« PreviousContinue »
flict righteous punishment on the ungodly, from his having strictly executed judgment beretofore; for he spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell; and destroyed the old world, sparing Noah; and made Sodom and Gomorrah suffer the vengeance of eternal fire, and saved righteous Lot. From these examples, we may expect he will be faithful to execute, and strict to fulfil, the word that has
gone out of his mouth. Your idea, that in the day of judgment Christ will separate sin from the sinner, and place one on the right hand, and the other on his left, and then punish sin without a sinner, is too weak for any person of common sense to believe. Whoever heard of hanging murder, without a murderer? or, whoever saw sin without a sinner, or conceived of it as á moral agent, worthy of reward and punishment? The word of God, in the most plain and decided manner, declares, “ be that believeth shall be saved, and he that believeth not shall be damned;" • the soul that sinneth, it shall die;" not the sin, but the soul. Your sentiments not only oppose the word of God, but assail the moral character of our blessed Lord, and make him guilty of deception and misrepresentation to his disciples; for they understood him, so far from teaching the doctrine of universal salvation, that their only doubt was, whether few or many would be saved; and they ask him the question : “Lord, are there few that be saved ? And he said unto them, strive to enter in at the strait gate; for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able;" “when once the master of the house is risen up, and hąth shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; but he shall say, I know you not whence ye are, depart from me all ye workers of iniquity, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” His answer is, in the most direct manner, opposed to the doctrine of universal salvation. And his disciples, after being endowed with power from on high, preached in such a manner, that their hearers cried out, men and brethren, what shall we do? and they answered, repent and be baptized. That there might not be a doubt on this subject, our blessed Saviour informs us of a rich man that died," and in hell lifted up his eyes, being in torment." I must here request you to consider, what could have been said more explicit on the subject. “ At the end of the world, the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, and cast them into a furnace of fire." After St. John had described in the Revelations, the final consummation of all things, and the solemn process of the day of judgment, and the end of the righteous and the wicked, he "saw a new heaven, and a new earth, for the first heaven, and the first earth were passed away.” He then describes “the holy city, new Jerusalem, com
ing down from God out of heaven;" wherein dwelt those whose names were written in the Lamb's book of life. He then informs us, that without this city, “are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.” If they remain without the new Jerusalem after the final day of judgment, and Christ gives up his mediatorial office, they must remain in outer darkness, where their worm dieth not, and their fire is not quenched. “ Is God unrighteous, who taketh vengeance; God forbid, for then how shall God judge the world?” The express object of judgment, is to distribute rewards and punishments; “ he that believeth not the Son, shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him." I humbly conceive enough has been said, to satisfy every one who has eyes to see, or ears to hear; for if you will not hear Moses and the prophets, nor Christ and his apostles, neither would you be persuaded, though one should rise from the dead.
Lorenzo. To suppose the greatest part of mankind will suffer eternal torment, is a horrid idea; the mind recoils at the sentiment.
Evander. You have more than once intimated that, agreeable to my sentiments, the greatest proportion of mankind would be lost. I am not sensible of making any remarks, from which such an inference would justly follow. When the Millennial glory shall come, and the king
doms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our Lord, and wars shall cease from under heaven, and there be nothing to hurt or destroy, and all shall know him, from the least unto the greatest, and in him all the nations of the earth shall be blessed; then, it is probable, mankind will be greatly multiplied, and be gathered unto Jesus Christ, as clouds, and as doves to their windows; so that the finally impenitent may bear but a small proportion to the redeemed of the Lord; and more especially, if the idea of some worthy divines is just, in supposing that it will continue three hundred and sixty-five thousand years, answering to the number of prophetic days in a thousand years. But the loss of one soul, is an event dreadful beyond the conception of mortals; “ for what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul ? or what shall a man give in 'exchange for his soul ?”
Lorenzo. As the day is far-spent, I have not time to reply to your remarks; but be assured I will give them a candid consideration, and state my objections hereafter. Good-bye.
Several sceptical queries. A concise statement
of the belief, practice, and hope, of an evangelical Christian; the advantages of which are briefly contrasted with the opinions of several different sectarians.
Evander. Good morning. I am happy, my dear sir, that another opportunity presents for résuming the subjects of our former conversation. I hope, since our last interview, you have been led to see, and embrace those precious truths, which will make you wise unto salvation; that you be no longer tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine.
Lorenzo. I must confess I never was less established in any particular sentiments. I find so many mystical allusions in the Bible, that it is easy to find evidence in support of almost any sentiment. Reason, aided by the figurative language
of the Scriptures, can prove any position that the genius and fancy of man may happen to assume.
Evander. I trust you would not be understood to suppose, there is no such thing as truth; or