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An evil spirit finds delight only in doing evil, or in acting from the evil love which on earth he allowed to rule and freely chose to be his ruling love, whence came his distinguishing quality and character during the life of the body. He can only act from evil, for good and evil are no longer presented for his choice. And here it may be observed, that a good man, when he exercises his free choice in a state of temptation, has evil presented to him for his choice as a thing not homogeneous, but extraneous and foreign to him ; while a wicked, or merely natural man, having formed his character from evil, so as to have made only evil his own, when good is presented for his choice, it is presented to him as a thing not his own, or not homogeneous to him, but which he may make his own, by putting away the evil which he had previously made his own. An evil spirit, then, having refused the offer of receiving good on these conditions, when he comes into hell, has no good in him, and, therefore, has no longer the power of choice between good and evil, and must remain in evil for ever.
But, as before observed, the freedom of an evil spirit as consisting in the delight of doing evil, is the opposite to that of an angel, and is, consequently, utterly opposed to the divine freedom; and hence it is, that no evil spirit can abide in heaven, and that divine mercy has provided a place out of heaven, called hell, wherein an evil spirit may find less torment than he would experience if in heaven!
Order requires that the tendencies of infernal spirits should be restrained ; and, consequently, the infernal freedom of an evil spirit is continually under restraint, which makes hell to be no place of freedom at all, but, on the contrary, a place of eternal slavery! Every one feels liberty in acting from, and gratifying his love; but he feels slavery in being restrained from such gratification, and in being compelled to act according to the love or will of another. All delight is from love, and all pain from the opposition and violence which is offered to love. All in hell are compelled to forego the exercise of their own individual freedom. Having refused, during the life of the body, to acquire the capacity of heavenly freedom, which consists in acting as one or in unison with the Lord, and being made thereby partakers of His sense of freedom-(the conscious effect of which is like that of acting from themselves, and as if from good in themselves) -evil spirits are compelled, through all eternity, to give up their freedom, and act from, or according to, the will of God, as from the will of another, who is in opposition to themselves, and, consequently, to their freedom, and to the delight of it, from all exercise and delight of which they are thus for ever cut off. Such is the slavery of hell!
The wicked in this world often appear to be quite happy, because the freedom of their evil love cannot be restricted internally, without depriving them of that freedom of choice belonging to them as men, without which they cannot be reformed. Their freedom to do evil could not be entirely restrained from within, without the freedom to do good being taken away from them in the same degree. Hence it is, that the wicked often appear overflowing with happiness, although such happiness is evidently of the grossest kind. Thus the Psalmist says, “I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. They are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men.”—But what is the consequence of this apparently enviable distinction? It is thus impressively stated in the words which next follow. “ Therefore pride compasseth them about as a chain; violence covereth them as a garment.-Their eyes stand out with fatness; they have more than heart could wish;"-(but, alas! this only adds to their wickedness, for) “they are corrupt and speak wickedly oppression, they speak loftily, they set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue walketh [arrogantly] through the earth; they say How doth God know? and, Is there knowledge in the Most High ?—Behold! these are the ungodly who prosper in the world.” (Psalm 83.)
Very different, indeed, is the lot of the godly in this world, for the Lord himself has thus declared to his true followers : “In the world ye shall have tribulation.” Again : “Whom I love I rebuke and chasten.” The wicked are not spiritually afflicted, because evil, the ground of spiritual affliction, is no affliction to them; but the good are afflicted by the presence of evil, because the evil, by which they are tempted, they hate above all things. But what is the final issue? How emphatically this is declared in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus : “But Abraham said (to the rich man in torment] Son, remember that thou in thy life-time receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things ; but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.” When the wicked come into hell, their lust to do evil rages in them; but because of the restraint upon them from the divine influx through heaven, operating to preserve and to compel to the observance of order, their love to do evil is like a consuming fire pent up in them. This is implied by the words of the selfish rich man in hell, “ I am tormented in this flame !” The “good things,” which in their life-time the evil receive, are the foul delights arising from the unrestricted freedom which they then experience in acting from, and according to, their ruling love of evil; and which is left unrestricted (except by external restraints) in order that their freedom of choice may be maintained; for without this their reformation, by the choice of what is good, would be impossible. Any internal restraint upon the choice of, and indulgence in, evil, would be to the same extent a restraint upon the choice and practice of good. After death, these "good things” (so called) are at an end; and those who revelled in them with a licentious freedom, become “ tormented” by the loss of that freedom, and the succession of slavery in its place. The “evil things" which the good receive in their life-time, are the pains arising from the restriction upon their ruling love of good, owing to the secret influence, or open assaults, of the evils which they hate, and which are in process of removal, and are brought forth to their perception for the purpose of rejection. So far as these “evil things” are present and active, the good things of charity and faith are driven back, and the pure delights thereof are either diminished or suspended, giving way, for the time, to the really "evil things” of evil and falsehood, which are felt by the good as things most undelightful and detestable; so that the internal sensations they occasion inflict the keenest anguish, and sometimes lead even to states of desperation, upon which the temptation is terminated and the sufferer is comforted. But after the life of the body has been succeeded by the life of the spirit, the “evil things," with the good, are at an end, and they are comforted” in heaven by the Lord, with the consolations of everlasting life and blessedness.“ These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple; and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more ; neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, or any heat; for the lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them; and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” (Rev. 7.)
ON THE CONSTITUTION AND NATURE OF THE
Among the “signs of the times," as regards the controversy now agitating the Christian world, the conflicting claims of the various branches of the Christian ministry occupy a conspicuous place. On the one hand, we behold the high pretensions of the Episcopalian clergy, led on by the Oxford Tractarians; and on the other hand, the claims of the great body of Christian ministers not episcopally ordained, including, in our own island, not only the dissenters of every name, whether Methodists or otherwise, but all the clergy of the Established Church of Scotland. The Tractarian party pretend, that the English bishops are the direct successors of the Apostles, the sole depositories in Great Britain (with the exception of the Romish priesthood) of apostolic power; that they, and they only, have the truly scriptural power of conferring ordination on a Christian minister; and on account of the validity of their ordination, such episcopally ordained ministers become endowed with a mystic grace, which confers validity on the sacraments when administered by them. That by the same means they become endowed with wbat is called the “power of the keys;" that is, the power of opening or shutting heaven, by the administration or refusal of the sacraments of baptism and the Lord's supper; or, as they prefer to call it, the Holy Eucharist.
The whole of this tremendous clerical power and authority rests upon the single pretension, that the bishops are the lineal and spiritual successors of the Apostles, and, as such, endowed with apostolic power and authority. Their opponents require proof, and strong proof too, of their mighty claims; and they declare, and declare truly, that no such proof exists. The Tractarians affirm, that “the fact of an apostolical succession is too notorious to require proof; and that every link in the chain is known, from St. Peter to our present metropolitans.” And yet, when their well-informed opponents allege, that “there is no sufficient evidence of a personal succession of valid episcopal ordinations ;" one of the learned apologists for this really Romish theory replies: “If nothing will satisfy men but actual demonstration, I yield at once.” A pretty fair avowal of the value of their historic pretensions; and hence we may see, why they assert the necessity of believing "on authority antecedent to proof!"
In fact, not only is there no substantial proof of such direct succession, but if there were, it would be of no real value; it would merely shew, that correct inferences were drawn from false premises. For there is not a shadow of proof in the New Testament, that the apostles ever possessed or laid claim to such a personal power as their boasted successors maintain they possess; still less that they conferred this power on any of their cotemporaries, with the intention, and for the purpose, of its being directly perpetuated. “ Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved,” exclaims the apostle ; not “Receive ye baptism and the holy eucharist from my apostolical hands." These things were not neglected by the apostle, but were justly esteemed by him of secondary importance to preaching the gospel, and the reception of true evangelical faith ;—that “faith which worketh by love,” being united with heavenly charity.
Such are the pretensions of the high episcopal party to the validity, the sole validity, of their ordinations, and such the powers asserted to be conferred by it. The other great party of Christian ministers rest the validity of their office on what is styled, “ Presbyterial ordination;"
—the “laying on of the hands of the presbytery.” But as some readers may not exactly understand the precise import of these terms, we offer a short explanation. In the New Testament, we read of “bishops and elders.” The word “bishop” we derive through the Anglo-Saxon from the Latin word episcopus, (whence comes our word episcopal,) which word is a Latinized form of the original Greek word (ETVOMOTOS-episcopus), literally meaning an over-looker, one who takes the over-sight or direction of any affair. Hence it is used in the New Testament, to signify the pastor, leader, or minister of a Christian church, or assembly, which, the word translated “church” (Exxanoiaekklesia), really means. The word “presbyter,” (TigeoBuregos--presbyteros,) literally means “an elder.” The name, presbyteroi, or “elders," was given to members of the Jewish Sanhedrim, and afterwards to the serious, grave individuals, selected to bear office in the Christian church. But besides “bishops and elders,” we read of " deacons" also; and, in the course of time, we find existing, in the Christian church, a threefold order of ministers: “ bishops," " presbyters,” or (as now called by the Romish and Anglican churches) “priests," and “deacons.” We do not propose to enter into the history of the rise and progress of this “order,” but merely state that such was the case, perhaps two centuries after the apostles. Now, the episcopalians contend, that the “ bishop" was the sole immediate Christian minister, by direct succession from the apostles ; and that he, by ordination, made the body of presbyters, or priests, and conferred upon them, equally with himself, the power to administer the sacraments and preach the Word; and upon the deacons a more limited power, reserving to himself the sole power of perpetuating the ministry. The Presbyterians, dissenters, and Methodists contend, on the other hand, that the apostolic power resided in the whole body of the presbyters, priests, or ministers, and that the bishop was but the ruling or chief presbyter. The right and power of perpetuating the Christian ministry was thus in