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that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee ?” The coming of our Savior, spoken of in Matthew, xxv. 31. "When the son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with himn; then, (when ? when he shall come, the same conring spoken of in the 24th chapter,) shall he sit upon the throne of his glory; and before him (Jesus) shall be gathered all nations, and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats." As an additional proof that the 24th and 25th chapters of Matthew spoke of the same coming of our Savior, he introduced Matt. 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 yow, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the son of man coming in his king
He said it was easy to see that the coming spoken of in the 25th and 16th chapters are the same, for in both cases he came with his angels, and for the same purpose, to reward every man according to his works. And the writer of this article cannot resist the conclusion that the coming spoken of in the 16th and 21th chapters are the same, if there is any meaning in language, because both are to take place in the life time of the then present generation. And if it is true that the righteous shall be recompensed in the earth, and much more the ungodly and sinner, as Soloinon declares, we can see the propriety of the following scriptures, "the judgement is set," &c. "Now is the jurigement of this world.” To this Mr. K. strenuously objected, he denied all connexion between the 24th and 25th chapters of Matthew, called upon the people (holding up his Bible) to see that there was a paragraph between the two comings spoken of; telling them that every one knew that a paragraph began a new subject. He admitted the 24th was already fulfilled ; but contended that the 25th would not be until after the general resurrection of the dead. He at the same time observer, that he only wished to get Mr. B.'s opinion, that the people might see his perversion of scripture.
(To be continued.]
DISSERTATIONS ON TUTURE PUNISHMENT,
No. IV. Having in a previous number introduced a few passages of scripture, which, in our view, clearly support the doctrine of a future retribution, we will now make it a business to consider a particular ground of argument, which our opposers frequently adopt on this subject. Those who deny all future punishment, generally deny the intermediate state of conscious existence between death and the resurrection. To this idea, however, there may be a number of exceptions. Considering the resurrection from the dead an immediate introduction to a state of immortality, they argue from the state of the case, according to their views of it, that there can be no punishment or suffering. They sometimes say, immortality can possess nothing but purity, and of course it would be unjust that such a being should suffer, allowing that it were possible to inflict suffering. But, if we mistake not, they usually contend that such a state, from its very nature, is utterly beyond the reach of suffering.
In meeting this ground of the argument, we are not insensible of the strong prejudices which we may have to encounter; nor should we marvel, if some readers should now be almost tempted to shut up their book, and read no further,--not because they properly anticipate our labor, but because they suppose, we are about to attack that which none but fools would at. tempt.
Were we now writing to the believers in endless misery on the subject of universal salvation, and in the course of argument, should state that we believed there might be an alteration for the better after death, we should soon find that some would shrink with horror at our undertaking. No alteration after death has been in so many mouths, believed by so many denominations, and has stood so long an exalted mound between protestantism and popery, that it has acquired, in many minds, the full sanction of divine inspiration. "In approaching it in their
society, a man does it at his peril. He is in danger af being thought either a fool or mad. Notwithstanding, we who believe in the salvation of all men, discern nothing in the Bible that stumbles us in relation to this subject.
God is alone strictly and necessarily immortal, both as it respects the nature of his existence and his attributes. The immortality of created beings, in their highest state of perfection, must be different from his, When we consider creatures immortal as the Creator is, we make them so many independent beings. But to consider men or angels, in their most exalted state, independent beings, is an idea most irrational and absurd. “All thy works,” says the Psalmist, “shall praise thee, and thy saints shall bless thee.” We cannot conceive that it is possible for any being to make or create a thing so perfect, that he is unable to destroy it himself.
Some beings may sometimes destroy things that they are unable to make, but no one is ever able to make what he cannot destroy. It follows then that man's future immortality will not be such a state that the Almighty cannot destroy bim ; but a state, the natural principles of which will unceasingly continue, if not counteracted by a power supe. rior to its own. The natural sense of immortality is simply an exemption from death, and no more. The word is from the Latin in, contrary to, and MORS, The corresponding Greek word, asaraoua (athanasia) being from
an (a) not, and Savatos (thanatos) death, is literally of the same signification with the English word, immortality. This word is used in only three texts in the New Greek Testament. 1 Cor. xv. 53, 54, and 1 Tim. vi. 16. There are two other places, where the word immortality is used, Rom. ii. 7, and 2 Tim. i. 10; but it is here made the translation of another Greek word, that literally signifies incorruption. The latter word may frequently comprehend spiritual qualifica. tions ; but the former we think alludes, and, most probably, solely to the principles of physical existence. We find it once applied to the Deity, and twice to mas in bis resurrection state.
When we say immortality,attached to created beings, necessarily implies spiritual purity, are we pronouncing a self-evident proposition, or humbly begging a question ? Does any mortal know by experience, that immortality or incorruption, applied to the principles of existence, necessarily implies immortal or unfading holiness ? Certainly not. The subject is beyond his present experience. Is the idea proveable from scripture ? Then let some skilful hand produce the proof, and this point will be placed beyond all controversy. If it can be proved that spiritual holiness is universally the direct consequence of physical operations, we acknowledge the point will be maintained ; but it will involve us in another difficulty respecting the proper office of the mediatorship of Jesus Christ. "It is written in the prophets," says Jesus, "And they shall all be taught of God. Every man, therefore, that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me." John vi. 45. Those physical operations that affect material existence, we conceive to be different and distinct from the exercise of being taught, learning, and coming unto Christ.
St. Paul says, “I have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.” We can have no clearer scripture testimony of the present distinction of just and unjust among men, existing at the time of the resurrection than is here afforded us. Now we must conclude that the resurrection, in its own physical but mighty operation, affects a spiritual change in the souls of the unjust, or there will be just and unjust, after the resurrection. But as we discern no proper reason why we should admit this, we conclude there will be both just and unjust after the resurrection. On this subject, we will now quote John v. 28, 29. "Marvel not at this ; for the hour is coming in the which all that are in their 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 anto the resurrection of damnation."
The writer of this article is not insensible, that his brethren, in general, give a very different construction to the above cited passage than they find in this application of it. He would, by no means, plead ignorance of their writings on this subject; for he believes he has read the greater part of them which have been published in this country. They usually understand the passage figuratively, and give it nearly the same application as they do the preceding 25th and 26th verses. Let us then proceed to notice some essential marks of difference. In the first he says, “The dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live.” From this passage it appears, all live who hear, but all do not hear. But in the other, "All that are in their graves hear;" but all do not live; that is, are not holy and happy : Some come forth to life, and some to damnation, or more properly, condemnation. Here we discern a striking difference, which leads to the conclusion that each
should have a very different application. Of the last passage, we further observe, it does not appear that it has ever yet been fulfilled, according to a figurative or literal interpretation. Can it be said, all that are in their graves have heard the voice of Jesus ? Allowing the graves to be figurative, the application that many have given, it does not appear to justify the use of its language. It does not appear that all have come forth from any kind of graves whatever, by the voice of Jesus, either to life or condemnation. If we are correct in this remark, its exclusive application to the Jewish age cannot be just. Besides this, we never could see the propriety of a spiritual resurrection to condemnation. To call an excitement to a sense of guilt a resurrection, seems altogether unworthy of the term.
We are well aware that the idea of a literal resurrection, some to life, and some to condemnation, is frequently opposed by citing St. Paul's account of the resurrection in the 15th chapter of 1st Corinthians ; but by a careful comparison we do not find the one contradictory to the other. In Corinthians, to be sure,