« PreviousContinue »
For the Repository.
FURTHER REMARKS CONCERNING
It appears from what our Lord said on this subject, in answer to the Sadducees, as it is recorded in the 20th chap. of Luke, that, at the time to which he alluded, some would be worthy, and some unworthy, to obtain it. The same idea is conveyed in Rev. 20th, 4, 5, in these words: "And I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, &c. and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years: but the rest of the dead lived not again till the thousand years were finished: this is the first resurrection." Doubtless those who thus live and reign with Christ a thousand years, are such as are worthy to obtain that world and the resurrection from the dead; while those who, during that period, do not live again, are such as are unworthy. The expression, "The rest of the dead lived not again till the thousand years were finished," implies that they will live again when that period is finished. And although Christ makes this distinction, between the worthy and the unworthy, at a certain period, yet his language, in another place, shows that the unworthy at one time, are not always to remain so, but are to become worthy, and obtain the resurrection. See John vi. 39. "And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me, I should lose nothing, but raise it up again at the last day." Here Christ asserts the resurrection, and, of course, the salvation, of all that were given him of the Father. And how many is that? Let Christ answer. "For the Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hands. All that the Father hath are mine." To the same effect speaks an apostle, saying of Christ, "Whom he (the Father) hath appointed heir of all things." The Father having given all things into the hand of Christ, all that
the Father hath being his, and he, God's only Son, b ing heir of all things, and it being God's will that of a.. he hath given his Son he should lose nothing, but raise it up again at the last day, we need not fear but what all men, however unworthy some of them may be at particular periods, will be raised in immortality and blessedness at last. But I wish to institute an inquiry here, whether, there being such a thing as unworthiness to obtain that world and the resurrection from the dead, at periods previous to the last day, any thing can be done, on the part of the creature, to remove this unworthiness. It seems to be the opinion of some, and those too whose opinions are entitled to great consideration, that nothing can be done by man, in this world, that bears any relation to the resurrection, any more than he could have done something, before he existed, that would have had a bearing on his existence. I have myself, been of this opinion; but I now doubt its correctness. If it be asked what man can do, which will have any effect in relation to his resurrection, I answer, he must believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. See John vi. 40, 44, 54. In these texts Jesus promises the believer, that he will raise him up at the last day. And where does he promise to raise up an unbeliever? Nowhere ; for an unbeliever has no life in him; i. e. no spiritual life; and while he is in this state, he can no more rise from the dead than a grain of wheat can vegetate that has no vegetable life in it. But the question comes, Is faith in Christ an act of the creature? Scripture says, it is the gift of God. Well, cannot faith be the gift of God and an act of the creature too? In the 6th of John just referred to, Jesus is asked, "What shall we do that we may work the works of God ?" Jesus replies, "This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent." But, although faith in Christ is God's work, yet
is it not also an act of our own minds? If so, then it is our work also; and so it is our work to do God's work. Mr. Editor, is not the printing of the Christian Repository your work? and is not this your work, done by another person? and is it not that other person's work to do your work? So it is God's work that we believe in Christ, and it is our work to do this work of God. I will not pretend that we can, as of ourselves, exercise faith; but I do pretend that we can exercise faith as well as do any other mental act. Faith is God's gift in this way: God sends those who preach the gospel: by the preaching of the gospel faith is produced in the mind. Thus, as the Apostle says, "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. But how can they hear without a preacher ? and how can they preach except they be sent ?" These premises appear to me to be clearly established; and if they are just, it is not only a mistake, but a highly injurious one, to inculcate the notion that no act, on our part, has reference to our resurrection from the dead, and our immortal state. Why are we commanded to lay up for ourselves treasure in heaven? why to put on the Lord Jesus Christ? Is it not because those treasures are incorruptible, and that the Lord Jesus Christ is an incorruptible nature? and if incorruptible, are they not the treasures, and the nature, which belong not to time and sense, but to eternity, or the immortal state? The reason which our Lord assigns for laying up treasures in heaven, is, that they are not corrupt, like earthly treasures; and also, that we cannot be deprived of them by their being stolen away. But if they cease to be ours at the dissolution of our natural bodies, they are scarcely, if at all, more abiding than earthly treasures. Many men certainly possess their earthly treasures, and enjoy them till death. Treasures in heaven, I grant, are altogether more valua
ble than those of earth, even during our stay in the Hesh; but it is not their superior worth, for the time being, but their durability, that our Lord has respect to, in the quotation above. And if I am correct in supposing that treasures laid up in heaven, will remain when heart and flesh shall fail, and the mortal fabric crumble into dust, then we may certainly do something, in the present state, which will have respect to our future welfare; nay, to our future existence; else I discover no meaning in the information, "Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven." The treasures which may thus be laid up in heaven, I understand to be those which are produced by faith. A proper faith works by love, purifies the heart, and, as did Christ, overcomes the world.
Faith is both the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen; the substance, as putting one in possession of Christ, the immortal nature; and the evidence, as delivering the mind from all doubts and fears respecting future existence and happiness. "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered the heart of man, the joys which God hath prepared for them that love him; but God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit." This Spirit is inseparable from faith, and is the substance of things hoped for, those things being purely spiritual. Moreover, all those spiritual things are incorruptible and immortal, being of God's own nature. The time will come when God's Spirit will be poured out upon all flesh, when all, of course, will be believers, and will be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead. Amén, so let it be.
From the Universalist Magazine.
MINUTES OF THE GENERAL CONVENTION OF UNIVERSA-
The members composing the General Convention of Universalists for the New England States and others, met agreeably to adjournment, on Tuesday evening, Y Sept. 19, 1826, at the house of Brother C. Munroe, in Wells, Vt. and opened the session, by uniting in thanksgiving and prayer, with Br. W. Skinner.
The Council was then organized, by choosing Br. H. Ballou, 2d. Moderator; Br. L. Willis, Clerk, and Br. W. Skinner, Assistant Clerk.
2. Arranged the public services for Wednesday, A.M. Br. J. Moore, the Introductory Prayer.
Br. L. Willis, the Sermon, from Rom. vi. 23, "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord."
Concluding Prayer by Br. H. Ballou, 2d.
3. Adjourned to Wednesday, A. M. at 8 o'clock. Prayer by Br. N. Wright, jun.
4. Met agreeably to adjournment, and commenced the labors of the day in prayer to God for his blessing and direction, by Br. H. Ballou, 2d.
5. Attended to the credentials of delegates; read the letters which they presented; and also a number of interesting and refreshing communications from Societies, which, through various causes, sent no representatives to the Convention. In compliance with their requests, the following Societies were taken into the felTowship of the General Convention,-the first Society of Universalists in Newfane,-the first Society in Andover, Clarendon and Shrewsbury, Vt.
6. Appointed Brs. S. Streeter. D. Skinner, and J.. Willis, a committee to examine requests for letters of fellowship, or for ordination, and report to the Convention as soon as convenient.
7. Order of public exercises on Wednesday, P. M. and evening.
Br. O, A. Brownson, 1st Prayer.