« PreviousContinue »
and he whose part God shall take away out of the church, involving as it does, all the interests of our holy religion, must be effectually Jost.
3. “God shall take away his part out of the things which are written in this book.” As this is a threatening, it relates to all the promissory portions of the book. Now, if salvation, heaven and eternal life, are written in this book, from all these the individual has his part taken, and must be for
If there were not another text in the Bible implying the endless punishment of sinners, this would seal their endless and hopeless ruin.
VIII. The scriptures absolutely deny salvation to certain persons and characters. Matt. v. 20. “ For I say unto you, that except your righteousness exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” It is clear that some may not exceed the Scribes and Pharisees in righteousness, or this text never would have been uttered, and to such the text absolutely denies salvation. They shall “in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven;" and if they cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven, they cannot be saved. Universalism says, that all shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but Christ says of certain characters, that they shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. John iii. 3. “Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” This text absolutely denies salvation to all such as are not born again. The text clearly implies that men may, or may not be born again; and that if they are not, they cannot see the kingdom of God, in which case they cannot be saved. To suppose that men can be saved, without ever seeing the kingdom of God, is in the highest degree absurd. Universalism says all shall see the kingdom of God and enjoy it forever; but Jesus Christ says, such as are not born again “cannot see the kingdom of God.” Gal. v. 21. “Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like, of the which I tell you before, as I have also told
you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” It is worthy of remark, that, in this text, the verb which expresses the forbidden conduct, is in the present tense, “they which do such things," while the verb which express
es the punishment, is in the future tense, “shall not inherit; not, do not inherit. This clearly marks the sense thus: those who do such things here shall not inherit the kingdom of God hereafter. Eph. v. 5. “ For this ye know that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolator, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of God.” Universalism says that every man has an inheritance in the kingdom of God, and in this it is opposed to the word of God.
But universalists attempt to evade the force of these passages, by denying that they have any reference to a future state, and by maintaining that the phrases, "kingdom of God," and “ kingdom of heaven, mean no more than the gospel dispensation. To this we reply,
i. That these phrases do not always and exclusively signify the gospel dispensation, here on earth, but sometimes signify a future state of happiness. That the terms kingdom of God, and kingdom of heaven, sometimes mean the gospel dispensation, is admitted; but that they never mean a place of happiness in the future world is denied. Matt. viii. 11. “Many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven."
This text was spoken hundreds of years after Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were dead, after they had dwelt for ages in the future world, while the collection from the east and west to sit down with the Patriarchs in the kingdom of heaven, is described as an event yet to take place; therefore, the kingdom of heaven in this text must refer to the future world. 1 Cor. xy. 50. Now, this I say brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.” The Apostle is here speaking of the resurrection of the body, in which he declares “it is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption, it is sown a natural body it is raised a spiritual body;" and in view of this change he says,
flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God." From this it is clear, beyond all doubt, , that by the kingdom of God, in this text, is meant an inheritance which cannot be possessed in this world, while we tabernacle in flesh and blood, but which awaits us in the future world to be possessed after the resurrection of the body.
2. If it were admitted that by the kingdom of God, in
the above texts, we are to understand the gospel dispensation, still it would not in the least lessen their evidence in proof of endless punishment. The texts affirm that certain characters “shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven," that they “cannot see the kingdom of God,” that they “ have no inheritance in the kingdom of God," and that they “shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” Now, suppose that the gospel dispensation is to be understood, and what then can be meant by these expressions ? The texts will then read thus : Except your righteousness exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the gospel dispensation. Except a man be born again he cannot see the gospel dispensation. Shall not inherit the gospel dispensation. Now, on the supposition that these texts refer exclusively to the gospel dispensation, it is clear that the persons to whom they relate are denied all interest in the gospel dispensation, as absolutely as they are denied all interest in heaven, on the supposition that they relate to a future state of happiness; and as there can be no introduction into heaven only through the gospel dispensation, that is, through the provisions of the Gospel, it is clear that those who are denied all interest in the kingdom of God cannot be saved, whether by the phrase we understand the gospel dispensation or a future state of happiness. If, as restorationers contend, sinners are to have the offers of the gospel held out to them in the future world, and be made the subjects of grace and moral reform in hell, it will be as necessary to enter into the gospel dispensation, to pass from hell to heaven, as it is to pass from earth to heaven; hence, those who “shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven,” “cannot see the kingdom of God," and who “ have no inheritance in the kingdom of God,” can never find their way into heaven itself. Matt. vii. 21. “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of my
Father which is in heaven." This text clearly denies admission into the kingdom of heaven, to all such as say Lord, Lord, and do not the will of God. And in this case it cannot be pretended with any degree of plausibility, that the gospel dispensation is intended, by the kingdom of heaven; for the meaning of this phrase must be determined, in this
instance, by the term heaven, which occurs a second time in the text. In the two expressions “kingdom of heaven," and
my Father which is in heaven,” the term heaven is, unquestionably to be understood in the same sense. Now, understand by the first of these expressions, the gospel dispensation, and Christ is made to say in the latter, my
Father which is in the gospel dispensation ! Such a construction outrages common sense. It is clear, then, that the kingdom of heaven, in this text means the place of the divine presence, where those who do the will of God are to dwell forever with him, and as it is said, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven,” it is clear, that there are some who will never be saved.
Luke xiv. 24. “For I say unto you, that none of those men which were bidden, shall taste of my supper.” This relates to the gospel supper, or provision which the gospel contains for the salvation of sinners. This supper is a feast consisting of the blessings which the gospel proffers to all. Now, of certain persons it is said, none of these men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.” John viii. 21. “Then said Jesus again unto them, I go my way
shall seek me, and shall die in your sins ; whither I go ye cannot come. Where did Jesus Christ go ? He went to heaven, there can be no doubt in the mind of any; hence unbelievers who die in their sins, can never go to heaven, for to such Christ says, “ whither I go ye cannot come.
John iii. 36. “ He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life, and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life." We know not how to express what we conceive to be the sense of this text, more to our purpose, than in its own language. The unqualified declaration that certain characters shall not see life, forever and eternally seals them with the seal of death. Matt. xii. 32. “And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him ; but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come. Mark. iii. 29. “But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation." Let it be remarked that the sin here spoken of, by some called the unpardonable sin, consisted in attributing to the agency of
the devil, the miracles which Jesus Christ wrought by the power of the Holy Ghost. That this sin was committed by some of the Jews there can be no doubt. Of these it is said, they shall not be forgiven, neither in this world, nor in the world to come. Now, without forgiveness there can be no salvation, as we have already shown in Chap. IV. which is devoted exclusively to this subject. But universalists attempt to evade this by rendering the expression, “neither in this world, neither in the world to come,” neither in this dispensation, neither in the dipensation to come; that is, this offence shall not be forgiven, under the Jewish, nor gospel dispensation ; but this does not in the least relieve them, for if men are ever saved, they must be saved under or during the gospel dispensation ; and as there is no forgiveness of this offence under this dispensation, those who commit it can never be saved. This conclusion is farther supported by two other expressions in the text. It is said, " he that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness.” An expression stronger than this cannot be framed.
He that hath never forgiveness can never be saved. Now if the text does not deny forgiveness to the blasphemer, during all ages to come, then the writer in the above declaration has not denied salvation, during all ages, to such as have never forgiveness. If when Christ says the sinner hath never forgiveness, he does not deny that he will be forgiven at any future time, then, when the writer says the sinner can never be saved, he asserts nothing contrary to the sinner's salvation at some future time. Again it is said in the text, that those of whom it speaks, are “in danger of eternal damnation.” This shows that forgiveness and damnation are opposed to each other; he who is forgiven is not damned, and he who is not forgiven, must be damned; hence, as the blasphemer hath never forgiveness, his damnation is eternal. We think we have now shown that the scriptures absolutely deny salvation to certain persons and characters.
IX. The scriptures represent the punishment of the wicked as their end, their last state, and their portion. Ps. lxxiii. 12. “Behold these are the ungodly who prosper in the world.” Of these characters the Psalmist adds, verse 18, 19, “ Thou casteth them down into destruction—they are utterly