The Future State -- By: James M. Hoppin

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 015:58 (Apr 1858)
Article: The Future State
Author: James M. Hoppin


The Future State1

Rev. James M. Hoppin

The revelation of a future state is given us in such a form as to be purely practical. It is to quell the sin and establish the faith of the soul. The 15th chapter of the 1st of Corinthians, that rich and wonderful leaf of inspiration concerning a future existence, is simply for this, that we may continue “steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord.” The whole is a divinely urged argument for the faithful service of God in this life. Its business

is not to show heaven, but to bring to heaven. Like a glass that gathers the rays of heaven into one focus, it points and pours “the powers of the world to come “on the conscience and heart. They are powers, because they influence and hold us even in the world that now is. There is no theory in the word of God. Man theorizes, but God furnishes original truth. Man has a free and in one sense prophetic spirit. He has in him a basis of command over worlds that he does not see. From materials which he has, he throws out bridges and structures of thought over into that invisible region which he does not possess. He is not shut up in what he knows, but is allowed to go on into what he may know. He must philosophize, or deny his reason. From the nature of the mind, he is inly urged to complete the utmost circle of his knowledge, to follow truth back to its absolute cause, and out to its possible result. He may thus reverently theorize upon what is revealed of the future state, just as he does upon the nature of God and the principles of his moral government. But theory cannot add to revealed truth itself; even as science cannot add to the revelation of God’s truth in nature. We may have “physical theories of a future life,” but not new truths of a future life The doctrine of the resurrection of the body may be philosophically studied, and the sublime fact may be relatively harmonized with all physical and psychological truth; but no new truth can be ingrafted upon the fact itself, or its circumstances, or the state of the raised body, or the reasons of its resurrection. Here is the falseness of Swedenborg’s manifestation of a future state. It gives new facts. It is not a philosophy, but a revelation. It paints the architecture of heaven and hell, and lets us gaze into and scrutinize the apartments of glory and shame. The revelator says: “I can sacredly and solemnly declare, that the Lord Himself has been seen of me, and that He has sent me to do what I do, and for such purpose has opened the interior part of my soul, which is my spirit, so that I can see what is in the spiritual world, and those that are therein.”You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
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