Page images
PDF
EPUB

it once more a paradise, fitted to the eternal abode of his redeemed, resurrection saints. Mal. 3: 16–18. 4: 1–3. Isa 55: 17. 66: 22. Matt. 5: 5. 2 Pet. 3. 7-11. Rev. 5. 9, 10. 21: 1–7. And ibis glorious work will be done. But God has nowhere promised in the Old Testament or the New, to restore those who live and die in rebellion against his throne, and this will not be done.

Your preachers and authors frequently quote Rom. 6: 23. "The gift of God is eternal life.But what has this text to do with proving that there is no punishment for the wicked in the world to come? Is not our present life and all our temporal blessings equally the gift of God? And yet are not these "gists of God” sometimes rejected, and at other times perverted and converted into curses? Temporal life is a gift of God, and yet it is possessed with all its concomitant enjoyments conditionally. If you refuse to comply with the conditions of bealth, i. e. to take wholesome food, exercise in pure air and proper rest, you will speedily sicken and die Forgiveness of sin, is "a gist of God,” and yet it is a gift bestowed on the simple and easy condition of repentance. Eternal life and blessedness is a "gift of God," bestowed upon the condition of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ., John 3: 14–16; but those who will not believe in Jesus Christ, are told they "shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth upon them.”

Another favorite text which sometimes is pressed into the service. of Universalism is Rom. 6: 7. “He that is dead is free from sin."

You are aware, that persons are said to be dead in seyeral different senses.

A
person

is dead when the connection between body and soul is dissolved; at other times a person is said in Scripture language, to be dead when, his soul has lost the favor and presence of God; and at other times, a person is said to be dead, who is crucified to the world and the world crucified to hiin. Now the question is, in which of these senses does the Apostle use the word dead in this text? I answer without hesitation in the sense of being crucified to the world. Look at the context. See

how the Apostle introduces the figure ; ' How shall WE (christians) that are dead to sin live any longer therein ?' ver. 2. Here then you you see that the persons who were dead were the living Apostle and his christian brethren at Rome, and the death which was upon them was a death to sin. So in the following context, the same idea is repeated. Now, if we (christians) be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him. Here then you see the Apostle is not speaking of the death of the body, but on the contrary, of that death which is a crucifixion to the world. When you experience this death, my dear sir, you will be free from your old sins, they will have no more dominion over you.

. May your mind be led into a knowledge and enjoyment of that truth which maketh free indeed. Yours as ever.

LETTER XII.

. My Dear Sir :'

Perhaps there is no portion of the New Testament upon which you place more dependance than the 15th chapter of Ist Cor. It will be my duty then toʻbestow a little attention to the evidence which you suppose you have in this portion of the Word of God, in favor of your peculiar system. In the 22d verse Universalism is supposed to exist as in a kind of a nut-shell. For as in Adam all die ; even so in Christ shall all be made alive. Does this text teach Universalism ? I think not. A few moments spent by way of investigation will clearly show that this text, with others, is most egregiously perverted when pressed into the service of the no-future punishment scheme.

1. Let us inquire what is the scope and drist of the passage? Upon what subject is the apostle treating ? Is he illustrating the plan of salvation ? Is he showing how all men become sinners in consequence of Adam's transgression,

and how all men will be maile holy and happy in consequence of Christ's obedience. No. Is the apostle treat ing on the subject of a moral death and a moral life ? No. On what subject then is he treating ? On the subject of death and the resurrection of the body. To illustrate and prove the christian doctrine of the resurrection of the dead, the whole chapter was written. In the preceding context he shows the possibility of the resurrection of the literally dead, by proving the resurrection of Jesus Christ. After stating that Christ died for our sins, that he was buried, and rose again the third day, and proving this, he in troduces the text on this wise : - For since by man, (Adam,) came death, (death of the body,) by man, (Christ,) came also the resurrection of the dead in Adam, (the man alluded' to,) all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive ;': that is, all shall be raised from the dead.

Well, now, according to the rules of sound biblical interpretation, we are bound to understand the apostle according to the scope of the passage. We find he is treating on the subject of the death and resurrection of the body. This is the main, the leading and exclusive point. He is proving that the dead would rise,—and hence it was natural for him to show in what way nien have become subject to temporal death. His argument requires him to make a statement on that point. He makes it.' In Adam ALL die. Now he wishes to show how the dominion of temporal death will be broken up by the resurrection, and hence he says antithecally, 'Even in Christ shall all be made ALIVE.'

2. The form of the passage is what is called an antithesis, that is, opposition of words or sentiments. It is that forin of speech in which words or sentiments are to be understood literally in opposition or contrast, To know, then, in what sense the apostle is to be understood that all are to be made alive in Christ, we are to inquire in what sense he affirms all die in Adam ? The dying in Adam is the direct and literal opposite of being made alive in

Christ. If the dying in Adam is a spiritual death, then the being made alive in Christ, is a spiritual life. But, if the death in Adam is a temporal death, then the life in Christ is the literal resurrection from the dead.-Well, now, to say no more of the scope of the apostle's argument, which shows him to be treating on temporal death and a literal resurrection, I would remark, that it would be well for you to remember, when you bring this text forward to prove that all will be made morally und spiritually alive in Christ, that Universalists do not believe that all men have been made morally or spiritually dead in Adam. This doctrine of original sin, or the fall of man through Adam, which is universally denied by Universalists, must be admitted by them before they can, as honest men, file in

any
claim
upon

the latter clause of this antithetical passage, as at all favoring their system. In fact, according to your-standard authors, Universalists do not believe that our race either die spiritally or temporally in Adam ; and hence as honest men they have no right to bring forward this text, either to prove the universal holiness or resurrection of mankind.

3. The apostle in the following context has cut off the possibility of understanding biin to affirm that all are to be made spiritually alive and equally happy in Christ. Read the passage

in connexion with the following context. "For as in Adain all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive, but every man in HIS OWN ORDER, Christ the first fruits, afterward they that are Christ's at his coming, then cometh the end,' or consummation of tbe resurrection.

Every man then is to be made alive in his own order, in his proper rank, place and time. The word here rendered order, is tagma. It is a military word, and means troop or company. As in an army, each man stands connected and marshalled with others according to his age, character, office, or qualifications, so it will be in the resurrection of the dead, when all men, the righteous and the wicked, will be made alive in Christ, “ Every man in his OWN ORDER.? The martys and saints of God will

rise in their order. They will be Christ's at his coming, and will have a part in the first resurrection. 1 Thes. 4: 14-16; Rev. 20:4–6. Bold blasphemers and ungodly men will each and all rise in their own order. Death will not have swept their moral characters into eternal oblivion. He who marshalled the stars of heaven in their various constellations, will not fail to marshal the rising millions of the dead, assign each and all of them exactly that position, while standing around his great white throne' in judgment, and through the wasteless ages of eternity, which their moral characters require.

From this .ORDER' in the resurrection and judgment, remember my dear sir, there will be no escape. Now, a sinner may get out of his place. He may put on the livery of heaven to serve the devil in. But when the last trump sounds, Jehovah will send forth his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all things that offend. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the the kingdom of their Father.'

You frequently quote the 51st verse of this chapter to prove that all will be made morally or spiritually happy at death, or in the resurrection.

"We shall be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye at the last trump.'

Let us look at this passage, and we shall find that this is also most strangely perverted in order to employ it as a proof-text to support your system. The text in its connection reads thus; Behold I shew you a mystery ; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump; for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.'

Here the apostle, still treating on the subject of the resurrection, solves a mystery, that is, a question which had not been clearly and fully settled before. The mysterious question which he here solves, is one which would naturally arise in an objector's mind. What will become of those saints who may be alive at the coming of Christ

« PreviousContinue »