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for executing judgment. His reign is to endure till every soul in heaven, earth, or sheol, is brought under his control. He is not to surrender his mediatorial authority to the Father, till all his enemies are placed beneath his feet. Those who regard the common theory of a day of general judgment as erroneous must needs believe that there have already been many days of judgment. Although therefore the New Testament speaks of a day of judgment as to be witnessed in the life-time of some of the personal hearers of Christ, this does not forbid the notion that there have been many days of judgment since. Sin has prevailed, and perhaps been as flagrant in certain cases, during the last seventeen centuries, as it was eighteen centuries ago. At all events the crimes of modern times have been greater in one respect, in that they have been committed against greater light. And if there were days of judgment for Nineveh, for Tyre and Sidon, for Bethsaida, Chorazin, and Capernaum, why not for guilty cities, nations, parties, or sects, in more recent times? The man who carefully studies the chronicles of the past can readily find God in history. To go back no farther, one can see in the occurrences of the last one hundred years retributions administered to guilty nations, which told that their day of judgment had come. Indeed, the very form of expression employed in the New Testament,-a day of judgment, suggests that under the divine government there may be many such days. We hardly need remind the reader, that, though our ordinary version frequently uses the phrase the day of judgment, yet in the original the article is almost alway lacking. Though the phrase thus rendered occurs in the Greek eight times, if we recollect aright, yet in only one case 5 does the article occur. The appearance of definiteness which our translators have given, as though there were but a single day of judgment, and that one equally terrible for all nations and generations, is unwarrantable. And while saying this, we are free to observe that we see not why exception should be taken to the theory that a tribunal may be set up, and judgment administered, by the Saviour, in the eternal world, as well as here. Surely, the government of Christ reaches into that world; nay, it is from that world that
"; Chr employeeseem ahling,
he now exerts his power, as well for chastisement as for encouragement. Every theist will admit that retribution is one agent which the Almighty employs for bringing men to reformation here; why then should it seem an incredible thing, that such an agency is employed in the unseen world. One fact we know ; Christ is never to resign his mediatorial power, till all his foes are subdued ; 6 and it is sheer assumption to maintain that the pang of remorse, the upbraidings of self-condemnation, the sigh of contrition, which are so common on earth, and often so effective, will have no part in the work of bringing men in humility to the feet of Christ, in the world to come.
We can hardly refrain from remarking, in passing, that, but for the hostility which as Universalists we entertain to the common notions of the day of judgment, based as they are on an erroneous interpretation of certain texts, we (suspect that many in our denomination would be less averse to the doctrine of retribution in the future life. As it is found by the Scriptures that the nations contemporary with Christ were to appear in that generation before his judgmentseat, and to receive a recompense for their deeds, it seems to be supposed by many that logical consistency demands that we shall believe that all judgment must be confined to the present life. We confess, however, that we do not discover how this conclusion necessarily follows. As rational interpreters of the word of God, we must let every passage which gives complete information speak for itself. Ambiguous passages may of course be fitly explained by clearer texts, provided the latter are undeniably treating of the same topic. But every sound expositor will guard against making what he terms the analogy of faith a Procrustean bedstead for mutilating the comely proportions of any important truth, or wresting the Scriptures from their true import.
With these prefatory statements, let us examine the passage which we have placed at the head of our article. One fact seems to us manifest ; and that is, that the apostle is directing both his own thoughts and those of his brethren to the unseen world. To show this fact beyond all cavil, it is
6 1 Corinthians, xv. 24-28.
sufficient to refer our readers to the preceding context. It might seem enough, indeed, to ask those who are accompanying us in this examination to take the Epistle under review, and read the last verses of the fourth chapter, and the former verses of the fifth. Perhaps, however, it will be better for our purpose, to quote the passage, as we shall then have it before our eyes. We begin then at the sixteenth verse of the fourth chapter. “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen ; for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this, we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven; if so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened ; not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up by life. Now he that hath wrought us for the self-same thing is God, who also hath given us the earnest of the spirit. Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord ; (for we walk by faith, not by sight;) we are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. Wherefore we labor, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. For we must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in the body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.”
It is obvious that the apostle's main solicitude is as to the future state of being. As he draws the contrast between time and eternity, the former seems dwarfed into utter insignificance; his entire interest is challenged and absorbed by the vastness and timelessness of the latter. He therefore rises superior to his earthly trials, severe though they were, and serene in the vivid hope of immortality and glory, pants to be delivered from this mortal state, and enter on the reali
manting Present or mal mera
ties of the unseen world. He seeks death, not as the extinction of life, but as the dawn of a higher life. He draws an antithesis between this life and the endless one awaiting him, and uses the phrases present and absent to mark the contrast. Absent from the body is the condition of being present with the Lord. But there is one matter that gives him great solicitude, and that is that he may be acceptable to his Lord, in other words, be approved by him. And this solicitude extends to his condition in both states of existence. “Wherefore we exert ourselves,”
—such is the literal meaning of the language,—“ that, whether present or absent,”—whether living on earth, or tenanting the unseen world,—" we may be approved by him.” And why this earnest anxiety ? “Because we must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in the body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” How then can the conclusion be resisted, that this appearance before the judgment-seat of Christ, for reward or chastisement, is to be subsequent to man's becoming absent from the body, and entering the invisible world? If all judgment is to be confined to the present state of existence, the solicitude of the apostle should evidently be, that he be acceptable to his Lord here. Appprehension of future chastisement is manifestly chimerical. It seems clear to us that the apostle looks forward to a judgment-seat beyond death, when the great touch-stone of rectitude must be applied to human deportment as a whole. At that period the final recompense for man's earthly conduct is to be rendered. Final, we of course mean, not as determining irreversibly the moral character which man is forever to bear, but as showing the estimate which an omniscient and unbribed Judge has placed on the life one has lived. And this estimate may be announced either by actual words, or by a single glance of the Saviour's eye.
To rebut this conclusion, we know that it has been common to lay stress on the fact, that certain important words in the passage under review are wanting in the original. The italicised words advertise us that they have been supplied by the translators. What then ? Who does not know that the Greek language, as compared with our own, is often very elliptical ? The simple question to be considered is, Does the construction in the original suggest the words inserted in the text; or have they been foisted into it unwarrantably, to teach a doctrine foreign to the intent of Paul ? What is the ground taken by those who question the soundness of the conclusion we have drawn? They allege that the very terms of the passage under review corvey the implication that this judgment-seat before which men are to appear, for reward or chastisement, is set up on the earth ; or, at least that the retribution administered, the reward bestowed on man, is to be conferred ere he is released from this earthly tenement. “Drop the supplied words," say they, “and read the passage literally, and see what it teaches.” “For we must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ, that every one may receive the things in body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” “Of course," they continue, “this language signifies that men are to receive in this natural body the recompense for all the deeds they have committed, be they good, or be they bad.” Now we cannot take it upon ourselves to affirm that this is certainly not the meaning of the apostle, but we are slightly bewildered by the presentation of such a doctrine in connection with the train of remark which he had just employed. We confess to feeling a sensation of the irrelevancy of it with the tenor of his previous teachings and appeal. Placed in connection with some trains of reasoning the doctrine in question might seem pertinent; but stated here as the ground of the feelings, purposes, and aspirations, described in the preceding context, it strikes us as inept, frigid, not to say incoherent. But apart from this consideration, we are dissatisfied on critical grounds with such an interpretation. Had it been the apostle's design to teach such a doctrine, it seems to us that he would have employed both another case and another particle. He uses the preposition dia, when he would rather have employed en. The primary sense of the former particle is through, by means of ; expressive of mode, manner, and of the circumstances through or by occasion of which any thing exists, or is produced or done; the latter is expressive of the place in which any thing abides or happens. Farther; the case employed is the genitive, where, had the apostle's design been to teach the theory we are combatting, he would rather have employed the dative. Dia tou somatos,