Imágenes de páginas

Q. 8. Is hell a place, or a state merely?

A. It is a place. It is thus represented in the Scriptures. There is the same reason for believing hell to be local, that there is for believing heaven to be local.

Q. 9. What is the effect of believing the doctrine of universal salvation ?

A. It leads to the neglect of true religion, to ease in impenitence, to encouragement in immorality and sin. Nothing in universalism is calculated to restrain men from vicious conduct, and make them virtuous and happy; whereas the opposite doctrine has directly the contrary effect. The truth of a religious doctrine may be ascertained, in part, by its moral tendency. If its tendency be good, the doctrine is true; if its tendency be bad, the doctrine is false. But the tendency of the doctrine of universal salvation is bad; the doctrine, therefore, must be false.

Q. 10. Why do any of mankind embrace the doctrine of universal salvation ?

A. Not because there is evidence that it is true, for there is none; but because it permits indulgence in sin with impunity, and because the thought of suffering eternal misery is terrific and distressing.

Q. 11. Can God be good, though the wicked should be miserable in the future world ?

A. He can. God is good, though misery exists he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.Mark ix. 43, 44. And if ihy hand offend thee, cut it off; it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two bands to go into hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched, where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.-Is. xxxiii. 14. The sinners in Zion are afraid ; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings ?—Ps. xi, 6. Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest; this shall be the portion of their cup.—2 Thess. i. 9. Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.-Dan. xii. 2. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, arid soine to shame and everlasting contempt.

[ocr errors]

here. Why then may He not be good, though misery should exist hereafter. Indeed, goodness obliges Him to exercise His punitive justice towards the wicked, for this is not only what they deserve, but what the general good of the universe requires.

Q. 12. What would be a legitimate inference from the doctrine of universal salvation in reference to the old world, to Sodom and Gomorrah, and to Judas, from God's treatment of them?

A. The inference would be, that God was a friend to sin, and an enemy to holiness; and for their sins received to heaven the old world by a flood of waters, while Noah, for his righteousness, was doomed to dwell longer in this world of afflictions; that God, for their abominations, took the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah, by a storm of fire and brimstone, to the mansions of everlasting blessedness, while Lot, for his piety, had to lead a longer pilgrimage of sorrow; and that God delivered Judas, for his perfidy in betraying his Lord and Master, by his own act of self-murder, from this evil world, and received him to eternal bliss, while the other apostles, for their faithfulness and devotedness to their Master's cause, were left to spend upon the earth years of toil and suffering. The same reasoning would apply to Pharaoh and his host, Korah and his company, Ananias and Sapphira, and many similar instances in the present day. In view of these considerations, we leave it to those who embrace the doctrine of universal salvation to determine how God's conduct is to be justified.

Q. 13. How ought those who espouse the cause of universal salvation to be treated ?

A. With the greatest kindness—with the most tender concern for their salvation, that if possible they may be led to renounce their error, and embrace the truth as it is in Jesus.

Q. 14. How ought mankind to act in view of the future punishment which awaits the ungodly?

A. They ought immediately to repent of all their sins, believe in Christ, and give all diligence to prepare for death, judgment, and eternity, and thus secure their everlasting salvation. (f)


Means of Grace. Q.1. What is to be understood by the means of grace?

A. Those things which God has appointed to be used for the instruction, conviction, conversion, and sanctification of mankind.

Q. 2. What are the means of grace?

Ă. The principal means of grace are a preached gospel; reading the Holy Scriptures and other religious books; prayer in public, private, and secret; the sacraments of baptism and the Lord's supper; religious conversation and meditation; self-examination; and religious education. (a)

(f) 2 Pet. iii. 11–14. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens, being on fire, shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt' with fervent heat ? Nevertheless, we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of Him in

peace, without spot and blameless.-Luke xxi. 33, 34. 36. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life; and so that day come upon you unawares. Watch ye, therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things, that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of

(a) 1 Cor. i. 18. 21. 23, 24. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish, foolishness; but unto us which are saved, it is the power of God. For after that in the wisdom of God, the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks, foolishness. But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.Eph. iv. 11, 12. And he gave some, apostles; and some, proph




Q.3. How do the means of grace have an effect ?

A. By instructing and impressing the minds of men. The mind is influenced by the instrumentality of motives. All the Christian graces are put forth in view of truth. There can be no love to God, without a knowledge of Him ;—no repentance for sin, without a knowledge of the law ;-no faith in Christ, without a knowledge of Him;—and no Christian hope, without a knowledge of the blessings to be conferred upon Christians. There is, ordinarily, a connection between knowledge and grace; that is, there is not, ordinarily, grace or holiness without knowledge. And there can be no conversion, or sanctification, without religious impression. The mind in ordinary cases will not act till instructed and impressed. The means of grace, then, produce their effect by presenting truth before the inind, and motives to induce the mind to act in view of truth. (b)

some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers ; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.-Acts xvii. 11. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily whether these things were so.—Matt. vii. 7. Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.-Matt. xxviii. 19. Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.—1 Cor. xi. 26. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till he come.—Luke xxiv. 32. And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the Scriptures ?—Ps. i. 2. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate, day and night.--2 Cor. xiii. 5. Examine yourselves whether ye be in the faith, prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates ?-Deut. vi. 6, 7. And these words which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart. And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

b) Ps. xix. 8. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is puro,

enlightening the eyes.—Heb. iv. 12. For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to


Q. 4. Will the means of grace, of themselves, ever effect, or ensure, the regeneration or sanctification of the soul ?

A. They never will. They are to be viewed only as the instrument, used by the Holy Spirit in enlightening the understanding, and influencing the conscience ;-in occasioning, but not causing, holy affections of heart. Moral suasion, or the exhibition of divine truth, will of itself avail nothing towards renewing and sanctifying the heart. There must be the agency of the Holy Ghost to give efficiency to

The saving efficacy of means depends upon God's agency. (c)

Q. 5. Is the use of the common means of grace absolutely necessary, in the nature of things, to prepare men for heaven?

A. It is presumed they are not. God could renew and sanctify the hearts of those whom he saves, without the use of the common 'means of grace, if he pleased. He does this in the salvation of infants. But God's ordinary method, in renewing and sanctifying the soul, is by the instrumentality of means. Without the use of them, therefore, there will, ordinarily, be no convictions, no conversions, no fruits of the Spirit, no accessions to the Church of Christ; but with the use of them there will, generally, be the ends for which they are used.

Q. 6. How does this doctrine of means and ends affect the agency and sovereignty of God, and the agency and dependence of man?

A. The connection of means and ends, however certain, does neither injure nor destroy the agency

the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the ihoughts and intents of the heart.–Jer. xxiii. 29. Is not my word like as a fire, saith the Lord; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces ?

(c) 1 Cor. iii. 6. I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.- 1 Pet. i. 23., Being born again, not of cor. ruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever.-James i. 18. Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

« AnteriorContinuar »