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Nor has this writer perverted less a passage which may be found in John v. 28, 29. Here the Saviour was speaking of a figurative resurrection, which was then about to take place; but the objector applies this passage to the future resurrection of all men into another state of existence. And yet the Saviour was particular to declare, that the hour then was, when that resurrection should take place. See the 25th verse. "Verily, verily, I say unto you, the hour is coming, AND NOW Is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live." How any man, who will carefully read the fifth chapter of John, can apply the Saviour's language, in this instance, to the future resurrection of men into the immortal state, we are totally unable to perceive.
XVI. "Universalists argue, that, though it may be true that all the impenitent and unbelieving will suffer eternal punishment, yet all will repent and believe, and therefore be saved. Could I only believe this, I should have no difficulty in becoming a thorough-going Universalist. But my own observation has taught me, that many have died impenitent and unbelieving; and Scripture renders the instructions of observation certain. It cannot be, therefore, that all will be saved on this ground."
That all will at last repent, and believe, the objector cannot admit. If he could believe it, he "should have no difficulty in becoming a thorough-going Universalist." Now, that all mankind will at last believe the gospel, the Bible does explicitly declare. "All the ends of the earth shall remember, and turn unto the Lord." Ps. xxii. 27. "All nations, whom thou hast made, shall come and worship before thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name." lxxxvi. 9. "I have sworn by myself, the word has gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, that unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear, surely shall say, in the Lord have I righteousness and strength." Isa. xlv. 23, 24. If every individual shall swear that in the Lord he has righteousness and strength, all must, in that case, believe the Gospel. St. Paul declares, that "every
tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the
XVII. "Universalists contend, that there is another state of probation, in which these, who leave this world unprepared for heaven, will repent and believe in Christ, and be saved. But we read nothing of another state of probation. On the contrary, the whole tenor of Scripture, the whole course of divine providence, the grand result to which all things are evidently rolling onward, as well as several explicit declarations of divine truth, utterly forbid the supposition.
And even if it were admitted, that God has instituted another state of trial, I could have but slight evidence to believe, that those, who neglect the day and means of grace on earth, would be likely to secure the interest of their souls in hell. For what Bible will they have in that world of woe,what kind of preachers, what means of religious instruction, what day of grace, Holy Spirit, what way in which
what strivings of the
'To 'scape from hell and fly to heaven?'
None, none. How, then, can they be saved?"
What is there in this objection beside mere assertion? Who says the present state is a state of probation? Answer. The writer of the objections before us. Does the Bible say so? No. But provided this is a state of probation, who says the next will not be equally a state of probation? Answer. The writer of the objections. Does the Bible say so? No. He says the whole tenor of Scripture; he says the whole course of divine providence; he says the grand result to which all things are evidently rolling onward, as well, he says, as several explicit declarations of divine truth, utterly forbid the supposition, that men may repent and believe in Christ hereafter. Does the Bible say so? No. Why did he not quote some of those "explicit declarations"? Why did he not at least give us one? Again, this writer says, if God were to attempt to save men in the world to come, he would not succeed any better than he does in this world; for those who neglect the day and means of grace on earth would neglect them in a future state. Does the Bible say this? No. The Bible saith no such thing. And, as though men are to be brought to know God in the world to come, by the ordinary means, he inquires what Bible, and what preachers they are to have in the next world?
In regard to all these questions concerning the future state, the Universalist has a short answer only to give. The ground of our faith is the New Testament. This assures us, that "in the resurrection men shall be as the angels of God in heaven." Matt. xxii. 30; that "the dead shall be raised incorruptible;" that the
"sting of death, which is sin, shall be destroyed, and that God shall be all in all." 1 Cor. xv. 28, 52, 55. Destroy this foundation, and we fall; but, while this re mains, our faith is indestructible.
XVIII. "I cannot be a Universalist, because, after a somewhat extended and candid examination, I find, that the whole current of Scripture is in favor of eternal punishment. If Universalism be true, it appears to me, that the word of God must be false. I cannot for example, if Universalism be true, see any force or significance in that very affecting account of the general judgment, which Matthew has given us in the 25th chapter of his Gospel. I cannot tell what to make of several of the parables uttered by our Saviour. The parable of the tares and wheat; of the net that gathered of every kind; and others, together with the account of the rich man and Lazarus, which, if they prove any thing, most certainly inculcate the doctrine of eternal punishment. The case of Judas, too, who, being perdition's son, went to his own place, seems to me to be proof positive, that at least one individual will be miserable forever. But I must not particularize; for, as I said before, the whole current of Scripture is obviously opposed to Universalism."
The objector here says, the "whole current" of Scripture is in favor of eternal punishment. This, again, is an assertion, and, as such, is of no avail. We say, the whole current of Scripture is against eternal misery, and now we are even with the objector, on the score of assertions. If Universalism be not true, it appears to us, that the word of God must be false. If Universalism is true, the writer professes not to be able to see any force or significance in the parable of the sheep and goats, which he calls a "very affecting account of the general judgment." Here, again, he betrays his ignorance of Scripture. Now, if he will remember two things, we will put him in the way of understanding the parable of the sheep and goats. 1st. If he will look at Matt. xxv. 31, he will perceive, that this parable was to be fulfilled at the coming of Christ ; and, 2d, if he will examine Matt. xvi. 27, 28; Mark viii. 33, and ix. 1; Luke ix. 26, 27, he will perceive, that this coming of Christ was to take place during that
generation whom he addressed. See, also, Matt. x. 23; xxiii. 36; xxiv. 34; and John xxi. 22. These Scriptures are worth a thousand mere assertions. As to the parables of the "tares and wheat," and of "the net, ," that gathered of every kind, they had their fulfilment at the same time. If he will take his Greek Tes. tament, and turn to Matt. xiii. 39, 40, and 49, he will perceive, that both these parables were verified at the
end of the air," rendered "world," in our version, which was fully completed at the destruction of Jerusalem. See 1 Cor. x. 11; Heb. ix. 26; 1 John ii. 18. In regard to the account of the rich man and Lazarus, it is a parable; and, in its literal sense, is not true, any more than the parable in Judges ix., of the trees going forth to choose a king. The truth in this, as in all parables, is to be sought under the figure. The Jews, in the time of Christ, had imbibed some of the absurd notions concerning Elysium and Tartarus; and Jesus used these notions in a parable, to illustrate the important truths he desired to communicate. Poor, unfortunate Judas is brought up in the last place, to sustain the objector's cause. This writer tells us, that Judas "went to his own place." These words, however, were not spoken of Judas, but of Matthias, who "went to his own place," in the apostleship, from which Judas, by transgression fell. The verse a little transposed will make the sense perfectly evident. That he [Matthias] may take part of this ministry and apostleship; that he [Matthias] might go to his own place, from which Judas, by transgression, fell.
We come now to the last objection of the series.*
*The above series of objections was drawn up by the once Rev. Moses Thatcher, editor of the "Boston Telegraph," a spirited par tialist journal, published in Boston. They were much talked of at the time, as being absolutely unanswerable. We have preferred to make them the basis of this chapter, that the language of a real objector might be used, and thus the objections be stated in full force. The melancholy truth is well known to the public, that since Mr. Thatcher published these objections, and endeavored to fasten on Universalism the charge of exerting a dangerous influence on public