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adoration of bright intelligences, whose hearts he filled with gladness, and their lips with praises. My Love was crucified,” said the devout martyr Ignatius; “ he who loved me, and whose nature is love.” Never did love break forth in a more eager flame than here. Here was love unasked, unsought, unmerited, and by numbers ill-requited! Love, infinite, exuberant, voluntary, free, and spontaneous, planned the scheme of human redemption. Love was the ruling principle; every step was marked with it; every action testified it; and every word sealed it.
The appearance of Christ on earth in the character of our Saviour was in the fulness of time-after other sacrifices had been offered and found insufficient; after reason had exhausted all its resources, and every hope had failed. When there was nothing to prevent our ruin; when destruction was inevitable, and the moment of despair had come, then that great spectacle was displayed in the sight of men and angels-by far the greatest ever exhibited on the theatre of our world, the master-work of the combined attributes of the Godhead. And it was the principle of love that actuated Christ in this transaction, and is found lying at the base of the grand superstructure of redemption, through which a worm may be exalted to a saint, and eventually made the companion of angels and of God.
4. We may not be able to discover in the helpless Babe of Bethlehem that Being of infinite dignity, power, and goodness who came from heaven to save us : yet it is indeed the Lord of life and glory, the sole inspirer of the prophets, the theme of their glorious visions, the Saviour 80 great that the government is laid upon his shoulder, the sceptre of supreme authority is placed in his hands. The divinity of Christ was a subject on which St. Paul delighted to dwell; it glowed in his heart, moved his tongue, and guided his pen. Human intelligence only rises to its proper dignity when directing its powers to the contemplation of its Almighty Origin; and in no sphere can the faculties of man find nobler exercise than in the study of God's wonderful scheme of salvationsalvation that is of the highest importance to man, a blessing universally needed by him.
The gospel is the grand instrument of salvation. Very soon it will be a matter of indifference whether we have occupied a mansion or a cottage, whether we have been rich or poor, admired or despised; but it will be a matter of eternal moment whether or not we have received the gospel, repented of sin, and fled to Christ for salvation. Every one stands in need of a Saviour. Other Saviour than he who came to Bethlehem there is none; other salvation than that unfolded in his gospel there is not. We must either accept of Christ, or be rejected by him when he shall come in far other guise than that of the Babe of Bethlehem, and when, with garments rolled in blood, and the day of vengeance in his heart, he shall be revealed from heaven in flaming fire to take vengeance on his enemies,-on them that know not God and believe not the gospel of Christ. None, however, need be exposed to that vengeance who in this acceptable time will come to the throne of grace, which, though it be in heaven, is within the reach of all; for, “by grace ye are saved, through faith ;” and by the stretching forth of that hand of the soul, faith, salvation is obtained.
66 OUR LIFE.”-No. III. " It is a very obvious principle," says Dr. Chalmers, “although often forgotten in the pride of prejudice and controversy, that what has been seen by one pair of eyes is of force to countervail all that has been reasoned or guessed at by a thousand human understandings.” This sentiment, so just and wise, has occurred to us in connection with what our last article contained respecting the reappearance of the prophet Samuel among men, and in view of the numberless denials of the reality or possibility of such appearances on the part of sceptics, and of timid or so-called rational believers in the Bible. Taken as an authentic narrative, it is conclusive as to the continued sentient existence of the soul, the prolongation of “our life” beyond the death of the body, and also as to the possibility, under extraordinary circumstances, of the actual manifestation of spiritual existence to our present bodily senses.
These two points, to us and to our readers, are thus sufficiently proved; for we receive the narrative as authentic. Those who deny the conclusions are compelled to disbelieve the narrative, or so to explain it as to reduce the supernatural fact to a mere illusion of the senses, an act of legerdemain on the part of the woman, or a creation of the distempered brain of the troubled king. To such things there is no reply. If men will believe according to their fancy rather than according to the solemn record of witnesses whose credibility has never been successfully impugned, there is an end to human evidence as an element of any value in the logical settlement of a question.
With regard to "our life” after separation from the body, the speculation of philosophers, and the vagrant notions of Bible doubters and pantheists, are all at fault. Inconsistency and incoherency, doubt and hypothesis attend on every step; they cannot even move freely where they attempt to apply the principles of the inductive philosophy, the method which, in all scientific researches is received as perfectly safe and convincing, because they lack the patient labour, the candid simplicity, and the frank faith in facts which always distinguish a thoroughly philosophical mind; in place of which they adopt the bastard philosophy, the selfish, pretentious, short-sighted dogmatism, which rejects everything but what is known to their individual consciousness or experience. Is it any great wonder that, being thus self-imprisoned, they come to regard their own reasonings and speculations, those facts of their own internal consciousness, as far greater facts and realities than the events of unimpugned and unimpeachable history, or the well-attested experiences of other men? It seems to be a natural consequence of refusing to listen to the voice of the Divine Author of “our life,” that the mind, thrown off its balance, falls headlong into error;-detached from the right centre towards which it ought to gravitate, it flies off at a tangent after some strange “lie,” which it is the effort of a life-time to believe, only to be relinquished with horror at last.
The life that now is, and the life which is to come, are one life, one existence, one continued consciousness. Nothing can be clearer than that the most distinct individuality, the most exact personal identity, is maintained in both. We experience it now: the idea of absorption into another being, here or hereafter, finite or infinite is to us incomprehensible because it is totally contrary to that experience and to all analogical reasoning
Whether there be even the merest thread of individual consciousness running through the life of the pupa, the chrysalid, and the perfect winged insect cannot be known, because, whatever may be its character, the consciousness (if the term may be used at all) of the insect is entirely beyond our observation; nor do we know that it possesses any degree of consciousness analogous to that which we individually know belongs to man in a state of sanity. Yet one of the most popular and natural thoughts respecting the perfect insect as it flutters and glances in the glorious sunshine is that its enjoyment of life is heightened by the marvellous contrast between its present and its past experience. We cannot deny the possibility of this in some low degree, and the pleasant idea derives its probability from the fact that, though its transformations may be various, its life is one-being traceable from the bursting of the tiny egg to the flight of the perfect gorgeously-winged creature out of its comparatively shapeless and contemptible prison-house.
Beyond the facts of continual consciousness, real individuality, and perfect identity, the scriptures reveal very little concerning the separate existence of the soul after death. It is naturally, therefore, a subject of lively curiosity to the major part of mankind, as well as one that is connected with many superstitious legends. In these modern times we have heard much of spirits, spirit rappings, and spirit manifestations ; and it has been professed that modes of direct communication with the invisible world have been established, by means of which intercourse may be had with the spirits of deceased friends, and indeed with the dead of all ages and countries. The accounts which have been published are strange enough to startle the most sober minded; and they are at the same time accompanied with evidences of their authenticity and the reality of the events narrated such as forbid a reflecting mind to reject them in toto, or to treat them with derision or scorn.
It is a fact that some known sceptics have been convinced by the modern spirit manifestations of the reality of a future life, and that they now avow their belief in it. This to a superficial observer may be thought to be a fact worth something in favour of the practice of pursuing knowledge in the same direction and by similar means. We would not speak disparagingly of anything that has produced so remarkable a result; but it is significant of the problematical value of such researches that it does not yet appear
respect and reverence for divine revelation and the inspiration of the holy scriptures have wholly or in any important measure supervened upon the persuasion of a conscious life hereafter in the minds of the parties referred to. We do not look upon this fact as one that damages in any degree the authority of the Bible; but rather as indicative of that truth which every enlightened Christian would have predicated :—That no real or pretended intercourse with disembodied spirits, no conversations with inhabitants of the invisible world, and no information that can be received by such means, can supersede or set aside or even supplement the revelation which God himself has given for the instruction and salvation of man, until such intercourse or communication shall, in the order of divine Providence, become a natural condition of our residence on this planet.
That the condition thus alluded to might by possibility become natural to us, is made sufficiently evident by the frequent interviews between men and angels recorded in the scriptures,--especially in the times of the early patriarchs; the interview between Saul and the dead Samuel; the remarkable visit of Moses and Elias to Christ on the mount of transfiguration; and the forty days' intercourse between Jesus and his disciples after the resurrection. We say it is not impossible that such a condition may become natural to us; but whether it is the purpose of God that it ever shall become so is not at present within our province to inquire.
We have now to hazard a statement. Though in thousands of modern instances, the credibility of which rests on evidence that, while received with caution, cannot be rejected or despised by a sober minded man, communication has been held with spiritual beings professing to be human spirits who have “put off this mortal coil,” no real addition has been made to the knowledge which the Bible contains respecting the separate or any other state upon which it may hereafter be the lot of man to enter. We might have argued a priori that this must necessarily be the case : (1) because God has ordained our present condition, in which an impervious screen is fixed between us and the dead of all our race; (2) because if it had been requisite to our salvation that we should know more of the separate state than God has revealed in the Bible, that revelation would have been made more complete than it is; (3) because the only end that can be imagined for which unrestrained intercourse with the invisible world would be permitted, would be our advancement in individual and social happiness, and it would be a libel upon the Divine beneficence to suppose that that would be in any degree promoted by contact with a manifestly imperfect state of being like that of dis
embodied spirits, seeing that God has not only not provided for it by such an arrangement of our physical and metaphysical powers as would facilitate it, but has strictly forbidden men to have recourse to them that have familiar spirits, or to wizards and enchanters, who pretend to be the media of communication with the invisible world; (4) and lastly, because, to put beyond all doubt the credibility of the sacred scriptures, and to destroy utterly the plea that permitted intercourse with the spirits of departed friends would help or strengthen our faith in God, and be promotive of practical piety, our Lord has himself declared touching this very point, that “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.”
The last consideration is instructively illustrated in the history of human redemption by the fact that the Jews as a nation, and the bulk of mankind in general, have rejected the truth preached by and in the name of Jesus of Nazareth, although he sealed it by his death, and confirmed it by actually rising from the dead and holding intercourse with his disciples during forty days. So true is it that, when men's prejudices and interests darken their understandings, they shut their eyes to all evidence, direct or indirect—“neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead."
The assertion we have made that no real addition to the knowledge which the Bible contains has been furnished by the modern dealers with familiar spirits (for so we think the spirit-rappers and table-turners are best described), may be properly supported by quoting some of the most remarkable narratives that have been published by themselves. One of the best authenticated accounts is the following.
In the early part of 1855, Mr. D. D. Home, a famous American medium, visited England, and many highly intelligent persons had interviews with him in order to witness and to test the spirit manifestations which attended him. One of his visitors, a physician, well known in the literary and professional world, whose name has been mentioned to us, afterwards published an account of what he saw and experienced in Mr. Home's company. After detailing the events at two sittings he writes :
“The next séance which I shall describe took place at the house of a valued friend in Ealing, who had become convinced of the genuineness of the phenomena which accompanied Mr. Home, and with whom that gentleman was now staying. The party sat down to the table with Mr. Home, in the dusk of a fine evening, and were nine or ten in number. I am forced to chronicle chiefly what befell myself, in order that I may be no second-hand witness. The first thing I remarked, was a gentle, tremulous flash of light through the room, but what was the cause of it I am unable to determine. When we had sat a few minutes I felt a decided but gentle grasp of a large man's hand upon my right knee, and I said to Mr. H., "There is a man's hand upon my knee.' Who is it?' he said. "How should I know?' was my reply. “Ask,' said he. “But how shall I ask?' "Think of somebody,' was his answer. I thought involuntarily of an intimate friend, once a member of Parliament, and as much before the public as any man in his generation, and who