Εικόνες σελίδας
PDF
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

41

SERMON XIV.

THE CHRISTIAN MINISTER.

For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ in them that are saved, and in them that perish; to the one the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things? 2 COR. ii. 15, 16.

THE present division of the Scriptures into chapter and verse, if not the most injudicious that could be made, is very far from being the best; or even such as a very ordinary portion of talent cannot improve. We must make the most of the evil, therefore, for the reason that it is, in the present condition of human opinions, beyond a remedy. The subject, from which I have selected a text, begins at the 14th verse. Paul commences by thanking God, because He always caused him, Paul, to triumph in Christ, etc.; and this expression of thanks, introduces the passage I have selected for my text.*

I will first inquire, What is SALVATION, in its legitimate scriptural signification? There is no term whatsoever, in any language, better understood by the multitude, than the English term saved. Now every person that is saved

* Although I do not consider it necessary, to offer any thing as an apology for my frequent selection of Paul's testimony, in preference to the other apostles and disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, there is a propriety in assigning my reasons for pursuing this course, viz: First-Paul was a man of superiour natural, and acquired abilities, to all his associates in the Gospel ministry. This reason I give, because it is valid, as a reason. Second And principally, because Paul was especially chosen, and set apart by the Lord Jesus Christ, in a manner truly miraculous, as the great Apostle charged with a commission, as Christ's Embassador to the nations. the Gentiles. Third-Because Paul, as the apostle of the Gentiles, preached and wrote as became an apostle of the Gentiles; fully, and freely of all the things his Divine Master commanded him to preach and write about to the Gentiles. Fourth-Because there is much that has been written by Paul's associates in the gospel ministry, that, however true and important as truth, it may have been to the Jews of that age, has no relation to the condition of the Gentiles; and never was intended for them.

I consider these reasons abundantly sufficient. But those who are determined to saddle the Gentiles with the Jewish Gehenna, and make them fellow-heirs with the Jews, of the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, will think otherwise. Well, I cannot help that, and here we will let the matter rest,

from any evil, is saved from the evil, negatively; to the opposite state or condition that is the antithesis of the evil itself; and this, considered affirmatively, is salvation. The man that is saved from a state or condition of starvation, is, negatively, saved from the evil that must have destroyed the recipient of the salvation, had he been left a victim to the state of starvation. And the salvation from the destruction of starvation, is the antithesis of that destruction, viz: life; consequently, it implies the means of sustaining life; good wholesome bread, or food, in sufficient quantity, when it is needed. We, therefore, see that salvation, in its legitimate sense, signifies, not merely a negative condition, but a positive blessing. For there is such a thing as saving a man, in a strictly qualified sense, from one evil, negatively, only to leave him to be destroyed by another process; or by the operation of a different cause, from that, from which you have relieved, or rescued the victim. But this is not salvation, in the legitimate signification of the term, as used in the Scriptures, as I shall proceed and show.

There is a momentous distinction, which I pray the reader to remember-The salvation of God, is not man's salvation. The salvation of man, is not God's salvation. That is to say, of God, and of man, as the agent. The salvation of God, that man is the recipient of, as the patient, is the salvation taught in the Scriptures; and it is all of God, by and through Jesus Christ, as the mean employed by God, the Agent, to make His salvation effectual to His offspring man, the patient. And this salvation is from an evil, negatively, to a positive good.

The reader must have noticed, that our text speaks of only two possible states, or conditions, viz: that of those who are saved; and of those who perish. These stand in contrast, and the antithesis is so positive, that neither physical nor moral antipodes can be more so.

The reader will also please to notice, that our text has no allusion, not even the most remote, to any perishing in, or salvation from, a Hell in a future state of existence. This notion, the Jews learned from the pagans, and united this error with their Magian hypothesis, which they learned in their captivity at Babylon, viz: of a Devil. And this was all very natural: having procured a Bird from Babylon, they next looked for a Cage to keep him in. Well, they obtained a Cage from idolatrous Greece, and Rome; and they, brought it all the way from Egypt. But

this is not all: their Bird must be fed-so they gave him worms to eat; as the boys feed their caged robins-only the worms in the one case, happen to be the souls of men !* Now Paul, the apostle of the Gentiles; (in the sense of being theirs, exclusively,) never so much as mentioned the Jews' and pagans' Hell once, in all his Epistles. The Gentiles have no more interest in the Jews' Hell and Devil, than the American people have in Mahomet's old breeches; that have been preserved as a relick at Constantinople, and are displayed, on very extraordinary occasions, to the edification of all good Musselmen.

Peter, whose Epistles were not addressed to Gentile, but to Jewish converts, uses a different phraseology from Paul. He (2 Peter ii.) says, "The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto a [not the] day of judgment to be punished." But, be it remembered, this declaration is made after having adduced cases, where the unjust or ungodly, had been punished in a day of judgment. And Peter affirms positively of the overthrow of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha, that their overthrow was "making an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly. And in his first Epistle, Peter speaks, in reference to the coming destruction of Jerusalem, etc., saying, "But the end of all things is at hand," yyLKE. It is really surprising that the translators rendered this term eggike, so correctly as they ve one in this instance. So Peter affirmed, about 1800 years ago, in the then present tense, 66 The END of all things IS AT HAND." (1 Peter iv. 7.) And Peter exhorted those to whom he wrote, to watch; that is, to be on the look out constantly, for the end he spoke of.

Now Peter, among other instances of God's judgment of ungodly men, speaks of the messengers (angeloi) that sinned, and affirms, that "God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast down to hell, and delivered into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment." And of those that have forsaken the right way, Peter says, "To whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever;" eis aiona; into the age; then at hand. And the original term rendered Hell, (in verse 4,) raprapuras, is exclusively heathen, in its origin; has nothing to do with the Gentiles; neither any

See Sermon No. 16. Also, accept the following qualification: Orthodox men affirm that the ancient Jews believed in a future hell, or place of punishment. If this be true, the pagan origin of their faith and hell, is alike true!

ness.

connexion with the Jews; save in a figure; they having substituted heathenish errors for the truths of God, Peter uses this heathen term, which signifies a state of darkIn fact, so dark, that no person, whether Christian, Jew, or Greek, knew any thing about it, or had any light on the subject! The Jews, however, understood very well the literal signification of Peter's phraseology; but not his parabola, etc. This Greek tartarosas, or heathen hell, being the darkest thing that Peter could imagine, and he being desirous of expressing a state of darkness, he introduced the term, as singularly expressive of the idolatrous condition, or blindness of the Jews. Who the angels, or messengers were that sinned, is no concern of the Gentiles. That they were Jews, must be admitted. Among the opinions on this head, that of their being the company with Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, who numbered two hundred and fifty princes," who rebelled against Moses and Aaron, and attempted to subvert the priesthood established by God, (Num. xvi.) is by far the most reasonable and scriptural; because they were literally cast down to the heathen tartarosas; the earth opening, and they sinking down into the pit, it closed upon them. And this, which Moses characterized as not dying "the common death of men,' was the manner in which they perished. And this to the Jews, when the destruction of their city and temple, and an immense proportion of the population of their city, shortly after happened, would be singularly expressive of the correctness of Peter's con-firmation of his Lord's predictions. But the darkness to which they were reserved in judgment, is the darkness of Hades" the second death."*

66

"9

Jude in his general Epistle, on this same subject, throws some light upon it, as to time and tense, in verse 5th, in the phrase, “afterward destroyed them that believed not.". And, immediately, in verse 6th, gives an account of those who were afterward destroyed, designating them as "The angels that kept not their first estate, [condition or office,] but left their own habitation, [officially their own,] he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day." Here the translators foisted their definite article, as usual! Jude says, "unto judgment of a great day." Now the great day, is the third aionos, the age of the reign of the King in Zion, etc. Korah and his company left their first estate, they did not keep the station God had allotted them; but attempted an usurpation, and were destroyed. In Hades, the victims of the second death, they are reserved in chains under darkness. That is, the term chains, is figurative of their complete and lasting destruction, and under darkness, the manner of it. As under death, in complete subjection to the death; which destroys them root and branch.

- Paul, our distinguished Apostle, has given conclusive testimony of what he means by the terms SALVATION, and PERISH. In his Epistle to the Romans, Paul says, “And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night [the closing of the second aionos,] is far spent, the day is at hand; [eggiken ;] let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light." (Rom. xiii. 11, 12.) And in Paul's second Epistle to Timothy, he affirms of that day, as the time when he should receive the crown of righteousness. (iv. 8.) And in Paul's Epistle containing our text, (iv. 17; v. 1-8,) he is still more explicit; referring to the time when he shall be absent from the body, or earthly tabernacle, and present with the Lord; when his light affliction that worketh an excessively-excessive weight of glory shall have ended.

. And this is salvation. To be saved from the light affliction of the present world. To be saved from the earthly house of tabernacle-the body of mortality—the hondage of corruption-to be saved from sin-and in the heavenly image, clothed with our house from heavento be present with our Lord, our Divine Head and Redeemer. This is SALVATION.

Now the antithesis of this salvation, is to perish. On the one hand is life-on the other hand is death. Life in its fullest acceptation, of a glorious, conscious, sentient existence; and Death in antithesis, in the fullest sense of a negation of the life. Death-no conscious, nor sentient existence; but reserved in chains under darkness, until the last, the seventh trump, shall rouse the dead.

And one or the other of these two states or conditions, and none other, are contemplated by, and affirmed in my text.

Paul, therefore, in view of these results from his ministry, says, "For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ in them that are saved, and in them that perish.” Paul makes not the least distinction between those that are saved, and those that perish, in the particular named; that is, the sweet savour; and we, Paul and his faithful associates in the Gospel ministry, are the sweet savour unto God, but it is of Christ. And Paul's immediate declaration follows as an explanation, viz: "To the one the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life."

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »