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a belief in the future resurrection of the dead. But the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead only began to appear in the last thousand years of Israel's history; and the passages relied upon to set it forth are not very explicit until we reach the days of the prophets. The resurrection of the dead is distinctively a Bible doctrine, and finds its crowning proof in the resurrection of our Savior. But the doctrine of future conscious existence beyond death was in some sense the belief of all oriental peoples. Again, duality of being is necessary to the doctrine of the resurrection. The physical nature is not nearly so essential to the idea of a resurrection as the spiritual. For the spiritual nature is the individual personality; the body is not. This, we think, is illnstrated in the language of Psa. xvi, 10, “ Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell (sheol]; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.” Sheol is the place of the disembodied soul. “ Corruption " is the condition of the body. It is contended by certain Christian materialists that sheol uniformly means the grave. There are very few instances in which the grave is the proper signification of the word. It usually refers to the condition of the dead aside and apart from the grave. The Hebrew has another word, queber, which uniformly means the grave. But in the text quoted above both the state of the soul and of the body are indicated. The possible reply that this is a case of Hebrew poetic parallelism will not answer, for this parallelism usually adds a supplementary idea to the preceding statement. The soul in sheol and the body not seeing corruption is a statement without tautology; while the soul in the grave and the body not seeing corruption is tautology pure and simple. The Christian materialists mentioned above believe that they find in the Old Testament that which sustains their belief in annihilation by death. By putting an extremely literal interpretation on certain words, as “ perish,” “ destroy,” “consume,” “ blot out,” they are able to read their ideas into passages entirely poetical. In other words, they literalize passages intensely metaphorical. The poets of ancient times, like our modern poets, contemplated death from the earthly viewpoint, and they called it “a sleep,” or “ destruction;" and they regarded the dead as knowing nothing of what is going on “under the sun." Such
expressions as are found, for example, in Psa. vi, 5, “For in death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks ?” are employed by these materialists to teach absolute annihilation of being for the present, or a sleep until the resurrection. But, under such a literal construction, they prove too much. They prove the utter and final destruction of all of the dead. A forceful example of this is found in Eccles. ix, 5, 6, as it is usually quoted : “For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not anything, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion forever in anything that is done under the sun.” The last expression, “under the sun,” is not often quoted. For this indicates the point of view from which the dead are contemplated. Another mistake of this class of teachers is to use those passages that speak of the destruction of wicked nations and peoples as such with reference to the individual wicked beyond death. Nations having only a present existence are punished with destruction here and now; their destruction is the sufficient and final penalty for them as nations.
There are some passages that refer very explicitly to the resurrection of the dead, as Isa. xxv, 8, “He will swallow up death in victory ;” Isa. xxvi, 19, “ Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.” The vision of the valley of dry bones (Ezek. xxxvii, 1–12) is founded upon the conception of a resurrection. It proves that the concept of a bodily resurrection was neither new nor unreasonable. So also Hos. xiii, 14, “I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction.” And again, Dan. xii, 2, “Many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” We hold, however, that the doctrine of the resurrection is only rationally conceivable in connection with the indestructibility of the human spiritual personality. In other words, as the Saviour has shown, it is because there
is an Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that there can be a resurrection of the dead.
The prophetic character of the entire Old Testament dispensation is predicated upon Israel's belief in a future for the righteons. Throughout their entire history they had their hopes set on the future, and steadfastly looked for redemption through the coming Messiah. Now, it would be exceedingly difficult for anyone to understand what interest generations of dying men could have in something of a merely earthly character in the far-distant future. It might be some gratification to an enthusiastic patriot to know that in some great temporal kingdom set up among his posterity in future ages his country would rise to paramount power in the world, but most certainly such an expectation alone would not minister much to his religious comfort and culture. The religious expectation and hopes of Israel imply a belief in a future of happiness beyond this present life. This devout expectation is very forcibly expressed in the language of Mal. iii, 16–18, where those who fear the Lord await his return and his discernment “ between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not."
In concluding we desire to say that, though the argument has been largely inferential, it is still legitimate, and unanswerable by him who concedes that the Old Testament is a revelation of God's purposes of grace finding their complete fulfillment in the New Testament, and who concedes the general belief of the ancient peoples of the Orient in the conscious existence of the soul after death; also the belief of the great mass of the Jews of the postexilic period. This belief, which was a fundamental element of the creed of the Pharisees, they must have derived from their ancestors of preexilic times. We therefore affirm that the doctrine of immortality as accepted by the Christian Church at large is to be found in the Old Testament.
ART. III.-REVIEWS AND VIEWS OF THE METH
ODIST BOOK CONCERN.
The readers of this Review are among the most interested students of Methodist history. It is due them that they should have the means of knowing somewhat closely the institntions which stand vitally related to the denomination. This conviction prompts the writing of the present paper.
No mistake could be more inexcusable than an assumption that the makers of Methodism were content with a meager intellectual life for the people. The denomination, from its beginnings, was confronted with tremendous tasks. It could not always command the trained leader or the polished weapon for its wilderness warfare. It must take such instrumentalities as came in its way; but, inspiring these with the consciousness of a great mission, it filled many a humble life with the spirit of heroic consecration and of sublime doing, and so it came to pass that much of the pioneer work of the denomination was done, and well done, by men of limited culture. The statesmen and seers, however, of the Methodistic movement never once lost sight of the necessity or purpose of providing the sources of an adequate intellectual life for the denomination which they were building.
No better confirmation of these statements could be asked than is furnished in the history of the Methodist Book Con
This history is like a wonder-story. At a time when the country was largely a wilderness, when as yet the railroad and the steamboat were undreamed of, when even the printing press was little known, and when the people were all poor, our fathers planned and wrought for a publishing house.
This house was founded upon a borrowed capital of six liundred dollars, and its first catalogue contained a list of but twenty-eight publications, all of them reprints. But behind the movement were deep convictions, earnest purpose, a spirit of sacrifice willing to pay all cost requisite to success.
During eleven decades this institution thus planted, planted in a soil which would seem unfruitful, rugged, and forbidding, has had, with brief exception, a continuously active life. From
feeblest beginnings it has taken on phenomenal strength and gigantic stature. Its humble borrowed capital of six hundred dollars has expanded to net assets, as per the last annual report, of $3,543,709.87. This, however, is but a partial statement, as during its history the Book Concern has given outright for various Church purposes more than $4,000,000; an amount largely in excess of its accumulated capital.
If we count the entire output of products from the beginning it appears that the Concern has sold $70,000,000 worth of books and supplies. This means that the business, having to advance through many years, and even decades, of struggle and of narrow limitations, has not only created entirely its own capital, but it has made a net earning upon its entire output of nearly eleven per cent. A disposition to criticise adversely the business management of the Book Concern has sometimes seemed to find easy expression. It would appear to be the opinion of some of these critics that the business might have been much better managed if only they, or men like them, had been in charge. But it is respectfully submitted that the business management of the Book Concern, in the light of achieved history, speaks fairly well for itself. The man who would openly assume to be the adverse critic ought, at least, to be tolerably sure of his own acknowledged reputation for business capacity. Moreover, in making up a judgment in this relation, it should not be forgotten that the making of money has never been considered a chief mission of this institation.
It would not be easy to overstate either the volume or the value of results already achieved in this publishing work. The meager catalogue of books with which the Concern began has expanded into a list of more than three thousand publications. In the single department of Sunday school periodicals and helps alone the returns for 1898 show the enormous circulation of 3,219,410 full volumes for the year. The beneficent fruits of the literature issued from the presses of the Book Concern have, through many decades, been widely distributed throughout the land, indeed, throughout the world, and have carried untold enrichment to the religious life of multitudes, both dead and living. This literature has been of a kind only