Page images
PDF
EPUB

beyond death. If deists, like other men are sinners, they ought rather to conclude that they had forfeited all existence.

A deist has but one of two things to choose on this subject. First, to renounce all hope of existence after death. Should he choose this, then he is consistent with himself, in denying the necessity of any divine revelation. But, to hope for an endless life after death, yet deny all revelation, is very inconsistent. It renders you childishly inconsistent; for, allowing the Bible to be all a fable, why not derive your hope of this from a Christian fable, just as well as from a heathen fable? It is certain your present hope has no better foundation. You are self-condemned to reject the Christian fable, yet cling to the other for hope of future existence. But, as rational free thinkers, I insist upon it, that you reject both if both are fables, for hope founded on fable must be a fabulous hope. Whether man shall live, or in what way

he shall live beyond death, depends entirely on the good pleasure of God. If it is not bis pleasure, there is no necessity for a divine revelation. But if it is his pleasure, let deists come forward and show how his pleasure can be known without it. Reason can no more discover to us that we shall live after death, than that we shall see and hear, be hungry and thirsty, be benumbed with cold, or scorched with heat, after death. Scripture, reason, past experience, and daily observation all prove that man dies and returns to dust. Nor do ihese inform him that he has an immortal soul which survives death, and exists in a disembodied state. If you say, it is not God's pleasure that we shall live after death, why then do you hope for this? But I ask, how came you to know that it was not his pleasure, unless you have had a revelation on the subject ? As you treat a divine revelation with contempt, you cannot take this ground. It may then be true, for aught you know to the contrary, that it is God's pleasure to bestow on man future existence by raising him from the dead incorruptible and glorious. If this was not an object of sufficient importance to require a divine revelation, permit me to ask, what object could be of sufficient importance? And if you admit a divine revelation necessary in any case, please state how it can be sufficiently attested without miracles.

I can see no other alternative left you but either boldly to affirm that there is no future existence, or believe in divine revelation. To the faith of divine revelation you must come, or adopt this as the only article of your creed-“Let us eat and drink for tomorrow we die.” You have either gone too far, in rejecting divine revelation, or, you have not gone far enough to maintain consistency. To be without hope, and without God, or atheists in the world, go together in Scripture, Eph. 2: 12; and they go together on the principles of reason and common sense. The heathen world had no written revela. tion to believe, and you place yourselves in the same condition by rejecting the one given. They were unbelievers from necessity, you remain so from choice. They had no hope of a resurrection from the dead, but, like you, deemed it incredible, and mocked at it. But, you are far behind them in cousistency of creed, for you patch up a creed, taking your God from Christians, and your future hope from them. Even the Sadducees put you to the blush, for they not only denied a resurrection from the dead, but all future existence. They believed like you in one God, and in this they were consistent, for they admitted a divine revelation, which you deny. The heathen were consistent with themselves,

for as they were without a divine revelation, or deists from necessity, they neither believed in the unity of God, or a resurrection from the dead. Like you, they believed in the immortality of the soul and its existence in a disembodied state, but this had nothing to do with a divine revelation, but was a nursery notion, or tradition received from their fathers. If you will still continue to hope for future life, do it, but let it be understood that heathenism, not Christianity furnished you with this article of

your creed.

Were I to reject divine revelation, I should not like you, stop short at the half-way house of deism, and patch up a creed from heathenism and the Bible, after having rejected it. No; I should become an atheist, and at least have the merit of consistency. But you believe in the unity of God, and profess great adwiration of his Almighty power and wisdom in creating the universe. But who informed you that one God created the universe; or that it was ever created ? How can you be certain, without a divine revelation, but as many Gods were employed in creating the universe, as there were men in building Solomon's temple, or St. Peter's at Rome? If even twelve men, of sound minds, had seen one God create the universe, you ought not to believe it ever was created. Do you ask me why not? I answer, the creation of the universe is something which looks very like a miracle, and you know your creed rejects all miracles. You should remember that the world was not pestered with a written revelation, as you deem it, until the unity of God was nearly lost among men by gods many and lords many. It belonged, not to deists, but believers in a divine revelation, to say,

" to us there is but one God the Father." Can you name the wonderful genius, who ever arose in the heathen world and made the discovery that there is but one God, without aid from divine revelation? Are you wiser now than all wise men among the heathen nations? It may be so, but I have a right to ask, how came you by your superior knowledge? It is useless for you to urge, that the unity of God, his Almighty power, wisdom, and goodness are seen from the universe he created. All these were as manifest in ancient times to the heathen, as they now are to you, yet polytheism abounded. Wby then did not they make the discovery, that there is but one God, and that he created the universe ? But you take the credit of being wiser than the wisest of ihe heathen, have derived your superior wisdom from divine revelation, which you have discarded, and deny the plagiarism.

To conclude. Whether Christianity be true or false, the weapons with which you assail it, are not honorable to you, nor can they be approved by any candid, sober-minded man. They are generally wit, ridicule, sarcasm, misrepresentation, the faults of Christians, holding up the corruptions of Christianity for Christianity itself, and the persecutions and bloodshed it has produced. But what have these things to do with the Christianity taught in the New Testament? Or how do they invalidate the truth of the fact on which it rests—the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead? Only prove this fact a falsehood and I renounce Christianity. But you must alter your creed before I become a deist, for I should become more irrational and inconsistent by the change.

ESSAY III.

ON THE GREEK TERMS KRINO, KRISES, KRIMA, &c. RENDERED JUDGE, JUDGMENT, CONDEMNED, CONDEMNATION, DAMNED, DAMNATION, &c. IN THE NEW TESTAMENT.

In this Essay we shall refer to all the places where these words are used in the New Testament, according to their renderings in the common version, which the reader may consult. Under each word, we shall particularly consider the passages which are supposed to teach a retribution or punishment after death. Let us begin with the word

Krino. This word occurs in the following places, and is, 1st, rendered determined, Tit. 3: 12. Acts 3: 13. 2d, decreed, 1 Cor. 3: 37. 3d, ordained, Acts 16: 4. 4th, concluded, Acts 21: 25. 5th, esteemeth, Rom. 14: 5. 6tb, called in question, Acts 23: 6. 24:* 21. 7th, sentence, Acts 15: 19. 8th, condemneth, Rom. 14: 22. 9th, condemning, Acts 13: 27. 10th, law, or to sue at law, Matt. 5: 40. 1 Cor. 6:1, 6. 11th, judge, judged, and judging, 1 Cor. 5: 3. Acts 16:15. John 16: 11. Matt. 7: 1, 2. Luke 6: 37. 1 Peter 4: 6. Acts 24: 6. 25: 9, 10. 1 Cor. 10: 29. Acts 26: 6. 2 Cor. 5: 14. John 7: 24, 51. 18: 31. Acts 4: 19. Rom. 14: 13. 1 Cor. 10: 15. 11: 13. Rev. 19: 11. Rom. 2: 27. John 8: 26. Rev. 6:10. Luke 6: 37. 12: 57. John 8: 15. Acts 13: 46. Rom. 14: 3. Col.

« PreviousContinue »