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shall suffer, because no such punishment is threatened in the law, or in any part of the Scriptures."*
Can you indeed prove that the Scriptures no where threaten the condemned with punishments less than their demerits? Then you can prove. what is nothing to the purpose. For you must prove their punishments to be equal to their demerits.
The righteous and the wicked will be rewarded, we are told, according to their works.' The Bible employs no expression more definite than this, to denote the proportion between this reward, and the merit of the works. But surely the works of the righteous do not merit the delights of Paradise. For they are commanded, when they have done all,' to say, We are unprofitable servants; we have done no more than it was our duty to do.' • All have sinned,' says the apostle of the Gentiles, and come short of the glory of God.' • Where, then,' he exclaims, is boasting! It is excluded.' • For by grace are ye saved'—not of works, lest any man should boast.' Yet the. righteous, notwithstanding their great unworthiness, have the promise of joys which eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man to conceive. We perceive, therefore, that a man may be rewarded • according to his works,' and yet receive much more than he is entitled to by his merits.
* It is assumed, in this objection, that the threatenings of the Scriptures extend to the eternal world. We meet our antagonists. upon their own ground,
For the very same reason, therefore, that the reward of the righteous will be greater than they deserve; we conclude that the punishment of the condemned will be less than they deserve.
Since, then, there is no evidence, that those who are called the damned, will receive the full desert of their works, but rather to the contrary, we deny that there is any foundation for this objection.
Prove that the works of the righteous merit heavenly bliss : and then will we shew you, by other arguments, how the condemned may nevertheless obtain gospel salvation.
Certainly, the good man, whose heaven-illumined eye, reflects the beams of divine love, on the blemishes of his friends, is no less indulgent to his enemies. What, then, must be the expression of that Eye, which dwells in light unapproachable, and full of glory?' beaming, from age to age, a flood of joy throughout immensity ? compared with which, its brightest image is but the eye of the basilisk, whose most propitious ray darts instant death?
6. At the end of the world, there will be a fixed, unalterable state : and after that, there can be no passing from hell to heaven.' And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of this book : for the time is at hand. He that is unjust, let him be unjust still : and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still : and he that is holy, let him be holy still. And behold I come quickly ; and my reward is with me to give to every man according as his work shall be. Rev. xxii. 10
12. The last words determine the text to refer to the general judgment: for a period ages of ages after the general judgment, cannot be said to come quickly, and to be at hand.”
First. We shall here admit, with our opponents, that the words, . he that is filthy, let him be filthy still, and he which is unjust, let him be unjust still,' refer to what they call the general judgment. But
Secondly. It is affirmed, in the present objection, that they who are filthy, and unjust, at the general judgment, will remain unalterably, and for ever, in that state. To refute this opinion, we shall first present the reader with a few extracts from the prophet Hosea.
• Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself, but in me is thine help.' Ephraim is joined unto his idols : let him alone. I will be unto Ephraim as a lion: I will tear and go away, and none shall rescue him.' • Ephraim provoked him to anger most bitterly: therefore shall his blood be upon him: and his reproach shall his Lord return unto him.' • How shall I give thee up, Ephraim?' • I will not execute the fierceness of mine anger, I will not return to destroy Ephraim ; for I am God, and not man; the holy One in the midst of thee.' • Ephraim shall say, What have I more to do with idols 2
Thirdly. We may here notice a regular gradation, between the filthy, the unjust, the righteous, and the holy. To show that this gradation is not merely fanciful, the Jewish Doctors might be quoted : but the authority of St. Paul is sufficient. For scarcely,' says he, for a righteous
man will one die; yet peradventure for a good man, some would even dare to die.' Rom. v.7. The good man is not merely righteous, not merely free from sin; he has positive goodness, he is holy. We expect to go from strength to strength, from glory to glory, till the perfect day. But, our Lord having said, “The time is at hand, how righteous soever you, our opponents, may be, your scheme precludes all possibility of holiness, unless you attain it quickly. For since you affirm, that the day of judgment will introduce • a fixed, unalterable state'-should you be numbered among those of whom the Lord will say, “he that is righteous, let him be righteous still-certainly, you must forever despair of any thing superior to mere barren, negative, unprofitable goodness.
Lastly. Our opponents inform us, that a period ages of ages after the general judgment, cannot be said to come quickly, and be at hand. A concession and discovery so new and important, especially from the righteous, is invaluable. we affirm, by the same rule, that the termination of our Saviour's kingdom could not be said to be at hand, when he declared to St. John, behold I come quickly. For not one hundred years before our Lord said this, the angel Gabriel had announced, that Christ should reign over the house of Jacob for ever,' and that of his kingdom' there should be no end? Consequently, Jesus Christ will not deliver up his kingdom at the time which he said would come quickly, and which he affirmed to be at hand. On the contrary, it is plain that our Saviour's kingdom must endure for ages after this event.
But we have the testimony of Paul, as we have already seen, to prove, that Christ will deliver up
the kingdom, when he has destroyed the last enemy, Death. Our opponents must also unavoidably admit, (unless they abandon their own principles,) that after the day of judgment nothing can remain that the Scriptures call Death, but the sin and misery of the condemned. Since, therefore, Death will not be destroyed for ages after the day of judgment, and yet the only Death that can remain after that day, is the sin and misery of the condemned; the conclusion is inevi. table, that all guilt and pain will expire with this Jast Enemy. Once more, therefore, we inquire, how there can be a fixed, unalterable state, till the full arrival of that period, when shall come to pass that triumphant saying, Death is swallowed up in victory!'
• I will ransom them from the power of the grave: I will redeem them from Death : 0 Death, I will be thy plagues : O Grave, I will be thy destruction.'
Behold the full, the glorious, the unavoidable result! The last, tremendous Foe, shall feel the mortal wound; the arrow of the Lord of life shall drink up his spirit; Sin will expire; Pain be found no more ; every tear, be wiped from every eye ; and Death himself, be swallowed up, in the glorious conquest, of immortal life, and universal joy.
• Then shall come to pass that triumphant saying, Death is swallowed up in victory !•O Grave! where is thy victory! O Death! where is thy sting!