present to his Father a church without spot or wrinkle or any such thing (Eph. 5:27), sustained him under all his burdens. The resurrection was the staff of his hope. Again, he says that he could count all things loss, if by any means he might attain to a resurrection (exanastasis) out from among the dead. Phil. 3:8-11.


Another passage expresses, as clearly as language can do it, the apostle’s hope. 2 Cor. 1:8, 9: “For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble [[233]] which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life: but we had the sentence of death in our­selves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead.” Paul could not trust in himself, because he was mortal. He must therefore put his trust in God; and he tells us why he does this: not because God had promised him any happiness as a disembodied soul, but because he was able and willing to raise him from the dead. Paul “kept back nothing that was profit­able,” and did not shun “to declare all the counsel of God;” yet he never once endeavored to console himself or his brethren by any allusion to a disembodied state of existence, but passed over this as if it were not at all to be taken into the account, and fixed all his hope on the resurrection. Why this, if going to heaven or hell at death be a gospel doctrine?


2. The resurrection is the time to which prophets and apostles looked forward as the day of their reward. Should any one carefully search the Bible to ascertain the time which it designates as the time of reward to the righteous, and punishment to the wicked, he would find it to be, not at death, but at the resurrection. Our Saviour clearly set forth this fact in Luke 14:13, 14: “But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: and thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recom­pense thee; for thou shalt be recompensed,”—not at death, but — “at the resurrection of the just.”


Mark also the language by which the Lord would restrain that voice of weeping which was heard in Ramah. When Herod sent forth and slew all the children in Beth­lehem from two years old and under, hoping thereby to put to death the infant Saviour, then was fulfilled, says [[234]] Matthew, what was spoken by the prophet, “In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted because they are not.” But what said the Lord to Rachel? See the original prophecy, Jer. 31:15-17: “Thus saith the Lord; Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears: for thy work shall be rewarded, saith the Lord; and they shall come again from the land of the enemy. And there is hope in thine end, saith the Lord, that thy children shall come again to their own border.”


Not thus would the mourning Rachels of the 19th cen­tury be comforted by the professed shepherds of the flock of Christ. They would tell them, “Refrain thy voice from weeping; for thy sons are now angel cherubs, chant­ing their joyful anthems in their heavenly Father’s home.” But the Lord points the mourners in Ramah forward to the resurrection for their hope; and though till that time their children “were not,” or were out of conscious ex­istence, in the land of death, the great “enemy” of our race, yet, says the Lord, they shall come again from the land of the enemy, they shall return again to their own border, and thy work shall be rewarded; and he bids them refrain their voices from weeping, their eyes from tears, and their hearts from sorrow, in view of that glori­ous event.


The apostles represent the day of Christ’s coming and the resurrection as the time when the saints will receive their crowns of glory. Says Peter, “And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.” 1 Peter 5:4. And Paul says that there is laid up for him a crown of righteousness, and not for him only, but for all those also that love his [[235]] appearing, and which shall be given him in that day (the day of Christ’s appearing). These holy apostles were not expecting their crowns of reward sooner than this.


All this is utterly inconsistent with the idea of a con­scious intermediate state, and rewards or punishments at death. But the word of God must stand, and the theories must bow to its authority, and be made to har­monize with its teaching.


In 1 Cor. 15:32 Paul further tells us when he ex­pected to reap advantage or reward for all the dangers he incurred here in behalf of the truth: “If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? Let us eat and drink; for to-morrow we die.” If without a resur­rection he would receive no reward, it is evident that he expected his reward at that time, but not before. His language here is, moreover, a reiteration of verse 18, that if there is no resurrection, “they which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.”


Our Lord testifies that of all which the Father had given him he should lose nothing, but would raise it up at the last day. This language is also at once a positive declaration that the resurrection shall take place, and that without this event all is lost. To the same effect is 1 Cor. 15:52, 53: “The trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.” Here is a plain announcement that the resurrection will take place; that the change mentioned will be wrought at that time; and that this change must take place, or we cannot inherit the kingdom of God. Verse 50. Therefore without a resurrection, none who have fallen in death will ever behold the kingdom of God. [[236]]


3. The resurrection is made the basis of many of the comforting promises of Scripture. 1 Thess. 4: 16, 17:  “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the Archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” Although this passage has already been referred to, we quote it again, to show that God designed that from these prom­ises we should comfort ourselves and one another in that keenest of all our afflictions, and the darkest of all our hours— the hour of bereavement. For the apostle im­mediately adds, “Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” Is it to such facts as these — the second coming of Christ and the resurrection of the dead — that the theology of our day appeals to alleviate the sorrow which the human heart will feel for the loss of departed loved ones? Here, if anywhere, and on this subject, if on any that the apostle has anywhere taken up, should come in the modern doctrine of uninterrupted conscious existence in the intermediate state, if this doctrine is true, and the one from which we are to derive consolation the hour of bereavement. But Paul was evidently against any such doctrine, and so denies it a place on the page of truth, but passes right over to the resurrection as the place where comfort is to be found for the mourners.


As the resurrection is inseparably connected with the second coming of Christ, the words of Christ in John 14:1-3 are equally in point on this question. When he was about to leave his sorrowing disciples, he told them that he was going to prepare a place for them; he in­formed them, moreover, of his design, that they should ultimately be with himself. But how was this to be [[237]] accomplished? Was it through death by which a death­less spirit would be released to soar away to meet its Saviour?— No; but says he, I will come again and receive you unto myself, that where I am there ye may be also. Should any say that this coming of the Saviour is at death, we reply that the disciples of our Lord did not so understand it. (See John 21: 22, 23.) Jesus incidentally remarked concerning one of his followers, “If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? Follow thou me;” and the saying went immediately abroad among the disciples, on the strength of these words, that that disciple should not die. So death was not to the disciples the coming of Christ.


The eminent and pious Joseph Alleine also testifies:


But we shall lift up our heads, because the day of our redemption draweth nigh. This is the day I look for, and wait for, and have laid up all my hopes in. If the Lord return not, I profess myself undone; my preaching is vain, and my suffering is vain. The thing, you see, is established, and every circumstance is deter­mined. How sweet are the words that dropped from the precious lips of our departing Lord! What generous cordials bath he left us in his parting sermon and his last prayer! And yet of all the rest, these are the sweetest: “I will come again and receive you unto myself, that where I am, there ye may be also.”[33]


Dr. Clarke, in his general remarks on 1 Corinthians 15, says: 


The doctrine of the resurrection appears to have been thought of much more consequence among the primitive Christians than it is now. How is this? The apostles were continually insisting on it, and exciting the followers of God to diligence, obedience, and cheer­fulness through it. And their successors in the present day seldom mention it. . . . There is not a doctrine in the gospel on which more stress is laid; and there is not a doctrine in the present system of preaching which is treated with more neglect.[34]


Ezekiel’s vision of the valley of dry bones (chapter 37) [[238]] is entitled to a prominent place in the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead, as it not only affirms in the most positive manner that such an event as the literal resurrection of the body is to take place, but also sets forth the manner of its accomplishment.


The prophet was set down in a valley full of bones which were very dry; and the question was asked him whether these bones could live. He was then commanded to prophesy upon them, and the command was accompanied with marvelous promises of what God would do for them. He prophesied, and there was a stir among time bones; each sought its requisite place; flesh and sinews came upon them, and skin covered them. But as yet they were lifeless; for no breath was imparted to them. Being commanded, he prophesied again; and when he did so, breath came from the four winds, and entered into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceed­ing great army.


The Lord then explained to the prophet the meaning of the vision. He said that these bones represented “the whole house of Israel;” and it was designed as a visible representation of a promise which he was commanded to give them in these words: “Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, and shall put my Spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the Lord have spoken it, and performed it, saith the Lord.” Eze. 37:11-14.


It is sometimes said that this representation was simply a figure to show to Israel that they would be rescued from [[239]] their captivity; that while they were in bondage, they might well be compared to men buried in the grave, and the opening of the grave and bringing them forth and causing them to live, simply represented the fact that they were to be in due time released from their captivity, and again established in the land of their fathers. We reply that, even if this is the correct view of it, it is equally to our purpose in the present argument; for it must still be admitted that dead men are taken to represent the house of Israel in captivity; and the bringing of these dead men to life is made to represent the restoration of Israel to the land of their nativity. But it would be most manifestly improper to represent anything as transpiring in reference to the dead (excepting, of course, in a parable, which this is not), no matter what it was to illustrate, which never was to transpire in their cases. If the bones of dead men are never to come to their places, and no sinews, flesh, and skin are ever to cover them, and breath enter into them, and they live, such a representation could not truthfully be made, and hence certainly never would have been used on the inspired page. Therefore the very use of such a representation, no matter what we may consider it to illustrate, is proof positive that the dead will live again, and will live in the manner and by the means there set forth. Should we admit that the prophecy may refer primarily to temporal blessings upon the literal Israel, we still think it must have a broad and ultimate application including the “whole” house of Israel, even the patri­archs who died without receiving the promise, and all the “seed of Abraham,” even those who become such through Christ (Gal. 3:29); and that it sets forth the literal res­urrection of the dead, that being the means by which the true Israel are to be brought to their promised heavenly [[240]] inheritance (Acts 26: 6-8), and the only means by which this can be secured. 


            The manner of the resurrection of the dead seems also to be clearly taught by implication in 1 Cor. 15:29:  “Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? Why are they then baptized for the dead?” What connection has baptism with the resurrection of the dead? — Just this: by baptism we show our faith in the burial and resurrection of Christ. As Christ was buried in the sepulcher, so the believer is buried in the water; and he is raised up out of his temporary tomb as Christ was raised from the dead. By this act he illustrates and manifests faith in these great events in the life of Christ. But if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not raised, and these events have never occurred in his experience; and why, then, do we perform an act which shows our faith in them, and subject ourselves to all the inconvenience and jeopardy involved in a profession of his name? Why are we then “baptized for [huper, on account of] the dead,” a dead man, a dead Saviour?


But this affirmation that baptism is a figure of the resurrection through which faith is expressed in that great event, shows that the resurrection of all believers is to be like that of Christ, a bodily resurrection out from an opened grave.


Before dismissing the subject of the resurrection, a few collateral thoughts may be entitled to a passing notice. We have not maintained the necessity of identity of matter in the resurrection; that is, that all the same identical particles of matter which composed any body when it went into the grave, must be brought up again from the grave to constitute a resurrection of that body. On the other hand, we have shown how identity could be [[241]] preserved by an identical reorganization, not of all the matter of the body, but of the essential elements of which that body was composed. But this position is not taken as in any sense a concession to the claim that the resur­rection of the dead is an impossibility because the matter of the deceased body may be scattered to the ends of the earth, and be indistinguishably lost, or that it may, in the process of years and the course of its mutations, compose half a dozen different bodies; and as they cannot each have these same particles, the doctrine of the resurrection must be discarded. We have seen how extremely im­probable it is that any one body would ever become, under any circumstances, an essential part of any other body, and how easily possible it is that it should never be so. Hence we may set this down as an “opposition of science, falsely so called.”


The poet wrote of Wycliffe, whose bones the papists dug out of the grave, burned in the fire, and then scat­tered the ashes into a neighboring brook, the Avon:


The Avon to the Severn runs,

The Severn to the sea;

And Wycliffe’s dust shall spread abroad,

Wide as the waters be.


And suppose that the dust of all the bodies of the dead was scattered to the ends of the earth, is it not all still in the world? And what is the world itself in God’s sight?— A mote in the sunbeam, a single grain of the small dust of the balance. It is not possible for the denizens of this little world to scatter the dust of God’s people a great ways from his presence; and we imagine he could easily find it all again and gather it together, if such an act were necessary.


Take the mature man of thirty years. From whence have come the particles which compose that full robust [[242]] body? — They have come through the workings of God’s providence and the operation of his laws, from every land, and every wind, and every sea, under the canopy of heaven. How long has it taken to gather them? —On the ground that every living body passes through an entire physiological change every seven years, it has taken but seven years to gather and build up that body. All that the doctrine of the resurrection requires, is that God should do in a moment what he ordinarily does in a little space of time. And shall we deny that he can do this? Cannot he who can build up a human body in seven years with matter gathered from all over the world, do the same thing, if he so chooses, in seven thousandths of a second? Cannot he who with a word brought into existence the matter of the world itself, also with a word gather to­gether the scattered dust of any of its inhabitants from any part of its surface? To deny this is to come under the rebuke of Christ, “Ye do err, not knowing the Scrip­tures nor the power of God” and we wish the objection to stand in its true light.


The resurrection is simply a question of God’s promise and his power. Whatever he has said he will do, he can and will do. Into this field, philosophy with its rushlight has no right to come. We may not be able to see how a thing can be done, nor explain the modus operandi of his work; but it is neither piety nor philosophy to make the limits of our finite powers the measure of his might.


Again, as to the nature of the matter of the immortal body beyond the resurrection, our conceptions must be exceedingly imperfect and obscure. “It is raised,” says the apostle, ‘‘in glory.” “It is raised a spiritual body.” “Changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.” “For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and the mortal must put on immortality.” “Fashioned like unto [[243]] his glorious body.” 1 Cor. 15:43, 44, 51-53; Phil. 3:21. Of the nature of this change we can form no adequate conception. What the constitution of our bodies will be, or the nature of the matter that will com­pose them, we cannot tell. We have only these expres­sions to guide us: “in glory,” “in power,” “in incorruption,” “spiritual.” If any one should say that the change is so radical and complete that it will not be the same matter that it was before, how can it be proved that it will not be? Chemists tell us that charcoal and diamonds consist of the same element — pure carbon. Yet to all outward appearance, how different their substance and properties!


5.  The Resurrection of the Wicked


In view of the general and comprehensive statements of the Scriptures concerning the resurrection, it is impos­sible to discriminate between the two classes, the right­eous and the wicked, and affirm that while the one class, the righteous, are to be raised, the other, the wicked, are never to be brought out of their graves, as some now contend. This position, it is not needful to answer here in detail. We leave its individual arguments to be an­swered by those texts which assert that the same “all” who die, shall also be made alive (1 Cor. 15:22); that all who are in their graves shall hear his voice and shall come forth; they that have done good unto the resurrec­tion of life, and they that have done evil unto the resur­rection of damnation (John 5:28, 29.); that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust (Acts 24:15); and that after the first resurrection, em­bracing all the righteous dead (Rev. 20:6), the “rest of the dead,” which must include all the wicked, lived not again for a thousand years (verse 5), when of course they [[244]] will live again. It will be sufficient here to speak only of the philosophy of God’s dealings with the children of men, the underlying principle of which forever settles the question of the resurrection of the wicked. In the light of this principle, as a few words will suffice to show, it can be clearly seen that all the wicked must have a resur­rection, and be judged for their personal acts and punished therefore; and that the close of this present life, no matter under what circumstances, nor for what purpose it may occur, cannot by any possibility pay the penalty for the sins of this life, and release the individual from all further accountability to God.


It will be admitted by all that Adam was placed on probation, and that the penalty of death, absolute and irrevocable, was affixed to the violation of the command not to eat of the forbidden tree. There was no provision made for mitigation or removal of this penalty. While yet he had no posterity, he partook of the forbidden fruit, and the sentence passed upon him, “Unto dust shalt thou return;” till which time he was to eat his bread by the sweat of his brow.


How did that affect those who were to come after I —Adam could bequeath to his posterity no higher nature than he himself possessed — a nature, after his transgres­sion, not only liable, but inevitably doomed, to death. The same plane of being was his children’s only heritage— a heritage of wearing toil during the period of their life, and after that, death. And this, remember, was because their father Adam had sinned in the matter of the forbidden tree.


The apostle makes an explicit statement of this fact. He says (Rom. 5:12): “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” When [[245]] did death pass upon all men? — When the natural father of all men subjected himself to death by sin. From that moment it became a fixed fact that every human being who should appear in this world, would be subject to death. Instead of the words “for that” in the last clause, “for that all have sinned “ he Greek has eph ho, “through,” or “on account of,” whom all have sinned. The margin has “in whom;” that is, in the “one man,” Adam, by whom sin entered into the world. Again the apostle says (1 Cor. 15:22), “In Adam all die.”


Adam’s sin, trial, and sentence marked the end of probation with him, so far as it concerned that fret offer of life which God had given him, which was suspended upon his obedience. And had nothing more been done, it would have been the end of probation for all. So long as God saw fit to let men propagate themselves upon the earth, their lot would have been simply a hopeless life, to be terminated by an inevitable and eternal death.


But immediately upon Adam’s failure under that first arrangement, supervened the plan of salvation through Jesus Christ. Before the first penalty was fully carried out, there was time for Adam to have another trial; and through the intervention of Christ, this opportunity was given him. There was promised a “seed of the woman” who should bruise the serpent’s head. Adam was placed upon a new probation. In the promised seed, the Redeemer, a new hope was set before him; and he was taught how to manifest faith in that Redeemer by typical services, sacrifices, and offerings.


This arrangement also looked forward into the future,  and included all Adam’s posterity; else we had had no hope. A pertinent inquiry now arises; namely, How could the sentence of death already rendered, be inflicted [[246]] upon the whole human family so that there should be no sacrifice of authority, principle, or prestige on the part of God, and yet the new blessing of a hope of life through Christ be placed within their reach? — It could be done in this way: Let men live, and, without any reference to their own personal actions, let them die in Adam, as the apostle assures us that they do. This fulfils the Adamic penalty for the Adamic sin, under the Adamic covenant. Then let all men, irrespective of character, be brought by Christ out from this condition of Adamic death, into which they fell through no fault of their own, once more to the plane of life; and being then alive beyond the extreme limits of the effects of the Adamic covenant, and fall, and death penalty, nothing remains but that they answer for their own course of conduct; and receive such destiny as shall be determined thereby— if guilty, through their own sins, to suffer the same penalty for their sin that Adam suffered for his, which is death, and which to them is the “second” death, and will be eternal, because no further plan of redemption relieves them from it, as Adam’s would have been had it not been for the plan of salvation introduced by Christ and if righteous, through faith in Christ, to enter then upon a life which will be eternal.


This is the result to be reached, and the way here indicated being the only possible way to reach it, we may set it down as the actual arrangement in the case. And so Paul, when he declares that all men die in Adam, immediately adds, “even so in Christ shall all [the whole human family] be made alive.” 1 Cor. 15:22.


Let the situation before and after Adam’s sin be clearly understood. Adam was placed upon probation with life or death before him under the unconditional test of obedience or disobedience. Before he had any [[247]] posterity, he sinned. His probation ended, and the sen­tence (which no arrangements had been made to avert) was pronounced upon him, arid immediately began to be executed; that is, his nature, before capable of life, was now fixed to a state of mortality and decay; and at the end of nine hundred and thirty years, the sentence was fully carried out in his death. This settled the account with Adam and Eve, under that first arrangement: a penalty was affixed to sin, as was right and just; the sin had been committed, and the penalty paid, as God had said.


By the plan of salvation which was then revealed, God and Christ graciously granted man another trial. Adam was placed upon a new probation; but this did not affect in the least the sentence of death passed upon him for his failure under his first probation. But now he had only a mortal, dying nature, and he could entail nothing better than this upon his posterity; therefore they all must die as well as himself. But there was this difference: When Adam died, it was in his case the penalty of his own personal sin under his first probation; when his posterity die, it is not to them a penalty for their own personal sins, but a result to them of Adam’s sin, by which he acquired a moral nature and transmitted it to them. When Adam was placed upon a new probation, of course it gave to all his posterity a probation for themselves; for he begat them to the same condition with himself. Being on probation, they are of course subject to all the condi­tions of a probation; namely, life and death set before them, a judgment to decide upon their actions, and sen­tence to be rendered and executed according to their works — death for disobedience, and life for righteous­ness through repentance and faith. [[248]]


But how can this be carried out, since we are all under the sentence of death, anyway, on account of Adam’s sin? Answer: The plan of salvation involves the resur­rection of all men, irrespective of character, from the first death, to place them beyond the results of Adam’s trans­gression, that they may be judged on their own personal merits. Therefore, as in Adam the author of the fall, all men die, so in Christ, the author of the plan of re­demption, all men are raised from that death, and then stand before the bar of judgment on their own merits, to receive according to their own deeds. Now to say that God will not raise and judge and execute a person because it is known that he threw away the period of his probation in sin, is to say that God will deviate from his plan, fail to fulfill his own threatenings, and reduce this portion of his government to a farce.


We are now prepared still further to draw conclusions. When Adam, some nine hundred and thirty years after his experience in Eden, died, he died because he ate of the forbidden tree, not because of anything he did after that event. But if, after the Judgment, Adam shall be found worthy of the second death, and be consigned to that fate, it will not be because he ate of the forbidden tree, but because of what he did, and did not repent of, after that event. When Methuselah and Noah and Abra­ham died, it was not because of any sins they had per­sonally committed, but because their father Adam had transmitted to them a mortal nature.  And when Caligula, and Nero, arid Caesar Borgia, and Catharine de Medici, and Jeffreys, and Claverhouse died, it was not because they were themselves monsters of iniquity, but because they belonged to a death-doomed race. And when the antediluvians, and Sodomites, and Egyptians, and incorrigible [[249]] Jews died, it was not because of their personal sins, but because, in the beginning, death had passed “upon all men.” Therefore all these men must be raised to give account of their own personal actions to God.


Such is the inevitable conclusion from the established fact that we die the first death only in Adam, not on our own account. The second death is the only death in which is involved the result of our own personal actions; and this death is reached only after a person has passed through the first death, and is the termination of a second state of being.


Does not God, then, ever visit judgments upon men in this life for their sins —He certainly does, but to what extent?--Only so far as to anticipate by a brief period time death to which they are already doomed. And this is all that he could do; for the penalty of the second death cannot be reached till we have passed the first death.


Take the antediluvians, whose cases will illustrate all others. Their conduct became so intolerable that God could not suffer them to live out their days. Therefore he anticipated by a time the death which, on entirely other ground, was their inevitable portion. Had he not brought the flood upon them as a manifestation of his displeasure against their sins, they would have died any­way after a few years more of life; and had they been paragons of piety, they would have died just the same. But the death, whenever it came, would have been only the death in Adam, which must first be inflicted, because it had passed on all men; and in this death one’s own personal righteousness or guilt is in nowise involved.


Therefore the personal account of the antediluvians, and of all others who have gone down under special judgments, still remains unsettled; and they must have a [[250]] resurrection to answer therefore, and then receive the pen­alty for the same, which will be the second death. And so it will be with all the wicked. And this is no wanton act of cruelty on the part of God making men alive on purpose to put them to death again. But it is only carrying out the conditions on which alone a second probation could have been offered to man, and which, once offered, God could not ignore and remain true to himself. And so “every one of us shall give account of himself to God” (Rom. 14:12), and “all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” 2 Cor. 5:10.



Chapter XII



The Judgment to Come



We have seen how the grand doctrine of the future resurrection of the dead demolishes with its pon­derous weight the gossamer fabric of the immortality of the soul. There is another doctrine as Scriptural and as prominent as that of the resurrection which opposes its impregnable battlements to the same antiscriptural fable—the doctrine of the future general Judgment.


This doctrine and the theory of the conscious state of the dead cannot exist altogether. There is an antagonism between them, irreconcilable and irrepressible. If every man is judged at death, as he indeed must be if an im­mortal soul survives the dissolution of the body, and enters at once into the happiness or misery of the eternal state, according as its character has been good or bad there is no occasion and no room for a general Judgment in the future; and if, on the other hand, there is to be such a future Judgment, it is proof positive that the other doctrine is not true.


Now the Scriptures clearly teach that there is to be a general Judgment in the future, at which time such awards shall be rendered to every one as shall accord with the record of his deeds. A passage in Hebrews may seem to some minds to afford proof that the Judgment follows immediately after death, and this may, conse­quently, demand a brief notice at this point. Heb. 9:27:  “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the Judgment.”  [[252]]


For aught that the text declares, there may be as much space of time between death and the Judgment as inter­venes between the death of Abel and the end of the world. Therefore this text affirms nothing respecting the time that elapses between death and the Judgment. It does not assert that men are judged immediately after death, and in nowise antagonizes the idea that there is a literal period of judgment fixed for all at the close of the period of probation.


We return to the proposition that a future general Judgment is appointed. Paul reasoned before Felix of a Judgment to come. Acts 24:25. But as it may be said that this was to be experienced when Felix died, we will introduce another text, which not only speaks of this Judgment as future, but shows that it is future for the whole human family. Acts 17:31:  “Because he hath appointed a day in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.” Here it is announced in plain terms that the judgment of this world is that it is to take place at the time appointed, and that a day, or period, is set apart for this purpose.


Peter refers to the same day, and says that the angels that sinned, and the unjust of our own race, are reserved unto it. 2 Peter 2:4, 9. Again he says that this pres­ent earth is reserved unto fire, with which it shall be destroyed in that day. 2 Peter 3:7-12. Jude says that the angels that kept not their first estate are reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the Judgment of the great day. Jude 6. This is the day when Christ is represented as separate the good from the bad, as a shepherd divideth the sheep from the goats (Matt. 25:31-34); and the time to which John looked forward when [[253]] he said that he saw the dead, small and great, stand before God, and the books were opened, and they were judged out of those things written in the books.


The Judgment also stands, in many lines of prophecy, not as something which has been going forward from the beginning, not as taking place as each member of the human family passes from the stage of mortal existence, but as the great event with which the probation of the human race is to end. Testimony on this point need not be multiplied. It cannot be denied that a day is coming in which sentence will be rendered at once upon all who have lived a life of probation in this world — a sentence which shall decide their condition for the eternity that lies beyond.


This fact being established, its bearing upon the ques­tion of consciousness in death cannot be overlooked. For if every human being at death passes at once into a state of reward or punishment, what occasion is there for a future general Judgment, that a second decision may be rendered in their cases? Is it possible that a mistake was made in the former decision? Possible that some are now writhing in the flames of hell, who should be basking in the bliss of heaven? Possible that some are taking their fill of happiness in the bowers of paradise, whose corrupt hearts and criminal life demand that they should have their place with fiends in the lowest hell? And if mis­takes have once been made in the sentence rendered, may they not be made again? What assurance can we have that, though we may be entitled by thorough repentance to the happiness of heaven, we may not be sentenced for all eternity to the damnation of hell? Is it possible that such foul blots of injustice stand upon the record of the government of heaven? — Yes, if the conscious-state [[254]] theory be true! We arraign that theory face to face with this stupendous fact, and bid it behold its work. It destroys God’s omniscience! It charges him with imperfection! It accuses his government of mistakes which are worse than crimes! Is any theory, which is subject to such overwhelming imputations, worthy of a moment’s credence?


To avoid the foregoing fatal conclusions, is it said that sentence is not passed at death, but that the dead are held somewhere in a state of suspense, without being either rewarded or punished till the Judgment? Then we inquire how this can be harmonized with the invari­able arguments which immaterialists use on this question? For is it not claimed from Fed. 12:7, that the spirit goes immediately to God to receive sentence from the hand of its Creator? Is it not claimed from Luke 16:23 that the rich man was immediately after death in hell, in torment? Is it not claimed from Luke 23:43, that the repentant thief was that very day with Christ in the joys of para­dise? If these instances and arguments are abandoned let it be so understood. If not, then no such after­thought as a suspension of Judgment in the intermediate state, can be resorted to, to shield the conscious-state dogma from the charges above mentioned.


We close this argument with a paragraph from the candid pen of H. H. Dobney, Baptist minister of Eng­land. He says:


There is something of awkwardness, which the Scriptures seem to avoid, in making beings who have already entered, and many ages since, on a state of happiness or misery, come from those abodes to be judged, and to receive a formal award to the very con­dition which has long been familiar to them. To have been in heaven with Christ for glorious ages, and then to stand at his bar for judgment, and be invited to enter heaven as their eternal home, [[255]] as though they had not been there already, scarcely seems to look exactly like the Scripture account while it would almost appear to be wanting in congruity. Nor is this all. There is another diffi­culty; namely, that the idea of a saint already “with Christ,” “pres­ent with the Lord” (who is in heaven, be it remembered, in his resurrection and glorified body, wherewith he ascended from the brow of Olivet), coming from heaven to earth to glide into a body raised simultaneously from the ground, he being in reality already possessed of a spiritual body, would seem an invention which has not one syllable in Scripture to give it countenance.[35] [[256]]



Chapter XIII



The Life Everlasting


A SUBLIME faith is announced in the closing words of the “Apostle’s Creed;” “I believe in . . . the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting.” This life everlasting is the great theme of the gospel; and the careful student will notice that inspiration has chosen a special word to designate it. Among the different kinds of life brought to view in the New Testament, and the different terms employed to describe them, one particular term seems to be consecrated to be the vehicle of expres­sion whenever this higher and more lasting life is referred to. Of the one hundred and thirty times of its occurrence, not more than ten times is it used to designate anything else but the everlasting life to be conferred by the Son of God upon his people; and most of these may, by impli­cation, be referred to the same thing. This word is zoe; and no other term is ever used to describe the life which is set before us as the hope of the gospel. This term is always translated ‘‘life.”


There is another kind of life also spoken of in the New Testament Scriptures, and another term is used to indicate it. This is the physical, animal, transitory life common to all living creatures; and the term employed to express it is psuche. This word is never coupled with the adjectives “eternal” and “everlasting;” and, with the exception of one expression, is never applied to the future life.  [[257]]


The Saviour uses the expression (several times quoted in the Gospels), “He that loseth his life for my sake, shall find it.” Here the word rendered “life” is psuche; and it is used in its proper sense, referring to this present life. The future life is then referred to by the pronoun “it” (auten), which by grammatical construction belongs to the psuche just before expressed. We are, however, to consider the more than a hundred and twenty times in which we are assured that the future eternal life we are to enjoy is the zoe-life; and this includes all that is essential to the psuche-life, and infinitely more. In the former, the latter is absorbed and swallowed up. Hence, while grammatically the idea is limited to a future psuche-life, logically the (auten) “it,”’ which we are to find thereafter, if for Christ’s sake we lay down our psuche here, embraces the zoe-life; and hence the expression can hardly be taken as an exception to the rule above stated.


The distinction between these words should be care­fully noted. Zoe is always rendered “life.” Psuche is forty times rendered “life,” but is fifty-eight times trans­lated by the word “soul.” This has tended greatly to confuse the subject, and mislead the reader. If some uniform rendering could have been given to this word, showing it to represent some lower kind of life than zoe, a distinction would have been preserved quite essential to a clear understanding of the subject.


Take these examples: “In him was [zoe] life; and the [zoe] life was the light of men.” John 1:4. “And this is the record that God hath given to us [zoen aionion] eternal life, and this [zoe] life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath [zoen] life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not [zoen] life.” 1 John 5:11, 12. “We know that we have passed from death unto [zoen] life, because we love the brethren.” 1 John 3:14.  [[258]]  But in only the second verse from this statement (verse 16) we have this: “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his [puschen] life for us; and we ought to lay down our [psuchas] lives for the brethren.”


The psuche-life we derive from Adam; for “so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living [psuchen] soul.” The zoe-life we derive from Christ; for “the last Adam was made a [zoopoioun] quickening spirit” (1 Cor. 15:45); that is, the one who gives zoe-life. This Adamic life we have first; we obtain the spiritual zoe-life afterward; for so the record continues (verse 46) “Howbeit that was not first which was spiritual, but that which is [psuchikon] natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.” The psuche-life is never said to be eternal or everlasting; the zoe-life is always everlasting; that is to say, whenever the terms “eternal” and “everlasting” are used in connection with “life,” it is always the zoe-life. The other is common to all living creatures; it is of the earth, earthy, transitory, and destined to come to an end. And he who possesses nothing better nor higher than this life, must at last perish and become extinct.


How, then, are we to secure a title to the life ever­lasting?— Only through Christ; for he alone is the (zoe) life; and he that hath not the Son, hath not life. The psuche-life we obtain through generation; the zoe-life through re-generation. The latter comes to us from another source, through a different channel; it is of a different nature, spiritual and divine. It is the life of God, through which alone we become partakers of the divine nature. “For the law of the Spirit of [zoe] life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” Rom. 8:2. “The true antithesis,” says Trench, “of zoe is thanatos [death].” [[259]]


This life we do not now in reality possess. According to a text already quoted, God hath given unto us this eternal life (in purpose); but this life “is in the Son.” So long as we are united to Christ by faith, so long we have a connection with this life which will, if continued, give it to us in actual possession at last. The evidence and representative of this life for the present time, is the Holy Spirit, which we have in our hearts. For the apostle says, “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” Rom. 8:9. If he is none of Christ’s, he has not Christ; and if he have not Christ (or the Son), the other text assures us, he has not (zoe) life. And this is the only life that takes hold upon the future. If a man has not the Spirit of Christ, he has no hold upon this life; if he has that Spirit, then he has a sure pledge of it. And if with that Spirit in his heart he even falls in death, he sleeps “in Jesus “ and his ‘‘life is hid with Christ in God.” Col. 3:3. And then “when Christ, who is our (zoe) life, shall appear.” we, receiving from his hand the actual gift of the life everlasting, “shall appear with him in glory.” Verse 4.


Thus Christ becomes the second Adam, sustaining the same relation to the multitudes endowed with eternal life that the first Adam sustains to the inhabitants of this world, possessed of their temporary, physical, and mortal life. He is the great Life-giver, the author of eternal salvation to all them that believe. But if we say that I every man has eternal life in his own nature by creation, we rob Christ of his high prerogative, and his crowning glory. And this is done by that system of theology which has been dominant in Christendom ever since the great apostasy was accomplished in the Christian church, and the Dark Ages settled down upon the world. And how tenacious still are multitudes of this view which so [[260]] dishonors our divine Redeemer! In the language of another, “How unwilling dying man is to put his entire dependence on Him who died to redeem him from death! How reluctant he is to give him all the glory of his salvation!

We point the reader to a more excellent way — a way which shall in the end prevail; for finally every creature shall ascribe the praise and glory of his salvation to Him who sitteth upon the throne and unto the Lamb. Let us begin here to anticipate the true strains in that song of adoration.  [[261]]



Chapter XIV



The Wages of Sin


One question more than others all,

From thoughtful minds implores reply;

It is, as breathed from star and pall,

What fate awaits us when we die?

— Alger.


            We have now examined the teaching of the Bible rela­tive to man, in his creation, in his life, in his death, and in the intermediate state to his resurrection; and we have found its uniform and explicit testimony to be that he has no inherent, inalienable principle in his nature which is exempt from death; but that the only avenue of life beyond the grave is through the resurrection. We have found also that such a resurrection to a second life is decreed for all the race; and now the more momentous question, what the issue of that existence is to be, presents itself for solution.


Natural, or temporal, death we die in Adam. This death visits all alike, irrespective of character. The sincerest saint falls under its power as inevitably as the most reckless sinner. This cannot be our final end; for it would not be in accordance with justice that our ulti­mate fate should hinge on a transaction, like the sin of Adam, in which we did not personally and consciously participate, and for which we are therefore in no degree responsible. Every person must be the arbiter of his own destiny. To secure this, the redemption which intervenes through Christ, provides for all a release from the death entailed upon us by the Adamic transgression, in order [[262]] that every person’s individual acts may constitute the record which shall determine his destiny beyond the grave. What is that destiny to be?


Our inquiry respects, not the future of the righteous, concerning which there is no material controversy, but that of the sinner. Is his fate an eternity of life in a devouring fire which is forever unable to devour him? An eternal approach of death which never really arrives?


Fettered by the doctrine of the immortality of the soul two opposite conclusions are reached by those who connect this doctrine with two different classes of Scrip­ture declarations. One class, reading that the punish­ment of the sinner is to be “eternal” (Matt. 25:46), and holding that man has an inherent immortality which can never cease to be conscious, at once comes to the terrible conclusion of an eternity of conscious suffering, an eternal hell, as taught by Augustine. Another class, connecting it with the declarations that God’s anger shall not always burn against the wicked, but that a time comes when every intelligence in the universe, in the plenitude of joy, is heard ascribing honor, and blessing, and praise to God (Rev. 5:13), speedily reaches the conclusion of universal restoration as taught by Origen. And if the doctrine of the immortality of the soul be a Scriptural doctrine, then the Scriptures are found supporting these two diametrically opposite conclusions.


We have seen that the Scriptures do not teach any such inherent immortality as is claimed for man; this, therefore cannot embarrass our investigation of this ques­tion. God can continue the existence of the wicked to all eternity after the resurrection, if he so chooses; but if so, the doctrine must rest on explicit statements of the Scrip­tures to that effect. Paul says plainly that the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23); and as we do not receive [[263]] wages for the work of another, this must be a declaration of what will result to every individual for a course of sin on his own part; and before this can be made to mean eternal life in misery, the present constitution of language must be destroyed, and new definitions be given to established terms. This declaration of Paul is the true ground between the errors above mentioned. It not only harmonizes all the Bible on this question, but has abundance of positive testimony in its favor.


1.  The future punishment threatened to the wicked is to be eternal in its duration. The establishment of this proposition of course annuls the universal restoration view of Origen; and the nature of this punishment, involving a state of death, overthrows alike the “restoration” taught by Origen, and the eternal hell of conscious suf­fering, taught by Augustine.


One “Thus saith the Lord” is sufficient for the estab­lishment of any doctrine. One such we offer in support of the proposition now before us. Speaking of the repro­bate, Christ says, “And these shall go away into ever­lasting punishment,” and immediately adds concerning the righteous, “but the righteous, into life eternal.” Here the same Greek word, aionios, is used to express the duration of these opposite states. If, as must be ad­mitted, the word expresses unending duration in the case of the righteous, it must mean the same in that of the wicked.


To the same end we might refer to the words of Christ on two other occasions: John 3:36; Matt. 26:24. In the first of these passages he says: “He that believeth not the Son shall not see life;” that is, eternal life. But if, after a certain period of suffering, such persons are re­leased from that state by a restoration to God’s favor, this declaration could not be true. In the second, he [[264]] speaks of some of whom he says that it would be good for them if they had not been born. And this utterly precludes eludes the idea that they should ever be released to enter the bliss of heaven; for the first moment of such release would make amends for all past suffering; and throughout eternity they would praise God that they had been born.


The punishment of the wicked, alike with the reward of the righteous, is therefore to be eternal. Two unend­ing conditions are held out to men, and between the two they have the privilege of choosing in this life.


2. By what will the eternal state into which the wicked enter be characterized? That is, what is the nature of the “everlasting punishment” to which they are to be subjected? The Scriptures clearly show that it is the same penalty pronounced in the beginning against sin; namely, death: “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.” Eze. 18:20. “The wages of sin is death.” Rom. 6:23. It is called in Rev. 20:14, “the second death;” and it is “everlasting,” or “eternal,” because there is no resur­rection to follow.


The inquiry into the nature of the death threatened Adam, in Chapter VIII brought very clearly to view the fact that the penalty pronounced upon his sin reduced him in his entire being back to the dust of the earth, leav­ing no part of him conscious and active in the interme­diate state. And the same penalty stands against sin now as at the beginning. For our personal sins, death is now threatened against us, as it was against him. This is the second death; and those who fall under this will be re­duced to the same condition as that into which Adam was brought by his death, with no promise nor possibility of ever being released therefrom.


Eze. 18:26: “When a righteous man turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and [[265]] dieth in them; for his iniquity that he hath done shall he die.”


Two deaths are mere unmistakably brought to view:  first, the death common to this state of being, which all share alike, good and bad, which is called the first, or temporal, death; secondly, a future death to be inflicted on the following conditions: if a person dies the first death in a state of sin, that is, with sins upon him of which he does not repent before he dies,[36] then for, or because of, those sins that he has committed, he shall die again. Another death awaits him. The first death was not, as has already been noticed, for his personal trans­gressions; for this is entailed upon all alike through Adam, both good and bad. But every one is to die for his own sins unless he repents.  How is this to be brought about? — He is to be raised from the first death and judged; and if sins are then found upon him, for those sins he suffers the same penalty— death; and being thus reduced to death again, he will forever remain dead; for from this death there is no release nor redemption pro­vided. This is the “second death,” and is the “everlast­ing punishment” in store for all the workers of iniquity.


Paul says (Rom. 6:23), “The wages of sin is death;” and James (1:15) corroborates this testimony by saying, “Sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” In Romans 2 Paul tells us of certain characters which are certainly deserving, if any can be, of eternal torture; but, in passing sentence upon them, he does not draw out be­fore us a picture of unending conscious misery, a course for which he has the most appropriate occasion, if it be true, but only tells us, in accordance with reason as well as revelation, that they are worthy of death. But death is a state which can be reached only on a complete extinction of life. As long as there is any life about a [[266]] man, he is not dead. “The death that never dies” is a contradiction of terms.  Nor can a person properly be said to be dying, unless he is tending to a state of death which he will by and by reach. And yet the popular view of this subject is well expressed by Thomas Vincent in the following language:


The torments of hell will not be in one part only, but in every part; not in a weaker degree, but in the greatest extremity; not for a day, or a month, or a year, but forever: the wicked will be always dying, never dead; the pangs of death will ever be upon them, and yet they shall never give up the ghost; if they could die they would think themselves happy; they will always be roaring, and never breathe out their last; always sinking, and never come to the bottom; always burning in those flames, and never con­sumed; the eternity of hell will be the hell of hell.


Again the Lord says, speaking of a certain class of his enemies, “For yet a little while, and the indigna­tion shall cease, and mine anger in their destruction.” Isa. 10:25. This is the conclusive testimony that all those with whom the Lord has occasion to be angry, as he is with all the wicked (Ps. 7:11), will be finally destroyed, and in that destruction his anger toward them will cease. Yet the majority of the divines tell us that God’s “fiery indignation and incensed fury” toward them will never cease; that he will never literally destroy them, but will forever torment them, and keep them alive expressly that he may torment them. Says Benson:


He will exert all his divine attributes to make them as wretched as the capacity of their nature will admit. [And he continues,] They must be perpetually swelling their enormous sums of guilt, and still running deeper, immensely deeper, in debt to divine and infinite justice. Hence after the longest imaginable period, they will be so far from having discharged their debt that they will find more due than when they first began to suffer.


Thus the sinner is represented as being able to dis­tance in sin the power of Omnipotence to punish. They [[267]] go on accumulating loads of guilt in their rebellion against the divine government; while God exerting all his divine attributes, follows tardily after, in fruitless efforts to make the terrors of his punishment adequate to the infini­tude of their guilt. O horrid picture of perverted imag­ination! Did we not believe its authors labored under the sincere conviction that they were doing God service; and did we not know that many good and estimable per­sons still defend the doctrine under an earnest, though mistaken zeal for God, it would deserve to be styled the most arrant blasphemy.


This condition of the finally reprobate, so often and so distinctly defined as a state of death, is also set forth by very many other expressions, by every variety of phrase, in fact, which expresses, in the most complete and abso­lute manner, an utter loss of existence.


Henry Constable, A. M., in his work, says:


But it is not only by this phrase, “death,” that the Old Testament describes the punishment of the ungodly. By every expres­sion in the Hebrew language, significant of loss of life, loss of existence, the resolution of organized substance into its original parts, its reduction to that condition in which it is as though it had never been called into being— by every such expression does the Old Testament describe the end of the ungodly:  “The destruction of the transgressors and the sinners shall be together,” “prepare them for the day of slaughter,” “the slain of the Lord shall be many,” “they shall go forth and look upon the carcasses of the men that have sinned,” “God shall destroy them,” “they shall be con­sumed,” “they shall be cut off,” “they shall be rooted out of the land of the living,” “blotted out of the book of life,” “they are not.”  The Hebrew scholar will see from the above passages that there is no phrase of the Hebrew language significant of all destruction short of that philosophical annihilation of elements which we do not assert, which is not used to denote the end of the ungodly.[37]


Dr. R. F. Weymouth, a distinguished scholar, says: [[268]]


 My mind fails to conceive a grosser misinterpretation of lan­guage than when five or six of the strongest words which the Greek tongue possesses, signifying “destroy” or “destruction” are ex­plained to mean maintaining an everlasting but wretched existence. To translate black as white, is nothing to this.


The Wicked Shall Be Destroyed:   “The Lord preserveth all them that love him: but all the wicked will he destroy.” Ps. 145:20. Here preservation is promised only to those who love God; and in opposition to this, destruction is threatened to the wicked. But human wisdom teaches us that God will preserve the wicked in hell— preserve them for the mere sake of torturing them. Mr. Benson again says:


God is therefore present in hell to see the punishment of these rebels. His fiery indignation kindles, and his incensed fury feeds the flame of their torment, while his powerful presence and opera­tion maintain their being, and render their powers most acutely sen­sible, thus setting the keenest edge upon their pain, and making it cut most intolerably deep.


The Wicked Shall Perish:  “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16. A double enunciation of the truth is couched in this short text. It is that eternal life is to be obtained only through Christ, and that all who do not thus obtain it will eventually perish. John testifies fur­ther on the same point in his first epistle (chapter 5:11):  “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eter­nal life, and this life is in his Son.” From which it fol­lows, as a most natural consequence, that “he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” Verse 12.


The Wicked Shall Go to Perdition:  “We are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.” Heb. 10: 39. We either gain the salvation of our souls by a perseverance [[269]] in faith, and obtain eternal life by a patient continuance in well-doing (Rom. 2: 7), or we sink back into perdi­tion, which is defined to be utter ruin, or destruction.


The Wicked Shall Come to an End, and Be as Though They Had Not Been:  “For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: Yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be.” Ps. 37:10. If this testimony be true, there will be neither a sinner nor any place for a sinner, after God has executed upon them his just judgments. “They shall be as though they had not been.” Obadiah 16.


The reader is requested to mark the significance of these texts. They are not figures, but plain enunciations of truth, demanding to be understood in the plainest amid most literal manner. And though they are so abundant, and can be so easily produced, they are not to be passed over any more lightly on this account.


The Wicked Are Compared to the Most Inflammable and Perishable Substances:  Had the wicked been com­pared to the most durable substances with which we are acquainted in nature; had they been likened to the “ever­lasting hills,” the during rock, or the precious metals, gold and gems, the most incorruptible of all substances; such comparisons would not have been without their weight in giving us an idea of an eternity of existence; nor can we think they would have been overlooked by the other side. We therefore claim an equal significance on our side of the question for the fact that the wicked are everywhere compared to just the opposite of the above-named substances — substances the most perishable and corruptible of any that exist. For no idea can be drawn from such comparisons at all compatible with the idea of eternal preservation in the midst of glowing and devour­ing fire. [[270]]


Thus it is said of the wicked, that they shall be dashed in pieces like a potter’s vessel (Ps. 2:9), they shall be like the beasts that perish (Ps. 49:20), like the untimely fruit of a woman (Ps. 58:8), like a whirlwind that passeth away (Ps. 68:2; Prov. 10:25), like a waterless garden scorched by an eastern sun (Isa. 1:30), like garments consumed by the moth (Isa. 51:8), like the thistle-down scattered by the whirlwind (Isa. 17:13, margin). They shall consume like the fat of lambs in the fire (Ps. 37:20), consume into smoke (id.) amid ashes (Mal. 4:3), melt like wax (J) s. 68:2), burn like tow (Isa. 1:31), consume like thorns (Isa. 34:12), vanish away like ex­hausted waters (Ps. 58:7).


The illustrations which the New Testament uses to represent the destiny of the wicked are of exactly the same nature. They are likened to chaff, which is to be burned entirely up (Matt. 3: 12), tares to be consumed (Matt. 13:40), withered branches to be burned (John 15:6), bad fish cast away to corruption (Matt. 13:47, 48), a house thrown down to its foundations (Luke 6:49), to the destruction of the old world by water (Luke 17:27), to the destruction of the Sodomites by fire (verse 29; 2 Peter 2:5, 6), and to natural brute beasts, that perish in their own corruption (verse 12).


Such are the illustrations of the Scriptures on this subject. If the wicked are to be tormented forever, all these illustrations are not only unnatural, but false; for in that case they are not like the perishing beasts, the passing whirlwind, the moth-consumed garment, the burning fat, the vanishing smoke, or the melting wax; nor like chaff, tares, and withered branches, consumed and reduced to ashes. These all lose their form and substance, and become as though they had not been; but this the wicked never do, according to the popular view. [[271]] There is an enormous contradiction somewhere. Is it between the writers of the Bible? Or between uninspired men and the word of God? The trouble is not with the Bible; all is harmony there. The discrepancy arises from the creeds and theories of men.


The language of Moses and of Paul shows that an eternal existence of moral corruption and fiery torture is not the doom of the wicked. When Moses besought the Lord to forgive the sin of Israel, he said, “Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin —; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.” Ex. 32:32. This book must be the book of life, in which the names of the righteous are written. By being blotted out of this book, Moses evidently meant being devoted to the doom of sinners. If Israel could not be forgiven, he would himself perish with that unfaithful people. But no one can for a moment suppose that he wished throughout eternity for a life of sin, pain, and blasphemy in hell. He only wished for an utter cessation of that life which, if his prayer could not be granted, would be an intolerable burden. And if this is what he meant by being blotted out of God’s book, it follows that this will be the doom of the ungodly, for the Lord answered, “Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book.”


In a similar manner, Paul speaks concerning the same people: “For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh.” Rom. 9:3. We cannot suppose that Paul would desire a life of sin and moral corruption, such as that of the sinner in hell is said to be, even for the sake of his people. But he was willing to give up his life for them, and cease to exist, if thereby they might be saved.


To notice more particularly some of the scriptures in which a portion of the foregoing figures are found, [[272]] their testimony may be summed up in the following final proposition:


The Wicked Shall Be Consumed and Devoured by Fire:  “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness,” etc. “Therefore as the fire devoureth the stubble, and the flame consumeth the chaff, so their root shall be as rottenness, and their blossom shall go up as dust.” Isa 5:20-24.


Reader, have you ever seen fire devour stubble, or flame consume chaff? Then you have seen a figure of the destruction of the wicked. And if such language does not denote the utter consumption of the wicked, let the advocate of eternal misery tell us what language would do it, if the doctrine were true. Let us know what language inspiration should have used, had it wished to convey such an idea. Is it such as this? “But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the Lord shall be as the fat of lambs: they shall consume, into smoke shall they consume away” (Ps. 37: 20).  Or this?  “And they went imp on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.” The word here rendered “devour,” katephagen, says Stuart is “intensive, to eat up, devour, so that it denotes utter excision.”


Recompensed in the Earth:  In the light of this last scripture, we can readily understand how it is that the wicked are to be recompensed in the earth. Prov. 11:31. Coming up in the second resurrection, at the end of the one thousand years of Rev. 20:5, they come up on the breadth of the earth, around the New Jerusalem, the be­loved city, the abode of the saints, then descended from heaven to earth (chapter 21:5), and then their fearful [[273]] retribution overtakes them.[38] It is then that they have their portion in those purifying fires that sweep over the earth, in which, according to Peter’s testimony, the ele­ments of this great globe itself shall melt with fervent heat. 2 Peter 3:10, 12.  For it is at the day of judg­ment (which of course means the execution of the judgment) and perdition of ungodly men that this takes place.  2 Peter 3:7.


So, too, the righteous, as they go forth upon the new earth (id., verse 13), destined to be their eternal and glorious abode, will receive their recompense in the earth. Then will have been fulfilled the word of the Lord by the prophet Malachi, which says, “For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: And the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of Hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of Right­eousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the Lord of Hosts.” Mark the distinctness of this language. It does not say that the wicked shall be as ashes, nor does it introduce any comparison here whatever, but plainly states a plain fact, that they shall be ashes, under the soles of the saints’ feet — not that the saints will literally walk on ashes, but the wicked, having been reduced to ashes, like all sin-and-curse-polluted things, are incor­porated into the substance of the new earth, which the saints are evermore to inhabit, as it emerges from the renovating fires of the last day.


Then will the universe be clean and pure. Then the stain of sin will all be wiped away forever; sinners, and [[274]] the great enemy, Satan, that deceived them (for he, too, shall be destroyed, Heb. 2:14),[39] being rooted out of the land of the living. Its every scar now impressed upon the handiwork of God shall be effaced; and this unfortunate earth shall be readorned, as only God, om­nipotent in power, and omniscient in wisdom, is able to adorn it. And then will arise that glad anthem of universal jubilee, in which shall join every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, ascribing blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, unto Him that sitteth on the throne, and unto the Lamb forever and ever. Rev. 5:13. There is no room here for a great receptacle of fiery tor­ment, where an innumerable company of human beings shall burn and blaspheme and sin and suffer forever and ever. There is no room in this great song of joy for the discordant and hopeless wailings of the damned. There is no provision made for an eternal rebellion against the government of God, and eternal blasphemy against his holy name! No! Only the loyal subjects of the great Captain of our salvation, only such as love immortal life, and seek for it, and prepare themselves for its inestimable blessings, shall ever enjoy the glorious boon; while those who put from themselves the word of God, and “judge themselves unworthy of everlasting life” (Acts 13:46), will be remanded back to the original elements from which they sprung; and strict justice will write upon their un­honored and unlamented graves that the Judge of all the earth dealt impartially and mercifully with them, and that they themselves were the arbiters of their own fate, the authors of their own hapless doom. [[275]]



Chapter XV



Objections Answered



Examination of All the Texts Supposed to Teach Eternal Misery



1.  Shame and Everlasting Contempt


            Daniel 12:2: “And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” Those who believe in the eternal conscious suffering of the lost, couple the shame spoken of in this text with the con­tempt, and claim it to be like that, everlasting; and if the shame, which is an emotion to be exercised by the indi­viduals themselves, is to be eternal, it is argued that they must be awakened to everlasting life and consciousness.


In answer it may be said that the fact that they are raised to shame proves indeed that they have a veritable resurrection to life and consciousness, and that this is no figure of speech which is applied to them. But the reader will notice that the shame is not said, like the contempt, to be everlasting. Contempt is not an emotion which they feel; they are not raised to the contempt of themselves; but it is an emotion felt by others toward them; and this does not imply the consciousness of those against whom it is directed, inasmuch as contempt may be felt for them as well after they have passed from the [[276]] stage of consciousness as before. The Syriac sustains this idea. It reads, “Some to shame and the eternal con­tempt of their companions.” And thus it will be. Shame for their wickedness and corruption will burn into their very souls, so long as they have conscious being. And when they pass away, consumed for their iniquities, their loathsome characters and their guilty deeds excite only contempt on the part of the righteous, unmodified and unabated, so long as they hold them in remembrance at all. The text, therefore, furnishes no proof of the eternal suffering of the wicked.


2.  Everlasting Fire


Matt. 25:41: “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the Devil and his angels.” What is said to be everlasting? Wicked men? — No. The Devil? — No. His angels? — No. But only the fire. And how can the application of this term to the fire prove the indestructibility and eternal life of those who are cast therein? It may be answered, What propriety could there be in keeping the fire everlastingly, if its victims were not to be eternally the objects of its power? And we reply, This word is sometimes used to denote simply the results and not the continuance of the process. Everlasting fire may not be fire which is everlastingly burning, but fire which produces results which are ever­lasting in their nature. The victims cast therein will be consumed; and if from that destruction they are never to be released, if that fiery work is never to be undone, it is to them an “everlasting fire.” This will appear more fully when we come to speak of the “eternal fire” through which God’s vengeance was visited on the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.  [[277]]


There are several passages of scripture in which the same word, aionios, is unquestionably used in this sense of results, not of continuous action. In Heb. 5:9 read of “eternal salvation;” that is, a salvation which is eternal or everlasting in its results, not one which is for­ever going on, but never accomplished. In Heb. 6:2 Paul speaks of “eternal judgment;” not judgment which is eternally going forward, but one which, having once passed upon all men (Acts 17: 31), is irreversible in its decisions and eternal in its effects. In Heb. 9:12 the apostle speaks in the same way of “eternal redemption,” not a redemption through which we are eternally approach­ing a redeemed state which we never reach, but a redemp­tion which releases us for all eternity from the power of sin and death. It would be just as proper to speak of the saints as always redeeming, but never redeemed, as to speak of the sinner as always consuming, but never con­sumed, or always dying, but never dead. This fire is prepared for the Devil and his angels, and will be shared by all of the human race who choose to follow the Devil in his rebellion against the government of Heaven. It will be to them an everlasting fire; for once having plunged into its fiery vortex, there is no life for them beyond.



3.  Everlasting Punishment



Matt. 25: 46: “And these shall go away into ever­lasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.” This text is one which has great apparent force in favor of the doctrine of eternal conscious misery. But the secret of this apparent strength lies in the fact that the term “punishment” is almost invariably supposed to be con­fined to conscious suffering, and that when any affliction is no longer realized by the senses, it ceases to be a punishment [[278]] at all. Now if it can be shown from sound reason, and from the analogy of human penalties, that punish­ment is estimated by the loss involved, and not merely by the amount of pain inflicted, the objection vanishes at once, and will cease to hold back many devout and rever­ent minds from adopting the view here advocated.


On the duration of the punishment brought to view in the text, no issue is taken. It is to be eternal; but what is to be its nature? The text says, “Everlasting punish­ment;” popular orthodoxy says, “Unending misery, the Bible, in other places, says, “Eternal death.”


Is death punishment? If so, when a death is inflicted from which there is to be no release, is not that punish­ment eternal, or everlasting? Then the application of this scripture to the view here advocated is very apparent. The heathen, to reconcile themselves to what they sup­posed to be their inevitable fate, used to argue that death was no evil. But when they looked forward into the endless future of which that death deprived them, they were obliged to reverse their former decision, and acknowl­edge that death was an endless injury.[40]


Why is the sentence of death in our courts of justice reckoned as the greatest and most severe punishment? It is not because the pain involved is greater; for the scourge, the rack, the pillory, and many kinds of minor punishment, inflict more pain upon the petty offender than decapitation or hanging inflicts upon the murderer. But it is reckoned the greatest because it is the most com­prehensive and lasting. It deprives its victim at once of all the relations and blessings of life, and its length is estimated by the life the person would have enjoyed if it had not been inflicted. It has deprived him of every hour of that life he would have had but for this punishment; [[279]] and hence the punishment is considered as co-existent with the period of his natural life.


Augustine says:


The laws do not estimate the punishment of a criminal by the brief period during which he is being put to death, but by their removing him forever from the company of living men.[41]


The same reasoning applies to the future life as readily as to the present. By the terrible infliction of the second death, the sinner is deprived of all the bright and cease­less years of everlasting life. The loss of every moment, hour, and year of this life is a punishment; and as the life is eternal, the loss, or the punishment, is eternal also. “There is here no straining of argument to make out a case. The argument is one which man’s judgment has in every age approved as just.”


The original sustains the same idea. The word for punishment is kolasis; and this is defined, “a curtailing, a pruning.” The idea of “cutting off” is here promi­nent. The righteous go into everlasting life, but the wicked, into an everlasting state in which they are cur­tailed, or cut off. Cut off from what?— Not from hap­piness; for that is not the subject of discourse, but from life, as expressly stated in reference to the righteous. “The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” And since the life given to man through Christ is eternal life, it follows that the loss of it, inflicted as a punishment, is eternal or “everlasting punishment.”


The same objection is again stated in a little different form. As in the ages before our existence we suffered no punishment, so, it is claimed, it will be no punishment to be reduced to that state again. To this we reply, that [[280]] those who never had an existence cannot, of course, be conceived of in relation to rewards and punishments at all.  But when a person has once seen the light of life, when he has lived long enough to taste its sweets and appreciate its blessings, is it then no punishment to be deprived of it?  Says Luther Lee, “We maintain that the simple loss of existence cannot be a penalty or punishment in the circumstances of the sinner after the general resurrection.”[42] And what are these circum­stances? — He comes up to the beloved city, and sees the people of God in the everlasting kingdom. He sees before them an eternity, not of life only, but of bliss and glory indescribable, while before himself is only the blackness of darkness forever. Then, says the Saviour, addressing a class of sinners, there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of God. What is the cause of this wailing? It is not that they have to choose between annihilation or eternal torture. Had they this privilege, some might perhaps choose the former; others would not. But the cause of their woe is not that they are to receive a certain kind of punishment when they would prefer another, but because they have lost the life and blessed­ness which they now behold in possession of the righteous. The only conditions between which they can draw their cheerless comparisons are the blessed and happy state of the righteous within the city of God, and their own hapless lot outside of its walls. And we may well infer from the nature of the case, as well as the Saviour’s language, that it is because they find themselves thus thrust out, that they lift up their voices in lamentation and woe. “There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, [[281]] and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out”! Luke 15:28.


The sinner then begins to see what he has lost; and the sense of it, like a barbed arrow, pierces his soul; while the thought that the glorious inheritance before him might have been his, but for his own self-willed and per­verse career, sets the keenest edge upon every pang of remorse. And as he looks far away into eternity, to the utmost limit which the mind’s eye can reach, and gets a glimpse of the inconceivable blessedness and glory which he might have enjoyed but for his idol sin, the hopeless thought that all is lost will be sufficient to rend the hardest and most obdurate heart with unutterable agony. Say not, then, that loss of existence under such circum­stances is no penalty or punishment.


But again: the Bible plainly teaches degrees of punish­ment; and how is this compatible, it is asked, with the idea of a mere state of death to which all alike will be reduced? Let us ask believers in eternal misery how they will maintain degrees in their system? They tell us the intensity of the pain endured will be in each case pro­portioned to the guilt of the sufferer. But how can this be? Are not the flames of hell equally severe in all parts? And will they not equally affect all the immaterial souls cast therein? But God can interpose, it is answered, to produce the effect desired. Very well, then, we reply, cannot he also interpose, if necessary, according to our view, and graduate the pain attendant upon the sinner’s being reduced to a state of death as the climax of his penalty? So, then, our view is equal with the common one in this respect, while it possesses a great advantage over it in another; for, while that has to find its degrees of punishment in intensity of pain alone, time duration in all cases being equal, ours may have not only degrees in [[282]] pain, but in duration also; for, while some may perish in a short space of time, the weary sufferings of others may be long drawn out. But yet we apprehend that the bodily suffering will be but an unnoticed trifle compared with the mental agony, that keen anguish which will rack their souls as they get a view of their incomparable loss, each according to his capacity of appreciation. The youth who had but little more than reached the years of account­ability and died, perhaps with just enough guilt upon him to debar him from heaven, being less able to comprehend his situation and his loss, will of course feel it less. To him of older years, more capacity, and consequently a deeper experience in sin, the burden of his fate will be proportionately greater. While the man of giant intel­lect, and almost boundless comprehension, who thereby possessed greater influence, for evil, and hence was the more guilty for devoting those powers to that evil, being able to understand his situation fully, comprehend his fate, and realize his loss, will feel it most keenly of all. Into his soul, indeed, the iron will enter most intolerably deep. And thus, by an established law of mind, the sufferings of each may be most accurately adjusted to the magnitude of his guilt.


Then, says one, the sinner will long for death as a release from his pains, and experience a sense of relief when all is over. No, friend, not even this pitiful semblance of consolation is granted; for no such sense of relief will ever come. The words of another will best illustrate this point: 


“But the sense of relief when death comes at last.” We hardly need to reply: There can be no sense of relief. The light of life gone out, the expired soul can never know that it has escaped from pain. The bold transgressor may fix his thoughts upon it now, heedless of all that intervenes; but he will forget to think of it then. To waken from a troubled dream, and to know that it was [[283]] only a dream, is an exceeding joy: And with transport do the friends of one dying in delirium, note a gleam of returning reason, ere he breathes his last. But the soul’s death knows no waking; its mad­dening fever ends in no sweet moment of rest. It can never feel that its woe is ended. The agony ends, not in a happy consciousness that all is past, but in eternal night—in the blackness of dark­ness forever![43]




4.  The Undying Worm and Quenchless Fire


Mark 9:43, 44: “And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.”


Twice our Lord repeats this solemn sentence against. the wicked, “Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.” Verses 46, 48. These passages are relied on with as much assurance, perhaps, as any, to prove the eternal conscious misery of the reprobate. If this language had never been used by any of the inspired writers of the Scriptures, till it was thus used in the New Testament, it might be urged with some degree of plausi­bility, as an expressive imagery of eternal torment. But, even in this case, it might be replied, that fire, so far as we have any experience with it, or knowledge of its nature, invariably consumes, instead of preserving, that upon which it preys, and hence must be a symbol of complete destruction; and that the expression, as it occurs in Mark 9:44, can denote nothing less than the utter consumption of those who are cast into that fire.


But this expression was well known and understood by those whom Christ was addressing. Isaiah and Jere­miah frequently use the figure of the undying worm and quenchless fire. In their familiar Scriptures the people [[284]] daily read these expressions. Let us see what idea they would derive from them. We turn to Jer. 17:27, and read:


But if ye will not hearken unto me to hallow the Sabbath-day, and not to bear a burden, even entering in at the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath-day; then will I kindle a fire in the gates thereof, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and it shall not be quenched.


From this text we certainly can learn the meaning that was attached to the expression, “unquenchable fire,” by the Hebrew people. This fire was not to be “quenched;” therefore it was “unquenchable.” But it was to be kin­dled in the gates of Jerusalem, and devour the palaces thereof. It was therefore literal, natural fire. But how could a fire of this kind, thus kindled, be supposed to be a fire that would burn eternally. They certainly would not so understand it. No more should we. Moreover, this threatening of the Lord by Jeremiah was fulfilled. 2 Chron. 36:19: “And they burnt the house of God, and brake down the wall of Jerusalem, and burnt all the palaces thereof with fire, and destroyed all the goodly vessels thereof.” Verse 21 “To fulfill the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah.” Thus Jerusalem was burned according to Jeremiah’s prediction that it should be consumed in “unquenchable” fire. But how long did that fire burn? — Only till it had reduced to ashes the gates amid palaces on which it preyed. Unquenchable fire is therefore simply a fire that is not quenched — that is, is not arrested and subdued by any external force — and does not cease, till it has entirely consumed that which causes or supports it. Then it dies out of itself because there is nothing more to burn. The expression does not mean a fire that must absolutely eternally burn, and that con­sequently all that is cast therein to feed the flame must [[285]] forever be preserved by having the portion consumed immediately renewed.


To the wicked, the threatened fire is unquenchable, because it will not be quenched, or caused to cease, till it has entirely devoured them.


Ps. 37:20: “But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the Lord shall be as the fat of lambs: they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away.” Mal. 4 3: “And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this; saith the Lord of Hosts.”


Ezekiel speaks of unquenchable fire in a similar man­ner.  Eze. 20:47, 48: “Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will kindle a fire in thee, and it shall devour every green tree in thee, and every dry tree:  The flaming flame shall not be quenched, and all faces from the south to the north shall be burned therein. And all flesh shall see that I the Lord have kindled it:  It shall not be quenched.”


Though this is doubtless figurative language, denoting sore calamities upon a certain land called “the forest of the south field,” it nevertheless furnishes an instance of how the expression, “unquenchable fire,” was then used and understood; for that generation many ages ago per­ished, and those judgments long since ceased to exist.


Isaiah not only speaks of the unquenchable fire, but he couples with it the undying worm, the same as the lan­guage in Mark:  Isa. 66:24: “And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcasses of the men that have transgressed against me:  For their worm shall not die; neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.”


This is undoubtedly the language from which the ex­pression in Mark is borrowed; but a moment’s examina­tion [[286]] of it will show that the worm is not the remorse of a guilty conscience, but that, like the fire, it is something external to, and distinct from, the objects upon which it preys; and moreover, that those upon whom it feeds are not the living, but the dead: It is the “carcasses” of the men that have transgressed against the Lord. In Isa. 14:11 and 51:8 the prophet again speaks of the worm as an agent of destruction, but it is always in connection with death. It is thus evident that the terms employed by our Lord in describing the doom of the wicked would convey to the minds of his hearers the very opposite of the idea of eternal life in misery.

            There is other evidence, though no other is necessary, to show that the idea which would be conveyed, and which the language was designed to convey, to their minds, was that of complete extinction of being, an utter consump­tion by external elements of destruction. The word translated “hell” in the passage under consideration is gehenna. It is better to enter into life maimed than to go, in full possession of all our members and faculties, into gehenna. Did those to whom Christ spoke know anything about this place, and what kind of fate awaited those who were cast therein? A vivid picture of the place of torment to which our Lord refers was in constant oper­ation before their eyes, just outside the walls of Jeru­salem.


           Greenfield (New Testament Lexicon) defines the word thus: “Gehenna, the valley of Hinnom, south of Jerusalem, once celebrated for the horrid worship of Moloch, and afterward polluted with every species of filth, as well as the carcasses of animals and dead bodies of malefactors; to consume which, in order to avert the pestilence which such a mass of cor­ruption would occasion, constant fires were kept burning.”  [[287]]


Such was the fire of Gehenna; not a fire into which people were cast to be kept alive and tortured, but one into which they were cast to be consumed; not one which was designed to prey upon living beings, but upon the carcasses of animals and the dead bodies of malefactors. Hence we can see the consistency of associating the “fire” and the “worm” together. Whatever portion of the dead body the fire failed to consume, the worm would soon seize upon and devour. If a person had been con­demned to be cast alive into this place, as the wicked will be cast into their Gehenna, what would have been his hope of escape? If the fire could have been speedily quenched before it had taken his life, and the worms which consumed what the fire left, could have been de­stroyed, he might have had some hope of coming out alive; but if this could not be done, he would know of a surety that his life would soon become extinct, and then even his lifeless remains would be utterly consumed by these agents of destruction.


This was the scene to which Christ pointed his hearers to represent the doom that awaits the wicked; in order that, as they gazed upon the work of complete destruction going on in the valley of Hinnom—the worms devouring what the flames spared—they might learn that in the future Gehenna which awaited them, no part of their being would be exempt from utter and complete destruc­tion, one agent of death completing what another failed to accomplish.


As the definition of the word gehenna throws great light on the meaning of this text, so the definition of an­other term used is equally to the point. The words for “unquenchable fire” are pur asbeston; and this word, asbeston, primarily means simply “unquenched,” that is, not caused to cease by any external means:  The idea of [[288]] eternal is an outside theological definition which has been brought in and attached to it.  Ancient writers used it in this sense. Homer, in the Iliad (xvi, 123, 294), speaks of the Trojans’ hurling “unquenchable fire” upon the Grecian ships, though but one of them was burned by it. And Eusebius, who was a learned Greek, employs the same expression in two instances in recounting the mar­tyrdom of Christians. Cronion and Julian, after being tortured in various ways, were consumed in an “un­quenchable fire” (puri asbesto). The same is also said of Epimachus and Alexander. “The pur asbeston,” says Wetstein, “denotes such a fire as cannot be extinguished before it has consumed and destroyed all.”


Such is the evident meaning of this passage, and the sense in which it must have been understood at that time. It is a most powerful testimony to prove the utter extinc­tion of being. Yet commentators, eighteen hundred years this side of that time, presume to turn this whole representation upside down, and give to the terms a mean­ing exactly opposite to that which they were intended to convey. That sense alone can be the correct one in which they were first spoken; and concerning that there can be no question.


There is another text often urged to prove the eternal conscious misery of the wicked. It is one in which fire is mentioned as the instrument used for the punishment of the wicked; and this fire, being called eternal, is under­stood in the same sense as the unquenchable fire of Mark 9:43. It may therefore properly be examined in this connection.


Jude 7: “Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.” [[289]]


This text, when rightly understood, will, we think, like that in Mark 9, be found to convey a meaning exactly the opposite of that popularly given to it. The sense of the passage appears very evidently to be this: The Sodomites giving themselves up to their wicked practises, and, as a consequence, suffering an eternal overthrow by fire rained down upon them from heaven, are thus set forth as an example to the ungodly of all coming ages, of the over­throw they will also experience if they follow the same course.


Peter speaks of the same event as an example to the wicked, and tells what effect that fire had upon the cities of the plain. It did not preserve them in the midst of the flame in unceasing torture, but turned them into ashes. He says (2 Peter 2:6): “And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes condemned them with an over­throw, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly.” This language is too plain to need comment. How are the Sodomites made an example? — By being overthrown and turned “into ashes” for their open and presumptuous sins. It is God saying to the wicked of all coming time, Behold, how your sins shall be visited upon you, unless you repent.


But those fires are not now burning. Seek out the site of those ancient and abandoned cities, and the brack­ish waters of the Dead Sea will be found rolling their sluggish waves over the spot where they once stood. Those fires are therefore called “eternal,” because their effects are eternal, or age-lasting. They never have re­covered, nor will they ever recover while the world stands from that terrible overthrow.


And thus this text is very much to the purpose on the question before us; for it declares that the punishment of Sodom is an exact pattern of the future punishment of the [[290]] wicked; hence that punishment will not be eternal life in the fiery flame, in some invisible dungeon or place of torment, but an utter and open consumption, even as Sodom was consumed, by its resistless vengeance.


5.  Tormented Forever and Ever


The only remaining texts to be urged in favor of the eternal torment of the wicked, are two passages which are found in the book of the Revelation. The first is Rev. 14:11: “And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up forever and ever:  And they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.”


This is passage speaks not of all the wicked, but only of limited class — the worshipers of the beast and his image. The beast, according to evidence which no Prot­estant will be disposed to question, means the papal power (Rev. 13:1-10); and the image is composed of those who are in sympathy and collusion with that power. Rev. 13:14-18; 14:1-5. The text, therefore, embraces only comparatively a small portion of the wicked of the human race. The ancient world, with its teeming millions, and the present heathen world, knowing nothing of this power, are not involved in the threatening of punish­ment here brought to view. This text might, therefore, be set aside as inconclusive, since even if it should be admitted to prove eternal torture for some, it does not for all.


But as it is claimed that no text affirms eternal torment for a single conscious intelligence in all the universe, an effort will be made to show that this passage does not prove it in reference to even the limited class which it brings to view. The expression, “The smoke of their torment ascendeth up forever and ever,” is the one upon [[291]] which the doctrine of eternity of suffering is in this case suspended. But the same may be said of this expression that was said in the last division in reference to the undy­ing worm and the quenchless fire. It was not new in John’s day, but was borrowed from the Old Testament, and was well understood at that time.


In Isa. 34:9, 10, the prophet, speaking of the land of Idumea, says: “And the streams thereof shall be turned into pitch, and the dust thereof into brimstone, and the land thereof shall become burning pitch. It shall not be quenched night nor day; the smoke thereof shall go up forever:  From generation to generation it shall lie waste; none shall pass through it forever and ever.’’ But two applications can be made of this language. Either it refers to the literal land of Edom east and south of Judea, or it is a figure to represent the whole world in the day of final conflagration. In either case it is equally to the point. If the literal land of Idumea is meant, and this language has reference to the desolations which have fallen upon it, then certainly no eternity of duration is implied in the declaration that the smoke thereof shall go up for­ever. For all the predictions against the land of Idumea have long since been fulfilled, and the judgments have ceased. If it refers to the fires of the last day, when the elements melt with fervent heat, no eternity of duration is even then implied in the expression; for the earth is not to be forever destroyed by the purifying fires of the last day. It is to rise from its ashes, and a new earth come forth purified from all the stains of sin, and free from all the deformity of the curse, to be the everlasting abode of the righteous.


Here is an instance in which the word “forever,” apply it in either of the only two ways possible, must denote a limited period. And here the Hebrew has [[292]] oläm, and the Septuagint, the corresponding Greek word aion, the same as is used in Rev. 14:11; and from this passage in Isaiah, the language in Revelation was probably borrowed. That the words aion and aionios some­times denote a limited period, and not invariably one of eternal duration, will appear in the examination of the only remaining text that calls for consideration; namely, Rev. 20: 10: “And the Devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night forever and ever.”


The same limitation is apparent in this text that was observed in the preceding. It does not refer to all the wicked, but speaks only of the Devil, the beast, and the false prophet. The lake of fire, the place and means of their torment, is again mentioned in verse 14; but there it is the symbol of complete and utter destruction. Death and Hades, it says, were cast into the lake of fire, and after this it is said, ‘‘There shall be no more death.” Rev. 21:4. Whatever, then, is cast into the lake of fire, after it has wrought its work of destruction upon them, no longer exists. This is the plain inference from what is here asserted respecting death. Then follows the testimony of verse 15, that “whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” And this makes a final disposition of all who are not saved in the kingdom of heaven.


There is nothing in the way of this application, unless the words “forever and ever” denote absolutely an eternity of duration. These words are translated in the New Testament, from aion and aionios, respecting which the following facts may be stated:


Aion is defined by different lexicographers as fol­lows:  [[293]]


Greenfield: “Duration, finite or infinite, unlimited duration, eternity, a period of duration past or future, time, age, lifetime; the world, universe.”


Schrevelius: “An age, a long period of time; indefinite duration; time, whether longer or shorter.”


Liddell and Scott: “A space or period of time, espe­cially a lifetime, life, oevum; an age, a generation; long space of time, eternity; in plural, eis tous aionas ton aionon, unto ages of ages, forever and ever, New Tes­tament, Gal. 1:5.  3. Later, a space of time clearly defined and marked out, an era, age, period of a dispen­sation: ho aion houtos, this present life, this world.’’


Parkhurst: “Always being. It denotes duration or continuance of time, but with great variety. I. Both in the singular and the plural it signifies eternity, whether past or to come. II. The duration of this world. III. The ages of the world. IV. This present life. V. The world to come. VI. An age, period, or periodical dis­pensation of divine providence. VII. Aiones seems, in Heb. 11:3, to denote the various revolutions and grand occurrences which have happened in this created system, including also the world itself. Compare Heb. 1:2, and Macknight, on both texts. Aion in the LXX generally answers to the Hebrew holam, which denotes time hidden from man, whether indefinite or definite, whether past or future.”


Robinson: “Duration, the course or flow of time in various relations as determined by the context; viz., (A) For human life, existence. (B) For time indefinite, a period of the world, the world, in Greek writers, and also in Septuagint and New Testament. (C) For endless duration, perpetuity, eternity. . . . Septuagint mostly for Hebrew holam, ‘hidden time,’ duration, eternity. Hence, in New Testament, of long-continued time, indefinite dura­tion [[294]], in accordance with Greek usage, but modified as to construction and extent by the example of the LXX, and the Rabbinic views.”


Schleusner gives as the first meaning of aion, “a defi­nite and long-continued time;” i.e., a long-continued but still a definite period of time.


Wahl has arranged the definitions of aion thus: “(1) Time, unlimited duration, oevum. (2) The universe, mundus. (3) An age, period of the world,” as the Jew­ish age, Christian age, etc. This reference to Schleusner and Wahl we find in Stuart on Future Punishment, pp. 91, 93.


Holam, the Hebrew word which corresponds to the Greek aion, is applied, according to Gesenius, to things which endure for a long time, for an indefinite period. It is applied to the Jewish priesthood, to the Mosaic or­dinances, to the possession of the land of Canaan, to the hills and mountains, to the earth, to the time of service to be rendered by a slave, and to some other things of a like nature.[44]


Cruden, in his Unabridged Concordance, under the word “eternal,” says:


The words, “eternal, everlasting, and forever,” are sometimes taken for a long time, and are not always to be understood strictly. Thus, “Thou shalt be our guide from this time forth even forever,” that is, during our whole life. And in many other places of Scrip­ture, and in particular when the word “forever” is applied to the Jewish rites and privileges, it commonly signifies no more than during the standing of that commonwealth, until the coming of the Messiah.


Dr. Clarke places in our hands a key to the interpre­tation of the words “forever” and “forever and ever,” which is adapted to every instance of their use. Accord­ing to his rule, they are to be taken to mean as long as [[295]] a thing, considering the surrounding circumstances, can exist.  And he illustrates this in his closing remarks on 2 Kings 5, where, speaking of the curse of the leprosy pronounced upon Gehazi forever, he says:


Some have thought, because of the prophet’s curse, “The lep­rosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave unto thee, and to thy seed forever,” that there are persons still alive who are this man’s descendants, and afflicted with this horrible disease. Mr. Maundrell, when he was in Judea, made diligent inquiry concerning this, but could not ascertain the truth of the supposition. To me it appears absurd; the denunciation took place in the posterity of Gehazi till it should become extinct; and under the influence of this disorder, this must soon have taken place. The forever implies as long as any of his posterity should remain. This is the import of the word, leolam. It takes in the whole extent of duration of the thing to which it is applied. The forever of Gehazi was till his posterity became extinct.


The word aionios is derived from aion, and its general meaning may be determined from the definitions given above to the latter word.


That these words are frequently applied to the exist­ence of divine beings and the future happiness of the saints, is true; and that in these cases they denote eternal duration is equally evident; yet, according to the defini­tion of the words and the rule laid down by Dr. Clarke, that eternal duration could not be made out by the use of these words alone. They denote duration or continuation of time, the length of that duration being determined by the nature of the objects to which they are applied. When applied to things, which we know from other declarations of the Scriptures are to have no end, they signify an eternity of being; but when applied to things which are to end, they are correspondingly limited in their meaning. That the existence of God and the future happiness of the righteous are to be absolutely eternal, we are abundantly assured by scriptures which make no [[296]] use of the words in question. When applied to these, they therefore signify a period of duration which is never to end. Just as plainly are we assured that the existence of the wicked is at last to cease in the second death; and when applied to this, the words aion and aionios, must be limited according to their signification. Overlooking this plain principle of interpretation, Professor Stuart (p. 89) comes to this erroneous conclusion respecting these words, because they are applied alike to the sufferings of the lost and the happiness of the saved, that “we must either admit the endless misery of hell, or give up the endless happiness of heaven.” We are under no such necessity.  The words aion and aionios, according to Dr. Clarke, cover the whole of the existence” of the two classes in their respective spheres, and that only. The one is, after a season of suffering and anguish, to come to an end; the other is to go on in bliss to all eternity.


According to this rule, when it is said (Rev. 20:10) that the Devil, and, by implication, the beast and false prophet, are to be cast into a lake of fire, and tormented day and night forever and ever, we must understand this expression to cover only the duration of their future ex­istence beyond the grave. If we are anywhere given to understand by other scriptures and by other terms which are more rigid in their meaning, that this is to be eternal, the terms must here be so understood; if not, we have no warrant for so defining them here.


That the forever and ever, eis tous aionas ton aionon, of the suffering of the wicked, denotes a period of long duration, there is no question; and it may be much longer than any have been disposed to conceive who deny its eternity; yet it is to come to an end, not by their restora­tion to God’s favor, but by the extinction of that life which has in it no immortality, and because they have [[297]] refused to accept of the (zoe) life freely offered to them, which is to continue through ages without end.


We have now examined all the more prominent pas­sages which are urged in favor of the eternal suffering of the lost. Though others may by some be brought for­ward to prove this doctrine, we may safely take the posi­tion that, if it is not proved by those we have examined, it cannot be proved by any in all the Bible; for these use the strongest terms, and are most explicit in their nature. And of these how many are there? —Five in all. Those who have never before examined this subject, will per­haps be surprised to learn how small is the number of such texts. And should they take into the account every text which is thought to have even the slightest semblance of proving the immortality of the lost, it would not be calculated to abate that surprise to any great degree.



Chapter XVI



God’s Dealings with His Creatures


            “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” asked an eminent servant of God in the opening pages of revelation. Gen. 18:25. And when all is finished, the redeemed, looking back over all God’s dealings with man, exclaim with fervent lips, “Just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.” Rev. 15:3. It is objected that we should raise no question regarding the justness of the doom to which God may devote any portion of our race, even though it be eternal conscious misery, because we are not able to judge of his ways.  Of things with which we are imperfectly acquainted, or which are above our comprehension this is undoubtedly true; but respecting our relation to God, the light in which he looks upon sin, and the disposition he will finally make of it, he says, “Come, let us reason together.” We are never called upon to form an opinion or a decision in regard to things respecting which we are incapable of judging; but we are called upon to reverence God as a God of love, wisdom, justice, and mercy. We must, therefore, be capable of judging of his character, his mercy, his love, his wisdom, and his justice. Are these characteristics displayed in his future dealings with the wicked, according to the view generally promulgated by the churches of the present day? The question to be decided is this: Is an eternity of tor­ture so intense that the severest pain a person can suffer on earth is but a faint shadow of it, any just punishment [[299]] for any conceivable amount of sin committed by the worst of men, during the brief period of our mortal life? What is our present life?--Something which we did not ask; something given us without our knowledge or consent; and in the forcible language of another, “Can any abuse of this unasked-for gift justify the recompense of an existence spent in unending agony?”


Between the sins committed in this finite life, and the fiery torment of hell continued through numberless millions of ages, and then no nearer its end than when the first groan was uttered, there is a disproportion so infinite, that few attempt to attribute that unutterable woe, merely to the sins of the present life; and they endeavor to vindicate God’s justice in the matter, or at least to apologize for his course, by saying that the sinner continues to sin, and that is the reason why he continues to suffer. The guilt of all the sins done in the body is soon expiated in the fiery flame; but then they must suffer for the sins committed after they left this mortal state, and commenced their life of agony in hell. And here they are represented as sinning faster than. the incon­ceivable woe of hell can punish.  It is affirmed of them, as quoted from Benson on a previous page, that “they must be perpetually swelling their enormous sums of guilt, and still running deeper, immensely deeper, in debt to divine and infinite justice. Hence, after the longest imaginable period, they will be so far from having dis­charged their debt that they will find more due than when they first began to suffer.”


In like manner, William Archer Butler, in his sermon on Future Punishment, says:


The punishments of hell are but the perpetual vengeance that accompanies the sins of hell. An eternity of wickedness brings with it an eternity of woe. The sinner is to suffer for everlasting, [[300]] but it is because the sin itself is as everlasting as the suffering.


Do the Scriptures anywhere thus speak? Do they not affirm, not once or twice, but over and over again, that the punishment of the future is for the sins of the present time? It is for the sins in which the sinner dies, not for what he commits after death, that he is to suffer future retribution. Eze. 18: 26. The works for which we are to be brought into judgment (and for no others can we be punished) are the works of this present life. Eccl. 12: 14. And Paul testifies, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” 2 Cor. 5:10. It is for the sins done by human beings in the body, in this present life, not for what they would, according to the popular view, commit as lost spirits in hell, that they are to answer at the judgment-seat of Christ, and for which they are to receive a just retribution.  And if ever­lasting misery is thought to be too much for this, we are not at liberty to throw in post mortem sins to balance the excessive punishment. If eternal torment cannot be de­fended as a just punishment for the sins of this present life, it cannot be defended at all.


To Illustrate:  Suppose, in an earthly tribunal, the judge should sentence a criminal to a punishment alto­gether too severe for the crime of which be had been guilty, and then should endeavor to justify his course by saying that he gave the sentence because he knew that the criminal would deserve it by the sins he would com­mit after he went to jail! How long would such a judge be tolerated? Yet this is the very course attributed by learned doctors of divinity to the Judge of all the earth, who has declared that he will do right. [[301]]


On the supposition that eternal torture is to be inflicted as the penalty for a life of sin in this world, were man asked if God’s conduct in this respect was just, his own innate sense of justice, not yet wholly obliterated by the fall, would prompt him to a universal and determined, No! The framers of different religious systems have felt this, and seem to have searched sharply for some avenue of escape from the fearful wrong of this horrid theory. So Plato had his Acherusian lake, from which at least some of the wretched sufferers in Tartarus, after a pur­gative process, might issue forth again to the upper air. Augustine, following Plato in his notion of an abode of unending pain for some, had also his purgatory, from whence others might find a road to heaven. Rome has only a purgatory, the fires of a finite period, for the minions within her communion. Origen conceived of a purgatory wider than Plato’s, Augustine’s, or Rome’s, from which all should at length be restored to the favor of God.


The churches of the Reformation have generally ac­cepted of Augustine’s hell, but denied his purgatory. In the Protestant denominations, therefore, we have this doctrine in its most horrid aspects. And it is no marvel that many who have felt compelled by their creed to accept it, have shrunk from its advocacy, and have tacitly, if not openly, confessed that they could heartily wish it were a lie.


Saurin, at the close of one of his sermons, thus speaks: 


I sink, I sink, under the awful weight of my subject; and I declare, when I see my friends, my relations, the people of my charge—this whole congregation; when I think that I, that you, that we all are exposed to these torments; when I see in the luke­warmness of my devotions, in the languor of my love, in the levity of my resolutions and designs, the least evidence, though it be only [[302]] possible or presumptive, of my future misery, I find in the thought mortal poison, that diffuseth itself through every period of my existence, rendering society tiresome, nourishment insipid, pleasure disgustful, and life itself a cruel bitter. I cease to wonder that the fear of hell hath made some melancholy, others mad; that it hath disposed some to expose themselves to a living martyrdom, by fleeing from all commerce with the rest of mankind, and others, to suffer the most terrible, violent torments.


Albert Barnes, the well-known preacher and com­mentator, speaks on the same point as follows:


I confess, when I look upon a world of sinners and of sufferers, upon death-beds and graveyards, upon the world of woe fined with hosts to suffer forever; when I see my friends, my parents, my family, my people, my fellow citizens; when I look upon a whole race, all involved in this sin and danger: and when I see the great mass of them wholly unconcerned; and when I feel that God only can save them, and yet he does not do it— I am struck dumb. It is all dark, dark, dark, to my soul, and I cannot disguise it.[45]


Such is the effect of the doctrine of eternal misery upon some, according to the confession of its own advocates. No one can say that such effects are either good or desirable. And why does it not have this effect upon more? We answer, It is because the lips only mechanically assent to what the heart and reason either will not try to realize, or else do not seriously believe.


Says Bishop Newton:


Imagine a creature, nay, imagine numberless creatures pro­duced out of nothing, . . . delivered over to torments of endless ages without the least hope or possibility of relaxation or redemption.’ Imagine it you may, but you can never seriously believe it, nor reconcile it to God and goodness.[46]


But the majority are affected by it far differently. Every better emotion of their nature revolts at the idea, and they will not accept it. They cannot believe that [[303]] God is thus cruel, tyrannical, revengeful, implacable; the personification, in short, of every trait of character which, when seen in men here, we consider unmistakable marks of debasement and degradation; and believing the Bible and Christianity to be identified with such teaching as this, with equal promptness they too are rejected and cast away.  But here we need not enlarge. Probably no one will read these lines under whose observation some cases have not come of persons driven into skepticism, yea, driven amid held there, by the popular doctrine of eter­nal misery — a doctrine which has been well described by a Christian writer, as “a theology that is confused, entangled, imperfect, and gloomy: A theology which, while it abundantly breeds infidelity among the educated classes, fails to spread through the body of the population, and but dimly, or only as a flickering candle, en­lightens the world.[47]


But how is it with the view presented in this work?  Quite the reverse, as our own observation proves. In­stances have come under our immediate knowledge, of persons, who, when they saw the divine harmony of God’s system of government, as brought to view in his word, when they saw the just and reasonable disposition which the Bible declares that he will make of all those who will persist in rebellion against him, a disposition in which justice and mercy so beautifully blend, have been able to take that Bible, and say, for the first time in their life, that they could believe it to be the book of God. And believing this, they have been led to turn their feet into its testimonies, and strive, by obedience to its plain requirements, to escape a doom which they could see to be just, and therefore knew to be certain. This has been the experience of many. Let, then, the impression no [[304]] longer exist, and the assertion no more be made, that these views tend to irreligion and infidelity. Their fruits everywhere show just the reverse.


Can it, then, be wondered at that we should be solic­itous to disabuse the minds of the people in this respect? Shall we not have a zeal for the Lord, and be untiring in our efforts to wipe off from the book and character of God the aspersions which are by this doctrine cast upon them? God represents himself to his creatures by the endearing name of Love; he declares that he is very pitiful and of tender mercy, long-suffering and slow to anger, not hasty to execute sentence against an evil work, not gratified in any manner by the death of the wicked, and not willing that any should perish he declares that he delighteth in mercy, that he will not contend forever, neither be always wroth. And can it be that while thus representing him­self to the inhabitants of earth, he was kindling fiery tortures on multitudes of wretched beings in the dreary regions of hell, feeding their flame with his incensed fury, preserving and tormenting them in infinite indignation, exerting all his divine attributes to make them as wretched as the capacity of their nature would admit, and maintain­ing a fixed purpose to do this through the endless ages of eternity? If not, “what a portentous error must it be!”  How fearfully is his character is represented! What a bold and audacious libel is uttered against his holy name!


The root and trunk of all this is the “taken-for-granted” position that the soul is immortal. But search through your Bible, and see if you find it so. See if you will not rather be prepared to exclaim with the eminent commentator, Olshausen, that, ‘‘the doctrine of the ‘immortality of the soul,’ and the name, are alike un­known to the entire Bible.”[48] See if you can find the [[305]] death that never dies, and never-dying soul. If not, we ask you to reject the idea at once as a most dan­gerous and destructive error. Men are thus rejecting it. The leaven is working in the public mind.  Men are growing suspicious of the truth of a declaration, first uttered by a not overtruthful character in Eden, perpetu­ated thence through heathenism, and at last, through the medium of the mother of harlots, disseminated through all the veins and channels of orthodoxy. But the truth will work its way up, however deeply the rubbish may have been heaped upon it; and before the bright rising of its light, all antiquated superstitions and traditionary dogmas will lie exposed in their native deformity.  [[306]]



Chapter XVI1



The Claims of Philosophy


            After the Bible, what? When once the word of God pronounces upon a question, what further evidence is needed to sustain the position, or what evidence is strong enough to break its decision? What can human reason, science, and philosophy do for a theory upon which the Scriptures have written “Ichabod”?


We have, in previous chapters, examined the teaching of the Bible on the whole subject of man’s creation, nature, death, intermediate state, and final doom. We have found that man was not created absolutely mortal or immortal, but relatively both: immortality was within his reach, and mortality lay as a danger in his path. He sinned, and became absolutely mortal. Then death be­comes an unconscious sleep in the grave; and man’s destiny beyond the tomb, if he does not secure through Christ, eternal life, is, after being brought up to be judged, and to receive the sentence for his own crimes, an utter loss of existence. But there are some who think that rea­son, science, and philosophy are sufficient to disprove these conclusions; or, at least, that they are so strong that the Bible record must be made to harmonize with the claims drawn from these sources. But they forget that much that we call reason is in the sight of God “foolish­ness,” that there is a philosophy which the Bible pro­nounces “vain,” and some kinds of science which it says are “falsely so called.” [[307]]


We are willing to grant philosophy the privilege of trying to substantiate its claims. It may boast like Goliath, but it will be found weaker than Belshazzar before the handwriting on the wall.


1.  The Soul Immaterial:  It is claimed that the soul is immaterial, and cannot therefore be destroyed, and hence must be immortal. Luther Lee says:  “If God himself has made the soul immaterial, he cannot destroy it by bringing material agents to act upon it.”  This claim is good if whatever is indestructible is conscious, and in that state, immortal. But this is a manifest error. The elements of the human body are indestructible, but the body is not therefore immortal. It is subject to change, death, and decay. But if it is claimed that the soul, being immaterial, is without ele­ments, then perhaps it might follow that it is indestruc­tible; for that which is nothing can never be made less than nothing.


But if the soul of man, being immaterial, is thus proved to be immortal, what shall we say of the souls of the lower orders of animals? For they manifest phenom­ena of mind as well as men. They remember, fear, imagine, compare; manifest gratitude, anger, sorrow, desire, etc. Bishop Warburton says:


I think it may be strictly demonstrated that man has an immaterial soul but then, the same arguments which prove that, prove, likewise that the souls of all living animals are immaterial.


Whoever, therefore, affirms the immortality of man from the immateriality of his soul, is bound to affirm the same, not only of the nobler animals, but also of the lower orders of the brute creation. Here, believers in natural immortality are crushed beneath the weight of their own arguments. If it be said that God can, if he [[308]] choose, blot from existence the immaterial soul of the beetle and the titmouse, So, we reply, can he that of man; and then its immortality is at an end, and the whole argument is abandoned.


2.  “Matter Cannot Think.”   This is the favorite proposition on which the airy phantom of the immortality of the soul relies for its support. Since man does think, and matter cannot think, the mind or soul must be imma­terial and immortal. It is one thing to make such an assertion; it is quite another thing to prove it; and the proof lies not within the power of man. This point has already been alluded to in Chapter II of this work. A little further evidence out of the mass that might be given, to show that all the phenomena of mind are the result of organization, may here be in place.


That mind, like electricity, may be a property of matter, or result from material causes, Sidney Smith very clearly states as follow:


The existence of matter must be conceded, in an argument which has for its object the proof that there is something besides; and when that is admitted, the proof rests with the skeptic, who con­ceives that the intervention of some other principle is necessary to account for the phenomena presented to our experience. The hid­den qualities of this substance must be detected, and its whole attributes known, before we can be warranted in assuming the exist­ence of something else as necessary to the production of what is pre­sented to our consciousness. And when such a principle as that of galvanism or electricity, confessedly a property of matter, can be present in, or absent from, a body; attract, repel, and move, with­out adding to or subtracting from the weight, heat, size, color, or any other quality of’ a corpuscle, it will require some better species of logic than any hitherto presented to establish the impossibility of mind being a certain form, quality, or accessory of matter, inher­ent in, and never separated from, it. We do not argue thus because we are confident that there exists nothing but matter; for, in truth, our feeling is that the question is involved in too much mystery to entitle us to speak with the boldness of settled conviction on either side. But we assume this position, because we think the burden of [[309]] proof falls on the spiritualists, and that they have not established the necessity of inferring the existence of another entity besides matter to account for all the phenomena of mind, by having failed to exhaust all the possible qualities or probable capacities of that substance which they labor so assiduously to degrade and despise.

But while they have altogether failed to establish this neces­sity, whereon depends their entire proposition, they have recourse to the usual expedients of unsuccessful logicians, by exciting the ignorant prejudices of bigotry and intolerance, against all that is dignified with the name of dispassionate philosophy.

The truth is, it is time that all this fudge and cant about the doctrine of materialism, which affects the theory of immortality in no shape whatever—as the God who appointed the end could as easily ordain that the means might be either through the medium of matter or spirit—should be fairly put down by men of common sense and metaphysical discrimination.[49]


On the same point, Mr. W. G. Moncrieff says: 


Often do we hear the words, ‘Matter cannot think,’ and the trumpet of orthodoxy summons us to attend. 

In our simplicity we have been led to reason thus: Matter cannot think. God made man of the dust of the ground: then of course man cannot think! He may grow like a palm-tree, but can reason no more than it. Now this argumentation seems really valid, and yet every human being in his senses laughs it to scorn. I do think, is the protest of each child of humanity. Then if you do, we respond, in your case, matter must perform the functions of reflection and kindred operations. More than living organization you are not; and if you declare living, organized matter incapable of thought, we are bound to infer that you have no thought at all. Accepting your premises, we must hand you the conclusion. The logic is good, but we are generous enough to allow that we cannot subscribe to it. It has often occurred to us as a fair procedure, just for the sake of bringing orthodoxy to a stand, to assert that spirit cannot think; of course, we are only referring to created beings, on this occasion. We have often tried to understand the popular idea of a spirit; and we must confess that it defies our apprehension. It is something, nothing; a substance, an essence; everything by turns, and nothing long. To believe that such a production could evolve thought, is an inordinate demand on human credulity. How the expedient was resorted to, we cannot tell; was it because thought is invisible, that this invisible parent was sought for it?  [[310]] Then why not trace heat beyond the fire, perfume beyond the rose, attraction beyond the sun, and vitality beyond the branchy oak? Of all insane fancies, this popular idea of the human spirit is the most complete; we have no wish to give offense, but the truth must be spoken.


We arraign this theory also before the majesty of the brute creation. What about the immaterial minds of the lower animals? Does matter think in their cases? Or have they also immortal souls? Dogs, horses, monkeys, elephants, etc., have been taught to perform different acts, imitate various movements, and even to dance the same tune over and over again, to accompanying strains of music — acts which involve the exercise of memory, will, reason, and judgment.


            The exercise of high mental powers is shown in the intelligence and sagacity of the horse and elephant; in the manifold cunning of the fox; in the beaver and bee, which construct their houses with such mechanical in­genuity; in the mules of the Andes, which thread with so sure a foot the gloomy gorges and craggy heights of the mountains; and in the dogs of St. Bernard, as they rescue benighted and half-frozen travelers in the passes of the Alps. Hogg, the Ettrick shepherd, speaking of the sagacity of one of his dogs, says:


He had never turned sheep in his life; but as soon as he dis­covered that it was his duty to do so, and that it obliged me, I can never forget with what anxiety and eagerness he learned his dif­ferent evolutions; he would try every way, deliberately, till he found out what I wanted him to do; and when once I made him understand a direction, he never mistook or forgot it. Well as I knew him, he often astonished me; for when hard pressed in accomplishing the task which was set him, he had expedients of the moment that bespoke a great share of the reasoning faculty.


John Locke, the distinguished writer on metaphysical questions, says:  [[311]]


Birds’ learning of tunes, and the endeavors one may observe in them to hit the notes right, put it past doubt with me that they have perception, and retain ideas in their memories, and use them for patterns. . . . It seems as evident to me that they [brutes] do reason, as that they have sense.”


Pritchard on the Vital Principle, says:


Sensation is an attribute of the mind, and the possession of mind certainly extends as far as its phenomena. Whatever beings have conscious feeling, have, unless the preceding argu­ments amount to nothing, souls, or immaterial minds, distinct from the substance of which they appear to us to be composed.  If all animals feel, all animals have souls.”


H. H. Dobney says: 


While consciousness, reason, and the sense of right and wrong, are among the highest attributes of man, these in a degree are allowed to be possessed by some at least of the brute creation. Dr. Brown, according to his biographer, Dr. Welsh, “believed that many of the lower animals have the sense of right and wrong; and that the metaphysical argument which proves the immortality of man, extends with equal force to the other orders of earthly existence.”[50]


Similar views are attributed to Coleridge and Cudworth.


Dalton says:


The possession of this kind of intelligence and reasoning power, is not confined to the human species. We have already seen that there are many instinctive actions in man as well as in ani­mals. It is no less true that, in the higher animals, there is often the same exercise of reasoning power as in man.[51] The degree of this power is much less in them than in him, but its nature is the same. Whenever, in an animal, we see any action performed with the evident intention of accomplishing a particular object, such an act is plainly the result of reasoning power, not essentially different from our own.


The establishment of sentinels by gregarious animals, to warn the herd of the approach of danger; the recollection of punish­ment inflicted for a particular action, and the subsequent avoidance [[312]] or concealment of that action; the teachability of many animals, and their capacity of forming new habits, or improving the old ones — are instances of the same kind of intellectual power, and are quite different from instinct, strictly speaking. It is this faculty which especially predominates over the other in the higher classes of animals, and which finally attains its maximum of development in the human species.[52]


With these testimonies from such eminent witnesses, we leave the friends of the rational argument inextricably mixed up with the brute creation. The legitimate result of their theory is to confer immortality upon all orders of animated existence. We are sometimes accused of de­grading man to the level of the brute. But if our friends of the other side elevate all brutes up to the level of man, how does that practically differ from what they accuse us of doing? The result is the same. If all come at last upon the same level, it matters not whether brutes come up, or man goes down.


But our view is not open to this objection. While we deny that immortality is proved for either man or beast by any vital or mental powers which they may exhibit, our theory finds a superior position for man in his more refined mental and physical organization, whereby he becomes possessed of a higher mental and a moral nature, and is the proper recipient of the hope of immortality.


Another fact on which it is supposed that an argument for immortality can be founded is:


3.  The Capacities of the Soul:  The mind of man, it is argued, by its wonderful achievements, and its lofty aspirations, shows itself capable of some higher and better state of being than we at present enjoy. And from this the conclusion is easy (if people will not stop to scan very critically the connection) that such a state of being [[313]] inevitably awaits mankind, in which they are destined to live forever.


But this argument, which, stripped of its disguise, is simply an egotistical assertion— I am fit to be a god, and therefore I am a god— will be found to collapse under very slight pressure. Mr. J. Panton Ham describes it in fitting terms, when he speaks of it as follows:


Because a man has skin and ability, is he therefore immortal?  We, in our ignorance and imperfection, would exalt the intellectual above the moral. The former has greater attractions for imperfect man than the latter. Had we the peopling of paradise, we should fill it with the world’s heroes in literature, science, and the arts. The skilful are the world’s saints, and the proper candidates for heaven’s “many mansions.” This argument, dispassionately considered apart from the imposing parade of human achievements, is just this Man is clever, therefore he is immortal. Here is neither logic nor religion. The cleverness of man is surely no title to im­mortality, much less is it the proof of its possession. It is a silly logic which asserts human immortality from such strange premises as balloons and pyramids, electro-telegraphs and railways.


But all men cannot engineer the construction of a pyramid, nor construct a balloon, nor build an engine, much less accomplish the greater feat involved in their first invention. All men are not learned and skilful, and of such eminent capabilities. Is it not, in fact, almost an infinitely small proportion of the human race that has manifested those great powers on which this argument is based? And can the capacities of a few leading minds determine the destiny of the great mass of men who pos­sess no such powers?


And if an argument may be based on the capacities of some, may not an equal and opposite argument be based on the incapacities of others? And in this case, on which side would the weight of evidence lie? And as there is almost every conceivable gradation of intelligence, who will tell us whereabouts in this scale the infinite endowment of [[314]] immortality is first perceptible? Looking at the human race, and the races immediately below, we behold a point where they seem to blend indistinguishably into each other. Will an utter lack of capacity be affirmed of the higher orders of the brute creation? And descending in the scale, where shall we stop? Where is the transition from immortality to mortality?


We have given, in the preceding portion of this chap­ter, extracts from eminent authors, showing that brutes reason; that they exercise, to a degree, all the powers of the human mind; that they have a sense, to some extent, of right and wrong, and give evidence of the same nature as man is able to give in reference to himself; that they possess just as immaterial a soul as he. And have we not all seen horses and dogs that gave evidence of pos­sessing more good sense than some men? And in this graduated scale of animated existence, again we ask, Where is the dividing line between the mortal and the immortal? Will some one locate it? What degree of mental capacity is necessary to constitute an evidence of immortality? And here we leave this argument. It demands no further notice till its friends who base im­mortality on mental capacity will determine which class of their less fortunate brothers is so low as to be beyond its reach.


4.  Universal Belief and Inborn Desire:  Men have universally believed in the immortality of the soul, it is claimed, and all men desire it; therefore, all men have it. Strange conclusion from strange premises! As to the first part of this argument — the universal belief — that appears not to be true, in fact. On this, a glance at a quotation or two must suffice. Whately says:


We find Socrates and his disciples represented by Plato as fully admitting in their discussions of the subject, that “men in general [[315]] were highly incredulous as to the soul’s future existence.” The Epicurean school openly contended against it. Aristotle passes it by as not worth considering, and takes for granted the contrary supposition, as not needing proof.[53]


Leland, on the Advantages of Revelation, says: When Cicero “sets himself to prove the immortality of the soul, he represents the contrary as the prevailing opinion,” there being “crowds of opponents, not the Epicureans only; but, which he could not account for, those that were the most learned persons, had that doctrine in contempt.”


Touching the other portion of the argument, the universal and inborn desire, those who make use of it, to make it of any avail, are bound to supply and prove the suppressed premise, which is that all men have what they desire. The syllogism would stand thus: 1. All men desire immortality. 2. All men have what they desire. 3. Conclusion: Therefore, all men are immortal. This is a fair statement of the question; but are any presumptu­ous enough to take the ground that all may have what they desire? Is it true, in fact?  Do not our every­day observations give it the unqualified lie? Men desire riches, but do all possess them? They desire health, but do all have it? They desire happiness here, but what an infinitely small portion of the race are really happy! To try to get over the matter by saying that these desires that men have may be gratified by their taking a right course, is an abandonment of the whole argument; for that is the very condition of immortality. All men may gratify their desires here by taking a right course; so all men may have immortality by taking a right course; and those only will have it in whom those conditions are found to be scrupulously complied with; but they may comply with them, and thus obtain it. [[316]]


But there is another fatal flaw in this argument in another respect; for it is not immortality in the abstract that is the object of this great desire among men, but happiness. And the very persons who contend for im­mortality because men desire it, hold that a great portion of the race will be forever miserable. But this is not what men desire; and not being what they desire, it fol­lows that all will not obtain what they desire, and hence the argument built on desire is good for nothing on their own showing. It simply proves universal salvation, or that men will be forever happy because all men desire it, or it proves nothing.


5. The Analogies of Nature:  The day shuts down in darkness, but it is not forever lost; the morn returns again, and the bright sun comes forth rejoicing as a strong man to run a race. Nature is bound, cold arid lifeless, in the icy chains of winter; but it is not lost in absolute death. Anon the spring approaches, and at its animating voice and warm breath, the pulse of life beats again through all her works; her cold cheek kindles with the glow of fresh vitality, and she comes forth adorned with new beauty, waking new songs of praise in every grove. The chrysalis, too, that lay apparently a dead worm, motionless and dry, soon wakes up to a higher life, and comes forth gloriously arrayed, like a “living blossom of the air,” sipping nectar from the choicest sweets of earth, amid nestling in the bosom of its fairest flowers. And so, too, it is claimed of man, “that when the body shall drop as a withered calyx, the soul shall go forth like a winged seed.”[54]


Let us take care that here our judgments are not led captive by the fascinations of poetry, or the rhetorical beauties of which this argument is so eminently susceptible. Among the many instances of nature, we find only [[317]] a few that furnish the analogies here presented. The chrysalis, so often referred to, after it has spent its brief day as a living butterfly, perishes and is heard of no more forever. So with all the higher order of brutes: they fall in death, and make no more their appearance upon our path. The most, then, that can be drawn from this argu­ment, is a faint foreshadowing, perhaps, of a future life. But here, let it be understood, there is no issue. We all agree that all the members of the human race shall be called again to life. “As in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive.” 1 Cor. 15:22. But the point at issue is, Are our souls immortal, and must this life be, to all our race, necessarily eternal? To prove that man will live again is one thing; to prove that that life will be eternal is quite another.


6. The Anomalies of the Present State:  How often do we here see the wicked spreading himself like a green bay-tree, having more than heart could wish, while the righteous grope their way along, in trouble and want! The wicked are exalted, and the good are oppressed. This does not look like the arrangement of a God who is the patron of virtue and the enemy of vice. It is there­fore argued that there will be another state in which all these wrongs shall be righted, virtue rewarded, amid wickedness punished. Yes, we reply, there will. But certainly a space of time infinitely short of eternity would suffice to correct all the anomalies of this brief life, which so puzzle men here. This argument, like the former, may be a fair inference for a future state; it may portend to the ungodly a scene of retribution, but can prove nothing as to its duration.


7.  Immortality Assumed:  We are told that the Bible assumes the immortality of the soul as a truth so evident that it is not necessary expressly to affirm it. This is [[318]] why the doctrine has come to be so generally received, notwithstanding there is such explicit evidence against it. It has been taken for granted!  Says Bishop Tillotson:  “The immortality of the soul is rather supposed, or taken for granted, than expressly revealed, in the Bible.”


“It is taken for granted “ that immortality is an essential attribute of the soul, and that therefore for the Bible to affirm it would be mere tautology. But we reply, Is not immortality an essential attribute also of Jehovah? Yet the Bible has been tautological enough plainly to state this fact. And it would seem that it might have carried its ‘‘tautology” a little further, and told us as much, at least once, about the soul, if that, too, is immortal; for surely its immortality cannot be more essential than that of Jehovah.


8.  Annihilation impossible:  Nature everywhere re­volts, we are told, against the doctrine of annihilation, and everywhere proves it false; for nothing ever has been, nor ever can be, annihilated. To which we reply, Very true; and here we would correct the impression which some seem to entertain, that we believe in any such anni­hilation of the wicked, or the annihilation of anything as matter. In reference to the wicked, we simply affirm that they will be annihilated as living beings, the matter of which they are composed passing into other forms. The second definition of annihilate, according to Webster, is, “To destroy the form or the peculiar distinctive prop­erties, so that the specific thing no longer exists; as, to annihilate a forest by emitting and carrying away the trees, though the timber may still exist; to annihilate a house by demolishing the structure.” Just so of the wicked:  They are annihilated only as conscious, intelligent be­ings, being resolved into their original elements. [[319]]



Chapter XVIII



Historical View of the Doctrine of Immortality


            One of the most interesting questions connected with this subject is the inquiry as to what place the doc­trine of the immortality of the soul has held among the nations and in the literature of the world. It would hardly be expected that this question, which furnishes matter for a volume in itself, would be treated exhaust­ively in a work of this kind. But the reader is invited to a few historical facts which will give a general view of the subject.


The doctrine of the immortality of the soul was first introduced by the old serpent in Eden. The assertion, “Ye shall not surely die,” was the pleasing deception which seduced our first parents from their loyalty to God. And having become servants of the deceiver (Rom. 6:16), it might have been supposed that his doctrine would have been universally maintained among men; but its very apparent conflict with the word of God, the good sense of mankind, and the testimony of their own perceptions, have led many who seem otherwise fully to have relapsed into heathenism, to hold the doc­trine in abeyance; so that while it has held a place in almost every false system of religion, it has been far from being the universal sentiment of mankind, as is some­times claimed.  [[320]]


Among the most ancient nations, as they first come into the records of secular history, it appears that the idea of a future life rested not upon the immortality of the soul, but upon the resurrection of the body. As holders of this view, may be named the ancient Egyptians, Per­sians, Arabs, and Jews. Coming to later times, we may mention the Mohammedans, ancient Peruvians, Chibchas, Africans, Hawaiians, Australians, early Britons, and an­cient Mexicans; while in the Greek Catholic, Roman Catholic, and Protestant churches, aggregating about three hundred and eighty-eight minions, or more than one quarter of the human family, the doctrine of the resur­rection of the dead, which, as we have seen, cannot be reconciled with the doctrine of the immortality of the soul, has been a cardinal belief.


By many of the ancient philosophers the immortality of the soul was not believed. Among these may be men­tioned the Peripatetics, Epicureans, Academics, Stoics, etc. Vergil, Horace, and Seneca all disbelieved it; and Cicero was full of doubts.


In the records of profane history, the earliest appear­ance of the doctrine was in Egypt, from whence it was brought by Grecian philosophers into Europe. In this connection may be mentioned the names of Pythagoras, Anaxagoras, Socrates, and Plato. By Grecian philoso­phers it was introduced into Rome, B. C. 156. Through the Alexandrian school of philosophy, called the Eclectic, or New Platonic, it was introduced into the Christian church when heathen ideas and notions began to be brought in to corrupt the doctrines of the gospel. It met with opposition to quite an extent by those who remained steadfast to the pure teachings of the early church, until Rome came in to brand as heretics those who opposed this dogma, and thus silenced all open opposition.  [[321]]


To harmonize this Platonic philosophy concerning the soul with the language of the Bible, and so make its exist­ence possible in the Christian system, the baneful method of allegorical interpretation was introduced, by which the testimony of the sacred writers is made to mean almost anything except what it says. This system, if it can be called a system, has worked disaster on other subjects besides the one under discussion, but it appears that it owes its origin to the necessity which arose for the defense of the new philosophy. Origen was really the father of this mystical mischief in the Christian church; and of this man, Mosheim says:


The foundation of all his faults was, that he fully believed nothing to be more true and certain than what the philosophy he received from Ammonius taught him respecting God, the world, souls, demons, etc.: and therefore he in a measure recast and remolded the doctrines of Christ after the pattern of that philosophy.[55]


The testimony of what are called the Apostolic Fathers is silent concerning the immortality of the soul. These so-called Fathers are Barnabas, Clement, Hermas, Ig­natius, and Polycarp. While the writings ascribed to these persons are of no account in proof of any doctrine that cannot be sustained by the Bible, they are, neverthe­less, important as showing what ideas prevailed at the time they were written. Among the early Fathers, Justin Martyr, Tatian, Athenagoras, Theophulus, Irenaeus, and Polycrates, denied the conscious state of the dead, and the eternal misery of the wicked. And of different sects, we read of the Lucianists, the Hermogenians, and the Arabians, A. D. 244-249, who held the same views.


But from about the close of the third century, the work of apostasy had become so far advanced that the doctrine of the immortality of the soul was generally entertained [[322]] in Christendom, and so remained till the great Reforma­tion of the sixteenth century.


Tertullian, A. D. 200-220, is said to be the first Chris­tian who expressly asserted the unending torment of the damned. He launches into the subject in the following gleeful style:


How shall I admire, how laugh, how rejoice, how exult, when I behold so many proud mon­archs, so many fancied gods, groaning in the lowest abyss of darkness; so many magistrates who persecuted the name of the Lord, liquefying in fiercer fires than they ever kindled against the Christians; so many sage philoso­phers, blushing in red-hot flames with their deluded scholars!


Gibbon, after quoting this, suppresses fur­ther extract with this cutting remark: “The humanity of the reader will permit me to draw a vail over the rest of this infernal description.”[56] Tertullian was also the first one who applied the title of “Lord’s day” to Sunday.


When the light of the great Reformation began to lift the darkness which had so long covered Christendom, it brought to view many who did not accept the doctrine of the immortality of the soul. Luther called the doctrine a “monstrous opinion,” and relegated it to “the Roman dunghill of decretals.”


But, more than this, the Reformation led multitudes to embrace the truth on this point, so that Calvin is obliged to confess that thousands were drawn into that kind of “insanity.” William Tyndale, the great English re­former, and translator of the Bible, was a believer in the sleep of the dead. Calvin and the English Church op­posed it. But the General Baptists, who, says Mosheim, flourished in England in the sixteenth century, believed that, between death and the resurrection at the last day, [[323]] the soul had neither pleasure nor pain, but was in “a state of insensibility.”


The Socinians, another large sect of early reformers, denied the immortality of the soul. In the last half of the seventeenth century flourished that great Christian philosopher, John Locke. He took a bold stand against the immortality and the immateriality of the soul. John Milton, the world-renowned author of “Paradise Lost,” has left a brief but conclusive treatise on the “State of the Dead,” taking the same ground advocated in this work, that the dead are unconscious till the coming of Christ and the resurrection. This treatise has been repub­lished in America, and hundreds of thousands of copies have been sold. Bishop Jeremy Taylor, of the Episcopal Church, was not a believer in the immortality of the soul. Concerning Adam, he makes the declaration that “im­mortality was not in his nature.” Archbishop Tillotson, in 1690, preached a famous sermon on the eternity of hell torments, in which he virtually abandoned the whole doc­trine, by asserting that, though God had threatened eter­nal punishment, yet he reserved the right of punishing in his own hands, and might remit the penalty. He also declares, as heretofore quoted, that the “immortality of the soul is rather supposed or taken for granted than expressly revealed in the Bible.”


And so, did space permit and occasion require, par­ticular mention might be made of Dr. Coward, Layton, Pitt, the learned Dodwell, Dr. Isaac Watts, Bishop Warburton, Bishop Law, and Joseph Priestly, all justly ranked among the ripest scholars and most devoted Chris­tians, who took the Scriptural view on this question of the mortality of man.


Nor has there been any lack of publications on the subject. Among these may be mentioned an excellent [[324]] little work, in 1644, signed “R. O.;” the Reasonable­ness of Christianity, by John Locke; a work by F. W. Stosch, in 1692; Dr. William Coward’s Second Thoughts Concerning Human Souls, etc., in 1702; in 1706, an­other work by the same author; in the same year a work entitled A Search after Souls, by Henry Layton, a rich gentleman and lawyer; two works in 1708 by John Pitts, a presbyter of the Church of England; a work in the same year by Henry Dodwell; Warburton’s Divine Legation of Moses, London, 1738-41; two volumes of sermons by J. N. Scott, a minister of London, in 1743; Bishop Law’s Appendix to his Considerations on the Theory of Religion, etc., in 1755; a work The Grand Question Debated, etc., by William Kenrick, Dublin, about the same date; a work by J. Robinson, in 1757; the editors of Goadby’s Bible, in three volumes, in 1759, four volumes of sermons by Samuel Bourn, in 1760; a Historical View of the Controversy Concerning an In­termediate State, by Archdeacon Blackburn, A. M., in 1765; and in 1777, Joseph Priestly’s Disquisitions Relating to Matter and Spirit, in two volumes; not to mention volumes by J. E. Walter, Edward Homes, George Clark, etc. It will be seen by these references that the doctrine has had many and able advocates. That it did not more rapidly gain acceptance, shows the power of superstition, prejudice, and church influence.


In the present century, defenders of the view of life only in Christ, have grown more numerous. In 1805, we find Timothy Kendrick in London, Archbishop Whately in Dublin, and Robert Forsyth in Edinburgh, advocating this view. A “Member of the Church of England,” in 1817; Dr. John Thomas, in 1834; a clergyman in Dublin, Ireland (name unknown), in 1835; Reginald Courtenay, D. D., a rector of the Church of England, [[325]] in 1843; H. H. Dobney, a Baptist minister, and Edward White, a Congregational minister, both of England, in 1844 — all came out with volumes of greater or less magnitude in defense of the Scriptural view on this question. Since that time, adherents of this doctrine, some of them of no little distinction, as the Right Honorable Sir James Stephen, Professor of History at Cambridge, have sprung up all over the British Isles, and three papers at least — the Rainbow, Bible Echo, and Messenger — are devoted to its advocacy.


In our own country this doctrine has spread and is spreading perhaps faster, and taking deeper root, than in any other locality. In 1803 a church, taking the name of “Christian,” sprung up in the United States, the mem­bers of which at first held largely, if not wholly, to the view that the wicked were to be annihilated. A minister of this denomination, Elias Smith, started in 1808 the first religious newspaper in the world, in which he advo­cated the view that immortality was to be bestowed on the good alone through Christ at their resurrection, and that all the wicked would utterly perish and truly die in the second death. Thousands of his followers in the Christian connection held the same opinion; but as it was not a prominent article of faith in that church, there is now a difference of opinion among the members, some holding it, and others not.


In 1828, A. Bancroft, D. D. (a Unitarian minister), and J. Sellon; in 1829, Walter Balfour; and in 1842, Calvin French, a Congregationalist, issued works in de­fense of the Bible view. Very many of the denomina­tion called “Disciples,” also hold to the doctrine of the sleep of the dead and the destruction of the wicked.


The subject was first brought to the attention of Ad­ventists by Mr. George Storrs, a Methodist preacher. [[326]]  His mind was called to the subject in 1837, by a pam­phlet written by Henry Grew, of Philadelphia. In 1842, Mr. Storrs brought out his “Six Sermons,” which had a large circulation, and in 1843 he started the Bible Examiner, in New York, mainly to advocate this doc­trine. In 1844 the Adventists, almost as a body, adopted the view of conditional immortality.


Since that time, or during the last fifty years, the ques­tion has been assuming a new phase in this country. The views of the Christian world are becoming marvelously modified. The old orthodox fire is largely omitted. The preaching assumes a different tone. The sufferings of the lost are coming to be regarded as mental and metaphor­ical rather than literal. Thus the National Baptist of Dec. 6, 1883, in an article on The New Theology, says:


The New Theology believes that the future punishment, having to do with a disembodied spirit, is spiritual in its character; it believes that the moral nature of man contains in itself elements of a retribution infinitely more dreadful than flame and brimstone, of a retribution from which the soul might well turn to actual fire as a relief. It believes that this retribution is not the result of an express and arbitrary decree of God, but rather that it is the out­come of the moral nature of man, the direct effect of sin, the fruit of sin, as the grain is the fruit of the seed, according to the word of Paul, “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” It believes that conscience, recollection, affection, immortality, con­ferred by God for beneficent ends, for the promotion of human happiness, will be, if perverted by man, the means of his retribution.


On the other hand, some of acknowledged influence as leaders in religious thought, are openly abandoning the old position. As an example, we present the following from Dr. Lyman Abbott, published in a former number of the Christian Union (now the Outlook), of which he was and is the editor. In a little article entitled “Love and Hell Fire,” he says: [[327]]

If I believe in the hopeless doom of incorrigible sin, and also in the undimmed glory of a perfected kingdom I must believe in the annihilation of the incorrigibly wicked. Fire, in the Bible, is generally an emblem of destruction, not of torment. The chaff, the tares, the fruitless tree, are not to be tortured, but to be destroyed. The hell-fire spoken of in the New Testament is the fire of gehenna, kept burning outside the walls of Jerusalem, to destroy the offal of the city. Here was the worm that dieth not, and the fire that is unquenched; emblems of destruction, not of torment. I find noth­ing in the New Testament to warrant the terrible opinion that God sustains the life of his creatures throughout eternity, only that they may continue in sin and misery. That immortality is the gift of God through our Lord Jesus Christ; that man is mortal, and must put on immortality; that only he can put it on who becomes, through Christ, a partaker of the divine nature, and so an inheritor of him, “who only hath immortality;” that eternal life is life eternal, and eternal death is death eternal, and everlasting destruction is de­struction without remedy — this is the most natural, as it is the simplest reading of the New Testament.


The most earnest advocate of the view we hold, could not, in so brief a space, set forth the subject in a better light.


And now names and publications multiply so rapidly that it would be impracticable to try to name them all. Only one branch of Adventists, and they but a fraction of the whole body, still adheres to the old superstition of ceaseless torment in an ever-burning hell. The Seventh-day Adventists have twenty-three periodicals in the field, weekly, semi-monthly, monthly, and quarterly, in the United States, England, Switzerland, Norway, and Aus­tralia, the aggregate monthly circulation of which is more than two hundred and twenty-five thousand copies, con­stantly appealing to the people to accept the Scriptural view of life only through Christ. They also publish a full assortment of tracts, pamphlets, and bound books on this subject, many thousands of which have already been sold in both hemispheres. There are four other weekly papers in this country, besides one or two monthlies, [[328]] advocating the same views. It is estimated that over a thousand ministers are preaching this doctrine, who have a direct following of some three hundred thousand per­sons. Besides these there are thousands in the various denominations who have accepted these views.


With one more extract we close this division of the subject. Mr. Edward White— a name already men­tioned — in a lecture which he gave to the Artizans of London, May 2, 1880, summarizes the wide range which this subject has already taken, as follows:


But the Bible truth on life only in Christ and on the natural mortality of man, is held to my certain knowledge by the following persons, whose names are at least a counter-weight to any opposite authorities: The Rev. Samuel Minton is well known to have sacri­ficed his living and promotion, to this cause. Prebendary Constable, late of Cork, is also known as one of its ablest advocates. Dr. Wey­mouth, head master of Mill Hill School, and one of the finest Greek scholars in the country, says that his  “mind fails to conceive a grosser misinterpretation of language than when the five or six strongest words which the Greek tongue possesses, signifying ‘de­stroy,’ or ‘destruction,’ are explained to mean—maintaining an everlasting but wretched existence.” The late Dr. Mortimer, head master of the city school, spoke in the same sense. The late eminent Professor of Hebrew at Cambridge, author of a well-known critical commentary on the Psalms, in answer to the inquiry whether he knew any reason why the corresponding Hebrew words of the Old Testament should not be taken in their literal and ob­vious sense, replied in these words, “None whatever.” The Arch­bishop of York, Dr. Thompson, says, in his “Bampton Lectures,” “Life to the godless must be the beginning of destruction, since nothing but God, and that which pleases him, can permanently exist.”


This doctrine has advocates in all our chief cities. In London it is held by Dr. Parker, of the City Temple; by the Rev. J. B. Heard, M. A., author of the work on The Tripartite Nature of Man; and by not a few ministers of all denominations. In Bir­mingham it is taught by Dr. R. W. Dale; in Liverpool, by the Rev. Hugh Stowell Brown. In Cambridge it is maintained by Professor Stokes, F. R. S., Secretary to the Royal Society, who holds the Mathematical Chair of Sir Isaac Newton, and is one of the foremost scientific men in Europe. In Edinburgh it is held by several of the leading clergy of all churches, and by Professor Tait, perhaps the first mathematical reasoner in Scotland. In other parts of England it is held by the Rev. Thomas Davis, M. A., Vicar of Roundhay, the Rev. W. Hobson, M. A., of Douglas, two most able supporters; the Rev. J. Hay Aitken, the earnest missioner; by the Rev. W. Ker (author of a cheap introduction to the study of this question, called, “Immortality: Whence? and for Whom?” intended for plain peo­ple); by Professor Stevenson, of Nottingham; Professor Barlow, of Dublin; Professor Barret, of the Royal College of Science in Dub­lin; by the Rev. W. Griffith, of Eastbourne; by Dr. Morris, of Ply­mouth; by Mr. Maude, of Holloway — several of whom have written largely on the question, and all of whom are excellent Biblical scholars.


It is held by the celebrated physicians, Dr. Andrew Clark and Dr. Farre, and by a long array of Christian medical men in all parts of the country. It is held by Mr. Thomas Walker, late editor of the Daily News, a man of firm faith and uncommon literary attainments. It was held by the late Mr. John Sheppard, of Frome, and by the late Mr. Henry Dunn, both of whom pub­lished works on human destiny. Among American writers may be mentioned the names of the late Dr. Horace Bushnell, author of Nature and the Supernatural, who recently died in this faith; Dr. Huntington, of Worcester, Mass.; the late Professor Hud­son, of Cambridge, U. S. A., author of the Concordance to the Greek Testament, and Debt and Grace in Relation to a Future Life, one of the most accurate and accomplished scholars of our time; the Rev. J. H. Pettingell, of Philadelphia, author of the Trilemma; Mr. H. L. Hastings, of New York [now Boston]; Dr. L. W. Bacon, of New Haven; and many others. In Jamaica we have the Rev. J. Denniston, M. A., author- of the work called ‘The Perishing Soul.’ In India we have Mr. Skrefsrud, the mis­sionary to the Santhals, and one of the greatest linguists in Asia, speaking nearly twenty languages; and the Rev. W. A. Hobbs, of Calcutta, an experienced missionary, who writes that it is ‘aston­ishing how this view of divine truth commends itself to the almost instant appreciation of the unprejudiced native Christian mind. I never thrust it to the front, but nevertheless it is silently and rapidly spreading.’


Again: In Paris it is held by M. Decoppet, pastor of the Oratorie; M. Bastide, head of the French Religious Tract Society; M. Pascal, pastor, M. Hollard, and Professor Sabatier of the Prot­estant College, one of the foremost theological scholars of France. It is also held by three of the pastors in the church at Lyons. In Brussels it is held and taught by M. Charles Byse, who has just [[330]] published a French translation of Life in Christ, a man of wide and accurate scholarship in Oriental languages. In Germany it was held by Rothe, Nitzsch, Olshausen, Hase, Ritschl, and Twesten. It is taught by Professor Gees, of Breslau, who was theological tutor of Dr. Godet, of Neuchatel, and by Professor Schultz, of Got­tingen. In Geneva it is valiantly defended by the accomplished scholar Dr. Pètavel, of Chêne Bougeries; by Professor Thomas, of D’Aubigné’s College; by M. Mittendorff, late editor of the Semaine Religieuse; by MM. Walthur and Chatelain, two of the most active evangelists, and by M. Caesar Malan.


In Africa it is held by Rev. Mr. Impey, superintendent of the Caffre Mission of the Wesleyan body, who was two years ago ejected from his high office after forty years’ labor, because he could no longer teach the endless misery of the poor black Zulus and other heathens of Africa. In China it is held by several of the ablest missionaries; in Ceylon, by the Rev. Mr. Clark, M. A., of the Church Tamil Mission; in Sydney it was held by Mr. Ridley, the leading journalist of Australia, and an eminent scholar, whose fame has reached his fatherland; and it is held by many of the Australian pastors.


I have cited these names of learned believers of all Protestant churches — scholars, writers, preachers; professors of divinity, criticism, and physical science; literary men, mathematicians, barristers, journalists, evangelists, missionaries — some of them men of the first rank, all of them men of high education, who have carefully studied this question under the conditions of prayerful inquiry and adequate learning — men who have no object to serve except the maintenance of truth —men who represent all varieties of modern knowledge and training in nearly every department of study — for a special purpose — to encourage general investigation against the attempts of many persons, both clerical and lay, to suppress inquiry by the assertion that no one of any consequence agrees with us. My own extensive acquaintance enables me to add that not a few other persons of eminent ability agree in this view of divine truth, but are constrained to silence by the menaces of ignorant men.


If these statements be true, and there is no reason to doubt them, it is evident that a great theological revo­lution is going forward upon this question, and this is becoming more and more apparent every day. May it go forward till the horrid nightmare of eternal misery is lifted from the hearts of Christians everywhere. [[331]]



Chapter XIX



Influence of the Doctrine


Why promulgate the doctrine of the destruction of the wicked, it is asked, even if it be true? Will not evil rather than good result from it? Some, honestly no doubt, deprecate any agitation of this question; and we have even heard some, impelled either by their fears or their prejudices, go so far as to declare that “it will make more infidels than Tom Paine’s Age of Reason,” and that “no conversions to God win ever follow in the track of its blighting and soul-destroying influence.”


It might be necessary first to inquire what idea these persons have of infidelity. Perhaps they apply that term to everything that is not in agreement with their views. And if this is the standard by which they judge of this matter, their assertion may possibly be in part correct; for converts to this doctrine are multiplying, as we have seen, at a rapid rate. But giving to infidelity its legiti­mate definition, we call upon all those who claim that this doctrine makes infidels, to give some proof of their assertion before they again repeat it. This matter can be easily tested. The friends and advocates of this doctrine are neither few nor obscure. Men from all the walks of life, public and private, are daily swelling the ranks; and if this doctrine makes infidels, the infidels of our day should be found among those who receive it. But do we find them there? If one solitary individual can be found who repudiates the Scriptures as the revealed will [[332]] of God, because he has been made to believe that they do not teach eternal misery for the lost, we would be glad to see him, or even to learn of him. No! This is one of the most false and unjust charges that it is possible for language to frame.


So far from being the cause of infidelity, the view we here advocate is just what cures infidelity. Whom do we find in the ranks of the friends of this doctrine? Not the criminal and vicious classes, not those who have thrown off all moral and legal restraint, not rejecters of divine revelation; but we find those who were formerly skeptics rescued from their skepticism, and infidels recovered from their infidelity. We find multitudes who can now rest down with sweet assurance on the word of God, the per­plexities with which they had been troubled respecting God’s dealings ‘with his creatures all cleared from the mind, and whose feelings may be well expressed in the following language from Henry Constable, A. M.: 


For myself, I cannot express my sense of the value I place on the view I now seek to impress on others. It has for me thrown a light on God’s character, and God’s word, and the future of his world, which I once thought I should never have seen on this side of the grave. It has not removed the wholesome and necessary terrors of the Lord from the mind, but it has clothed God with a loveliness which makes him, and the eternal Son who represents him to man, incalculably more attractive. I am no longer looking for shifts to excuse his conduct in my own eyes and those of others, and forced to feel that here at least I could never find one to answer my object. I can look at all he has done, and all he tells me he will hereafter do, and, scanning it closely, and examining it even where it has most of awe and severity, exclaim with all my heart and with all my understanding, “Just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.[57]


These are among its general good effects. But there exists a special reason at the present time why men should [[333]] be made acquainted with the true teachings of the Bible on this question. It is the only antidote against modern Spiritualism, that masterpiece of Satan’s cunning and deception, and the climax of his corrupting work in the earth. In what horrid blasphemies has this delusion arrayed itself! To what corruption does it lead its vo­taries! How utterly it debauches the moral natures of all those who suffer themselves to receive its polluting touch! And notwithstanding it carries in its train all these terrible evils, how rapidly is it spreading through the land, and at what a fearful rate is it swelling the catalogue of its victims!


Why is this? — It is because the way has long and thoroughly been prepared for it in the doctrine of the conscious state of the dead, and the immortality of the soul. This is its foundation, its life, and spirit. Take away this, and it is robbed of its vitality. For, if it be true, as the Bible declares, that when a man goes into the grave, his thoughts perish, his love and hatred and envy are no longer exercised, and he knows not anything, and has no more a portion in anything that is done under the sun, here in this state of being, then whatever spirit comes to us from the unseen world, professing to be the spirit of a dead man, comes with a lie in its mouth, and thus shows itself to be of the synagogue of Satan. The doctrine of the unconscious condition of the dead is the “Ithuriel spear’’ of Milton’s Paradise Lost, that trans­forms this lying system, which at its best showing is as low and ugly as the blotchiest “toad” that ever lived, into the real “devil” that it is. Then let this truth be spread abroad on all the wings of the wind, that in the hands of the people may be placed some safeguard against this ghastly embodiment of falsehood, pollution, and death. [[334]]


With the truth clearly stated as to how God will deal with the sinner and finally dispose of sin, we can appeal with confidence to the calm reason and the better nature of every child of Adam. We can second the tender entreaty which God extends to every wayward soul, “Turn ye, turn ye, for why will ye die?” “As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live.” Life and death are set before you. The Saviour bids you look unto him and live. Mercy entreats you to destroy not yourself. The Spirit and the bride bid you come and partake of the water of life freely.


You can no longer take refuge from an awakened con­science under the idea that the threatenings of the Lord are not understood, and may not therefore be so terrific as supposed. The sinner’s doom is unmistakably de­clared; and in the justness of that sentence, however slightly you may now realize the heinousness and just desert of sin, your own reason cannot but heartily concur. Will you, then, plunge headlong to ruin? Or will you turn and accept the immense gratuity of eternal life? Of course you do not mean to perish. We accuse you not of this. The shining form of Hope is dancing on before you in the path of life — hope that ere it is too late, ere the “silver cord be loosed,” or ever “the golden bowl be broken,” you will make sure a treasure and an inherit­ance in heaven.


We would impress upon your mind that this hope may deceive you. Ere you reach the delusive phantom, the earth may suddenly open beneath your feet, and hades receive you to its fixed embrace. Ere you overtake the beckoning form, ere the good intention be carried out, ere you grasp the prize now held only by the uncertain tenure of good resolve, the glory of the coming Judge, [[335]] descending through the parting and dissolving heavens, may suddenly burst upon your unprepared soul. Yes! The great voice from the temple of heaven, crying, “It is finished!” may suddenly arrest you in the midst of your delaying and dallying career! The heavenly court of mercy may cease its sitting, ere you have made a friend of the great Advocate, who alone can plead your cause!


“Procrastination is the thief of time.” It may be the thief of your eternal bliss. Its every moment is high­handed and insane presumption. Its path is a path of unseen and innumerable dangers. You have no lease of your life. The present state is one of exposure and peril. The shafts of death are flying thickly about you. Time is short, and its sands are swiftly falling. The bliss of heaven, or the blackness of darkness forever, will soon be yours. With the saved or lost you must soon take your position. There is no intermediate ground. Choose, then, we beseech you, the enduring portion! Choose for eternity, choose wisely, choose now! And may it be ours to join the great song of salvation at last, ascribing bless­ing, and honor, and glory, and power, unto Him who sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb, who poured out his soul an offering for sin, that whosoever would believe on him might not perish, but have everlasting life.


Worthy the Lamb once slain! So shall at last

All beings sing in heaven and earth and sea,

The direful reign of sin forever past,

Before them, bliss whose end shall never be.


Worthy the Lamb! His life has saved from death,

Through him alone the immortal boon is given;

So shall each bounding pulse, each joyful breath,

Ascribe to him the life and bliss of heaven.


Welcome, life-giving hour, expected long!

Dawn on these regions peopled with the dead.

Our hearts leap forward to begin the song

Of a glad universe whence sin has fled.  [[336]]







The Doctrine Illustrated



The diagram on the opposite page is designed to bring before the mind of the reader at one view, the real origin, and the nature of the fruit, of the doctrine of the immortality of the soul. If the reader has carefully perused the foregoing pages, and has examined the tes­timony of the Scriptures there brought forth, he will be prepared to appreciate the force of the illustration. Let all examine carefully, and see if what appears upon the tree is not the bitter fruit of that primal deception in the garden of Eden; and consider whether these fruits would not all disappear, if the hoary error concerning the na­ture of man was expunged from the world.  [[339]]








Index of Authors Referred To


Abbott, Dr. Lyman       327
Aitken, Rev. J. Hay      330
Alger, W.R                   262
Alleine, Joseph 238
Ammonius                    322
Anaxagoras                  321
Andrews                      162
Aristotle                       316
Athenagoras                 322
Augustine                     280


Bacon, Dr. L. W          330
Bagster             63
Balfour, Walter 326
Bancroft, A                  326

Baptist Confession.       126
Barlow, Professor..       330
Barnabas                      322
Barnes, Albert              119, 303
Barret, Professor          330
Bastide, M                   830
Benson             267, 269
Blackburn, Archdeacon            325
Bloomfield                    102, 167
Bourn, Samuel              325
Brown. Rev. H. Stowell            329
Buck, Chas                  59, 151
Bush, Professor            46, 107
Bushnell, Dr. Horace    330
Butler. Will. A              300

Byse, M. Charles          330


Calvin                           333
Carmichael                   223
Chaldee Paraphrase      84
Chapin, E. H                317
Chatelain, M                 331
Cicero                          13, 279, 316, 321

Clarke. Adam               38, 39, 41, 46, 92, 96, 114, 121, 162,181, 298, 295, 297

Clark. Dr. Andrew       330

Clark, D. W                 19-21

Clark, George             325
Clark, Rev. Mr.            331
Clement                        322
Conant, T.J.                 38

Constable, Preb. H       268, 329, 333
Cook, Joseph               24

Courtenay, Reginald     323
Coward, Dr                  324, 325
Crellius, John                211
Cruden                         295


Dale, Dr. R. W 329
Dalton                          312
Davis, Rev. Thomas    330
Decoppet, M.               330
Denniston, Rev. J          380
Dobney, H. H               13, 255, 312, 326
Dodwell. Henry            324, 325
Douay Bible                84
Dunn, Henry                 330


Epicurean School          316
Eusebius                       289


Farre, Dr.                     330
Forsyth, Robert            325
French, Calvin              326


Gees, Professor            331
Gesenius                       61, 63, 65
Gibbon             323
Goodly’s Bible 325

Greenfield.                    32, 51, 63, 111, 167, 287, 294

Grew, Henry                327
Griffith, Rev. W            330


Ham, J. Pantan 314
Hase                            331
Hastings. H. L              330
Heard. Rev. J. B           329
Hermas                        322
Hobbs                         13, 330


Hobson, Rev. W          380     

Hogg, James                 311     

Hollard, M                   330     
Homer                          289     

Homes, Edward           325     

Horace                         321     
Hovey, Alvah               12, 100, 220   

Hudson, C. F               284, 330         

Huntington, Dr  330


lgnatius                         332

Impey, Rev. Mr.           331
Irenaeus                       323


Kendrick, Timothy        169, 325
Kenrick, Wm               325
Ker, Rev. W                330
Kitto                            44

Landis, Robert  W.       47, 70, 71, 72, 85, 98, 99, 109, 148, 162, 177, 184, 186, 209           

Law, Bishop                 146, 211, 324, 325     

Layton, Henry              324, 325         

Lee, Luther                   107, 162, 215, 281, 308         

Leland                          316     

Liddell and Scott          75, 157, 294   

Locke, John                 20, 135, 311, 324, 325           

Longfellow                   131     

Luther                          84, 323


Malan, M. Caesar        331
Martyr, Justin               322
Mattlson, Professor H   41
Maude, Mr.                  330
McColluck, Dr 66
Milton, John                 84, 324
Minton, Rev. Samuel    329
Mittendorff, M  331
Moncrieff, W. G           310
Morris, Dr                    330
Mortimer, Dr                329
Mosheim                      322, 323
Muller, Dr                    223


Newton, Bishop           303
Nltzsch             331


Olshausen                     60, 169, 305, 331

Origen                          322


Parker, Dr                    329

Parkhurst                      61, 66, 107, 294

Pascal, M.                    330

Petavel, Dr.                  330

Pettingill, Rev. J.H.       330

Pitt                               324

Pitts, John                     325

Plato                            321

Polycarp                       322

Polycrates                    322

Priestly, Dr. Joseph       211, 324, 325

Pritchard                      312
Pythagoras                   321


Ridley, Mr.                   331                

Ritschl                          331
Robinson                      64, 86, 164, 294
Robinson, J.                 325
Rothe                           381


Sabatier, Professor       330

Saurin                           302

Schleusner                    295

Schrevelius                   294

Schultz, Professor         331

Scott, J.N.                    325

Scott, Thomas              37

Sellon, J.                      326

Seneca                         13, 321

Septuagint                    84

Sheppard, John            330

Skrefsrud, Mr.              330
Socrates                       13, 321
Smith, Elias                   326
Smith, Sidney               309
Smith, Wm                   60
Stephen, Sir James       326
Stevenson, Professor    330
Stokes, Professor        329
Storrs, George              326
Stosch, F.W.                            325
Stuart, Professor           12, 295, 297
Syriac Version              84


Tait, Professor              330
Tatian                           322
Taylor, Bishop Jeremy  62, 135, 324
Taylor, I                       304
Tertullian                      323
Theophulus                   322
Thomas, Dr. John         325
Thomas, Professor        331
Thompson, Dr              329
Tillotson, Archbishop    319, 324
Trench                          181



Twesten                       331
Tyndale, Wm                223, 323
Vincent, Thomas           267
Vergil                           321
Vulgate             84


Wahl                            295
Wakefield                     168
Walker, Dr. Thomas     330
Walter, J. E                  325

Walthur, M                   331
Warburton, Bishop       308, 324, 325
Watson                        80, 132
Watts, Dr. Isaac           135, 324
Wesley                         79
Wetstein                       289
Weymouth, Dr  .           268, 329
Whate1y, Archbishop   315, 325
Wheden, D. D.             132
White, Edward 326, 329











Index of Texts of Scripture Illustrated or Explained



1:20,21,24,30              46, 62
1:26,27                        29-32,  37
2:2                               77
2:7                               17, 37-39, 41, 46, 66
2:9                               40

3:4, 5                           11, 51
3:11-19                        129, 133
3:27                             220
1:9,10                          119
5:3                               31, 79
6:3                               97
6:17                             64
7:15, 21, 22                 39
7:22                             39, 65
9:6                               33

14:21                           62
15:15               149
17:14               63
18:1-8, 16-22   34

18.25               299                      

23.8                 62

32:24               34

35:16-20          179                   

35:18               60, 62, 66,106,108, 205

37:35               139



4:22                 166
22:18               153

23:9                 62

24:9-11            35
31:14               63
32:32               272     
33:20               35
33:21-23          34



11:10               62
17:11,              14

19:31               153

20:27               153

21:1                 44



6:6                   44, 62
16:22               96

16:30, 33         139
19:13               44, 121                    
22:31              34
25:1-3              155           

27:16               96



8:19;15:15        191
18:9-12            153
30:16               191
32:22               139

10:30,39          63

24:2...  .           149



10:30, 39         63

14:9                 177


9:7-15              179
13:6, 13           34



15:23               158

26:24               85
28:3-20            152



2:36-46            130
17:17               109

17:21, 22         60, 62,107,108, 205
17:25               165



4:35                 165
13:21               165

14:9                 177

22:20               141



10:13               168


36:19,21          386





3:11-18            141
7:21                 218
10:8-11            78
14:14               142
14:21               141
17:13-16          142
19:25, 26         233
21:30               219
26:4                 64
30:15               62
31:39               62
32:8                 76
33:18, 20, 22   63
34:14,15          28, 69
38:6,7              220
41:21               62



2:9                   271
6:5                   143
7:11                 267

16:10               62, 108, 138, 139

16:11               73
17:15               145,233
27:12               62
30:2, 3             139
31:5                 85
31:13               85
37:10               270
37:20               271, 273, 286
49:14,15          63
49:20               271
58:7, 8             271
64:1                 86
68:2                 271      
78:18               62
89:48               63,139
90:10               151, 152
106:28             155
115:17             143
139:7               34
145:20             269
146:3, 4           27, 38, 141



10:25               271                     

11:31               273   

20:27              64           

23:2                62      



3:19, 20           40
3:21                 80,83

9:3                   152
9:5, 6, 10         90,117,142
12:1-7              27, 60, 68, 69, 78, 82, 188, 255
12:14               301



1:30,31            271
2:22                 38
5:14                 139
5:20-24            273
10:25               267
14:9-20            139, 178
14:11               287
17:13               271
26:19               142,230,233
34:9,10            292
34:12               271
38:17               63
38:18, 19         143
42:7                 97
43:6                 230
44:2                 78
51:8                271,287
53:10-12          98, 161
57:16               62, 78
61:1                 97
64:8                 78
66:24               286



1:5                   78
17:27               285
31:9                 166

31:15-17          179, 285



18:20               265
18:26               265, 301
20:47, 48         286
31:15-18          139, 179
32:17-32          139, 179
37:11-14          239



7:10                 98
12:2                 140, 276



12:4                 34



5:6                   136



16                    141, 270





2:2                   139
4:3                   86



2:11                 119



2:13                 44



9:12                 191
12:1                 75, 76, 78



4:3                   271



2:17, 18           179
2:20                 63
3:12                 271
3:16                 187
5:1                   187
5:22, 29, 30     112
6:25                 63

10:28               63, 66, 109,112
10:39               63, 114
11:23               111
11:29               63
12:18               63
13:40, 47, 48   271
14:26               101
16:18               111
16:25,26          113
16:28               169

17:1-9              160

18:9                 112
19:20               191
22:23-32          169
23:15,33          112
24:30,31          182
25:31-31          253
25:41               277
25:46               263,278
26:24               264
26:38               98
27:50               64
27:52               140
27:53               221
28:5,6              189



1:16                 190
6:49                 101
9:43-48            112, 281, 289
12:23-25          217



1:11,13,28,29  34
4:18-21            97
5:16                 190
6:49                 271
7:14                 165
8:50,55            165
9:30-33            160
10:15               111
12:4,5              109, 112