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ble of the happiness which the Christian scheme holds out to us. It is in vain, therefore, to talk of their being dispensed with. In whatever degree they are dispensed with, the dispensation must be injurious to our happiness. “ Eternal life,” or perpetual existence, " is the gift of God through Jesus Christ our Lord;" but the degree of our happiness or misery in that life must depend upon our own conduct, or, more properly speaking, upon our own temper and disposition. While we are at enmity with God, and in a state of rebellion against him, we cannot be happy; and in such a state we may justly be said to be, while we despise, or do not make due use of that mode of reconciliation with God, which it has pleased him to offer us by his Son through faith, repentance, and renewed obedience. There seems no room, therefore, for the question which your correspondent puts, “ Do all transgressions deserve everlasting torinenis in hell?" Nor does it admit of a positive reply. The Christian ree ligion requires not perfection, which is indeed impossible; but, by requiring sincerity, which, according to the intimation 'of St. James ii. 10, is inconsistent with contipuance in any known sin, any instance of supposed disobedience to God's will, it seems to preclude this weighing of demerits against punishments, no less than, by the mode of our redemption, it precludes the weighing of merits, considered as suchi, against our expected rewards.
I migbt expatiate further on this subject; but it will perhaps be as satisfactory to your correspondent, and certainly more easy to me, if I transcribe for his perusal a passage, which occurs in one of my “ Discourses to Academic Youth.” The passage is this :-" Whether the circunstance of our being raised from the dead will prove a blessing or a curse is, indeed, left to be determined by ourselves. As there will be a resurrection both of the just and unjust, some may rise to misery. But this, though a consideration of alarm, is no reasonable objection against the scheme of our redemption; least of all can it consistently be urged by those, who pride themselves on the freedom of their actions. As the necessary effect of a general law, it is agreeable to the method, in which it pleases God in all instances to govern us; and we might thence conclude, had we no other reason to do so, that it is productive of good on the whole. We do not know that the possibility of evil could have been avoided. If mankind in general had remained in inno
cence, individuals would have been liable to depart from it. Besides, in remedy of incidental evil, provisions may be made with which we are not yet acquainted. In any case, no one can reasonably complain of a dispensation which has his advantage so much for its object, and which fails of attaining it only by his own fault. All are sufficiently taught, by their experience here, that mercy abused generally turneth into vengeance; but no one, on that account, would give up the consolation and privileges to which the general promises of mercy entitle him; nor, with respect to the instance in question, would he, at the beginning of life, if capable of the choice, willingly resign the hope of reviving after death, from the hazard of its proving a resurrection to damnition.” Disc. xj.
I am, Sir, Rempstone,
Your's, &c. July, 8, 1805
E. PEARSON. P: S. When I addressed to Mr. Evanson my Query respecting the idolatry of the heathens, and his notion that they in no case believed in the divinity of the image which they worshipped, I might have reminded him of the history of Bel and the Dragon, as related in the apocryphal book of that name. For, though that book has not the authority of an inspired one, il doubtless gives us a true representation of idolatrous worship, as practised by the generality of the then inhabitants of Babylon. In both these cases, Cyrus insisted, that the images were living gods, because, as he supposed, they daily consumed the provisions which were set before them; and it was not till he discovered the imposition practised in this particular, that he was convinced of their being what they really were, and what Daniel esteemed then, “ lifeless idols made with hands.” Here, then, contrarily to what Mr. Evanson supposes possible, we have an instance of a people “ so utterly devoid of reason, as to imagine the idols, they themselves made, and before, which they worshipped, to be the powers who governed the world, and controlled the affairs of men *."
; E. P. * See Orth. Ch. Mag. for April 1805. p. 267.
...! AN ESSAY ON THE CHURCH..
TO THE EDITORS. OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCHMAN'S
. . MAGAZINE. + GENTLEMEN, ITAVING endeavoured to shew what power was giveu IT to the church to punish offences, such as were real offences in the sight of God and unquestionably attested by true witnesses, I proceed to shew in whom the execu tive power upon earth was vested by Christ. It may be inferred froin Matt. xviii. 18, that the disciples were invested with that power, and consequently, that St. Peter alone possessed it not, as the papists argue-from Matt. xvi. 18. It cannot however be proved from Matt. xviji. 18, that Christ invested the twelve apostolical disciples (Matt. X. 1,) with this power, because although the disciples (Matt. xviii. 1,) are here addiessed, they are not specified to be the twelve apostles. Others were standing by, as appears from the second and tenth verses. We must therefore endeavour to discover elsewhere who were to be the greatest in the kingdom of the church, (Wisd. 9.) I proceed therefore to the 27th verse of the following chapter, where the subject of the kingdom of heaven, i e. of the church, in its proximate sense, is renewed. “What shall we have therefore ?" spake Peter, in the name of the rest. “ And Jesus said unto them, (ver. 28,) verily I say unto you, that ye which have followed me, in the regeneration, when the Son of man shall sit on the throne of his glory; ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” Compare Mark x. 28, and Luke xxii. 29.
The word Trainogaeredia requires our first attention. In its proximate sense, it’undoubtedly means the baptismal new birth or revirul. Its next sense, I apprehend, is the baptised, or spiritually revived state, (compare Matt. xxii. 30), where the word avaonous is used in a correspondent manner. Its ultimate sense is the resurrection.-St. Matthew here uses the most comprehensive expressions: while St. Mark and St. Luke inore manifestly point out that the apostles were 10 possess twelve thrones in the church : upon earth.
The judgment, or government, of the true Israel of God, the Christian church, is undoubtedly here committed to the twelve apostles, or rather, to the apostolical order; (see Parkhurst's Gr. Lex. under repsow and wateryingia). The Collective sense of the parallel places, and the comprehensive words here used, prove the perpetuity of that power. .
And first, to speak of the baptismal regeneration, or entrance into the church, a subject common with chap. xviil. 3, &c. St. Luke actually describes the esta blishment of Christ's covefiant, founded upon his death and resurrection, and the actual investment of the apostles with their power when Christ (and together with him, in some sense his church) began his baptism of real death; chap. xxii. 29. But when the apostles were commissioned to baptize all nations; and again, when they were baptized with the Holy Ghost and with fire, then did they receive power from on high, and howbeit, they understood it not, the kingdom was given unto Israel. And thus gradually commenced the state of baptismal regeneration of the church, and the kingdom thereof was given to the apostles, " and they shall reign for ever and ever.” The perpetual duration and unchangeableness of the Messiah's kingdom is the subject of many prophecies, and especially of those of Daniel, to which Christ alludes in the very name which he
gave to his dominion, “ The kingdom of heaven." And, lest there should be any doubt of the same point, St. John in the apocalypse, repeats the ancient prophecies, and describes the apostolical government of the church in different ages. See Rev. i. 6, and iv. 4, 10, and xi. 16, and xii. I, and xx. 4, and xxi. 12.--In these places one and the same apostolical government of the church in all its' states is described, corresponding to the governa ment of the twelve tribes of Israel. The only difference between St. John and St. Matthew is, that St. John in one place, calls the elders twenty-four : but this he most obviously does, because he meant to point out the union of the patriarchs and apostles, as is proved by his doubling the number of the cherubim, and by the words of Rev. v. 9. The apostle' is undoubtedly there also de., scribing the first union of the Jews and Gentiles in one society, before the church had received her temporal power ; for she hath the promise of this life as well as of that which is to come;" see Rev. v. 10. When the church comes to be established by Constantine, she is described (Rev. xii. 1,) as having a government of twelve Vol. IX. Churchm. Mag. July 1805.
or evangelical apostles. And wh
tai And when « the kingdoms of this world become those of our Lord,” (Rev. xi. 15.) the said apostles are described as continuing in power ; (comp. Rev. iv. 10.) And when the next glorious state of regeneration upon earth, the resurrection of the just commences, (Rev, xx. 4,) the apostolical government is confirmed,
susda odit out Finally, as we may learn from the comparison of Matt. xxv. 31, with the place before us, at the great day, the general resurrection, the saints shall judge angels, and the twelve apostles shall sit as a jury, upon the quick and the dead. Finally, the prophecies of St. John describing different ages of the church, prove that the government of the same was committed to the apostolical order, and not to any particular twelve men in the successive ages of the church. For we know that since the time of the apostles, no such government of twelve persons has existed, and that the apostles themselves extended it to other apostles, as to St. Paul. The above is confirmed by Matt. xviij. 29, where the reward of the inferior members of the church is described. The act of baptism and of entrance into the church is spoken of prophetically, as though all its consequences were present; for God seeth the effect in the cause, and speaketh thereof accordingly. But the consequence of baptism to every individual, is to receive a hundred fold, for temporal losses, in spiritual riches in this world, inclusive, perhaps of a hundred fold of glory in the first resurrection, during the time of this present world, (comp. Rev. ii. 10, 11, with Rev. xx, 4, &c.) and to the church, a further consequence is, that “the meek shall inherit the earth,” when the Lamb of God and his followers shall be alone enthroned. Then shall meekness be proved to have been the best policy,
able meniam, Genhumble Ser JUVENISON