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righteousness, temperance, and a judgment to come,
Felix trembled."-We have already seen that a belief
in a future judgment prevailed generally in the days of
Christ and his apostles. Felix probably believed in that
sentiment, though. like most men in power, he thought
but little upon religious subjects. Or at least, he must
have heard of the doctrine, and on hearing Paul treat
upon that subject, the principle of fear was excited.
Upon this passage Mr. Loveland remarks,* «The apos-
tle's reasoning upon righteousness, and temperance, in
connexion with a judgment to come, set home to
Felix's mind a strong conviction for his iniquity, and
powerfully portrayed to his view, the unhappy and last-
ing consequences of a wicked life. Is it not reasonable
to conclude that the cause of Felix's trembling was his
hearing the doctrine of righteousness and temperance
clearly explained, and the practice more powerfully en
forced ; and in addition to this, a future judgment and
consequent punishment for wickedness, more certain
and more terrible than he was accustomed to hear? Can
it be rationally accounted for on any other considera-
tion ? On the other hand, bad St. Paul reasoned on these
subjects as many of our preachers now do, would Felix or
any other man like him, be likely to tremble? Had Felix
totally disbelieved the doctrine of future punishment, and
St. Paul had reasoned against it, what could have made
him tremble : Had Felix believed the doctrine of future
punishment, and Paul had reasoned contrary to his
views, his attention would have been called to less pun-
ishment than he believed, of course no one could sup
pose that in that case, he would have trembled. Hence
it is perceived, that the text cannot but have a strong
bearing in favor of future punishment from this consid-
eration."
Your remark upon the passage, is, that it gives no

* Christian Repository, Vol. IV. p. 132.

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intimation that the judgment is in a future state.* It is true, the passage itself does not expressly mention a future state, neither does it mention the present state ; it is equally silent upon both. But the expression, judgment to come, or future judgment, seems to carry the mind into a future state, much more naturally than to confine it to this. And we have seen that a rational account can be given of Felix's trembling, by applying

to come.

the passage to a future state ; but if the passage be in applied to this world, we can give no probable cause of his

trembling. Neither can you, on your system, make any tolerable sense of the passage. Paul spoke of a judgment

But on your exposition, the phrase, to come, is N totally senseless. Why did the apostle use the expres

sion, to come, unless the event was future : But on your scheme, the judgment is as much past as fature. Men, after St. Paul made this declaration, received only their just desert, and this, according to your views, is what they have always experienced. Paul, therefore, had he believed with you, might have reasoned of a past or present judgment, with as much propriety as of a

Suppose then Paul had reasoned of a present judgment, instead of Felix's trembling, he would probably have regarded it as an insult, and told the apostle that he knew his own feelings, as well as any other person knew them. To pretend, as you probably will, that this judgment was then future, but still in the present world, is in fact renouncing your system. For

if Felix stood exposed to some signal judgment, for the 11 crimes of which he had been guilty, then he was not ta sufficiently punished for his sins as he passed along ;

and this being the case, it argues the need of a future judgment.

Another passage in point is Acts xvii. 30, 31. "And the times of this ignorance, God winked at, but now

* Reply to Merritt, p. 18.

future one.

11

commandeth all men every where to repent; because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness, by that man whom he hath ordained, whereof he hath given assurance unto all, in that he hath raised him from the dead.” On this passage I shall adopt the remarks of my worthy friend.*

1. "If the punishment of sin is always immediately and inseparably connected with the act, we know not how God winked at the "times of ignorance," any more than under the dispensation in which the light of the gospel shone.

2. God's appointing a day to judge the world, denotes some particular period. Did it denote any day whatever, it could not be an appointed day.

3. It being an appointed day to judge the world, the judgment must of course naturally follow the works of the world, for which it is to be judged.

4. God's calling all men every where to repent, is enforced from the consideration that all men are to be judged in the day which God has appointed.

5. If the day which God has appointed, denotes some specified period, and not any time whatever, and was in the apostolic age, then the text does not call upon

those of after ages to repent, from the consideration that there will be a judgment; because the judgment is already past.

6. But if the judgment is some particular period, and all the world are to be judged, it will follow that that day of judgment is in future life.”

To avoid the force of this passage, you labor to show that the word, judge, signifies to rule. But if this should be granted, it would be nothing to your purpose. For the very idea of ruling, supposes a law, and a law supposes a penalty, which will be inflicted in case of transgression. So that your assertion, there is nothing

* See Christian Repository, Vol. IV. p. 133.

said of condemning any,* is entirely futile. But let us look for a moment to the consistency of your exposition. You apply the passage to what you call the gospel day in this state, and explain it to mean that Christ will rule the world by his gospel. But you say, there is nothing said of condemning any, that is, no one will be punished

in this world! Thus would you argue all punishment, · both present and future, out of existence. So that if

your remarks have any weight in this case, they oppose your views as much as they do mine.

Hebrews ix. 27, 28, next claims our attention. “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment; so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him, shall he appear the second time, without sin unto salvation.” This passage asserts in the plainest manner that the judgment is after death. And the apostle's mentioning

a truth of notoriety, shows that it was then an et acknowledged doctrine. The view I have given of the

text is natural and easy ; it is the most obvious sense of the passage. The scriptures being given for the benefit of mankind at large, the majority of whom are far from being critics, that interpretation which most naturally presents itself to the unbiassed mind, is generally preferable to that interpretation which is forced upon a passage to make it harmonize with a preconceived opinion. The exposition you give of the passage is so farfetched and unnatural, that I presume that not one in a hundred would ever have hit upon it; and it would be casting a reproach upon the Deity, to say that he has given us a revelation which would mislead ninety-nine hundredths of his children. Your interpretation of the passage is this ;--As the high priest under the law died in his sacrifice; so Christ once died. That the reader may see how far your exposition differs from the text, I

Reply to Merritt, p. 16.

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will subjoin the passage, and place your exposition directly under it in italics. “And as it is appointed unto men And as it is appointed unto men, who are high priests, "once to die;

to die figuratively in their sacrifices; “but after this the judgment; so Christ was once, &c. but after this, justification ; 80 Christ was once, &c.

By the above it will be seen that you both add to, and take from the passage. You leave out the emphatic word, once, and add the clauses, who are high priests, and fig. uratively in their sacrifices. You also substitute the word justification, for that of judgment. But is not this taking undue latitude in explaining the word of God ? Grant me such latitude, and I can make the scriptures teach whatever I please.

But you attempt to justify your exposition by the connexion. You say, "Writing to the Hebrews, the apostle very prudently endeavored to lead their minds into the true knowledge of Christ by using the rites of the law dispensation, to which they were religiously attached, to represent Jesus and his ministry of reconciliation."* This statement, though true in the main, is not fully correct; or, does not embrace the whole truth. The apostle alluded to the law dispensation, but this is not all; he frequently called their attention to events which made no part of that dispensation. It was the design of the apostle to recommend the gospel to his brethren, by showing them that it was quite similar to something which they already believed. That the apostle did not confine himself to the writes of the law dispensation," appears by his referring to Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Melchisedec, &c.t persons who existed long before the giving of the law. The apostle not only compares Christ and his gospel with persons and events prior to the giving of the law, but in this very epistle, he

* Sermon on Heb. ix. 27, 28. 7- Chaps. V. vi. xi.

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