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who has repented of his transgression, and turned to God, will not be the subject of condemnation and punishment in future for past transgressions. The Lord will not forget his words by the prophet Ezekiel; "If the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die. All his transgression that he hath committed shall not be mentioned unto him; (that is to affect his righteous cha racter :) in his righteousness he shall live." It is evident every one will stand in relation to the future, according to what he then is, and not according to what he has been. Revenge for past iniquity, the seeds of which are rooted out, we have no reason to expect from an all-wise Judge. His tender mercies, are over all his works.
Fourthly, we have no account of judgment for sins committed in a future state of existence, but according to deeds done in the body. St. Paul's words are express. "For we must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ, that every man may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad." The following things are evident from this text; 1st. If men are judged for all the deeds done in the body, this judgment cannot close till all the deeds of the body are finished. This is not till the body dies; and if judgment be after the work, it must be in a future state. 2d. If men re
ceive the things according to the deeds done in the body, whether good or bad, is it not evident, the effects of these deeds are extended to a future state? The wages of sin is death; and wages are commonly received after the labor is performed.
Much is said by the opposers of future punishment and judgment about sin's being extended to the future world. They say, if we can prove that men are sinners there, they will admit punishment to be there. Then why not admit the rule reversed? If we can prove punishment in the future world, admit that sinners are there? If sin, misery, and condemnation are inseparably connected, where we find the one, we do the other. But say they, we have no account of actual sin, but the contrary. Reply, we do not need it. We have an account of some being condem. ned, which is enough to prove them sinners, without actual sin, such as stealing, lying, defrauding, &c. One must be called a sinner that is under the condemning power of sin, or till he has the law of God written in his heart. What should we think of men that should dispute felicity being extended to the future world? Because, say they, righteousness and felicity are inseparably connected, and we have no account of any righteous works done in the future world ;-no feeding the hungry, no clothing the naked, nor giving drink to the thirsty, nor any other works that can be called the fruits of righteousness. We, therefore, dispute that there is any felicity in the future
world, because felicity is the fruit of the works of righteousness; and of these works we have no account. When we take away
the cause, the effect ceases; so when works of righteousness are accomplished, felicity is no more!-But enough! My hearers will excuse these expressions. They are brought to compare with the common argument against future punishment or misery. But the subject I propose to labor more particularly in another Lecture.
Fifthly, let it be remarked that in all the passages I have chosen and placed at the head of this Lecture, there is no account stated of a fixed duration of punishment, pronounced to be the portion of the wicked. Nor have we reason to believe they will be sentenced to a stated duration of punishment, prescribed in the sentence of the Judge, as is the case with criminals, when tried before their fellow men. This heavenly Judge needs not to be restricted to certain prescribed rules to prevent his doing injustice, or to assist him in determining what is right. For justice and judgment are the habitation of his throne: Mercy and truth go before his face.
Those who hold the doctrine of the endless misery of the wicked in the future state, I am sensible will not be willing to accede to the idea, that there is no prescribed duration declared in the sentence of the Judge to the wicked. And although they would not pretend to find it in the passages the speaker has chosen, they conclude the scriptures are not
silent upon the subject. It is to be acknowledged, we find the words everlasting and eternal, and other phrases of a similar meaning, applied to punishment. But these have been proved by many learned authors to represent duration indefinitely. The learned and industrious John Butterworth, author of a Concordance and Dictionary of the Bible, who appears by many of his explanations to be a Calvinist, and certainly a believer in the endless misery of the wicked, has, of eternal, which he accounts the same as everlasting, this definition; "Sometimes it only intends a long duration of time." This concession of our worthy author is sufficient to prove those terms ambiguous and indefinite. For it comes from a quarter where we should the least expect.
The idea that is held by many as sacred as the word of inspiration, that the state of all men is permanently fixed in happiness or misery at the day of judgment, is not found in all the passages which are placed at the head of this Lecture. In all the passages in the Bible that mention "the day of judgment," "the judgment-seat of Christ," "the last day," or any other plain, unparabolical passage that speaks of Christ's judging mankind, there is not the least intimation of any thing of this. nature. Nor have I reason to believe that any one will attempt to bring a passage of this description to controvert what I have now spoken. That they may bring scripture that appears to them to prove that all will be per
manently fixed in happiness or misery at the day of judgment or at death, is not disputed. But I think they will not pretend to bring any of the aforementioned description. If the truth and importance of this idea be equal to the confidence many pious and worthy people. of our country have in it, can any rational account be given for a total silence respecting it, in every scripture that has been read in your hearing at this time? I must state, for myself, that I do not find it in the Bible.
Another very common idea I do not find in the scriptures before us. It is that when the judgment closes, some are crowned with felicity and joy, and others left in misery. conclude the day of judgment continues as long as punishment continues. We have no particular account of any punishment after the day of judgment, but in it. The day is not,
therefore, to be reckoned twelve or twenty-four hours, but a certain process of time. Judg ment in Heb. vi. 2, is called eternal. That the word day in some scriptures is used in an extensive and enlarged sense is evident. Christ says to the Jews, "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day," John viii. 56.
said also to Jerusalem, "If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things that belong to thy peace," Luke xix. 42. In both these texts the word seems to include the period of natural life, or perhaps in the first, the time of Christ's ministry, or the present dispensation of the gospel.
It is said of Sodom, it shall be more tolera