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ty is a solemn and overwhelming truth. Painful as the admission is, it cannot be withheld. To deny it would subserve no valuable purpose, but would involve me, in the condemnation of a false witness, and you in the anguish of disappointment. God has given us this life, in which to prepare for the next. What folly then is superior to his, who bends all his efforts to the desires of this world, who bounds his vision by the limits of time? Will it avail any thing in the day of Jesus Christ, that he refused instruction and despised reproof? that he listened not to the monitions of the spirit and word of God, nor to the appeals of conscience, nor to the preaching of the cross? And who will be able to screen the naked spirit of that false ambassador of Christ, who fearful of giving momentary pain or of incurring the hatred of men, allows his hearers to be ignorant of their exposure or insensible of it? The awful truth, that nothing will protect the unfaithful, should never be forgotten. A little while hence, an account of my stewardship will be demanded. Then at the tribunal of Jesus Christ, we must stand together. The books will be opened and out of them we shall be judged. Among other things there recorded, is the history of my
ministry! Do not then demand of me a mode of preaching, which suits the carnal mind. There too, are your lives with every thought, word and action, distinctly traced! Then demand not, that I should feed your hopes of impunity in sin, and lull you into a false security. Remember, another book will be opened, which is the book of life, and whosoever is not found written therein will be cast into the lake of fire. Let not this assembly break up without solemnly inquiring, where and with whom you will soon assemble. Where ? Not in a world of probation. With whom? Not in a mixed company of christians and unbelievers. But you will either rise to the fruition of heavenly society and occupations, or descend into the abyss with satan and his angels. Inquire, to which of these states are your characters most suited. How would the all engrossing question be decided, were you now to die? In what place would you appear, in Paradise or in Gehenna? Does conscience decide against you? Oh my hearer, remember the Lamb of God, which taketh away
the sins of the world! Trust in him, and then you may triumphantly exclaim: Oh death, where is thy sting? Oh hades, where is thy victory?
THE CERTAINTY OF FUTURE PUNISHMENT FROM
MATTHEW vii. 13, 14.
Enter ye in at the strait gate ; for wide is the
gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat : because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
In pursuing the subject of the preceding lectures, it is important to call your attention to various additional passages and forms of expression, in which the doctrine of future punishment is taught; since nothing is more usual than to censure ministers of the gospel, for frequently speaking of a world, the name of which is found only twenty-three times in the New Testament. The text first solicits our notice. The life of which Christ here speaks, is eternal life or happiness in heaven.
That this is the usual meaning of the word in such connexions, has once been shown. What good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?” “If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments." 66 Then hath God also to the Gentiles, granted repentance unto life.” “ I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me, shall never thirst."
- Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye bave eternal life : and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.” The text then declares, that on account of the difficulty of discovering the way to heaven, many walk in that which leads to destruction. Eternal life and destruction are opposed to each other, and denote different states of existence; the one of unsullied character and of unalloyed enjoyment—the other of complete moral ruin and wretchedness. Such a figurative use of destruction is common in all languages. It is frequent in the bible. - Pride goeth before destruction,” not annibilation, but the ruin of one's character and peace. “Oh Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself.” “ Destroy not him with thy meat” “ Punished with everlasting destruction.” Agreeably to this use, the words of Christ contain the
following solemn exhortation. Enter in at that strait gate, which leads to eternal happiness ; for wide is the gate and broad is the
which leads to the miseries of the wicked in hell; because
strart is the gate and narrow is the way which : leads to eternal happiness, and few there be that
The supposition that “ destruction" denotes the calamities which were soon to befall the Jewish nation, cannot be sustained. The miseries spoken of are such as happen to those, and those only, who enter not into eternal happiness ; whereas, on the scheme of universal salvation, those who perished in the destruction of Jerusalem found the way to heaven, as truly as those who escaped. But it is sometimes said, that life in the text means the kingdom of Christ, considered simply as a temporal kingdom; and that all who became its subjects were to be saved from the destruction of Jerusalem, while those who would not recognize the Messiah, were to perish. Such is the disposition of men to reduce the benefits of christianity, to the melioration of their temporal condition! This, the Jews did this universalists do now. We must believe, according to these interpreters, that the object of Christ's untiring admoni