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enjoys by faith this resurrection, comes forth to everlasting · life, and does not come into condemnation-he passes from · death unto life ; but not so with that which is taught by
the doctrine of Universalism. The Savior adds, * Verily, verily, I say unto you, the hour. is coming and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of man; and they that hear shall live.” This passage and the preceding one, we will admit as undoubted, teach a moral renovation by faith and the word of Christ, but it is not therefore as a matter of course, that the succeeding passages imply the same doctrine. The astonishment of the audience induced the Savior to say: '“marvel not at this” (we might paraphase it) “ that I quicken those who believe in me, and that hearing my voice-obeying my word—they are raised to a spiritual life; for a greater work than this the Son of man shall effect, for the time is coming when all that are in the grave shall hear his voice and shall come forth ; those who have done good unto the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil unto the resurrection of damnation.” What the Savior spoke of in the 24th and 25th verses, referred to present as well as to future time; whereas in the 28th and 29th verses he spoke of future time, “ the hour is coming, 8°c.;' therefore the former teaches what may and does take place in the present world, and the latter refers to the period of the general resurrection......
Another gloss upon this Scripture is, that all men have done good and evil, they must necessarily share in both resurrections, to life and to damnation. This does not exactly accord with the text, for that makes a distinction of moral character in those who have done good, and those who have done evil; the good shall have a resurrection to life and not to damnation, and the evil shall have a resurrection to damnation and not to life. It is also a question open to debate, whether all have done the good spoken of
in the text, or the evil. The standard of goodness among men is sometimes an abomination in the sight of a holy God, and the evil referred to in the text may not be the evil of which all are guilty. Barnabas “was a good man, he was full of the Holy Ghost and of faith ;” (Acts xi. 24.) and Christ says, “He that heareth my word and believeth in him that sent me, shall not come into condemnation." Ezekiel declares who are the good: “ When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die ; if he turn from his sin and do that which is lawful and right, .* * * none of his sins that he hath committed shall be mentioned unto him ; he hath done that which is lawful and right; he shall surely live.”. (Ez. xxxiii. 14-16.) All those who turn from their sins prior to death, and have faith in the word of God, shall not come into condemnation, but unto the resurrection of life ; for they have done that which is lawful and right, their sins are pardoned, and they are treated as though they had never sinned; for Christ to them hạs “ become the end of the law for righteousness.” (Rom.x. 4.) Those who have done evil are such as are “condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God;" they turn not away from their sins and folly and are void of the spirit and truth of Christ. Ezekiel describes those who shall die in their iniquity, and come forth to the resurrection of damnation : “When a righteous man turneth away . from his righteousness and committeth iniquity, and dieth in them; for his iniquity that he hath done shall hè die.” Ez. xviii. 26.
The above is the standard of good which when lived up to, will secure a resurrection to eternal life ; and also the : standard of evil which when practised will result in a resurrection to damnation. Thus the sinner will be raised with the same moral character, with which he left this . world, and if deserving of punishment here, he will be in the eternal world. Death does not change the moral character of the soul, nor will the slumber of years bleach out the stains of sin. As the wicked leave this world in point of character, so will they stand up before the Judge in the resurrection. The body will not be refined morally in the darkness and corruption of the grave, nor their souls with the sufferings which they may endure in their separate state; while wandering in the gloom of despair in the future world and wailing in anticipation of the Judgment day. In the decisive time, when the voice of Christ shall thunder from the blue vault above, the dead shall awake, the spirit shall be recalled from its wanderings and reunite with its body, startled into life, and coming forth from the grave, the dark charnal-house or the billowy deep ; the same moral character they shall sustain which was formed before their separation by natural death. Once they were loath to die ; but now how loath they are to undergo a fearful and trembling reunion of soul and body with prospective eternity in full view.
All those passages which speak of the “resurrection of the just”—of the “just and the unjust-of the “ dead in Christ rising first”—and of “the first resurrection,”_"the better resurrection,” intimate and teach a distinction of character; that the wicked shall possess the same moral character at the resurrection and in the future world, which they formed in this lise of probation. Compare the following passages: Luke xiv. 14; Acts xxiv. 15; 1 Thess. iv. 16; Rev. xx. 6; Heb. xi. 35.
If we have established the proposition, that the moral character of men shall accompany them into the spiritworld, then we have advanced an unanswerable argument in favor of future punishment; for our opponents admit that the wicked deserve punishment in this life, because they are sinful and unholy ;. for this very reason they deserve and will receive punishment in the future life.
7. The Scriptures represent, that the wicked will be punished after death, that is after the dissolution of soul and body.
If we shall be able to prove this proposition, then we shall advance another strong and decisive proof of a future judgment, and punishment. We have already stated that reason would teach the necessity of future punishment; for in this life the wicked do not receive adequate punishment for all their sins deserve; and that the administration of - divine providence cannot be explained on any other ground. While the righteous suffer many afflictions in this world, from which the religion of Christ does not exempt them, though they are sanctified to their future good; the wicked flourish and spend their days in lust and wine.
We read in Heb. ix. 27. “ And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.”
This passage inculcates the doctrine, that the Almighty has made the order of his judgment in point of time, to succeed death-after death we shall appear before the judgment seat to answer for all the deeds done in the body. We should suppose, even from logical reasoning, that if there were no future punishment there would not even be a propriety of a judgment after death, For a judgment presupposes that the children of men pursued a course of conduct for which they were held accountable, and which would have a moulding influence on their destiny subsequently. A judgment implies a strict and legal investigation of the character of men, together with a judicial decision. All these things are needless, if there be no future punishment; if judgment and punishment go hand in hand with the career of sin and folly ; begin and end together. As the dealings of God can alone be explained and harmonized with eternal right and justice, before an assembled world, after the human race shall have transcended the bounds of probation, so it will be essentially important to hold a future judgment; and if a judgment, then there will be future rewards and punishments. ..
The Savior says in Luke xii. 4, 5 : “ Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear; Fear him which after he hath killed, hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.” Compare with Math. x. 28. We look upon this Scripture as being in point, and decisive. This passage speaks of the punishment of the body; its destruction, and that too, as inflicted in this life by maň, or by God.
It speaks of the punishment of the soul in such a sense • as man can never inflict; for after the body is killed, the soul cannot be reached by his artifice, or cruelty. God alone can destroy the soul. This punishment of the soul is spoken of as separate and distinct from that inflicted on the body.
This punishment of the soul is inflicted by God after the death of the body, therefore it must be in the future world. There is no escape from this passage, except by advocating the doctrine of the annihilation of the soul, and this is equally fatal to Universalism; for if the souls of the wicked are annihilated, then their final holiness and happiness is out of the question. Since men may lose their natural life, so may the soul be exposed to the damnation of hell, which could not be the case, if there were no hell and punishment after death. Some of the Jews had so sinned as to expose the soul to inevitable destruction, therefore the Savior says: “How can ye escape the damnation of hell ?”
“ There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day;