« PreviousContinue »
tion shows that Mr. S. referred the judgment to the event of the destruction of Jerusalem. He asserts that the book of the Apocalypse was written prior to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Jewish polity, and that all the curses recorded, were mainly realized at that event, and the blessings promised were enjoyed in the gospel of Christ. Many of the preachers of Universalism, refer the judgment to the overthrow of Jerusalem, and the destruction of the religion and polity of the Jews; but others connect it with the entire mediatorial reign of Christ-sin, judgment and punishment go hand in hand, throughout the cycle of human existence.
Mr. Eli Ballou, in a discussion with Luther Lee, in 1842, expresses his sentiments, as the views of Universalists generally, in the following language, “ Your mistake consists in supposing that there will be sin and punishment after Christ gives up his mediatorial reign. He commenced the work of judging, rewarding, punishing and saving the world, at the establishment or setting up of his kingdom in the earth, and this work he will continue, until it is completed. Every advance of Christ's kingdom in the world, is a part of his second coming, or his appearing in his kingdom ; and in my judgment, every text in the New Testament which speaks of Christ's coming, as then future, relates to his second coming, or “his coming in his kingdom.'” Again, “I believe, that when the Son of man came in his kingdom,' he commenced the work of rendering unto • every man according to his works; because He then became the judiciary and executive authority of God's moral government.” “ At that time, [destruction of Jerusalem,] Christ commenced judging the world, and all nations were then put under his retributive administration, and he will continue to judge, or reign in his kingdom until all enemies are subdued to him, &c.” We learn from Eli Ballou that Universalism teaches. 1. That the second coming of Christ took place at the destruction of Jerusalem. 2. That the kingdom of Christ was set up at the time Jerusalem and the Jewish polity were overthrown. 3. That then Christ began to judge and furnish the world and every man according to justice and their works. 4. That the judgment of God will close when, (and certainly then, the mediatorial reign of Christ shall terminate.
A. C. Thomas, in the “Lowell Discussion," in noticing he position of Luther Lee, says: “ Your first letter, is devoted to the proof of the two positions : 1st. That there will be a day of judgment after the resurrection; and 2d. That there will be punishment in the immortal resurrection state. Now I deny both these doctrines, &c.” “ You date it (the judgment] at the close or delivering up of the kingdom at the resurrection, whereas I have proved that it belongs to the beginning or setting up of his kingdom.” “ That it (the judgment] belongs to the beginning or set-, ting up of Christ's kingdom—and to its progress, and not to its consummation.” It will be perceived, that Messrs. Pingree, Skinner, Eli Ballou, and Thomas, harmonize in their views, in their rejection of the doctrine of the judgment after the resurrection, and in maintaining that the judgment began with the commencement of the gospel dispensation, which they date at the destruction of Jerusalem, and that it will continue with the progress of the mediatorial kingdom of Christ. We might add the testimony of Hosea Ballou, Balfour, Whittemore, 0. A. Skinner, Williamson, Sawyer, &c.; but it is not necessary. There appears no greater agreement on any doctrine of Universalism, than in holding, that the judgment of God is carried on in time, and that every one is rewarded and punished in this life.
THEIR PROOFS. 1. All the passages which speak of the coming of Christ, which announce threatening and wrath, and those which speak of rewards, of life and blessedness, have particular reference to the setting up and progress of Christ's kingdom on earth, to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Jewish polity, and to the blessings of the gospel economy. Thus they sweep away with one broad assertion, the entire chain of proof and divine testimony, which has usually been relied upon to establish and defend the doctrine of a Final and General Judgment. Many of those passages we have already considered, and defended their designed and appropriate application, which we need not repeat in this place. It has always been and ever will be a fruitless task, to harmonize the Scriptures with the views of Universalists relative to the judgment.
2. They appeal to a few passages directly to sustain the doctrine, that Christ began to judge the world at the beginning of his gospel kingdom, and not at the consummation of that kingdom.
2 Tim. iv. 1. “I charge thee therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom.” This passage is quoted by Universalists, to prove that the beginning of the kingdom of the gospel and of the judgment, commenced at the same time, and progress together. The following is the comment of Abel C. Thomas on the passage, “ The passage plainly treats of Christ's appearing as a judge, at the date of his appearing as a king. The reference is to the beginning or appearing of his kingdom, and not to its closing scenes. He was to act in the capacity of a judge • at his appearing and his kingdom, &c.'” There are insuperable objections to the interpretation and use of the above passage, as made by Universalists.
1. The time spoken of by Paul was still future, whereas if Christ began to judge and reward the world at the setting up of his mediatorial kingdom, then the work had already been in operation for more than 30 years. We are aware that Universalists assume the position, that the kingdom was set up or commenced at the destruction of Jerusalem, but this needs proof. If at any particular time Christ began to act as Mediator, it was immediately after his resurrection ; for he says, “ All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” Matth. xxviii. 18. Then he began to reign in his mediatorial kingdom ; and all the power and authority of the kingdom were conferred upon him by the Father" all things are delivered unto me of my Father;" (Matth. xi. 27,) and no where is it stated that he was crowned a king, and elected as a judge, at the destruction of Jerusalem. In Rom. xiv. 9, we learn how Christ became entitled to this kingdom: “For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be LORD both of the dead and living.” “ This he actually assumed before Jerusalem was destroyed, for we read 1 Peter iii. 22 : “Who is gone into heaven and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.”
If the judgment began with the gospel dispensation, then the gospel era had not yet commenced, when Paul wrote his second epistle to Timothy, about 65 years after the birth of Christ; for the time he alludes to was still future, when Christ “shall judge the quick and dead at his appearing and his kingdom.” But this era of grace and gospel refreshings had long since begun ; even in the days of Christ's personal efforts, “the kingdom of heaven suffered violence and the violent took it by force;" and in the day of Pentecost, the prophecy of the outpouring of the diving spirit was realized as a gospel blessing; and the partition wall
between the Jew and Gentile was broken down and the people were justified and made one family unto God by faith. Then the setting up of the gospel kingdom was not referred to by Paul in 2 Tim. iv. 1; but another event in which Christ shall judge the living and dead. The reader may peruse and collate the following passages, teaching the kingdom of Christ: Ps. ii. 6; lxxxix. 19; cx. 1–3. Is. ix. 6, 7. Dan. vii. 14. Luke i. 32. John xvii. 2. Eph. i. 20, 21. Heb. ii. 8. Rev. xi. 15.
2. “At his appearing and his kingdom,” as used in the text, does not necessarily refer to the setting up, or beginning of the gospel kingdom ; but to the appearing of Christ at the end of the world, and to the full extension and establishment of his kingdom. We have already given one incontrovertible reason, why it must refer to an event subsequent to the beginning of the gospel economy, for a different period of time is referred to. At the time of the appearing of Christ and at his kingdom, Christ shall be Judge and arraign before his tribunal, the quick and dead, or the whole human race. These scenes will transpire at the same time or in swift succession. What is therefore to be understood by the phrase, “ his appearing ?" The term “appearing” is used in various passages, and in such connections as preclude the possibility of referring to the setting up of his kingdom. It implies his " second coming" and that is still future. 2 Thess. ii. 8. “Then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall destroy with the brightness of his coming”— literally by his appearing. 'All respectable Biblical interpreters refer this passage to the downfall and overthrow of Roman Catholicism ; this wicked Power shall be destroyed at the appearing of Christ; but this Roman Beast still reigns and sits in the temple of God, therefore the second coming of Christ is still in the future. Had the second coming of Christ taken place at the beginning