« ForrigeFortsett »
diction upon Cain, there is nothing said of punishment after temporal death. When the old world was de stroyed by a deluge, and Sodom by fire, no future punishment was threatened. Indeed, all those passages, which denounce woes upon the house of Israel, particularly the twenty-sixth of Leviticus, are silent upon the subject of future punishment. From this, the conclusion is drawn that there can be no punishment after death.
We sometimes see this argument thrown into a syllogism thus :-There is no future punishment threatened under the law; Christ came to fulfil the Jaw; therefore, there can be no future punishment under the Christian dispensation.
But these arguments are totally fallacious. They prove as conclusively, that there will be no future existence, as they do that there will be no future punishment. In the instances of Adam, Cain, the old world, and Sodom, there is nothing saill of existence after death. But shall we conclude from this, that man has no existence after the death of the body ? Those passages prove this as clearly, as they prove the system wo are opposing. But there can be no future punisbment; because it is no where mentioned in the law of Moses--I reply ; the same may be said of future existence. Christ came to fulfil the law, consequently the gospel cannot extend beyond the law.The same inay be said of the resurrection. Syllogistically thus :--Nothing is said of the resurrection 10der the law ; Christ came to fulfil the law; therefore, a resurrection is not taught in the gospel.
But, to cap the climax, it is insinuated that there can be no punishment beyond deatb; because it is not mentioned in the PROMIBE to Abraham !! What sort of reasoning is this ! We might as well pretend there was no future happiness ; because it is not mentioned in the woe, pronounced upon Judas. The promise to Abrabam is as silent upon present misery as it is upon future ; and it proves as conclusively that men experience no misery in this world, as it does that they will experience none in the future. Thus it will be seen that the arguments under examination, are entirely sophistical. Now permit me to ask, if the doctrine of the immediate salvation of all, be taught in : the Bible, why do its advocates depend upon argu- . ments so feeble and fallacious ? If the oracles of truth furnish them with positive testimony, why depend upon sophistical reasoning? Does not this amount almost to an acknowledgement, that the doctrine they teach is devoid of foundation ? The reader will judge : for himself.
We will now notice some passages and arguments, which are adduced from the New Testament, in support of the system here controverted. “Those who are raised from the grave, are raised incorruptible and immortal.”. From hence it is affirmed, there can be no suffering in a state of immortality. Now if this should be admitteil, it would not follow that there is no future: retribution, unless it can be proved that all men .put on immortality at the same time, and that at the instant of death. But is it certain that immortality cannot suffer ? : The advocates for the scheme here opposed, will admit that the soul or mind of man' is immortal in this state of existence. And is it not susceptible of pain ? Yes. This will be admitted by our brethren themselves. For we often bear them give a pitiful account of the troubles and sufferings of this mortal slate. Nay, this is frequently used as an argument that all men will be happy at death. · When men suffer so much misery in this world, by fear, and by darkness, and by unreconciliation, and by believe ing that God is their enemy, and by the horrors of a guilty conscience, and by the awful, the tormenting, the almost insupportable gnawings of that worm which preys upon the “heavenly constitution," and distracts the very soul, these benevolent hearts cannot believe man will be punished after death. Now if immortality.
can and does experience such exquisite suffering in this state of being why not be susceptible of pain in the future? If paip be felt by an immortal mind, then it is evident that an immortal body may suffer. Will it be said that man will be more immortal after the resurrection ? To this it is replied, that if immortality does experience so great a portion of pain in the present state, who knows that immortality cannot suffer, even when it is become immortalised? The fact is, we are not sufficiently acquainted with immortality, to assert that it cannot suffer. The same Being who gives us immortality, can make us susceptible of pain in that state.
Much is said by the abettors of the scheme under consideration, of the moral tendency of their doctrine. They say that punishment on their scheme immediately follows transgression ; and therefore it has a powersul effect in restraining men from crimes ; whereas if punishment be deferred to a future state, this restraint will be lost.---Now it is evident from this very argument, that puvishment is a dissuasive from vice. The argument admits that punishment does restrain men from sin ; because it is asserled that present punishment has a greater effect than future. Now I would ask, what advantage lies on that scheme? Its advocates believe in present punishment; so do we. They believe that this punishment restrains the vicious ; so do we. Let their scheme be ever so beneficial, ours has all its advantages, and others in addition. The fear of future punishment will restrain men in some degree ; and this is an advantage peculiar to our system. We believe in all the present punishment that is felt in this world, and they can believe in no more : therefore, it must be seen at once, that the doctrine of the restoration has a more salotary influence upon the morals of mankind, than that scheme which intro:luces all men into heaven at death.
FOR TAE REPOSITORY. Rev. and Dear Sir,- After spending a long evening in devout meditation, and serious reflection upon the present state of the doctrine of God's imparlial. goodness, I retired to rest, and soon fell into the following dream :
I fancied myself in the midst of a large assembly, who professed to be believers in the doctrine of Universal Restoration. After conversing upon various subjects, the attention of the multitude was directed to the merits of the Christian Repository. One observa ed that the design of the publication was undoubtedly good, but the doctrine it advocated, was evidently erra
Another declared that it was objectionable, because it dared to dissent from, nay, even to call in question, the opinions of those who ought to be considered the great heads of our Israel. The third asserted that the doctrine of future punishment was the remains of superstition and bigotry. These observa. tions met the approbation of a great part of the multitude. There were a few, however, who dissented front the general voice of the Assembly, and attempted to vindicate the cause of truth, by defending the doctrine of a future discipline, but these were bardly heard amidst the assembly, and their arguments were treated with disgust. After a short dispute upon the subject, one of the principal defenders of the scheme of immediate salvation, rose, and with an air of self-confidence, averred, that the notion of a future judgement and punishment was nothing but the remains of papal superstition; that it was an absurdity, and not entitled to belief; that it was not reconcileable with the feelings of humanity, and would not obtain his credence, if it were taught in the scriptures. These observations were approbated by yea and amen, from a considerable part of the assembly. After this acclamation had
subsided, another of the same sentiment observed that he had great reverence for the scriptures, and could.. easily reconcile a considerable portion of the sacred oracles with his sentiment, and that the rest could be answered by the author of his system. Another dc-. clared that we knew nothing of a future state ; and therefore it was improper to preach the doctripe of future punishment. A fourth said he was a believer in. future punishment, but was sorry to hear it advocated, either from the pulpit or the press:
At this juncture the consultation was ended by a : sudden darkness and gloom. which overshadowed them Filled with astonishment, the multitude was, speechless, and nothing but amazement dwelt in every countenance; when in an instant the darkness was dispelled, and light with a seven fold radiance, broke
Then appeared in their midst a venerable personage whose looks bespoke the experience of age, and whose countenance glowed with a spirit of piety and devotion.. I recognized in his countenance, bebeld in his appearance, and discovered in his deportment, the features, the simplicity, the dignity of our departed WINCHESTER. Every breast was big with astonishment, and every eye was fixed upon him. A solemn pause now ensued.— At last the heavenly strangor broke the silence, and addressed the multitude in the following language : My Brethren and my Friends,
When I tabernacled here in the flesh, I devoted my time to the service of my Master. When the unbounded goodness of my Creator was revealed to my understanding, I besitated not to proclaim it to my brethren. My daily studies and nocturnal meditations were dedicated to the cause of my glorious Redeemer. I devoted my time to his cause, and spent my strength in his service. In addition to the rewards of a blessed immortality, I flattered myself with beholding a numerous church, flourisbing on the earth, rightly in.