Page images
PDF
EPUB

tains.” No farther reply was offered, and we consider the argument as good now as it was then. 3. It is declared in the text that Christ shall sit

upon

the throne of his glory at his coming here referred to, which was not the case at the destruction of Jerusalem. Wherein did Christ sit upon the throne of his glory at the destruction of Jerusalem, any more than at the fall of Babylon, or at the dissolution of the Roman empire ?

4. In the text it is said that all nations shall be gathered before Christ at his coming here referred to. Now there was no gathering of nations at the destruction of Jerusalem, but rather a scattering: the christians and all strangers fled on the approach of the Roman army. In the controversy above alluded to, it was replied by the opposite party, that by all nations, nothing more was meant than a collection of some of all nations, and that this was fulfilled in the approach of the Roman

army, which, it was said, was composed of some of every nation on earth. In answer to this it was maintained that there is no evidence, or even probability, that there were some of every nation in the Roman army, though it was composed of a collection from different provinces. The author of this handy method of making out a collection of all nations, was also reminded of what he had just said concerning the promise of God to Abraham, that in his seed all nations should be blessed, in which he contended that, by ail nations, every individual of all nations, must be understood. On this it was remarked that if all nations could be gathered together, where there were only a few individuals selected out of all nations, it must be perfectly plain that all nations could be blessed in the seed of Abraham, though but some of all nations actually enjoyed the blessing.

5. It is said in the text, that Christ shall separate them, (nations,) one from another. Now we ask, what nations were separated at the destruction of Jerusalem, by being parted from each other, or by each being severed in its own members? The Roman army, which is made to comprise all nations, were not separated one from another. The Jews were not separated from all other nations at this time, but were taken and sold as slaves among other nations. If it be said that the Jews were separated from each other, we answer

Come,

this was but the separation of one nation, whereas the text speaks of all nations.

6. When Christ shall come, as predicted in this text, the obedient are to be rewarded or blessed, upon consideration of their former good character.

ye

blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world, for I was a hungered and ye gave me meat,' &c. What is this kingdom prepared from the foundation of the world, which the righteous now inherit? It cannot mean the gospel kingdom on earth, to which the gentiles were then called; for the call of the gentiles took place long before this period: it being an acknowledged fact that the gospel had been preached throughout the Roman empire before the fall of Jerusalem. Again, the righteous, in this text, are rewarded for what they had done, or on the ground of their former good conduct, which was not the case in the call of the gentiles; for they were received into the gospel church on condition of their present repentance and faith, and not on account of what they had been or had done. It will be equally futile to say that by the reward here promised to the faithful, we are to understand their preservation amid the ruins of that bloody siege. A temporal deliverance, or a deliverance from temporal death is not well described by “a kingdom prepared from the foundation of the world. As well might it be said that the same reward was extended to the three worthies on their coming forth from the fiery furnace, or to Daniel, on his deliverance from the den of lions. As well might every christian be said to inherit a kingdom prepared from the foundation of the world when he is in any way delivered from impending danger.

7. At the coming of Christ, described in the text, the wicked will be punished with a punishment prepared for the devil and his angels.

Now, we trust it has been shown in a preceeding argument, (see Argument vii.) that there are real and personal devils, inhabitants of the invisible world, from which it must follow that the calamities which befell the Jews cannot be intended, by a punishment prepared for the devil and his angels.

Having examined the text itself, and drawn out such arguments, as it appears to contain in support of a second com

ing of Christ to judge the world, we will endeavor farther to support the position, by comparing it with other texts which are supposed to relate to the same event. 1 Thess. iv. 15. “ The Lord himself shall descend from heaven, with a shout, with the voice of the arch-angel and with the trump of God, and the dead in Christ shall rise first." This text speaks of Christ's coming at the resurrection of the dead, which proves that he will come at the end of the world, when all the dead will be raised. That the resurrection here referred to, is the resurrection of the body, is certain, from the reference which the text contains, to the manner of the general resurrection, by the sounding of the last trump. It must be admitted that the same writer is to be understood to mean the same thing, when he uses similar expressions in different places, unless the nature of the subject absolutely requires a different construction. All admit that 1 Cor. xv. contains an account of the resurrection of the dead; and in this chapter, verse 52, the apostle describes the manner in which the resurrection will be effected, viz. by sounding the trumpet--" for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised.” If this then refers to the general resurrection, how clear must it be that the same writer refers to the same event when he says,

- The Lord shall descend from heaven with the trump of God, and the dead shall rise.” Having shown that 1 Thess. iv. 16. speaks of Christ's coming at the general resurrection we will proceed to compare with Matt. xxv. 31–46, in farther proof that it relates to the same event. Please mark the points of resemblance between the language of Christ in Matt. and St. Paul in Tessalonians.

1. Christ says, “The Son of Man shall come in his glory;" Paul says, “ The Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the arch-angel and the trump of God." 2. Christ

says, 66 The Son of Man shall come, and all the holy ungels with him;" Paul says, as above, that he “shall descend with a shout, with the voice of the arch-angel, &c. His coming with a shout, anwers to his coming with all the holy angels, for a shout supposes that he will have attendants who will give the shout.

Paul says,

3. Christ says, “ All nations shall be gathered before him;":

- The dead shall rise." 4. Christ speaks to the faithful, “Come ye blessed of my father inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” These shall go “ into life eternal.” Paul says, of the righteous, "they shall be caught up to meet the Lord in the air, so shall they ever be with the Lord.”

It appears to us that nothing but a determination to support an opinion, at all hazards, could lead the mind to apply these texts to different events. They seem to refer to the same event, with this difference only—Christ treats of both the righteous and the wicked, while St. Paul speaks of the righteous only. But the apostle, in his second letter to the same people, treats of both the righteous and the wicked. 2. Thess. i. 7-10. “When the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power, when he shall come to be glorified in his saints." That this text relates to the same event described in the former one, must appear, when we consider,

1. That they were both penned by the same hand. 2. They were both directed to the same people.

3. They resemble each other so nearly as not to admit of an application to different events without an express warrant from the author. Note, the first of these texts says,

" The Lord himself shall descend from heaven."

The second says, “ The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven.” One says, “ He shall descend with the voice of the archangel.” The other says, “He shall be revealed with his mighty angels." Now, that 2 Thess. i. 7–10, does not relate to the destruction of Jerusalem must appear from a consideration of the subjects to whom it was addressed.

1. The church at Thessalonica was not composed of Jews but principaily of devout Greeks and converted heathen. “ Hence," says Dr. Clarke, “we find in the epistle but few allusions to the Jews, and but few references to the peculiarities of their religious or civil institutions.”

2. The Thessalonians were too remote from Jerusalem to

[ocr errors]

be materially affected by the judgments which befel this devoted city. Thessalonica was a city in Europe distant nearly one thousand miles from the noise and blood of the siege that proved the overthrow of the Jews. In view of these circumstances to suppose that St. Paul appealed to their hopes and fears on the ground of the fall of Jerusalem, describing the event by a revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, is too absurd to be believed. We will introduce one text more which refers to the second coming of Christ and leave the subject. It is 1 Cor. xi. 26. “ As oft as ye eat this bread and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till he come.”

This text clearly implies that the death of Christ is to be celebrated in the holy sacrament until the Lord comes, and no longer ; from which it follows that the sacrament has been invalid since the destruction of Jerusalem, or else that Christ did not come then, has not yet come, but is to come hereafter, at a time when gospel ordinances will no longer be perpetuated. This argument we do not expect will weigh much with the unceremonious quaker, but with universalists, who sometimes pretend to administer the sacrament, and with all others, who believe in its validity it must prove conclusive.

We trust we have now shown that the judgment and punishment of the wicked are connected with a second coming of Christ, yet future, from which it most clearly follows that the wicked are to be punished in a future state.

XVI. The scriptures connect the judgment and punishment of the wicked with the end of the world, or the dissolution of this whole mundane system, which must determine the punishment to be in a future state. If it can be proved that the wicked will be judged and punished at a time when this world will cease to be, the argument will be irresistible in proof that they will be punished in a future state. We are not prepared to say whether universalists, generally, will admit that this world will have an end and cease to be, having never fallen in with any decisive expression on this subject; but whether they will admit it or not, we think it may be easily proved. Heb. i. 10-12. “ Thou Lord in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of thine hands; they shall perish, but thou re

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »