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shall sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or land, for my name sake, shall receive a hundred-fold, and shall inherit everlasting life." I know well the strength of educational prejudices; and I also know that these prejudices incline us to apply this language to a world beyond the grave; but let us scrutinize it carefully : Are the apostles to sit on thrones, and judge the twelve tribes of Israel, in a future world ? Is it in a future world that the Son of man shall sit on the throne of his glory? On the contrary, we have his own repeated assurance that this took place at the conclusion of the Jewish, and opening of the gospel aion or age: expressly, and repeatedly, is it said by the saviour, when speaking of this very event, “ Verily, I say unto you, there be some standing here which shall not taste of death, till they see the son of man coming in his kingdom.” (Mat. xxi. 28. Mark viii. 38. xiii. 26. Luke. ix. 27.) What was the precise idea meant to be conveyed by the expression, ye shall sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel," I pretend not to decide; certainly, however, it is not to be understood literally; and that the disciples themselves understood it to relate to things of time is manifest: on the very night before his crucifixion they were contending as to which of them should occupy the chief places in his kingdom ; and when at length the reign of Christ commenced, we find them constantly, in their preaching and writing, alluding to this divine dispensation under the title of “the kingdom,” (Acts viii. 12. XX. 25. xxviii. 39.) and as having a present existence, “ who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and HATH TRANSLATED US into the kingdom of his dear son.” (Col. i. 13. 1 Theś. ii. 12.) This is “ the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ,” cn which my opponent dwelt so emphatically, and which he sagely supposes cannot exist in time because of its being termed everlasting! Pity for him that he should have read his bible to so little purpose! For as the kingdom of Christ, if Paul may be credited, it cannot exist in eternity: he informs us that at the close of terrestrial things, or at the era of the general resurrection, Christ " shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father : when he shall have put down all rule, and all author ity, and power: for he must reign till he hath put all enemies un
der his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall THE SON HIMSELF ALSO be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.” (1 Cor. xv. 24–28.) My opponent's supposition then, you perceive, that the everlasting kingdom of Christ is in eternity, is quite wide of the fact.
I have already shown that everlasting life is enjoyed in this state of existence ; let me put this interesting point beyond all cavil: Christ himself says, “ He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, HATH EVERLASTING LIFE;" (John V. 24.) he repeats the same, (John vi. 47.) he also defines this life ; “ This IS life eternal, that men may know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent." (Joho xvii. 2.) So soon then as this knowledge is possessed is the eternal life consequent thereof enjoyed. The apostle Paul, writing to the Romans, says, “ Being made free from sin, and become servants of God, Ye have your fruits unto holiness, and the end (or consequence) everlasting life.” (Rom. vi. 22.) By supplying in the closing clause of this text what grammarians call the ellipsis, or the omitted words, it would read “ and ye have the end (or consequence) which is everlasting life.” John says, “ No murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.” (1 John iii. 15.) These instances will suffice to settle the fact beyond controversy, that the phrases, “ eternal life,” and “everlasting life," are often used in reference to present gospel enjoyment. Ihowever, do not thence infer that they never point to the immortal existence of the future state : still I cannot positively say that they ever have such reference; but from the nature of this life, we cannot doubt that it is the same that is enjoyed by all pure intelligences in every department of Being.
But few words are necessary, methinks, in disposing of my friend's now only remaining scriptural argument; I allude to the passage concerning the narrow, and the broad roads: the one leading to life, the other to destruction ; the one but sparsely, the other very populously occupied. And does my friend seriously deen that these represent the highways to bliss and woe unending? Is it the fact that the path to final happiness is so narrow, and difficult of access, that but few are so fortunate as to find it; while on the other hand, the numerous travellers to endless ruin
are accommodated with a broad, M'Adamized road? How strangely in connection with this circumstance sounds the declaration, “ The Lord hath no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that all should turn unto him and live!” If I could adopt my opponent's view of this subject, I would abandon all pretensions to a belief in the infinite goodness of God, or in his alleged disposition to save the human family; and I should be at an utter loss how to discriminate between an all-benevolent deity, and an all-malignant devil! The meaning of the passage is briefly as follows: Christ confined his personal ministry to the Jews, but such was the bigotry, and so many and unyielding the prejudices of that people, that but few, and they with great difficulty, could be persuaded to become the subjects of his kingdom; much the major part persisted in rejecting him; they would not come unto him that they might have life : and, as a consequence, they were involved in the destruction which ensued when their city and temple were desolated by the Roman army: the few among the Jews who did by faith in the saviour enter into life are designated by Paul, “ a remnant according to the election of grace.” (Rom. xi. 8.) Christ saith in the text, “many, I say unto you, shall seek to enter in, and shall not be able :” and in agreement with this, the afore-mentioned apostle says, 66 What then ? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh after ; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded." (ibid. 7.) Thus endeth the examination of the texts relied on in the affirmative of this argument: let us now glance at some additional considerations on the negative side.
1st.-Supposing a future salvation conditional, what are the conditions ? Is faith one? If so, forty-nine fiftieths of the past generations of man are already damned to all eternity, for they did not, in this life, and could not, believe in the saviour! Moreover, it is certain that the disciples of Christ had no will in the matter of their belief; it was forced upon them by sensible evidence : 'for years they remained ignorant of the true character of their master, notwithstanding that they had the advantage of his teachiog and miracles, and when at length they became convinced on this head, that conviction was forced upon them by evidence which they could not resist. Thomas, in particular, declared, " Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put
my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.” (John xx. 26.) There can surely be no merit in an act in which we are passive ; equally so as in the act of respiration : and that such is the case in the business of belief in general, that it is not a matter of volition, is as susceptible of demonstration as is any moral axiom whatever.
2nd.—Let us suppose perfect holiness one of the conditions : “ without which no man can see the Lord :” (Heb. xii. 14.) where now shall we find one who comes up to this mark ? Paul acknowledges that he had not, (Phil. iii. 15.) and Solomon says “ There is not a just man on the earth that doeth good and sinneth not.” (Eccle. vii. 20.) How small then is the chance of salvation beyond death to any, if it depend on the attainment of true holiness here! My opponent himself will confess, first, that with the taint of sin upon his soul he cannot enjoy the felicity of heaven, and second, that he will never in this world be free from that taint. What remains then ? Ergo. Except changed after death he must be endlessly damned! I would not willingly give head-room to a doctrine which closed all chance of future bliss even against myself.
3rd. If neither faith nor holiness, separately, is sufficient as a term of admission to heaven, but the union of both is required, it then follows, that with the highest degree of perfection attainable by man, an individual may yet be endlessly lost, if he have the misfortune to be ignorant of gospel truth! And then too, what becomes of another item in the same creed, viz. that, in a future world, every man will be rewarded according to his works?
Thus on every hand we meet insuperable difficulties in the way of a future conditional salvation, whilst on the other side I know of none that may not be easily obviated : many are startled, it is true, at the idea, that even the deepest guilt into which a man may plunge himself, will not utterly sink him beneath the reach of divine grace, and shut the gates of future bliss against his soul: but let such reflect that even according to their own belief, the worst of sinners experience a free pardon upon repentance in this life, and that here or hereafter God's mercy is the same his love to his creatures the same the power of his grace, and the benevolent objects of his government the same; or all that we are told of the immutability of his nature must go for nothing. That the
mere depth of human guilt will prove no barrier against the efficacious operations of divine grace, is obvious from his promises, “though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; and though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." (Isaiah i. 18.) It is a most pitiful puerility to object that promises of this nature only indicate the divine dispositions toward man in time, for that implies that in eternity these dispositions will have changed ; and that the reformation of sinful intelligences will have ceased to be an object with God! which are most gross absurdities.
My opponent alleges that ours is the doctrine alluded to by Ezekiel, which “strengtheneth the hands of the wicked by promising him life;" and thereby “makes the hearts of the righteous sad.” If the righteous are made sad by being told that all sin, and misery, and death, and disorder, shall eventually come to a period that the infinite purity and felicity will be transfused into all conscient existence that God's promises will be verified, his will accomplished the ends of Christ's death consummated, and their own prayers answered ; if this, I say, is saddening to righteous hearts, I can only say it is pity for them, and that I most fervently pray to be delivered from a heart of the kind ! But is it true that we strengthen the hands of the wicked ? Do we promise him life in his wickedness ? Nothing can be farther from truth than an affirmative answer to these questions. We insist that death-certain-present death-death constituted of remorse, misery, degradation, and every kind of mental (and often bodily) suffering, shall be the harvest of the sinner in proportion to what he sows. It were an easy thing to retort the charge upon the doctrine of my opponent, and to show that it promises absolute impunity to crime; however deep, and longcontinued, provided that it be but repented of this side the grave ! But as I have been already diffuse in my reply, I will not dwell upon this manifest advantage in favour of my theory.
I could say much relative to the restraining effects of his doctrine of post-mortem rewards and punishments : I might point to countries in which this belief is universal, (such is the case in Mahomedan and Pagan lands,) and consider the moral and religious condition of those countries : I might point to ages past when no voice was lifted, nor allowed to be lifted, against this tenet, and