Occasional Papers eBook

Richard William Church
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 378 pages of information about Occasional Papers.
play with them; and if they are not made so hard as to do mischief, the use of them should not be checked.  But they do not belong to business.”  He bids us, instead, give men “the Book of Life,” and “have courage to tell them that there is a Spirit with them who will guide them into all truth.”  Great and salutary lessons.  But we must say that they have been long in the world, and, it must be said, are as liable to be misunderstood as any other “popular” notions on the subject.  If there is nothing more to say on the subject—­if it is one where, though we see and are sure of a truth, yet we must confess it to be behind a veil, as yet indistinct and not to be grasped, let us manfully say so, and wait till God reveal even this unto us.  But it is not a wise or a right course to raise expectations of being able to say something, not perhaps new, but satisfactory, when the questions which are really being asked, which are the professed occasion of the answer, remain, in their Intellectual difficulty, entirely unresolved.  Mr. Maurice is no trifler; when he throws hard words about,—­when at the close of this essay he paints to himself the disappointment of some “Unitarian listener, who had hoped that Mr. Maurice was going to join him in cursing his enemies, and found that he had blessed them these three times,”—­he ought to consider whether the result has not been, and very naturally, to leave both parties more convinced than before of the hollowness of all professions to enter into, and give weight to, the difficulties and the claims of opposite sides.

Mr. Maurice has not done justice, as it seems to us, in this case, to the difficulty of the Unitarian.  In other cases he makes free with the common belief of Christendom, and claims sacrifices which are as needless as they are unwarrantable.  If there is a belief rooted in the minds of Christians, it is that of a future judgment.  If there is an expectation which Scripture and the Creed sanction in the plainest words, it is that this present world is to have an end, and that then, a time now future, Christ will judge quick and dead.  Say as much as can be said of the difficulty of conceiving such a thing, it really amounts to no more than the difficulty of conceiving what will happen, and how we shall be dealt with, when this familiar world passes away.  And this belief in a “final judgment, unlike any other that has ever been in the world,” Mr. Maurice would have us regard as a misinterpretation of Bible and Creed—­a “dream” which St. Paul would never “allow us” to entertain, but would “compel” us instead “to look upon everyone of what we rightly call ‘God’s judgments’ as essentially resembling it in kind and principle.”  “Our eagerness to deny this,” he continues, “to make out an altogether peculiar and unprecedented judgment at the end of the world, has obliged us first to practise the most violent outrages upon the language of Scripture, insisting that words cannot

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Occasional Papers from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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