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family according to their works. You say, "But on your plan they are not punished according to strict justice;" because I said they are delivered from the curse of the law. You then add, "Now there appears to be some difficulty here. The scriptures most decidedly declare, that the wicked in hell are punished according to their works." Do they declare this? Then it seems the wicked in this world are not punished according to their works. Let us hear the testimony of the apostle; "Wherefore as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned." Rom. v. 12. This passage, if it mean any thing, means that death, the curse of the divine law and the end of sin, actually passes upon all men. See also 1 Cor. xv. 22. "For as in Adam all die;" which the apostle takes for a granted truth.
I will now consider your scripture testimony of the wicked being punished in kell. "Job xxxiv. 11. For the work of a man shall be rendered unto him, and cause every man to find according to his ways." This you say is punishing the wicked in hell, but there is nothing said about hell in the text or context. The reward is not confined to character, time, nor place. When the text says "every man," why do you limit it to the wicked? When it says nothing of time, of place, why do you apply it to hell only? You believe there are some righteous that are not in hell, nor ever will be. Do you not think they also will find according to their work? If not, how can they be happy?
You quote Matt. xvi. 27, for the aforementioned purpose, where it says he will reward "every man," which I have shown, in a former letter, from the following verse, was fulfilled in the then present generation. That you may see that I am not alone in this sentiment, I will refcr you to Bishop Newton's Dissertation on the Prophecies. See page 286. "The coming of Christ is also the same peried with the destruction of Jerusalem, as may appear from several places in the gospels, and particularly from these two passages: "There are some standing here," says our blessed Lord, Matt. xvi. 28, "that shall not taste of death till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom;" that is, evidently, there are some standing here, who shall live,
, not till the end of the world, to the coming of Christ to judge mankind, but till the destruction of Jerusalem, to the coming of Christ in judgment upon the Jews." I hope, sir, you will so far excuse the learned Bishop on this subject, as not to accuse him of a want of "common intellect," though, without the name of Universalist, he expresses the sentiments of your opponent.
Your next passage is found in Matt, v. 25, 26. "Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. Verily I say unto thee, thou shalt by no means come out, thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.' This text I cannot conceive how you can apply to your subject to advantage. Who do you think the adversary represents? If it be God, I object that he is an adversary. "God loved the world," and he cannot therefore be an adversary to the world, which we have before found to be the wicked. But if God be an adversary there can no agreement be made with him; he ever must be an adversary, for he changes not. Again, are we in the way with him? In a spiritual or moral sense we are not in the way with him when we are wicked; and in no other can we ever be out of his way; therefore the text does not apply. Christ, who came to save that which was lost, who died for the ungodly, cannot be an adversary. . And if Satan be the adversary, whom we are always to resist, according to this text alone, we must now be condescending enough to agree with him. If you say the divine law is the adversary, and demands a complete reward by good works, it may be replied from your letters, Christ has answered all the demands of the law; and if the sinner has it to pay, he must pay an old debt that had been settled once before.
In James ii. 13. Where it says, "he shall have judgment without mercy;" it is to him "that hath shewed no mercy," which is but a reward according to works. And if the latter must be understood with a degree of limitation, the former must be equally limited.
I deny that Rev. xiv. 10, has any reference to a future state, which is evident from its connexion, as also in the
following verse. The particular circumstance of day and night," evidently confines it to time. For as in the New Heavens and New Earth, there will be no night so in end·less utter darkness we carmot imagine there would be day; but at the time of the fulfilment of that scripture there will be "day and night.”
Having thus briefly noticed most of the passages you quoted to prove the certain reward of the wicked in hell, I pass to consider the following quotations from your letter. "Of course, according to your method, no one of mankind will ever suffer the curse of the divine law." "But Christ delivers from the curse of the law; of course those whom be delivers do not suffer that curse." Now, sir, admitting the above quotations correct, when compared with scripture, we shall find that it will not suffer the salvation of one person. "For," says the apostle, "we have before proved, both Jews and Gentiles that they are all under sin." "Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them that are under the law; that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world become guilty before God." If death be the curse of the law, as it appears cannot be denied, then this curse hath actually passed upon all men according to the scriptures. Of course every one that is delivered from the curse of the law, is not delivered from suffering it at all, but is delivered from suffering it longer. He is not delivered from a threatened evil, that he never experienced; but from the continuance of an evil in which he is already involved. Hence we learn that a man may suffer the curse of the divine law, and yet be delivered from it; and that God can render to all the wicked according to their works, and yet save them by grace through Christ. But you say, when they have suffered according to their desert, they have a claim to mercy without Christ. Yes, if they have suffered to satisfy divine justice; but otherwise they have not. If they suffer, as I believe, in receiving the wages of sin, as that which sin naturally requires, and not divine justice; they have no demands of life, neither are in a state approximating to life any more afterward than before. I believe divine justice requires the life and not the death of the sinner; his eter mal salvation, and not his damnation. This is contained
in my second statement which you only ridiculed; and undoubtedly it was the best way you could get over it, and maintain your popular notion, that divine justice requires the endless misery of the sinner. Therefore divine justice is satisfied in the salvation of sinners; and that retributive justice which sin requires, for it requires its wages, is fulfilled in death.
It will now he asked, how great a death sin deserves or requires? Answer. . .In proportion to the heinousness of the transgression. If it be asked how long it may continue? I answer, it is altogether indefinite, being never fixed by the word of God; but must, of unavoidable consequence, continue until destroyed; for the sinner is never able to do it away himself. God can, therefore, reward every sinner according to his work, and save him when he please; as the time of condemnation is not expressed nor understood.
If you say this explanation is adopted because à favourite scheme is in distress, pray sir, look at your own. You believe God has threatened endless punishment to all.... Some by the grace of God are delivered from threatened punishment, which makes out that God says, and does not. Others you say are rewarded according to their works; but how does this appear on your own plan? Can they ever receive the full extent of endless punishment? No; for if they did, there would be an end to it. Then God will be endlessly rendering to them according to their works, but never does it; for the moment it can be said he has done it, it makes an end. Does divine justice require endless punishment? Then divine justice is not satisfied until it is inflicted; and if ever a period in eternity arrives, when divine justice is satisfied, then the punishment must end; but if the punishment be endless to satisfy divine justice, divine justice the darling attribute of God, will never be fully satisfied till endless punishment comes to an end! Now on your own ground, what difference does it make with divine justice, whether the singer be punished, or not; for either will not satisfy it.
If you feel justified in saying, God will reward the wicked according to their works, believing their reward to be endless misery, when a period never arrives in which it is said to be fulfilled, cannot you easily discover how men
may be rewarded according to their works, and yet be saved, when no particular time is fixed or understood in their just desert? To this point, see Isa. xl. 2.
I have before hinted that a man's receiving according to wicked works, is no step towards salvation, neither is the curse of the law disciplinary punishment, nor is this punishment to satisfy divine justice. From this it is evident that when the sinner receives the wages of sin, according to his desert, he has no more demands for life and salvation than he had before. Therefore the doctrine of free grace and forgiveness of sin may be introduced with propriety. Sin is forgiven when it is destroyed and its consequences cease.
You have asked whether I "believe an infinite atonement necessary in order for God to be just in the pardon of sin." I answered in the negative. Perhaps you think me a Deist, but I believe the scriptures, and am willing to abide their testimony, I will state that I do not believe any thing is necessary in order for God to be just in the pardon of sin. It ever was just for him to pardon sin, as just before Christ as after he came into the world; as just without Christ as with him. But as sin could not be pardoned without being done away, God has made his beloved Son the Saviour of the world; of course the atonement or reconciliation is an effectual mean of destroying sin, by which means it is pardoned. I do not believe the Deity ever made any law that ever put him under any disadvantageous restrictions, so but what it was as just for him to pardon at one time as another.
I have now gone through with what I proposed, except considering the sin and blasphemy against the Holy Ghost. This I shall omit for the present, and refer you to two dis courses from my pen on the subject, already before the public, in which you will find my opinion.
SAMUEL C. LOVELAND.
Rev. JosEra LABERER