Images de page


[ocr errors]

sensible, as well as myself, that the question at issue is one which
cannot be smothered; one which must be discussed ; and which
therefore it is proper to bring at once into the strong light of unre-
strained investigation. I believe him to be in a great and danger-
ous error ; but I do not on that account either reproach or hate
him. I shall oppose him with zeal, but not with malice. And in

respects it is fair to presume that our views and feelings are
reciprocal. It is my prayer that we may both be blessed with
calmness of temper, clearness of thought, and freedom of speech.
I desire to do my cause justice ; and ihat I may be able to do so,
desire as strongly that my opponent may do his justice. If any
thing can be said to demonstrate the correctness of his doctrine, I
hope he will fairly present it in all its strength.

You, candid auditors, are to hear and judge. Indulge no partiality of feeling for the disputants, and consider it of no account which of them shall be worsted, if truth may but triumph over

You are too deeply inretested in the question to harbor any feelings foreign to the love of truth. If in reality you have nothing to gain or to lose, after death, by your conduct in this life, you all wish to be persuaded of the fact; so that you may give yourselves no further concern about your prospects in the world to come, and be your own judges how you may pass this state of existence most pleasurably. But if God has ordained that you shall be called to account after death for the deeds done in the body, you earnestly desire to be assured of it, in order that

you may be providing for the time to come.

Think then for yourselves; but think deliberately. Do not imagine that the right side of this question will be entirely free from difficulties; there was never a case so strong as to have no weak point. Do not imagine, that the wrong side will be entirely destitute of apparent support; there was never a position so untenable that ingenuity might not urge something plausible in its favor.

Winat, then, is the precise question in debate? Do I stand here to advocate the eternity of future rewards and punishments ? No; for I rejoice in believing that future rewards and punishments will be employed by the Ruler of the Universe as suitable means of perfecting his spiritual authority over all intelligences. Do I stand here to contend that God will inflict on any portion of his creatures after death, a punishment unworthy of his own infinite benevolence, or inconsistent with the highest good of the universe ? Far be it from me. Do I stand here to define the degree or duration of future retribution ? No; for God has reserved to himself a knowledge of the times and seasons, in which he will accomplish his purposes. Do I stand here to argue that no rewards and punish

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

ments are meted out to mankind on this side of the grave ? No; for I acknowledge all the present retribution visible in human experience. What then is my business on this occasion ? It is to prove simply that the Holy Scriptures teach the doctrine of future rewards and punishments; that is, that the “Scriptures teach the doctrine that men will be punished and rewarded, subsequently to this life (or after death) for the deeds done in this life."* It is

my opponent's business to show, if he can, that they do not teach this doctrine. The question is now clearly stated, and I proceed to the adduction of proof.

But before I do so, permit me to remind you of one great fact; viz. that the Jews of our Savior's time, with the exception of the small sect of Sadducees, believed in the doctrine of future retribution. This, I believe, is acknowledged on all sides. But in order to have before us substantial evidence of it, I present you several texts from the books of the Apocrypha, which, though not considered canonical, were in high repute among the Jewish people. I quote from those books, not to prove my doctrine, but simply to show that it was the doctrine of the Jews, to whom our Saviour addressed the truths of the Gospel.

These texts from the Apocrypha are as follows:

2 Esdras ii. 20---23. “Do right to the widow, judge for the fatherless, give to the poor, defend the orphan, clothe the naked, heal the broken and weak, laugh not a lame man to scorn, defend the maimed, and let the blind man come into the sight of my clearness. Keep the old and young within thy walls. Whersoever thou findest the dead, take them and bury them; and I will give thee the first place in my Resurrection." Verse 45, to the same point.

2 Esdras vii. 42, 43, 47, 53, 56. “ This present life is not the end where much glory doth abide. But the day of doom shall be the end of this time, and the beginning of the immortality for to come, wherein corruption is past. What profit is it for men now in this present time to live in heaviness, and after death to look for punishment? What profit that there should be showed a paradise, whose fruit endureth for ever, wherein is security and medicine, since we shall not enter into it? And that the faces of them which have used abstinence shall shine above the stars; whereas our faces shall be blacker than darkness ? For while we lived and committed iniquity, we considered not that we should begin to suffer for it after death.”

Viï. 51, 52. “But understand thou for thyself, and seek out the glory for such as be like thee. For unto you paradise is opened, the tree of life is planted, the time to come is prepared, plen

[ocr errors]

teousness is made ready, a city is builded, and rest is allowed, yea perfect goodness and wisdom.”

Ch. ix. 9---12. “Then shall they be in pitiful case, which now have abused my ways : and they that have cast them away

despitefully shall dwell in torments. For such as in their life have received benefits, and have not known me; and they that have loathed my law, while they had yet liberty, and when as yet place of repentance was open unto thern, understood not, but despised it; the same must know it after death by pain.”

Wisdom of Solomon iii. 1, 3, 5. See 8th. v. “ But the souls of the righteous are in the hand of God, and there shall no torment touch them. In the sight of the unwise they seemed to die: and their departure is taken for misery : and their going from us to be utter destruction. But they are in peace. For though they be punished in the sight of men, yet is their hope full of immortality. And having been a little chastised they shall be greatly rewarded : for God proved them and found them worthy of hiinself.” See v. 1---13.

2 Maccabees vi. 26. “For though for the present time I should be delivered from the punishment of men, yet should I not escape the hand of the Almighty, neither alive nor dead."

You will perceive from the foregoing quotations that the Jews of our Savior's time held the doctrine in controversy. You will please to bear this fact in mind, while I proceed to quote from the New Testament, the texts on which I rely.

At present I shall confine myself exclusively to that part of the subject which relates to Rewards. I commence by adducing passages of Scripture which teach that Jesus Christ was rewarded after death for his obedience to God in this life. I offer the following :

Phil. č. 5---9. “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who being in the form of God thought it not robbery to be equal with God : But made himself of no reputation, and took upon

him the form of a servant and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man; he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name," &c.

Heb. i. 9. "Thou hast loved righteousness and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows."

Heb. xi. 1---3. “Let us run with patience the race that is set before us; looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith ; who for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, de


spising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

I next offer select passages, which teach that Christ's faithful disciples, and all the righteous, are to be rewarded after death for the deeds of this life.

Matt. xix. 27---28. · Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore? And Jesus said unto them, verily I say unto you, that ye which have followed me in the regeneration, when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”

Matt. v. 11, 12. See Luke vi. 22. “Blessed arc ye when men shall revile


persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my name's sake. Rejoice and be exceeding glad, for great is your reward in heaven.“

John xii. 25, 26. “ He that loveth his life shall lose it : and he that hateth his life in this world, shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be.”

2 Tim. ii. 11, 12. “ It is a faithful saying ; For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him : If we suffer, we shall also reign with him : If we deny him, he also will deny us.” 2 Tim. iv. 6---8.

now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day : and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing."

Matt. vi. 19, 20. Lay not up for yourselves treasures on earth, &c. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven.”

Matt. xix. 21. “ If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven.

Luke xiv. 13, 14. “ When thou makest a feast call the poor, the maimed, the lame and the blind; and thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee; for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just."

Heb. xi. 35. “Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection.”

Heb. xi. 5. “By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found because God had translated him. For before he was translated he had this testimony that he pleased God."

1 Thess. iii. 12, 13. “And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even


6. For I am

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


as we do toward you: to the end he may establish your

hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints."

1 Pet. iv. 13. “But rejoice, inasınuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings ; that when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.”

2 Pet. i. 10, 11. “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things ye shall never fall. For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ."

Rev. ii. 10. “ Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.”

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."

Rev. xx. 4-.-6. 66 And I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God.....and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again till the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection ; on such the second death hath no power.”

Here, respected friends, I pause. I have adduced twenty texts as evidence that the Scriptures teach rewards after death for the deeds of this life. Have you received the impression from the language of these passages, that those who are holy in this life will enjoy the more happiness on that account in the world to come ? If you have received such an impression, remember that those, to whom this language was originally addressed, must have understood it in the same sense. They were educated in the belief of a future state of retribution. The authors of this language knew this. It is presumable, therefore, that they meant what they so plainly said. Let my opponent now show, if he can, that these texts do not prove my point. Let him begin by showing that Jesus Christ was not exalted and glorified for his faithfulness before death. And let me entreat you to follow him critically in all the attempts he may make to demonstrate that the passages I have quoted do not mean what I contend. I give him place.

[ocr errors]
« PrécédentContinuer »