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Remarks on the durability of hell-torments. In these remarks I shall confine myself to a quotation from Wood's Dictionary of the Bible; found also in nearly the same words in Brown's under the article hell.
"There is no ground to doubt of the eternity of its torments: it is represented as a fire that cannot be quenched, and whose smoke ascendeth up for ever and ever. No stronger word is used to express the duration of the heavenly felicity, than to represent the duration of the torments of hell. Matt. xxv. 46. Nor do such as fondly doubt of the eternity of helltorments, or of the proportion between temporary sinning and eternal punishment, seem to attend to the infinite excellency of God against whom sin is committed."
1. The learned writer of the above article, was extremely confident that he was correct. This we learn by his saying, "There is no ground to doubt of the eternity of its torments." Notwithstanding we would render all proper deference to the talents and piety of the above named characters, we remember that ancient character of equal eminence, who acknowledged and said, "I verily thought, I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth." As he was mistaken in his zeal for God, it is possible they may be.
2. They found this fatal conclusion on an idea, that it is represented to fire that cannot be quenched. We doubt this as an undeniable conclusion, because we have heard of many fires that never were quenched, but yet have gone out. To give one example, we mention, Jer. vii. 20.
3. They rest their conclusion on the idea that eternal connected with life,is "no stronger" word than everlasting connected with punishment, in Matt. xxv. 46. Admitting the justness of the remark, the propriety of the conclusion is doubted. No stronger word repre
sents the ways of God in Hab. iii. 6, than is used to represent the durability of the mountains; and yet, the same text says, they "were scattered."
4. The reason we doubt the eternity of hell-torments, or the proportion between temporary sinning and eternal punishment, they think, is because we seem not to attend to the infinite excellency of God, against whom sin is committed. To this subject, then, let us now attend. If sin receive the atrocity of its nature, because committed against infinite excellency, to such a degree as to render the sinner unpardonable, or to place him beyond all bounds of mercy, how is it possible that a method could have been devised by which any of the human family should obtain salvation? All are alike in this direful predicament. The idea that sin is infinitely ill-deserv ing, because committed against infinite excellency, destroys all distinction in the nature of crimes, and makes one as great a sinner as another. Man's ability to act is finite; and of course variable in different persons. And as no being can act beyond its power, so man being finite, can do no more than finite actions. Now if we admit the eternity of hell-torment from the excellency of God, we find no room for hope for any of our race.
5. We admit not the idea, because infinite excellency has commended itself in love towards us, in that while we were sinners "Christ died for us,' 99 died for the ungodly," "tasted death for every man,” Rom. v. 6, 8, and Heb. ii. 9.
6. We doubt the idea, because infinite excelleney has put the keys of hell and death into the hands of a powerful friend, who loves sinners so well, that he died for the ungodly. Rev. i. 18.
7. We remain doubting it, because he came to fulfil the desire of no one, except to accomplish the will of Him who will have all men to be saved and come unto the knowledge of the truth, John vi. 38, and i Tim. ii. 4.
8. We fondly doubt of the eternity of hell-torments, because the infinite excellency of God, against whom sin is committed, has said, "O hell,* I will be thy destruction !"
* Hosea xiii. 14. Heb. sheol, Greek hades, Eng. grave of hell. Grave is used in our translation; but the Hebrew sheol is the same that is rendered hell in Deut. xxxii. 22, and in many other places of the Old Testament; perhaps in all where the word hell is found in English.
1 Cor. xv. 29. "Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead ?"
Two interpretations may be given of these words. First. To prove the doctrine of the resurrection the Apostle here brings into view, among other arguments, the sufferings of Christians for asserting and adhering to this doctrine and asks, “Else," i. e. if there be no resurrection of the dead, what shall they do, or what advantage shall they derive who are baptized, overwhelmed in sufferings for testifying to the fact of the resurrection of Christ from the dead, and declaring their belief in the resurrection of the saints at the day of judgment? Now, as if he had said, what advantage shall they derive, if there be no resurrection? why are they baptized? immersed in sufferings, and stand in jeopardy every hour? why, to speak after the manner of men, have I fought with beasts at Ephesus? what advantageth it me if the dead rise not? The sufferings of primitive Christians is proof of the resurrection of the dead-they were thus baptized for their profession of this doctrine.
Second. Baptized for the dead. As though he should say, if there be no resurrection of the dead, the sacrament of baptism loses its significancy for as the believer rises out of the water in baptism, he gives as
surance of this hope. It is absurd therefore for some among you who have been baptized to say there is no resurrection of the dead; for by their baptism they have declared their belief in, and given a representation of this very thing. Your baptism is a refutation of your error. Rom. vi. 4.-BAPTIST MAGAZINE.
For the Christian Repository.
MR. EDITOR.-Believing that the Christian Repository is designed for the detection of error, as well as for the discovery of truth, and feeling fully persuaded that a late system of divinity which is circulated with industry, and read with avidity, is replete with absurdity and contradiction, I shall attempt to point out some of the many inconsistencies, with which this system abounds; and if you think them worthy, you have the liberty to insert them in the Repository.
The foundation of the system alluded to appears to be this:-That man possesses two natures totally distinct;* the one heavenly, the other earthly or earnal. The heavenly nature is perfectly pure, and cannot be contaminated by the lusts of the flesh. The earthly nature is corrupt, and is constantly prompting men to deeds of iniquity. In this fleshly constitution, all sin originates, and to this all punishment will be confined. Now on this scheme it appears to be perSectly idle, to talk either of virtue or vice. All sin is Committed by this earthly nature; the mind, being pure, does not partake of the evil actions. This earth by principle is sinful by nature, and what is natural is necessary, and what is necessary is not sinful, because it cannot be avoided. So on the other hand, all virtuous actions are performed by the heavenly nature, and consequently they cannot be virtuous, because
Something similar to the two natures in Christ, with which this system is at open war.
they are natural and necessary. Therefore the actions of men are neither blame nor praise-worthy, on this scheme.
If it be urged, as the system sometimes admits, that the soul of man or the heavenly nature assents and participates with the earthly in the perpetration of crimes-I reply, this is giving up the system at once. For if the mind be an accomplice with the body in acts of sin, it is vicious, becomes corrupted, and consequently its perpetual purity must be given up. Now if this heavenly nature becomes contaminated, it is punishable, and the dissolution of the body can render it neither holy nor happy.
Salvation, on the scheme we are examining, con, sists in being delivered from this earthly nature, or from the power and dominion of its lusts and fears. For proof of universal salvation, the advocates for this scheme depend on all those passages, that assert that "Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners to save the world," &c and that he " gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time." From hence it is asserted, that Jesus Christ came with an express design to save every individual of Adam's race, and cannot be defeated in his original purpose. But, as throwing off the body amounts to complete salvation, this scheme is destroyed by itself. For death comes with its destructive power, and sweeps the sinner to glory, before the news of a Savior reaches him. The heathen and all that die without the saving knowledge of Christ, are saved by their own dissolution, and therefore, the assertion that Christ will save all for whom he died, falls to the ground.
This system further maintains that all punishment is salutary, designed for, and will eventuate in the reformation of the punished. Now we see many persons, for sins they have committed, subjected to a state of punishment, but before this punishment has produced its salutary effect, the grim tyrant death approaches with rapid strides, and snatches the sufferer