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Christ ever utter such nonsense? Never. It is an abomination in his sight. The exposition is so absurd and selfcontradictory that it needs no further notice. It refutes itself.
Under this class of texts I will refer you to Luke 18: 29, 30. “And he said unto them, verily, I say unto you there is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children for the kingdom of God's sake, who shall not receive manifold more in this present time and in the world to come life everlasting.? What will the Universalist do with this text? Why-your preachers attempt to refer it to the famous destruction of Jerusalem. They attempt a Greek criticism upon the word nion, rendered 'world' in the text tell us it means age, and that the then existing age was ihe Jewish age or dispensation, which ended at the destruction of Jerusalem, and that the age or dispensation to come is the gospel dispensation. - With the aid of this criticism the purport of the promise of Christ is made out to be this; No man that hath left house or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God's sake who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, - that is, under the Jewish dispensation- and in the world to come,- the gospel dispensation which is to open at the destruction of Jerusalem-everlasting life.' Is this all straight? Will it bear examination ? I think not. Error is fated to run crooked. Lobject to this exposition;
1. That it is built on false premises. As a matter of fact, it is not true that Christ and his Apostles lived, taught and died under the Jewish dispensation or age. Upon this subject we are not left to mere conjecture. The Savior has told us how far the dispensation of the law and the prophets extended. - Hear him. The law and the Prophets were until Jolin; since that the kingdom of God -the gospel kingdom-is preached.' When John intro duced his disciples to the true Messiah, saying, 'Behol the Lamb of God'—then Judaism received its death blow; when the Messiah expired on the cross as a sio-offering, he nailed all ordinances, purely Jewish to his cross, broke down the middle wall and partition between Jew and Gentile. With the preaching of Christ then the Christian dispensation commenced.
2. The construction put upon the word AION, rendered world in the text, is deceptive. It does not denote a limited period, or portion of time in itself considered. According to the best Greek lexicographers, it primarily denotes always being, and expresses the longest period the subject to which it applies, is capable of. Grove, defines it thus ; 'AION,' ever being ; eternity; an age ; life ; dispensation of Providence ; duration or continuance of time; a period ; a revolution of ages; this world ; the world or life to come.
3. If the world to come here denotes a period in this world, subsequent to the destruction of Jerusalem, then our Savior was guilty of teaching false doctrine. His language is general; - There is no man that hath, &c. who shall not receive, &c. Now, as a matter of fact, the most of those who became his followers during his personal ministry, died before the destruction of Jerusalem. They did not could not, then according to your construction, receive life, everlasting in the gospel dispensation. And if Christ has made a false promise in one instance, as your exposition implies, what reason have you to believe that he has not in every instance ?
4. It is not true that the primitive churchi enjoyed any privileges at, or immediately following the destruction of Jerusalem, which they did not enjoy from the beginning. No historian, Pagan, Jewish, or Christian, gives an intimation of any such occurrence. I
5. From the parallel passage in Matt. 19:28, we learn that this reward of everlasting life is to be dispensed in the regeneration--that is, when the Lord Jesus Christ sliall create new heavens and earth.
I have yet several other passages teaching us that the righteous are to be rewarded in the world to come, which I hope to present for your consideration.
My Dear Sir:
I have not yet done with my argument in favor of the doctrine of future retribution as drawn from the prom ises. The evidence here is as ample, explicit as I could wish. The limits which I have marked out for myself in this correspondence will allow me however, only room to present you with a specimen of the different classes of promises of eternal salvation, which, being conditional, necessarily imply future retribution. Allow me then to say, I cannot believe your doctrine,
(1) Because I find a class of texts in the Bible, in which we are exhorted to faith and piety by the hope of rewards in the heavenly world. For example ; Christ ex. horts us thus: - Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt and where thieves do not break through and steal.' Matt. 6:19,20.
Now, if your system is true, how can you account for the fact, that Christ, the wisest and best of all teachers, did exhort his hearers to lay up treasures in heaven? You be lieve that nothing that we can say or do in this world, will have any influence whatever upon our future condition. How then can one lay up treasures in heaven ? A long life of self-denying piety will not add one ray of glory to the immortal crown of the saint. A long life of heaven-daring and blasphemous impiety will not diminish one iota of the bliss and glory of those who live and die in sin. How then can we lay up treasures in heaven ? Your doctrine charges Christ with folly for uttering such an unmeaning exhortation. Again ; we hear the Savior breathing forth the following exhortation to a company of selfish Jews who followed him for the loaves and fishes : Labor not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat wbich endureth unto everlasting life.' John 6:27.
Here the hearers of Christ were laboring for the good things of this world exclusively Christ“ gently rebukes them for this, and exhorts them to labor for those undying blessings which enduremahide, unto everlasting life. How would such an exhortation sound from the lips of a Universalist preacher ?,..
Had Christ been a preacher of Universalism, the Jews might have turned upon him and said : “You acknowledge that our present business is to provide for our temporal wants, our eternal wants being above and beyond our reach. In seeking loaves and fishes, then, we are in our appropria ate sphere. Why then do you exhort us to labor for the meat that endureth unto everlasting life ? Everlasting life is an unconditional gift of God, and its felicity can in nosense or degree be increased or diminished by our labor. Our present characters have nothing to do with our future destination.' Such an appeal would have exposed the folly of such an exhortation. Did Christ ever utter such nonsense ? Never. Hear the Apostle Paul to Timothy : . But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exerci e thyself rather unto. godliness, for bodily exercise profiteth little (or for a little time, as the margin reads) but godliness is profitable unto all things, having the promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. 1 Tim.4: 7,8.
Here the fact that a connection exists between present moral character and the future destination of man is fully expressed. According to modern Universalism, neither godliness nor ungodliness has any thing to do with the life which is to come. Godliness is not profitable ; nor ungodliness unprofitable to it. But the inspired Apostle, who seems so have been a stranger to the inventions of these last days, affirms, that the profits of godliness extend to the life which is to come. This clearly implies future rewards and punishments. This text involves your system in a dilemma. Take which horn you please. Say that
the same, that I nt i migh, and
neither godliness nor ungodliness has any profits to be realized in eternity, and you make the Apostle a false teacher. Say the life which is to come denotes the present life, and you destroy the well known meaning of language.Hear St. Paul once more to the same point:
To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. But I keep under iny body, and bring it into subjection ; lest that by any means when I have preached to others, I myself should be a cast-away.' 1 Cor. 9:22,27.
In the preceding context the Apostle tells us of bis ardu-ous and self-denying labors to promote the spread of the gospel and secure the salvation of men. Now taking textand context into the account, there are several things here to my mind utterly inconsistent with Universalism. (1) I cannot understand why Paul should labor so hard, suffer so much,-become all things to all men that he might by all means save some, if all are on the road to heaven. If all are to be SAVED, why should he suffer and labor so much to save SOME ? Can you tell? Why should a. man make incessant efforts to save a few at least, if, lie well knew that all were to be saved ? Surely, Pauliwas not a Universalist; if he was, he was a mad-man! for. none but mad-men could be guilty of the folly of laboring to secure or save that which they know cannot be injured or lost.
(2) The A posile compares himself and his christian brethren, who are making this great and indefatigable ef. fort to save some, to the competitors in the Grecian games.
Now they do it (run in the games) to obtain a corruptible crown; but we' an INCORRUPTIBLE. Now I cannot understand how the Apostle and his christian brethren could labor for an incorruptible crown, if that crown is ta be bestowed upon all indiscriminately without the least reference being had to their having run, or not having run the christian race. Paul represents himself as on an agonizing race, running for an incorruptible crown, which