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enable them to secure a great reward hereafter. The sacred writer then reminds these christians of their treasures in heaven, and exhorts them to maintain their confidence in these imperishable riches. Can words more strongly imply the doctrine of future rewards? Heb. 10. 34, 35.
4. Listen to the following instruction. " Then said he also to him, when thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbors; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompense be made thee. But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind; and thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee; for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.” Who is the speaker? The commissioned Savior. To whom did he preach? To one of the chief pharisees. What class of people was he forbidden to invite to convivial entertainments? Neither brethren, friends nor rich neighbors. Why so? Because they would have the inclination and ability to return the invitation and thus confer an earthly reward. But what description of persons should be invited? The poor and unfortunate and wretched. Why? Because they cannot return the favor. But is he to lose his reward? By
He shall be blessed. When? At the resurrection of the just. What did the sect of the pharisees understand by the word resurrection? Another conscious existence after death. Did Paul hold to this meaning after he was converted? Hear his own an
There shall be a resurrection of the dead both of the just and unjust." Our Savior then plainly assured his hearer that if he would perform works of benevolence he should be recompensed at the resurrection of the just. Can words more plainly teach the doctrine of future rewards? Luke 14. 14. 2 Timothy 2. 18.
How do your writers explain this decisive passage? In several different ways. I will give the exposition of one of your professed critics. These are his own words. “Jesus was directing the people when they made feasts, to be careful not to forget the poor;
or call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind.” He anticipates the objection of the pharisees, who would say, but if I do this, how shall I be recompensed? He assures them that they shall not lose their recompense; for although the poor would not recompense them, yet when these poor were raised from inactivity to action, from obscurity to eminence, or returned to such a state after an interruption, then they should be recompensed.” "By this rational interpretation, we avoid the heathen notion of recompensing men in one state of being for the conduct they do in another. Of all reveries this is the wildest. It is as rational as to suppose that a field of grain sowed in one quarter of the world shall be reaped in another.” Look at this rational mode of avoiding the heathen” notion plainly taught by the heavenly Jesus! Of all ridiculous and absurd interpretations, this must be allowed to stand in the foremost rank. I have no doubt that
my unitarian brethren, who never look into a universalist book, will think on reading this extract, that I am attempting to impose some nonsense of some ignoramus upon their credulity, for a genuine passage of some acknowledged writer. I shall therefore be obliged to give the author's name, book and page, so that they may be satisfied this evidence of the wonderful march of mind comes from a man who considers himself one of your leading divines. And if they would spend a few hours in perusing the publications of this and other authors of your order, they might find very many specimens of a similar character. To attempt a serious refutation of such burlesque would be useless. It is
sufficient to say that this explanation of the text makes the divine Savior contradict himself in the same sentence. To reduce it to plain english, it would read thus. Give not to the rich. Why? Because they can and will repay. But give to the poor. Why. Because they will soon become rich and then they will return the whole. So much for system, and superior rationality. I have quoted sufficient for my present purpose. Do they not fully establish my doctrine? Thomas Whittemore on the Parables, pp. 109, 110.
II. In the second place, I will call your attention to a class of passages in which christian's are exhorted to secure a future heavenly reward by their obedience to the divine commands.
1. Listen to the following exhortation. Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through and steal.” These are the words of Jesus, They were addressed to his disciples and the multitude. Why should they not give supreme and exclusive attention to earthly pursuits and possessions? Because all things temporal are perishable in their nature, transient in their duration, and can never furnish pure happiness to the thinking mind. To what then should they devote themselves principally? To the acquisition of moral and christian goodness. Why so? Because this can never be taken from them, but will endure after the death of the body, and qualify for felicity in the heavenly existence. Our Savior then plainly directs his hearers to labor earnestly for holiness which will give them the recompense of happiness in heaven. Can words more plainly teach the doctrine of future rewards? Matthew 6. 19, 20. Luke 12. 33. John 4. 36. 1 Tim 6. 19.
- Know ye not,
2. Hear the following confession. that they which run in a race, run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air ; but I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection; lest that by any means when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway." These are words of Paul. They were addressed to the converted Corinthians to whom the Isthmean games were familiar. This allusion being kept in view the meaning of the whole passage is easily obtained. Many persons strive for victory in these conflicts so as to obtain an earthly crown. Only one receives the prize. We strive for an incorruptible and unfading
All who strive in the right niethod may receive the reward. Is there any danger of not succeeding in the christian warfare? Great; so much so that even the inspired apostle keeps his appetites and passions in subjection, lest he should fail of receiving this heavenly
Here then an inspired apostle honestly acknowledges that he and his converts strive by the cultivation of holiness for an imperishable and future recompense. Can words more plainly imply the doctrine of future rewards? 1 Cor. 9. 24, 27.
3. Read the following exhortation. beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, immoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord; forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” Paul here addresses converts from heathenism. He has just asserted, that if they had hope in Christ only in this world, they must be of all men most miserable; of course he can allude to no earthly reward. The whole argument is concluded with an exhortation to persevere in
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the christian course. Why? Because they know that if they remain steadfast and immoveable they shall receive a reward in heaven. The following paraphrase may serve to illustrate more clearly the sense of the apostle. “I earnestly exhort you, be steady to your christian principles; let nothing move you from your faith in Christ, nor induce you to corrupt bis religion by the mixture of heathen fable and philosophy, and especially, let nothing shake your faith in the momentous doctrine concerning the resurrection from the dead, upon which all hope depends. Be active in the duties of life; be ever diligent, ever abounding, ever aiming at the highest excellence; act upon christian principles and with christian views. Be not sparing in your exertions; you are not called to labor without hope of reward; you cannot eventually be losers by the utmost activity in doing good. You serve a righteous and kind master, who knows all that you do, and all that you desire to do in his service; and who will compensate your faithful exertions beyond all your expectations and your thoughts. Persevere therefore unto the end; and be assured that your christian labors shall not finally be in vain.”. Can words teach more plainly the doctrine of future rewards? 1 Cor. 15. 58.
4. Notice the following exhortation. - Labor not for the meat which perisheth; but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life; which the son of man shall give unto you. Jesus is the speaker. The hearers are not merely the disciples but especially the multitude who had been partakers of the loaves and fishes. He directs them not to labor supremely for the possessions of this world. Why? Because they all perish in the using. For what then ought they primarily to seek? For christian goodness. Why so? Because this will endure when all earthly things are passed forever; this