Salvation

The Five Theoretic Modes of Salvation

THE conceptions and fore feelings of immortality which men have entertained have generally been accompanied by a sense of uncertainty in regard to the nature of that inheritance, by a perception of contingent conditions, yielding a twofold fate of bliss and woe, poised on the perilous hinge of circumstance or freedom. Almost as often and profoundly, indeed, as man has thought that he should live hereafter, that idea has been followed by the belief that if, on the one hand, salvation gleamed for him in the possible sky, on the other hand perdition yawned for him in the probable abyss. Heaven and Hell are the light side and shade side of the doctrine of a future life. Few questions are more interesting, as none can be more important, than that inquiry which is about the salvation of the soul. The inherent reach of this inquiry, and the extent of its philosophical and literary history, are great. But, by arranging under certain heads the various principal schemes of salvation which Christian teachers have from time to time presented for popular acceptance, and passing them before the mind in order and in mutual lights, we can very much narrow the space required to exhibit and discuss them. When the word "salvation" occurs in the following investigation, it means unless something different be shown by the context the removal of the soul's doom to misery beyond the grave, and the securing of its future blessedness. Heaven and hell are terms employed with wide latitude and fluctuating boundaries of literal and figurative meaning; but their essential force is simply a future life of wretchedness, a future life of joy; and salvation, in its prevailing theological sense, is the avoidance of that and the gaining of this. We shall not attempt to present the different theories of redemption in their historical order of development, or to give an exhaustive account of their diversified prevalence, but shall arrange them with reference to the most perspicuous exhibition of their logical contents and practical bearings.

The first scheme of Christian salvation to be noticed is the one by which it is represented that the interference and suffering of Christ, in itself, unconditionally saved all souls and emptied hell forever. This theory arose in the minds of those who received it as the natural and consistent completion of the view they held concerning the nature and consequences of the fall of Adam, the cause and extent of the lost state of man. Adam, as the federal head of humanity, represented and acted for his whole race: the responsibility of his decision rested, the consequences of his conduct would legitimately descend, it was thought, upon all mankind. If he had kept himself obedient through that easy yet tremendous probation in Eden, he and all his children would have lived on earth eternally in perfect bliss. But, violating the commandment of God, the burden of sin, with its terrible penalty, fell on him and his posterity. Every human being was henceforth to be alien from the love of goodness and from the favor of God, hopelessly condemned to death and the pains of hell. The sin of Adam, it was believed, thoroughly corrupted the nature of man, and incapacitated him from all successful efforts to save his soul from its awful doom. The infinite majesty of God's will, the law of the universe, had been insulted by disobedience. The only just retribution was the suffering of an endless death. The adamantine sanctities of God's government made forgiveness impossible. Thus all men were lost, to be the prey of blackness, and fire, and the undying worm, through the remediless ages of eternity. Just then God had pity on the souls he had made, and himself came to the rescue. In the person of Christ, he came into the world as a man, and freely took upon himself the infinite debt of man's sins, by his death on the cross expiated all offences, satisfied the claims of offended justice, vindicated the inexpressible sacredness of the law, and, at the same time, opened a way by which a full and free reconciliation was extended to all. When the blood of Jesus flowed over the cross, it purchased the ransom of every sinner. As Jerome says, "it quenched the flaming sword at the entrance of Paradise." The weary multitude of captives rose from their bed, shook off the fetters and stains of the pit, and made the cope of heaven snowy with their white winged ascent. The prison house of the devil and his angels should be used no more to confine the guilty souls of men.1 Their guilt was all washed away in the blood of the Lamb. Their spirits, without exception, should follow to the right hand of the Father, in the way marked out by the ascending Redeemer. This is the first form of Universalism, the form in which it was held by several of the Fathers in the earlier ages of the Church, and by the pioneers of that doctrine in modern times. Cyril of Jerusalem says, "Christ went into the under world alone, but came out with many." 2 Cyril of Alexandria says that when Christ ascended from the under world he "emptied it, and left the devil there utterly alone." 3 The opinion that the whole population of Hades was released, is found in the lists of ancient heresies.4 It was advanced by Clement, an Irish priest, antagonist of Boniface the famous Archbishop of Mentz, in the middle of the eighth century. He was deposed by the Council of Soissons, and afterwards anathematized by Pope Zachary. Gregory the Great also refers in one of his letters with extreme severity to two ecclesiastics, contemporaries of his own, who held the same belief. Indeed, this conclusion is a necessary result of a consistent development of the creed of the Orthodox Church, so called. By the sin of one, even Adam, through the working of absolute justice, hell became the portion of all, irrespective of any fault or virtue of theirs; so, by the voluntary sacrifice, the infinite atonement, of one, even Christ, through the unspeakable mercy of God, salvation was effected for all, irrespective of any virtue or fault of theirs. One member of the scheme is the exact counterpoise of the other; one doctrine cries out for and necessitates the other. Those who accept the commonly received dogmas of original sin, total depravity, and universal condemnation entailed upon all men in lineal descent from Adam, and the dogmas of the Trinity, the Incarnation, and the Vicarious Atonement, are bound, by all the constructions of logic, to accept the scheme of salvation just set forth, namely, that the death of Christ secured the deliverance of all unconditionally. We do not believe that doctrine, only because we do not believe the other associated doctrines out of which it springs and of whose system it is the complement.

1 Doederlein, De Redemptione a Potestate Diaboli. In Opuse. Theolog.

2 Catechesis xis. 9.

3 De Festis Paschalibus, homilia vii.

4 Augustine, De Haresibus, lxxix.

The reasons why we do not believe that our race fell into helpless depravity and ruin in the sin of the first man are, in essence, briefly these: First, we have never been able to perceive any proof whatever of the truth of that dogma; and certainly the onus probandi rests on the side of such an assumption. It arose partially from a misinterpretation of the language of the Bible; and so far as it has a basis in Scripture, we are compelled by force of evidence to regard it as a Jewish adoption of a pagan error without authority. Secondly, this doctrinal system seems to us equally irreconcilable with history and with ethics: it seems to trample on the surest convictions of reason and conscience, and spurn the clearest principles of nature and religion, to blacken and load the heart and doom of man with a mountain of gratuitous horror, and shroud the face and throne of God in a pall of wilful barbarity. How can men be guilty of a sin committed thousands of years before they were born, and deserve to be sent to hopeless hell for it? What justice is there in putting on one sinless head the demerits of a world of reprobates, and then letting the criminal go free because the innocent has suffered? A third objection to this whole view an objection which, if sustained, will utterly annihilate it is this: It is quite possible that, momentous as is the part he has played in theology, the Biblical Adam is not at all a historical personage, but only a significant figment of poetry. The common belief of the most authoritative men of science, that the human race has existed on this earth for a vastly longer period than the Hebrew statement affirms, may yet be completely established. It may also yet be acknowledged that each distinct race of men had its own Adam.5 Then the dogmatic theology, based on the fall of our entire race into perdition in its primary representative, will, of course, crumble.

The second doctrine of Christian salvation is a modification and limitation of the previous one. This theory, like the former, presupposes that a burden of original sin and natural depravity transmitted from the first man had doomed, and, unless prevented in some supernatural manner, would forever press, all souls down to the realms of ruin and woe; also that an infinite graciousness in the bosom of the Godhead led Christ to offer himself as an expiation for the sins, an atoning substitute for the condemnation, of men. But, according to the present view, this interference of Christ did not by itself save the lost: it only removed the otherwise insuperable bar to forgiveness, and presented to a chosen portion of mankind the means of experiencing a condition upon the realization of which, in each individual case, the certainty of salvation depends. That condition is a mysterious conversion, stirring the depths of the soul through an inspired faith in personal election by the unchanging decree of God. The difference, then, in a word, between the two methods of salvation thus far explained, is this: While both assume that mankind are doomed to death and hell in consequence of the sin of Adam, the one asserts that the interference of Christ of itself saved all souls, the other asserts that that interference cannot save any soul except those whom God, of his sovereign pleasure, had from eternity arbitrarily elected.6 This scheme grew directly out of the dogma of fatalism, which sinks human freedom in Divine predestination. God having solely of his

5 Burdach, Carus, Oken, Bayrhoffer, Agassiz. See Bunsen, Christianity and Mankind, vol. iv. p. 28; Mott and Gliddon, Types of Mankind, p. 338.

6 Confession of Faith of Westminster Divines, ch. iii. sect. 3.

own will foreordained that a certain number of mankind should be saved, Christ died in order to pay the penalty of their sins and render it possible for them to be forgiven and taken into heaven without violating the awful bond of justice. The benefits of the atonement, therefore, are limited to the elect. Nor is this to be regarded as an act of severity; on the contrary, it is an act of unspeakable benevolence. For by the sin of Adam the whole race of men, without exception, were hateful to God, and justly sentenced to eternal damnation. When, consequently, he devised a plan of redemption by which he could himself bear the guilt, and suffer the agony, and pay the debt of a few, and thus ransom them from their doom, the reprobates who were left had no right to complain, but the chosen were a monument of disinterested love, because all alike deserved the endless tortures of hell. According to this conception, all men being by their ancestral act and inherited nature irretrievably lost, God's arbitrary pleasure was the cause, Christ's voluntary death was the means, by which a certain number were to be saved. What individuals should compose this portion of the race, was determined from eternity beyond all contingencies. The effect of faith and conversion, and of the new birth, is not to save the soul, but simply to convince the soul that it is saved. That is to say, a regenerating belief and love is not the efficient cause, it is merely the revealed assurance, of salvation, proving to the soul that feels it, by the testimony of the Holy Spirit, that it is of the chosen number. The preaching of the gospel is to be extended everywhere, not for the purpose of saving those who would otherwise be lost, but because its presentation will awaken in the elect, and in them alone, that responsive experience which will reveal their election to them, and make them sure of it, already foretasting it; though it is thought that no one can be saved who is ignorant of the gospel: it is mysteriously ordered that the terms of the covenant shall be preached to all the elect. There are correlated complexities, miracles, absurdities, in wrought with the whole theory, inseparable from it. The violence it does to nature, to thought, to love, to morals, its arbitrariness, its mechanical form, the wrenching exegesis by which alone it can be forced from the Bible,7 its glaring partiality and eternal cruelty, are its sufficient refutation and condemnation. If the death of Christ has such wondrous saving efficacy, and nothing else has, what keeps him from dying again to convince the unbelieving and to save the lost? What man is there who, if he knew that, after thirty years of suffering terminated by a fearful death, he should rise again into boundless bliss and glory while rapt infinitude rung with the paans of an applauding universe, and that by means of his humiliation he could redeem countless millions from eternal torture, would not with a joyous spring undertake the task? And is a common man better than Christ?

The third general plan of Christian salvation which we are to consider differs from the foregoing one in several essential particulars. It affirms the free will of man in opposition to a fatal predestination. It declares that the atonement is sufficient to redeem not only a portion of our race, but all who will put themselves in right spiritual relations with it. In a word, while it admits that some will actually be lost forever, it asserts that no one is doomed

7 Schweizer, Die Lehre des Apostels Paulus vom erlosenden Tode Christi. Theologische Studien und Kritiken, Jahrg. 1858, heft 3.

to be lost, but that the offer of pardon is made to every soul, and that every one has power to accept or reject it. The sacrifice of the incarnate Deity vindicated the majesty of the law, appeased the wrath of God, and purchased his saving favor towards all who, by a sound and earnest faith, seize the proffered justification, throw off all reliance on their own works, and present themselves before the throne of mercy clothed in the righteousness and sprinkled with the blood of Christ. Here the appropriation of the merits of Christ, through an orthodox and vivifying faith, is the real cause as well as the experimental assurance of salvation. This is free to all. As the brazen serpent was hoisted in the wilderness, and the scorpion bitten Israelites invited to look on it and be healed, so the crucified God is lifted up, and all men, everywhere, are urged to kneel before him, accept his atonement, and thus enable his righteousness to be imputed to them, and their souls to be saved. The vital condition of salvation is an appropriating faith in the vicarious atonement. Without this no one can be saved. Thus with one word and a single breath whole nations and races are whiffed into hell. All that the good hearted Luther could venture to say of Cicero, whom he deeply admired and loved, was the kind ejaculation, "I hope God will be merciful to him!" To those who appreciate it with hostility, and look on all things in its light, the thought that there can be no salvation except by belief in the expiatory death of Christ, hopelessly dooming all the heathen,8 and all infant children, unless baptized in a proxy faith,9 builds an altar of blood among the stars and makes the universe reek with horror. Other crimes, though stained through with midnight dyes and heaped up to the brim of outrageous guilt, may be freely forgiven to him who comes heartily to credit the vicarious death of the Savior; but he who does not trust in that, though virtuous as man can be, must depart into the unappeasable fires. "Why this unintelligible crime of not seeing the atonement happens to be the only sin for which there is no atonement, it is impossible to say." Though this view of the method, extent, and conditions of redemption is less revolting and incredible than the other, still, it does not seem to us that any person whose mental and moral nature is unprejudiced, healthy, and enlightened, and who will patiently study the subject, can possibly accept either of them. The leading assumed doctrines common to them, out of which they severally spring, and on which they both rest, are not only unsupported by adequate proofs, but really have no evidence at all, and are absurd in themselves, confounding the broadest distinctions in morals, and subverting the best established principles of natural religion.10

The fourth scheme of Christian salvation is that which predicates the power of insuring souls from hell solely of the Church. This is the sacramental theory. It is assumed that, in the state of nature subsequent to the transgression and fall of Adam, all men are alienated from God, and by the universal original sin universally exposed to damnation, indeed, the helpless victims of eternal misery. In the fulness of time, Christ appeared, and offered himself to suffer in their stead to secure their deliverance. His death cancelled the whole sum of

8 Bretschneider, Entwickelung der Dogmatik, sect. 112, Nos. 37 50.

9 So affirmed by the Council of Carthage, Canon II.

10 The violence done to moral reason by these views is powerfully exposed in Bushnell's Discourse on the Atonement: God in Christ, pp. 193-202.

original sin, and only that, thus taking away the absolute impossibility of salvation, and leaving every man in the world free to stand or fall, incur hell or win heaven, by his personal merits. From that time any person who lived a perfectly holy life which no man could find practically possible thereby secured eternal blessedness; but the moment he fell into a single sin, however trivial, he sealed his condemnation: Christ's sacrifice, as was just said, merely removed the transmitted burden of original sin from all mankind, but made no provision for their personal sins, so that practically, all men being voluntary as well as hereditary sinners, their condition was as bad as before: they were surely lost. To meet this state of the case, the Church, whose priests, it is claimed, are the representatives of Christ, and whose head is the vicegerent of God on earth, was empowered by the celebration of the mass to re enact, as often as it pleased, the tragedy of the crucifixion. In this service Christ is supposed literally to be put to death afresh, and the merit of his substitutional sufferings is supposed to be placed to the account of the Church.11 As Sir Henry Wotton says, "One rosy drop from Jesus' heart Was worlds of seas to quench God's ire."

In one of the Decretals of Clement VI., called "Extravagants," it is asserted that "one drop of Christ's blood [una guttula sanguinis] being sufficient to redeem the whole human race, the remaining quantity which was shed in the garden and on the cross was left as a legacy to the Church, to be a treasure whence indulgences were to be drawn and administered by the Roman pontiffs." Furthermore, saints and martyrs, by their constant self denial, voluntary sufferings, penances, and prayers, like Christ, do more good works than are necessary for their own salvation; and the balance of merit the works of supererogation is likewise accredited to the Church. In this way a great reserved fund of merits is placed at the disposal of the priests. At their pleasure they can draw upon this vicarious treasure and substitute it in place of the deserved penalties of the guilty, and thus absolve them and effect the salvation of their souls. All this dread machinery is in the sole power of the Church. Outside of her pale, heretics, heathen, all alike, are unalterably doomed to hell. But whoso will acknowledge her authority, confess his sins, receive the sacrament of baptism, partake of the eucharist, obey the priests, shall be infallibly saved. The Church declares that those who neglect to submit to her power and observe her rites are lost, by excommunicating such every year just before Easter, thereby typifying that they shall have no part in the resurrection and ascension. The scheme of salvation just exhibited we reject as alike unwarranted by the Scriptures, absurd to reason, absurd to conscience, fraught with evil practices, and traceable in history through the gradual and corrupt growths of the dogmatic policy of an interested body. There is not one text in the Bible which affords real argument, credit, or countenance to the haughty pretensions of a Church to retain or absolve guilt, to have the exclusive control of the tangible keys of heaven and hell. It is incredible to a free and intelligent mind that the opposing fates forever of hundreds of millions of men should turn on a mere accident of time

11 Thomas Aquinas, Summa, Suppl. pars iii. qu. 25, art. 1.

and place, or at best on the moral contingence of their acknowledging or denying the doubtful authority of a tyrannical hierarchy, a mere matter of form and profession, independent of their lives and characters, and of no spiritual worth at all. One is here reminded of a passage in Plutarch's Essay "How a Young Man ought to hear Poems." The lines in Sophocles which declare that the initiates in the Mysteries shall be happy in the future life, but that all others shall be wretched, having been read to Diogenes, he exclaimed, "What! Shall the condition of Pantacion, the notorious robber, be better after death than that of Epaminondas, merely because he was initiated in the Mysteries?" It is also a shocking violence to common sense, and to all proper appreciation of spiritual realities, to imagine the gross mechanical transference of blame and merit mutually between the bad and the good, as if moral qualities were not personal, but might be shifted about at will by pecuniary considerations, as the accounts in the debt and credit columns of a ledger. The theoretic falsities of such a scheme are as numerous and evident as its practical abuses have been enormous and notorious. How ridiculous this ritual fetch to snatch souls from perdition appears as stated by Julian against Augustine! "God and the devil, then, have entered into a covenant, that what is born the devil shall have, and what is baptized God shall have!"12 We hesitate not to stake the argument on one question. If there be no salvation save by believing and accepting the sacraments with the authority of the Romanist or the Episcopalian Church, then less than one in a hundred thousand of the world's population thus far can be saved. Death steadily showers into hell, age after age, an overwhelming proportion of the souls of all mankind, a rain storm of agonized drops of immortality to feed and freshen the quenchless fires of damnation. Who can believe it, knowing what it is that he believes?

We advance next to a system of Christian salvation as remarkable for its simplicity, boldness, and instinctive benevolence as those we have previously examined are for complexity, unnaturalness, and severity. The theory referred to promises the natural and inevitable salvation of every created soul. It bases itself on two positions, the denial that men are ever lost, except partially and temporarily, and the exhibition of the irresistible power, perfect wisdom, and infinite goodness of God. The advocates of this doctrine point first to observation and experience, and declare that no person is totally reprobate, that every one is salvable; those most corrupt and abandoned to wickedness, unbelief, and hardness, have yet a spark that may be kindled, a fount that may be made to gush, unto the illumination and purification of the whole being. A stray word, an unknown influence, a breath of the Spirit, is continually effecting such changes, such salvations. True, there are many fettered by vices, torn by sins, ploughed by the caustic shares of remorse, lost to peaceful freedom, lost to spiritual joys, lost to the sweet, calm raptures of religious belief and love, and, in that sense, plunged in damnation. But this, they say, is the only hell there is. At the longest, it can endure but for the night of this life: deliverance and blessedness come with the morning dawn of a better world. Exact retributions are awarded to all iniquity here; so

12 Julian, lib. vi. ix.

that at the termination of the present state there is nothing to prevent the flowing of an equal bliss impartially over all. The substantive faculties and forces of the soul are always good and right: only their action is perverted to evil.13 This perversion will cease with the accidents of the present state; and thus death is the door to salvation. God's desires and intentions for his creatures, again they argue, must be purely gracious and blessed; for Nature, the Bible, and the Soul blend their ultimate teachings in one affirmation that he is Love. Being omnipotent and of perfect wisdom, nothing can withstand his decrees or thwart his plans. His purpose, of course, must be fulfilled. There is every thing to prove, and nothing, rightly understood, to disprove, that that purpose is the eternal blessedness of all his intelligent offspring after death. Therefore, they think they are justified in concluding, the laws of nature, God's regular habits and course of government, the normal arrangement and process of things, will of themselves work out the inevitable salvation of all mankind. After the uproar and darkness, the peril and fear, of a tempestuous night, the all embracing smile of daylight gradually spreads over the world, and the turmoil silently subsides, and the scene sleeps. So after the sins and miseries, the condemnation and hell, of this state of existence, shall succeed the redemption, the holiness and happy peace, of heaven, into which all pass by the order of nature, the original and undisturbed arrangement of the creative Father. This view is advanced by some on grounds both of revelation and reason. It is the doctrine of those Beghards who taught that "there is neither hell nor purgatory; that no one is damned, neither Jew nor Saracen, because on the death of the body the soul returns to God."14 But the proper doctrine of the Universalist denomination is founded directly on Scripture, and seems now to be simply the absolute certainty of final salvation for all. Balfour held that Christ, in obedience to the will of God, secures eternal life for all men in the most literal manner, by causing the resurrection of the dead from their otherwise endless sleep in the grave, a doctrine nearly or quite fossil now.15

It will be noticed that by this view salvation is an unlimited necessity, not a contingency, a boon thrown to all, and which no one has power to reject:

"The road to heaven is broader than the world,
And deeper than the kingdoms of the dead;
And up its ample paths the nations tread
With all their banners furl'd."

This theory contains elements, it seems to us, both of truth and falsehood. It casts off gross mistakes, announces some fundamental realities, overlooks, perverts, exaggerates, some essential facts in the case. There is so much in it that is grateful and beautiful that we cannot wonder at its reception where the tender instincts of the heart are stronger than the stern decisions of the conscience, where the kindly sentiments usurp the province of the critical reason and sit in judgment upon evidence for the construction of a dogmatic creed. We

13 Universalist Quarterly Review, vol. x. art. xvi.: Character and its Predicates.

14 Hagenbach, Dogmengeschichte, sect. 209, note 14.

15 See Ballou, Examination of the Doctrine of Future Punishment, pp. 152-157. Williamson, Exposition of Universalism, Sermon XL: Nature of Salvation. Cobb, Compend. of Divinity, ch. ix. sect. 3.

cannot accept it as a whole, cannot admit its great unqualified conclusion, not only because there is no direct evidence for it, but because there are many potent presumptions against it. It is not built upon the facts of our consciousness and present experience, but is resolutely constructed in defiance of them by an arbitrary process of assumption and inference; for since God's perfections are as absolute now as they ever can be, and he now permits sin and misery, there is no impossibility that they will be permitted for a season hereafter. If they are necessary now, they may be necessary hereafter. An experience of salvation by all, regardless of what they do or what they leave undone, would also defeat what we have always considered the chief final cause of man, namely, the self determined resistance of Evil and choice of Good, the free formation of virtuous character. The plan of a necessary and indiscriminate redemption likewise breaks the evident continuity of life, ignores the lineal causative power of experience, whereby each moment partially produces and moulds the next, destroys the probationary nature of our lot, and palsies the strength of moral motive. It is furthermore the height of injustice, awarding to all men the same condition, remorselessly swallowing up their infinite differences, making sin and virtue, sloth and toil, exactly alike in the end. Whose earnestly embraces the theory, and meditates much upon it, and reasons closely, will be likely to become an Antinomian. It overlooks the loud, omnipresent hints which tell us that the present state is incomplete and dependent, the part of a great whole, the visible segment of a circle whose complement overarches the invisible world to come, where future correspondences and fulnesses will satisfy and complete present claims and deficiencies. We reject this scheme, as to its distinctive feature, for all those reasons which lead us to accept that final view to which we now turn.

The theory of Christian redemption which seems to us correct, represents the good and evil forces of personal character, harmonious or discordant with the mind of God, as the conditions of salvation or of reprobation. Swedenborg, who teaches that man in the future state is the son of his own deeds in the present state, says he once saw Melancthon in hell, writing, "Faith alone saves," the words fading out as fast as written, because expressive of a falsehood! It is not belief, but love, that dominates the soul, not a mental act, but a spiritual substance. According as the realities of the soul are what they should be, just and pure, or what they should not be, perverted and corrupt, and according as the realities of the soul are in right relations with truth, beauty, goodness, or in vitiated relations with them, so, and to that extent, is the soul saved or lost. This is not a matter of arbitrary determination on one hand; and of helpless submission on the other: it is a matter of Divine permission on one hand, and of free, though sometimes unintelligent and mistaken, choice on the other. The only perdition is to be out of tune with the right constitution and exercise of things and rules. That, of itself, makes a man the victim of guilt and wretchedness. The only salvation is the restoration of the balance and normal efficiency of the faculties, the restoration of their harmony with the moral law, the recommencement of their action in unison with the will of God. When a soul, through its exposure and freedom, becomes and experiences what God did not intend and is not pleased with, what his creative and executive arrangements are not purposely ordered for, it is, for the time, and so far forth, lost. It is saved, when knowledge of truth illuminates the mind, love of goodness warms the heart, energy, purity, and aspiration fill and animate the whole being. Then, having realized in its experience the purposes of Christ's mission, the original aims of its existence, it rejoices in the favor of God. In the harmonious fruition of its internal efficiencies and external relations, all things work together for good unto it, and it basks in the beams of the sun of immortality. Perdition and hell are the condemnation and misery instantaneously deposited in experience whenever and wherever a perverted and corrupt soul touches its relations with the universe. The meeting of its consciousness with the alienated mournful faces of things, with the hostile retributive forces of things, produces unrest and suffering with the same natural necessity that the meeting of certain chemical substances deposits poison and bitterness. Perdition being the degradation and wretchedness of the soul through ingrained falsehood, vice, impurity, and hardness, salvation is the casting out of these evils, and the replacing them with truth, righteousness, a holy and sensitive life. To ransom from hell and translate to heaven is not, then, so much to deliver from a local dungeon of gnawing fires and worms, and bear to a local paradise of luxuries, as it is to heal diseases and restore health. Hell is a wrong, diseased condition of the soul, its indwelling wretchedness and retribution, wherever it may be, as when the light of day tortures a sick eye. Heaven is a right, healthy condition of the soul, its indwelling integrity and concord, in whatever realms it may reside, as when the sunshine bathes the healthy orb of vision with delight. Salvation is nothing more nor less than the harmonious blessedness of the soul by the fruition of all its right powers and relations. Remove a man who is writhing in the agonies of some physical disease, from his desolate hut on the bleak mountain side to a gorgeous palace in a delicious tropical clime. He is just as badly off as before. He is still, so to speak, in hell, wherever he may be in location. Cure his sickness, and then he is, so to speak, saved, in heaven. It is so with the soul. The conditions of salvation and reprobation are not arbitrary, mechanical, fickle, but are the interior and unalterable laws of the soul and of the universe. "Every devil," Sir Thomas Browne says, "holds enough of torture in his own ubi, and needs not the torture of circumference to afflict him." If there are, as there may be, two entirely separate regions in space, whose respective boundaries enclose hell and heaven, banishment into the one, or admission into the other, evidently is not what constitutes the essence of perdition or of salvation, is not the all important consideration; but the characteristic condition of the soul, which produces its experience and decides its destination, that is the essential thing. The mild fanning of a zephyr in a summer evening is intolerable to a person in the convulsions of the ague, but most welcome and delightful to others. So to a wicked soul all objects, operations, and influences of the moral creation become hostile and retributive, making a hell of the whole universe. Purify the soul, restore it to a correct condition, and every thing is transfigured: the universal hell becomes universal heaven.

We may gather up in a few propositions the leading principles of this theory of salvation. First, Perdition is not an experience to which souls are helplessly born, not a sentence inflicted on them by an arbitrary decree, but is a result wrought out by free agency, in conformity to the unalterable laws of the spiritual world. Secondly, heaven and hell are not essentially particular localities into which spirits are thrust, nor states of consciousness produced by outward circumstances, but are an outward reflection from, and a reciprocal action upon, internal character.

Thirdly, condemnation, or justification, is not absolute and complete, equalizing all on each side of a given line, but is a thing of degrees, not exactly the same in any two individuals, or in the same person at all times. Fourthly, we have no reason to suppose that probation closes with the closing of the present life; but every relevant consideration leads us to conclude that the same great constitution of laws pervades all worlds and reigns throughout eternity, so that the fate of souls is not unchangeably fixed at death. No analogy indicates that after death all will be thoroughly different from what it is before death. Rather do all analogies argue that the hell and heaven of the future will be the aggravation, or mitigation, or continuation, of the perdition and salvation of the present. It is altogether a sentence of exact right according to character, a matter of personal achievement depending upon freedom, an experience of inward elements and states, a thing of degrees, and a subject of continued probation.

The condition of the heathen nations in reference to salvation is satisfactory only in the light of the foregoing theory. If a person is what God wishes, as shown by his revealed will in the model of Christ, pure, loving, devout, wise, and earnest, he is saved, whether he ever heard of Christ or not. Are Plato and Aristides, Cato and Antoninus, to be damned, while Pope Alexander VI. and King Philip II are saved, because those glorious characters merely lived at the then height of attainable excellence, but these fanatic scoundrels made a technical profession of Christianity? The "Athanasian" creed asserts that whoever doth not fully believe its dogmas "shall without doubt perish everlastingly." And the eighteenth article in the creed of the Church of England declares "them accursed who presume to say that any man can be saved by diligently framing his life according to the law or sect which he professeth, and the light of nature."16

Another particular in which the present view of salvation is satisfactory, in opposition to the other theories, is in leaving the personal nature of sin clear, the realm of personal responsibility unconfused. Why should a system of thought be set up and adhered to in religion that would be instantly and universally scouted at if applied to any other subject? 17 "No one dreams that the sin of an unexercised intellect, of gross ignorance, can be pardoned only through faith in the sacrifice of some incarnation of the Perfect Reason. No one expects to be told that the violation of the bodily laws can be forgiven by the Infinite Creator only on the ground that some perfect physician honors them by obedience and death. It is by opening the mind to God's published truth, and by conformity to the discovered philosophical

16 Arnauld, Emes, Goeze, and others, have written volumes to prove the indiscriminate damnation of the heathen. On the contrary, Muller, in his "Diss. de Paganorum poet Mortem Conditione," and Marmontel, in his "Belisaire," take a more favorable view of the fate of the ethnic world. The best work on the subject a work of great geniality and ability is Eberhard's "Neue Apologie des Socrates." Also see Knapp's Christian Theology, sect. lxxxviii.

17 Martineau, Studies of Christianity, pp. 153-176: Mediatorial Religion. Ibid. pp. 468-477: Sin What it is, What it is not.

order, or the reception of the adopted remedy, that the mind and the frame experience new life. And our souls are redeemed, not by any expiation on account of which penalties are lifted, but by reception of spiritual truth and consecration of will, which push away penalties by wholesome life." 18

The awful inviolability of justice is shown by the eternal course of God's laws bringing the exactly deserved penalty upon every soul that sinneth. Whoever breaks a Divine decree puts all sacred things in antagonism to him, and the precise punishment of his offences not the worth of worlds nor the blood of angels can avert. The boundless mercy of God, his atoning love, is shown by the absence of all vindictiveness from his judgments, their restorative aim and tendency. Whenever the sinner repents, reforms, puts himself in a right attitude, God is waiting to pardon and bless him, the sun shines and the happy heart is glad as at first, the cloudy screen of sin and fear and retributive alienation being removed. This view, when appreciated, affords as impressive a sanction to law, and as affecting an exhibition of love, as are theoretically ascribed to the doctrine of vicarious expiation. The infinite sanctity of justice and the fathomless love of God are certainly much more plainly and satisfactorily shown by the righteous nature and beneficent operation of the law, than by its terrible severity and arbitrary subversion. According to the present view, the relation of Christ to human redemption is as simple and rational as it is divinely appointed and perfectly fulfilled. Accredited with miraculous seals, presenting the most pathetic and inspiring motives, he reveals the truths and exemplifies the virtues which, when adopted, regenerate the springs of faith and character, rectify the lines of conduct, and change men from sinful and wretched to saintly and blessed. He stirs the stagnant soul, that man may replunge into his native self, and rise redeemed.

For the more distinct comprehension and remembrance of the schemes of Christian salvation we have been considering, it may be well to recapitulate them.

The first theory is this: When, by the fall of Adam, all men were utterly lost and doomed to hell forever, the vicarious sufferings of Christ cancelled sin, and unconditionally purchased and saved all. This was the original development of Universalism. It sprang consistently from Augustinian grounds. It was taught by a party in the Church of the first centuries, was afterwards repeatedly condemned as a heresy by popes and by councils, and was revived by Kelly, Murray, and others. We are not aware that it now has any avowed disciples.

The second conception is, in substance, that God, foreseeing from eternity the fall of Adam and the consequent damnation of his posterity, arbitrarily elected a portion of them to salvation, leaving the rest to their fate; and the vicarious sufferings of Christ were the only possible means of carrying that decree into effect. This is the Augustinian and Calvinistic theology, and has had a very extensive prevalence among Christians. Many church creeds still embody the doctrine; but in its original, uncompromising form it is rapidly fading from belief. Even now few persons can be found to profess it without essential modifications, so

18 T. S. King, Endless Punishment Unchristian and Unreasonable, p. 65.

qualifying it as to destroy its identity.

The third plan of delivering souls from the doom supposed to rest on them attributes to the vicarious sufferings of Christ a conditional efficacy, depending upon personal faith. Every one who will heartily believe in the substitutional death of Christ, and trust in his atoning merits, shall thereby be saved. This was the system of Pelagius, Arminius, Luther. It prevails now in the so called Evangelical Churches more generally than any other system.

The fourth received method of salvation, assuming the same premises which the three foregoing schemes assume, namely, that through the fall all men are eternally sentenced to hell, declares that, by Christ's vicarious sufferings, power is given to the Church, a priestly hierarchy, to save such as confess her authority and observe her rites. All others must continue lost.19 This theory early began to be constructed and broached by the Fathers. It is held by the Roman Catholic Church, and by all the consistent portion of the Episcopalian. A part of the Baptist denomination also through their popular preachers, if not in their recognised symbols assert the indispensableness of ritual baptism to salvation.

The fifth view of the problem is that no soul is lost or doomed except so far as it is personally, voluntarily depraved and sinful. And even to that extent, and in that sense, it can be called lost only in the present life. After death every soul is freed from evil, and ushered at once into heaven. This is the distinctive doctrine of the ultra Universalists. It is disappearing from among its recent advocates. As a body they have already exchanged its arbitrary conceptions of "death and glory" for the more rational conclusions of the "Restorationists." 20

The sixth and final scheme of Christian salvation teaches that, by the immutable laws which the Creator has established in and over his works and creatures, a free soul may choose good or evil, truth or falsehood, love or hate, beneficence or iniquity. Just so far and just so long as it partakes of the former it is saved; as it partakes of the latter it is lost, that is, alienates the favor of God, forfeits so much of the benefits of creation and of the blessings of being. The conditions and means of repentance, reformation, regeneration, are always within its power, the future state being but the unencumbered, more favorable experience of the spiritual elements of the present, under the same Divine constitution and laws. This is the common belief of Unitarians and Universalists, the latter alone teaching it as a sure doctrine of Revelation.

Salvation by purchase, by the redeeming blood of Christ; salvation by election, by the independent decree of God, sealed by the blood of Christ; salvation by faith, by an appropriating faith in the blood of Christ; salvation by the Church, by the sacraments made efficacious to that end by the blood of Christ; salvation by nature, by the irresistible working of the natural order of things, declared by the teachings of Christ; salvation by a resurrection from the dead, miraculously effected by the delegated power of Christ; salvation by character, by conformity of character to the spiritual laws of the universe, to the nature and will of God, revealed, urged, exemplified, by the whole mission of Christ; these are the different theories

19 Adams, Mercy to Babes. (A plea for the baptism of infants, that they may not be damned.)

20 Adin Ballou, Universalism and Restorationism Moral Contraries, 1837.

proposed for the acceptance of Christians.

Outside of Christendom we discern, received and operative in various forms, all the theoretic modes of salvation acknowledged within it, and some others in addition. The creed and practice of the Mohammedans afford a more unflinching embodiment of the conception of salvation by election than is furnished anywhere else. Islam denotes Fate. All is predestinated and follows on in inevitable sequence. No modifying influence is possible. Can a breath move Mount Kaf? The chosen of Allah shall believe; the rejected of Allah shall deny. Every believer's bower is blooming for him in Paradise; every unbeliever's bed is burning for him in hell. And nothing whatever can avail to change the persons or the total number elected for each.

There is one theory of salvation scarcely heard of in the West, but extensively held in the East. The Brahmanic as well as the Buddhist thinker relies on obtaining salvation by knowledge. Life in a continual succession of different bodies is his perdition. His salvation is to be freed from the vortex of births and deaths, the fret and storm of finite existence. Neither goodness nor piety can ever release him. Knowledge alone can do it: an unsullied intellectual vision and a free intellectual grasp of truth and love alone can rescue him from the turbid sea of forms and struggles. "As a lump of salt is of uniform taste within and without, so the soul is nothing but intelligence."21 If the soul be an entire mass of intelligence, a current of ideas, its real salvation depends on its becoming pure and eternal truth without mixture of falsehood or of emotional disturbance. He "must free himself from virtues as well as from sins; for the confinement of fetters is the same whether the chain be of gold or of iron."22 Accordingly, the Hindu, to secure emancipation, planes down the mountainous thoughts and passions of his soul to a desert level of indifferent insight. And when, in direct personal knowledge, free from joy and sorrow, free from good and ill, he gazes into the limitless abyss of Divine truth, then he is sure of the bosom of Brahm, the door of Nirwana. Then the wheel of the Brahmanic Ixion ceases revolving, and the Buddhist Ahasuerus flings away his staff; for salvation is attained.

The conception of salvation by ritual works based on faith either faith in Deity or in some redemptive agency is exhibited all over the world. Hani, a Hindu devotee, dwelt in a thicket, and repeated the name of Krishna a hundred thousand times each day, 23 and thus saved his soul. The saintly Muni Shukadev said, as is written in the most popular religious authority of India, "Who even ignorantly sing the praises of Krishna undoubtedly obtain final beatitude; just as, if one ignorant of the properties of nectar should drink it, he would still become immortal. Whoever worships Hari, with whatever disposition of mind, obtains beatitude."24 "The repetition of the names of Vishnu purifies from all sins, even when invoked by an evil minded person, as fire burns even him who approaches it unwillingly."25 Nothing is more common in the sacred writings of the Hindus than the promise that "whoever reads or hears this narrative with a devout mind shall receive final beatitude." Millions on millions of these docile and abject devotees undoubtingly expect salvation by such merely ritual

21 Colebrooke, Essays, vol. i. p. 359.

22 Ibid. p. 363.

23 Asiatic Researches, vol. xvi. p. 115.

24 Eastwick, Prem Sagar, p. 56.

25 Vishnu Parans, p. 210, note 13.

observances. One cries "Lord!" "Lord!" Another thumbs a book, as if it were an omnipotent amulet. Another meditates on some mystic theme, as if musing were a resistless spell of silent exorcism and invocation. Another pierces himself with red hot irons, as if voluntary pain endured now could accumulate merit for him and buy off future inflictions.

It is surprising to what an extent men's efforts for salvation seem underlaid by conceptions of propitiation, the placation of a hatred, the awakening of a love, in the objects of their worship. In all these cases salvation is sought indirectly through works, though not particularly good works. The savage makes an offering, mutters a prayer, or fiercely wounds his body, before the hideous idol of his choice. The fakir, swung upon sharp hooks, revolves slowly round a fire. The monk wears a hair shirt, and flagellates himself until blood trickles across the floor of his cell. The Portuguese sailor in a storm takes a leaden saint from his bosom and kneels before it for safety. The offending Bushman crawls in the dust and shudders as he seeks to avert the fury of the fetich which he has carved and set in a tree. The wounded brigand in the Apennines, with unnumbered robberies and murders on his soul, finds perfect ease to his conscience as his glazing eye falls on a carefully treasured picture of the Virgin, and he expires in a triumph of faith, saying, "Sweet Mother of God, intercede for me." The Calvinistic convert, about to be executed for his fearful crimes, kneels at the foot of the gallows, and exclaims, as in a recent well known instance, "I hold the blood of Christ between my soul and the flaming face of God, and die happy, assured that I am going to heaven."

It is all a terrible delusion, arising from perverted sentiment and degraded thought. Of the five theoretical modes of salvation taught in the world, Election, Faith, Works, Knowledge, Harmony, one alone is real and divine, although it contains principles taken from all the rest and blended with its own. There is no salvation by foregone election; for that would dethrone the moral laws and deify caprice. There is no salvation by dogmatic faith; because faith is not a matter of will, but of evidence, not within man's own power, and a thousand varieties of faith are necessitated among men. There is no salvation by determinate works; for works are measurable quantities, whose rewards and punishments are meted and finally spent, but salvation is qualitative and infinite. There is no salvation by intellectual knowledge; for knowledge is sight, not being, an accident, not an essence, an attribute of one faculty, not a right state and ruling force in all. The true salvation is by harmony; for harmony of all the forces of the soul with themselves and with all related forces beyond, harmony of the individual will with the Divine will, harmony of personal action with the universal activity, what other negation of perdition is possible? what other definition and affirmation of salvation conceivable? By the Creator's fiat, man is first elected to be. By the guiding stimulus of faith, he is next animated to spiritual exertion. By the performance of good works, he then brings his moral nature into beautiful form and attitude. By knowledge of truth, he furthermore sees how to direct, govern, and attune himself. And finally, by the accomplishment of all this in the organized harmony of a wise and holy soul, there results that state of being whose passive conditions constitute salvation, and whose active experience is eternal life.