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We should not be surprised if many of the opinions put forth by learned men concerning the lost races of America will be supplanted by later researches. Observation and experience have taught us that we must expect change;. that even cherished opinions have been forced to vanish. However imperfectly a subject may be understood, or however crude may be the solutions offered by those professing knowledge, it in no wise detracts either from the merit or importance of the subject under investigation. On the other hand, we must not expect to find out all that can be learned. It seems to be an unerring law that man shall not attain unto absolute knowledge.

ARTICLE XVII.

The New Orthodoxy, or the Gospel of Uncertainty, shown to be

without Foundation or Warrant.

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LANGUAGE has been exhausted by sacred authors in attempts to express the great worth, the Divine excellence, the surpassing beauty, of the Good News communicated to the world through the ministry of the Son of Man. It has been likened to a fountain of water in a parched desert, to the light of the sun, to a friendly shelter when the storm beats, and to hunger-feeding bread. In a few instances it is spoken of under the similitude of a great and rich feast, enough for all. “The Lord of Hosts,” said the prophet, “shall make in this moun

" tain a feast of fat things for all people; of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined. And He will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the vail that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death in victory, and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces.” Such should be the completenes and richness of the feast God would one day prepare, and such the triumplant display of divine grace and love at its termination.

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If, in a general way, as expressive of the fulness of blessing there is in the Gospel of Christ, it may be said that it is like the bread that satisfies hunger, or like water to a man perislıing with thirst on the sands of the desert; what is it, specifically, it may be inquired, that imparts to it this wealth of blessing, or gives it its wonderful adaptation to the nature and wants of the human soul ? What truths does it unfold, what secrets disclose, what revelations make, that no language can be, found lofty enough, expressive enough, to set forth the height and depth of meaning there is in it, or to describe its unreckoned treasure of grace and mercy? What is this Good News that it should be characterized as a message of ur paralleled and unspeakable blessedness? feeding a hunger that else were unfed, and comforting sorrows that else were uncomforted ?

The clear and explicit answer found upon the pages of the New Testament is, that amazing deeps of blessing abound in the Gospel because of its full, clear, and cheering disclosures concerning the character and government of God, and in relation to the immortal life and eternal destiny. The Father was unknown until the Gospel revealed Him – until a most wonderful Man appeared, with a love of marvellous depth and tenderness, who said, “ He that hath seen me hath seen the Father ” ; and scarcely a glimpse had been caught of the heavenly Fatherland - it was an undiscovered country - until Christ revealed it, and slowed that the children were all travelling toward a Father's house, into which, one day, the whole Family should be gathered.

We have pretty much got rid of the old Calvinistic view of the Gospel, which made it teach the Sovereignty disconnected from the Fatherhood of God; a Sovereignty arbitrarily electing the few to be saved, and casting off the many to suffer forever. This was to make the character and the whole administration of God odious and revolting to the refined Christian sense, and the view has quite generally been given up. To-day, the great majority of Christians, without doubt, would heartily unite in saying that if God is possessed of an attribute of sovereignty like that with which a once popular theory clothed Him, — “if He calls all men, and yet determines that only a few shall come; if He mocks men by offering gifts which He has rendered them powerless to accept; if he makes some men vessels of dislionor, and then breaks them to pieces because they are not vessels of honor ; if He can sit on His judgment-seat and see men going down to hell because He determined from all eternity that they should not go to heaven; if when He says 'whosoever,' He means but a few; then let all nohle and honest men leave Him alone in His hateful heaven, and go down to hell in company with poor, injured creatures who have deserved better at His hands.” 1 This is what most Christians would now be willing to say, voicing “ the instinct of parenthood which Christ himseli challenged in the interest of the Divine government."

Even the somewhat opposite doctrine is falling into disrepute ; we mean the doctrine which represents God as loving all men, and as giving a'l a chance for heaven, but limiting that chance to this short life; merciful of heart now, but hard of heart hereafter; willing and anxious now that all shall be saved, but indifferent, when the soul passes out of this life, as to what its destiny shall be ; creating for high and holy ends, and seeing at the same time that these ends would be unreachable, to any large extent, because of an obstructing agency His own creation. So untenable and unsatisfactory is this doctrine seen and felt to be, that it is undergoing sundry modifications, and already numerous patches of new cloth make their appearance upon the old garment. But these disfigure rather than adorn. If not cheated by the mere use of names and terms, we shall discover that the modifications are not improvements, and that even the recast theory takes greatly from the fulness of blessing of the Gospel of Christ.

We are told by Canon Farrar, Prof. Swing, Dr. Thomas, Henry Ward Beecher, et al., that God is altogether good ; that He is a Father in the best and tenderest sense ; tbat He cannot punish cruelly ; that He desires an end made of sin

of

1 Ecce Deus.

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and sorrow; that He will never block the way to any soul that is trying to reach heaven, but through the eternal ages to come will keep the doors of His house wide open, and a light set in every window; that He will always do what He can to gather home the wandering, will call, and warn, and strive, and entreat, and wait, with patient, unwearying love ; and yet that He does not know, and cannot know, nor does it concern us to know, anything definitely, certainly, respecting the ultimate destiny of the human family, neither of any human soul. We may hope, however, that all will be well at last, in some uncertain way; although Prof. Swing says, that not only is it not in any sense necessary for him " to seek or reach or profess faith in any definite dogmas about the future life of the good or the wicked, but so far as he himself can see, there waves no flag of hope over the place of future punishment.” There are scenes, he thinks, " to which sweet hope never comes; and yet the justice of God is present there, not in any revenge or cruelty, but in that power and beauty of law which are the basis of the universe. So it may be that over the lot of the wicked in the second life no inscription of hope is recorded.” He closes a recent sermon 2 with these words :

“ Standing in a world where we know that virtue leads to God's favor, and sin to His anger; separated from eternity by a heavy vail through which no sight can penetrate, however much it may gaze and ponder ; I cannot affirm or deny any of the three existing theories, but must say that above the term, Universalism, or Conditional Immortality, or Eternal Hope, I prefer the term Goodness and Wisdom of God, and in those words take refuge. Toward what life we are all slowly and solemnly marching, we cannot by any means determine,- none who have seen have come back with a report. The travellers are all going one way. All the pages of the Holy Writings tell us to walk righteously and lovingly. Here duty begins and ends. The light of duty is powerful beyond the light of the sun. On the other side of the grave a cloud hangs and conceals, but it is so far rent that one can read upon the massive portals the words : « The Wisdom and Goodness of God.'»

2 The Wisdom and Goodness of God.

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It is possible that Prof. Swing may find satisfaction and rest, all that his soul craves, in this theory of his, with its doubt, uncertainty, and suspense; but we cannot see how. In the mouth of a Universalist, the words, “ The Wisdom and Goodness of God," would have great meaning because of the interpretation he would give them, or the argument he would build upon them; but to the learned Professor, according to his own showing, they have no meaning – he builds nothing upon them — they are the basis of neither faith nor hope – they sweep away no cloud that obscures the future life; and separated from eternity by a heavy vail through which no sight can penetrate, however much he may gaze and ponder, he can not affirm nor deny anything respecting tuture destiny. His refuge, iherefore, is one of darkness, and it is cold, desolate, and bleak as though hewn out of an iceberg. We would just as soon have that of Robert Ingersoll, and in neither could we find rest for life's weariness, nor a covert from the storm.

In any view of them we can take, these revamped theories respecting God and the final result of His moral government, these patches of new cloth upon the old theological garments, are both unsatisfactory and vicious; they not only are not bread, nor clothing, nor shelter, but they are hunger, and nakedness, and cold. We have very great respect for the men who framed them, and are laboring for their dissemination. We adınire their very eminent ability, and profoundly reverence tlieir saintliness of life and character. Still, we cannot refrain from suggesting to them, that in their exchange of the old for the new, they have but "jumped from the frying-pan into the fire”; or perhaps it is better to say, from the fire into snow and cold. There is a show of better things, but the show is deceitful; a setting out with the sublimest of postulates, but the conclusions are the sorriest of which it is possible to conceive; only darkness, doubt, and uncertainty. God is a Father, full of love, tenderness, and pity ; He cannot do cruel things; He cannot angrily smite the soul with His own land ; but for all this we cannot tell but there may be wandering, and pain, and tears forever,- souls smitten with

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