Ulysses S Bartz.

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3 3433 06826732 1








^ '«i u




Studies in Eschatology ;


Existence After Death




Pastor of the Hawthorn Avenue Presbyterian
Church of Idlewood, Pa.


Bbbcy pre86




Condon ^EW YORK montreal



R 1918 L

Copyright, 1900,


Hbbey press









L A Study of Death 7

II. Immortality, in the Bible and Out 17

III. What Do We Know op the Intermediate

State? 27

IV. The Resurrection from the Dead 37

V. The Second Comino — The Judgment— The
Millennium 49

VI. Heaven : Where is it, and What will its

Occupations be?— Recognition of Friends 62

VII. Hell: Why is it, and What Makes it? 75

studies in Eschatology.



*"For in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt
surely die." — Gen. 2: 17.

"Therefore, as through one man sin entered into the
world, and death through sin; and so death passed unto
all men, for that all sinned." — Rom. 5 : 12.

In entering upon this series of discourses a
few words by way of preface are in order. It
should be borne in mind that these are admit-
tedly difificult subjects, because of the obscurity
necessarily surrounding them. The wise in-
vestigator will therefore speak in more guarded
tones than would be necessary to employ in
other departments of theological research. On
many of the topics relating to eschatology, or
existence after death and the end of the world,
no consensus of opinion exists. In fact, this

♦ Quotations of the Bible text are invariably mide from the Revised

8 Studies in Eschatology.

has been, generally speaking, the least dis-
cussed of all the great divisions of religious

And yet none is, in its very nature, more
interesting. If death ended all, there would
be no room for such investigation as we have
proposed. But our gospel according to Jesus
Christ affirms and insists that death is not the
end of human existence, however much it seems
to be. Our Saviour clearly taught, if it be ad-
mitted that He clearly taught anything, that
it is possible to live after death. Hence two
questions immediately arise: i. Who will live
after death? 2. What will be the essential
nature and the attendant conditions of that ex-
istence? The natural desire which we have
to live, coupled with the belief, apparently in-
nate also, that something of us persists as im-
mortal, invests these questions with the deepest
and profoundest interest. Therefore, even
though little can be certainly known on these
matters, we all want to know whatever can be

Evidently the starting-point must be that
change which sooner or later comes over a hu-
man being which we call death. From that

A Study of Death. 9

point we date the "hereafter." But we cannot
pass on to discuss what follows death until we
know what death itself is. If death is annihila-
tion, nothing follows it. On the other hand, if
it is not annihilation, neither is it continuance of
present existence ; and what, then, is it ? This
is the preliminary question to the two already
mentioned; and to its answer we now address

Because in death there is a cessation of this
present existence which we call life, it is evi-
dent that death stands in direct contrast to
life. This contrast is especially manifested in
two respects to the beholder. In life there
is motion, in death there is none; in life there
is word- or sign-language; that is, communi-
cation of thought; in death this is impossible.
Now, in these two elements of self-motion and
communication of thought resides the funda-
mental conception of human life. Self-mo-
tion shows an object to have life, and the
power of thought-expression indicates that
the life is human.

But it must be borne in mind that these in-
dications have reference to the beholder, and
not to the living being himself. We know

lo Studies in Eschatology.

very well, each one for himself, that there may
be thought without communication of it. You
look upon a sleeping person, and the only evi-
dence of life there to you is the breathing and
the blood-color. Yet you are assured that the
mind still exists and acts, because you have
risen from sleep with the consciousness of
thought exercised by your own mind. There-
fore you know that it is possible for the mind
to act, even though no evidence of such acting
could possibly be found by another person. In
other words, there may be a mind consciously
acting independently of any external evidence
of it, either in voice or eye or gesture.

We thus distinguish between the fact of life
and the motion of life which attests the fact to
another. This will appear more clearly by the
use of an illustration. A man may be so par-
alyzed that neither with hand nor with foot
could he make a gesture — not the slightest
movement in response to his will. Yet his
personality is just as clearly in existence as
ever, for he can converse as usual. But sud-
denly that paralysis might overtake the muscles
of his throat, and his voice would be hushed.
Still his life would be manifest through his

A Study of Death. 1 1

eyes. He could not convey all his thought and
feeling that way, it is true, but you would not
for a moment doubt that he still had as much
as ever. But suppose that his eyelids, too,
closed down with that paralysis : can that one
thing, which seems like death to you, any
more end the existence of that mind than
either of the preceding strokes? It is unrea-
sonable to suppose so.

What then is that which we term human
death? Simply the destruction of all the ex-
ternal evidences of the power of thought.
There is no reason to believe that that power
itself becomes extinct or ceases to act, but
rather every reason to believe otherwise. The
avenues of its communication with the material
world are simply closed; that is all. It re-
ceives no knowledge from it and can give none
to it. But it can work on within itself, just as
it does during sleep, or while in a trance.
Death is simply breaking the connection of
the mind with the outer world by the dissolu-
tion of this organism, the body, by which the
connection was made. The mind itself re-
mains, capable of its own essential processes.

But why must this connection be broken?

12 Studies in Eschatology.

Since our minds delight in taking knowledge
of and communicating with things apart from
themselves — as evidenced by our dread of
death — what unwelcome necessity makes the
separation inevitable? In brief, why must the
body wear out and be dissolved? Some have
thought that it was mortal from the first. Tiiey
point to the death of all plant life, and all ani-
mal life below man, and claim that he was
never meant to be an exception. But this view
does not harmonize with Gen. 2: 17: "In the
day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely
die" — unless the word "die" be taken to refer
only to spiritual death. That physical death is
included, however, is shown in the curse pro-
nounced upon Adam, "Till thou return unto the
ground ; for out of it wast thou taken : for
dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return."
We conclude from this that mortality began
to work in Adam and Eve from the very day
they sinned. And because it wrought in them
it continued to work in all their descendants,
and still continues. As Paul says, in Rom.
5:12, "Therefore, as through one man sin en-
tered into the world, and death through sin;
and so death passed unto all men, for that all

A Study of Death. 13

sinned." Our bodies go to the grave because
sin made them mortal. Had sin never been
fastened upon us, we should have been exempt
from death. How disease and accident and
wearing out would have been avoided we do
not know, and need not try to guess.

We have spoken of spiritual death. There
is such a thing, and it was undoubtedly also in
consequence of sin. But its real import is apt
to be much mistaken. Let us bear in mind that
physical death is simply the cessation of corre-
spondence between the mind and the material
world, by no means involving the annihilation
of the mind itself. Then must spiritual death
be simply the cessation of correspondence be-
tween that mind and the Spirit of God, but
again by no means involving the annihilation
of the mind. Hence a human being may go to
both physical and spiritual death at the same
time, and yet be as truly a personal, living
being as when he was in the flesh. He is as
far from annihilation, from ceasing to exist, as
ever he was. Eternity is before him as really
and consciously as if he were not spiritually

In striking confirmation of this view of

14 Studies in Eschatology.

death, as we take it, is the remarkable saying
of our Saviour on the occasion of His raising
the daughter of Jairus. You remember that
He rebuked the hired mourners by the state-
ment, 'The child is not dead, but sleepeth."
The skeptic now would fain have us believe that
the body was still alive, but those unbelievers
knew better than that. But not perceiving the
parabolic meaning, they laughed Jesus to scorn
for His declaration. And what was that hid-
den meaning? That the child was still a liv-
ing, personal, conscious being, though com-
munication through her body with the world
had ceased. And how did He prove it? By
calling to her as a person, ''Damsel !" and by
appealing to her conscious thought and mem-
ory, "Rise up." He treated her, in other words,
just as if she had been lying sleeping and He
wished to rouse her.

So also He did Lazarus, having used a simi-
lar expression in regard to his death. When
He said, "Lazarus!" He addressed a self-
conscious personality. When He cried "Come
forth," He appealed to that person's sense of
position, and his memory of muscular action,
and his will. All that was necessary was first

A Study of Death. 15

to stir the sleeping mind into full consciousness,
and then it was ready to act as it had always
acted when in the body.

Therefore death is a sleep in that the mind,
when no longer associated with the body, is
in that peculiar state of consciousness which
characterizes a dream. It is not clear, definite,
full, as it is in waking hours. But what it can
do in a dream it can do after death. There is
only this difference: that then it cannot re-
ceive knowledge from the outside world, for
the cable is cut. It is shut up to its own ac-
quired contents of memory to work upon.
And so it must remain until an Omnipotent
voice shall summon it back to its tenement and
put it once more in communication with the
world of objective realities.

And so our beloved dead would better be
termed our beloved sleepers. Those minds
which we have come into loving, pleasure-giv-
ing contact with are still acting. Verily, verily
they have not ceased to exist — they cannot
cease. They are but asleep, they dream.
What occupies their thoughts, their dreams,
must depend on what they thought of here in
the flesh. We, too, shall sleep and dream.

1 6 Studies in Eschatology.

Having begun to exist, we can never stop.
The power of thought is indestructible. Then
what shall be our attitude toward that which
we call death? If our theory is correct, a sin-
gle sentence will answer the question : what we
are ever afraid to think of here, we shall be
afraid to think of hereafter; if by the grace,
the mercy, and the blessing of God there is
nothing we are afraid to think of here, afraid
to take account of before conscience, we need
not dread the dreaming which inevitably
awaits us.

Let us then, in the words of the poet Bryant,

''So live, that zvJicn thy summons comes to

The innumerable caravan, that moves
To the pale realms of shade, zvhere each shall

His chamber in the silent halls of death,
Thou go not, like the quarry slave, at night
Scourged to his dungeon; but, sustained and

By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave,
Like one zvho wraps the drapery of his couch
About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams,"

Immortality. 17



" Who abolished death, and brought life

and immortality to light through the gospel."

— 2 Tim. I : 10.

It will be remembered that at the outset of
our study upon these subjects we found our-
selves confronted with these two questions :
I. Who will live after death? 2. What will
be the essential nature and the attendant con-
ditions of that existence? It was remarked
that in order to answer these questions we must
first have some definite understanding of what
death itself is. The conclusion arrived at was
that death is simply the breaking of the con-
nection between the mind and the outer world
by the dissolution of the body, by which that
connection was kept up; or, in other words,
death is simply the destruction of all the exter-
nal evidences of the power of thought. That
power itself, however, is indestructible and

1 8 Studies in Eschatology.

abides — though in a modified form apparently
resembling its activity during sleep.

It is of course evident that he who accepts
this definition of death stands already com-
mitted to a doctrine of immortality. But the
question is, What evidence is there that the
mind is indestructible? What is there in the
nature of the case which makes it reasonable to
assume that it abides after death, and unreason-
able to believe that it is annihilated ? Since the
Almighty permits the body to come to an end,
is not that an indication that the whole being
has served its end, and forever disappears?
Why should it not be with man as it is with the
lower orders of animals and w^ith plants, viz.,
that the genus, or race, alone is immortal, and
the individual is not ? In brief, what adequate
purpose can be found for believing that every
human intelligence ever created is imperish-
able, and must therefore forever continue to ex-
ist in some form or state?

We refer first of all to the almost, if -not al-
together, universal belief in immortality, the
world over and the ages through. Two strik-
ing examples of this as to time and place
must suffice here. In our own hemisphere and

Immortality. 19

for modern times take the North American
Indian. He placed upon the grave of his de-
parted friend the tools and utensils which were
supposed to be necessary for the dead brave's
comfort in the happy hunting-grounds of the
hereafter. Rude as was his conception, yet it
as definitely meant to him, as ours does to us,
that death does not end all. However indis-
tinct and incomplete was his idea of immortal-
ity, yet it was there. Hoiv did it get there f
Turn now to the opposite side of the earth
and to several thousand years ago, and, to em-
phasize the contrast, from modern savagery to
primitive civilization. The ancient Egyptian
did two most remarkable things : he built pyra-
mids, and he embalmed his dead. He looked
upon the seed in its progress from germination
to decay and then back to life again, and he
looked upon the cycle of the rise and fall of the
Nile; and he thought that everything must
have its cycle. And so he set the soul's cycle
at three thousand years, after which it will re-
turn to the body again. Therefore he prepared
that body for that event by embalming it to pre-
serve it from decay. As a further evidence of
his faith he built the pyramid to endure till that

20 Studies in Eschatology.

time, and which would thus serve also as a
special tomb for kings. Time has proved the
Egyptian's cycle incorrect, and yet the belief in
immortality still persists, and prevails every-
where. What gives it this persisting power?
To this question we shall join the preceding
one, How did this idea of immortality come to
be in even the savage mind, and consider the
two together. We know that we have a natu-
ral horror of being annihilated, a natural desire
to live on forever. The instances adduced
show this to be true of men of widely different
intelligence and widely separated localities.
Both this fact and our own consciousness go to
show that the idea and the desire of immortality
are native to the mind, and not simply imposed
upon it by training. Then shall we imagine
the mind to be self-deceived? Would a God
of love have created it so? Why should He
have implanted this desire for immortality if it
were destined not to be realized? Supposing
there were no existence after death, would it
not be to us a pitiful sight to see the poor sav-
age laying the utensils of his dead companion
on the grave for future use? And if pitiful to
vs, surely more so to the Divine Heart!

Immortality. 21

Would the most Merciful One thus have de-
luded the simple mind of the untutored sav-

In harmony with what we have been saying
are the words which Addison puts into the
mouth of Cato :

''// must be so, Plato, thou reasonest well! —
Else zvhence this pleasing hope, this fond

This longing after immortality f
Or zvhence this secret dread, and inzvard

Of falling into naught t Why shrinks the

Back on herself, and startles at destruction F
'Tis the divinity that stirs zvithin us,
'Tis heaven itself that points out an here-
And intimates eternity to man."

But this is by no means the only argument
for personal immortality. Another has its root
in the sense of incompletion which constantly
accompanies our life in its onward course.
Reason tells us that the human mind never

22 Studies in Eschatology.

reaches its full capacity in this life. Every
genuine thinker has at times a most tantaliz-
ing sense of things ahead for which somehow
he is not yet prepared and cannot grasp; and
the farther on his mental development pro-
ceeds, the more frequent and the more pressing
this sense becomes. Reason therefore de-
mands that the opportunity for further acquisi-
tion shall not cease as long as such a desire
continues. Reason asserts that it is contrary
both to the course of nature and the Divine
character to endow a being with capacities
never to be developed. Unless there is ex-
istence after death, it is evident that they never
will be.

To this idea James Freeman Clarke thus
gives expression : ''One of the most convincing
arguments for immortality is the undying ap-
petite of the soul for knowledge, love, progress.
As we approach the turn of life it never occurs
to us that it is time to fold our arms, close our
eyes, and bid farewell to nature, poetry, art,
friendship, business. . . . We build houses,
begin books, undertake operations, just as if we
were to live forever, which shows, I think, that
the sense of immortality destroys all sense of

Immortality. 23

death as we grow old." This is confirmed
by the words of the great poet Goethe. "To
me/' said he, "the eternal existence of my soul
is proved from my idea of activity. If Ij
work incessantly till my death, nature is bound
to give me another form of existence when the
present can no longer sustain my spirit."

Most beautiful, also, are the words of our
own Longfellow to the same effect: "All the
great and wise and good among mankind, all
the benefactors of the human race, whose
names I read in the world's history, and the
still greater number of those whose good deeds
have outlived their names — all those have
labored for me. I have entered into their har-
vest. I walk the green earth which they in-
habited. I tread in their footsteps, from which
blessings grow. I can undertake the sublime
task which they once undertook, the task of
making our common brotherhood wiser and
happier. I can build forward, where they were
forced to leave off; and bring nearer to per-
fection the great edifice which they left uncom-
pleted. And at length I, too, must leave it,
and go hence. Oh, this is the sublimest
thought of all ! I can never finish the noble

24 Studies in Eschatology.

task; therefore, so sure as this task is my des-
tiny, I can never cease to work, and conse-
quently never cease to be. What men call
death cannot break off this task which is never-

A still more potent argimient in favor of
personal immortality has to do with the fact
that perfect justice is not meted out in this
life. And at this point we turn to distinctively
Bible teaching on this great subject. To any
observant student of the Book it is evident
that its WTiters treat of immortality almost ex-
clusively from this point of view. Jesus' par-
able of the rich man and Lazarus fairly illus-
trates the prevailing tendency. According to
the teaching involved in it, rewards and pun-
ishments, at least in their completeness, do not
pertain to this life, but to the hereafter. And
certainly to this corresponds our own obser-
vation. The good often suffer — nay, we are
taught to expect it : the wicked are frequently
left to prosper. Death brings no redress, for
it levels both alike.

God's righteous government is therefore
left unjustified and under suspicion, unless
hereafter there is opportunity and promise of

Immortality. 25

vindication. This can only take place in case
present intelligences are so continued that they
will be conscious of the difference between their
state then and what it had been on earth.
Hence, in order that the Divine government
be accepted by us now as just and equitable, it
seems absolutely necessary to keep before the
mind a future world whose distinctive features
morally are recompense on the one hand and
retribution on the other. Otherwise, what in-
centive is there for us to live righteously in this
age? Only by belying his own consciousness
can any one assert his belief in adequate re-
ward and punishment on this side of the grave.
As before suggested, our Lord's teaching is
to a marked extent along this line. It was
through that teaching, as Paul informs us, that
Christ "brought life and immortality to light."
Before His day immortality was but an obscure
hope, a thing guessed at. rather than definitely
believed in. It was as if a blind man had felt
it — it was real, but its form could not be ascer-
tained. Under the Saviour's enlightening in-
fluence, however, personal, conscious immor-
tality stood revealed ; revealed in His argument
concerning the God of Abraham, Isaac and

26 Studies in Eschatology.

Jacob ; revealed in His meeting with Moses and
Elijah ; revealed in the dead He restored to life,
and revealed finally and fully in His own res-
urrection from the dead. He abolished death,
in that He abolished the power of death, and
He abolished its power by proving that it
does not end all ; that the mind of man, or his
soul, if you please, is immortal.

As the result of this inquiry — all too im-
perfect and fragmentary — we are prepared to
answer the first of our two questions. Who
will live after death? All who have ever lived
at all, everybody. We have no room for the
theory of conditional immortality; that is, of
future existence only for the good. It is op-
posed by each of the arguments we have ad-
vanced, and by others which might be given.
It is true that only the righteous shall inherit
eternal life; but eternal life means vastly more
than mere continued and unending existence.
The soul is one thing, and its inheritance, or
possessions, is a different, a separate thing.
Of the latter it shall be in order to speak later
on. We close our study for the present by
asserting that history, science and religion unite
in proclaiming the essential immortality of the
human soul.

The Intermediate State. 27



"But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed
that they beheld a spirit." — Lxike 24:37.

"Then said the woman, Whom shall I brine up unto
thee? And he said, Bring me up Samuel. . . .
And Samuel said to Saul, Why hast thou disquieted
me, to bring me up? " — i Sam. 28: 11, 15.

Let it be recalled again that at the outset of
this inquiry into existence hereafter two ques-
tions were presented for answer : i . Who will
live after death ? 2. What will be the essential
nature and the attendant conditions of that ex-
istence? Assuming that death is simply the

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Online LibraryUlysses S BartzStudies in eschatology, or, Existence after death → online text (page 1 of 5)