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corruptible” and “unfading” nature as though the Savior had used the very words.
In the investigation of this subject, we shall find that the happiness of heaven and the misery of the damned are placed in contrast, as opposite portions and equal in duration—that they are parallel in point of duration. .
The Savior says: “ These shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.” Matth. xxv. 46. While the wicked reap as their portion “everlasting punishment,” the righteous shall inherit “ life eternal ;” and it is not said, that those who go into punishment, enter also into life, nor those who secure life, shall reap the - : portion of the wicked. Therefore as their characters were made up, in this life, of opposite materials, their destiny is opposite, and will be equal in duration. The terms “ life" and “punishment” are not necessarily expressive of duration, as life may be interrupted, and punishment cease; but when the word is applied to life which means continued being, we have a warrant that life shall not be interrupted, and that it shall be interminable. The same word (aionios) which is applied to life in its proper and grammatical sense, is applied to “punishment” in the same sense, and must necessarily establish the doctrine of the eternity of punishment, and frustrate all expectation of a cessation of future woe. If the life referred to in the text, comprises the bliss of saints in glory, and that this happiness will be endless, then the punishment of the wicked, embraces their future. misery, and teaches that it will be eternal; for the contrast not only includes the opposité portions, but also their duration. This argument is conclusive.
However, many have admitted that the life referred to in the text, may mean eternal blessedness in heaven, yet punishment need not imply an existence of equal duration; but as the argument is irrefutable, that if the one is allowed to
teach endless bliss, the other must necessarily establish endless woe, therefore, to avoid this inevitable conclusion, the Universalist has denied, that the passage has any reference to the future world—that (as he says) the life eternal signifies the gospel with its blessings in this world; and the "everlasting punishment” was fulfilled in the destruction of Jerusalem. ..
Eli Ballou renders the text as follows: “ These shall go away into the punishment of the age; but the righteous into the life of the age, meaning the gospel age, or dispensation of this world.” Again; “ Christ said, that he would come in glory, and with his holy angels, and would then sit upon the throne of his glory ; and he affirmed, that that generation should not pass away, and that some who then heard him should not die until they saw him thus coming." “ He then sat upon the throne of his glory, because his kingdom was then established in the earth—he came in his kingdom--and then commenced rewarding every man according to his works.” “ At that time,” (at the destruction of Jerusalem,( “ Christ commenced judging the world, and
all nations were then placed under his retributive administration, &c.” We believe, that Universalists refer this portion of Scripture to the destruction of Jerusalem, by common consent; and it shall be our object now to show that such an application is erroneous, and consequently that it refers to the future general judgment, and the rewards and punishments of the spirit-world.
1. That portion of Scripture included from verse 31 to 46, is generally declared to be a parable by Universalists. If it be a parable and was designed to illustrate the destruction of Jerusalem, this catastrophe of the Jews must correspond with the parabolic prophecy ; for if the event does not correspond, then it must have been fulfilled, or will be, in some past or future scene. But we do not admit that it was a parable; and we do deny that it was designed to teach and illustrate the destruction of Jerusalem and the Jewish polity. The Son of man is said to come in “his glory," and this could not have taken place at that time. If he did, the glory of Christ must consist in famine, pestilence, war, in helmet and shield, in slaughter and blood, the groans and wailings of the dead; for all these horrid scenes came to pass when Jerusalem was besieged and razed to the ground. We learn, that the glory of Christ consists in quite a different element. He prayed to the Father, “glorify me with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.” John xvii. 5. And Paul declared, that since christians had suffered with Christ, “they should also be glorified together.” Rom. viii. 17. This must be far different from what was displayed when the Jewish metropolis was ransacked; therefore the Scripture was not fulfilled at that time.
2. The Son of man should come with his holy angels. That the term angels sometimes stands for messengers in figurative language, we admit; but we insist, that the character ascribed to them must be rigidly transferred in the interpretation of language. · Whether the term angels means the identical beings, strictly so called in the Scriptures, or some specially commissioned messengers of God, they. must necessarily be holy, to answer the teaching of Christ. If this Scripture refers to the destruction of Jerusalem, then the holy angels must mean the Roman army, for this was the agency which overthrew that city. It could not designate the saints of God, for they did not accompany Christ in the overthrow of Jerusalem, and they had even fled from the city previously, as they had been notified to do forty years before. And no where is the Roman army ever called holy; but rather the “abomination” that maketh desolate. This second reason forbids an application of this text to the final subversion of Jerusalem.
3. The Son of man shall sit upon a throne of glory. His sitting upon the throne, presumes that he entered upon his judicial work, and this idea is sustained by the entire Scripture. Where did Christ sit upon the throne to judge the people at the ruin of that city ? It cannot mean that there and then he was invested with the judiciary and executive authority of his government, for this took place nearly forty years prior. At the time he said, “ All power is given me in heaven and earth,” (Matth. xxviii. 18.) then he was invested with this authority and right, and therefore he fully commissioned his disciples to preach the gospel.
4. Before the Son of man should be gathered all nations. Did this take place when Jerusalem was destroyed? The Universalists declare it was, and for their authority they quote Zech. xiv. 2. where it is said, “ for I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle, &c.” We have several objections against the interpretation of the words of Christ as given by Universalists. The first is, that the event does not correspond with the text; and the second is, that the proof given is distorted and inadequate. We ask, is it a fact that all nations were gathered together at that time and place ? Is it not rather a fact, that not a single nation was gathered together, much less all nations ? Neither the entire Jewish, nor Roman nation was assembled at Jerusalem. How then can this history illustrate the text ? Do you say, some of all nations should be and were gathered together ? But the text does not say, a selection of nations, or some out of all nations; but all nations. This but ill accords with the stress and import laid upon “all men," or “ all nations,” or “all the kindred of the earth" by Universalists, when they speak of all being saved. They should be the last to torture the word “all” in such a way. If the fact does not sustain the interpretation given by these expounders of truth, neither does the proof adduced by Zech. xiv. 2. Read the whole passage, and it will show, that it has no reference to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman army. At that time, that city was depopulated and wholly ruined, the people were either destroyed, or carried into captivity. What does the prophet Zecheriah say: “ I will gather-all nations against Jerusalem to battle * * * * and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.”. Every
one who has ever read the history of the downfall of Jeru, salem knows, that this prophecy was not fulfilled when that
city was destroyed by the Romans; for in this siege hundreds of thousands were slaughtered, and the rest were taken captives, while the prophet says, that only half should go into captivity and the rest of the people should be left in the city. The declaration of Christ can only be fulfilled in
the last.and general judgment day. :: 5. The Son of man should separate the nations and re- ; - ward them according to their character. If all nations
were not assembled at Jerusalem, neither could they be separated; but this should take place at that time when the text shall be fulfilled. The Psalmist says, “the wicked shall be turned into hell, and all: the nations that forget :. Göd.” If at Jerusalem this was fulfilled, then the Jews constituted the nations represented by the goats, and the Romans by the sheep. The blessed ones, who were the Roman army, received the kingdom of God which was prepared from the foundation of the world, and must have consisted in the spoils, gold, silver and raiment taken out of the city. Is this the kingdom of God? Does not Paul say, “the kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost ?" Rom. xiv. 17.
6. The wicked should be punished at that time with horrid ruin. Were the Jews cast into everlasting fire, prepared · for the devil ånd his angels? Was the destruction of Jeru