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ment, you may easily satisfy yourself by examining the whole of this chapter, the sum of which may be gathered from the following citations; “ Again, when the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive. Because he considereth, and turneth away from all his transgressions that he hath committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die." What is this but an illustration of the Christian doctrine to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded, is life and peace ?
Perhaps you may be ready to question, after all, whether the restoration to spiritual life and happiness, is the ultimate design of God, as regards all his intelligent offspring. Isaiah, prophesying of the gospel dispensation, says, “ He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away all tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth ; for the Lord hath spoken it.” In prospect of this glorious event, an apostle quotes the spirit of this prediction as follows; Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O Grave, shades] where is thy victory? That Paul here alludes to the moral death caused by sin, is evident from the succeeding expressions" The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ.” In agreement with this is the declaration of the same apostle, Heb. 2: 14, 15.-“ Forasmuch then, as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them, who, through fear of death, were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” That a deliverance from the fear which is engendered by guilt, is deliverance from the very state in which we are pla
ced by transgression, is evident from the first account we have of its effects. " And he [Adam] said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I wAS AFRAID. Guilt is the parent of fear, and fear hath torment. Perfect love, which is manifested by a spiritual life, casteth out fear; and if our hearts condemn us not, then have we confidence towards God.
I think you must see that as certainly as death has passed on all men, so the deliverance is equally universal;
and that as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. To say, as some have, that this merely alludes to a resurrection of the body, is a subterfuge which not only exposes the weakness of the system that requires the evasion, but it is done without the least prospect of benefit. For, admitting the validity of the assertion, those who make it have still to show how those who are raised incorruptible, glo. rious and immortal, even as the angels of heaven, are still to continue the subjects of sin and sorrow, the attendants on a corrupt and natural state. In view of all that has been offered, though but an imperfect sketch of the testimony which the scriptures furnish, permit me to impress on your conscience the importance of weighing duly the evidence already adduced, and of satisfying yourself that every passage quoted by me can be otherwise rationally solved. If you are true to your own soul, I hesitate not to say what will be your choice. But whatever it may be, do not forget--THERE SHALL BE NO MORE DEATH. Yours in friendship,
DEAR SIR,I now proceed to notice the last material passage which you have adduced from the Old Testament. " And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” Dan. 12: 2. On this I remark, briefly,
1. Everlasting life occurs but this once in the Old Testament.
2. The whole book relates to the rise and decline of nations to the return of the Jews, the rebuilding and destruction of Jerusalem, the close of the Mosaic, and the succession of the gospel dispensation, under the Messiah. : 3. The prophet does not, in one instance, allude to a future, immortal state of existence.
4. The connexion in which it is found renders it certain that the common understanding of this verse is erroneous.
5. The phrase eternal life, or everlasting life, is no where used, even in the New Testament, to express an immortal state of being. *
To a person of your understanding I need not urge that a proof of either of the four latter propositions is sufficient to nullify the force of this citation, as applied to the doctrines of men, or in other words, to the tenet of endless misery. As you rightly consider this the strongest text in the Old Testament, in proof of the system which you purpose to vindicate, if my powers should be tasked in its illustration, I ask in return for my labour, your serious, and therefore candid attention..
* If this position be incorrect, the writer is ready to be convinced of the fact, and will return thanks to the person who will set him right,
If the first proposition be correct, which will not be contested, the labour of examining the whole book will satisfy you that the substance of the second proposition is not mere matter of speculation ; at least with the exception of the text already quoted. Having carefully perused the book for the purpose of determining this fact, I speak with confidence. The conclusion then, is, that the third proposition is tenable, and therefore, that the point which you would maintain, finds no support from this passage. Perhaps you will term this a gratuitous assumption ; be it so ; you will not, however, claim that the whole book shall be quoted to prove a negative. An illustration of the disputed text can be furnished in a more summary way.
I shall now attempt to show by the context, the time in which the circumstances noticed are to transpire. The chapter commences thus
“And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people ; and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time ; and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.”
To what time, let us now inquire, does the prophet here allude ? The answer is furnished in the 11th, the subject of which is broken by the arbitrary divis. ion of the chapters. Whoever will take the labour of reading to the close of the fourth verse, will be satisfied that the phraseology recognizes this connexion, and that any other understanding of the passage,
than that gathered from the close of the previous chapter, does violence to the sense, and isolates a passage for partial purpose, to the destruction of consistency, and in the face of just and candid criticism. The time, then, is when the King of the north, v. 40, 45, shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas
in the glorious holy mountain.” By the holy mountain we are to understand Mount Moriah, on which the temple stood, as is evident by ch. 9: 20, and the whole connexion shows that the destruction of Jerusalem was the epoch to which the prophecy alluded. This is now to be manifested by liberal quotations, from the chapter last mentioned.
- Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make the end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy. Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks ; the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself; and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And he shall confirm the covenant with many
for one week ; and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the deso;
See also in the 11th chapter—"And they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomina-tion that maketh desolate." I now ask, what could be a greater abomination to the Jews, than to see their temple in ruins, and pagans, whom they considered as dogs, in possession of their city? But we are informed nearer to the text, that “these shall escape: