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place as the result of any agency or power short of omnipotence-may be a natural deduction from this text when applied to the general con. flagration, we are free to acknowledge that the learned and pious divine whose peculiar doctrine is under consideration should be exonerated from the imputation of entertaining such sentiments. Or if he did, it does not appear in his remarks in connection with this subject. In his own mind his peculiar views issue in no such results, however legitimate may be the deduction from his premises. Hence the truth and importance of the axiom he has laid down, that we cannot go one step in matters of fact beyond what the Scriptures warrant, without manifest presumption.

In consideration No. 2 Dr. M. derives an argument from what he regards as “sentiments and expressions," which, by the just construction of Scripture, imply that the wicked shall not obtain, at Christ's coming, glorious, immortal, and incorruptible bodies. And let it here again be observed that the doctor seems to regard the attributes "glorious, immortal, and incorruptible," as necessarily inseparable: but we think without sufficient reason, for the considerations already offered. Hence he conceives the righteous will enjoy no advantage over the wicked, provided the future bodies of both are alike immortal and incorruptible; not conceiving it possible that the former may be called the children of God, from their being “ children of the resurrec. tion”—a “glorious” resurrection—in a sense far superior to any thing that is true of the wicked, being “ heirs to a better inheritance.” Over. looking all those considerations which arise from this supposed superior sense in which our Saviour may have designed to be understood, when he called those of a certain character children of the resurrection, the doctor arrives at the conclusion that “to suppose the wicked rise from the dead with the same kind of body as the righteous, is to suppose that they are children of the resurrection, equally with the sons of God,” which he thinks is “contrary to our Lord's assertion." But admitting the conclusion is a legitimate deduction from the premises, it does not prove that the premises them. selves are true; because both may be false.

We pass over the doctor's application of his doctrine to the process which he intimates may be adopted at the general judgment, where discrimination shall be made between the righteous and the wicked, " by the kind of body in which each shall appear;" by remarking that whether the stronger probability lie against or in favor of this hypothesis, the hypothesis itself is not essential to the argument; it is a mere circumstance which may or may not be connected with the doctor's theory, if that theory prove true. To our own understanding, how. ever, there is a vast preponderance of evidence, from every indica. tion of Scripture, in favor of the conclusion that the process in the transactions of that awfully solemn day will be unspeakably more detailed, critical, and scrutinizing.

In consideration No. 3 an argument is drawn from the declaration of the apostle Paul while proving the general resurrection, that “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.” One or two considerations will set aside, as we conceive, the argument drawn from this declaration of the apostle. He had just arrayed his Scriptural and rational arguments in support of a general resurrection; this doctrine being established, he boldly meets an objection, and at once removes a seeming difficulty arising in the mind of the captious objecter, growing out of the fact that some would be found “ alive" at that time. This he does by espousing and holding forth the grand “mystery” that " we shall not all sleep" in natural death, but that such as shall remain alive “shall be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump.” To meet this objection, and to explain this supposed difficulty, were the grand object of the apostle; and not to show the advantage of the righteous over the wicked in their having spiritual and incorruptible bodies, while those of the latter shall be fleshly and corruptible. Moreover, nothing is gained or lost on either side by admitting, as is generally done, that the apostle in this chapter speaks with exclusive reference to the righteous while describing the attributes of their future bodies. Because, in 1 Corinthians xv, 22, the general resurrection through Christ is predicted of all, on grounds equally as broad as mortality through Adam: this, too, without the least indication of the slightest difference in the essential attributes of their raised bodies. Why then 'must we suppose the difference contended for will exist, and not that the only difference will consist in the attributes of their moral character? And inasmuch as it was the privilege of all the finally lost to have been saved-for we believe none will finally perish except through their own fault; and if the resurrection of the wicked with immortal, incorruptible bodies--bodies, from their indestructible nature, fitted to be the tenements of their souls in fire vnquenchable ; prove an eternal curse rather than a blessing, as with the righteous, the perversion is the same as with other forfeited blessings resulting from the atonement. For doubtless the loss of heaven itself will be infinitely enhanced, and the sinner's remorse eternally aggravated by the consideration that the loss might have been avoided; to do which he was urged by a thousand motives growing out of the atonement and his own eternal felicity.

In consideration No. 4 Dr. M. derives another argument in favor of his scheme from the consideration that it would be a superfluous exercise of omnipotent power to raise the wicked with “spiritual, immortal, and incorruptible bodies, like those of the sons of God, or to change such as may be found alive at Christ's second coming, seeing they are so soon to lose their bodies in the general conflagration; and this, quoting Rev. xxi, 8, is what he conceives is meant by “ the second death!” But is death here to be taken literally—that is, are we to regard the destruction of the bodies of the wicked, mortal or immortal, as identical with the second death! Are the " fire and brimstone,” material fire and sulphur? Or are they employed by the Holy Ghost to represent the future punishment of the wicked? Who will inform us? For ourselves it has always struck us that the 6 second death” is to be understood in a moral and spiritual sense, as being not only equivalent to, but identical with, everlasting punishment. And as to what is its real import let others decide for themselves. Once more: if the bodies of the wicked are raised “spiritual, incorruptible, and immortal,” how can they be “ lost,” or perish in the general conflagration? Is not this, at least, inconceivable? How can that which is incorruptible and immortal be consumed or lost ? Certainly this very palpable contradiction must have entirely escaped the doctor's notice, or he would never have advanced the sentiment. Perhaps it may be accounted for from our great liability to be blinded to the defects in our favorite systems of doctrine, when they are once espoused, and we are pledged for their defence.

We now come to the 5th consideration. It amounts to this, that there is a great propriety in Christ's raising the wicked with fleshly, mortal bodies, like those in which they died, that there may be the greater analogy between their mode of sinning in this life and their punishment in the future. This principle, it cannot be denied, some. times manifests itself in God's moral government in this world, in his mode of administering judicial justice; but whether it will also obtain in the next, in the administration of retributive justice, may perhaps admit of question.

The last consideration consists in a quotation of 1 Cor. xv, 51, from the Vulgate version. But as this rendering does not agree with the genuine Greek text, as the reverend and respected commentator frankly acknowledges; but is produced merely to show the opinion of some of the ancients on this subject, it only proves, if it prove any thing, that Dr. Macknight's peculiar views have been entertained by others before him. Consequently they are sustained by all the support they can derive from antiquity. And in reference to this, it may be worthy of remark, that some most desolating errors, as well as many most evan. gelical truths, have come down to us from the same source, clothed with the same authority.

Having thus laid before the reader the peculiar views of this cele. brated divine on this most important subject, and that in his own words, together with our comments on the separate considera. tions adduced in favor of his peculiar and somewhat novel opinions, we are happy to submit the whole to his candor and enlightened judgment. And while it must be conceded that truth is preferable to error, for its own sake, on any subject, but more especially when our future and eternal interests are involved in such error, or may be affected thereby ; the doctrine in question may perhaps be one of those which have more importance in theory than in practice. But it should ever be remembered that some errors which are perfectly harmless, both in theory and practice, are too often the open door to a pathway which leads to a precipice where, suddenly precipitated, inevitable ruin fills up the dreadful sequel. And as the doctrine in. volving the question which has been canvassed in the foregoing cri. tique is one of immense importance, and equally so to every man, as will at once be acknowledged by every firm believer in Christianity ; let us cleave with invincible tenacity to “ the law and to the testimony" as our best and only gnide, till the light of that eventful day shall disclose a thousand secrets never yet suggested to the mind of man with regard to its own infinitely momentous realities ; while its final decision will irreversibly seal the eternal happiness or misery of a universe of intelligent beings.

S. COMFORT. St. Charles, Mo., Nov. 6, 1839.

For the Methodist Magazine and Quarterly Review,


Delivered before the Black River Conference, at its last session.


[We were present when this discourse was delivered, and doubt not that all who heard it agreed with us in opinion that it ought to be published. It presents some points of duty binding upon Christians in a very forcible light, and will, we hope, be generally useful. We invite particular attention to it.--Eps.]

“How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed ? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard ? and how shall they hear without a preacher ?” Rom. x, 14.

THE great apostle to the Gentiles may be regarded as the primitive founder, and chief patron, of missionary operations. He was himself a distinguished missionary ; exhibiting a perfect model for all his successors to the latest period of time. He has done much for the missionary cause in his Epistle to the Romans; for, besides showing that we are justified by faith and not by our own righteousness, he has for ever settled the point that, on this ground, the Gentile is equally eligible to salvation with the Jew; and, consequently, as proper a sub. ject of religious instruction. But while he declares, “ there is no dif. terence between the Jew and the Greek,” in regard to the terms of salvation, he is equally explicit in stating, that in view of circumstances, the Jew has a decided “ advantage” over the Gentile," chiefly," as possessing "the oracles of God:" and then asks, in the language of our text, (referring undoubtedly to the heathen, whom he usually denominates Gentiles,) “How shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher and how shall they preach except they be sent ?" In these several interro. gatory affirmations, the apostle presents a series of important ideas in their consecutive relation to each other; showing, that preaching the gospel is made to depend on being sent; hearing, on preaching ; be. lieving on hearing; and calling on God, so as to be saved,” on believing.

The two leading ideas of our text, and those which we intend to consider on this occasion, are, first, that God designs to evangelize the world by means of a gospel ministry; and secondly, that this ministry should be regularly sent.

I. 1. That God designs to evangelize the world by means of a gog. pel ministry appears from the exquisite adaptation of the means to the end. The method of converting man by man, if not the only one which could have been devised, is certainly the best; and is altogether worthy of the adorable counsel in which it originated. The ambassador of Christ, as a physical being, addresses himself to our senses, the grand inlets of intelligence. We see him with the natural eye; we hear him with the outward ear; we “handle him, and know that he has flesh and bones,”—a circumstance of great importance, as showing that he is not an imaginary, but a real person; not a disem. bodied spirit, but a mortal man. Consequently, we shall not be too much affected by his appearance among us on the one hand, as if we had seen a vision of angels; nor too little on the other, as if it were a mere optical illusion.

As an intellectual being, he addresses bimself to our understanding; by which means we are enlightened upon the subject of our holy religion, both in regard to its nature and object; being convinced, at the same time, as well of its importance as of its reality by such evidence as we can neither gainsay nor resist. In this way we are made acquainted with the doctrines, duties, and institutions of the gospel as they are revealed in the Holy Scriptures. In a word, “ the whole duty of man," and the reasons for it, are clearly unfolded to our minds through the medium of an intellectual ministry.

As a moral being, he addresses himself to our hearts and consciences ; and hence it is that while we are led to understand the truth as it is in Jesus,” by the ministry of God's holy word, we are made to feel its gracious influence, renewing our nature, and proving " the power of God to our salvation,” which is the great object to be gained by the gospel ministry. O! how many have “trembled,” like " Felix," or been “almost persuaded to be Christians," like " Agrippa," or "passed from death unto life," like “Onesimus,” through the appropriate means of human eloquence. And indeed, when we consider the overwhelming effect produced upon popular assemblies, in matters of small moment, by the oratory of Greece and Rome, we shall not be surprised that a messenger of the Lord Jesus Christ, addressing us on a subject of the last importance, and setting before us life and death as an alterna. tive of our immediate choice,-I say it is not surprising that such a character, addressing us upon such a subject, in such a way, should engage our attention, convince our understanding, and “ lead us to" unseigned “repentance for sin.”

It is not to be forgotten that the ambassador of Christ, as a man, possessing a physical, intellectual, and moral character, is a social being, and capable of mingling with us in the various relations of life, as a father, brother, neighbor, &c., and consequently he is in a con. dition to exert a powerful influence with iis, taking advantage of the confidence we repose in him as relative and friend, to become the instrument of our salvation.

But after all, the greatest advantage which the gospel minister pos. sesses as a man, for evangelizing his fellow.creatures, consists in the practical demonstration he is capable of giving of the reality and importance of true religion. In the absence of such capacity he might address the senses, the understanding, and the heart -- he might call in the aid of his intercourse and relationship with mankind,-he might charm with the sweetest eloquence, convince by the soundest argu. ment, and alarm by the most impressive appeals, and yet, no one would " receive his testimony;" all would appear hypothetical, if not

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