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struction is lost, when plain instructive expressions are considered to be only figures or allegories. For no figure or allegory can be explained by any one who is not well acquainted with the things to which it alludes, and likewise the plain letter of the subject designed to typify the object in view. Therefore to adopt a figurative sense of scripture to accommodate it to certain ideas, men have in philosophy, we have every reason to believe makes two Deists where it convinces one. These figurative interpretations vary so much, they are led to conclude the Bible is like an instrument, on which any tune may be played that the performer pleases. In order to convince the Deist of the truth of prophecy, it must be fulfilled according to the plain import of language. This is the voice of reason, and the language of revelation. Hath the Lord spoken, and shall he not make it good?
Having offered these prefatory remarks, we will now search for the doctrine of the scriptures that have been just read in your hearing, and are placed at the head of this Lecture. In these we read of a time called the day of judgment, and of appearing before the judgment-seat of Christ. Let the inquiry first be made, when it is. Are all these scriptures fulfilled in this life, or in a state beyond? In the first passage before us, we find a comparison of Capernaum with Sodom. Both are arraigned in the day of judgment; and the judgment of Sodom is as much represent
ed to be future to the time Christ spake as Capernaum. The words, "shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for thee," put their judgment both alike in the future tense by the phrase shall be. If this point be fairly decided, as it seems it is, let us next inquire; Where were the inhabitants of Sodom when our Savior uttered these words? Not in the land of the living. Long ere then, numbered with those nations and great men of the earth, a remembrance of whom is preserved only by the annals of history. Then the judgment of Sodom, to which our Savior alluded, could not be in this life; and as Capernaum is to have a judgment less tolerable, at a particular time called the day of judgment, hers must be in the future state also. And if these receive judgment in the future state, at the day of judgment, it proves the day of judgment to be after this life.
Should it be said, the judgment of Sodom, to which our Savior referred, was her destruction by fire, as it was said, she was set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire, it may be answered, then the language of our Savior was calculated to deceive. Had he said, 'It was more tolerable for the land of Sodom in her day of judgment, than shall be for you in yours,' the idea would have been clearly expressed, by putting the judgment of Sodom in the past time, and Capernaum in the future. But he who spake
with authority, and not as the Scribes, expressed it differently.
Our subject, likewise, admits no evasion by understanding Sodom figuratively. The text is clear in expression that old Sodom was meant. This is evident from these words; "If the mighty works which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day." But should a figurative sense still be insisted on, as we find Judab and Israel prefigured by Sodom and Gomorrah in Isaiah i. 10, it is to be remembered, that it must intend some people, that when our Savior spoke, did not then "remain ;" and which, if they had had the privileges of Capernaum, would have remained until that day. Therefore, Sodom, whether it be understood literally of old Sodom, or figuratively of some other people, not then remaining or known among the inhabitants of the earth, in being judged at a time future to the day of Christ, have their judgment in future life.
As Capernaum, in our text, is compared with Sodom, so, in other places, Chorazin and Bethsaida are compared with Tyre and Sidon. Of Tyre and Sidon our Savior said, as he did of Sodom, it shall be more tolerable in the day of judgment than for Chorazin and Bethsaida. And it is as evident that by Tyre and Sidon is meant those ancient cities known by those names, as it is that by Sodom is intended the city so memorable for being sud
denly destroyed by fire. See Luke x. 13. "Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon which have been done in you, they had a great while ago repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes." In understanding Tyre and Sidon figuratively, it should be remembered they must be applied to some people that existed a great while ago in comparison with the Savior's age, or they could not have so early repented.
With reference to the second scripture at the head of this Lecture, let the question be asked: Can we imagine, that men give account to God for every idle word they speak in this life? If so, the text may be fulfilled in time; otherwise, it must receive its accomplishment in future life. St. Paul quotes this prophecy from Isaiah, "And every tongue shall confess to God." His comment is, that "every one of us shall give account of himself to God." It does not appear to be his opinion that men had given, or were giving, their account to God, as they passed the journey of life, but should in some future period. He states it to be at a time, when all shall stand before the judgment-seat of Christ; and the day of judgment we have before proved to be after this life. But say, men give account for every idle word in this life, we ask, by what means? It is through the medium of conscience? It is those, and those only, "who do by nature the things contained
in the law," whose "consciences bear witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing, or else excusing one another." Experience is too plain to admit that every idle word is brought, even to the bar of conscience, that drops from many thoughtless tongues. Some are called to remembrance by accident, that otherwise would never have been thought of; but the Psalmist says of the wicked, "God is not in all his thoughts." Then can he be at the judgment-seat, giving account to his Maker through the medium of conscience, for all his words?
Some of my bearers may perhaps be weary of hearing so much argumentatively said on a subject so generally believed and preached among us. But I would beg the patience of these to a few more arguments on the subject; for we wish to know the strength of the ground on which we stand. And besides, however generally believed, there appears to be a number that tacitly discredit the doctrine, and some that openly deny it. Our next testimony is from St. John in the following, where Christ is represented a Judge: "The Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son." This also is testified in the language of St. Paul. "He hath appointed a day in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained." "We shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ." In another place; "We must all appear before