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done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation." John 5. 28, 29.
Thus an attempt has been made, in four discourses, to reflect some light on this momentous subject. It is a duty, my hearers, which I owe to you, and I have endeavored to discharge it, I hope, with some degree of faithfulness. Let it rest upon your minds, that you must shortly give an account unto God for your conclusions, in relation to this subject. According to the best of my ability, I have tried to acquit my conscience in this matter. There is no indecision in my own mind, concerning the immateriality and immortality of the soul; nor about the eternal punishment of those who die in opposition to God. The careful examination of the opposite theory, has served to establish my former principles, if possible, more firmly. We must consider all other supposed evidence but the Scriptures, as being irrelevant to this subject. The doctrines which have been vindicated in these discourses, are firmly supported by that standard which ought to be sufficient evidence in our view.
5. If the wicked are not to be annihilated, but eternally punished, we may see how important it is, that they should become righteous immediately. As all men have sinned, it is a fact that they cannot become innocent; yet, there is a way in which they may be justified; and that is through the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ. On this, St. Paul says, "Being justified by faith, we have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ." Rom. 5. 1. He was "made sin-a sin offering-for us who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him." 2 Cor. 5. 21. He is able, therefore, to save to the uttermost, even the greatest of sinners, who come to God by Him. Repentance and faith are the con
ditions on which salvation is suspended; and these conditions may be easily performed by the willing mind. We are placed under such circumstances, that if we perish, our criminality will be great. It is no small consolation to know, that we may be as completely happy, and God as fully glorified, as if we had never sinned, through the atonement and intercession of Christ. Well might the angel say to the shepherds, "Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord." Luke 2. 10, 11. It is far more easy to repent, believe and prepare for heaven, than it is to vindicate the gloomy doctrine of annihilation, with its dependant and kindred errors. As far as that is believed, it is an effectual bar against all holy repentance. Eternal salvation, my hearers, is effected through grace, in opposition to every scheme of self-righteousness. There is no such thing as standing before God, on the ground of works, for the voice of his justice is, "Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things, written in the book of the law to do them." Gal. 3. 10. Again it is said, he that "offendeth in one point is guilty of all." James 2. 10. This cuts off every plea that can be made, on the ground of merit. "It is through faith we are saved; that
may be of grace; that the promise may be sure to all the seed"—the chosen of the Lord. All that is required of us, therefore, is to accept of mercy through the great Redeemer. To be righteous, in the gospel sense of the term, signifies one whose heart is renewed-whose sins are pardoned, and whose person and services are accepted in Christ, the Great Head of the Church. The greatest sinner on earth, may become a saint instantaneously. The difference between these characters is simply this; the one hates an infinitely Holy God, and the other loves Him
on account of that purity and glory. As there can be no medium between hatred and love, the Christian character must be formed in one moment. The very first exercise of holy love involves every other Christian grace in its very nature. The transition, therefore, from a state of moral death and condemnation, to holiness and eternal happiness, must be more sudden than the lightning.
Though holiness in man is the fruit of the Spirit's operation, it consists in the voluntary exercises of his own heart; and, on that account, he is as really a free agent as if it were self caused. This doctrine makes the creature entirely dependent; but it does not annihilate his moral liberty, nor exonerate him from being responsible to his God. To plead for any greater liberty in the case of men, is contending for that which is peculiar to Jehovah ; namely, independence, which is in fact incommunicable. It is no dishonor to the glorious name of God, to say, that He cannot form a creature, who shall in any respect be independent of Himself. As man is a free and moral agent, he is a proper subject of commands and prohibitions-threatenings and promises; and actually blamable for remaining one moment longer the enemy of God. In this view of the subject, it is the indispensible duty of every sinner to be a converted soul, before he draws another breath.. The imperative requirement of Heaven is, " Make you a new heart, and a new spirit ;" and therefore, to live without this glorious change, is the summit of disobedience. If we have a right to continue without that, which God commands us to possess; it must follow, that no other divine precept is absolutely binding. An opposite doctrine sets all things afloat in the moral world. A strict dependence on JEHOVAH, for all our moral exercises, is, therefore, consistent with moral freedom and obligation. As there is no such thing to be expected as annihilation, it is
high time to lay aside our vain apologies, and submit to God on divine principles. It must be a very rebellious mind, that leads people to believe in the gloomy-the delusive-the horrid doctrine of annihilation. It grows out of a desire to es-. cape from the justice of God: it consists in a total disregard of His glory. It is as necessary that the sinner's existence should be continued, to display the vindictive justice of the Almighty, as it is, that the saints should live forever, to illustrate the riches of His mercy and grace. He will not lose any of His glory in the case of His creatures; for "the wrath of men shall praise Him." In accents of glorious majesty, He proclaims to the universe," My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure." Isa. 46. 10. As "the Lord reigneth; let the earth rejoice; let the multitude of the Isles be glad thereof." Ps. 97. 1. It is also said, "the Lord reigneth; let the people tremble: He sitteth between the cherubim; let the earth be moved.” Ps. 99. 1. "Justice and judgment are the habitation of His throne; righteousness and truth go before His face; but there is forgiveness with Him, that His name may be feared." The holy angels veil their faces before Him; and in his glorious presence, devils tremble! All on earth areTM commanded to fear His name, with a holy fear; because with God, there is terrible Majesty! He covereth Himself with light, as with a garment-light that infinitely outshines the sun in all its meridian splendor!
There is no such thing for sinners as annihilation; nor any possibility of escaping from the eye of God! They may forfeit eternal happiness, by a persevering rejection of Christ and His salvation; but they can never cease to exist. As you will never, my hearers, be annihilated, let no time be lost in preparing to meet your God in peace; and let every voice in this assembly, say, AMEN.
ACTS II. 36.
Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.
In the early part of last summer, I was requested by a gentleman, whose sentiments are opposed to the proper Deity of Christ, to preach from these words; giving me at the same time a promise, that if I would let him know when the discourse would be delivered, he would honor me with his attendance. Various avocations have prevented me until now, from complying with his request. It is his opinion, no doubt, that the passage before us, is inconsistent with Trinitarian sentiments, in respect to the person of Christ. Did I suppose, there was one text in the volume of inspiration, in opposition to Christ's supreme Divinity, I should no longer remain a Trinitarian. But as the words under consideration, are undoubtedly supposed to be so by the gentleman alluded to, and his brethren in opinion; I am pleased with having an opportunity of pointing out their mistake. Every one who is serving God in the work of the ministry, is directed by St. Paul, to "be gentle unto all men ; apt to teach, patient; in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves: if God peradventure will