Appendix - Annihilationism - 1. Edward White: "Life in Christ"

Edward White's "Life in Christ" has been here and there referred to in the body of the present book. But a volume of five hundred and thirty-eight well-filled pages, by one who is considered the father of "Conditional Immortality" in England, may well demand a more extensive notice. It can be, after all, but brief, and the main points have been already dealt with; so that in much, a mere reference to this will be sufficient. Our review will be strictly supplementary.

His "first book" treats of "the nature of man, as considered under the light of science only; "so that we shall not have much to consider here.

He summarizes the evidence as to the reality of "mind in animals", and its mortality in them; as to evolution, and man’s derivation from the beasts, along with the proof from geology of his antiquity; and he concludes, -
"The sum of this argument is, that by the unassisted light of science and history we are able to reach no coherent or satisfactory conclusion as to the origin of mankind, its relation to the animal races, or its future destiny." "The phenomena are such as will consist with the hypothesis of a nature whose destiny depends on its moral qualities, and, above all, a nature which has suffered some deflection, which science may dimly divine without being able to elucidate or to remedy."

He next passes before us "the numbers and intellectual conditions of mankind," and then reviews "the orthodox doctrine on" its "nature and destiny;" following with a chapter "on the possibility that Christians have erred on the doctrine of human destiny."

Into all this I do not propose to enter. Scripture, and Scripture alone, is what here concerns us. The only possible use of it all is to make us more closely and earnestly scrutinize what is there declared; and as Mr. White, with the full weight of all this pressing upon him, has made known to us the opposite conclusions to which he has come from what he allows is "supported by the general authority of nearly all Christians for at least fourteen (!) centuries," we had better reserve our space for their examination.

His last chapter, "On the immortality of the soul," we cannot, however, pass over quite in this way, for it is the foundation of all that follows, and here, spite of the caption of this "first book," he appeals to Scripture.

Here too we pass over the metaphysical arguments. A more promising one, he rightly says, -
"has, in all ages, been derived from the moral instincts of mankind." "No stress of physiological evidence on the structure and development of the brain, on the relation of the human brain to that of animals, on the dependence of thought on cerebral machinery, avails completely to silence the ‘oracle of God’ within the heart, which tells us that ‘it is appointed unto men once to die, and after this the judgment."’

He urges that while this is moral evidence of survival or revival, it does not carry with it an equal probability of eternal survival. But he seems to forget that the fact of the survival of death removes the only objection of which we are aware to eternal survival. Death it is which raises the question, and that question is really answered.

We shall not dispute, however, that for absolute certainty we must have the voice of revelation. He is surely, however, entirely astray when he asserts, as usual with those of his school, but more boldly, "that the doctrine of the immortality of the soul is never once explicitly delivered throughout the whole range of Jewish and Christian Scriptures"! That "they who kill the body cannot kill the soul" is an explicit statement. But, as we have seen, Christians, by so generally ignoring the true constitution of man, and overlooking the spirit as that which is his characteristic and essential attribute, have allowed the question to be wrongly put. Survival after death is everywhere recognized in the Old Testament; and the spirit departs to God that gave it. The spirit, as spirit, is immortal: there maybe a question of the soul, for the beast has soul. But God is spirit, and the God and Father of spirits. The angels too are spirits, and therefore "sons of God." And man is thus also the "offspring of God," and it is just after death that he is called a "spirit."

It is too bold, then, to affirm that "no single expression of Scripture can be pointed out in which man’s natural immortality is affirmed directly or indirectly"! Boldness may in in many cases carry the day, but not in Scripture; and Scripture has in this case, as I have said elsewhere (pp. 73-75), moulded the very language of men. And so has it governed their thoughts, more truly than Mr. White will admit. So that there is no need of pleading divine government as working through error, or by the truth in error, in the way he pleads - truly, no doubt, but not to the purpose here.

So ends Mr. White’s first book. The second will detain us longer: its subject is, "The Old-Testament Doctrine on Life and Death."

To begin with, he tells us, strangely, that, "partly" because of the hardness (blindness) of their hearts, Moses was permitted to write many things imperfectly beside the old law of divorce. To ask for science at his hands, or even for strict conformity to all the facts, is to forget that darkness is necessarily the swaddling-band of mind awakening from nothingness."

The account of creation he calls, thus, a "noble poem", though happily "there is no valid reason known to the writer why we should not accept the history of Adam, and Eve as a true narrative." Yet he would not "deny that there may have been previous human races upon the earth, as there had been previous animal races."

Coming to the creation of man, his first observation is, - .
"that, according to Moses, man was not formed within the precincts of paradise, where grew the tree of life, but was created from the dust of the ground in the territory outside it, where animal life abounded, and where, as we now learn from fossil geology, death had reigned over all organized existence from the beginning of the creation. . . . This circumstance seems to point to the conclusion that if the creature so made enjoyed loftier prospects than those of the animals, to whose organization his own bore so strong a resemblance, this was not from the original constitution of his nature as eternal, but from superadditions of grace bestowed on a perishable being."

But it is hard to see what the geological argument adds to the physiological. Had not the dust of the garden itself, for aught we know, as many fossils in proportion to its extent as that outside of it? Had the tree of life any effect upon the garden, or upon the animal life within it? Was it not for man alone that it existed? Clearly it proclaimed that man had not immortality in himself, but in dependence, and conditionally. And whoever, with any glimmer of intelligence in Scripture, could claim any thing else? But man may be "mortal," and die, and yet not all die, as even Mr. White believes. His affinity to the beasts by one side of his nature is fully and freely acknowledged. The question is only, Is there another side?

Next, we have the objection that -
"the animation of man by the breath of God proves the immortality of his ‘soul’ no more than a similar asserted animation of brutes proves the immortality of their ‘soul.’ ‘Thou sendest forth Thy Spirit, they are created; and Thou renewest the face of the earth. Thou takest away Thy Spirit, they die and return to their dust.’ " (Ps. civ.)

It is evident that Mr. White has quoted from memory here, and that his memory has deceived him. The passage reads thus: "Thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust. Thou sendest forth Thy Spirit, they are created," etc. (Ps. civ. 29, 30.) The difference is plain. As our author has quoted it, it might look as if God’s Spirit was in the beast while living, and taking it away was their death, a doctrine worthy of Christadelphianism itself, however. Does Mr. White believe that the Spirit of God is in the beast? Scripture denies that He is even in merely natural men, and never teaches that He is their life. How could He be, then, the life of the brute?

The real quotation transposes the two sentences, affirms the sending of the Spirit as necessary indeed for creation, but only the taking away of their breath for dying. Was it the identity of these two words in the Hebrew ruach that caused the illusion in the mind of Mr. White? But he will own, surely, that "their ruach" could not be the Spirit of God. In Gen. ii., the word used, as we have seen elsewhere, is not ruach, but nishmath, the constructive form of n’shamah, of which I have elsewhere spoken. (p. 52 n.)

That the phrase "living soul" does not convey the notion of an "ever-living spirit" - as Mr. White goes on to say - I fully agree; and that it is applied to the beasts, we have already seen (p. 56). I object entirely, however, to its being (as in his note, p. 90) translated "living animal," and the justification of it there by a reference to the common translation of Gen. i. 20, is carelessness itself. "Creature that hath life" is not the translation thereof "living soul." "Life," in that passage, represents "soul," and there is nothing at all answering to "living." Thus, if you interpret "living soul" by this, you would have to say, not "living creature," but "living life," which even a materialist would a little hesitate at. I by no means charge Mr. White with materialism; but his blundering on such a point is inexcusable.

His comment upon the apostle’s reference to Gen. ii. 7 (in i Cor. xv. 44-47) is nearly that of Dr. Thomas. (p. 55.)

He says, -
"Here, then, we have the authority of St. Paul for deciding that when Moses described the result of the animation of Adam by the Divine Breath, so far from designing to teach that thereby an Immortal spirit was communicated to him, the object was to teach exactly the contrary, that he became a ‘living creature, or animal,’ neither possessed of eternal life in himself, nor capable of transmitting it. And the phrase ‘living soul’ is chosen, not to distinguish him from the rest of the creation, but to mark his place as a member of the animal world whose intellectual powers partake of the perishableness of their material organizations."

Here, all that favours Mr. White’s view is introduced by him into the apostle’s argument. It is indeed true that he does not and could not bring forward man’s being a living soul to distinguish him from the rest of the creation, and it is a mistake entirely for any one to use it for this. On the other hand, it is evident that he has not before him the question of immortality at all. Contrasting, as he is, the first and the last Adams, he does quote the phrase "living soul" to put it in opposition to "a life-giving Spirit." And of course the first Adam was "neither possessed of eternal life in himself, nor capable of transmitting it." Who ever thought he was? No, he was a living soul with a soulic body. Paul does not speak of the divine in-breathing. He needed not to consider it. Man’s class (though having a spirit) was not with those called spirits, as the angels are, but on a lower plane - that of a "living soul" (comp. p. 74). But it does not in the least follow that the apostle meant to class man with the beasts, or ignore what was higher in him. Rather, is it not among beings having spirit that he is affirming his place as a living soul? Scripture never levels man with the beast. "Without understanding," he is "like the beasts that perish." (Ps. xlix. 20.) But he never is a beast.

Just as much - and as little - truth is there in Mr. White’s statement "that God ‘breathed into his nostrils the breath of life,’ so far from being intended to indicate the immortal perpetuity of his nature, is specially chosen to mark his dependence on the atmosphere for his continued life." He does not realize the perfection and comprehensiveness of God’s blessed Word. It is quite true that man’s breath being in his nostrils marks his "present evanescence," and that in this way Isaiah appeals to it (Isa. ii. 22); but that touches not the significance that "God breathed," - that, as Elihu says, the "inspiration of the Almighty gave him life." (Job xxxiii. 4.) Figurative as the language may be, and full of a mystery which does not yet discover itself, it should be plain that God thus communicates to man something by which he is in kinship with God as the beast never is. He "created him in His image," - possessing spirit from the "Father of spirits." This simply and naturally interprets the expression, more concisely and fully than Mr. White’s effort just afterward.

But it is striking enough that of the spirit of man, which alone "knoweth the things of a man," he knows, apparently, really nothing. A shallow sentence or two, abundantly refuted already (pp. 44-53), are all that he has to say with regard to what is the characteristic feature of man, - the very thing which constitutes him that. It is no wonder, then that he should find in him nothing but a "superior order" of beast, and it is natural that with him, therefore, death should end all for such a being. He does not see, moreover, that the statements in the early chapters of Genesis need and find supplement and elucidation in the after-statements of Scripture, which here, as in other matters, is a progressive revelation. In this, its foundation, the book before us is essentially defective and poor - poverty itself.

With this imperfect induction, Mr. White proceeds to consider the death threatened to Adam, in which I can find nothing but what has been already carefully considered. (pp. 180-186.) The "method of redemption," with which he follows it, we must reserve our examination of until it is presented in detail, and with its arguments, for the rest of his book is but the development of it. Nor need we review his chapter on the serpent, and demonology in general, in which he is, moreover, for the most part orthodox. It is singular, however, that he is not content to deal with the story of the serpent as he has done with the creation of man. Rightly enough, he connects it with the general doctrine of Scripture, and has no difficulty in going beyond the statements of Moses, whose "pen" - in this case, he can allow, - "was perhaps stayed by a superior will." But why not, then, in what lies in such near connection with it?

As to sacrifice, he sees nothing more in it than the taking away of life, - "death like that of the beasts which perish." The burning of the sin-offering outside the camp, and without an altar, has for him no significance. He levels the antitype with the type, and from the darkness of the "shadow" infers a doctrine of darkness by which to interpret the New-Testament light. Here too we must reserve our judgment.

Concerning the death threatened under the law, and the Old-Testament doctrine of judgment and of the life to come, I need add nothing really to what is already said. Mr. White’s examination cannot be considered careful, and all his main points have been fully answered. There is much in the usual style of writers of his school, as where he takes pains to enlighten us as to the meaning of "carcasses" (p. 170), and that the death of a worm is extinction; so that (a triumph indeed of criticism,) "their worm shall not die" actually proves the non-eternity of torment!

One would think it proved only the will of the writer, and the feebleness of argument that can find comfort in help so feeble.
A chapter on the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees closes the second book. There is little to say about it, as our author adds nothing to the preceding argument. (Chaps. xi., xii.) Paul’s "I am a Pharisee" he does not notice, and the Lord’s "Ye have no life in yourselves" he does not understand The doctrine of "eternal life" there is no need to dwell on here.

His third book brings us to the New-Testament doctrine; and his first chapter treats of the "Incarnation of the Life; or, the Logos made flesh that man may live eternally." As to the incarnation itself, there is of course, no dispute. As to the rest of the chapter, the only question is as to Mr. White’s identification, as is inevitable by one of his school, of immortality and eternal life.

His arguments are the ordinary ones, and in the ordinary style also. He catches at the phrase "immortal soul" even to show that by the confession of those who use it, the "natural and proper sense of dying" is ceasing to exist. "An immortal soul is a soul that will not die; and to die there is taken for ceasing to exist, not for being miserable." That is true, and cheerfully admitted. It is a protest against Sadduceanism, wherever found, and therefore is expressed in corresponding language. What difficulty here? The argument is merely ad captandum, as so many from the same quarter are. The "death" of the body, - the death of the beast, - the death of the materialist, - the soul does not die; and it is no wonder if faith should affirm against sense in this respect, using the term as sense would use it. Language is not the hard mathematical unit that Mr. White would make it. There is a certain flexibility in it, without which it would scarcely meet the requirements of daily life. It strikes one that our author must have rather frequent troubles with his dictionary, if he applies at least the same keen-edged criticism to other subjects than the present.

So as to the words "destroy," "perish," and similar terms. Our author takes such words as applying to material things, and naively asks, Why not take them in the same sense when they are applied to immaterial? "A figurative sense of words," he quotes from Dean Alford, "is never admissible except when required by the context." Well, when destruction is applied to a wall and to a man, is there no difference of context? All this is a mere attempt to take the fort by coup de main, instead of honest demolition of its walls and bulwarks. It has been tried too often to succeed now, except by the grossest carelessness of its defenders.

Life is not mere existence in any language; still less is eternal life merely eternal existence. All that need be said on that point has been already said, and whether Scripture be applied to it or not, this is still the one great point in dispute. Even where the Lord says of the believer, "I will raise him up at the last day," Mr. White sees but the fact of eternal existence, as if the wicked would not be also raised. The real meaning is a very different one. It is to assure them that the full blessing was not to come, as they imagined, in the immediate future, or to men dwelling upon the earth, to which the hopes of Israel were so completely attached, but in resurrection and a life beyond.

The eating of Christ’s flesh too, with him, speaks of life, and "the blood" too "is the life." Immortality is the one grand point throughout. He does not see that the flesh and blood apart speak of atonement accomplished, and its fruit to be enjoyed by faith.

We may pass over the following chapter which takes up the question of "justification of life." There is nothing in it which really affects the present argument. We are neither Pharisees, Galatians, nor Antinomians, and can meet perfectly, as it seems to us, all such errors without the help of "Conditional Immortality." We shall have to dwell, however, at some length upon the next chapter, in which the central doctrine of atonement is discussed.

Many questions" says Mr. White, "have been discussed in relation to our Lord’s death. . . . Did Christ die only in the sense in which other men die? Was His death the curse of the law? Was it some modification of that curse? Did Christ suffer a pain and misery of the same sort and of equal weight with that threatened to Adam in the day of his creation? Did He bear some commuted penalty, which, in consideration of His divine nature, was accounted a sufficient expiation?"

We shall answer these questions first, before we review the answer which Mr. White gives. The Lord was truly the substitute of His people, bore their sins, endured their penalty; not, as many say now, a "substitute for penalty," nor yet a "commuted," nor even an "equivalent" penalty, but the very penalty itself. Nothing else, if we have read the Scripture right, could have been true atonement - could have satisfied and proclaimed divine righteousness, or put away, therefore. our guilt. And why? Because atonement does not lie in so much suffering endured, a measurement of compensation, a commercial calculation. This is too often what is considered to be its essence by those who have rightly insisted upon real wrath-bearing on the cross; and this is what has been striven against by those who have denied it. The truth is far otherwise; and the statement of it at once removes a load of difficulty, and reconciles many things that seem opposed.

The penalty upon man as a sinner was not arbitrary, but necessary, the requirement of the divine nature itself. What was governmentally imposed indeed, was, and could be, nothing else than what the holiness of God required: otherwise it would have been a false representation of Him who governs.

To abate this demand was impossible, then, even though a surety had to answer it. An arbitrary penalty could be, of course, as arbitrarily modified or set aside. The demand of holiness could not be, without a stain upon the holiness itself.

But it is a great mistake, and one which many beside Mr. White are committing, to look at the doom denounced on Adam as if it were in itself the whole thing. The judgment, as we see it in fact and in the doctrine of the apostle (Rom. v. 12-21), was the judgment of a race, in the head of it. It was preliminary, not final; nor therefore the full individual judgment when it comes. And this last is, because individual, different in character according to the individual, although necessarily wrath upon all unsaved.

The eternity of the doom at last has been wrongly based by many. Judgment is eternal, not necessarily because sin as an infinite wrong must have an infinite punishment; that at least might be debated, and from Scripture could scarcely be established; but because the sinner remains a sinner, and the wrath upon him necessarily remains. There is not, and cannot be, any more open rebellion; all bow necessarily under the hand of God, and there are no more sins to suffer for; mercy has limited punishment to the reward of what was "done in the body" strictly, and punishment is in this way truly corrective.-.a restraint.

Thus "it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment," and these are the two things needed to be borne for men. Of these, death, though necessary, is the far smaller part. Judgment, the bearing of wrath, is seen in the "outer darkness," away from the presence of God who is "Light," and in the fire of the sin-offering or of the lake of fire. On the one hand, He who is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity, turns away His face; on the other, He who is Light, and to whom nothing is hid, manifests Himself in wrath against the unrepentant. Yet there may be "many stripes" or "few," as the Lord has expressly said.

Death and wrath - the curse - were the two elements of the vicarious suffering of the cross, borne in reverse order: death the smaller, not the greater - yet implying, if weighed, the other. If God sets aside thus His creatures from the place which at first He gave them, it is in judgment He has done this. "For all our days are passed away in Thy wrath; we spend our years as a tale that is told." (Ps. xc. 9.) Thus it is that death is the divine stamp upon sin, and as such the law presses it; as such the Lord bears it. To suppose it all would be to miss the meaning of death itself.

Thus we shall easily, I trust, see now the defect and the excess of Mr. White’s statements "St. Paul says, ‘Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us, as it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.’ (Gal. iii. 13.) The construction of this sentence, and the quotation of one of the curses of that law (the law of Moses viewed as a repetition of God’s eternal law), render it indubitable, that Christ bore the curse of the law in the sense of dissolution. For if the curse of the law, in which we are by nature ‘children of wrath,’ were everlasting misery, there would be an incongruity between the two parts of the apostle’s statement. ‘Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law (everlasting misery), being made a curse for us;’ - not, however, that distinctive curse of the law, but a different one, - that of death by ‘hanging on a tree.’ Thus it would seem that there are two distinct curses of the law, - everlasting suffering due to the immortal soul, and death by hanging on a tree or otherwise; and that, although the curse under which we lay was, according to this theory, the former, the curse which Christ bore was the latter, which notwithstanding availed to delivered us from the former."

No doubt there has been some ground given for this reproach. There has been confusion in many minds between the penalty incurred by the race now and the final individual one; and between that which Christ had to bear for our salvation and that of those finally unsaved. But we can have little difficulty in discerning between things so radically different, and thus the failure of Mr. White’s argument to touch the true orthodox position. The curse of the law was not "eternal misery," and it was not, moreover, as he defines it, in this case "death by hanging on a tree or otherwise." There is no "otherwise." Could you read into the old law which the apostle quotes: "Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree, or dies otherwise? Clearly not. It is of the very essence of his statement that the form of the death the Lord died marked it out as a death of curse. And who that considers the strangeness of that special denunciation of one so dying, but must see that it was essentially prophetic, contemplating from the time of its utterance just that one death which has now given it significance and glorified it forever?

Not death alone, but death enshrouded with all that could make death terrible, - death in its true character for the sinner: not death as the doom of the race merely; not death as a babe or a saint might endure it, but such a death as the awful midday darkness symbolized, such as the anguished cry of agony declared it, - "My God! my God! why hast Thou forsaken Me?"
Wrath, but not eternal wrath: who could think of that? Yet for another it would have been eternal He with whom the fire of God could bring out nothing but sweet savour, - He who was (not disobedient, but) "obedient unto death, even the death of the cross;" He who in the days of His flesh offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto Him that was able to save Him out of death" was heard for His piety" (Heb. v. 7, mg.), and "raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father" (Rom. vi. 4). The glory of God not only permitted this, but required it: as the sixteenth psalm expresses the faith of the blessed Offerer, "Thou wilt not abandon my soul to sheol; neither Thou wilt suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption."

Not eternal wrath could there be upon a "Holy One;" nor was it necessary for atonement that there should be an exact calculation of what suffering the sins of men would involve for them! Its value was otherwise; it was in the vindication of eternal righteousness in the very penalty necessitated by sin, - not arbitrarily inflicted, but necessitated. "Thou art holy" (Ps. xxii 3), proclaimed by the perfect substitute in the very place of penalty, is satisfaction; the infinite satisfaction; for human sin.

I agree, then, with Mr. White that "it is not necessary to suppose that the Saviour endured an amount of suffering equal to that collectively deserved by the elect, or by the whole race of mankind." Scripture has no such thought., I do not, on the other hand, accept his own curious reason, that "He was a propitiation for the race, regarded as one individual - the first Adam, whose sin comprised the germ of all subsequent transgressions." Assuredly this is reasoning without the Word.
"Literal death" was not either the whole curse of the law or all that the Lord suffered - very far from it. The thought leaves out the burning of the sin-offering without the camp, which the apostle dwells upon in Heb. xiii., as absolutely necessary that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, and which the place of the cross, outside the city of God, bore testimony to, externally. True, that "without shedding of blood is no remission," but only the blood of a victim so offered could be brought by the high-priest into the sanctuary for sin. This teaching leaves out, therefore, what is essential for atonement. Could it be thought that it was merely "literal death" which weighed the Lord down in agony in the garden, or made the cross the abyss of suffering that it was? It would be lowering the blessed One below the level of the thousands of His own people who have sung His praise out of the flame itself!

Mr. White, alas, knows not the cross in what it really was. He knows not either what "imparted its sacrificial efficacy to the blood of the Lamb." This he makes out to be His deity - an error in which he is following others, no doubt, though pressing to an extreme their doctrine. But in its every form it is unscriptural. That the glorious fact of Christ’s deity gives even His manhood a significance is of course true, and is brought before us even in relation to sacrifice in those offerings of birds in which the heavenly character of Him who makes atonement is set before us. Yet while this is true, and must not be overlooked or slighted, there is not the slightest reason to show from Scripture that "His deity gave a purging efficacy to the endurance of ‘the curse of the law’" (p 242). On the contrary, what gave effect was that endurance itself on the part of One in whom the fiery trial brought out nothing but sweet savour to God, the fragrance of perfect obedience even to such a death.

Thus "it became Him of whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings." (Heb. ii. 10.) Thus indeed "it is the blood that maketh atonement for the soul." Every passage which speaks of atonement and its efficacy insists upon the work as in itself efficacious, and upon the humanity, not the deity, of the Offerer. And the passage which Mr. White quotes is no exception to this: "How much more shall the blood of Christ, who, through the [an] Eternal Spirit, offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works." (Heb. ix. 13.) This does not at all say that "it was the union of an ‘Eternal Spirit’ with the humanity which imparted its sacrificial efficacy to the blood of the Lamb" (p. 241). It is not of Incarnation that the passage speaks, or could speak, but of the Spirit of God which rested on the Man Christ Jesus. How incongruous would be the thought of Christ’s manhood offering itself to God through the Godhead! How simple that of "the Man, Christ Jesus," offering Himself through the Holy Ghost to God! And what Mr. White contends for can as little be found elsewhere as in his one proof-text.

"A difficulty" now "suggests itself" for our author, "in bar of the conclusion that Jesus Christ bore the curse of the law. It is objected that the curse denounced to our first parents was, according to us, death forever, - dissolution without hope of a resurrection; and that therefore the threatening did not take effect upon the Redeemer." He owns that this would be valid "if the Saviour had been simply human. . . . But the Saviour was divine. As man, identified with human nature, He died; and His death became a sin offering; as God, He could not die. As man, He was ‘made under the law;’ as God, He was above the law laid on creatures. And therefore when the curse had taken effect upon the manhood, it was still open to the divine Inhabitant absorbing the Spirit into His own essence to restore the ‘destroyed temple’ from its ruins; and taking possession of it in virtue of His divinity (not legally, as a man,) to raise it up on the third day. He arose, therefore, as the divine Conqueror of death, ‘God over all, blessed for evermore,’ and was thus ‘declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by His resurrection from the dead’ (Rom. i. 4)."

The last quotation is incorrect. Mr. White has - unwittingly, of course, but it shows great want of care in quoting Scripture - inserted "His" where it is not found. Another mistake would have been evident if he had consulted the Greek: it is literally "by resurrection of dead persons," and can scarcely apply as he has made it. I believe that the resurrection of Lazarus and others is what is spoken of; for resurrection is divine work, and the Lord speaks of this as what was to glorify the Son of God (Jno. xi. 4). At any rate, it is not "His resurrection," and another of these solitary proof-texts has failed Mr. White.

And what does he mean by the "divine Inhabitant absorbing the Spirit into His own essence"? That the Lord’s human spirit was absorbed into Deity? I do not wish to make him responsible for so strange a doctrine, and yet I do not know what else the word can mean. I will pass it, therefore, now. That the Lord rose in another condition of life than that out of which He had passed in death is of course true; and that His death was the end judicially of the old creation, I do not doubt. That His spirit did not die, that His soul was in hades, but not left there, show clearly that, even to His manhood, death was not extinction. The "curse of the law" was not that, - did not involve it.

We may pass over the rest of Mr. White’s third book. Much of it scarcely touches our present subject. Some things that do, as the Lord’s preaching to the spirits in prison, have been already sufficiently examined. In much too we are glad to be able to express agreement with him. He does not, by any means, represent the wide divergence from orthodoxy found in many of the writers of the school to which he belongs. But we shall find nearer agreement with them in the fourth book, in which we come directly to the consideration of the "doctrine of future punishment" On this account, also, there will be the less to take up here.

In fact, in the whole discussion of Scripture-terms which fills the next chapter, I can find nothing that has not already been examined. They are presented after the usual manner, - what is temporal confounded with what is eternal, what is material with what is spiritual. In such massing of texts an effect is produced wholly disproportionate to their real value. The mind is dazzled and thrown off its guard; and when with this a strong appeal is made to the sensibilities at the same time, it is no wonder if many are insnared.

But how is it, it may be asked, that Scripture seems to lend itself in this way to these doctrines? Or why is it, to put the question more correctly, that these terms, "death" and "destruction," are used in so many forms with reference to the future of the wicked? I answer, the object is surely to put an end to that false hope, which, even in the face of all this testimony, is so ready to assert itself, that eternity has yet a gospel for those unsaved here. No words are so effectual to dispel so dangerous an illusion as these and similar ones. True, that when applied to the present time, they are not completely so, for God can say as to Israel He says, "O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself, but in Me is thy help" (Hos. xiii. 9). But "eternal destruction" forbids hope altogether. Again, "to him that is joined to all the living there is hope" (Eccles. ix. 4), but the dead are beyond recall. When, then, in eternity also, after the full review of the "things done in the body," the judgment of God confirms in a "second death" the sentence of the first, what hope is left? None - none whatever! Yet the second death is not extinction: it is the "lake of fire" (Rev. xx. 14, and see p. 193).

When Mr. White comes at last to examine the "principal texts supposed to teach the everlasting duration of sin and misery" it is evident that he is himself uneasy. Yet he says plainly, -
"The question is, whether these few passages, taken in the popular sense, are to give the law to the interpretation of the general current of Scripture language on future punishment; or whether the plain and natural sense of this general language is to determine the force of the few disputed quotations" (p. 391).

Surely this is not the issue. The "natural sense" in Scripture is to rule every where, and, so read, the Word of God will never be found in contradiction to itself. It is already an argument that the case is gone against one when he proposes to take the testimony of the witnesses in a non-natural sense.

But the Word of God is not in the full sense that for Mr. White. It may contain it; but the Copernican astronomy has upset the Ptolemaic and the Bible one already. Modern geology has had a similar triumph in its own sphere. And when we come even to what might be considered its own peculiar field, we are told that, -
"The indefensible method of citing the books of the Bible as if some one had beheld an angel inditing them in succession; without consideration of their individual history, of the degree of confidence due to the fullness of each writer’s information, of the POSITIVE MARKS OF DEFECTIVE KNOWLEDGE, OR MISCONCEPTION in some, will serve the cause of truth no longer" (p. 393).

What hope, then, of certainty at all? For how many are able critically to weigh such evidence as this? And who that has discovered the blunders of the inspired writers in things accessible to us will confide in them for revelations of things wholly beyond us? It is the Lord who asks, "If I have told you of earthly things and ye believe not, how shall ye believe if I tell you of heavenly things?"

But Mr. White has evidence: -
"We may read, for example, with general confidence the gospel of Matthew. notwithstanding the omission of one sentence in the middle of Christ’s last discourse on Olivet (the same discussion in which later occurs the kolasin aionios[everlasting punishment] of xxv. 46) - an omission supplied by St. Luke (xxi. 24), ‘And Jerusalem shall be trodden down by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.’ And in consequence of that fault of St. Matthew, or his Greek translator, we shall not unduly [!] question the accuracy of the other reports of Christ’s teaching in this gospel. Nevertheless, it is certain that that omission, leaving the discourse to end with the unqualified words, ‘Verily, I say unto you, This generation shall not pass till all these things be fulfilled" (xxiv. 34), has thereby created one of the chief stumbling-blocks to faith in the New Testament, - .it being clear that Christ’s second advent did not occur in ‘that generation,’ but will take place at the end of those ‘times of the Gentiles’ our Lord’s reference to which St. Matthew unwittingly omitted, and St. Luke has happily supplied."

Yet it cannot be supposed that Mr. White is ignorant that the passage in question has been otherwise explained, and he vouchsafes no reason for rejecting the explanation. He is doubtless aware that {genea} is given in the lexicons as "a race," as well as "a generation," and that in Phil. ii. 15 it is translated "nation," that the English word even is used in another sense than the ordinary one, as where it is said, "This is the generation of them that seek Him" (Ps. xxiv. 6), or, "Thou wilt preserve them from this generation forever" (xii. 7), or, "I should offend against the generation of Thy children" (lxxiii. 15). I see no reason to doubt that the Lord spoke of the unbelievers among the Jews, who will not, in fact, pass away until the Lord appears, - "blindness in part" having happened unto Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles is come in" - that is, for this whole dispensation. In this case, there is really no difficulty whatever, the use of the term being precisely the same as in Ps. xii. 7 already quoted, and elsewhere; and there is no need for any supplementing of the text at all.

Yet upon such a slender basis as this Mr. White can say, -
"I cannot conceal my conviction that the path of duty and of wisdom in dealing with such documents as the gospels, demands this practical conclusion: - If they offer to us any statements of Christ’s doctrine, by excess or defect conspicuously disagreeing with the facts, or with the plain sense of His teaching as recorded by the same or other historians, resolutely to refuse to allow such exceptional misreports or omissions to interfere with the truth which has been learned by a wider survey of the evidence."

And he goes on to announce his belief in the various degrees of inspiration of the writers of the Bible: -
"It forms no part of the present writer’s belief that each contribution to the collection which we combine in one volume, and call the Bible, has been preserved from every tinge of educational thought, from every defect in statement, from every reflection of surrounding opinion or faith. The receiving mind somewhat colours perhaps every communication.
"And for our own part, we are well resolved that no isolated ‘text’ of any synoptic gospel shall overthrow our faith in the lessons learned from the massive records of a revelation extending from one end of man’s history to the other," etc., etc.

These views are general enough, as we have already seen, among those who hold with the doctrines of our author. It is, of course, an. indirect confession that if we are to hold the absolute inspiration, of Scripture, we cannot hold the views he advocates. And this we may well accept as truth. It prepares us also for the treatment which the texts to which he refers will receive at his hands.

The first of these is Matt. xxv. 46; and he allows that there is in the Greek text "absolutely no various reading of any account in the most ancient manuscripts;" but, he adds, it must always be remembered that the nearly uniform testimony of antiquity is that the original of Matthew’s gospel was in Hebrew, and that it is uncertain how much authority attaches to any particular expression in the Greek translation"!

This is to set aside the unanimous testimony of the ancients to the book we possess, of which Olshausen says, -
"While all the fathers of the Church relate that Matthew had written in Hebrew, yet they universally make use of the Greek text as a genuine apostolic composition, without remarking what relation the Hebrew Matthew bears to our Greek gospel. For that the earlier ecclesiastical teachers did not possess the gospel of St. Matthew in any other form than we now have it, is established."

I quote from Dr. Thomson’s article in Smith’s Dictionary, who adds, "The original Hebrew of which so many speak, no one of the witnesses ever saw. And so little store has the Church set upon it, that it has utterly perished." That Mr. White should set more store by it for his purpose is not hard to understand. A doubt is one of the easiest things to insinuate, one of the hardest to refute. By entertaining a doubt, man fell; and it is Satan’s favorite weapon still.

In a note is suggested another doubt, "not as a basis of argument, but as a matter of interest" (!) "and those who know the weight assigned by Von Tischendorf to similar examples will be ready to allow it a certain degree of importance" - as what? as a matter of interest, or as argument? Who does not see that the argumentative force is what gives it "interest," and nothing else? - "that the two most ancient, and several more modern manuscripts of the Italic version . . . . here have distinctly, in ver. 46, ‘These shall go away, ad ignem aternum, into the eternal fire,’ not ad suppliciurn æternum, into eternal punishment."

Unfortunately, those who value Tischendorf’s judgment in the matter are well aware that he did not sanction, and that no editor of the Greek Testament has sanctioned, any doubt as to the reading here. And many know also that by the end of the fourth century the Latin version was in such a confused and chaotic state as to necessitate Jerome’s revision (the Vulgate). It is to the fourth century that the two manuscripts in question are referred.

After all this, Mr. White consents to the "supposition that the Greek was the original, and that Matthew wrote what we find in these expressions."

He then attempts (for the most part after the usual manner) to overthrow the natural force of the passage, in which to follow him would necessitate a recapitulation of a large proportion of the arguments already given in this book. I can find nothing that has not been fully met. Nor need I take up his comment upon Mark iii. 29, which he reads, with Tischendorf, "guilty of an eternal sin." The thought is strange to me, but I have no other objection, and found nothing upon the disputed reading.

The next passage which he considers is Mark ix. 44-50. "The original state of the text here," he says, "seems hopelessly doubtful." But on the contrary, the omission of the repetitions in vers. 44-46 leaves its teaching absolutely untouched. The forty-ninth verse is by some editors deprived of its latter clause, although the context speaks strongly for its retention. Here also the omission does not touch the doctrine. Mr. White speaks of a "mass of contradictory evidence" as to both clauses; but he does not seek to justify this, says, "it matters not, for no valid argument for immortality in sin and suffering can be drawn hence under any reading."

He relies upon two main arguments: -
"(1) The argument for endless sin and sorrow hence derived is based upon that very understanding of the verb to die against which the argument itself is directed. The eternal suffering is supposed to be proved by the words, ‘their worm dieth not’ But" dieth" here is taken in the sense of ‘ceaseth to be,’ - not in the sense of being miserable or being unholy."

Certainly an "unholy" worm would be a somewhat incongruous idea, and we freely concede also to Mr. White that "to die" never means "to be miserable." We concede that the death of a worm is its ceasing to be, and on this account, no doubt, teleuta is used (and not apothneskei,) as Mr. White himself observes: for this word has this as its primary sense. He seeks to rob it of its force indeed by a reference to the Hebrew of Isa. lxvi. 24, where "the worm’s death is represented by tamuth, the same verb which describes the death of the sinner elsewhere." This, however, concludes nothing. for the Lord’s words in Mark are not a mere citation of Isaiah, as he supposes. But we also allow that if he can prove that a man is no more than a worm, his death can only be what a worm’s death is.

Mr. White’s second argument is again from the supposed citation of Isaiah. In the Old-Testament prophet, the language has reference to "carcasses," and literal worms and fire: he therefore argues that the words in Mark speak of a like physical extinction.

I have elsewhere (p. 310-314, and comp. 250, 251,) sufficiently examined this. The truth is, that the earthly scene is typical of one beyond the earth, just as was the valley of Hinnom of the New-Testament gehenna.

And now we come finally to the passages in the Apocalypse, which Mr. White is anxious to interpret by something else. He first of all adduces its "less obscure portions, chaps. ii. and iii.; and in chap. ii. 23 finds in the threatening "I will kill her children with death," "the strongest expression to denote absolute extinction." If he had compared chap. vi. 8, he would perhaps be more doubtful. The sword and hunger and death and beasts of the earth answer, without question, to God’s "four sore plagues" in Ezek. xiv. 21: "the sword and the famine and the noisome beast and the pestilence," where the Septuagint as in many other places translates "pestilence" - death, thanaton. If this is the strongest expression to be found for "absolute extinction," then the cause of Conditional Immortality has assuredly no cause for triumph. Perhaps Mr. White may find more reason than he has done why "this is one of the many phrases used in Scripture . . . . which modern preachers never dream of employing in ‘warning the wicked man.’ "

He then passes to the end of the book, brings in anticipatively the argument as to the lake of fire, the casting in of Death and Hades (to be "put an end to"), and the "generic likeness" between the first and second death. All this has been fully looked at (pp. 193, 322.) He next asks, "Shall the gospel [St. John] be interpreted by the key of the mystical Apocalypse; or shall the sense of the Apocalypse be fixed by the gospel?" Then a few lines dismiss Rev. xiv. 10, 11, as "allowed by nearly all commentators to predict earthly and terminable judgments on the supporters of the apostasy," and he finds the fulfillment in the judgment of Babylon in the eighteenth chapter. Which (until some proof is attempted) it is sufficient to deny.

Rev. xx. 10 detains him a little longer. He says, as to the expression "forever and ever" ("to the ages of ages"), -
"There can be no doubt that the terms of duration here employed are sometimes used to denote an absolute eternity, as in relation to the nature of Deity. There is as little doubt that they are as frequently used to denote a very limited duration. The alternative meaning must be decided by the nature of the subject, or by other declarations" !!

So that "who liveth forever and ever" might mean, "who liveth for a very limited duration," only being spoken of the Lord God Almighty, we know it must here mean just what it says! "Forever and ever" is thus like an algebraical x, the symbol of an unknown quantity, which must be gathered from the company it keeps. Still, it seems strange that "who liveth forever and ever," - which must be, interpreted by the "nature of the subject," "liveth as long as He liveth" should be given as descriptive of God! Does not the feeblest mortal live as long?

No, we cannot accept this, Mr. White; and having gone carefully and conscientiously through all the passages, we feel abundantly able to deny that "for the ages of ages" means any thing less than strict eternity. Mr. White undertakes no proper examination, furnishes nothing in proof but what has been answered again and again, and, as usual, carries us lightly over a number of Scriptures in the two pages following. I can only refer my readers to the previous chapters of this book for what I have not space to review again.