New Testament as authentic and true, no further demonstration is needed." And yet a little further on this important position is very materially qualified. The Bishop points out that the Scriptural presentation of the doctrine of immortality is neither made prominent nor emphatic, and, notwithstanding "its profound and solemn interest," he gives reasons why it was best to leave it meager and obscure. He uses the following language: "The light that is thrown upon the next stage of existence in the Scriptures is designedly somewhat general and limited. All the direct information on the subject which they give could be condensed into a very small space. The eschatology of the Old Testament could all be written on a single page, and very much in the New Testament which has been supposed to relate to the subject is now referred to the setting up of the kingdom of truth and righteousness here on earth. 'The kingdom to come' in many cases means simply the kingdom of Christ among men. Revelation was not intended to gratify our curiosity, and it would not be well to make the veil which hangs between us and the future too translucent. Our work is here, and, if that work is properly done, we can afford to wait until an actual entrance into the next world reveals its mysteries. The time is not most properly employed which is spent in speculating about these mysteries."
This is rational and encouraging, and a wide departure from the traditions; for theology has always maintained that the universe is insufficient for man, even during the short time that he occupies it; and that the knowledge of his immortal future is a thousandfold more momentous to man than all he can learn about the present world. In liberal contrast to this, the Bishop now assures us that the teachings of revelation upon this subject are general and limited; that it was not intended merely to gratify our curiosity; that it would not be well to remove the veil that hides the distant future; that our work is here; that we can afford to wait; and that speculation about those mysteries is not the most profitable.
But, having indulged in this little episode of common sense, the Bishop seems to have remembered where he was, and quickly tacked back into the middle current of the Monday lectureship. There is no more talk of unprofitable speculations, and veils not to be rent. The secret of this transcendental mystery of spiritual existence must be plucked out, and it must agree with the calculations about it, or life is a cheat and all nature an empty mockery! This view is enforced with rhetorical emphasis in the following spirited passage: