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from him. As he clothed himself with cursing, like as with his garment; so shall it come into his bowels like water, and like oil into his bones.” Psal. cix, 17, 18.
Indeed he can have no hopes, when he considers that he hath neglected so great a salvation all his life; that he hath set at nought God's counsels, despised his reproofs; that when his CREATOR called to him to turn, he had no ears to hear his voice; and therefore, when sorrow shall overtake, tho' he may cry, he shall not be regarded of God; and though hemay seek, he shall not find; the Master of the house having risen up, and shut to the door, all knocking for entrance is in vain, even though such were to plead for admittance in the most earnest manner, saying, "Lord, Lord, open to us;" he shall answer, “I know you not whence you are;' and though they may reiterate, and expostulate, saying, "We have eaten and drank in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets,” he shall not be moved, but shall say to them, “I tell you, I know you not whence you are; depart from
me, all ye workers of iniquity—— There shall be weeping, and gnashing of teeth, when they shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and they themselves thrust out. St. Luke, xiii. 25, 26, 27, 28.--See also St. Matth. vii. 21, 22, 23. *xv. 11, 12.
Minister. These are awful warnings, indeed; and were they attended to as they ought to be, would be sufficient, one would think, to deter men from their evil ways. I am glad that you have stated them in this most striking point of light; for though they form no real objcction to
my views of God's dealing with men, as I un derstand the Scriptures, they are an insuperable bar to the opinions of those who deny a future state of retribution, which I think impossible for them to answer fairly. I shall, however, notice briefly, some things in this collection of Scriptures, in order that my sentiments may appear in their true light.
1. All the hopes of the wicked, ungodly, and hypocrites, shall perish at their death.
Perhaps they hoped to have lived long, to have enjoyed health, wealth, pleasure, and all worldly good, for many years; to have seen their children for many generations, flourishing for a long time on earth; but death destroys these hopes.
The hypocrites might have hoped that they should have been accepted with God, on the account of their birth, parentage, profession, rank among the people of God, observation of the externals of religion, &c. &c. all of which vain hopes do certainly perish at death.
The profane and wicked infidel, and practical atheist, might have hoped, either to have ceased to exist, or to have found some way of escaping the threatened punishment; but death destroys these hopes also.
2. Whatever may be the final intention of God. towards these miserable creatures, it is lent they are shut
in a state of keen tormenting despair, or dreadful suspence, and may be fully persuaded that they shall never be released, of which it is likely they may not have even the most distant hope, or the least degree of knowledge-but, on the contrary, he in fearful expectation of more terrible punishment hereafter.
3. As they have lived and died in sin, their destruction, or misery, is certain—and there is no remedy that can prevent their experiencing the consequences of their crimes, and suffering the just punishment which shall be inflicted on them, according to their different deserts.
4. They who live and die in rebellion against God, will be eternally deprived of the glories *& honors of the kingdom of Christ, which otherwise they might have possessed; will be excluded from a share in the first resurrection, and will be exposed to suffer the torments of the second death; which all must inevitably suffer, who remain incorrigible till the great day of judgement.
5. As God hath called, and they have refused, it is but reasonable to suppose, that they in their turn, shall cry in vain yet nevertheless, though he may long delay, he may hear their cries, and deliver them at last. See Psal. cvii.. 13, 14, 15, 16.
David, in his Psalm xxxivth, says, “The face of Jehovah is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.” Our translators not understanding, or not entertaining an idea of the future Restoration, add, “The righteous cry, and JEHOVAH heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles.” Whereas the Holy Ghost has put no such words as the righteous into the text there; but after saying, that the face of Jehovah is against them that do evil, to destroy them out of the world, and to make them forgotten, and their names to cease upon the earth, it adds, a word that signifies. Crying, and then says, “And JEHOVAH heareth, and delivereth them out of all their
troubles;” See ver. 16, 17. This seems indeed like the doctrine of the Bible, which elsewhere says, speaking of the notoriously wicked; O my Gid, make them like a wheel; as the stubble before the wind. As the fire burreth the wood; and as the flame setteth the mountain on fire; so persecute them with thy tempest, and make them afraid with thy storm. Fill their faces with shame, that they may seek thy name,
О ЈЕноLet them be confounded, and troubled for ever; yea, let them be put to shame, and perish. And they shall know (as the Hebrew word signifies, and as it is rendered in the old translation) that thou, whose name alone is JeHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth.” Psal. lxxxiii, 13, 18. Here we see, in a beautiful and clear manner, that one grand design of God in bringing judgements, and even what is called utter destruction, upon men, is that they may know that he is JEHOVAH, the true God; and there are but few intelligent Christians, but must in some measure, be able to conceive hopes concerning all those to whom the knowledge of God is promised.
Though the threatenings in the prophecy of Ezekiel, both against the Jews and other nations, are uncommonly severe; yet they frequently close with this gracious promise_"And they shall know that I am Jehovah," or something similar; as will evidently appear to those who will be at the pains of examining the following passages in that book:
Ezekiel, vi: 7, 10, 13, 14. vii. 4, 9, 97. xi. 10, 12. xii. 15, 16, 20. xii. 9, 14, 21, 23. xiv. 8. xv. 7. xvi. 62. xx. 12, 20, 26, 38, 42, 44. xxii. 16.
xxii. 49. xxiv, 24, 27. xxv. 5, 7, 11, 17. xxvi. 6. xxviii. 22, 23, 24, 26. xxix. 6, 9, 16, 21. XXX. 8, 19, 25, 26. xxxii. 15. xxxüi. 29. xxxiv. 27. xxxv. 4, 9, 12, 15. xxxvi. 11, 23, 38. xxxyii. 6, 13. xxxviii. 23. xxxix. 67, 22, 28.
Friend. But does not punishment barden and inflame offenders instead of softening and humbling them? As we read Işa. viii. 21. “They shall curse their King and their God, and look upward;” and in Rev. xvi. 9, 10, 11. “And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues; and they repented not to give him glory. And they gnawed their tongues for pain, and blasphemed the God of Heaven, because of their pains and their sores; and repented not of their deeds.”
Minister. Punishment to a certain degree, inflames and enrages, in a most amazing manner; but continued longer, and heavier, produces a contrary effect--softens humbles, and subdues, When Epbraim of old, bemoaned himself, he said thus:-"Thou hast chastised me, and I was chastised, as a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke; turn thou me, and I shall be turned; for thou art Jehovah, my God.” Jer. xxxi. 18. The metaphor here used, expresses in a most lively manner the different effects of the same discipline, in its beginning, progress, and end. When a bullock first has the yoke laid on his neck, he frets, tosses, and rages exceedingly; but by a continuance of the dicipline, he is subdued, brought down, humbled and tamed, so become the most useful and gentle of animals. The sons of Zion are represented as lying "at