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HOW HE CAME TO SEE IT
Some years ago a dear friend of mine in Yorkshire wrote to me, saying he heard I had taken hold of some strange views regarding the doom of the finally impenitent, and he would like to know what these were. I replied that it was quite true that my mind had been changed on this sad subject. I no longer believed in the eternity of future torment, but held that the wicked would be cut off everlastingly after the Judgment of the Great Day.* I said that this light that had broken out upon me from God’s Word had made our Father in Heaven dearer to me than ever, and the Bible a clearer book than it had been before.
*The Millennial Day.—ED.
My friend immediately answered that he was satisfied with the Orthodox belief upon the matter, and he was sure I ought to be. In order to win me back to the old path he would like to have a debate with me by correspondence. And as I much appreciated his candour, kindness and Biblical knowledge, I at once asked him to begin the discussion by proving from the Bible the natural immortality of man. This would be the right course, I said, as he was going to take the side of Orthodoxy, and that affirmed that all men live forever.
In a day or so a note came, informing me that my proposal was accepted; that there were many passages in God’s word which stated man was an immortal being, and that he would prepare a list of them for me. I knew full well that he could not produce such a list; however, waited patiently to see what he would further say.
About a fortnight after I received a letter inviting me very urgently to go and see my friend, for he found himself in dreadful difficulty regarding the task he had thus undertaken. Being able to arrange it soon, I paid the requested visit; and never shall I forget his look when he said that, to his amazement, he could not find a single verse in all the Book which declared man to be immortal: on the contrary, in his search many turned up which taught the mortal nature of mankind.
He further said that the few passages which at all gave plausibility to the ordinary view of future punishment appeared now most unsatisfactory to him: and a little further conversation revealed to me the fact that he already had received the truth of Immortality in Christ alone.
HOW HAD HE COME TO SEE IT?
Simply by searching the Scripture on the subject. “These,” said Jesus, “testify of Me.” My friend had gone to them with the theory that he had received from the instructors of his childhood, and had searched for it in vain. Throwing all prejudice then overboard he had sought for Truth, and was rewarded. He was by the truth made free from former error. G. P. MACKAY.
— October, 1884 —