Mr. Editor: A disease known as putrid sore throat, or Diptheria, has visited our section during the past winter, and, like a destroying angel, hovered over our habitation. My youngest three children - one a boy of ten years, the others, girls, aged 12 and 8 years respectively - were, within the space of one month, taken away from this, as we trust, to the upper and better world.
JOHN S. HOBBIE.
P.S. - You are aware there has been great controversy about the state of the dead; will you, as soon as you have the opportunity, please give your views as to the consciousness of the dead.
Reply: Modern Spiritualism has made a great stir in the world within a few past years, and, like many other gross absurdities, made a fierce blaze, and died. We have regarded the pretensions of its advocates as too absurd and infidel to require from us a serious notice. It has pretended to demonstrate, by mystic raps and other mediums, that the dead are not only conscious, but ready to hold an active correspondence with the living. It is sufficient for christians to know that their pretensions are all in the face of all divine revelation contained in the scriptures. One thing we conclude must be self-evident - that which is conscious is not dead - cannot be dead, for consciousnes is life. But in death, what is it that dies? - not the soul, nor the immortal spirit that is born of God. The dust returns to dust, and that is quite as unconscious as any other dust of the earth. But not so with the spirit; that returns to God who gave it. And whether it be the saint or the unregenerate, we have no idea that anything but the body becomes unconscious. At all events, we know that the life given to the saints in the new birth is immortal life; it therefore cannot die, nor do we believe it can become unconscious. “And whosoever liveth and believeth in me, shall never die. Believest thou this?” - John xi. 26. The dying thief received the gracious assurance that he should be on that same day with Christ in paradise; which certainly is not an unconscious, but a state of conscious happiness. His tortured body would remain upon the cross and there become unconscious; but that spirit of immortality which was given him in Christ, should be transported to the paradise of God. The spirits of the justified are perfected in happiness, and clothed with their house which is from heaven; while their earthly bodies moulder unconsciously in the graves, until their final resurrection; then, but not till then, shall they be changed, fashioned, and made like the glorious body of their risen and ascended Redeemer. Their mortal shall put on immortality - their corruptible shall put on incorruption, and death shall be swallowed up in victory. The heathenish notion entertained by many of the fanatics of the present time that departed spirits are conscious of what is transpiring on the earth, watching their kindred and old acquaintances who survive them, has no foundation in truth. If such were the case, heaven itself would fail to afford perfect happiness or contentment to the glorified spirits of the redeemed. But there the wicked cease from troubling and there the weary are at rest. There, like David, they behold the face of their God in righteousness; there are they satisfied, when they awake, with his likeness. - Psa. Xvii. 15.
Until we depart hence, we have no possible way of knowing anything of the state of the departed, only what God has been pleased to reveal to us in his word and by his Spirit. If it were for our good or God’s glory, he would have given us more knowledge of the subject. But as it is, it becomes us to “Be still and know that the Lord is God, and submit the whole to him, having the assurance that Justice and Judgment are the habitation of his throne. Righteousness and Truth go before his face.” It is enough to know -
“My flesh shall slumber in the ground
Till the last trumpet’s joyful sound
Then burst her chains in sweet surprise,
And in my Savior’s image rise.”
April 15, 1861.
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 4
Pages 487 - 489