"The Lamb that Hath Been Slain From the Foundation of the World."

By the Reverend Jesse L. Fonda,

Providence, Ill.


Moral results are the final results in the universe.—Redemption is the evolution of moral character in the race.—This of necessity involves an experience and growth.—Mistakes at the first are inevitable.—Everything has to be tested, only so can the good be found.—Jesus brought the full development of the means for effecting this moral character.—At the last stage of things man's character will be so firmly established that a lapse will be morally impossible.

This verse indicates that the moral work for the race parallels the material; taking into account considerations developed since creation, we can claim that moral results were the final ones sought in making the world and the race. Then we may think that the moral planning was the first that was done. To create a physical world with its elements, verdure, animals and man, is really grand; but the creation of moral character in a race is infinitely grander and more worthy a spiritual creator.

We cannot think that it comports with divine wisdom to fore-ordain or predestinate a race to sin, and then by a superior skill in atonement save it; neither that the infinite mind should be surprised by a " fall " and institute an impromptu redemption to restore the fallen. But, by a well-conceived plan to create a race, and then to produce moral character in it by means adapted to the end, is truly dignified and worthy of deific thought.

The idea of evolution is so comprehensive that it can well be applied to this work: that redemption is simply the evolution of moral character in the race. One has also said that " redemption is creation ", which expresses the idea to be brought out.

Speaking modestly and reverently, we think that it was impossible for God to create a race with moral character right out of hand. A father can buy for his boy a whole library of scientific works, but cannot give him knowledge; he can provide him with a chest of tools, but not with skill to use them. These come by individual effort, choice and purpose. So with moral character: the Creator can endow a race with all spiritual powers necessary, but the being himself must gain the skill in using them. Moral character, in this view, is simply skill in moral perception and choosing; experience in discerning good as opposed to evil, and in choosing the good and rejecting the evil.

The first ones of the race were perfectly innocent in the garden. They had a knowledge of God, some simple commands, but no experience with the opposite and no decided choice of good and God for reasons of their own origination. The insinuating tempter came to them with a very plausible plea casting doubt upon the commands that they were under, and they did not know of their own proving but what his statements were true. So they disobeyed, ate, and were driven, much to their surprise, out of the garden. The fact of their ignorance did not affect their responsibility; it was a misfortune, but unavoidable, for they must learn of themselves, from their own individual experience, to hold to God and his commands in spite of every enticing promise that can be made. They had the power to resist, but the knowledge and deeply laid preference, on their own responsibility, they did not have. So they were driven out, and the training of the race to produce moral character began.

Without going into details, men as a race have tried almost everything in life and have proved it of themselves to be either right or wrong. They began with the grossness of the antediluvians, then tested the orgies of the Babylonians, the culture of the Greeks, the law and legions of the Romans, the militairism of Napoleon, and the wealth of today. It is the same lesson, to learn by experience whether they are good or not. The good, righteousness, truthfulness, benevolence, have not been tried thoroughly by the world as a whole, but these moral traits are fast coming to the front.

The Jewish nation in its inception was to prove the safety and value of following the true God as opposed to Baal and Moloch. They made sorry work of it, and not until the captivity did they fully prove the truth in it. Then Pharisaism sprang up; and it has been proved that that is not good, and the race as a whole is against it although not entirely free from it.

We think that this American nation had a mission in civil and religious liberty, to prove beyond a doubt that such liberty is best for the world.

When Jesus came, there was the full development of the means for producing this moral character-; this moral creation of the race had reached a definite stage. His coming, as a whole, showed more fully God's redemptive or creative purpose; His teachings filled the minds of men with divine truths about character, necessary to character; his death revealed the height and depth of the infinite sincerity of the Father in the matter, and the outpouring of the day of Pentecost fully invested the race with the spiritual powers necessary for the complete work. This Gospel did not do the work for man, but dwelt in him, helping him to do it. Jesus is the model, and the Spirit uses Him in His work on the race. He takes the things of Christ and shows them unto us; He is "formed within, the hope of glory," that is, the exalted character; we are to "put on the Lord Jesus"; "to be found in Him, not having any righteousness of our own"; for us "to live in Christ." All are to be brought to Him as the model and standard.

When the last things shall come to pass, all works shall have been judged, death and hades cast into the lake of fire, the great red dragon bound and cast into the abyss, then all rule and authority other than God's will be abolished, God will receive the kingdom and be all in all, and the race, the saints, presented, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, before the throne of his glory with exceeding joy. The Savior shall receive all praise, glory and honor, for he was slain and has redeemed us and made us kings and priests unto God and his Father. The human race then will have demonstrated beyond all possibility of a doubt that God's good is true, and all evil is false. Man's moral character will have become so settled and firm that no temptation which could be devised could turn it aside or draw its notice in the least. Men can then be trusted for all eternity with any message or work that the kingdom may need and it will surely be accomplished. God shall lead them by fountains of living waters, and they shall be sons worthy of the Infinite Father and his great loving heart.

This makes a complete plan, worthy of the dignity of the highest moral being that we can conceive, worthy of the counsels of eternity, and of "the Lamb that hath been slain from the foundation of the world."