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bible (as well as civil history) abounds with instances of divine judgment upon the guilty, both individuals and communities. 5th. Hence I infer that, except the righteous Judge of all the earth tries and punishes the same parties twice for the one cause, that a judgment after death is unnecessary. 6th. It were a mockery also, for the cases to be tried are clearly known to the infinite and omniscient arbiter, in their origin, and consequences, direct and remote; in his mind, therefore, they are prejudged. How vain, then, and absurd, were the forms of trial under such circumstances ! Finally, if a general judgment, in any form, shall take place after this life, it does not follow that punishment (much less endless punishment) must necessarily be any part of its consequences. It were far more probable—far more in agreement with what is disclosed to us in nature and revelation of the boundlessness of the divine mercy--that the object of such judgment will be to bring the purity and grace of God into greater contrast to our perceptions, with our wickedness and ingratitude ; and thus, whilst at the same time that we shall obtain the deeper conviction of our unworthiness, we shall also be the more constrained to adore that almighty love which shall consent to “cast our sins into the depths of the sea.” (Mic. vii. 19.) We are not without ample bible warrant for this idea of a general judgment and its objects. See amongst other instances to this point the following: not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. For if by one man's oifenée death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace, and of the gift of righteousness, shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ : Therefore, as by the oírence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners; so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. Moreover, the law entered, that the offence might abound: but where sin abounded, grace did much more abound ; that as sin had reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness into eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord. (Rom. v. 16–21.)
I have before observed, that the verb to judge, is most usually employed in the scriptures to express the same thing as the verb
to govern. Christ is considered as the King of the New Testament state, or gospel kingdom; and as such he is represented as exercising the judicial functions of government. His judgment shall last while his reign lasts, and he shall only “reign until he hath put all enemies under his feet;" then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that hath put all things under him, that God may be all in all.” Now it is most strange, on the part of our opponents, that they make the exercise of his judicial authority to begin just where the scriptures make his regal authority to end! And notwithstanding the plain and repeated declarations of the bible, that he “shall execute judgment and justice in the earth,” they will have it that he judges men for their good and evil actions, not in time, but in eternity..
MISCELLANEOUS OBJECTIONS CONSIDERED.
There are two texts of scripture which speak expressly of punishment after death-yea, more, after the resurrection ! How will universalism stand before these? The one is Daniel xii. 2. “ And many of them that sleep ir, the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt,” The other is St. John v. 28, 29. 66 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.” These passages are parallel in their reference and signification. Universalists, I know, attempt to give them a figurative application. But we ought ever to reject figurative expositions of scripture, except expressly warranted by the context, or except a passage be such in its nature as to expressly require a departure from the rules of literal interpretation..
It is granted that the above texts are parallel, but this very admission is fatal to the objection; for Christ has fixed the time of
the event to which they refer, at the period of the overthrow of the Jewish state, and so indeed has the prophet likewise; the entire 12th chapter of Daniel is occupied with predictions relative to this subject. I allege this upon the highest possible authority, viz. that of Jesus Christ. See for proof, Matt. xxiv. 15–21. The resurrection spoken of by Daniel was to take place when there should be “a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation, even to that same time,” when God shonld “have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people”—when “ the daily sacrifice should be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up.” But when were these events to happen? They were to happen when the Jewish dispensation was to be brought to a close, and the gospel institution to be set up on its ruins. The Savior's exposition of the prophet, in Matt. xxiv. leaves us no ground for doubt on this head. Thus much as regards the time of this resurrection, which, instead of being at the end of the world, as our opponents think, is past, by nearly eighteen centuries.
Now as to its nature, it were the height of absurdity to suppose it literal, for several reasons. 1st. Whave no account in history, sacred or civi), of a literal rising of men from their graves, at the time of Jerusalem's overthrow, at any other period. 2d. To understand it literally would involve consequences absurd and contradictory. It would lead to the result that all mankind will at the same time rise to life and to damnation! “They that have done good to the resurrection of life.” Is there a single human being who has not done good ? “ And they that have done evil to the resurrection of damnation.” Is there a human being who has not done evil ? Take this passage in a strict sense, then, and you have the monstrous conclusion that all shall arise to lifeand all shall arise to damnation! 3d. A literal rendering of these texts would establish a doctrine at variance with that exhibited by Paul in a set treatise on the resurrection. If men are to arise from their graves in a morally corrupt and dishonored condition, what meant he by saying of our body, “it is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption—it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory—it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power ?” Say you that he spake this of a part of mankind only? No such thing, şir ; on the contrary, he says, “ IN CHRIST shall ALL be made
alive.” (I Cor. xv.) If Paul believed that mankind would consist, in the resurrection, of two classes, moral opposites to each other, here is the place where he would have said so; but he establishes the contrary, for it is utterly impossible to reconcile the popular doctrine concerning the resurrection with the glorious portraiture of that great event which the apostle has here giventhe last enemy vanquished—hades overthrown—all things subdued unto the Father-and God all in all.
But another reason, and sufficient of itself for understanding the texts under consideration in a spiritual sense, is, that the immediate connexion of the one in St. John imperiously calls for such an acceptation. Christ, in a verse or two preceding, describes the resurrection referred to as then beginning to take place. “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.” And through the chapter he speaks of life and condemnation, as a then present consequence of embracing, and of rejecting the gospel. 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.” See also the following verse to the same effect : • For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them, even so the Son quickeneth whom he will.” It is any thing but reasonable to suppose that he should so rapidly' pass from the figurative to the literal on the same subject, without apprising his hearers of his change of style. I may remark further, that language quite as strong as either of our texts can be produced, the figurative meaning of which, nevertheless, is too obvious to be denied ; see the following: “ Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost; we are cut off for our parts. Therefore, prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God, Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Isreal. And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, and shall put my Spirit in you, and ye shall live; and I shall place you in your own land : then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD." (Ezekiel
xxxvii. 11–14.) In this place, the civil and moral degradation of the Jews are set forth under the figure of their death, and the perishing of the flesh from off their bones. Their moral and civil restoration are exhibited under the figure of opening their graves and raising them to life. On the whole, then, it must, I think, be manifest to the enlightened reader, that the import of the passages before us is, that Christ, by the word of his gospel, and the ministry of his apostles, was about to call men forth from the graves of superstition and ignorance, in which they had long been buried—that as they came forth to the light of the truth, they should experience justification, or condemnation, according as their past actions had or had not been in accordance with its dictates, or according as their disposition was to receive or reject this gospel. This important work had already begun in Christ's day, but it was destined soon to take effect upon a much wider scale, and, eventually, it shall be universal in its extent. This gospel would affect the vicious subject of its awakening power, in like manner as Paul had been affected by the law. It brought home his sins to his conscience, and thereby slew him, or overthrew his fancied security. (Rom. vii.) But the gospel condemns the sin that it may save the sinner.
Observe, now, what phraseology the apostles were accustomed to employ: “ Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dust, and Christ shall give thee light.” (Ephes. v. 14.) “ You hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sin.” (Ephes. ii. 1.) “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above." (Col. iii. 1.) Indeed, the world was considered as dead, and buried in sin and superstitious ignorance. Hence, the necessity of being regenerated, or made alive again, in order to admission into the kingdom, or church of Christ. The word was considered as having a regenerating, a revitalising influence; hence, Paul tells the Corinthians, " For in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.” (I Cor. iv. 15.) It were needless, I tbink, to attempt making the subject plainer; it were quite sufficient to insist, that Christ could not have meant to teach the doctrine of a final doom upon the spirits of men after the resurrection, for the reason that a calamity so terrible would infinitely exceed in magnitude all the calamities together which have transpired since time began; whereas, as I have elsewhere shown, the