Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

This passage

those which are invisible and permanent. The things of time and sense are light, transitory and evanescent, they are not worth a thought, but the invisible objects of faith have a most serious and important reality; they are subject to no interruption or vicissitude, and when once possessed they will be ours forever.” then plainly teaches the doctrine of future rewards. 2 Cor. 4. 17, 18. 4. Read the following declaration.

- For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith; henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing." Paul is addressing Timothy. He reviews his past life with satisfaction. He expects soon to depart. He feels no fear of death or eternity. He is elated with the expectation. He is confident that a crown of righteousness is laid

up

in heaven for him. In what this crown consists is of no consequence. He regards it as invaluable. He considers it the reward of his faithful ministry. He says it shall be given— to whom? To all mankind ?

Why is any distinction to be made hereafter? Who are to receive this crown? All who love and obey Christ. Then those who hate and disobey him have no share in this recompense. But at what day was this crown to be received? Will you say at the destruction of Jerusalem? This would make the inspired apostle utter falsehood and nonsense. For he is now ready to depart, and this is many years previous to that event. He did die long before the period of that calamity. He surely was not raised to receive any crown. No, there is no way of avoiding the conclusion, that Paul expected a reward hereafter for his fidelity on earth.

No.

These passages are sufficient for my present purpose. 2 Tim. 4. 6, 8.

VI. In the sixth place, I will direct your attention to a class of

passages which relate to Jesus Christ. 1. Read the following exhortation.

" Wherefore seeing we are also encompassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.The following paraphrase will convey the true meaning of the sacred writer. “ I have a greater and more interesting example to propose to you than any or all that I have already mentioned. It is that of our master Jesus himself. Look, my christian friends, to our great leader; trace him from the beginning to the end of his course. He was the first to begin the career of faith, and the first to receive its reward. How did faith exert itself in him, and how was it recompensed? Confiding in the promise of God, that his reward should be proportioned to his labors and his sufferings, he endured crucifixion, he made light of the disgrace, he did not shrink from duty or from suffering; and proportioned to his faith is his honor and reward. He was raised from the dead, and is exalted to the right hand of God, to power and glory, and to be the head of his church. Shall we hesitate then to believe and to obey the gospel, when the pain and the shame to which we are exposed by it can bear no proportion to what he endured for us.” You can have no doubt from this passage, that the motive of future reward animated and supported Jesus in his labors and sufferings. And what is the reward which he has received. A seat at the right hand of

God. We are exhorted from this example also to labor for a future recompense. Can language more plainly or strongly inculcate the doctrine of future rewards for the obedient? Heb. 12. 1, 2.

2. Read the following extracts. I have glorified thee on earth; I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. And now, Father, glorify thou me with thine own self, with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.”

Father, I will that they also whom thou hast given me be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory which thou hast given me; for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.” By putting these two passages together you readily obtain the meaning of our Savior. He rejoices that the great work committed to his charge was finished. He reverently asks for the reward of his labors. He desires to receive the glory which his Father had designed before the foundation of the world to confer on him for his successful execution of his divine mission. He wishes his apostles may be with him so as to witness the recompense of his toils and sufferings. Thus it is evident not only ihat he was animated with the expectation of future reward, but also that he distinctly alluded to the glory promised to him by the Father in heaven. The doctrine of future rewards then is taught not only by the example but by the solemn words of our Savior. John 17. 4, 5, 21.

3. Hear the following declaration. " To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as also I overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.' Dissect this sentence and you will obtain its true meaning. The risen and ascended Jesus is the speaker. His words may be appropriately considered as addressed to all christians. To whom does he promise a reward? To all who overcome the obstacles and

In

temptations in the path of christian holiness. Where is this

recompense to be conferred? In another life. what is it to consist? In being permitted a place in his society. But is not this favor to be granted to all mankind without distinction? Directly the opposite is clearly implied in the promise. Where is Christ now seated? On his Father's throne. Why was this privilege granted to him? Because he overcame all obstacles in the way of holiness; and this was the reward of his persevering obedience. Consequently he teaches in his exalted state most plainly the doctrine of future rewards. Rev. 3. 21.

4. Read the following declaration. " Let this mind 'be in you which was also in Christ Jesus; who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God; but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men; and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

WHEREFORE GOD ALSO HATH HIGHLY EXALTED HIM, and given him a name which is above every name; that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father."

The part of this sentence which relates to the subject in discussion may be explained by the following paraphrase. “This unexampled instance of voluntary humiliation and suffering for the benefit of mankind was not left destitute of proper reward. The righteous and benevolent governor of the world, who to answer the wise purpose of his administration, imposed this severe duty upon his holy servant Jesus Christ, has in return made him ample compensation for this great act of filial obedience and magnanimous benevolence."

Nothing can be plainer than this declaration. Jesus submitted to unexampled sufferings; and as a recompense for his obedience God has highly exalted him. Can words more definitely teach the doctrine of future rewards? Heb. 12. 1, 2.

My limits will not permit me to quote any more passages in defence of my present position. I had arranged the texts which have a bearing on this question in eleven classes, and placed a larger number in each class than I have given. If what I have presented are not sufficient to convince a man, that the doctrine of future rewards is taught in the christian scriptures, then nothing that the Savior and his apostles have said can effect this object. Before I conclude the present communication I wish to ask a few plain questions.

Do you not think that our Savior and his apostles meant in some of these texts to teach the doctrine of future rewards? I put the question to your conscience. I wish you to answer it as in the presence of an omniscient judge. Let me ask you to read the whole in their connexion. Listen not to what any man may say on this important subject. Examine and decide for yourself. If you admit that even one passage declares or implies that the righteous shall be hereafter rewarded, our controversy is at an end; for we are both willing I hope to abide by the decision of scripture. How any man can deny that not one of this whole number was designed to teach the doctrine of future rewards is really more than I can understand.

Not only so.

If you acknowledge that the doctrine of future rewards is once taught in the christian scriptures, must you not also admit the truth of future punishment? Most certainly. This some of your wisest and best men have confessed to me in conversation. This must be evident to every

« AnteriorContinuar »