Page images

will close; eternity will commence; the Lord himself will descend from heaven with the mighty shout of the archangel; the heavens will be rolled together as a scroll; the elements will melt with fervent heat; the nations under ground will start into life; mankind, of all generations, climes and languages, together with all holy and unholy angels, will be assembled to receive an irrevocable sentence, according to the deeds they have done; Jesus Christ will sit in judgment, and seal the destiny of all moral creatures for eternity; and the highest glory and felicity of all holy creatures, and the deepest shame and wretchedness of all the unholy, will commence, to continue forever.

Q. 15. What effect ought the doctrine of the general judgment to have upon all mankind?

A. It should excite them to universal holiness in heart and life. God and their own interest demand it.(i)


Future Happiness.

Q. 1. Is there a future state of happiness for the righteous?

A. There is. This truth is taught explicitly in the Bible.(a)

Q. 2. How long will this state continue?

(i) 2 Pet. iii. 10, 11. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also, and the works that are therein, shall be burnt up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness?

(a) Matt. xxv. 34. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.-Rev. iii. 21. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.-Rev. xiv. 13. And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth; Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them.Ps. xvi. 11. Thou wilt show me the path of life; in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

Q. 4.

A. Forever. It will be literally without end?(6)
Q. 3. Where will the saints reside?

A. In that part of the world of spirits, called heaven, or the third heaven, or heaven of heavens.(c)

Is heaven a place, or merely a state! A. It is a place. It is frequently represented as such in the Scriptures. It is called a paradise, a building of God, mount Zion, a city, a kingdom, a better country, the heavenly Jerusalem. Indeed there must be some place for the residence of the glorified body of Christ, and the embodied spirits of the redeemed, after the resurrection.(d)

Q. 5. What is the condition of the saints in heaven?

A. They are free from all temptations of earth and hell; free from all sin and imperfection; perfectly conformed to God in heart and practice; and perfectly happy.(e)

(b) Matt. xxv. 46. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment; but the righteous into life eternal.-1 Thess. iv. 17. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we be ever with the Lord.

(c) Matt. xxiv. 36. But of that day and hour knoweth no man; no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.--2 Cor. xii. 2. I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth,) such an one caught up to the third heaven.—1 Kings viii. 27. But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, the heaven, and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee.

(d) Heb. xii. 22, 23. But ye are come unto mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the first born, which are written in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect.-Luke xxiii. 43. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto ihee, To-day shalt thou be with me in paradise.—2 Cor. v. 1. For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.—Mait. xxv. 34. Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation the world.—Heb. xi, 16. But now we desire a better country, that is, an heavenly.

(e) 1 John iii. 2. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.—1 Cor. xiii. 12. For now we see through a glass darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.Rev. vii. 16, 17. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, por any heat; for the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne, shall feed them, and shall lead them

[ocr errors]

Q. 6. In what does the happiness of heaven consist?

A. It consists not merely in passive enjoyments, but mostly in positive activity. The inhabitants of heaven dwell in the immediate presence of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, and enjoy a glorious, happy, and lasting union and communion with them. They love, serve, worship, and glorify God, continually. They study the character, creation, and providence of God; the character and redemption of Christ; and the character and work of the Holy Spirit. They know, love, and serve each other as brethren, with the highest joy, having a common interest and aim.(f)

Q. 7. Are there different degrees of holiness and happiness among glorified saints!

Ä. There are. Though all the redeemed in heaven are entirely holy and happy, still they possess different degrees of holiness and happiness, according to their capacity.

Q. 8. Will the saints in heaven continue forever to increase in knowledge, holiness, and happiness!

A. They probably will. If so, a time will come, when they will be as far above what the angels now are, as the angels now are above them. The angels will also probably be making continual progress in spiritual attainments, and, consequently, the redeemed will never be any nearer to them, in greatness and glory, than when they enter heaven.

Q. 9. How does the heaven of the Christian differ frorn that of the Mohamedan?


unto living fountains of waters, and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.-Ps. xvi. 11. Thou wilt show me the path of life; in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for

(f) Rev. vii. 15. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple; and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.-Rev. xxii. 3. And there shall be no more curse; but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him.-Rev. v. 9, 10, 13. And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof; for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood, out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests, and we shall reign on the earth. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb, forever and ever.

A. The latter consists in carnal possessions and delights; the former in spiritual possessions and joys. Q. 10.

What number from among men will be thus happy?

A. A countless multitude. Many were saved before the flood, many under the Mosaic dispensation, and vastly more will be saved under the Christian dispensation, especially if all the inhabitants of the earth who will live during the millennium are included. It is not improbable that a far greater number will be saved than lost. (g)

Q. 11. How should we be affected at the death of the righteous?

A. We should not sorrow on their account, for death is their gain. But by it we should be excited to live the life of the righteous, that we may die their death, and our last end be like theirs.(h)


Future Misery.

Q. 1. What are the evidences that there is a future state of misery for those of mankind who die impenitent?

A. 1. The plain and explicit declarations of the Scriptures, in relation to this subject, are decisive evidence of the truth of this doctrine.(a) 2. The opposi

(g) Rev. vii. 9. After this, I beheld, and lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands.

(h) Phil. i. 21. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. Num. xxiii. 10. Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his.

(a) John v. 29. 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.—Mark xvi. 16. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.Ps. ix. 17. The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.-Prov. xi. 7. When a wicked man dieth, his expectations shall perish; and the hope of unjust men perisheth. - Juhu viii. 36. He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting lise; and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abidech

tion made to the instruction of Moses and the Prophets, Christ and the Apostles, by the impenitent, to whom they preached, is evidence that they did teach this doctrine. Their hearers would not have been so bitter against the truths they taught, if they had declared that all men would be saved. 3. The concern in many for their own future salvation, produced by the preaching of Christ and His Apostles, is an evidence that the doctrine of future punishment was taught by them. 4. The great solicitude for the salvation of souls which the Prophets, Christ, and the Apostles manifested, proves beyond a doubt, that they believed in the doctrine of the future misery of the wicked, and that they taught it.

Q. 2. Why does God, inflict misery or penal evil upon the wicked in the world to come?

A. He does it because they deserve it, and because the general good requires it. By punishing the wicked God shows His hatred of sin and love of holiness, maintains the authority of His law and government, vindicates His character as moral Governor, and promotes the general good of the universe.

Q. 3. How long will the future misery of the wicked continue?

A. Eternally. Reason teaches that God may punish sinners so long as they continue to sin, and there is no reason to suppose that those who die impenitent will ever cease to sin; for a sinful volition or exercise will never produce a holy one. Sinners too, will always deserve to be punished. God may therefore, justly punish them forever. With respect to the duration of future punishment, mankind are not proper judges, for they know not the full demerit of sin. This God alone can determine; and He speaks of it in the Scriptures as 'eternal,' everlasting,' 'forever,' 'forever and ever.' We must therefore renounce

on him.—Phil. iii. 19. Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is their shame, who mind earthly things.-Matt. xxv. 30.

And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.—Matt. vii. 13. Enter ye in at the strait gate; for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat.-Prov, i. 31. Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices.

« PreviousContinue »