« PreviousContinue »
send forth one voice, and say, JUST IS THE JUDGMENT.” See discourse on Hades.
3. The scriptures speak of the judgment of former generations as yet to come. Matt. x. 15. “ It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah ip the day of judgment than for that city.” xi. 23, 24. " And thou Capernaum, it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom, in the day of judgment than for thee.” Luke xi. 31, 32, “The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and condemn it. The men of Nineveh shall rise up in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it." It is here declared that it shall be more tolerable, in the day of judgment, for the land of Sodom and Gcmorrah, than för those cities where Jesus preached and wrought miracles without effecting their moral reform. Mark the peculiar language; Christ does not say it was more tolerable for the land of Sodom than it shall be for thee, in the day of judgment, but it shall be more tolerable, &c. referring the whole to the future, clearly implying that those ancient cities, which in ages past had withered from existence under the divine displeasure, had not yet received their final judgment, and that they were yet to be judged together with the unbelieving Jews of our Lord's time. This clearly shows that the final judgment and punishment of sinners are matters which belong to the future world. Again, it is said in the above quotations, that the queen of the south, and the men of Nineveh, shall rise in judgment with those to whom Christ preached, and condemn them. Now, the Ninevites, here referred to, lived eight hundred and sixty-two years before Christ, and the queen of the south made her visit to see the wisdom of Solomon about one thousand years before Christ; and yet these are said to rise up in the judgment with the Jews of our Lord's dayAnd how can this be unless a general judgment is referred to ? Surely, generations so remote from each other in point of time, between whose earthly allotments, nations rose and fell, and millions came and went on the waves of intervening ages ; we say, two such generations declared to rise up in the same judgment, and at some future time, must prove beyond all doubt a future and general judgment.
XIV. The scriptures teach that the judgment, and conse
quently the punishment of the wicked, are to take place after death, and at the general resurrection; which must determine the punishment to be in a future state. 2 Tim. iv. 1. “I charge thee therefore, before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing." 1 Peter iv. 5. “Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead.” Acts x. 42. “And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be judge of quick and dead."
In these texts, by the quick, we are to understand those who shall be alive upon the earth when the judgment shall sit ; and by the dead, we are to understand such as die previously to the judgment who will be raised from the dead.
What most clearly confirms the point, that these scriptures relate to a judgment after death, and at the general resurrection, is the circumstance that Christ is declared to be the judge. There can be no doubt but it is in the Redeemer's glorified character that he will judge the world; and if so, it follows that the judgment must be after death, and at the general resurrection; otherwise all those generations and nations of men, who had their being, and passed into the future world before the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, have no part in the judgment; whereas, Christ, in his glorified character, is constituted judge of the world, of the “ quick and dead.” If Christ is the judge of all men in bis glorified character, the judgment must be subsequent to his resurrection and exaltation, which proves beyond the possibility of doubt that men are judged after death ; for the inhabitants of four thousand years had lived and were dead be fore this event. This view is sustained by the Apostle, Acts xvi. 31. He hath appointed a day in the which he will judge the wÅrld in righteousness, by that man whom he hath ordained whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.” This text contains 80 many reasons in support of the above view that it deserves particular attention.
1. It speaks of the appointment of a day of judgment “in the which he will judge the WORLD. The world then is to be judged by Jesus Christ, and by the world, in this text, nothing less than all men can be understood. None
can this be set aside by universalists, by saying that it is the Jewish world which is here spoken of, and that it was fulfilled in the destruction of Jerusalem; for this discourse was not directed to the Jews, nor was it spoken concerning them. The text in question is a part of that celebrated discourse delivered by St. Paul in Athens, to the idolatrous and philosophical Greeks. The connexion shows that the judgment is universal. The Apostle says, "the times of this ignorance God winked at,” which shows that the heathen world is the subject of discourse. He farther says, God “now commandeth all men every where to repent; because he hath appointed a day in the which he will judge the world." The expression "all men every where," pointing out the subjects of the divine command, enjoining repentance, corresponds with the expression “ world” pointing out the subjects of judgment; hence, if all men every where are commanded to repent, then, all men every where are to be judged. Here then is a day of judgment predicted which does not relate to the Jews, nor to the destruction of their city, nor subversion of their polity. It would have been a very singular mode of reasoning to urge the necessity of repentance upon the Greeks, because God had appointed a day in the which he would judge the Jews in righteousness, and burn up their city and disperse them among the surrounding nations.
2. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is set forth in the text, as an evidence or an assurance of this universal judgment. There are two points of light in which the resurrection of Christ is an assurance of a general judgment. First, it confirmed the doctrines of the gospel, one of which is that of a general judgment; and secondly, it furnished clear evidence of a general resurrection; for “ if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? but if there be no resurrection of the dead then is Christ not risen. But now is Christ risen from the dead and become the first fruits of them that slept." See 1 Cor. xv. 12, 13, 20. It must be difficult to see on what other ground the resurrection of Jesus Christ can be an assurance that all men will be judged; and if this is the correct view of the subject, it follows that the judgment is subsequent to death, and at the general resurrection.
As Christ's resurrection is an assurance of a general judge ment by being a proof of a general resurrection, it follows that a general resurrection is essential to the judgment of the world, of which the apostle speaks ; and must precede it. As we have proved beyond all doubt that this text speaks of a general judgment which did not relate peculiarly to the Jews, and consequently has not been fulfilled in them, it may be well to compare it with the preceding texts, which have been introduced in this argument, that it may appear that they all relate to the same event. Three texts have been introduced. 2 Tim. iv. 1. 1 Peter iv. 5, &c. Acts x. 42. which declare Christ to be judge of quick and dead, and this text declares that his resurrection is an assurance of such judgment. This argues strongly that the literally dead are interded Christ is proved to be judge of the dead by his own resurrection from the dead. Again, one of the texts, Acts x. 42, which declares Christ to be judge of quick and dead, says, “ he was ordained of God to be Judge, while the text, Acts xvii. 31. wbich we have shown to relate to a general judgment, says, God will “ judge the world by the man Christ Jesus whom he hath ordained.” Both texts, in effect, declare that Christ is ordained “judge;" one says, judge of quick and dead, and the other, judge of the world. These parallels, drawn between these different texts, show that they all relate to the same event, and that the dead, who are in their graves, are intended. But there are other scriptures which speak of judgment after death, and at a general resurrection. Rev. xx. 12, 13. “ And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God, and the books were opened, and the dead were judged out of the things which were written in the books, according to their works; and the sea gave up the dead that were in it;" &c. This text speaks of all the dead, of their standing before God and of their being judged; and to render it more certain if possible, the judgment of the dead is connected with the resurrection of the body; "and the sea gave up the dead that were in it,” &c. This shows, that by the dead, those who have died the death of the body are intended. Heb. ix. 27. “ It is appointed unto men once to die and after this the judgment." This text is so plain as not to need comment, had not universalists belaboured it, in
a manner very much to distort its features. According to their exposition, the apostle is here made to say that it was appointed unto the high priest to die figuratively in the sac rifices, which he offered annually as an atonement for sin; and that after this the judgment came, whereby the congregation was judged and pronounced righteous in view of the atonement that had been made. Or, as some will have it, the apostle speaks of the natural death of the high priest, and the judgment which follows relates to the events which were connected in law with his demise. Now, it appears to us that nothing was more foreign to the apostle's mind than either of these expositions. The points essentially connected with the text in question, in the apostle's reasoning, are, the two-fold appearing of Christ ; once as a sin offering “to put away sin,” and once “ without sin, (without a sin offering,) unto salvation.” The apostle declares that it is not necessary that Christ “ should offer himself often as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with the blood of others, but now once in the end of the world, (the Jewish dispensation,) hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.” But this is not all, for as men not only die but are to be judged after death, so Christ has not only appeared once, to die, but “ shall appear the second time” to judge the world; and this second appearing shall be without a sin of fering: “and unto those that look for him,” that is, those who believe and trust in him, his second appearing shall be “ unto salvation.” Such appears to us to be the chain of the Apostle's reasoning, the substance of which may be thus stated: As men are subject to one temporal death, and one only, so it was necessary for Christ to die once and once only, as their substitute to redeem them; and as men are accountable for the improvement they make upon his grace, and hence must be judged after death, after the opportunity for such improvement is past, so Christ must appear a second time to judge them. As men die once, so Christ died once to redeem them, and as men are to be judged after death, so Christ is to come as judge subsequently to his death ; and as he came at the end of the Mosaic dispensation as redeemer, so will he come at the end of the Gospel dispensation, that is, the end of the world, as judge. We think we have now estaba