« AnteriorContinuar »
SAME SUBJECT CONTINUED. THE ASSERTION, THAT MEN
ARE FULLY PUNISHED IN THIS LIFE FOR THEIR SINS
We have already slıown that there is a place of future punishment; also a future punishment itself ; and that men do not receive their punishment in this life in the endurance of adverse providences and remorse of conscience. Other reasons are not wanting to prove the ut. ter falsity of the contrary notions ;-reasons, which must have a powerful weight, with all believers in the Inspired character of the Sacred Volume, in deciding the argument against the Modern Universalists.
We prove the assertion, that men sustain all the punishment of their sins in this life, False because
It sets aside Salvation of the Grace of God through a MEDIATOR.
The Scriptures represent salvation as proceeding from
the grace of God thro’ Christ as a Divine propiliation, available to man on the exercise of faith. We quote one passage ;—"Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus ; whom God hath set forth to a propitiation through faith in his bloud, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this tiine bis righteousness : that he might be just and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.” Rom. iii. 24-26. But the salvation, as it is termed, of the Modern Universalists, is by the endurance in this life of the punishment of sin to the whole extent of the penalty of the broken law. They do not profess to be pardoned, but to suffer the whole amount which their sins deserve. What then has the "grace of God” to do with this species of salvation ? If a man be sentenced for an hour to the pillory for the commission of crime, and he endure the penalty, it is no act of favour to liberate him :-he claims his liberation on the score of justice. So with the person who suffers in this world the whole penalty of the violated law :-it is no act of grace that delivers him from suffering:-he claims his deliberation as his right. The grace of God, therefore, on this principle, has no part in the salvation of men. Quere-How can such a state of things be reconciled with the following declarations ?_". If thou Lord shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand ? Ps. cxxx. 3. "Enter not into judgment with thy servant : for in thy sight shall no man living be justified." Ib. cxliii. 2. “ How should man be just with God? If he will contend with him, he cannot answer him one of a thousand." Job. ix, 2. 3. “ By grace ye are saved.” Eph. ii. 5.
Nor does this salvation proceed from the merits of Christ. On the supposition the death of Christ as a Divine Sacrifice, was unnecessary, and on his part only a work of superorogation. For the Universalists profess to suffer without the least reference to his atonement, and to be made happy for ever without any application to God, thro' him, for mercy-without any scriptural faith in his sacrifice or experience of its efficacy. If this be the true state of the case, we must expunge from our Bibles passages like the following ;-" Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life : no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John xiv. 6. “ Neither is there salvation in any other : for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Act iv. 12. “He that believeth not the Son shall not see life ; but the wrath of God abideth on him." John iii. 36. “ He that believeth not shall be damned.” Mark xvi. 16.
Many of the Modern Universalists are rank Socinians; who believe that Christ was only a man of like passions with themselves; equally peccable with other men; and as a natural consequence, unqualified to atone for sin. Why, then, should they believe on Christ? Why not, with equal propriety, be required to believe on Moses? Or on Gabriel? In rejecting salvation thro' Christ they act consistently with their socinian belief, but at the same time, in opposition to the Scriptures and at thc hazard of their eternal happiness.-Either therefore, the doctrine of a full punishment of sins in the present life must be given up, or the doctrine of salvation by grace thro' a mediator; for, they are utterly irreconcileable.
The Universalist dogma now animadverted upon is false as it destroys the probationary character of the present life.
What does a state of probation imply? A state, in which men are forming characters for another world-a state, to which they are on trial, acting in reference to a period when their conduct will be judged, and awarded according to its character-a state, evidently implying, that between the present actions of men and their future destiny there exists an indissoluble union. But the doctrine, that men receive in this world all their punishment, and at death will enter into immediatc felicity, subverts the very idea of the probationary character of the present life. According to this belief, men are not now on trial-are not acting in reference to a period when their conduct will be scrutinized, and awarded agreeably to its characternor is there any connexion between their present actions and their future destiny. On our system salvation into heaven, as well as salvation on earth, is conditional; but, on the opposite scheme, salvation is unconditional. Men must suffer here; and men must be happy hereafler. There is no possibility of the soul's being “lost”, or banished “ from the presence of God.” All are as certain of being at death immediately received into the kingdom of heaven, as it is certain they must die:-and this without the least regard to previous character or bebaviour. The impenitent, the unbeliever, the filthy, the unclean, the abominable,the mid-night assassin, the bloody or self-murderer, and the vilest of mankind, are, on this system, as sure of heaven as persons of an opposite and most pious character. Need we say that these opinions are hostile to the word of God? For proof, read the following passages; to which others, in the same strain, might be added in abundance. Unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and another one; to every man according to his several ability-.' Occupy till I come”-“ After a long time the Lord of those servants cometh and reckoneth with them.” Mat. xxv. 14--30. Luke xix. 13. “But and if that evil servant shall begin to smite his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; the Lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, and" (what? take him immediately to heaven? make him immediately and forever happy? No-but) “shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with hie
hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Matt. xxiv. 48–51. “Let both grow together until the harvest—the harvest is the end of the world—so shall it be in the end of the world— The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; and shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing andgnashing of teeth.” Matt. xiii. 30–42. “So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.” Rom. xiv. 12. " The time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings and abominable idolatries; wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you: who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead.” i Peter iv. 345. " Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolalers, nor adulterers, nor efferminate, &c. nor thieves, nor covelous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” 1 Cor. vi. 9, 10. " Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh, shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that sowelh to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.” Gal. vi. 7, 8. “The hour is coming, in the which all that are in the 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. If the Modern Universalists can show that these passages comport with their belief, there is the same reason to believe that they can demonstrate the devil to be a very pious spirit!
The doctrine, that men receive all their punishmentin this life, is false, because it subverts the Scriptural doctrines of a future judgment and future punishment.