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our desires “to be clothed upon with a house which is from heaven," the Apostle expresses himself thus :
“ Therefore, we are always confident, knowing that, while we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord; (for we walk by faith and not by sight,) we are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord, wherefore we labor that whether present (in the body) or absent, we may be accepted of him.' Verses 6–9. Why does Paul labor that he may be accepted of the Lord, when he shall be absent from the body? Hear his answer :
“ For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.”
Verse 10., How natural! How clear and logical the reasoning of the Apostle! But to make Paul labor to be accepted of the Lord when he shall be absent from his body, when at the same time, he knew that none would be rejected, is to charge the Apostle with a lack of common sense ; and to make him labor to be accepted of the Lord when absent from his body, and then give as a reason for this, that Jerusalem would be destroyed after his death, is to make him out one of the greatest of blockheads, that ever undertook to put two ideas together. If you would understand this text, lay aside your Universalist books, take your Bible in hand and read from 2 Cor. 4: 16, to 11 verse of the next chapter, and you cannot honestly mistake the sense of the text. It is as clear and emphatic as language can make it,
2. I will refer you to I Cor. 16: 22, as another proof, text, which plainly teaches the doctrine of future punishment. " If any man love not our Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha.'
The phrase Anathema Maranatha, is composed of words which are untranslated in our version. The word anathema signifies a curse. It is always used in this sense. See Acts 23: 14. Rom. 9: 3. 1 Cor. 12: 3. Gal. 1:
8,9. The word Maranatha is composed of two Syriac words, which signify, the Lord cometh. The text then literally translated would read—“If any man love not our Lord Jesus Christ, let hiin be accursed when the Lord cometh.”. Mr. Locke paraphrases the passage thus: “If any one be an enemy of the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be accursed, or devoted to destruction. The Lord cometh to execute vengeance on hiin.” But what will Universalism do with this text? Why, we need not ask. The destruction of Jerusalem solves all mysteries, and makes crooked things to Universalism, all straight. Mr. Whittemore says:
“The coming of the Lord took place, as we have said, during the apostolic age. It was then that the curses and judgments denounced on the Jews who loved not our Lord Jesus Christ, were executed on them.” Universalist Guide: p. 186. To this attempt to refer 1 Cor. 16: 22, exclusively to the poor Jews, and the destruction of their holy city, I object,
(1.) The curse is to fall upon the heads of the enemies of Christ, at his coming : but he did not come at the destruction of Jerusalem, as I hope to make plain in my closing letter.
(2.) The denunciation is general. It is not limited to Jew nor Gentile. "If any man,”—that is, if any one of the race.
You confine it to the Jews. This is a violation of the grammatical construction of the text,
(3.) All the Jewish enemies of our Lord Jesus, were not cursed at the destruction of Jerusalem. Eleven hundred thousand of them at least, fell
' upon the sword of their enemies, leaped out of a Universalist hell, and ascended up to the paradise of God, in a moment, if your doctrine be true. These were not cursed. -- They were immediately and eternally blessed.
(4.) If Paul referred to the destruction of Jerusalem, why did he write this solemn warning to the Corinthians ? They were not Jews. The destruction of Jerusalem would not affect them.' Why did he not think to put this text into his epistle to the Hebrews, his Jewish brethren, who
were the only persons really in danger ? These things are mysterious to me.
3. I find a strong argument in favor of the doctrine of future retribution in 2 Thes. 1:7-10.
“ And to you, who are troubled, rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ : who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power: When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.'
What will Universalists do with this text ? Mr. Whittemore in his Guide refers it to the common receptacle of threatenings, viz. the destruction of Jerusalem. See Guide. p. 189. But I object to this summary mode of disposing of this text,
(1.) The apostle takes care to assure his brethren in chap. 2; 2, 3, that the coming of Christ, of which he treats was not then at the door.
ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means ; for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition."
(2.) No such coming as here described has ever yet taken place. I challenge all the Universalist expositors in the world, to produce one paragraph from any authentic history, going to show, that at the destruction of Jerusalem, Babylon, Tyre, Rome, Athens, Constantinople, or at the destruction of any other city or nation, any thing took place, at all answering the description, which Paul here gives of the coming of Christ.
(3.) The language of Paul is too general to be limited to the destruction of Jerusalem. The coming here spoken
of is for a two-fold object. [1.] To punish them all them) that “know not God, and that obey not our Lord Jesus Christ.” Were the poor Jews the only persons who knew not God? Were they the only sinners, who obeyed not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ ? [2.]
To be glorified in his saints. But Christ was not glorified in his saints at the destruction of Jerusalem. There was but a small portion of the Christian Church in Judea, and even these suffered great privations and distress in consequence of the war between the Jews and the Romans.
(4.) Neither Jews nor Christians resident at Thessalonica were seriously affected by the destruction of Jerusalem. They were in Greece. The war was in Judea, hundreds of miles off, across the sea.
(5.) Besides, if Paul wished to tell the Church at Thessalonica that Jerusalem was to be destroyed by a Roman army, and he could not express it any better than to use the language he employs in the text, he must have been a bungler in the use of language, and totally unfit for his office.
(6.) Again. Heb. 10: 28, 29, clearly teaches the doctrine of future retribution.
“He that despised Moses law died without mercy under two or three witnesses : Or how much sorer punishment, suppose ye shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith lie was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace ?"
What will you do with this text? It is a serious difficulty in the way of adopting your sentiments. I have looked into the Guide to see whether this text also refers to the destruction of Jerusalem ; but I find no reference to it. Mr. Whittemore in advertising his Guide, says in it, “Every threatening is explained!” This is what Universalists wani. « EVERY THREATENING EXPLAINED" away. This bait has taken so well, that, as I am informed by one in the secrets of “ the order," Mr. Whittemore has already realized $3,000 profit, from his
Guide. And yet "every threatening” is not explained. Heb. 10: 28, 29, is not noticed, and 2 Pet. 3: 7-10 is not explained. Another difficulty with Mr. Whittemore's Guide is, that what threatenings he has attempted to explain, will not stay explained. The moment the explanation is touched by the finger of sound criticism, like the fabled flowers of Sodom, it crumbles in atoms, and the sacred text once more assumes its threatening aspect, and warns the wicked to prepare to meet God in the judgment,
Now look at the text. It threatens a sorer punishment than " death without mercy.” " Death without mercy,' is the severest temporal punishment. No punishment which can be inflicted in this world, can be any worse than “ death without mercy.” But the Apostle appeals to the common sense of mankind, if he who hath trodden under foot the Son of God and counted the blood of the covenant an unholy thing, shall not be thought worthy of a sorer punishment than “death without mercy.” What is that punishment?
I have several other texts which I should have been glad to notice, such as Heb. 9: 27., 2 Pet. 3: 3—13. Rev. 21 : 7,8. Math. 25 : 46, but I have not room. In my next, we will consider the Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Yours as ever.
My Dear Sir:
Agreeably to promise I will now invite your attention to the subject of future retribution, as connected with the second advent of our Lord. You refer all those passages in the New Testament, whichs peak of a general judgment in connection with the coming of Christ, to the destruction of Jerusalem, and think you have a sufficient answer to all the arguments drawn from this source in Matt. 24: 34. “Verily, I say unto you, this generation shall not pass till