Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

might have mercy upon all.' These blinded, fallen, broken off and diminished Jews, are those on whom Jesus pronounced the damnation of hell; they are those on whom the law pronounced all its curses; but they are those likewise, the receiving of whom shall be life from the dead; they are those also who shall be justified in the Lord; and in him shall they glory.

Whoever duly read and compare the foregoing scriptures, and yet not acknowledge their force to support the hope for which we are seeking, must, it is conceived, be influenced by something worse than mere blindness, and be totally opposed in their hearts and affections to the glorious truth which these scriptures so evidently prove. See Ezek. xvi, 59: 'For thus saith the Lord God, I will even deal with thee as thou hast done, which hast despised the oath in breaking the covenant.' Here let the query be carefully handled: Had Jerusalem despised an oath, and broken a covenant? Yes. What covenant? That which God made with their fathers. What had they done? They made and worshipped images. With what service did they serve those images? God's complaint against them is as follows: Thou tookest thy broidered garments and coveredst them, (the images,) and thou hast set mine oil and mine incense before them. My meat also which I gave thee, fine flour, and oil, and honey, wherewith I fed thee, thou hast even set it before them for a sweet savor. Moreover, thou hast taken thy sons and thy daughters, whom thou hast born unto me, and these hast thou sacrificed unto them to be devoured.' If the reader can endure more, let him read the whole of the 16th of Ezekiel, and then open his ears to the following excla

[ocr errors]

mation in verse 23, Wo, wo, unto thee! saith the Lord God.

If God deal with those covenant breakers accordingly as they have dealt with him, what will he do? notice particularly that in the 59th verse God says, as above quoted, 'I will even deal with thee as thou hast done.' If so, will he ever show them any favor? Read with attention the very next words, as follows: 'Nevertheless I will remember my covenant with thee in the days of thy youth, and I will establish unto thee an everlasting covenant. Then thou shalt remember thy ways, and be ashamed, when thou shalt receive thy sisters, thine elder and thy younger and I will give them unto thee for daughters, but not by thy covenant. And I will establish my covenant with thee; and thou shalt know that I am the Lord.' Did God know that he could punish that covenant breaking, idolatrous people according to what they had done, and afterwards establish another and an everlasting covenant with them? If so, the commonly received opinion, that the rebellious people deserve and will positively endure never ending torment in a future state, is not true. On the other hand, the hope for which we are seeking, receives strength and support from the force and evidence of the above scriptures; for if a people who had broken a solemn covenant of their God and gone from his worship and bowed down to images of their own make, and offered as sacrifices their own offspring, could be punished according to what they had done, and yet receive from God the mercies of another and an everlasting covenant, we have reason, and that sufficient, to believe and hope in the salvation of that people which the parable in the last paragraph of the 16th of Luke repre

sents. If it be suggested that those of whom Ezekiel spoke were not so great sinners as some other people, it may be well to look and see what he says on this subject. See verse 48: As I live, saith the Lord, Sodom thy sister hath not done, she nor her daughters, as thou hast done, thou and thy daughters." Verse 51: Neither hath Samaria committed half of thy sins; but thou hast multiplied thine abominations more than they.' If we allow that God spoke these words by the prophet, we must of course suppose that he knew nothing, at that time, of the doctrine of the infinity of sin, which our doctors now hold as an essential article of the christian faith! For if Sodom and Samaria had not committed half the abomination that Jerusalem had, and yet had sinned to an infinite degree, it is very plain that Jerusalem had sinned to the amount of more than two infinities.

Perhaps, however, we ought here to ask pardon of the doctors for comparing their creed with the word of God, with which it has so little connexion. In the 60th and 61st verses, as has been quoted, God promises to give Sodom and Samaria to that people whose sins had been greater than either of those had committed, for daughters, and to establish with them an everlasting covenant. Our antichristian divines have been so determined to maintain the doctrine of endless, unmerciful punishment, that they have ventured to say that nothing in the 16th of Ezekiel, in the least favors the opinion that there is mercy either for Jerusalem, Samaria and her daughters, or Sodom and her daughters; while the Holy Ghost on the other hand testifies that Samaria and Sodom shall be given to Jerusalem for daughters, and that God will establish with her an everlasting covenant, and that she shall know the Lord. 24*

On this subject it is just to observe, if we believe the Holy Ghost, we must disbelieve the doctrine and ar guments of our divines; if we disbelieve their doctrines and arguments, we must admit, however hard it may seem, that their doctrine is the doctrine of antichrist, and that their arguments are directed against the truth as it is in Jesus.

Having given this subject as ample support as the limits of the present work will admit, and humbly conceiving that this support will be considered sufficient to substantiate the truth to which the arguments have been directed, it is necessary to conclude these illustrations, by observing,

1. That on such an examination of the Scriptures as the foregoing notes and illustrations have led to, I am under the necessity of saying, that the light of divine revelation appears more evident in the restoration of all mankind, from sin to holiness, from death to life, from misery to happiness, and from mortality to immortality through the mediation of Jesus Christ our Lord, than it formerly did, though I was satisfied before that this truth was embraced in the Scriptures.

2. That the view taken, in this work, of the dealings of God with mankind, in so disposing of rewards and punishments as to give every suitable encouragement to moral virtue and religious piety, and faithfully and successfully to correct the wickedness of his alienated offspring, comports incomparably better with the spirit of Christ and all the graces of the gospel, than the sentiment does, which represents divine justice to be unmerciful in the execution of punishment.

JOHN V. 28, 29.

[The following pages are supplementary to the former editions.]

'Marvel not at this; for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in their 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.'-John v, 28, 29.

THIS passage is one of a number which the popular doctrine of the Church has applied to a future state of condemnation and misery. It has been used to set forth and maintain that those who do good in this world will be raised from the dead hereafter and be justified unto life in an immortal constitution, for the good works which they did in this world; and that those who do evil in this mortal state, will be raised, at the same time, into an immortal constitution, and condemned to everlasting misery for the evil they did while on earth.

In the first place we shall suggest some arguments against the doctrine, for the support of which this text has been used.

In this doctrine there is a manifest want of that due connexion between cause and effect, which we find so wonderfully displayed in the natural order of things. While we are here in the body, if we feed on wholesome and nourishing food, the natural effects are health and strength of body; but if we, from whatever cause, feed on that which is unwholesome or poisonous, the consequences are the reverse of the former, and sickness and weakness are sure to follow. But it would be evidently absurd to attempt to argue, on physical principles, that these effects, either of health

« AnteriorContinua »