« AnteriorContinuar »
old ? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil ? Shall I give my first born for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my sou ?” Micah vi. 6, 7.
The Scriptures abundantly testify of the infinite perfection of the work of the Redeemer on earth, that great work by which he was “to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sin, and 10 make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness.” On the cross he said, with a loud voice, “ It is finished !" Those words should entirely dissipate the fears of all future suffering to the believer. “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law being made a curse for us.” “Surely he hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows.” “There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus.”
If thou hast my discharge procured,
All the promises of pardoning mercy are expressed in language that shuts out every thought of future suffering. No single passage either expresses or implies the idea of partial forgiveness. Is the enormity of sin represented by the stain of crimson or scarlet, by this act of grace it becomes white as unsullied snow. Is it compared to a dense, dark, angry cloud, overspreading the heavens and hiding the sun, divine forgiveness completely dissipates this cloud-blots it out-and renders the sky pure, calm and serene. The God of love not only promises to forgive the inquities of his believing people, but declares he will remember their sins no more for ever. Isa. i. 18; Isaiah xliv. 22; Jer. xxxi. 34.
The state of believers, described in the word of God, as pardoned, accepted, and justified, is utterly incompatible with the existence of any remaining penalty. “ Happy is the man whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered," is the triumphant and grateful thanksgiving of one, who had himself enjoyed the blessing. But could this have been his language, if he expected to endure purgatorial suffering, as a remaining punishment due to his pardoned sins? Again, “ being justified by faith we have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ; by whom also we have access into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Could it with any propriety be said, this “hope maketh not ashamed;" if he who had expected the glory of God, should upon his departure from the world find himself surrounded by unutterable penal sufferings ? And further, in the challenge offered to all beings in the universe, the inspired apostle demands, “Who can lay ANYTHING to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth.” How could the apostle Paul thus express himself if he knew and taught that all the venial sins, and even some part of the penalty on his mortal sin, remained against the Christian, to meet him in another state of being, and to entail upon him there a long continuance of dreadful torments ?
3rd. Such a sentiment is utterly inconsistent with those anticipations of heaven, which it is as truly the privilege as it is the duty of the Christian to cherish. We are constantly admonished to look forward with delight to the termination of our course, as the period to all present toils, and sorrows. The apostles were encouraged to endure reproaches and persecutions, and even to welcome them, because, said they, “Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen, for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” “We are always confident, knowing that whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord.” We are confident, I say, and willing, rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.” The apostle Paul earnestly longed for the hour of his release, and said, “I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart and to be with Christ, which is far better ; and in another instance, “ I ain ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand, henceforth there is laid up for mé a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge shall give nie at that day.” 2 Cor. iv. 17; V. 6-8. Phil. i. 23. 2. Tim. iv. 7, 8. Can any rational human being believe, that persons who anticipated even the probability of enduring any thing like the Romish purgatorial process, after death, could cherish such desires as these? The human mind instinctively shrinks from suffering. Even the dying strife, the pangs, the bands of death, though but transient, in many cases but for a moment, are regarded with some feelings of apprehension by the stoutest hearts; but what mind could rejoice in the fearful prospect of certain, appalling; and long-protracted anguish?
4th, and lastly. We rejoice that the word of truth, affords sufficient information respecting the present state of departed saints positively to contradict, and show the falsehood of this pernicious error. We are assured that they are present with the Lord ;-in his presence there is fulness of joy, at his right hand there are pleasures for evermore, —that they rest from their labours ;--they are described as exempt from all imperfection, from all suffering, and from every cause of suffering. “ After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and
kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and having palms in their hands; and one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes ? and whence came they! And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, these are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple ; and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more, neither shall the sun light on them nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters, : and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes." Rev. vii. 9, 13, 17. There is one instance relating to this subject which deserves especial notice. I allude to the gracious promise made by the dying Saviour to the dying malefactor. He was only brought to repentance when the hand of death was upon him. If there were any instance in which, after death, some purifying process were required, surely in no case could it have been more needed. But far from this our Lord in answer to his prayer, assured him that he should immediately be with him in the full enjoy