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II. It has been objected to the common doctrine of satanic influence or temptation, that if the devil is chained in hell as represented in the preceding quotations and remarks, then he cannot be about in this world as the tempter of the human family. This objection we recollect to have seen very gravely stated in a universalist periodical. Now, to reply to this, it is only necessary to enquire what is meant by the fallen angels” being chained. It is presumed that no one supposes that the devil is chained literally, with a material chain, as we hand-cuff a criminal, and chain him down to the floor of his prison ; such a notion, when applied to spirits, is too absurd to be indulged by the most superstitious and vulgar. What then is meant by the fallen angels' being chained ? Their chains may signify their hopeless despair, there being with them no hope or prospect of ever escaping from their wretched condition. Or their being chained may denote that they are so beld in on all sides, by the divine power as not to be able to go beyond certain limits in their work of malevolence, temptation and ruin. Had not satan his chain in this respect, beyond the length of which he cannot go, we should no doubt see other marks of his goings than those that now appear. Now, what is there in all this contrary to the common belief in satanic influence in this world. Should it be thought absurd to suppose that God can lay any restraint upon satan, and yet not confine him entirely, so as altogether to prevent his evil influence in this world, a sufficient answer will be found in the reply to the following objection.
III. It has sometimes been objected that it is inconsistent with the divine power and goodness that such a satanic majesty, as the devil is supposed to be, should exist and be permitted to roam with such destroying influence through the world and church of God. This argument is sometimes stated thus : God has power to destroy or controul the devil, or he has not; if he has not the power, he cannot be omnipotent, and the devil becomes a kind of omnipotent being, at least equal with God; and if God has power to destroy or controul the devil, and will not do it, he becomes accessary to his deeds, and can be but little bett than the devil himself. That this argument is fallacious is evident from the circumstance that it may be applied to disprove what is plain matter of fact. It
proves just as much against the existence of wicked men, as it does against the existence of devils. It is said, Prov. ix. 18. “One sinner destroyeth much good.” Now, God has power to destroy or controul this sinner, so as to prevent his destroying much good, or he has not. If God cannot destroy or control the sinner he cannot be omnipotent, and the sinner becomes a kind of omnipotent being, at least equal with God; and if God can destroy or control the sinner, so as to prevent his destroying much good, and will not, he becomes accessary to his deeds and can be but little better than the sinner himself. We see then that this argument proves just as much against the existence of wicked men as it does against the existence of devils; and the existence and evil influence of wicked men it can never disprove, since these are plain matters of fact ; therefore it can never disprove the existence of devils. What God has
to do, and what he may see it proper to do, are two things quite distinct from each other. We know not but God may have power to annihilate the devil by one look from off his throne; but if it be so it cannot prove that it is consistent for him so to do. That God's peculiar people are sometimes tempted and led astray by wicked men, is a fact too plain to be denied, and it can detract, no more from the power or goodness of God to suppose that a similar evil influence is exerted by the devil.
IV. It has been objected to the doctrine of satanic influence, that if the devil tempts men as generally, and in all parts of the world as is believed, he must be capable of being in many places at the same time, or he must be omnipresent, which can never be ceded to any created being. The fallacy of this objection consists in supposing that absolute ubiquity is essential to satanic influence as generally believed. On this subject we beg leave to remark,
1. That every created being has his own sphere of being, which he is capable of filling; more than which he cannot fill, beyond which he cannot go, and out of which he cannot act : as no being can act where he is not. Some beings however may fill a larger sphere than others.
2. Spiritual or disembodied beings may, no doubt, convey themselves from one place to another with great facility, which unquestionably is the case with the devil. We
know not but he can pass around the globe quick as the motion of light. The movements of disembodied spirits, for aught we can know, are as easy as our thoughts which pass to the most distant orb in the smallest imaginable period of time. 3. To the above we would add, that there may
be devils than there are men in the world. The apostle informs us that angels sinned; but how many sinned and fell we are not told. We also read of the devil and his angels; while we are informed that seven devils were cast out of one individual and a legion out of another. These circumstances render it more than probable that devils are more numerous than human beings, and that where we read of the devil, reference is had to the chief, prince, or leader of the infernal host; hence, to him so much wickedness is attributed, though he has myriads under his command in its accomplishment.
We trust we have now proved the existence of devils, who are subjects of punishment in the invisible world, and have also removed the principal objections urged against our theory on this head. Now we say that the punishment of wicked men is connected, both in point of time and place, with the punishment of the devils, who inhabit the invisible world. Matt
. xxv. 41. “ Depart from me ye cursed into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.” Now, as there are devils that inhabit the world of spirits, and as wicked men are to be punished with them, it clearly follows that wicked men will be punished in the future world.
XII. The scriptures teach that the good works of the righteous performed in this life, will be rewarded in a future state, and if so, it not only follows that the non-performance of these works on the part of the wicked, will affect them in the same proportion, they losing what the righteous gain; but in addition to their loss, they will receive at the same time, in positive punishment, the reward which is due for the nonperformance of duty as well as for sins they may, mitted. Those who deny future punishment, we believe, always limit the effect of human actions to this state of existence; denying that virtue or vice affect their votaries after the close of this transient life. If then it can be shown that a virtuous life, will receive a reward in a future state, it
it will follow that the sinner will also receive his reward, after having finished the work of life and passed the limits of his present career. But before we enter upon the proof of the position, it should be remarked, that when we speak of the reward of obedience, we mean a reward of grace, and not of debt. Though we can merit nothing at the hand of God, by our obedience, yet God of his free grace in Christ Jesus, has promised a future reward to all such as obey the gospel in this life. We will now attempt to show that our conduct in this life will have a bearing upon our condition in a future state. Luke xiv. 13, 14, “When thou makest a feast call the
poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind, and thou shalt be blessed, for they cannot recompense thee; for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.” Here benevolence has the promise of a reward at the resurrection of the just; which proves such reward to be in a future state. The man then, who from true christian love, bestows his goods to feed the poor, will enjoy a reward in the future world, in which the sordid miser will have no part; and yet, which he might secure if he would pursue the same course. Therefore the case of the benevolent and the miserly, will both be affected in a future state, by their conduct in the present life. Heb. xi. 35. “ And others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection.” This clearly shows that holy martyrs died in the belief, that their fidelity and sufferings would be rewarded with a better resurrection in the future world; which clearly implies, that such as accept deliverance, or procure exemption from suffering in this life, by a renunciation of the truth, or by betraying in any way the cause of God, will be raised from the dead, less to their advantage in the world to come. Rev. ii. 10. “Be thou faithful unto death and I will give thee a crown of life.” This text is too plain to need comment. The faithful here have the promise of a reward after death. And will not the unfaithfulness of the sinner affect him after death, by depriving him of that reward? We might multiply quotations on this subject, but it is unnecessary; the above plain scriptural evidence must convince every candid reader, that we are all acting in this life for the retributions of a future world. xill. The scriptures teach that there is to be a day of
general judgment, when the whole human family will be judged and rewarded according to their moral characters, or conduct in this life. If men receive all the punishment due to their sins, in this life, then every man must be judged as he passes along in life's career; hence, if we can show that there will be a day of general judgment, the doctrine of future punishment will follow as a necessary consequence. There are several classes of scripture texts which might be urged in proof of a future and general judgment.
1. It is worthy of notice, that the scriptures speak of the judgment as an event yet future, and not as though it had taken place, or as though it were now transpiring every day. Eccl. xii. 14. “For God shall bring every work into judgment with every secret thing, whether it be good or whether it be evil.” Mark the expression, God shall bring, not has brought, nor does bring, every work into judgment. Rom. xiv. 10.“ For we must,” not do, “all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.” 2 Cor. v. 10. “ For we must,” not do, “all appear before the judgment seat of Christ.”
2. Another class of scriptures fix the judgment at a set time or on an appointed day: Acts xvii. 31. ^ He hath appointed a day in the which he will judge the world in right
.” Rom. ii. 16. “In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ." Jude 6. “ The judgment of the great day.” 2 Pet. ii. 9. “ The day of judgment."
.” John xii. 48. “He that rejecteth me and receiveth not my words hath one that judgeth him. The word that I speak, the same shall judge him at the last day.” These expressions, “the day of judgment,” “ the day when God shall judge the secrets of men,” “ the judgment of the great day,
» « that day,” “ the last day,” &c. were common among the Jews; and how they understood them, and consequently how they are to be understood when they occur in the scriptures, may be seen by the following extract from Josephus. “For all men, the just as well as the unjust, shall be brought before God the word, for to him hath the Father comitted all judgment. This person, exercising a righteous judgment of the Father towards all men, hath prepareda just sentence for every one according to his works; at whose judgment seat when all men and angels, and demons shall stand, they will