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places indeed, in which they probably do imply endless duration ; but there are many, in which it is certain they do not.

From what has been said we infer, that the mere use of the word clarios, in Matth. xxv. 46, does not necessarily imply the positive eternity, either of the happiness of the good, or the misery of the wicked after judgment. However true the doctrine of an immediately and unalterably eternal state of the soul, after the judgment, which takes place at the death and resurrection of the individual, may be, still the mere use of this word in this place does not prove it.

It is, however, of immense importance, to ascertain what this expression does mean; it being a perilous thing on the one hand, to exhibit any doctrine in such a light, as to encourage sinners in hardening themselves in impenitence; and it is, at the same time, being unfaithful to the truth, to exhibit the christian religion in a more harsh or rigid point of view, than the inspiration of God justifies.

Now there is one meaning of the word wavios, which is seldom noticed by critical writers; and whenever we have named it, or heard it named, we have commonly seen it met with so much repellency of mind, that we have but little hope of its being received, when we exhibit it again. Nevertheless it shows itself so often, to our mind, in the New Testament, and bears with so much weight on our own views of the passage under consideration, that we shall now set it forth, and leave our readers to receive or reject it, as it approves, or disapproves itself to their minds.

We observe then, that the most important meaning, which, we think, belongs to this word in the scriptures, more especially in the New Testament, is that which is expressed better by the English word spiritual, than any other. This meaning, there is good reason to believe, was a very ancient, if not the original meaning of the word. It is well known, that ancient philosophers believed in a class of beings, called alwfvs, or æons ; which were said to be, either mediately or immediately, derivations from the supreme Divinity, and were entirely spiritual existences. They were all, originally, good ; but some of them had become wicked ; and so the whole class answered to the common modern ideas of angels, on the one hand, and devils on the other; or generally, to what we mean by the word spirits, be they good or evil. The one set were happy, the other unhappy ; but the happiness or unhappiness was wholly of a spiritual nature, consisting essentially in the state of each individual's thoughts and feelings, either in union with, or in opposition to the Divine Mind. These beings, as we have remarked, were


called æons, and the word almros, the adjective of this name, very naturally expresses something having the nature of æons; in other words, something spiritual, in its kind, be its duration longer or shorter. . It signifies something of that nature which specially belongs to spirits ; designating the kind, or nature of the thing; and showing forth something relating to the inward thoughts and feelings in the individual, without precisely marking the period of its continuance; the Greek word awy, answering to our word spirit, and awos, to spiritual.*

Now if we can find evidence that this meaning does actually, in some passages of scripture, belong to this word, it will go far towards illustrating the text under consideration. And to our minds there are many places, in which the word alwvios does evidently signify simply spiritual, without reference to duration. It means something belonging peculiarly to the thoughts and feelings; the inward spiritual state of the person, be its continuance longer or shorter. A few of these places will now be named.

1 John v. 11 and 12. God hath given to us eternal life, [Samy alwlor,) and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son, hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.' • Eternal life,' in this place, must be something which the Christian possesses now; God hath' already given it to us. It means something which the Christian obtains by embracing Christ; this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son, hath life.' It means something which the unbeliever does not possess; "he that hath not the Son of God, hath not life.' 'Eternal life,' in this place, cannot mean perpetual existence, since that is the cominon property both of believers and unbelievers. It cannot signify something to be inherited only in another world; for they have it now. And in fact we know not what this expression in this place can signify, unless it be religion dwelling in the heart, in power, satisfaction, and

, hope ; in other words, a happy and energetic state of thoughts and feelings, in conscious unity with God, a spiritual life. This is what the true Christian does possess now; varying to be sure in measure, in different individuals, but still in some measure belonging to every Christian ; and it is what the unbeliever does not possess. Vital godliness is perhaps the only thing which is not common to the Christian, and the unbeliever. This inward state of thought and affection, is that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto

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* Schleusner, in his article Alov, in order to show the meaning of the word among Greek writers, quotes from Epictetus the following passage ; Ougas uus alwr, ana'arbgaros,' which he translates, 'I am not by nature immortal. A more literal translation would be, I am not an aon, but a man.'

us.' It is in the Son; he that hath the Son hath life ; he that bath not the Son hath not life.' 1 John, iii. 15,

-Ye know that no murderer hath eternal life, [some allavlov] abiding in him.' In other words, no murderer hath true religion, vital goodness, spiritual life, abiding in him. The expression cannot well mean anything else.

John, v. 24. He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, [Samy swvcov] and shall not come into condemnation, but is passed from death unto life.' In this place, our Lord plainly speaks of everlasting life,' as the present possession of the Christian, and as being his security against future condemnation. Now the peculiar present possession of the Christian, is wholly of a spiritual, or inward nature ; consisting essentially in those christian habits of thought and affection, which God imparts to him through his faith in Jesus Christ; and it is the possessing this fixed condition of the soul, which saves him from coming into condemnation. This inward, heavenly region of thought and feeling, is, therefore, the eternal or spiritual life, into which the true believer is already passed. The kingdom of God is within you.'

In our Lord's peculiar manner of speaking, the word "life' often signifies power, peace, and enjoyment; as when he says, Luke, xii. 15, “A man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth,' he undoubtedly means to show, that a man's life, in respect to its real and enduring value, consists, essentially, in the power, peace, and satisfaction, which he receives and possesses.

And inasmuch as all true satisfaction of mind depends on the state of the thoughts and affections in relation to God, therefore he refers to these things of the soul as riches towards God.'

In the same point of view he affirms true acquaintance with God, and Jesus Christ whom he hath sent, to be in itself eternal or spiritual life; this is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.' And as all true heavenly thoughts and affections come into the heart through faith in him, he therefore asserts and repeats the sentiment often in different forms; 'He that believeth on me, hath everlasting life;' John, vi. 47. He hath it now, through his faith; even the spirit, power, and satisfaction of true religion. Whosoever drinketh of the water which I shall give him, shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him, shall be in him, a well of water, springing up into everlasting,' or spiritual, 'life;' John, iv. 14. This passage, however highly metaphorical, needs no comment. This he undoubtedly spake of the spirit which they that believed on him should receive. In allusion to the thoughts and feelings which he came to impart to the minds of his disciples, he called himself the living bread which came down from heaven;' and then soon remarked, “He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life, [{wmv alavor] and I will raise him up at the last day.' Truly he who receives into his own soul, the thoughts and feelings of the great Master, does possess a spiritual life, and at his last day shall be raised up.

Indeed, there are but few places in the New Testament, where the Greek word alovios is used, and is translated by the word eternal,' or ' everlasting,' in which it may not be as well translated by the English word spiritual, and make good meaning. The only place which now occurs to us, in which such a rendering appears inconsistent, is Hebrews ix. 14. Who through the Eternal Spirit, offered himself up,' &c. Now, in this place, the term · Eternal Spirit,' undoubtedly signifies the same thing as the Holy Ghost elsewhere; and believing, as we do, the Holy Ghost to signify the Divine Energy, producing power and holiness in man, we see no inconsistency in reading this passage according to the views we are attempting to exhibit

, thus; · Who, through a spiritual Divine Energy, offered himself without spot.'

Leaving this here, we might name many texts, in which the use of the word spiritual, instead of eternal or everlasting, evidently adds clearness and force to the expression, and in which we believe it ought to have been so rendered; as

Hebrews, vi. 2. · Eternal judgment,' is named as one of the foundations, or first principles of the christian religion.

Spiritual judgment,' would, we think, have much better expressed the mind of the writer ; inasmuch as a judgmnent, taking place in the soul, is one of the essential things which sinful man must endure, before he will repent, and be reconciled to God. And as a spiritual judgment in the world to come, is also one of the leading doctrines of Christianity, this is, therefore, one of the foundations of which the apostle is speaking in this place. But "eternal judgment,' would seem to imply that the soul should be perpetually arraigned at the bar of God, and would be eternally being judged.

2 Thess. ii. 16. • God hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace. Spiritual consolation, consolation in the thoughts and affections, is surely the meaning of the apostle here. Hebrews v. 9. Being made perfect, he became the author



of eternal salvation, to all them that obey him. Now salvation is altogether of a spiritual nature; it really cousists in the emancipation of the soul from error, corruption, sin, misery, and alienation from God, and reducing it to a state of truth, purity, holiness, and happiness, in conscious unity with God, whether this alteration in the condition of the soul be gradual or instantaneous. And of this spiritual salvation, Christ Jesus. became the author, to all them that obey him ;' or, if the mode of expression seem better, he established a religion, which produces a salvation of the mind, in all those who cordially embrace and follow it. The christian religion, from its inward, spiritual nature, is eminently called, the dispensation of the spirit.' And the kingdom of God within you,' is in effect that "eternal,' or spiritual, redemption,' which Christ hath obtained for us by the shedding of his own blood. It is an inward, spiritual power, whereby the conscience is purged from dead works, to serve the living God,' spiritually, and truly. And that "eternal life,' which, in the world to come, shall be given to those who here forsake much for religion's sake ; it surely means a state of spiritual happiness, a condition of the soul, expanded, powerful, and joyful in the divine presence.

When God is said, in 1 Peter v. 10, to have already called Christians á unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus,' we think the apostle must have meant, that God had called them to share in his own mind, and dwell in fellowship with his own spirit. Indeed, we cannot conceive of a more exalted or more durable glory, than that of a soul which is made a partaker in any way of the mind and spirit of the Supreme Divinity. His home, his dwelling place,' is an immense and infinite region of holy mind, in which he may expand and extend himself for ever and ever, and still be met, sustained, and blessed by the same gracious and all-sufficient One, who first called him into this spiritual glory by Jesus Christ; and to introduce our souls to this bright and glorious region of mind, seems to have been the great object of our Lord and Master when he gave himself a ransom for many,' and suffered for us, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us unto God.' The glory which thou gavest me I have given them, that they may be one, even as we are one; I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one.' John xvii. 22, 23.

Admit for the moment, that the term alwlos signifies a spiritual thing, without special reference to its duration ; and then we have a key to many passages of scripture, otherwise obscure and nystical. Take even our Lord's advice, in the parable of the unjust steward, Luke xvi. 9. Make to yourselves friends of

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