« VorigeDoorgaan »
Ifave great reason to suspect the sins, and there be no change of truth of that system, which they character after death, then it is are brought to establish. It may of inconceivable importance, that therefore be an expeditious way I should this moment be preparof oversetting a false scheme, to ed for heaven ; for another moexpose the perversion which is ment's delay may shut the door made of the most material pas- of mercy upon me for ever ; but sages of scripture, which are if, after death, there be still anothalleged in its support. If upon er probation, though my duty to examining a new house, which exercise immediate repentance had been built with a view to be as great, yet the consestrength as well as beauty, you quences of a delay are, by no should find the posts and princi- means, so alarming. It has pal timbers rotten, you would been the common sentiment of hardly think it needful to exam- the Christian world, that the ine the stads and braces, and scriptures teach us, that a part smaller timbers, but would take of the children of Adam will it for granted, that they too were be saved, through Christ, from rotten. You would reason thus : the miseries of hell, and that a Surely if the man could have part will be punished without found any good, sound timber, end. This commonly received he would not have had rotten sentiment is, however, disputed posts and beams. If, for exam- by those, who are called Univerple, it could be found (which we salists. The Universalists are presume it cannot) that those of two kinds, 1. Those who hold who believe in the to:al defiruvi- to no future punishment; and 2. ly of human nature, hare en- Those who hold to future puntirely misunderstood and per-ishment in hell, but to a uniververted those principal texts, sal restoration from that state of which they bring to support punishment to a state of eternal their belief, such as Gen. vi. 5. blessedness in heaven. . It is Pom. iii. 9-23. and Rom. viii. the latter class of Universalists, 7, 8. it would do much towards which we shall have our eye convincing us, without proceed more particularly upon in the ing further, that their sentiment following explanations. We could not be supported by the shall now proceed to examine scriptures. But if these pillar several of their most noted texts should appear to be sound, texts. we might conclude the doctrine would stand, even though we
NO. I. should find some texts, which are less depended upon, misap- " Whom the heaven must replied in being brought to sup- ceive until the times of restiport this doctrine.
tution of all things, which That part of the Christian God hath spoken by the mouth system, which treats of a future of all his holy prophets since retribution, is exceedingly im- the world began. portant. If men are forming
Acts iii. 21, their characters here for eternity, it is important they should THIS text is taken first, be1.now it. If some die in their cause I suppose that the nams
of the sentiment, Universal Res- the system of a universal resto*toration," was designed to be tá- ration be built on this text, the ken from the phrase, Pestitution idea of sinners being driven from of all things, which is used in the judgment seat to hell must this verse. If the sentiment de- be given up; but this would rived its name from this passage, give an entire new turn to the it is natural to suppose, that this Restoration scheme. They have is considered as one of the prin- hitherto exerted themselves to cipal texts to support it. explain away the endlessness of
The Restoration plan suppos- the punishment denounced by es, that at the day of judgment, the Judge, but; if they build their there will still be righteous and system on this text, they must wicked ; that the righteous will explain away the whole of the be taken to heaven and the wick- sentence, which denounces any ed sent to hell, to endure ever- punishment to be endured after lasting punishment, that is, as the day of judgment. they explain it, punishment to After showing that this paslast for ages of ages. After sage does not favor the Restothey have endured this everlast-ration scheme, we shall enquire ing punishment; they are to be what it does mean. Is not this restored to the favor of God. one important idea contained in Now the text before us, if it these words, That before, and prove any thing in favor of a at the day of judgment, all the universal salvation, will prove elect will be gathered in and too much to suit this system. completely restored to the divine If the “ restitution of all things” image and favor.
These are mean the restoration of all men Christ's people spoken of Psal. to holiness and happiness, then cx. 3.- these are his seed menthis text proves that this resto- tioned by Isaiah in the 53d chapration will take place at the day ter of his prophecy. The proof judgment. It is granted on phets never spoke of the Messiall hands, that Christ will come ah as restoring men from the from heaven to earth, at the day place of the damned to the place of judgment. But this text does of the blessed, and they never as much as to tell us, that he spoke of his restoring all men will not leave heaven to visit the in this world to holiness and earth until the times of restitu- happiness, but that his people tion of all things ; therefore, the should become willing ; that he restitution of all things, which should see the travail of his soul. "God hath spoken by the mouth - The prophets foretold that aof all his holy prophets, is an mong those who slept in the event cotemporary with the day dust of the earth, some should of judgment. According to this awake to life, and some to shame passage, it is evident, that Christ and everlasting contempt; thereis to be kept or retained in hea- fore à restitution of all things, ven until the very time, when which was spoken by the mouth this restitution shall take place ; of all the holy prophets, doth then it must take place as early not mean a restoration of all. as the general judgment, else we men to the favor of God.
All need not expect to see Christ things at the day of judgment here on that solemn occason. If may be restored, which they
said would be restored, and yet secure. The strong hand of many be left in a state of impen- divine justice will subdue the reitence and wrath.
bels—they will never again be Another idea communicated able to rise. Let us take heed, by the restitution of all things, that we be not then found among at the day of judgment, may be the enemies of the Lord ! this, That things will all then « Now like a lion shall my vengeance be restored to order-things will not go on any longer in that Thy bleeding heart, and no deliverer mixed, and apparently, jumbled state as they now do; but then
No. II. every creature will have his proper place assigned him, and The last enemy that shall be there he will be kept. The right- destroyed is death." eous will all be admitted to hea
1 Cor. xv. 26. ven, and sinful angels and impenitent men will be confined in
TO understand this passage, that eternal prison, which divine we must know in what sense the justice has prepared for the wick-word death is here used. Death ed. When a rebellion is effect is commonly used in the scripually quelled, tho’ the rebellious tures to signify one or the other hearts of many of the insurgents of these three things, 1. A ces. are not subdued, things are ne- sation of animal life, which we vertheless said to be restored to term natural death : 2. It is used order. If there is not a single as synonymous with sin, Rom. rebel left in power, but every one vii: 24, and elsewhere. This we is either allured by mercy, or call spiritual death : 3. Death is conquered by the strong hand used to signify any misery, of government, and either taken | whether it be endured in the preout of the way by execution, or sent or future state, Present bound by chains, which cannot evil is called death, Exod. x. 17. be shaken off, we may say con- Future misery is called death, cerning this kingdom, or state, Rom. vi. 23. This, when it resall things are now reduced to pects the future world, is termed the state they were in before the eternal death. Now if we can rebellion took place. The laws understand in which of these are as much respected now as senses the word death is used in before; the powers that be, are the passage under consideration, as much revered, and the virtu- it will probably not be difficult ous and obedient are no more to understand the meaning of liable to be molested by the sons the whole passage. of Belial, than they were before As this is not a detached pasthe existence of the rebellion. sage, like a proverb, but stands
The rebellion which has aris- in the midst of a chapter, which en in Jehovah's dominion, will is all of it a connected chain of be effectually quelled at the day reasoning, on one particular docof judgment, though the hearts trine of the Christian religion, of many rebels will still remain the meaning of the word death opposed to God. The perfect may probably be learned from and eternal peace of the holy the context. The words death, part of God's kingdom will be die and dead are used more than
twenty times in this chapter be- does not mean spiritual dying, sides in the verse now before us; nor future misery. The reader and in every one of these other will find the word die, or death, places natural death, or the death or dead occur in the 32, 35, 36, of the body is most evidently in- 42, 53, 54, 55, and 56th verses. tended. Christ died for our sins, And I am persuaded, that a mere ver. 3. Now if Christ be preach- glance of the eye on these ver. ed that he rose from the dead, ses will convince him that they how say some among you, that refer to the death of the body, there is no resurrection of the and that alone. dead : But if there be no resur- It is very evident that natural rection of the dead, &c. ver. 12, death is intended, by the way in 13. It is evident that Christ's which it is connected with the resurrection from the dead graye, ver. 55, O death where is means from among those who thy sting? O grave where is thy were literally dead, i. e. from a victory? Now, we know that state of natural death. It is also the death, which prepares us to evident, that the word dead, which be lodged in the grave, is the occurs twice more in the 12th death of the body. If the word and 13th verses, intends those death is used in the same sense who are in their graves. In the through this chapter (as it nian15th, 16th, 20th, 21st, and 22d ifestly is) the 56th verse makes verses the words dead, death and it clear that it is not sin or spirdie are most evidently used in itual death, which is intended; exactly the same sense as before; for here it is said, “ The sting the same subject is continued. of death is sin.” Sin, we know, These, I believe, are all the pla- is the thing which makes us ces, where death is spoken of in afraid to die. If death in this this chapter, until we come to the passage. be used synonymously text under consideration. This with sin it would make no sense we will pass for the present, and at all. try to find how the word is used Can it now remain a doubt in in the rest of the chapter. In our minds what is the true meanthe 29th verse, the word dead oc- ing of the word death, in the pascurs three times, and though the sage before us? It would be sense of this verse is rather ob- strange indeed, if the apostle scure ; yet the meaning of dead should in the middle of such a is pretty clearly determined by connected discourse, where he this clause, “ If the dead rise has occasion to use this word so not.” The apostle in the 31st frequently, make use of it in verse says, “ I die daily.” Tho' quite a different sense, without die here does not mean the actu- giving us any intimation of it, or al cessation of natural life, still any thing, whereby we could find he has his eye upon. natural out that he had used it differentdeath, and would be understood ly from what he did in the rest to say, that in standing for the of the discourse. defence of the gospel, I do as it
When the apostle declares, were undergo a kind of daily " the last enemy that shall be dying. I am beaten, I am im- destroyed is death,” he means prisoned, I am stoned, I am call- that kind of death, which has ed to fight with beasts. Die here / dominion over the bodies of the
saints and now holds them pri- / ing called the last enemy is
“ to die is gain ?" It rection, when the trump of God
they cannot molest the children Why is death called the last of God; for they will be confinenemy? Because all the othered to their prison ; where also enemies of God's people are o- wicked men will be bound hand vercome before this. The con- and foot, unable any more to quest of sin is begun in regene- give vent to their malice, so as ration, carried on by sanctifica- to distress the lambs of Christ. tion, and completed at the mo- The time, when this last enemy ment of death, when the soul is is to be destroyed, is manifestly separated from the body. Spir- the day of judgment, Christ's seitual death in the saints is con- cond coming see ver. 23, “ Afquered, when natural death con- terward they that are Christ's quers them. Then the world at his coming." This is the time and the devil are for evet van- when the last enemy is to be dequished. There is nothing now stroyed. remains to interrupt their most This passage being, as I hope, perfect blessedness, except the fairly and intelligibly explained, dominion which death has over I shall be borne with, if I add their bodies. This then must several remarks, which are sugbe the last enemy, since they gested by the foregoing expla. have long before gotten the vic- nation. tory over every other foe. It be- Remark 1. The only way in