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much, knowing much, feeling much, and enjoying an eternal weight of glory in the future state.
Again we discover different degrees of intellectual improvement in this life, and that generally the most extensive is in proportion to the length of time allowed to make it, and the worth of means afforded. From these remarks, or rather from the principles upon which they are predicated, we infer, that the Almighty makes use of means, for the purification of all those souls—if any—that are purified and fitted in this mortal state, for heaven.
Secondly.-As we believe that all souls, ultimately will be made holy, of course eternally happy ; but cannot believe that all souls, if any, are made holy in any period of their mortal state, and know that holiness and happiness, are inseparably connected; we must believe, that they can be altered beyond the grave, for the better-and that the means which God uses to purify them while in the body, and which proves partially efficacious, will extend in their operation to the next state of the existence of the soul that
may need their application, and we believe all will.
To extend the argument, in support of our hypotheses, we will remark, that it is the doctrine of the scripture and of daily experience also, that it is owing to the influence of the carnal, or fleshly nature of man, or what ought to be called his animal spirits, that he departs from the divine law, nor loves God supremely, and that from the circumstance of the association of the soul with this body of sin, arise all the crimes and miseries of man. Now if this be the case with man, which no one, we presume, will deny, we ask, if it does not seem likely, that the soul could attend better to the means of purification when divested of this body, than it can while associated with it, and while under the influence of bad example? We think
When the soul is disimbodied, it will not only be entirely clear from the influence of the earthly, carnal nature, which is directly opposed to the nature of God, but it will see, as it never saw before. While the soul is confined to this body it has to grope in the dark, it sees “ through a glass darkly," is often deceivedthe light that may guide some aright, leads others to bewilder, and dazzle to blind ; but when divested of its prison of clay, its sight will be clear, and its knowledge great. The Saviour said, “ This is life eternal that they should know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou art sent.” Now to have a correct knowledge of God, is to enable or cause the soul to love him, and “ every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God." Now," he that loveth not, knoweth not God, for God is love." Again, “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ, is born of God." See 1 John. From these scriptures, it is plain, that the acquisition of divine knowledge is the means appointed by God for the purification, and eternal happiness of the soul, and it is evident enough that this knowledge is not, cannot be attained in this life, to any considerable perfection. If any do, we have never in all our religious observation discovered the effect, which such knowledge is said in scripture, to produce--such as “casting out fear,” and other high attainments of heavenly mindedness. But if we will admit the testimony of the scriptures, we will believe,
we shall see him (God) as he is" when divested of the body, and “know that when he shall appear" to us, “as he is, we shall be like him" see 1 John 3.
Thus it is clearly to be understood, that no soul can attain to a correct knowledge of God while in the body, and yet such a knowledge is absolutely necessary to obtain the requisite qualification of holiness and eternal glory; but it is as clearly to be learned from 'scripture, that this knowledge is to be obtained by all
souls often they are divested of the body, and thereby enabled to see God “as he is,” which sight will transform them and “ change them into the same image, from glory to glory.” We learn, from scripture also, that those, “every man” who have this belief of the Universalist—“ this hope in him, purifies himself ; even as he (God) is pure." Away then with the false notion, that the doctrine of universal salvation will encourage men in crimes, when the truth is “every man that hath this hope purifies himself.” And when he is admitted to see God as he is will be made like him, and sustain an “eternal weight of glory.” O! glorious hope, how it transports the spirit to things above! here it uncleaves the affections of the heart from earthly objects, and makes it willing, yes, even anxious to leave its clay, and journey to the heavenly worlds to see its father and its God.
The above evidences of Scripture testimony, and remarks correspond with the declaration of the Saviour to the Apostle Paul-see Acts 26 : who was to be made the means of turning the people from darkness to light, to be sanctified by faith, by a correct knowledge of God. As remarked above, God makes use of the works of creation, of his providence, and the history of the events of redemption ; that is, the manifestation of his love to man by the acts of the Saviour Jesus Christ, to bring the soul to know and love him while in the body, and we knew of no other way, for by nature, the world of man knows nothing about God, they are without God in the world—must be taught to know him, but all the teaching given in life is through the channel of human imperfection, and answers but little purpose, to that which will be taught to the soul in a disimbodied state, under the full vision of the Divine being. Here it can see, and know more of the glorious character of the God of love, in one hour of time, than it could in many years in the
body, by the best facilities ever afforded to man. It can better appreciate his wisdom, and love-can discover that all the providential dealings of God towards it while in the body, flowed through the channel of God's love--can then learn that good was Jehovah in bestowing sun shine, and no less good in the storm and thunder.
The soul, in this unfettered state, can see the divine parent, without a vail between, can love him who is love, and adore him with its most warm and ardent affection—can join the rapturous song with every other creature, which is in heaven, and on the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, in ascribing, blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb, for ever and ever. Rev. 5.
And now what scripture, or reason, can we find to oppose the cheering belief, we have advanced for its support—that all souls will be altered for the better beyond the grave, in the future state ; we know of no scripture which can be brought for that purpose, and few reasons—all is on the side of the supposition.
If God sincerely wishes the eternal holiness and happiness of all souls, and no one will dare to say he does not; nor can any believe that he lacks the power to accomplish the objects of his will; it will then follow of course, that if his will in this respect is not accomplished, in one period and situation of the soul's existence, it can, and will be in another.
Why is it that any have, in their belief and doctrine, limited the time of the dealings of God with the soul for its purification to about seventy years, and its situation to its association with the body. No one has been authorised to believe that to be the fact No one can produce the least scripture authority to support the belief. No one is guiltless who preaches such a doctrine to others, for divine truth. We challenge
any man on earth to show divine authority for so believing and teaching.
Every one believes, that the soul can exist after it leaves the body, if it did not before, and can, not only retain all its present faculties entire, but be enlarged in its capacities, and susceptibilities; if this be correct, why then, can it not in this state, be led to know and love God perfectly, whom to know is eternal life. We know that the soul of an infant neither knows nor loves God, until it is instructed, relative to his character and designs of love, when it loves God, because it' learns that he loves it.
The good and wise believe that God has not left the final desti
ny of man to his own actions and opinions—Remarks of Addison-Query relative to the situation of the soul after death -How God will sanctify the soul after it leaves the body.
Almost all of the good and wise who have spoken or written on the subject under consideration, have expressed a belief, that God has not left the eternal condition of his intelligent offspring, on so precarious a foundation, as their own mutable feelings and actions ; but that he has not only decreed the destiny of the soul, but the means to secure it. This belief is necessary, to justify the ways of God to man.
From among the opinions of many eminent writers, we will select a few remarks from the celebrated Addison, who thus writes.
“How can it enter into the thoughts of man, that the soul, which is capable of increasing perfection, and of receiving new improvements to all eternity, shall fall away into nothing, (or as some will have it into a hell of fire and brimstone to be tormented eternally,