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God has raised unto Israel a Savior, Jesus; but he has not yet saved Israel in this world. We read in another place that all Israel shull be saved; but if many of them are not saved in another world or life, can any person believe this scripture true? "God sent not his Son to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved;" but can any one believe he saves the whole world in this life? It is almost too plain an error to need refutation.
Another objection to future punishment is founded on the nature of sin, as receiving its origin in the flesh, and constantly supported by the improper desires of the same; and when the body returns to dust, nothing more remains of sin, and consequently no need of punishment, or in other words, there is nothing wicked to punish. This objection supposes the soul or moral faculties of man perfectly pure in its nature, without the possibility of moral defilement; but loses the balance of power by the superior power of the flesh. If this be not admitted, the objection loses all its force. If it be admitted, how can we introduce the doctrine of regeneration? It is not the flesh that is to be regenerated; it is not the principles of the "old man" that is to be reformed; but to be put under as St. Paul says, "I keep under my body and bring it into subjection." If the soul of man be always pure in its nature, then all men are as holy as
Jesus Christ; for he by reason of the flesh was tempted in all points like as we are, but never committed sin. If the soul of man be capable of receiving impurity and suffering the reigning power of death, as "the wages of sin is death," and "the soul that sinneth shall die," is it reasonable to suppose that when involved in this state, the throwing off of the body only would save it? It is presumed the idea cannot be maintained by any just rules of philosophical reasoning, and evidently not from scripture. St. James says, "Let him know that he who converteth the sinner from the error of his way, shall save a soul from death." Should we admit the affirmative of the aforementioned question it would be as proper if it read, "Let him know that he who murdereth the sinner will save a soul from death, and hide a multitude of sins." In this case the sinner being delivered from the earthly frame would be immediately saved according to the idea we are considering, as directly as according to the original reading of the text. It may be further observed that the admittance of the question confines the benefits of the salvation of Jesus Christ to this mortal existence, where but a small portion of the whole ransomed of the Lord are made the actual partakers of these benefits.But when death comes with his killing power, he slays the whole race of Adam's sons, and raises millions to glory, before the gospel in
demonstration of the spirit, and of power, could reach them.
A third objection to future punishment is, that no men are sinners in future life; therefore are not punishable. Answer, the question is begged, and not formed on good authority. An unjust man is a sinner; and St. Peter says, the Lord knows how to reserve such to the day of judgment to be punished. If the unjust cr sinners are reserved to the day of judgment and punished at that time, will there not be sinners then? Let the contrary be proved, and then the question may be urged with some propriety. It is not to be inferred, because we have no account of crimes committed in future life, that none can be sinners,any more than because we have no account of good works that none will be righteous. And I know not but we are as destitute of any particular account of the latter as we are of the former. In this life, we do not suppose the sinner always actual in commission of crimes; yet he is ever considered a sinner, till he becomes a saint, although in some instances he has fed the hungry and clothed the naked.
We sometimes find an objection, urged against the idea of punishment in future life, from a supposed necessity, that it detracts from the honor due to salvation through Christ. If punishment be necessary to salvation, says the objector, they are not saved by
ON FUTURE MISERY
Christ, which must be a subversion of the christian faith. Instead of Christ's paying the debt due to divine justice, they purchase deliverance by suffering the demand of the law. To a question of this nature it is replied, we do not believe the wicked suffer in this or the world to come to purchase salvation, or to satisfy a debt due to divine justice; neither of which are required, nor in the nature of things could be effected in this way.We hold their sufferings are the natural consequences of sin, and that which sin requires as its wages; "for the wages of sin is death." A state of punishment for good purposes may also be designed to humble and prepare for that instruction which the word of life gives, and the salvation that arises from faith in the gospel of Christ. The person who believes. in salvation by grace through a Redeemer, and yet can understand, that whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth, may see how we reconcile the idea of future punishment with complete salvation through the efficacious power of gospel grace. If our light afflictions, which are but for a moment, in this life, work for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory without lessening the honor of salvation by Christ, cannot afflictions in a future state be productive of the same end, and be understood with the same consistency in the divine economy of grace? "We glory," says the
apostle, "in tribulations; knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope; and hope maketh not ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the holy Ghost
which is given unto us." Here he happily unites the effects of tribulation with the gift of the holy Spirit, and considers the effects of the one not to dishonor the operation of the other. Future punishment is, therefore reconcilable with the atonement of Christ, on the same principles which reconcile punishment in the present life.
Shall we now attend for a few moments to the common idea that there can be no change after death? This many conclude is as true as the Bible, and yet in the Bible we can no where find it. On account of this idea, sudden death is considered alarming, because it gives no opportunity for repentance. Jeremiah, it appears, was entirely ignorant of the idea. He says in Lam. iv. 6, "For the punishment of the iniquity of the daughter of my people is greater than the punishment of the sin of Sodom, that was overthrown as in a moment, and no hands stayed on her." Had he thought Sodom was doomed to endless misery, would he have considered the punishment of any other people greater? Again, the Sodomites had no time for repentance at their death, for their overthrow was as in a moment. The daughter of Jerusalem had a fair