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suffers with me here, because I am his creature, his child, must He not suffer with me hereafter, when my sufferings may be so much more keen and deep? If He here seeks to redeem me, and has even endured the bitter Cross to encourage me to believe and hope in his redeeming love, can He, all in a moment, cease to care for my redemption and to labour for it, and study why and how He may degrade and torment me ? It is incredible, impossible. Changeable and fickle as men are, would any man that is a father do that? And God is unchangeable. His gifts and election are without repentance. The mere lapse of time, the fact that I have passed out of this age into the age to come, cannot change Him, cannot annul his relation to me, his sympathy with me, cannot reverse his whole attitude toward me.
“ Love is not love that alters where it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove." And if human love can resist the influences of time and change, shall not the eternal love of God ?
You see, then, how many great doctrines, how many leading and pervading principles of the Bible, combine to assure us that we have misinterpreted those passages which speak of the future condition of the impenitent, if at least we have taken them to imply that all who are not saved in this age will be doomed, the very instant they die, to an endless and
depraving torment. Such an interpretation is inconsistent with the law of Retribution, with the doctrine of Election, with the revealed function of Punishment, and even with the very love and passion of God as disclosed in the Atonement wrought by Christ.
I MAY now assume, I think, that the main conclusions at which we have arrived are tolerably familiar to you, or that they may be recalled to your memories by a mere touch.
We have seen, then, that the English verb “to damn” is used to translate two Greek words which never mean more than “ to condemn,” and commonly mean only " to judge;" that our English noun “hell” is employed to render three Greek substantives— Tartarus, Hades, Gehenna, each of which, so far from indicating an endless state of torment, indicates only an intermediate and temporary condition of the soul; that the Greek and English adjective “æonial,” though it is commonly translated by “eternal” or “ everlasting,” means only æon- or age- long both in the Bible and out of it ; and we have found, especially in the writings of St. Paul, a Christian doctrine of the æons, a doctrine which implies that as there have been ages that are past during which men have been slowly raised to their present condition, so also there are ages to come in which the Divine education and development of the race will be carried on toward its final issue or goal. From all these lines of thought, and from the Scriptures which illustrate them, we have drawn the conclusion that the impenitent wicked, when they pass out of this age, will not be adjudged to a final and changeless doom, but will be exposed to a still severer and more searching discipline than that of this life, to what our Lord Himself calls an “æonial pruning," or a “salting with fire,” the design of which will be to free them from their thraldom to evil, and to save them unto life everlasting. The current theory of the future estate of the wicked is, therefore, condemned by the very Scriptures to which it has long made its appeal.
Nor only so. It is also at variance, not only with the general tone and spirit of the revelation made by Christ—though that were much, but also with certain definite principles, or doctrines, which are wrought into the very substance of Scripture and pervade it from end to end. It is inconsistent with the law of Retribution, with the doctrine of Election, with the declared function and end of Punishment, and with the eternal love and passion of God as disclosed in the Atonement wrought by our Lord Jesus Christ.
At this point we arrived, and paused, in our last Lecture. And, having conducted the argument so far, it might seem that nothing remained but to review its whole course, and to formulate some reasonable and
coherent theory of the life to come. But even yet the argument is not complete ; and the endeavour to frame a theory must still be postponed, if indeed we should ever brace ourselves to enter on a path of speculation so lofty and so perilous. For the present I must be content with carrying the argument to a close, by adducing those Scriptures which either expressly affirm or obviously imply the universality of the redemption wrought by God in and through Christ Jesus our Lord. And, unless you have made a special study of this subject for yourselves, I cannot doubt that you will be astonished, I trust also that your best hopes for mankind will be invigorated and confirmed, by finding how numerous and emphatic these Scriptures are, how the principle they illustrate is interwoven with the very texture, and with the whole texture, of Holy Writ.
From the dawn of Revelation down to its latest recorded utterance we find the very widest scope assigned to the redeeming purpose and work of God our Saviour. Even in those early days when one man, one family, one nation were successively chosen to be the depositories of Divine Truth ; when, therefore, if ever we might expect to find the redemptive purpose of God disclosed within narrow and local limitations, when unquestionably it was in much fettered and restrained by personal promises and by national and