« AnteriorContinuar »
not the unbeliever, that is damned, that it is the sins, that are put on the left hand in the great day, to whom the judge is supposed to speak, but this is absolutely ludicrous. What is sin distinct from the subject? Or how can sin, in an abstract point of view, be the subject of rebuke or punishment? Upon this principal, our Saviour suffered in vain, nothing more was necessary, than to have laid our sins upon the cross, and made them suffer death; but every reflecting person must see and feel the absurdity of such stuff as this. Sins are never spoken to, they are frequently spoken of, and there are some very striking figures, by which they are represented, as the tares of the field, sown by the wicked one, while the sower of the seed, as an accountable, intelligent being, is the proper subject of the judgment; the seed is spoken of as offensive, and like other weeds given to the devouring flame. Sometimes the iniquities of our nature are spoken of as chaff, which closely cleaves unto the grain while growing, but is finally doomed to the consuming fire. Sometimes sin is spoken of as flesh, as dead flesh, as a body of sin and death, and in this character, the birds of the air are summoned to the supper of the great God, to eat the flesh of all men. Our Saviour, when explaining unto his disciples the parable of the sower, informed them, that the birds of the air were the wicked ones, they are at last called to feed on the carcases of the abominable and detesta. ble things; but I do not recollect, that, in any part of divine revelation, sin is spoken of in the character of an accountable being; we have already seen, there can be but two characters, the proper subjects of the judgment, angels and men : the one on the right, the other on the left hand of the judge, who is emphatically styled, the Saviour of the world.
We have, during a series of years, been charged with propagating the above absurd and truly ridiculous fancies. However, I conceived this folly was found only in the mouths, for I could hardly think it was in the hearts of our calumniators to believe, that there were any, who held such principles.- I was induced to think, these falsehoods were laid to our charge, in order to prejudice the public against us, for as I never conceived of such a doctrine, as either scriptural or rational myself, so I never believed any one else did. But lately I understand, that this sentiment hath its advocates, and I have the mortification to learn, that these advocates rank with Universalists ! Surely, surely,
such teachers are not taught by the spirit, that dictated to the men of God, what stands recorded as divine revelation. Wc conceive, that in this particular at least they are yet to learn.
Sixthly, There are a class of Universalists more respectable than the former, who insist, that although all mankind will finally be saved, they have much to perform or to suffer, in order to satisfy divine justice before this event can take place. All, say these Universalists, who have not a perfection of holiness in themselves in the present state, all who are not in this distempered state, pure in heart, must, before they can see God in glory, pass through a purgatorial fire, and there suffer some thousands of years, until they have paid the utmost farthing of the debt they owed the just God, according as the account stands in the book of the law; but when they have suffered the unjust, for the uns just, then they shall come forth with pure hearts filled with fervent affection to him, who graciously condescended to let them pay their own debt. These are called Universalists, and indeed they are Universalists in the strictest sense of the word, for as they do not conceive it is the blood of Jesus, which cleanseth from all sin, so they imagine, that the same mode of procedure, which is adopted for the salvation of all men, will equally apply to fallen angels, and they therefore believe in the salvation of devils. That our Saviour passed by the nature of angels, and took upon him the seed of Abraham, makes, in the view of these Universalists, no difference, for as mankind must after all suffer for their own sins; devils can do the same, and therefore be saved in the same way. | What God will do with the fallen angels, after they are sent into the fire prepared for them, I know not, “ Men are the books we ought to read; the proper study of mankind is
We go no farther in our inquiries than our own nature; so far these Universalists accompany us; but leave us here, and we are better pleased to find them advocates for salvation in any way, than if they were labouring to prove the eternal ruin of the greater part of God's offspring. Yet we conceive these sectarians cannot, with any degree of propriety, be called Universalists on apostolic principles; nor does it appear, that they have any idea of being saved by or in the LORD with an everlasting, or with any salvation. It is difficult to know what they will have to thank God for, at last, they having paid their own debt, and satisfied di
vine justice in their own persons. I wonder not, that such Universalists as these are opposed, and with success by the partialists. Such Universalists have nothing to do with the ministry of reconciliation ; the doctrines of the atonement and acceptance in the beloved is out of their plan; such doctrines are considered by them as unfriendly to holiness; such Universalists as these, are as far from the doctrines of the gospel on one side, as their opponents are on the other. These are Pharisaical Universalists, Universalists, who are willing to justify themselves; and such Universalism as this will be much more acceptable to an adulterous generation, than the Universalism found in the ministry of reconciliation; to wit, that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not impiuting their trespasses unto them. We are very much at a loss to account for the suffering of Christ at all on the plan adopted by these Universalists; be either suffered for the unjust, or he did not; if he did not suffer for the unjust, he must have suffered very unjustly, inasmuch as he did not personally deserve sufferings, he in himself being holy, harmless, and undefiled. If he did suffer for the unjust, he either satisfied divine justice, or he did not; if he did not, then his resurrection is not our justification, nor did he put away sin by the sacrifice of himself; then he cannot be the saviour of the world, or of any individual in the world ; nor can God be just, if he justifies the ungodly, and, of course, with respect to sinners, as their Saviour, he died in vain.
If he did satisfy divine justice, and make recconciliation for iniquity, then this man is our peace, and we have the atonement, and God is well pleased for his righteousness' sake ; then he hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, and is just although a Saviour. The inconsistent plan, adopted by this class of Universalists, is supported like all others of the same complexion by false views of some divine passages in the book of God. When they considered the tares and the goats as wicked men, sent into everlasting fire to do what Jesus Christ, by the grace of God, came to do, and which, by a single word, he can and will show them he hath done ; they must of course continue in this everlasting fire, until the business be done, until complete satisfaction be made.
The truth is, Jesus is even now the Saviour of all men, especially of those who believe ; all that was necessary on God's part for the
complete salvation of all men, was finished, when Jesus acconi plished what the prophets prophesied of him, saying, He shall finish transgression, he shall make an end of sin, he shall make reconciliation for iniquities, and shall bring in everlasting right eousness. Nothing more is now necessary, than for God to say, let there be light, and in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, he can cause such a change to pass on his purchased possession, as shall make them like unto their glorified head. Yes, by a single word, he can, by the mighty power whereby he is able to subdue all things unto himself, change even these vile bodies, that they may be fashioned like unto his own glorious body. Why the Saviour does not do this now, I know not, any more than I know why he did not assume our nature a thousand years sooner than he did, or why he suffers any to pass out of this state of existence unacquainted with him, as their Saviour, living all their life time in bondage to the fear of death. All I can, all I ought to say, is, that the judge of all the earth does right, and will continue to do right. The ELECTION obtains, in this their day, the knowledge of the things, that make for their peace, and the rest are blinded. But we rest in full assurance, that the period will come, when every eye shall see, when the face of the covering shall be laken from all people, and the veil from all nations, when the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the LORD, when they shall all know him from the least of them, unto the greatest of them ; and to know God is life eternal.
Seventhly, and lastly, There are who call themselves Universalists, who, as the manner of some was in the apostolic age, forsake the assembling themselves together. These admit, that Jesus is the Saviour of all men, and that, therefore, all men are saved. These have not the assurance of understanding, these are not heart believers, these are mere head believers, their faith rests on the judgment of men; among these, are found some who profess Jesus, but, in works, deny him; these are wells without water.
Believers who do not believe merely because they have the gospel from men, but because they have it from the Spirit of God who taketh of the things of Jesus, showing them to the soul, and witnessing with the Spirit to the truth thereof, these are not wells without water; the spirit they have received, is, as a well of living water, springing up unto everlasting life.
of the preva
Merely head believers, fancy themselves rich and increased in goods, and that they have need of nothing, except the gratification of their vicious appetites; these are among our greatest enemies; these defend truth precisely as the arch fiend would have them; these will not attend on the ministry of the word, where the disciples meet in the name of the Saviour, in order to hear what God the LORD will say unto them, but they will attend at the synagogues of Satan, where the slaves of the devil meet, there to be heard confirming the truth, as Peter denied his Master, with oaths and with curses. These are the scum of the Universalists; these serve Satan more effectually than his own disciples; or rather, they are his own disciples passing under the christian name, as spies, to betray the people under whose name they pass, into the hands of their enemies. The Apostle suffered more from such believers as these, than from all the rest of the world. It was in consequence lence of such examples, that so much was said on this subject in the Epistles.) I pray God to preserve you from the evil that is in the world, and to direct you into the way of peace. O, let it never be forgotten by you, that it is only in the way of wisdom you can find peace.
I am more and more convinced, that it is only the spirit and power of God which can make a consistent Universalist. Do you ask me, what are the features of a consistent Universalist? I answer, a consistent Universalist is taught of God; and, under the influence of the divine Spirit, he is made acquainted with the law of God, by the deeds of which, he hath discovered no flesh living can be justified. Not that the doers of the law, are not entitled to justification. The doers of the law are, and shall be justified. But from an acquaintance with the exceeding breadth of the commandment, and the imbecility of human nature, the consistent Universalist is, with the compilers of the Shorter Catechism, convinced, that no mere man since the fall, ever kept the commandments of God, but daily doth break them in thought, word, and deed. He, therefore, considers all men, at all times, as sinners, and coming short of the glory of God; he believes, that man in his best estate, is vanity; and that all the righteousness found in the best of mere human beings, is but as a filthy rag. His knowledge of the law gives him the know). edge of sin; and the commandment, having come with power Vol. III. 46