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the age, referring to the coming national judgment. But it was not the Jews only which were exposed to commit the unpardonable sin here spoken of. Allowing Mr. B.'s view of the nature of this sin to be correct—that it consists in resisting the evidence of miracles, the Gentiles to whom the gospel was published by the apostles, were equally exposed with Jews to the commission of the sin. And John in his general epistle warns his readers against this sin unto death, as though the Gentiles were liable to commit it. But they could not be thus liable on Mr. B.'s theory. He has a summary way of settling the question; that is by roundly asserting that no one understands this as effecting the eternal condition of the individual. This is a favorite argument of his, but requires but a short
In short, if this passage does not express the idea of punishment in the future world, what language can express it? It is said he hath never forgiveness, and, lest this should not express the whole, it is added, is in danger of eternal damnation. And forever to prevent this being applied to any limited punishment, the never having forgiveness is prefixed. Can language be better guarded against perversion? What Mr. B. gains by his criticism upon the phrase "world to come,” I am unable to discover. For it is well known that “the world to come,” according to Jewish notions was a world without end, extending from the commencement of the Messiah's reign on through eternity. And to say that a sin should never find forgiveness neither in this age, nor in the age to come, is equivalent to saying that it never shall to all eternity. In this view of the subject the rendering “age to come” is preferable to “world to come,” strictly confined to the eternal state. Because, the implied possibility of the forgiveness of other sins in the age to come, is something very different from the possibility of forgiveness in the future state, in that the age to come includes the period and probation here as well as of a retribution there.
John 5: 28. Marvel not at this for the hour is coming in 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. The points which Mr. B. here mainly labors to make out, I admit-viz. that the phrase, “the hour is coming,” is sometimes used of other times than the resurrection that the word resurrection is sometimes applied to other things than a literal resurrection of the body—that men are sometimes figuratively said to be in their graves and to be brought out of their graves as expressive of moral conditions and changes. But it is one thing to show that words are sometimes used in such a figurative sense and another to show that in this time they are so used. Having shown that these words sometimes mean so and so, and having assumed without a shadow of proof they have that meaning here, he then assumes further that to come forth to a resurrection of life, means to come into the happiness enjoyed by the believer in this world, and to come forth unto the resurrection of damnation means the experience of the temporal judgments, which came upon the unbelieving Jews at the close of their dispensation. Now suppose we admit these groundless assumptions, then the passage will read—The hour is coming when all the spiritually dead shall hear his voice, and come to spiritual life. They of the spiritually dead which have done good while spiritually dead, shall come forth to spiritual life. And they of the spiritually dead who have done evil, shall be raised from their spiritual death, and be made spiritually alive, and find that resurrection one of damnation. There is Mr. Bi's interpretation fairly put together, and its comely proportions challenge inspection. And then it seems that all who are in their graves, that is spiritually dead, in all parts of the world and in all ages, are to come forth-are to experience this moral resurrection, and be made to believe, and then those of them who did not do good before they believed, were to have their belief one of damnation, and die in the destruction of Jerusalem. Now where is the sober man who can digest all this farrago, and call it fair interpretation of the word of God!
The idea that a moral resurrection is here intended, is also excluded by the context. A moral resurrection is spoken of in a verse above, and distinguished from this resurrection. After speaking of the moral resurrection, and speaking of the power of the Son to effect it, it is added, marvel not at this, namely, that the Son will raise men to a spiritual life, for even the men that are in their graves, are to hear his voice and come forth. But if moral resurrection be meant in both cases, then we have the speaker saying, There is to be a moral resurrection, but marvel not at this, for there is to be a moral resurrection. Mr. B.'s suggestion that“ in all the passages universal- . ly allowed to treat of the resurrection, not a word is said about coming forth to a resurrection of damnation,” amounts to this, and no more,—that when a passage happens to say a word about such a coming forth, Mr. B. is sure not to allow, that it treats of the resurrection, and then it ceases to be universally allowed.
John 12: 48. He that rejecteth me and receiveth not my words hath one that judgeth him. The word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him at the last day. That the last day here applies to the end of the world Mr. B. admits, but evades the truth by saying, that the word rendered "judge” means to convince or to persuade ; making Christ say—he came not to convince or persuade, when every one knows that a great part of his life was employed in convincing and persuading. Besides the contradiction to fact, there is another difficulty : the word never is used in the ense which he gives it. Out of the more than seventy times in which it is used in the New Testament, he cannot produce one where it has that sense. He doubtless would have done it if he could. The truth then remains unimpaired, that every one who rejects Christ hath one that judgeth him at the last day.
Rom. 14: 10. For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ. 1 Cor. 5: 10. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that every one may receive of the things done in the body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. That the reader may see with how much reason Mr. B. asserts, that the word judgment seat, and the scripture usage of it, is not in favor of a judgment seat in another state of existence, I will quote all the instances where it
occurs. “When he was set down upon the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him” &c. “When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth and sat down in the judgment seat.” “ Made insurrection with one accord against Paul, and brought him to the judgment seat.” “ And drave them from the judgment-seat.” “The next day sitting on the judgment seat, commanded Paul to be brought.” “Then said Paul, I stand at Cæsar's judgment seat." “Therefore when they were come-I sat on the judgment seat "_"Herod, arrayed in his royal apparel, sat upon his throne Ljudgment seat] and made an oration unto them.” In one case the word is used for foot's breadth, but this of course is nothing to the question. In every other instance the word is used for the place where the formal sittings of courts are held. And if they do not refer to judgment in the future world, it is because they are instances where human judges, and not Jesus Christ are the occupants. If the word when having any reference to judgment, always denotes the place for the holding of a formal court, when the judgment seat of Christ is named, it denotes the place where Christ in person will hold a formal court. Such as no one pretends has been, or will be held on this side of the grave. And the writer in the context is speaking of death and its consequences, of being absent from the body. And in the text, he uses the clause " of things done in the body.” Showing the time of the judgment to be after all those things are done ; after the departure from the body. Then, this is represented as a judgment at which a complete retribution is measured out, for all the deeds done in the body, whether good or bad. But the temporal condition of christians at that age, was the most wretched of any class, and if the judgment was temporal, it went against the christians—and in favor of their persecutors.
2 Thes. 1: 6. Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you, and to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ; who shall be punished with an everlasting destruction, from the presence of the Lord and the glory of his power, when he shall come to be glorified of his saints, and to be admired of all them that believe. Mr. Balfour objects to referring the time when christians are to receive their rest, to the day of judgment, because those christians have already found their rest at the time of their death. But this surely should be no objection in his mind, who by annihilation of the soul, annihilates all time between death and the resurrection. And to us, it is no objection, since we regard the complete consummation of the believer's rest, to be reserved to that day; though their troubles cease at death. And how would Mr. B. interpret a remark of Christ parallel with this ? Blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely for my name's sake; Rejoice and be exceeding glad, for great is your reward in heaven. Is not heaven here held forth as the place where saints receive their rest from persecutions, and their rewards for all endurance in the service of Christ? Although heaven according to Mr. Balfour does not begin till after the resurrection! His next objection is, that the Thesalonians were to obtain rest at the same time that God was to recompense tribulation to their troublers. Well, is not this in every sense true if we understand the passage as relating to the final judgment? Is not that the time both of the consummation of the believer's rest, and of the consummation of the recompense on the wicked. His third reason is, that Jerusalem's destruction was the scene in which Christ is said to come to be glorified of his saints. But was that the time of all others when he was to be glorified by his saints? If he was glorified, then will he not be much more glorified, and much more admired by his saints, when he brings them all to heaven? His fourth reason exceeds all the rest. Here you have it in his own words. “This very application of the word everlasting is a strong confirming circumstance in proof of the views we have advanced.” That is, its being called everlasting destruction, is a circumstance strong to show that everlast