The Restitution of all Things
Part 7: Additional Note
(This special note was not contained in the original work. It is a letter from Mr. Jukes to Henry Constable who took some unfair liberties relating to The Restitution of All Things).
OBJECTIONS TO UNIVERSAL RESTORATION
(A Reply To Henry Constable In "The Rainbow," October 1, 1869)
Sydney Smith used to say, that "it was a great mistake to read a book before you reviewed it; it interfered so much with the freedom of one's criticism." Your critic, Mr. Constable, has more than once of late reminded me of this joke of the old reviewer. Forgetting the rule, "Be sure you see, before you pretend to oversee," unintentionally, we must believe, but no less really, he has used your pages to misrepresent others. How entirely he misrepresented Origen, in your April number, I took the liberty to show you a letter which I sent you on the fifth of that month, which you then declined to publish, but which I yet think would be of interest to some of your readers. Since then Mr. Dunn has shown how much Mr. Constable has both misunderstood and misrepresented him. And now, last and least, I have to beg a little space, to recall your attention to some of the charges which you have allowed Mr. Constable to make against me in your last number.
And here, as I do not care to notice what appear to be mere misconceptions, I will say nothing of Mr. Constable's often repeated statement, that I make the doctrine of "man's inalienable immortality" the basis of my hope of universal restoration, --when on the contrary I have distinctly stated, that "God only hath immortality," --because, as I have also declared that I believe man will exist for ever, Mr. Constable may really not be able to see how a mortal creature may exist for ever, or how the final and blessed restoration of a mortal creature, which will yet exist for ever, depends not on its existing for ever, but on its participation with Christ in death and resurrection. But is it reviewing--or false accusing--to say, as Mr. Constable says, that I "quietly shut out the doctrine of the primitive church and of Scripture, namely, immortality in and through Christ;" ("quietly," I suppose, lest my wrong doing should be detected; but Mr. Constable is too acute to let me escape;) when not only the whole burden of my book is to show that only through participation in Christ's death and resurrection can we obtain eternal life, but when further I have distinctly said, in so many words, "Christ is, and must be, the one and only way by which any have been, or are, or can be, saved;" (p.97;) and when yet more, as Mr. Constable himself is witness, I quote the words, "So in Christ shall all be made alive," to prove (what Mr. Constable in answer asserts they do not prove,) the salvation and resurrection, in and through Christ, of all men. Just imagine the charge: --Mr. Jukes erroneously quotes, "So in Christ shall all be made alive;" and yet Mr. Jukes "quietly shuts out the doctrine of immortality in and through Christ."
Again, is it reviewing--or false accusing--to say, that I "suppose my theory is the only rival to that of the vulgar hell;" and again, that I "advance it as the only opponent to that of Augustine and his school ," (the italics here are Mr. Constable's,) when he is himself the witness that I not only refer to his own notion of the final non-being of the wicked, but further show why I cannot receive it as the true solution of the mystery. Again, is it reviewing--or false accusing--to say that Mr. Jukes "tells his readers that if they do not accept his theory, they must fall back upon that view of the second death, which makes it consist in never-ending torments. Will Mr. Constable quote the passage where Mr. Jukes "tells his readers" this? Where have I ever said what my readers must do "if they do not accept my theory"? The charge is first and last without foundation, just as the next also is, that I "intentionally," or unintentionally, (1) "use the word 'annihilation' as a little rhetorical artifice." Is this, I ask, the way to investigate truth? Will such reviewing as this help any to the true solution of the secret of God's purpose?
For the question between us really is, Is death the end of man's being, or is it not rather the strait and narrow gate which sinners must pass to resurrection? What Mr. Constable contends for is, that the second death is the utter end of man's existence; that in this death, to use his own words, "the organized being composed of spirit and body has ceased to exist . . . that which constitutes identity, whatever that is, is gone." What I contend for is, that man's death, whether of spirit or body, or of both, does not destroy "that which constitutes identity;" that whether we are dead in sins or dead to sin, though there may be the death of one old man and the birth of another new man in us, whatever the death may be, the being in whom this happens remains through all the same person. The saints, who are first-fruits of creation, by death and dissolution have not lost that which constitutes their identity. They are the same persons, even though they have been "turned to destruction" by God, and are to "come again children of men," that is new creatures, in Christ Jesus.
This is really the point at issue; not whether "man is by nature an immortal being;" but whether, being mortal, and destroyed, and judged, and dead in the worst of deaths, death, and judgment, and destruction, is, or is not, the way to deliver him. I say it is. And it is clear to me that the mistake, of those who think that death is God's end for the wicked and impenitent, arises from their not seeing the needs-be for law and its attendant condemnation, and that death and judgment are the sinner's way to salvation and resurrection. They do not see that the misery of the wicked is that they have not here died to sin with Christ; that, therefore, at the death of the body, they are still in the life and sphere, and so within the power, of the wrathful dark-world. Hence they do not see how the second death may be a necessary condition towards the fulfillment of the promise, "I make all things new;" a chaos being always the preparation for a new creation. They are right in asserting that man is mortal, and that immortality is only in and through our Lord Jesus. They are wrong in concluding from this that the death and destruction of the wicked is therefore non-being, or that God can only save men through Christ in this present life. Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you that God should raise the dead, who for their sins suffer the judgment of the second death; when we know that it is only "by death that He destroys him that has the power of death, that is, the devil," and that the lost continue to be lost, because they have not here died with Christ, and therefore are not delivered out of that power of darkness, in which, till we so die, we all are held captive.
Of course these brethren may say that they do not see this. But they make poor discoverers who conclude there is no land when they discern nothing but sea. The fact is, it is in God's household as it is in ours. There are in every house purposes and arrangements of parental love, which, though clear enough to some of the elder children, are unknown to, or very imperfectly understood by, the younger members of the family, and of course utterly beyond the capacity of baby in the cradle, who yet in his helplessness, perhaps, practically rules the house. When, therefore, these brethren tell us that in the death and destruction of the wicked they can see nothing beyond such death and destruction, or when, further, they charge those who look for universal restoration with "quietly shutting out the doctrine of immortality in and through Christ," and with holding that the doctrine of universal restoration "rests on the basis of the supposed immortality of all men," they simply tell us their present status in the family. They will know better by and bye.
One word more. There may be some readers of the Rainbow who may like to hear direct from me what I do hold as to future restoration. Briefly, my view is this: First, that it is God's will by a first-born seed, "the first-born from the dead," to save and bless the later born; that in this seed, which is Christ's body, all the kindreds of the earth shall be blessed; the elect being the means, in God's hand, to reach and save others. Secondly, that this will of God is only worked out through successive ages or dispensations, or, to use the language of St. Paul, "according to the purpose of the ages;" the times and seasons of the law, especially the times which make up the jubilee, being the type or shadow of the ages of the gospel. And, thirdly, that in fulfilling this purpose, it is God's will, who thus and thus only meets the peculiar nature of our fall and departure from Him, to make death, judgment, and destruction, the means and way, as we see in the cross, to life, acquittal, and salvation. Such are my views, and I give the reasons for them in my little volume on The Second Death.
In the full assurance that one true thought, when once expressed, is stronger than ten thousand pulpits or leading articles which teach error, I again commend my thoughts to your consideration, with an earnest prayer, that, as the days get darker around us, the Rainbow may shine with a brighter lustre.
1. Mr. Constable's paper says, " intentionally ," (printed in italics,) but I fancy, from the context, he meant to say unintentionally; at all events I give him the benefit of the doubt.