Page images
PDF
EPUB

me, for

reflections, undoubtedly, croud themselves into your minds on this trying occasion. It is to you, indeed, a day of sorrow and deep mourning. But among all the examples of moving compassion, none can exceed the pity and sympathizing spirit of the Savior of men. He was touched with the feeling of our infirmities, being tempted in all points as we are, except sin. It was a scene of distress that drew from his lips the plaintive expression, “My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death.” It was, my friends, for you

and

your son, and for the many millions of our race, that he endured the sufferings which were then immediately before him. He has divine consolations for the afflicted. How inviting and friendly are the following words : "Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest to your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” A time of trouble is often time for silence. I therefore forbear to enlarge. May the Lord aid and support you with the consolations of his word, manifest to your hearts the riches of his grace, and alleviate, comfort, and finally save you from afflictions of every kind, according to his abundant mercy.

The afflicted brothers and sisters, who are called to participate with their parents on this day of trial and sorrow, it is hoped will not consider themselves forsaken of the Lord. He who is good unto all, whose tender mercies are over all his works, has a blessing for you. Endure then with patience. Seek for resignation. It is happy for the afflicted, when they can apply the language of the prophet to their own case. “Altho the fig-tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vipe; the labor of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls ; yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation." Hab. iii. 17, 18.

The other mourners cannot but feel deeply interested in this afflictive dispensation, which has called them to mingle their sorrows with their friends. It is the rod of affliction that grieves you, but it is our heavenly Father's rod. I trust you will not think yourselves singled out as the objects of divine vengeance, because your friend concluded he could not sustain the evils of this world, and has left it. Let it never be forgotten, that “whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourg. eth

every son whom he receiveth." Not a soul in this audience, we presume, can contemplate this occasion with indifference. Instead of condemning, let us remember our own weaknesses. Can we determine how we should prove in the day of trial ? Forget not the disappointed confidence of Peter, when he addressed his Lord. Let us resign ourselves into the hands of our Maker; may he preserve us from the evil and shares of the world, according to the riches of his kindness and grace.

AMEN.

For the Repository, Rev. Mr. BARTLETT,

Having noticed in the Repository for June, a request from one of your readers to have some person give an exposition of John v. 28, 29, I send you the following, which is at your disposal.

John v. 28, 29. "Marvel not at this: for the hour is comiog, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good unto the resurrection of life ; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation."

Various are the interpretations which have been given of this portion of scripture. But for myself, I believe

A

it applies to a future state, and teaches a literal resurrection and judgment. In this interpretation I ain supported by all Christians except a few who confine all retribution to the present state of existence. They explain the resurrection here spoken of spiritually, and, of course, apply it to this world. But against this eso position there are many and weighty reasons. The passage in question is acknowledged by all to hold forth the idea of a retribution. This text not only teaches a retribution, but a retribution which is to take place at a particular time or period. Now the fact that this retribution is to take place at a particular time, let that time be when it may, goes directly against the doctrine which limits all retribution to this world. If men are punished according to the full desert of their crimes here in time, it is manifest that they must be punished step by step as they pass along, so that if they are taken out of the world at any moment, they will have received all they deserve, and so be obuoxious to no further punishment. The doctrine of no future punishment, therefore, forbids the idea of any special judgment; for it maintains that men are punished at one time as much as at another; that they are punished daily for their sin, so that if by any accident they should be taken away in a moment, they would be exposed to no future discipline. Now it is perfectly idle on that system to talk of a special retribution. It is totally senseless to speak of any particular time as the day of judgment, if the judgment takes place every day-at one time as much as at another.

What should we think of a distinguished philosopher who should pretend that he had some important fact to make known to mankind, and then should assert that on a certain future day the tide would ebb and flow at New-York? Since the ebbing and flowing of the tide is

what takes place constantly, we should conclude that this learned man was trifling with our understandings, or else was disordered in his intellect. Just so must our Savior appear on the system here controverted. On that system we must suppose that Jesus Christ called our attention to a subject, as tho it were something of transcendent importance, and then gravely told us that all power was given him by the Father, that he might be enabled at a certain future period to accomplish, what? why, that which has taken place daily in all ages of the world without any assistance on his part!! But shall we attribute such consummate trifling to him who was incapable of deceit"who spake as never man spake?” Far be the thought. It is so evident that a special judyment is taught in this passage, that the abettors of the system here opposed, are free to acknowledge it; the this acknowledgment is fatal to their views.

But it is said that our Savior was speaking of a spiritual resurrection in the context, and has given no notice of any change of the subject. That Jesus was speaking of a spiritual resurrection in the connexion, is readily admitted, and that he did give intimation of a change of the subject, we shall attempt to show. And it is worthy of remark here, that those who assert that Jesus Christ gave no intimation of any change in the subject, proceed immediately after making this statement, to apply the 28, 29 verses to an event totally distinct, and entirely different from any thing taught in the context. Certainly these expositors would not apply the different parts of this chapter to different events, in opposition to their own positive statement, unless such an application was taught in the discourse. But to proceed. In the 25th verse Jesus says, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live.” This is undoubtedly a moral or spiritual resur

rection. But a spiritual resurrection admits of no special judgment to follow the resurrection. It only teaches us, that those who are dead in sin, are raised to newness of life or spiritual enjoyment. After speaking of a spiritual resurrection in the 25th verse, Jesus says in verses 26th and 27th, "For as the Father bath life in himself, so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; and hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.” Here our Savior not only speaks of his ability to impart that life of which he had spoken in verse 25th, but speaks of his ability to execute judgment also. Thus we learn that he did change the subject of discourse. From that of a spiritual resurrection which precludes the idea of a retribution, he changes to that of a literal one connected with à retribution or judgment. This change is plainly taught by his speaking of executing judgment in contradistinction from raising men to spiritual life. “Hath given him power to execute judgment also.Unless there is a change of the subject, the emphatic word also, has no meaning. Knowing that he had introduced something in addition to what he had been treating of, the divine Teacher says, "Marvel not at this,” that is, tho I have introduced something new, do not be surprised. And then to confirm what he had said relative to his executing judgment, he adds the words placed at the head of this communication. “Marvel not at this ; for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in their graves, shall hear his voice, and come forth ; they that have done good, to the resurrection of life ; and they that have done evil, to the resurrection of damnation." Now it is perfectly evident from the manner of introducing the 28th and 29th verses, that they alluded to a subject entirely different froin the one spoken of in the 25th verse. By comparing the 25th verse with the 28th and 29th,

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »