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yond the present, because it is placed in opposition to the earth. Neither is there so great security in any blessing in this world, as is expressed in this text. Now as Christ has commanded us to lay up treasures in a future state of being, it follows that we can do something here to effect our happiness hereafter. To deny this, is absurdly to admit that Christ is a hard master, and requires impossibilities. Again, says the divine Teacher, “Rejoice, and be exceeding glad; for great is your reward in heaven.” Matt. v. 12. This passage asserts that some shall have a great reward in heaven, and as heaven is placed in opposition to a state, which admits of persecution, it must be beyond the confines of this world. Christ expresses the same when he says,
«Thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.” Luke xiv. 14. We have already seen in a preceding Letter, that the resurrection here spoken of, was literal. Hence this reward will be conferred at the resurrection of the dead. Paul to the Corinthians recognizes a future reward. “Know ye not,” says he, "that they which run in a race, run all, but one receiveth the prize ? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery, is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.” 1 Cor. ix. 24, 25. From this passage it will be seen that the apostle and primitive Christians ran to obtain an incorruptible crown. This was their reward, as much as the corruptible crown was the reward of those who arrived first at the goal in a literal race. And as you will not pretend that this incorruptible crown is granted in this world, this passage is clear in proof of a future reward. It is further evident that the apastle Paul looked forward to a future state for a reward, froin what he has said elsewhere. "I am now ready to be offered," says he, "and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my
course, I have kept the faith ; henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but to all them also that love his appearing." 2 Tim. iv. 6, 7, 8. Upon this passage, we remark, 1. Virtue cannot be fully rewarded in the act, for the apostle had performed many acts of virtue-“had finished his course," but his reward was then future. His labors were already accomplished, but his reward was yet to come. 2. The apostle fixes the time when he should receive this glorious reward. He first states that the time of his departure is at hand, and then says that the reward will be given him at that day, at the time of his departure. This reward will, according to the sense of the passage, be after death; and you will not pretend that a crown of immortality and glory is given in this world. 3. It appears that this glorious crown is given as a reward ; for the apostle speaks of its being granted in consequence of his faithfulness. He also says that it will be granted to all others who love his appearing. This shows that the crown is granted as a reward for virtue performed in this state. 4. This passage not only teaches us that the virtuous shall receive this reward, but also that the wicked shall not. When Paul says, that this crown of righteousness will be given to those who love Christ's appearing, he implies that it will not be given to those who do not love his appearing.
St. Paul to Timothy teaches a future reward in the clearest manner. "Bodily exercise," says he, "profiteth little ; but godliness is profitable unto all things; having the promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.”
1 Tim. iv. 8. This passage is too clear to need comment. Our Savior expresses it all when he says, “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” Rev. ii. 10. From the passages introduced in this Letter, and these are only a specimen, it
evidently appears, that a future reward for the righteous is a doctrine of the New Testament. We have seen that Christ was esalted to his Father's throne in a future state, as a reward for his labors and suffering in this. We have also seen that Christ promised to reward his faithful followers in the same manner; he promised them a throne, and eterual life in the world to come commanded them to lay up treasures in heaven and said that they should be rewarded in heaven, and recompen sed at the resurrection of the just. We bave had the assurance of St. Paul, that the faithful looked for a crown of righteousness, and ran for an incorruptible crown-in a word, that godliness has the promise of the life which is to come. And finally, we have seen that the faithful and true Witness assures us, that if we are faithful unto death, he will give us à crown of life. These passages incontrovertibly prove that the reward of the righteous will be extended into a future state.
I am aware however, that you meet these passages, or several of them, by saying, that the blessings mentioned are said to be given, and if they are gifts, they cannot be considered as a reward. I shall not attempt to answer this objection at large, but shall content myself with two remarks. 1. The fact that they are said to be given, does not oppose the idea of their being a reward ; for they may be given as such. To give, or grant a reward, is no solecism. 2. The blessings which the righteous enjoy in this world, are said to be gifts, and if this destroys the idea of their being a reward, then we must conclude, that they are not rewarded at all; which is repugnant to the scriptures, and your system also. So this objection can have no weight. A future reward then, is substantially proved. Now a future reward is only a counterpart of a future punishment. And all the passages which inform us that the righteous will be rewarded in another state, virtually tell us, that the wicked shall not enjoy that blessing; and this is saying, that they shall be miserable. This remark will accord with your own sentiment, for you acknowledge that the scriptures every where hold forth the idea that vice will be punished as long as virtue is rewarded. Your words are these-"On the other hand, he, (meaning yourself,) does not believe that the wrongs a man may be guilty of, cán justly be punished to a greater extent, than his welldoing can be rewarded. No reason is seen for extending the punishinent of a man's wickedness, beyond the rewards of his righteousness. It is moreover believed that the scriptures every where justify this view of the subject."* In this passage you admit that vice will be punished as long as virtue is rewarded. Now as we have already seen that virtue will be rewarded in a future state, we are authorized by scripture, by the nature of the case, and by your own confession, to conelude that punishment will be extended beyond death likevise.
Another argument in favor of a future retribution, is drawn from the common consent of mankind. It is a fact substantiated by history, that the doctrine of a fature retribution has generally prevailed in all ages and nations. The ancient covenant people, the Jews, believed this doctrine; and all the heathen nations, of whose opinions the world has any knowledge, entertain the same views. In proof of this, I will refer to author. ities mentioned in a former letter. This then, is a fact, which no person of information will deny, viz. That a future retribution is a doctrine which has prevailed generally in all ages of the world. It does not weaken this argument to say, that many of the heathen believed in the transmigration of souls. For this is virtually a future retribution; as it supposes that men are not suffi. ciently punished in the act of transgression, and so it becomes necessary, that the soul at death should pass
* Reply to Merritt, pp. 8, 9.
into some other animal, in which it will receive a just retribution for its past iniquity. Transmigration is, in reality, a future punishment. If the soul of a sinner passes at death into any other animal, and is there punished, this punishment is as much after death, as though it were inflicted in another world. In fact, the doctrine of transmigration shows how very strongly a future retribution was rivetted into the minds of the heathen ; for rather than abandon this fundamental article, they would have recourse to almost any extravagance.
But perhaps you will say, that the heathen differed in opinion on almost every subject, had different views of a future retribution, and embraced absurdities too numerous to be mentioned. This is readily admitted, and this strengthens our argument. It shows plainly, that a retribution beyond death was so firmly believed, that how much soever they differed on other subjects, and on this very subject, they all admitted the doctrine in some form or other; and how absurd soever they were in other respects, no one thought of relinquishing this allimportant, this fundamental article. A future retribution then was the general opinion, both of the Jews and the heathen. And the question to be decided is, from whence arose this opinion?
Now as it regards the Jews, they undoubtedly derived this doctrine from revelation. It is the opinion of many, if not of most commentators, that many revelations were made to Adam, and his immediate descendants, of which we have no account in the Pentateuch. We are told in the New Testament, that Jesus performed many things which are not recorded ;* and there is no absurdity in supposing that Moses omitted many things also. Considering the brevity of Moses's account, it is perfectly evident that he gave only a history of some of the most
John xxi. 25.