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neighbour, and the priest's lips keep knowledge, that the people may learn the law from his mouth !
In the annals of history, we read not of a more unprovoked hatred, and a more base crime than that of Cain. Abel had brought his offering to the altar of the most high God, and presented it with affections of gratitude to the sovereign of heaven, and love to all his creatures. His sacrifice was accepted ; Cain's heart boils with indignation—the venom of his spleen had almost destroyed him ; nothing can glut his vengeance, till he dyes his hands in his brother's blood ! Surely the thunders of the Almighty will not sleep, nor his lightnings cease to play, till the wretch be hurled into the hottest of Tartarean flames.
Yet strange to relate, the gracious God of heaven only threatens him with temporal banishment, from the society of his brethren or father's family. O Cain, had you lived in the days of orthodoxy, they would have told you such news as would have harrowed up your spirits ; for to all the temporary pains threatened by God, they add eternal misery, in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone !
When God gave the law on Sinai, amidst thunders, lightnings, tempests, and smoke, we might have naturally expected that if he ever intended to denounce damnation, fire would have proceeded from fire, and smoke from smoke ! But will any man be so wild or fanatical as to assert, that the Jewish law contained any such threatening as eternal misery? No Jew, previous to the Babylonian captivity ever imagined that God would punish him, in another world, for sins committed against the Mosaic institution. The heaviest penalty ever threatened in the Jewish law, was the loss of life or the dispersion of that nation. Shall it be pretended that God concealed the pains of hell, till the sinner was snared and taken, and then inflicted the never-ending torments of a merciless burning
fire ! God forbid, that I should so blaspheme my Creator's character and government.
Can it be admitted that the glorious gospel of the blessed God contains those dreadful denunciations, unknown to the Mosaic dispensation? Surely not. Jesus is the mediator of a better covenant, founded on better promises. The law is called the ministration of death, and the gospel the ministration of life; can then the ministration of life, unfold the horrors of an eternal death, unknown to that very dispensation, which was emphatically denominated the ministration of death?
Reviewing, on this part of our subject, what is called Evangelical preaching, we may apply to modern preachers, the language of God by the prophet Jeremiah ; Many pastors have destroyed my vineyard ; 'they have made my pleasant portion a wilderness. Chap. 12: 10. They think to cause my people to forget my name by their dreams. Behold I am against the prophets, saith the Lord, that use their tongues, and say he saith. Jer. 23: 27–31. Often have I challenged these dreamers to produce a single passage from the sacred scriptures, wherein God had threatened man with punishment after death ; but though my request has frequently caused the little divines to rage, vet it always proved a sovereign anodyne to all my philosophical and literary opponents. Indeed I have fully come to this conclusion, which I deem perfectly correct, that were it not for ignorance, fanaticism, and the love of gain, there could not be found a single advocate of hell torments !!
The law killeth, but the gospel or spirit of life quickeneth. Like the good God from whom it sprang, it is a fountain of living waters whose streams magnificently flow in glorious abundance, producing life and purity throughout the vast empire of the universe. The excellence of the new covenant and its superior
ity will appear, by considering that all the promises are absolute and unconditional, and therefore incapable of mutation. From the first proclamation of the gospel, all the blessings of it were pronounced to be free grace, flowing from an impartial God, and therefore for the whole family of the great universal Parent.
When Jehovah said to Adam, “the seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head;" when he promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, that in their seed, i. e. Christ, “ all the families of the earth shall be blessed,” were not these promises unconditional ? Is the law, says Paul, against these promises of God. Gal. 3: 17, 21.-God forbid ! The law which was 430 years after, cannot disannul the covenant of God in Christ, that it should make the promises of none effect. Micah, addressing the great God, says, “ Thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham, which thou hast sworn to our fathers from the days of old.” Micah 7: 20. Jehovah never can change, therefore his truth and covenant shall endure for ever. Men may err through ignorance, from the right way, and God may chasten them with rods, yet will he never make void his covenant, nor change that which he has spoken, but his faithfulness will remain to all generations.-Ps. 89: 30, 35. I will make a new covenant saith the Lord, not according to the covenant I made with Israel when I brought them out of Egypt: I will print my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts, and will be their God, and they shall be my people; they shall all know me from the least to the greatest, for I will remember their sins no more.-Jer. 32: 31, 35. Heb. 8: 8, 13. God's record concerning his Son, is that we, the whole offspring of Adam, have eternal life in him. The unbeliever attempts to make God a liar, by not believing God's report ; notwithstanding, the unbelief of man
can never make the word of God of none effect.. The gift of God which comes to all men, is eternal life ; and when Jesus our life shall appear, we shall be like him ; for he will change our vile bodies into his glorious image, and so we shall be ever with the Lord.—John 3: 2. Phil. 3: 21.
Punishment in the future world is inconsistent with the justice of God, and the changes to which the human body is subjected. Such are the laws of animal economy, and the transmigration of matter, that pain must immediately follow the vicious act as its consequent, or otherwise it cannot with propriety be inflicted. Through the afflux and deflux of particles, the human body is perpetually changing, and must entirely change every five or six years ; therefore God has ordained that the righteous are recompensed in the earth, much more the wicked and the sinner. There is no peace,
my God, to the wicked; they have no rest day nor night, but are continually tormented. In a word, the wicked are turned into hell, i. e. trouble, fear and pain, from the day they assume the character, till they cease to be wicked—then, and not till then, shall they enter into rest. O the riches both of the goodness and wisdom of God.
Some may ask shall not the wicked be put into hell after death? Is not this the meaning of the Psalmist, Ps. 9 : 17? I answer, no ; the Pagan hell was after death, but the biblical hell is in this state of being. Poor mistaken man, no longer dream that thou canst sin wilfully, and yet escape the just chastisement of the Lord. His hand will find thee out. His eyes run to and fro through the earth, beholding the righteous and the wicked, and men will distinguish; they must see, if guided by truth and light, that God maketh a difference between him that serveth the Lord, and him who serveth him not. Mal. 3: 15.
In this body dwell those propensities which induce man to sin.--Bodily appetites and passions entice the man. Sin and suffering follow unlawful indulgence. In the self-same body in which man oflends, in it he shall undergo the reward of his folly, and there is no respect of persons.
The doctrine of the resurrection prohibits the doctrine of future misery. Many have supposed that God will raise the dead in similar circumstances to those in which they departed this life, but the supposition is heathenish and anti-scriptural. Paul treats largely of the resurrection, but never intimates that any should have reason to dread the consequences. He affirms, that as in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive. Death was the wages of sin ; it followed as a consequent, but grace reigning through Jesus, the common Lord and Redeemer of man, abounds to the obliteration of guilt, and the introduction of everlasting righteousness; abolishes sin and its consequences, disease and death ; brings immortality to light, and passes upon all men for justification of life, which the Son of God imparts to every man without exception. In the history of the resurrection Paul does not contemplate moral character, nor distinguish parties. Therefore, he adopts the human body, as the subject concerning which he predicates all he says, concerning a future state of being. This body is committed to the earth in dishonour, it is raised in glory ; in weakness, but raised in power ; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body ; it is sown in corruption, but raised incorruptible; a mortal body, but raised immortal. All must be changed. Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God. As we have borne the image of the earthly, so we shall bear the image of the heavenly. Our first state of being has been earthly, carnal, sensual, fleshly, corrupt and mortal; but our second mode of being, shall