Obrazy na stronie

when I make up my jewels ; and I will spare them as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. Then


shall return and discern between the righteous and the wicked; between him that serveth God, and him that serveth him not.” If this scripture had said, that we should discern between those who are blessed with immortal life and glory in the eternal world, and those who are cursed with never ending unmerciful torments, it would have been to the preacher's purpose ; but as it alludes to no such thing, therefore it is no evidence of such an event.

If the reader will look at the foregoing passage in its connection, he will find that the prophet designed the text for a refutation of what the preacher endeavors to support by it. The preacher wishes to show that the wicked are happy in this world, and that the righteous are miserable, but that it will be different in the eternal world, &c. Now read the prophet. "Your words have been stout against me, saith the Lord : yet ye say, what have we spoken so much against thee? Ye have said it is vain to serve God; and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinances, and that we have walked mournfully before the Lord of Hosts? And dow we call the proud happy : vea they that work wicked. dess are set up : yea they that tempt God are even delivered." Here is what a very religious people said, and it corresponds exactly with what the preacher says in his sermon, That religious people are accused, by the Holy One in the 9th verse of this chapter, of robbing him, and of being cursed in consequence of so doing.

The preacher's fifth text is in St. John v. 28, 29. “The hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life ; and they that have done cvil, unto the resurrection of damnation.”

On account of a general consent to an opinion of this text, which opinion has been long sanctioned by tradition, it is necessary to show particularly the error of applying it as it is usually applied. We shall show in the first place, that it is more reasonable to suppose that this text was spoken in a figurative sense, than the reverse.

See the 24th verse and onward. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not

to life.


[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

come into condemnation; but is passed from death un,

Verily, verily, I say unto you, the hour is: coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God : and they that hear shall live. The dead here meant, were those, undoubtedly, who heard the word of Christ, and believed on him who sent him whereby they passed from death unto life. This death then does not appear to be the death of the body, but of a moral pature.

The graves therefore, mentioned in the 28th yerse, ought not to be understood to be the literal tombs or sepulchres in which literal bodies, when literally dead, were laid, because it is not using the text judiciously to change it from a figurative to a literal mode of speaking. If the graves are not to be understood in a literal sense, the whole passage evidently alludes to what at that time was taking place, and what would imme. diately follow. The similarity of this text with one in Daniel, is such as renders it reasonable to suppose that the Saviour had his eye on the same subject as the prophet had. See Daniel xii, 2. “And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” Those who were asleep in the dust of the earth, spoken of by Daniel, mean the same, undoubtedly, as those who were in their graves, spoken of by Christ; and by coming forth to the resurrection of life, and damnation, in one text, means the same as awaking to everlasting life, and to shame and everlasting contempt, in the other. That these passages relate to the same time and event, will not be disputed, even by the preacher.

Let us next epdeavor to determine the time to which the prophet Daniel alluded. In the 1st verse the prophet marks the time with a distinguishing circumstance, which renders our success in fixing this time satisfactory. “And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation, even to that same time." See also this very time noticed by Christ in such a way as to make it evident that he

neant the same time which the prophet did. Mat. xxiv, 21. “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was pot since the beginning of the world to this time, yo, nor ever shall be.” The case is now plain, if Christ and if Daniel meant to speak of never ending punishment in the eternal world,

would there be any sense in saying that there would not be such a time of trouble afterward? Those of whom Chrisė spake as being dead, and of whom Daniel spake as being asleep, are undoubtedly comprehended by St. Paul to the Ephesians, v. 14. "Wherefore he saith, awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light." Being in the graves, and in the dust of the earth, signify the insensible state of the Jews, resting in the rituals of the law, and those additional ordinances with which they made it void. From this stupor that nation was roused as with the voice of the Son of God, by the preaching of the gospel by the apostles, and by the dreadful calamities with which they were soon visited after the days of Christ. Then was there a dissolution of the Jewish hierarchy; the master of the house rose up and shut to the door, those who bea lieved the gospel of Christ entered into the lifo thereof, thousands of others were destroyed by the Romans, and one of another, and the residue fell under the condemnation of choosing darkness rather than the light which God had sent them, and into the everlasting contempt in which that people have been througă the ages since that time.

As a still further reason for understanding the time of which we have been speaking, as above set forth, the reader is desired to observe that the Saviour distinctly declared that all the things of which he spake in this communication to his disciples, in the 24th of Matthew, should take place in that generation. And not only is the reader requested to notice the above, but also, that the three parables in the 25th chapter, were a continuation of the same discourse which has its beginning in the 4th verse of the 24th chapter, and that that generatiou was the only time in which the whole was to be fulfilled. By duly observing these things, it evidently appears, that the sixth passage which the preacher quoted, is by him misapplied ; as that passage is from this 25th of Matthew. This chapter begins with the word THEN, which refers to the time which he had before designated. Then follow three parables, which were evidently spoken to represent the things of which he spake in the 24th. The last paragraph, out of which the preacher quotes his proof of future never-ending punishment, begins thus, "When the Son of Man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him," &c. See again Mat. xvi, 27, 28. “For the Son of Man shall come in the glory of his father, with his angels and then he shall reward every man according to his works. Verily I say unto you, there be some standing here which shall not taste of death till they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” By putting the words of our Saviour together, we learn to correct the vulgar opinion respecting those scriptures. As it is evident from what we have seen, that the judgment noticed in the 25th of Matthew, took place in the generation in which Christ lived on the earth, so it will appear reasonable to understand the everlasting punishment noticed in the last verse of this chapter, to be the gamre as the everlasting contempt spoken of by Daniel, as above noticed.

In the 26th of Lev, where the punishments of Israel are pointed out to be according to their sins, this punishment is called chastisement. See verse 28th-" Then I will walk contrary unto you also in fury; and I, even I, will chASTISE you seven times for your sins." So also in the last verse of the 25th of Mat. the word rendered punishment, is kolasin in the Greek Testament, which is of the same signification, the true meaning of which is to make better.

The seventh passage quoted, is from Rom. ii, 5-7. “Bui after thy hardness and impenitenc heart, treasurest up to thyself wrath against the day of wrath, and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; who will render to every min according to his deeds : to them who, by patient continuance in well doing, seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life ; but unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doth evil, of the Jew first, and also the Gentile." Ву the views and sentiments exhibited by the use which the preacher has made of the above scripture, he appears to be exactly in the situation of a very worthy young man, of whom we have the following account in St. Mat. xix, beginning at the 16th verse. " And, behold, one came and said unto him, good master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said unto him, why callest thou me good ? there is none good but one, that is, God ; but if thou wilt enrer intn eternal life, keep the commandments. He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, thou shalt do no murder, thou shalt not commit adultery, thou shalt not steat,

[ocr errors]

thou shalt not bear false witness, honor thy father and thy mother; and, thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. The young man saith unto him, all these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? Jesus saith unto him, if thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasures in heaven; and come and follow me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions."

This young man expected to obtain eternal life by doing some good thing, and the Saviour answered kis question according to its merit. If he were to obtain eternal life by his own works, it must be by keeping the law perfectly, without a single fault. And this is the sense in which St. Paul used his argument, where the scripture is found quoted by the preacher to prove that an eternal distinction will be made in the coming world, between those who are righteous and those who are wicked, in this life. To show that the apostle intended his argument fur the purpose of destioving all ideas of a distinction in respect to justification unto life, we now proceed. But in this we shall depend, in some measure, on our reader's attention to the scripture in its connection, on this subject ; beginning the Epistle, and studying several coapters. However, we shall give a few extracts which may assist in making the subject plain. See verse 1st of the 2d chapter. “Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whomsoever thou art, that judgest : for wherein thou judgest another thou condemnest thyself ; for thou that judgest doest the same thing." Verse 3. "And thinkest thou this, o man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?” Verse 6. “Who will render to every man according to his deeds." In what manner does the apostle inform us that God will render unto every mån according to his deeds? Answer, by gräuting to those who by patient continuance in well-doing, seek for glory, and honor, and immortality, eternal life. As Christ told the young man, if thou wouldst enter into life, keep the commandments ; so the apostle evidently means, as he particularly shows in the 25th verse. " For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law : huc if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision." "But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation


« PoprzedniaDalej »