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*salem prepared for the devil and his angels. All this is implied, if the language of Christ is applicable to this Scene. 7. The righteous and the wicked should be rewarded and punished for what they had done or left undone. Were the Roman army righteous, or a profligate, wicked, and heathen people * Did they feed the hungry, clothe the naked and visit the imprisoned saints of God, and did the Jews neglect these things? Where can we learn all these things, authenticated by irrefutable evidences ! Does not even impudence itself blush at such distorted and mangled expositions of the holy and revered counsels of God? The only consistent exposition that can be given, is to apply the text to the judgment of the great day, and to the rewards and punishment of the human race, as it shall take place when the wicked “shall go away into everlasting punishment; but the righteous into life eternal.” We have been thus particular with this passage in refuting and exposing the false exposition given by Universalists, designed to wrest it from its obvious application to the future world, that we might produce similar passages in favor of the eternity of future punishment without needing to go over the same labor each time. For if we have proven one passage to be to the point, to sustain the doctrine of eternal damnation, then all of a like nature must corroborate the doctrine. Universalists have generally referred all the passages, upon which the orthodox found their belief of future and eternal woe, to the destruction of Jerusalem, and the same arguments which extricate the passage, we have considered, are more or less suitable to sweep away their false glosses from all. Since the passage in Matth. xxv. 46, has reference to the future world, and teaches the reward of the righteous, and the punishment of the wicked in contrast, and as effected at the same time, their final portion must be , opposite and equal in duration. “Who will render to every man according to his deeds: to them, who, by patient continuance in well doing, seek for glory, honor and immortality, eternal life: but unto them that are contentious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, tribulation and an- guish,” &c. Rom. ii. 6–9. This passage is quite decisive, and establishes the doctrine, that God will reward man— that every man shall receive his reward according to his deeds—those who do well, the reward of eternal life, and those who obey not the truth, but obey unrighteousness and are contentious, the reward of indignation, wrath and anguish. That all this shall take place in the future world, is evident from the fact, that they who do good, seek for honor, glory and immortality. All who earnestly and intensely strive for glory, the beauty, grandeur, riches and ecstatic felicity of heaven; for honor, the reward and approbation which God will confer on his saints; for immortality, the incorruptible and undying blessings, the permanent and felicitous condition of the saved in heaven—all these shall secure “eternal life.” As these glorious blessings lie beyond death and the grave, as well as eternal life, we presume the text has reference to the future world, not only in the reward of the “well doing,” but also in the punishment of those who “do evil,” with indignation and wrath. The reward and punishment will take place in the future world, at the same time, and their existence will be equal in duration—the bliss of heaven will be everlasting, and the woe of hell will be endless. We read in Job viii. 13, “The hope of the hypocrite shall perish;” and Solomon tells us in Prov. xiv. 32, “The righteous hath hope in his death.” How opposite the characters of the hypocrite and the righteous; and equally
opposite is their portion in the world to come. Christ says, “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” John iii. 36. While he that obeyeth the voice of Christ and believeth in the Father shall not come into condemnation, the unbeliever is condemned already ; and while the believer shall enjoy ever
lasting life, the unbeliever shall, be excluded from enjoying
life, and upon him shall rest and abide without interruption and to all eternity, the wrath of a sin-avenging God."
Who can still doubt, that the Bible teachés the reward of the righteous and the punishment of the wicked in contrast, to be effected at the same time and equally lasting ! If true, then hell shall not cease to be, sooner than heaven shall cease. - * . . . .* --. . .
3. The Bible would seem to teach the impossibility of the wicked being converted, pardoned, and saved in the spirit-world. - -
That the blessings of the gospel are proposed to the children of men upon certain unequivoeal and unalterable conditions, we have proven heretofore ; and that the blessing of salvation may be failed of, is therefore self-evident. All persons, therefore, who comply not with the conditions proposed, who reject the means of grace, resist and stifle the teaching and promptings of the Holy Spirit, thwart the obvious design of divine goodness to lead them to repentance, harden their hearts against judgment and truth, cannot be made partakers of the life, righteousness and power of the gospel. The children of men can no more be saved, without complying with the terms of the gospel, than though such provisions had never been made. Those conditions are vital and essential points ; yea, indispensable to a system of salvation by faith. -
1. The Bible teaches that men may arrive at that point where they shall be given over and reprobated of God. If so, this would teach the impossibility of being saved by the gospel. “My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh.” Gen. vi. 3. “Because I have called and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded, * * * I will laugh at your calamity and mock when your fear cometh,” &c. Prov. i. 24–31. “Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near.” Isa. lv. 6. “O, Jerusalem * * how often would I have gathered thy children together
* * * and ye would not. Behold your house is left unto you desolate.” Matt. xxiii. 37,38. “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” 2 Cor. vi. 2. “But he shall say, I tell you I know not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.” Luke xiii. 27. Read also the two preceding verses. “Whatever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom is, the grave, whither thou goest.” Ecc. ix. 10. “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: he that is filthy, let him be filthy still,” &c. Rev. xxii. 11. All these passages prove either that some men have already passed beyond the point of mercy, or the possibility of arriving there; in either case, the Scriptures sustain the position that there is a degree of wickedness, and the possibility of arriving at that place, whether in this world or the future is immaterial, where the plan of salvation shall be unavailing, and ruin will be hopeless and irrecoverable; as Solomon has taught us, “He that, being often reproved, hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.” Prov. xxix. 1. The gospel is the remedy of sin and moral ruin; but at the time when the cup of the transgressorshall be full, and sudden destruction shall come upon him, the remedy of the gospel shall not reach his case, therefore the proof, that the misery of the wicked will be endless, defies all speculative reasoning. 2. There is no assurance in the Bible, that the damned in hell shall be able to exercise faith in Christ, without which it is impossible to please, or to come unto God. That faith in Christ in order to obtain salvation is an indispensable pre-requisite, is indisputable; that a confidence in the mercy and willingness of Christ is essential to exercise an evangelical faith in him, is Scriptural ground; and that all this may be exercised in the world of woe, is, at least questionable, and we think fallacious. In order to have saving faith in God, we must be sensible and strongly assured, that the gospel is adapted and applicable to us in the situation in which we are placed, that Christ is interceding in our behalf; for if we are laboring under the impression, that we have sinned away the day of grace, that the blood of Christ was never spilt to deliver from the actual pangs of hell, and that Christ has ceased his pleadings for the salvation of our souls, but rather pronounced the withering curse of the barren fig-tree, it will be absolutely impossible to exercise a living and purifying faith in God, a loving, calm and unreserved surrender to Christ. How often do we witness in this life, where men and women despair of the mercy of God, that it is impossible for them to believe in Christ while in this state of mind. If thus the influence of the mere idea, that in their case hope and grace have fled, rears up an insurmountable obstacle to faith, what will be the case when the wrath and indignation of God shall heavily press their souls in the blackness of darkness? Will the damned then be able to believe in Christ to the salvation of their souls Could it even be proved by Scripture and unquestionable reasoning, that the lost in hell might be saved in the intermediate space of time of death