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THE author makes no apology for the publication of these Sermons, because he is convinced, trom the observations which have been made upou them, that the Scriptural facts therein stated, although well known to those who are in the habit of studying the Scriptures, are not so frequently brought forward and explained to the generality of hearers, as from their importance they ought to be.
In the following Discourses, the author has not advanced any opinions of his own: neither has he delivered any doctrine, except in the express words of Divine Revelation ; nor has he stated any fact, respecting which he is a ware that there is any dispute or controversy existing, among Christians of any denomination.
All that is contended for in these Discourses, may be comprehended in a very few words:
First: That it is revealed in the Holy Scriptures, that the wicked “shall go into everlasting punishment."
Second: That it is likewise revealed, that they “shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.”
Third: That the word GEHENNA, or Hell, is used to represent the place or state of the everlasting punishment of the wicked, and therefore the place or state of everlasting destruction.
Fourth: That the word DIABOLOS, or Devil, is used to represent the principle or cause of the everlasting punishment of the wicked, and therefore the principle or cause of everlasting destruction.
If any thing further than this has been advanced iv these Discourses, on the subject of everlasting punishment, the author will confess that he has delivered doctrines which are not to be found in the Holy Scriptures, and which are therefore false.
But, he does not hold himself responsible for the ideas which may be represented to the minds of any, by the words of Scripture. If, for instance, though the Holy Scriptures declare that the sentence of the wicked is, that they shall
be punished with everlasting destruction, from the presence of the Lord, there should yet be some, as some there have been, whu say that this sentence conveys to their minds no idea of everlasting punishment at all; the author cannot help this. He can lay before then the words of Holy Writ, but he cannot possibly be aware what ideas those words may convey their minds.
Neither can he be responsible for the effects which it is supposed by some, would be the result of this doctrine. If, for instance, there should be some who think this sentence is too light a punishment; the author may indeed pity those who can so lightly estimate the presence of the Lord and the glory of his power; but he cannot help it. He can only declare, this is the sentence of the Almighty God. Yet, for himself, he must avow, that the words of this awful sentence, convey to his mind, an idea of the utmost conceivable extent of punishment.
The author does not ask the favorable, far less the partial interpretation of his readers; nor does he deprecate the severity of criticism. On the contrary, he gives these Discourses to the world, with the full and confident assurance, that the doctrines which are delivered, and the facts which are stated in them, cannot be controverted. Conscious that in this particular instance, (would he could say the same in all,) he has endeavored to discharge his duty to God and man, as a faithful minister of Christ, he neither courts the favor norfears the frowns of any.
To criticism upon style and language, the author is perfectly indifferent.Of vague and angry declamation, he will take no heed; far less will he pay any attention to railing accusation. But if it can be shewn that any fact has been misstated; or that from facts, although correctly sta ted, false inferences have been deduced ; he will most thankfully receive the correction, and readily acknowledge it.
Of all and each of his brethren of the clergy in particular, he would most respectfully and affectionately request, that if there is one sentiment contained in these Discourses, inconsistent with that Holy Word, which only is the truth, they will point it out to him, in that spirit of brotherly kindness and christian love, which has so long and invariably distinguished them.
Canandaigua, June 23, 1828.
A SERIES OF SERMONS.
MATTHEW, xxv, 46.-" And these shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal."
IN a former discourse, my brethren, I proved to you from this text and the chapters preceding it, first, that it refers to a judgment mentioned by Christ, which is to take place “at that day and hour of which knoweth no man, no, not the angels in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father;" consequently that Christ could not have foretold its approach within any given period, and that he could not therefore have alluded to this life; and secondly, that the punishment' here mentioned, must be endless ; because, as the same words in the original are used to express the duration of the punishment of the wicked, and of the life of the righteous, and as the one is allowed on all sides to be endless, the other must be so too.
I then stated that I would explain to you from the Scriptures, the nature of this punishment, and prove to you that it is not inconsistent with the justice, the mercy and the love of God. Let us pow then, endeavor
. to ascertain the nature of this punishment; and that we may be the better enabled to do so, let us not blend not very
together the widely different dispensations of the law and the gospel, as is most ingeniously done by the opponents of this doctrine ; but examine the nature of the punishment of sin, as it respects each of these two dispensations, separately; and you will then soon perceive, my brethren, why this mode of investigation is
suitable to the advocates of Universalism. I purpose, first, to ascertain from the Scriptures, the effects of the Christian dispensation upon those who lived and died under the law; and secondly, upon those who live and die under the covenant of grace.
When man was first created, God placed him upon earth, with every thing which this world furnished, to minister to his gratification and happiness; and with but one restriction, the infringement of which was to cause him to return to the state from whence he was taken.
“Of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it, for in the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die.” Here then is the law, and here is the penalty-thou shalt surely die. Adam did eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and the sentence was passed upon him and was executed : “ Dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return.” The same penalty was afterwards attached to the infraction of all the subsequent laws of the Almighty. “ T'he soul that sinneth, it shall die.” This then is the sentence, and the only sentence, which had then been passed on sin; and the Almighty Creator, who
l ever leans to mercy, would surely not extend the punishment beyond the penalty wbich he had declared should accompany the transgression of his laws. .
“The $oul that sinneth, it shall die.”