« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
giver of rain, and the Creator of the sun that shines in the heavens. (Isa. lv.)
The reader must perceive, that in order to any work being a foundation, it must, in its relation, be the commencement of a building that shall be erected, and the work be completed, fully accomplished and done; otherwise it is not a foundation; for the conclusive reason that a foundation necessarily implies a building; a completion. of the work. How pertinent the question,
Has God laid a foundation in Zion, and left the work to man, to erect thereon the superstructure of a world's salvation ?
No. The prophet is full to the point on this subject. "Therefore thus saith the LORD GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste. [*] Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet," &c. (Isa. xxviii. 16-18.) Judgment and righteousness, will complete the work, and finish the superstructure. But, be it known and remembered, it is the judgment and righteousness of God, not man, that "shall finish the work in righteousness." Reader, build on this foundation, your hope of present good, and future glory; for "vain is the help of man.”
* A strange mode of expression, this, to denote and express confidence in the believer, who rests in a full belief that God, who hath laid the foundation, will complete His work; as the connexion abundantly testifies. Please examine the whole connexion.
"This their way is their folly; yet their posterity approve their sayings." PSA. xlix. 13.
Ir must frequently occur to a reflecting mind, that the popular religionists of the day, found their argument on a strange basis as Christians: for the very conclusive reason, that they take the ground that future and endless punishment or misery, or the doctrine that teaches this dogma, is indispensably necessary to influence the mind of men, in order to deter them from wrong doing; and to stimulate them, by exciting their fears and creating an apprehension of a dreadful hereafter, to seek an interest in Christ, and thereby secure an inheritance in a future heaven. This dogma places the ground of action, the motive and inducement, not on love, or gratitude to God, the Giver of all good-not on a principle of love to man as our neighbour-not on the principle that we should shun evil, because it is evil, and pursue good because it is good-not to walk in wisdom's ways, because her ways are pleasant, and in her paths, because her paths are peace ;-in a word, not to seek God's righteousness, and set our affections on things above, on heaven, because neaven is deserving our whole affections, and sin, and the vanities of the present world, are the cause of man's unnappiness here-but to seek heaven in order to avoid, and steer clear of a dreadful, a future, an endless, and cruel Hell! So notoriously true are the facts I have stated, that no honest man in the community, to whatever religious sect he may belong, will have the hardihood to deny them.
I, therefore, ask, in the face of these astounding facts, which are as palpable to all in Christendom as the light of heaven at noonday, Is this doctrine the doctrine of God our Saviour, of Jesus Christ our Lord, His Son, and his disciples and apostles? Will this modern preaching stand the test, when placed along side of the teaching
of God's inspired servants? Does this modern preaching of a future, and a cruel Hell, as the principal inducement to deter sinners from wrong-doing, and urge them to seek a future heaven, agree in sentiment with the preaching of Christ's apostles, who "besought men by the mercies of God, to present their bodies a living sacrifice to God, because it is their reasonable service;" and assigned as the sole reason for loving God, the momentous truth, that "He, God, hath first loved us," His offspring, man? (See Rom. xii. 1; 1 John iv.) And John affirms, as respects motives to action, "He that loveth not, knoweth not God'; for GOD IS LOVE. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. GOD IS LOVE; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.”
Do modern preachers, pretended embassadors of God and Christ, preach as John and Paul preached? Is preaching a future, an endless, an abominable and a cruel Hell, preaching love? Is it not an astounding fact, that Christ's beloved and distinguished disciple John, and Paul, in their writings, in all their Epistles, have never so much as mentioned the word Hell? Why did not John and Paul threaten men with a future, and an endless Hell, if there be, in reality, such a place? and preach Hell and damnation, and fire, and endless torment; and devils tormenting the souls of men, disembodied spirits; if these dogmas be true? John and Paul never preached these lies; but, on the contrary, preached love to God, our heavenly Father; and love to men our brethren!
Reader, to these preachers of Hell and pagan dogmas, I apply, as pre-eminently applicable and appropriate, the words of my text-"This their way is their folly; yet their posterity approve their sayings." Will the connexion of my text forbid such an use of it? Let us look at it. It is a reproof to those "that trust in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches." And it is affirmed, "None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him; for the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth.
for ever." What a reproof is here of our modern soulsavers! men who pretend that Christ will lose the heathen; that the heathen will lose their souls; that the souls of millions of the heathen (the Gentiles, or nations) will never be redeemed, nor saved; and Christ never obtain his inheritance; unless they lend their aid, and make his mediation effectual by their instrumentality and exertions.
How appropriate is my text, and its connexion, therefore, to modern orthodox clergymen, and their advocates and supporters! They boast of their wealth, so far as to boast of possessing the power, and means, with their coadjutors of the same stamp, to redeem the souls of the heathen from an endless Hell; secure to Christ his inheritance; which they impiously affirm will be lost, unless they shall put their shoulders to the wheel, and make success certain.
Reader, these men are worldlings. They are not preachers of the Gospel of Christ, that Paul and John preached; but the preachers of the doctrines of men, pagan errors, the dogmas of this world. I make my appeal to the Testimony, and to FACTS; facts which exist, and no honest man can deny them.
Reader, I present you the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, as taught by his two eminent servants, Paul and John; who never preached a Hell, in a future world, posterior to the present; nor even mentioned this thing, in all their writings and Epistles. But, on the contrary, they preached LOVE, as the great, the grand inducement, to deter men from sin, and persuade them to serve God, and keep His commandments. How forcible is John's appeal, after affirming God's love, and explaining God's salvation in Christ for a world lying in wickedness! Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another." And Paul's declaration to Titus, (ii.) "For the grace of God [a grace that is full of mercy, and without partiality,] that bringeth salvation to all men, hath appeared; teaching us, that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from [not a heathen Hell! but] all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works."
This, reader, is the Gospel of Christ; called by modern orthodox Christians and pretenders to Christianity, by way of derision, Universalism, and the doctrine of the Devil! Reader, my argument is not the orthodox argument of the heathen Hell, and future, endless, and cruel inflictions of torture, but John's argument, "Beloved, if GOD so loved us, we ought also to love one another."