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acter to God, we view as the vilest act that moral darkness has ever produced; and we reject the sentiment with the deepest horror.
Let it be distinctly noticed here, that this argument does not lie between the doctrine of endless punishment, and no punishment for sin; we have all along in these lectures maintained that sin is punished, but we find that it is punished in the world where it is, and not in an immortal state where it is not.
Having, as was proposed, suggested a few arguments against the doctrine for the support of which our text has been generally used, our next labor will be directed to bring the portion of scripture under consideration before the hearer in connexion with such other passages as relate to events which evidently belong to the present state of existence, but where language signifying a resurrection is used ; at the same time carefully comparing with them those passages which evidently relate to a resurrection into an immortal state, that it may be clearly understood that the latter and former classes of scripture cannot, with any propriety, be applied to the same event.
The arguments to which we have attended in this discourse, are designed to show that the text under consideration ought not to be applied in the usual way, by showing that the doctrine supported by it when so used is not true. The arguments now designed will go to show that the scriptures make use of words signifying a resurrection, in a figurative sense, when nothing beyond this mortal state is intended, that the passage under consideration is of this description ; and that it is proved to be so by comparing it with other passages which evidently have their application in time, and also by comparing it with passages which speak of a resurrection into an immortal state, by observing the difference there is between the two classes.
That our text evidently belongs to that class of scriptures which speak of a spiritual resurrection, or of a resurrection which has no allusion to a future state of being may be seen by attending to the context, which reads as follows; “Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation, but is passed from death unto life.” Here it is perfectly plain that the death from which the believers had passed was of a moral, and not a literal kind; and it is perfectly plain also that the life into which they had already entered was of a spiritual nature, which believers enjoy by the means of believing in the word•of Jesus in the present tense.
And it is furthermore evident that the condemnation mentioned in the passage already quoted is a condemnation which is the consequence of unbelief in the present life, and is the same as is signified by the following words of Jesus : “ He that believeth not is condemned already." The next words to those quoted from our context are the following: “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. For as the Father hath life in himself
, so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself, and hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.” It is abundantly evident that the Saviour still continued to speak of the dead in trespasses and sins, of their hearing and believing his word, and of the spiritual life which faith in the gospel wrought in them. And it is also evident that his authority, which he here mentions, to execute judgment, administers that condemnation into which the unbeliever is brought.
Our text follows the words last quoted; “Marvel not at this ; for 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 evil unto the resurrection of damnation.” Now as it is acknowledged by all that Jesus was speaking figuratively in the context, until he came to the words of our text, it seems entirely unwarranted to make him now, all of a sudden, speak of a literal resurrection. It is altogether more reasonable to suppose, that as he meant the dead in a moral or spiritual sense, by the dead who
should hear his voice and live, he now means the carnal state of carnal minds by the graves from which the dead were to come forth.
That the word graves is used figuratively in scripture we learn from the 37th of Ezekiel, where the prophet represents the return of the captivity of Israel from the countries where they had been scattered, first by the resurrection of the dry bones in the valley of vision, and secondly, by bringing them out of their graves. And here we may remark, that there would be the same propriety in understanding the prophet to mean a figurative resurrection by the dry bones representing the return of Israel's captivity ; but when he speaks of bringing them out of their graves, to mean their resurrection from their literal graves into an immortal state, as there is in explaining our text and context in the usual way.
There is a passage in the 12th of Daniel, which commentators very justly consider a parallel passage with our text; it reads as follows: “ And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people; and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth, shall awake, some to everlasting ife, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” It seems reasonable to suppose, that as Jesus came to fulfil the law and the prophets, he had his eye on this passage in Daniel when he spake the words of our text; and that he meant by those who were in the graves the same as Daniel meant by those who were asleep in the dust of the earth; and by those, who should come forth to the resurrection of life, he meant the same as Daniel did by those who should awake from the dust of the earth to everlasting life ; and by those who should come forth to the resurrection of condemnation, the same as Daniel meant by those, who should come forth unto shame and everlasting contempt.
Will the hearer now say that all this may be, and that both Daniel and the Saviour were speaking of the resurrection of mankind to a state of immortal happiness and misery in a future world? To this we reply, when Jesus spoke to his disciples of the destruction of Jerusalem, and of the calamities which should shortly come on the Jews, he uses the words of Daniel nearly verbatim when he speaks of the time of trouble. By this circumstance we are instructed that both Daniel and the Saviour spake of the same time, and of the same events, and that that time was when Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans.
The true meaning of the words of Jesus and of the passage in Daniel appears to be this : those Jews who listened to the mild voice of the gospel, proclaimed by Christ and his Apostles, came forth from spiritual death to the life of faith in the new covenant; but those Jews, who rejected the doctrine of salvation, crucified the Saviour, and persecuted his apostles, were those who had done evil
, and they were roused from the dormant state in which they lay, as in a covenant of death and a refuge of lies, by the voice of judgment, and come forth to the resurrection of that condemnation which is so particularly pointed out in the 24th and 25th chapters of Matthew; and which was illustrated in our lecture on that subject.
That the resurrection under consideration is not a resurrection from this mortal to an immortal state, may be made to appear by comparing the account of it with the account given of the resurrection into a state of immortality, which we find in several passages, and which were noticed in our last lecture.
In the account of the resurrection noticed in our text, some are raised to life and some to condemnation; and this account we have seen agrees so well with the testimony quoted from Daniel, that no doubt remains that the Saviour and the prophet spake of the same event. But can we make St. Paul's account of the resurrection of all mankind into an immortal state agree with these several testimonies so as to be satisfied
that the apostle was treating on the same subject of which Daniel and the Saviour treated ?
Jesus says: that they that have done good shall come forth to the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil to the resurrection of damnation. Daniel says: “And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall come forth, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
66 As in Adam all die even so in Christ shall all be made alive." And he is particular in stating the constitution which all men will receive in the resurrection of which he speaks. It is spiritual, incorruptible, immortal, and glorious, it is the image of the Lord from heaven. He makes no distinction. He says nothing of the good works of some and the evil works of others. His testimony is, in fact, directly against any distinction or difference in that immortal state. All are made alive in Christ; and as this life is spiritual, incorruptible and immortal, this testimony agrees with the testimony of Jesus to the Sadducees on the same subject of the resurrection, in which he says, that in the resurrection they are the children of God, equal unto the angels, and can die no more.
In his debate with the Sadducees, Jesus gave no intimation that any would rise from the dead to a state of condemnation, but was particular in saying that all live unto God.
In our present light of this subject, we can plainly see, that by supposing that Jesus sprake in our text of the same subject of which he spake in his reply to the Sadducees, we make himn contradict himwell. And by supposing that our text is a testimony of the same event of which St. Paul spake in his argument on the resulta rection in the 15th of the firut of Corinthians, we must
, the testimony of Jesus and St. Paul at an irrexanala. ble variance.
Our present subject may be represented by muy ing, that a traveller returns to this town from the maste of Vermont, and informų us that in consequence of a disturbance among the convicte in the state priam, the prisoners were all brought out under sufficient