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maintained between these opposite classes: hence a future dis
When we look through the scriptures we find them to contain, 1st: numerous allusions to a certain set time, denominated "the day of judgment;" these allusions are an indirect proof of the doctrine under examination. 2ndly, we find direct proofs to the same effect in particular descriptions of that day.
"And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, than that city." (Mat. x. 14, 15.) "Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they
repented not. Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Beth-
Again here are passages in which mention is made of "the judgma of Christ," and of our having to stand before, and to g count thereat. (Rom. xiv. 10.-2 Cor. v. 10.)
The abus of our Lord's second coming I shall not adduce in th argment, although they have been thought to belong to these subject, but they have been already subjected to the Alem my opponent's sophistry, and they turned out to mean no such thing. I pass them, then, and go to the direct evidences. "And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent; Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead." (Acts xvii. 30, 31.) Here is the doctrine fully asserted: Christ, the judge-the world, the party-and an appointed day, the time: all clearly and distinctly revealed.
Next see, 2 Peter iii.: "Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: Bnt the heavens and the earth which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved
unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also, and the works that are therein, shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness: Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness." (6-13.) Here is a circumstantial account of an awful event, or rather train of events. I hope my opponent will not attempt to spiritualise it, and reduce it to a nonentity.
And to you who
Pass we now to 2 Thes. i: "Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to eem that trouble you; when the Lord Jesus e mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know no God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lordsus Christ: Whall be punished with everlasting destruction the pres from the glory of his power; W
the Lord, and
in his saints, and to be admired in
our testimony among you was believed) Could a general judgment, and one too, which shall decide the fates of the parties for eternity, be more decisively revealed than it here is Christ descends-he descends from heaven-he descends in flames-he descends to avenge himself upon the enemies of his gospel-and that vengeance, what is it? Destruction, total, perpetual, irremediable.
I will adduce two other testimonies, which I confess to be highly figurative, but which, nevertheless, without doubt, refer to the same stupendous transactions: the first is in Daniel vii. "I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did
sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened." (9, 10.) The other is in Rev. xx. "And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God: and the books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell was cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." (11-15.) These passages are marked with much sublimity of thought, and grandeur of imagery; but as they are dark and enigmatical, I do not lean upon them with a strong reliance.
That Paul taught the doctrine of a judgment after death is manifest: we find it distinctly asserted in his letter to the Hebrews. "It is appointed unto men once to die, and after this the judgment." (Heb. ix. 27.) And we are informed in the book of Acts, that "as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled." (Acts xxiv. 25.)
I am curious to know how my opponent will attempt to fritter away all this testimony: not only how he will meet the argument from the scripture, but also from the reason and necessity of things. There must be a judgment after death-all nations have believed in it, and, as already remarked, it is imperatively called for by the inequalities in the present dispensations of providence: evil men look forward to it with fear and trembling; but the righteous most earnestly desire its coming: it will be to them a day of deliverance, of vindication, and of recompense for all their sufferings and trials in time. They shall also see their desire upon their persecutors, and shall have no longer occasion to exclaim with the souls of the martyrs, as described in Revelation,
"How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?" (Rev. vi. 10.)
In conclusion I remark, that if there be no judgment after death, then the saviour's momentous question, relative to the worth of the soul, is a grave burlesque: nothing more. "What shall it profit a man," he asks, "if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul, or what shall he give in exchange for his soul?" And what renders this question more awfully momentous is, that it is propounded in immediate connexion with the declaration," For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with the holy angels, and then shall he reward every man according to his works." (Mat. xvi. 27.)
ARGUMENT IN THE NEGATIVE.
It may seem an act of great temerity on my part, my auditors, to attempt maintaining the negative of this question against such an array of argument, and evidence, as has been adduced on the other side more especially as your education, and long habits of thinking, upon this subject, must necessarily bias your minds against the object of that attempt; nevertheless, a firm conviction that the doctrine of a general judgment after death is a mere bug-bear, without any real countenance from reason or the bible; and injurious in its influences upon mankind, imposes upon me the duty of undertaking its refutation: give me but your candid attention and I can promise myself success.
1st. You were told that the wicked do not relish this doctrine. Perhaps not; but I know of no particular reasons why they should object to it. On the contrary, I should think that they find it sufficiently convenient; it puts off the day of reckoning to a conveniently distant time, and represents its decisions as sufficiently uncertain; and this tends to set their consciences well at ease until the moment of danger is conceived to have nearly arrived; then comes in the expedient of repentance, just in season to ward the long-suspended stroke of justice! The anecdote of the Irishman who stole a pig, (whether truth or fiction) well illustrates this point when told he would have to answer for it at the day of judgment, he replied, "Och! but had I known you would wait so long, I would have taken two of them!"
It is true, as my opponent remarked, that by the terrors of that