Page images
PDF
EPUB

ministry! Do not then demand of me a mode of preaching, which suits the carnal mind. There too, are your lives with every thought, word and action, distinctly traced! Then demand not, that I should feed your hopes of impunity in sin, and lull you into a false security. Remember, another book will be opened, wbich is the book of life, and whosoever is not found written therein will be cast into the lake of fire. Let not this assembly break up without solemnly inquiring, where and with whom you will soon assemble. Where? Not in a world of probation. With whom ? Not in a mixed company of christians and unbelievers. But

But you will either rise to the fruition of heavenly society and occupations, or descend into the abyss with satan and his angels. Inquire, to which of these states are your characters most suited. How would the all engrossing question be decided, were you now to die? In what place would you appear, in Paradise or in Gehenna? Does conscience decide against you? Oh my hearer, remember the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world! Trust in him, and then you may triumphantly exclạim : Oh death, where is thy sting? Oh hades, where is thy victory?

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

Enter ye in at the strait gate; for wide is the

gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat : because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

In pursuing the subject of the preceding lectures, it is important to call your attention to various additional passages and forms of expression, in which the doctrine of future

punishment is taught; since nothing is more usual than to censure ministers of the gospel, for frequently speaking of a world, the name of which is found only twenty-three times in the New Testament. The text first solicits our notice. The life of which Christ here speaks, is eternal life or happiness in heaven.

That this is the usual meaning of the word in such connexions, has once been shown. What good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?” “If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments." 6. Then hath God also to the Gentiles, granted repentance into life.“ I am the bread of life:. be that cometh to me, shall never thirst." “ Search the scriptures; for in them ye tbink ye have eternal life : and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.The text then declares, that on account of the difficulty of discovering the way to heaven, many walk in that which leads to destruction. Eternal life and destruction are opposed to each other, and denote different states of existence; the one of unsullied character and of unalloyed enjoyment—the other of complete moral ruin and wretchedness. Such a figurative use of destruction is common in all languages. It is frequent in the bible. “Pride goeth before destruction,” not annihilation, but the ruin of one's character and peace. 66 Oh Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself.” “ Destroy not him with thy meat” 66 Punished with everlasting destruction.” Agreeably to this use, the words of Christ contain the

find it.

following solemn exhortation. Enter in at that strait gate, which leads to eternal happiness ; for wide is the gate and broad is the way, which leads to the miseries of the wicked in hell; because strait is the gate and narrow is the way which leads to eternal happiness, and few there be that

The supposition that “ destruction? denotes the calamities which were soon to befall the Jewish nation, cannot be sustained. The miseries spoken of are such as happen to those, and those only, who enter not into eternal happiness ; whereas, on the scheme of universal salvation, those who perished in the destruction of Jerusalem found the

way

to heaven, as truly as those who escaped. But it is sometimes said, that life in the text means the kingdom of Christ, considered simply as a temporal kingdom; and that all who became its subjects were to be saved from the destruction of Jerusalem, while those who would not recognize the Messiah, were to perish. Such is the disposition of men to reduce the benefits of christianity, to the melioration of their temporal condition! This, the Jews did--this universalists do now. We must believe, according to these interpreters, that the object of Christ's untiring admoni

tions and warnings, was to save a little band of men from the flames of Jerusalem! But have they forgotten, what our Lord declares, that if half the mighty works, which he did in Capernaum, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have continued to this day? Why then did he not save these cities, rather than Capernaum ? If his object was to deliver a few persons from temporal calamities, his success would have been much greater in the cities of the plain. There, according to his own declaration, he would have produced a general reformation, while in Jerusalem, he gained only a few disciples. He might have reasons for not entering on his mission to save the world from spiritual evils, sooner than he did; but if his object was to rescue a few' men from such a calamity as the destruction of a city, the best opportunity was not selected. He did not save Jerusalem, nor the great body of its inhabitants, nor the other cities of Judea, where his works were performed; yet he

says, that had he appeared for the cities of the plain, they would have repented and continued prosperous.

Universalists, however, tell us, that all the terrible denunciations, with which he closes most of his parables, and

« PreviousContinue »