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other passages might be cited, to show that men may be present with the Lord, when absent from the body, or that their souls may exist in a separate state ; but it is considered unnecessary.
Having shown, as we trust, that the soul does possess consciousness between death and the resurrection, we will again call your attention to the passage in Ezekiel. As the soul is conscious in an intermediate state, these Sodomites must be in a state of misery till their restoration. . On the 82d page of your Lectures, you speak of Abraham's pleading with God, for the safety of Sodom. But if Abraham had believed with yourself, that if taken away, they would all go to imeediate glory ; (I say immediate, for such it would be to their capacity) would he have plead so earnestly, that they might be lest in this state of sin ? I think he would not. On the same and following pages you speak of the mercy and compassion of Gord, in harkening to Abraham, and promising to spare the whole city, if tèr righteous persons were found therein ! But where would be the mercy or grace in leaving them in this state of trouble and sin, when they might be instantly and perfectly happy, if taken away! We sñould suppose that God was much more gracious by destroying them, than he would have been by sparing them, if your system be correct. And he was more merciful to the wicked Sodomites than to the just Lot. He punished their wickedness with immortal felicity, and blessed the righteousness of Lot with trials. and afflictions!! The same may be said of Noah and the old world. Now ought not people to be jealous of that system which involves such absurdities i especially, when we consider that there is no passage, which can be brought to its support. It really appears to me that Abraham acted a very inconsistent part in pleading for Sodom, if your system be correct. And equally inconsistent appear your remarks upon that subject, which we have noticed.
But after all, my dear Sir, should I grant your sys. tem of materialism correct, you could not consistently
avoid future misery, from the case of the Sodomites. They can be punished after the resurrection, if not before. Thus Jesus says to Capernaum, “It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgement than for thee.” From this passage, it will be seen that these Sodomites will be arraigned at a dayef judgement. Sodom here must mean those ancient, corrupt people known by that name ; for her overthrow is mentioned in the preceding verse. This judgement must take place in a future state ; because it was future in our Savior's time, which was nearly two thousand years after their destruction. Capernaum and Sodom are to be judged at the same day of judgement, and, consequently, it must be in a future state in relation to both. And at that time it will be more tolerable for the one than the other. One at least, therefore, must be punished after the resurrection. But if both are to be made happy at the resurrection, there is not a shadow of propriety in saying, it shall be more tolerable for one than the other. 'Will
attempt to reconcile this, by saying, that one will have a greater reward of happiness than the other ? Remember, Sir, you deny future rewards as well as punishments. You cannot apply this to their descendents; for they had none. You cannot apply this to those people, who may, at some future period, dwell in the land of Sodom, because you have already acknowledged, that by Sodom is meant those ancient inhabitants. Perhaps you may attempt to show, that Christ came to judge the nations at the destruction of Jerusalem. If that should be granted, it would profit you nothing; for we have already shown, that the judgement of Sodom must take place in a future state of being. If it took place at the dispersion of the Jews ; then these ancient-Sodomîtes were judged and rewarded in this state of being, long after temporal death ; which you will not admit. The judgement of Sodom cannot mean her destruction by fire; because Jesus speaks of her overthrow in the past tense, and of her judgement in the future. I believe you will find
it very difficult to reconcile this passage with your scheme.
The interpretation we have given of this passage, receives additional support from the testimony of St. Peter. Speaking of the destruction of wicked Sodom, and the preservation of just Lot, the apostle says, “The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptation, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgement to be punished.” Here Peter alludes to the same day of judgement, that our Savior did, when he said, it shall be inore toterable for Sodom than for Capernaum. And Peter teaches us that God had reserved the Sodomites unto the day of judgement to be punished. Now if they are reserved to the day of judgement to be punished, then their punishment must be after death. Nay, if they are reserved a moment after their overthrow, to be punished, their punishment is in a future state.
Thus, Sir, if your material system be false, (as we think has been proved) future punishment follows as a natural consequence, from your exposition of Ezekiel. And if your views be correct, relative to an intermediate state, future punishment is equally certain, being predicated on the testimony of Christ and his apostles. Many other passages might be adduced in support of our system, but our limits will not permit at this time.
Now, Sir, is not this evidence sufficient to prove future punishment, especially when you consider, that you have not a text to support your scheme? The reader is now called upon to judge whether we have not established the doctrine for which we contend. He is to consider that we have only exhibited a small part of the evidence on our side of the question ; while, on the other, it is not pretended that they have a single passage. I freely submit this for your inspection, and am willing the public should judge of the controversy between as. Yours affectionately,
EXCOMMUNICATION OF DOCT. JOHN BROOKS FROM THE
PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH (SO CALLED) IN NEWFANE, VERMONT, FOR
THE HERESY OF BELIEVING AND PREACHING UNIVERSAL SALVATION,
The whole correspondence with, and examination before, said church, of the accused, is too voluminous for publication in the Christian Repository, but will probably appear before the publie in some other form.
Letter from the Committee of Nerfane Church to Doct. Brooks, communicating his excommunication therefrom.
NEWFANE, MAY 23, 1821. The Church of Christ in Newfane to Doct. John Brooks. SIR,
Whereas you having made a public profession of religion in this place, and having sollemly covenanted before God and with this church, to walk with them in all the ordinances, doctrines, and duties of the gospel, and to submit yourself to the watch and disapline of this church :- And you have further covenanted with us, and we with you to watch over each other in the Lord, to give, and receive admonitions as occasion shall require, and as is expressly commanded in the word of God :
And as you have departed from the faith and practice of this church,and thereby violated your covenanted engagements, it has been deemed an imperious duty to use those measures with you, which Christ has directed to be used with an offending brother. Accordingly, John Kinney having labored with you by himself and then having taken an other brother with him, and as they could obtain no Christian satisfaction, nor persuade you to return to your duty, brother Kinney thought it his duty to make known his complaint to the church agreeably to the direction of our Lord and Master in the eighteenth chap. of Mat. For the above purpose of hearing and attending to the complaint of brother Kinney, a church meeting was called, and you were informed of the same, and neglected to attend. We having meet according to appointment, the complaint was laid before us, which complaint was in substance the following: For embracing, and propagating heresy. We having evidence that the complaint was justly founded, and that the previous steps according to the direction of the gospel had been taken, we considered it our duty to hear, and attend to the same. After conferring on the subject, and the rules of christian duty as taught in the scriptures, we were unanimously of an opinion that the heresy was of that nature, that unless you gave evidence of penitency and refformation, wee could not consistently with our duty to you, ourselves, and the Great Head of the church pass over it without expressing censure agreeablee to the laws of Christ's kingdom.
Feeling a tenderness for you, and an unwillingness to cut you off from our communion, we were disposed to use further forbearance, and labor with you.
We accordingly appointed brother Kinney to write to you on the subject, in hopes that you would consider of the case, and consequences, so as to appear and give christian satisfaction, and return to your duty. We then adjourned for a little more than two weeks. Meet according to adjournment, for the purpose of again attending to your case. You being present, and the letters being read, written by you, and also the one written by the request of the church to you, and after hearing your conversation while present with the church, and having your pamphlet, entitled Letters to the public in general, and to Deac. John Holbrook of Brattleborough in particular, wee were led to believe that your heresy was of that kind, that if propagated and embraced must be awfully distructive; not only to the morals of mankind, but to their precious and immortal souls. Lamentible to relate, you gave no marks of penitency, or refformation, but presumptious, ly declared that it was your constant prayer that God would not alter your views or cause you to see different. And if he should not, all our efforts to do you good would be in vain. Our fondest hopes of