THE COLLECTION OF SCRIPTURES
not shaken by
GENL. GOODWYN’S OBSERVATIONS.
BY ROBERT GOVETT.
MAYJOR GENERAL H. GOODWYN has printed a tract endeavouring to silence the testimony of a number of Scriptures adduced by me, in proof that not all believers will enter the millennial kingdom.
The subject is one of such deep importance to the Christian, that I am not surprised that it produces discussion. And I am not one to be sorry for such a result; glad though I should be that all should receive at once the witness of Holy Writ. This is not the first publication upon the topic; and assuredly it will not be the last.
In the tract on which I am about to comment, the usual line of argument is taken. The texts which speak of grace as continually now in exercise on God’s part toward the believer, are set against those which tell with equal clearness of justice, as one day to be brought to bear upon him. By a view of the privileges of the believer it is thought that his responsibilities and their consequences can be silenced. But it is a mistake. A day is coming, in which God will render to each according to his works. ‘How have my servants behaved themselves?’ will be Christ’s inquiry of His saved ones.
In the tract which follows I consider (1) THE JUDGMENT OF THE SAINTS; (2) ITS PRINCIPLE; (3) ITS RULE; (4) OFFENCES AGAINST IT; (5) ANSWERS TO OBJECTIONS; (6) AND THE PERIOD DURING WHICH REWARD ACCORDING TO WORKS TAKES EFFECT.
OUR FIRST TOPIC THEN IS: - JUDGMENT OF THE SAINTS.
My text-paper, which the General improperly calls a ‘syllabus,’ said - "Judgment of the saints at Christ’s coming according to works: 2 Cor. 9: 6-10; Eph. 6: 5-9; Phil. 4: 17; Rev. 2: 23; Rom. 14: 10-12."
The General gives only the words. "Judgment of saints at Christ’s coming;" omitting the rest of the sentence, and the references. Why does he not admit the doctrine contained in those Scriptures?
He observes on this point that it is,
"Purely a judgment of works, and not of persons:" Rom. 8: 1. "There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus."
true: ‘no condemnation now:’ because
it is the day of grace: and no future condemnation of them as enemies to be
destroyed. But will there be any "day of judgment" - that is, "day if justice?" 1
John 4: 17;
‘A judgment purely of works and not of persons!’
What does that mean? Such words the Scripture does not use. Such words seem to signify, that God, in the absence of His people, will make up the account of their works, and render them the due recompense, without their appearing in person before the bar of judgment. Does Scripture say that?
1. Nay, but that believers will have to appear in person before Christ’s judgment-seat.
(1) "For we shall all stand (be set) before the judgment-seat of Christ."*
[* The critical editions read, "of God." But it matters not to this point, which we read.]
"For it is written, As I live saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God:" Rom. 14: 10, 11.
(2) "For we must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ, that every one may receive the things done in his body:" 2 Cor. 5: 10.
(3) "The Lord shall judge His people:" Heb. 10: 30.
(4) "So speak ye and so do as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty:" Jas. 2: 12. See also 1 Cor. 6: 9, 10; Col. 3: 23; Jas. 5: 9, 12; 1 Thess. 4: 6; Gal. 5: 10. Nor will there be the judgment of works alone, but of motives also, and of faithfulness in those works: 1 Cor. 4: 5.
But some say - ‘How should the Bridegroom judge the Bride?’
We reply, that the judgment is not of many believers together making up a body, but of each individual. Will the reader be so good as to understand, that in the texts which follow the true rendering is not ‘every man,’ but ‘each?’
As work is given to each severally, several also will be the judgment of each: Mark 13: 34.
(1) "God, who will render to every man according to his deeds:" Rom. 2: 6.
(2) "Every man, shall receive his own reward according to his own labour:" 1 Cor. 3: 8.
(3) "Every man’s work shall be made manifest:" 13.
(4) "The fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is:" 13.
(5) "Let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone and not in another. For every man shall bear his own burthen:" Gal. 6: 4, 5.
For other proofs, see Matt. 16: 27; 2 Cor. 5: 10; 1 Cor. 4: 5; Eph. 6: 8; 1 Pet. 1: 17; Rev. 2: 23; 22: 12.
Each will have to give account of himself.
(1) "So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God:" Rom. 16: 12.
(2) "Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves : for they watch for your souls as they that must give account :" Heb. 13: 17.
(3) "I desire fruit that may abound to your account:" Phil. 4: 17; Matt. 25: 19.
(1) If then that account given by the servants to Christ as their Lord be satisfactory, they shall receive reward; they shall enter the joy of their Lord: Rev. 11: 18; Matt. 25: 21, 23. They shall be accounted worthy to partake of the millennial age, or the first resurrection, and to reign with Christ: Luke 20: 35, 36; 19: 17, 19; Rev. 20: 4-6; 2 Thess. 1: 5, 11.
(2) But what if they have no works to show? Then they can have no reward. For it is then the day of reward to works, as distinct from faith. And many just believe Christ, and die.
But what if they lived years after believing in Christ, and have no good works to show? Then they belong to the class of unprofitable servants, who are shut out from the place of light and joy into the darkness outside.
On this the General observes:-
"This is of course has no allusion to unprofitable servants, who are no true servants at all, and who not having life, cannot serve in the power of Christ."
Does the Scripture say of the "unprofitable servant," (Matt. 25,) that he has no life? No: it is only the General who does so.
The one excluded from the joy of his lord is one of the Lord’s "OWN SERVANTS:" Matt. 25: 14. He is "servant" in the same sense as those admitted: only that they were diligent and faithful, and he not. New Testament Scripture nowhere, that I am aware, calls any ungodly man a servant of Christ.
Does Scripture assert, that every one who has spiritual life works for Christ? By no means. Is he no servant, who is a lazy servant? He does not come up to the idea of a right servant, if not profitable. But alas, the world can show not a few examples of servants who are unprofitable to their earthly masters; and the church can show many cases of those who have life toward God, but who do not work for Christ.
(3) But what will befall those, who, being believers, have done evil works?
They will be rebuked as personally present, and the award will be given them by Christ the judge.
(1) "And now, little children, abide in Him; that when He shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him at His coming :" 1 John 2: 28.
(2) "Sit not down in the highest room, lest a more honourable man than thou be bidden of him. And he that bade thee and him come and say to thee. ‘Give this man place:’ and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room:" Luke 14: 9.
(3) "Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant:" Luke 19: 22.
(4) “That servant, which knew his Lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to His will, shall be beaten with many stripes :" Luke 12: 47.
(5) "He that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done; and there is no respect of persons" - in judgment: Col. 3: 25.
(6) "Be not deceived: God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap:" Gal. 6: 7.
(7) "For he shall have judgment without mercy, that showed no mercy; [and] mercy rejoiceth against judgment:" Jas. 2: 13.
See also, Matt. 10: 32, 33; Luke 12: 8, 9; Matt. 5: 21-25, etc.
The results of the judgment to some offenders will be infliction on themselves personally.
"If any defile the
[* Same word in both cases.]
So God defiled with leprosy the king who defiled his temple by entering it as a priest to offer incense: 2 Chron. 26: 16-21.
(2) "Many stripes" are threatened to the disobedient servant: Luke 12: 47.
(3) The passage which tells of infliction of a fine on the teacher of false doctrine, and a sad escape from the building of his erection has been already touched on.
(4) If the Lord find the steward whom he set over the household beating the servants, but eating and drinking with the drunken. "The Lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour he is not aware of, and shall appoint him his portion with the hypocrites ; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth:" Matt. 24: 45.
On the other hand, "THE RIGHTEOUS JUDGE" shall give to his faithful warriors and steady racers the prize he holds out: 2 Tim. 4: 7, 8.
The future judgment of believers then is not a judgment of works solely. It is a judgment of believers, set in person before Christ’s bar to give account of themselves. They receive an exact retribution for their works, motives, and words, whether good or evil.
The General continues. This future judgment of Christ is
"A judgment when all members of the body will be in resurrection state, for it is not on earth."
figure of "members of the body" is
never used in Scripture in connection with the judgment. How is it that he who professes to give what
the Scripture says, does not speak of the judgment of Christ’s "servants?" Matt. 27:
23-35; 24: 45-51; 25: 14- 30; Mark 13: 34-37; Luke 12: 35-48; 19: 13-26; Rev.
great as they are, will not prevent justice in the day when God has determined
to manifest His righteous judgment, and to render to each according to his
deeds: Rom. 2: 5, 6. Nor will the being in risen bodies prevent
it. The Judge can dismiss back to the place whence they came, those judged
him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath:" Matt. 25: 29.
"Cast ye the unprofitable servant into
outer darkness." "They which do such things
shall not inherit the
The General proceeds:-
"Works unacceptable will be burnt up, but persons saved, and according to their faith and the counsels of the heart in love with all praise of God. (1 Cor. 4: 5; see 1 Cor. 3: 9-25.)"
The apostle, speaking of teachers like himself and Apollos, says:- "If any build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; every man’s work shall be made manifest; for the day shall declare (it) because it shall be revealed by (in) fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work [not "works"] of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work [four times "work" not "works"] shall be burnt (up) he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by (through) fire:" 1 Cor. 3: 12-15.
Hence it is clear that only those whose work of doctrine stands the test, will receive reward. Those whose work is burnt up are not rewarded, but a fine is inflicted on them.* Then they will not enter on the kingdom of reward: they will not be "accounted worthy" of it: Rev. 11: 18; Luke 20: 35, 36. The persons of erroneous teachers shall indeed be finally saved; but only after the fine is completed, and after they have escaped with pain, shame, and fright from the house they built, which has been consumed by judgment.
[* See Greek word for "suffer loss."]
The fine on the erroneous teacher is inflicted, if I read aright, on his soul: Matt. 16: 26; Mark 8: 36; Luke 9: 25-27. These passages speak of the loss of life in the [millennial] kingdom. If the soul of the man be arrested, how shall he set himself free? And there no believers ashamed of Christ and of his words now? How then shall they be counted worthy of honour whom Jesus counts (as He says) worthy of shame?
Paul does not in 1 Cor. 4, affirm that every teacher shall be found faithful, and so receive praise; though to an English ear it might seem so. At the close of chapter three, he says, that all things belonged to the Christian, whether Paul, Apollos, or Peter. There were indeed those who sought to weigh and measure the respective fidelity of these servants of Christ, and teachers of His truth. But for that Paul cared next to nothing. He durst not abide even his own judgment of himself; Christ’s judgment was the great thing, and that would be asserted at his coming. But judgment now on the subject of ministerial faithfulness is out of place, and premature. The elements on which it is to be calculated are only very partially known. Wait therefore till Christ come, for the true decision on this point; for to Him all the elements of a right judgment are present; "and then shall each have his* praise of God." He is referring to the names he had just mentioned; names especially tossed from tongue to tongue in that day. And so he proceeds to state:- omitting Peter’s name for sufficient reasons. "Now these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and Apollos, for your sakes: that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for (the) one against (the) other." (Greek.)
[* Force of the article. "The (due) praise."]
Is it true that every minister who handles the word of God, is faithful in its use? Is there faithfulness in every part of the service of every minister of the Gospel? Does Scripture assert it? The very contrary! "For we are not as many who corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God in the sight of God speak we in Christ." Also 2 Cor. 4: 2; 2 Tim. 16-18; Phil. 1: 15-17.
Are there no ministers in the Establishment whose souls have been troubled by the traditions of men there set up, and who felt they ought to leave them, who yet have smothered such risings of conscience, and maintain them both by act and word? Are there - to go deeper - none among Romish priests, who do in a misty manner believe in Christ enough for salvation, while yet they uphold all the superstitions and idolatries of that which calls itself "the mother and mistress of all churches?" Are there none among them, who, after maintaining the worship of Mary and of the Saints all their lives, at the close just turn to Christ, and are saved? Will such be rewarded as faithful servants?
The General proceeds:-
"The entire matter of redemption and salvation, or redemption of the body from the moment of regeneration to the transformation into the likeness of the Son of God, and participation with Him in the heirship of the kingdom is "the gift of God." "By grace are ye SAVED through faith”. Heirs of God are heirs of salvation (Heb. 1: 14) and of the kingdom (Rev. 12: 10.)"
"It is not anywhere attempted to be shown in Scripture that salvation or any of its glorious accompaniments, is attainable by works:" Rom. 4: 2-5.
That eternal life is the gift of God, not according to our works, but His own purpose and grace, is joyfully owned: Rom. 6: 23; 2 Tim. 1: 9.
that entrance into the future [millennial]
Evidences that the entrance into the millennial kingdom will be according to works, are to be found frequently.
(1) “They that are accounted worthy to attain that world (age) and the resurrection [out] from among the dead:" Luke 20: 35, 36.
(2) "We pray always for you, that our God may count you worthy of this calling:" 2 Thess. 1: 11.
(3) "Being made conformable to his death, if my any means I might attain unto the [select] resurrection from the dead." (Greek): Phil. 3: 14.
(4) "Reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus:" 14.
For other proofs see Rev. 2: 26, 27; 1 Cor. 9: 24-27; 10: 1-13; John 5: 28, 29; Matt. 5: 20; 7: 21.
The General adds :-
"Verse 8 of Eph. 2 declares that believers are not only saved by faith in opposition to works, but that the very faith is ‘not of themselves, but is the gift of God.’ Verses 9 and 10 go on to prove, that ‘we are created unto good works,’ pre-ordained thereto of God. As the fact then of men being elected unto holiness proves that personal holiness is not the ground of their election, so their being created and fore-ordained* unto good works are not the ground of their new creation, and consequently not the ground of any accessory or element of future glory involved in that new creation, which is absolutely ‘in Christ.’"
[* This is not properly ‘foreordained’ -see margin.]
The first part of this paragraph is part of my doctrine - that eternal life is God’s gift to His elect. They are elect, contrary to their deserts. They are regenerate, contrary to their deserts in Christ. But that any because of their new creation will enter the kingdom, is what the General has not shown, and cannot show. In the day of the Lord’s appearing, it will not be enough to prove, that this dead tree has had life given to it of God; or even that it has leaves. Nothing in that day will avail for entrance, but fruits: James 2: 12-26; Matt. 7: 21;* John 5: 28, 29.
[* Proof that the Sermon on the Mount belongs to us, will presently be given.]
"were it otherwise, or were these good works even before the judgment-seat of Christ, to be declared the ground of the very lowest position in the kingdom, or of acceptance with Him in any degree, the Scripture would be gainsayed, for man would ‘have whereof to boast before God,’ and ‘to him that worketh’ the reward would be no longer a matter of grace."
Nothing is more mischievous, than truth out of its place. There is a present justification given to the believer during the age of mercy, on the ground of faith. And texts referring to this are the others adduced, in order to overthrow, if possible, the sister-truth, - that there is a future justification in the day of justice, which is to be on the ground of works, as the fruits of faith. Out of God’s two truths, most believers refuse one.
I shall need only to cite testimonies in proof of the latter justification. Abraham was first justified by faith: Gen. 15. After that, God called upon him for the obedience of faith, and he rendered it; first, in submitting to circumcision, and at last by the sacrifice of Isaac. As soon as that was in God’s sight accomplished, we find him justified by works. "By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son ; that in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore, and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies, and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, BECAUSE THOU HAST OBEYED MY VOICE:" Gen. 22: 16-18.
On this James comments - "But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is idle?* Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he had offered his son Isaac upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?" Jas. 2: 20-22. Now Abraham’s justification is the pattern of that of his sons: Rom. 4.
[* This is the true reading, as given by the critical editions.]
As justified at first by grace against our deserts, the saved will have little inclination to boast. But it is certain, that reward will be at last on account of our works, and according to our works. "Each shall receive his own reward according to his own labour:" 1 Cor. 3: 8. In the day of God’s righteous judgment, He will render to "each according to his deeds:" Rom. 2: 6. "I come quickly, and my reward is with me to give to every man according as his work shall be:" Rev. 2: 12.
In that day, some will be well pleasing to Christ on the ground of the obedience of faith. "Wherefore we labour, that whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him:" 2 Cor. 5: 9.* Jesus will then proclaim some blameless, and "worthy:" Rev. 3: 4; Luke 20: 35, 36. He will say to some, "Well done, good and faithful servant:" and such He will exalt, because of their works. Nay, and Paul could say of himself, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith : Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord the Righteous Judge shall give me at that day:" 2 Tim. 4: 7, 8.
[* For "accepted" it were better to translate, - "well-pleasing to him."]
The General has a paragraph on the kinds of work to which God calls His saints. He sums them up in the one word "righteousness," and traces that to its internal sources of life within. This is something of the same quality as sentiments above named. In this day the question is, ‘Has the tree life? Whence does the life come?’ But in that day the question is, ‘Has the tree good fruit?’
"Peter gives a statement of works to be done, in addition to faith, but they are all gifts, or component elements of the life of Christ, graces RECEIVED corresponding to the graces in Jesus, (John 1: 16,) yet do they secure an "abundant entrance into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ."
"Here then is no exclusion on the ground of unacceptable works, for God cannot exclude His own gifts."
Peter addresses the men of faith, bidding them add a variety of graces to their faith. And then he subjoins, ‘For if so, you will not be fruitless or idle in regard of the future knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.’
But does the apostle affirm that all believers are diligent and fruit-bearing? Quite the contrary! He tells of those ‘lacking these things, blind, near-sighted.’ ‘Ah! That means some unconverted men!’ Not so! These have forgotten that they were "purged from their old sins:" 5: 9. Nay, he goes no to say, "Give diligence to make your calling and election sure." For if you do these things, an abundant entrance shall be yours into Christ’s everlasting kingdom. Yes! Those who enjoy the millennial kingdom of the Saviour will find that an abundant entrance into the everlasting one which follows it. But will all obtain that? Will those who lack these graces enter? The implication to the contrary is clear enough.
Let us hear the General again:-
"To explain further - The regeneration of a sinner is looked upon as nothing short of absolute creation. He is a new creature or creation of God in Christ. Identity is not thereby destroyed, for it is ‘we’ who are thus created; on the other hand it is not we, but Christ who liveth in us, by the faith of whom we live and act out our life in the flesh. The result of our re-creation therefore transfers the action of good works from believers to Christ."! For, God is the only doer of good works. He is both good and doeth good: Psa. 119: 68. Hence though good works are looked for in the believer, they are works of faith and labour of love: 1 Thess. 1: 3. ‘The fruit of the Spirit, not the energy of man on the flesh:’ Gal. 5: 22-24. ‘For it is God that worketh in us both to will and to do of his good pleasure:’ Phil. 2: 13. Again we are instructed (John 15) that union with Christ is as truly the effective cause of acceptable works, as it is the security of the believer’s life."
" ‘Without me can ye do nothing!’ is emphatic, and Christ Himself is as liable to be judged thereby as the branch of the vine that draws both substance and the right quality of sap for fruit producing."
1. First, this stultifies what has gone before. There is to be, as the General has admitted, a judgment of works - though not of persons. Now it appears, that really there are no good works to be judged! They are all God’s: and who shall judge Him? They are all Christ’s, and how can He judge His own works?
But does Scripture say so? Does the text quoted say so? "thou art good, and doest good :" Psa. 119: 68. Does this affirm, that none but God does good works? "Faith wrought with his works," is said of Abraham. "The Father," I read, "judgeth according to every man’s work." "I know thy works:" "I will give unto every one of you according to your works."
This is another instance of the
mischievousness of Scripture truth wrested out of its place. It is true that God is the source of all
good. And during the day of grace, we
are oft reminded of this. But in the day
of justice to come, the Judge deals with deeds, and
overt acts. Here is a wrestler at
But the General’s doctrine about good works (even if admitted) does not prevent
judgment taking effect upon evil works of believers. Some may say, ‘The
evil works of believers!’ Even so!
For what was the believer of
4. But what means the General’s last paragraph?
"Without me ye can do nothing, is emphatic, and Christ Himself is as liable to be judged hereby, as the branch of the vine that draws both sustenance and the right quality of sap for fruit-producing."
This is an awful, horrible principle! More plainly expressed it is this. ‘Jesus cannot condemn any believer who is a branch in Him. For the branch can retort upon the vine, "Well, if I did not bring forth good fruit, or brought forth evil fruit, the fruit is thine, for thou didst not give me enough sustenance, or not sap of the right quality.’ This is the natural result of the principles expressed here. They take away the believer’s responsibility, whether for good or evil works. Beware Christians! This will increase unto more ungodliness. Does the Scripture say what the General teaches? The Saviour in the words which immediately follow rebukes in solemn words this fearful error. "If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered : and men gather them and cast them into the fire, and they are burned:" John 15: 6.
The General proceeds thus -
"Moreover, the life of the saint becomes as likely to be lost, as that he should lose any privileges of that life, through a judgment of works?"
What! When God gives "eternal life," how can that life be lost? That he may not be "accounted worthy to attain that age," is taught us by the same Scriptures which affirm the final glorification of God’s elect.
The General has a long paragraph on the consecration of Aaron and his sons to the priesthood. It is another example of truth out of its place. That grace begins the work in the believer’s soul, and maintains it during the day of God’s patience, is granted. The question is, Will all God’s priests be accepted at the close of their service? What say the cases of Nadab and Abihu? of Hophni and Phinehas?
We come now to the question, -
WHAT WILL BE THE RULE BY WHICH BELIEVERS WILL, IN THAT DAY, BE JUDGED?
Hereupon the General observes:-
"In reference to the Sermon on the Mount generally, its true character and object of having been perceived, references to it tend to mislead. True that it is a standard, and so was the law of which it is an amplification: (m.i.*) but what saith the Scripture? (Rom. 10: 4,) ‘Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.’ Evidently therefore, the discourse of the Lord did not display a standard, or ground upon which the acceptance of Christians was to rest, but a mirror in which the unbelieving Jews were to behold that which should convince them of shortcoming, and of being totally unfit to be subjects of a kingdom whose king was the Holy One of Israel. When I say, ‘Not a standard for believers’ - I mean, not a standard by which they will be judged in any way. (Rom. 3: 21, 22; 10: 4, and all Rom. 7, especially vers. 24, 25, and then 8: 1.) It is of course a standard of excellence to be sought after and aimed at, though fully observed only by Jesus. It is set before the Church as it is, simply because God cannot present to man anything beneath Himself, or short of perfection." **
[* m.i. means ‘my italics.’]
[** I observe that these remarks are attached to Matt. 16: 27, which is something beyond the Sermon on the Mount. Is the whole of that Gospel to be rejected by us?]
That believers are not under the law of Moses, but under grace, is true; and therefore, that they are not to be accepted on the ground of obedience to it, is also true. To these points the above cited texts refer.
1. But, that the Sermon on the Mount is an amplification of the Law - not Scripture, but the General only says. All reasoning then on this foundation is vain. It only begs the question.
2. Jesus put forth His words not as clearing away mistakes as to Moses’ testimony, but with an authority that astonished the listeners. ‘It was said thus to those of old, but I say unto you:’ Matt. 5: 21, 44. In this style he repeals oaths, divorce, retaliation by law. Moses’ law was based on justice as its principle; Jesus’ Sermon on grace: 38, 48; Luke 6: 32 - 35. Was it was addressed to unbelieving Jews? Nay, but to "disciples," (ver. 1, 2,) who had already confessed their sins and been baptized. For those who did not own John’s ministry refused also our Lord’s. And Jesus baptized, no less than John: Luke 7: 29, 30; John 3: 26; 4: 12. Jesus then addresses the disciples as already accepted by faith, sons of God the Father, men of faith, to be persecuted for His sake, salt of the earth, light of the world: 5: 11-16; 6: 1-18, 30, 33. He addresses them, in order to show them the way into the future millennial kingdom.
3. Accordingly, it is the standard for the judgment of all disciples who will enter the kingdom. All who are disobedient thereto, though they may own Jesus as Lord, will be refused. Are we, (as the General owns,) to look up to this as a standard of excellence? Then by our conformity to it or not, shall we either enter into the kingdom, or be excluded from it. "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven ; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven:" 7: 21.
This will of the Father the Saviour afterwards describes as - "These sayings of mine:" 24. That then is the penalty of non-observance - exclusion of the disobedient from the kingdom. All who take up with the old standard of Moses, - as did the leaders of the law, - rejecting Jesus’ words, shall not enter in. The Sermon in Matthew compares Jesus’ new words with the Law. The Sermon in Luke 6, while announcing the same principles, omits reference to Moses. But that too is spoken to "disciples:" 20. That shows us, that the specifications of the characters required for entrance, are both positive, and negative. While the disciples who are rejected by the world for Christ’s sake enter the kingdom, as ‘blessed;’ disciples who seek to gain the world’s good word, are excluded with a "woe."
Are we disciples of Christ? These are His instructions for disciples. Are we sons of the Father in heaven? These are His directions, through His Son, how to enter His future kingdom! "This is my beloved Son; HEAR HIM." Do we desire a place in the kingdom of glory, and the recompense of reward? This is the only way to it. Do we suffer for Christ’s sake? This is the "consolation" held out to us.
Is this ‘the standard of excellence’ for Christians? Are all Christians walking in accordance therewith? Far from it! Some exact their debts, and prosecute offenders by law. Some take oaths; some are soldiers, whose profession is to slay the enemies of their land. Some are magistrates; some live by law. What of these? As their standard, or their practice, or both, do not rise above Moses’ law, Matthew 5: 20 applies to them "Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter the kingdom of heaven."
"So speak ye and so do, (act) as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty:" Jas. 2: 12. The Sermon on the Mount seems to be the apostle’s "law of liberty;" for his epistle is virtually a comment on the Sermon on the Mount *
[* Justification by works in the judgment-day: Jas. 2; Matt. 7: 21. Evil speaking: Jas. 4: 11, 12; Matt. 5: 22-26. Boast of the morrow: Jas. 4: 13-16; Matt. 6: 34. Oaths : Jas. 5: 12; Matt. 5: 33-37.]
The General has a brief but astonishing paragraph.
"Matthew 7: 21 receives an answer in John 6: 40. To believe is to do the will of God!" Gal. 2: 20.
John 6: 40 is Jesus’ instruction to unbelievers, calling them to faith in the day of grace. But Matt. 7: 21, is His word to believers, assuring them that faith alone will not be sufficient in the day to come.
And what says Gal. 2: 20? "I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live ; yet not I , but Christ liveth in me, and the life which I now live in the flesh I live ny the faith of (in) the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." Now does this affirm, that all that will be required in the coming day, is faith? By no means! All it tells us in regard of this question is, that during the present day of grace, faith in Christ is the true principle of life; which is something very different.
The General continues:-
"When God said to Abraham, ‘Walk before Me and be thou perfect,’ He gave utterance to the above principle; but did He suppose a man in the flesh capable of that perfection, or that the inheritance of the land that was his by promise, could be forfeited by any shortcomings thereof, would Abraham be judged by that saying?" Heb. 6: 13, 14.
Yes! Abraham, if disobedient, would have forfeited
all the promises which were suspended on
conditions. Not till his act of
obedience in virtually sacrificing his son, did God utter on his behalf the
irrevocable oath: Gen. 22. This is shown also in the case of his sons,
brought out of
these two Scriptures. "I am come down to deliver them (
The General thus continues:-
"The following is worthy of notice: ‘Flesh and blood cannot
"Judgment before Christ as the great priestly Head of the Body, is not for men in the flesh; the ‘old man,’ who ‘with his deeds,’ (bad works) is now - by faith in the act of God at the cross of Christ - ‘put off,’ (Col. 3: 9, 10) will then be actually and practically an accomplished fact."
"In the act of transformation of the members of the body into their predestined similitude to the personal and moral excellencies of the risen Son of God, (Rom. 8: 29,) everything that is of the flesh, or savors of it in any way, will be ‘put off;’ and not only so, but together with these deeds of the old man, all false doctrine ought of unacceptable building attempted to be raised, as if it were a structure conformable to the true foundation, ‘will be revealed by fire,’ and treated as so much ‘wood, hay, and stubble:’ (1 Cor. 3: 12, 13.)
"Works that do not stand the fire being thus dealt with, the doer of them ‘shall suffer loss,’ not of the kingdom, if a child of God and member of Christ, but of honourable position therein."
Fallacies usually conceal themselves in a thicket of words; and this is an example. The appearance of argument here arises from confounding together the two senses of "corruption," and "of flesh and blood." In what sense does the General take the expression "flesh and blood?" and "corruption?"
1. It is certain that Paul is speaking of the physical body of the believer in 1 Cor. 15: 50. It is in the chapter which is treating of his resurrection, if dead; and of his change, if living when the Lord shall come. After having stated the difficulty arising from the unfitness of our bodies, whether as still possessed of life, or still more if lying under the bondage of death, to enter on the kingdom of resurrection, he proceeds to clear away the obstacle by means of a special revelation which was made to himself.
The bodies of believers, whether alive or dead, will be changed in an instant. The corrupted body now in the tomb will be clad with incorruption; the mortal body of the living believer be clothed with immortality.
But if this be the true sense of Paul’s words, the General’s statement is not true. ‘Jesus (he will then say) will not judge anyone found alive in a mortal body, or having to answer for deeds done thereby, concerning his fitness or unfitness to enter the kingdom.’
This is manifestly contrary to Scripture. We shall have to account to Christ for deeds done in our body, whether we be found alive at His appearing, or among the dead: 2 Cor. 5: 10; 1 Thess. 4: 1-8. Moreover, the General has allowed, that there will be a judgment of works; and they are done, I suppose, in a body of flesh and blood. Our deeds and their consequences will cling to us, after our being set in resurrection bodies before Christ. Reaping in the resurrection body will be the result of a sowing in this: Gal. 6. The victors will be crowned in a body of glory, for a race run in a mortal body of flesh and blood.
the next paragraph the confusion deepens.
Where does Scripture say aught about Jesus judging as the ‘Great priestly Head of the body,’ the Church? Scripture speaks of the Lord judging His
servants individually; which is something very different: Matt. 25: 19; 1 Cor. 4: 4, 5;
Jesus, says the General, is not to judge "men in the flesh." In what sense is the phrase used? Does it mean men unregenerate? Or does it mean men in mortal bodies? It is true, that unregenerate men will not be judged by the Lord during His presence in the air. But believers, who are alive when Christ descends, will be judged. Moreover, though they will not be "in the flesh" in a spiritual sense, yet "the flesh" will be in them. Nor do I know any Scripture which affirms that at once on resurrection all traces of "the flesh," spiritually considered, will be put off.
as soon as any is "in Christ," he has,
as justified judically, ‘put
off the old man,’ is true. But
that at the moment of ascending to meet the Lord the old man (in the sense of a
perfect sanctification) will be put off, I do not find stated in Scripture. At any rate, the General has given no
Scripture proof of it. It rests upon his
word. Certain it is,
that our responsibility for the deeds done in the mortal body is not put off
with the mortal body. Certain also is it, that the one-talent servant is not perfectly
but he is no servant!’ I have
answered that objection. Nor are the
foolish virgins, or those put out of the churches for immorality, and dying out
of communion perfectly sanctified; or those cut off at
The General has allowed that there will be a judgment for works. But this doctrine carried out into its consequences would deny all judgment for works. (1.) There are no good works: they are all God’s doing. (2.) There are no evil works to be judged: for they are put off with the old body.
The General’s great argument is "the members of the body" of Christ. With him privilege is to swallow up judgment. The church is so great, it is not to be touched by the penalties of responsibility broken. But the figure of the Christ, consisting of Head and members, as used in the Scripture, does not sustain his theory. It occurs but in three places.* Let us look at them.
[* Eph. 4: 25, speaks of believers as being "members one of another." I give also the places where "the body" of Christ is named: Eph. 1: 22; Col. 1: 18, 24; Eph. 4: 4, 12, 16; Col. 2: 19; 3: 15.]
2. In 1 Cor. 12 the apostle speaks of the Holy Ghost as then bestowing His supernatural gifts on each believer. ‘We,’ he says, ‘are many members, but one body, and that the body of Christ. Let not, therefore, the inferior members be jealous of the superior: each has his place and his use.’ This tells, then, of present use and service on earth. It is exhortation, not promise. Does the apostle say, ‘It is impossible to remove one of these members, though but for an instant, from its place and service?’ The very contrary! He directs the separation of one of the members from the body, in the very epistle in question: 1 Cor. 5. And this exclusion from the assembly is God’s visible proof of another and longer separation which is to take effect when Christ shall judge. Thus what the Scripture says is contrary to what the General says.
3. In Eph. 5: 22, Paul speaks of Christ as the Head of His body the Church. As the Church is to obey Christ, so let the wife her husband. "Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the Church, and gave Himself for it, that He might sanctify it by the bath of the water with the word,"* that He might present it to Himself perfect.
[* This, I doubt not, refers to baptism, as answering to the bride’s bath: 4: 4, 51. The water without the name of Father, Son, and Spirit, were nought. But the word added to the element makes the ordinance. Baptism is the visible cleansing of the Church for Christ.]
Now although the result is not stated absolutely here, but only as a matter of design on Christ’s part, yet I willingly own, that as God presented Eve to Adam, so Christ shall present the Church to Himself perfect. The only question is - WHEN? The General assumes, that it will be at the millennium. But this is the point to be proved! The same epistle tells us of the loss of the kingdom which some believers may suffer, because of offences like those of the world: offences which do really occur, and for which some from time to time are put out from the fold into the world, 5: 3-7. Though we love and cherish our bodies, yet at times we are compelled to cut off one or more, lest death ensue.
What is "the transformation" of which the General speaks? Physical? Or spiritual? And when does it take place? That all God’s elect will be finally glorified is true: Rom. 8: 29. But that same chapter tells of exclusion from millennial life, because of sin; or entrance upon it, as a result of God’s pleasure in holiness: 12, 13.
‘The old man’ always means the spiritual evil remaining in the unregenerate. But Scripture never affirms, that it is at once put off by a perfect sanctification in all believers, as soon as they rise.
Scripture does not speak of false doctrine, or of ill-judged building as being "revealed by fire," - but of "the day." "For the day shall declare:* because it shall be revealed in fire:" 1 Cor. 3: 13.
[* No ‘it’ in the original.]
Scripture says, that only the teacher whose work stands the testing fire, shall be rewarded. The other not only does not obtain reward, but something is abstracted from what he has. "He shall be fined."* Will he in an instant escape the fear and pain of the house burning over his head? Will he in an instant pay the fine?
[* See Greek.]
But what of the defiler of the
But even if the work of the misguided believing teacher be burned up, the General provides, that the loss he shall suffer shall be only of honourable position in the kingdom, not of the kingdom itself. Where does the Scripture say so?
is no "hath" in the Greek, in either
case! The tenses are not in the
perfect. While each child of grace shall
finally enter the city of
"Nor is this [entry into the kingdom] merely a condition in the present age, but the necessary preliminary to the position in material glory; for the Holy Spirit is the unalterable attached seal of the Father to that end, and is the divine earnest and pledge of the same, until the hour of the manifestation of the purchased possession."
what if no one now is in possession of that seal of God? If I read Scripture aright, it was the miraculous
gifts of the Holy Ghost, a something communicated after faith: John 6: 27; Eph. 1: 13. May we assume that every believer has the
Spirit in power? Was it not at
Let us hear the General again:-
"Christ is not only the believer’s righteousness, sanctification, and redemption, (1 Cor. 1: 30,) but his glorification: Rom. 8: 30. He is the saint’s inheritance from first to last, for every promise of God is only fulfilled in Him: 2 Cor. 1: 20. Whatever Christ is as a glorified Man, that every member of His body is before God: 1 Cor. 3: 23. ‘The glory’ that God has given to Christ His Son in risen humanity, or the kingdom which He has conferred upon Him from beginning to end, He ‘has given them’ already, (John 17: 22,) and shall there be an occasion whereby one jot or one tittle of this gift of glorious free grace shall be set aside of defeated? Can there be a moment’s separation of those, from Christ and His kingdom in its entirety, who from the moment of their resurrection or changed condition, are said to be ‘FOR EVER WITH THE LORD?’"
Two classes of passages speak of the believer: one of his present perfection of standing in grace before God, during the time of grace. But there are other passages which tell of justice in the day when justice takes its turn upon every soul of man. Now many Christians seek to make these two classes of testimony in God’s Word fight with each other. But in vain. The first class of passages will not reject the second. Will not Christ descend from above to reckon with His servants? Will He not inquire how they have behaved since grace brought them into the place of service?
That by ‘the glory’ of John 17: 22, is meant the millennial glory, few will affirm, who will read the context. "The glory which thou gavest me, I have given them, that they may be one, even as we are one, I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that thou hast loved them, as thou hast loved me." John speaks throughout his Gospel of ‘eternal life:’ scarcely does he touch ‘the kingdom.’
shall not be defeated: but when our
works come into question, severance of one from another must take effect. Jesus, when looking at works, divides his
seven Churches of the Apocalypse into ‘overcomers’
and ‘the overcome.’ The promises there are to overcomers
alone. To walk with Christ in white
shall belong only to the undefiled of garments: and they, as in
“‘But will not 1 Thess. 4, prove the point? - ‘And so shall we be ever with the Lord?’’
This lever also snaps, as soon as one perceives what is the purpose of the Holy Ghost in that chapter. Some Thessalonian believers, finding that saints sickened and died before the Lord came, feared that such were shut out of the kingdom. They were looking for the Son of God out of heaven; and these were no longer on the earth to meet Him. Paul therefore teaches by the Spirit, that physical death is no barrier against the believer’s entering the kingdom. Jesus Himself died: yet He shall be Chief and Lord in the kingdom. So then death shall be no barrier to those that are His: but both the living and the sleepers shall together be carried up in clouds to meet the Lord in air: after which (if death be the only obstacle) there shall be no more severance of body and soul. So then this passage does not in the least invalidate the view given. It treats of the instant removal of physical barriers at the Lord’s advent, in the case both of the living saints and the dead ones.
But does this passage affirm anything contrary to others which assure us how deeply our own conduct for good or evil shall affect us then? Far from it! How could Paul contradict himself? How could the General overlook the verses which just precede? Shall they be accounted worthy of reward to whom the Lord comes as revenger? 3-8. * [* Is not this a rending of a verse from the context?] ‘Ah! They were hypocrites!’ You must prove it! In 1 Cor. vi, 8-11 is proof positive to the contrary. For thus runs the syllogism.
No unrighteous person shall enter the
2. Some of you Christian believers are unrighteous: ver. 8.
3. Therefore some of you shall not enter the kingdom.
‘Ah! They are mere professors!’
By no means! They were "washed, sanctified, justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God:" 11. How can the mere professor be among the justified in Christ?
We come to the question - Will the omission of baptism exclude from the kingdom? On this the General says:-
"In regard to the ‘unbaptized’ being rejected from the kingdom, the authority for which is attempted to be shown from John 3: 5, a sad mistake has been committed. The passage records the teaching of a Jew out of his own scriptures, by the Lord, who could have made no allusion to Christian Baptism, for it was not an ordinance found in those scriptures, neither had it been then an appointment in the church which had not an existence at that hour: Matt. 16: 18; Acts 2: 41."
"The Lord was declaring the necessity of regeneration
previous to entrance into the kingdom, illustrating the doctrine from the
annunciation of the fact that
In spite of the General’s sentence that this is a ‘sad mistake,’ I hold it to be a truth bearing so much evidence on its forehead, that with all the clear-headed and unprejudiced of believers, I shall win the day.
‘Jesus,’ says the General ‘was instructing a Jew "out of His own Scriptures." Where then, I ask, in the first thirteen verses which speak of regeneration, are the passages of Scripture which Jesus quotes? Where those to which he alludes?
The General says, Ezek. 36: 22, 32. What is the proof? He says so!
‘Jesus could not have spoke of Christian baptism,’ (says the General) ‘because it was not an ordinance found in those Scriptures.’
Was not baptism typed for us in the Old Testament?
(1) Peter thought so. He finds it in Noah’s salvation in the ark: 1 Pet. 3: 17-21.
Paul thought so. He finds it in
‘But Christian baptism was not then commandad.’
No: nor is it necessary that it should have been.
Jesus, as the General allows, was "declaring the necessity of regeneration previous to entrance into the kingdom." Good! This great truth then was signified by the rite of immersion; whether as originally given to the Jew, or as afterwards commanded by the Lord to the Christian. ‘You must be born again, ere you can see the kingdom;’ - lies at the root of the ordinance, as commanded to the Jew. The same is its meaning as laid upon the Christian. It is designed of God to speak to the eye the great truth which His Word would send to the heart. The Spirit’s begetting of the soul to God is a secret work; but the birth out of water is God’s visible attestation of that to both the world and the Church. Now it is immersion alone which can fulfil the Lord’s words concerning a being "born out of water."* [* Ek.] None can be born out of water who is not first in the water. There is no birth out of water in some drops sprinkled on any. Says the Prince of critics, - "There are many passages of Scripture which allude to baptism in which a way as to show that to immerse was its mode. Of this kind is John iii, 5, a passage the misunderstanding of which laid a foundation for the grossest superstitions of nominal Christianity. To be born of water most evidently implies that water is the womb out of which the person who is born proceeds. That this is the reference of the figure, whatever may be supposed to be its meaning, cannot for a moment be doubted by any reflecting mind." It presents to the eye death and burial of the flesh, and new life of the spirit; death to this age, resurrection to the new age, or the kingdom.
The Saviour’s allusion to this therefore was full to the point. It was God’s emblematic picture of the great truth of regeneration in order to the kingdom. It conveyed a fitting rebuke of Nicodemus, because, like the rest of the sect of the Pharisees, he had disobeyed this command, given alike by John the Baptist, and by Jesus: Luke 7: 27-30.
Had Nicodemus observed this rite, the possibility of the new birth of an adult would have at once flashed on his mind. That baptism is alluded to, is confirmed both by the preceding and following context. The Holy Ghost has spoken of Jesus’ immersion by John, and of its significance: John 1: 29-34. Immediately after Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus comes a notice of baptizing, both by John and by Jesus: 22, 23. While it is significantly added, that John chose Silam, because there was much water there. Does sprinkling require much? (See also John 4: 1, 2.)
If then Jesus might justly rebuke the Pharisee, who hoped to enter the kingdom, and yet refused the rite which God ordained as the part of obedience thereto; much more may He rebuke the Christian who is guilty of the same offence. For to us is the good news of the kingdom preached as well as to them.
The Christian sets aside baptism at his peril. He shall not enter the kingdom of God, unless born out of water, as well as regenerated by the Spirit: John 3: 5; Luke 7: 29, 30; Rom. 6: 5, says the same thing. "For IF WE became fellow-plants in the likeness of His death, why, we shall be also of the [first] resurrection." (Greek.)* How comes it that those two oaks stand so close together, majestically throwing out their giant arms, the pride of the forest? Once they were acorns, buried in the same hole. Now, as buried together, together have they risen; together they bear sway over the trees.
[* "In the likeness" and "his" are added by the translators, to the confusion of the sense.]
Was it enough to be one of the natural seed of Abraham, in order to have a right to the land of promise? No! If not circumcised the eighth day, the Israelite was to be cut off from his people, as a breaker of the covenant: Gen. 17: 9, 14.
General affirms, "that
Is Christ speaking here of
Here then are abundance of sad mistakes; the last being the worst: but there are others to come. For he proceeds:-
"The meaning of ‘clean water’ or water of purification may be easily gathered by comparison of Numb. 19: 1-10 with Heb. 9: 13, 14, where it will be apparent that in Jewish phraseology the Lord declared the necessity of the application of the blood of Christ to the conscience of a sinner by means of the word of truth: that he must be spiritually taught to believe himself a participator in the benefits derived from the propitiatory sacrifice of that blood, or he ‘cannot enter into the kingdom of God.’ The converse of the above must also be true, viz., that a regenerate sinner, being transferred from ‘the power of darkness,’ is a participator in all and every elemental portion, both as to time and substance, of that which constitutes the kingdom of the Son of God."
(1) Does ‘clean water’ mean the same thing as ‘water of purification?’ If I drink clean water, do I drink water of purification? Is a ‘clean man’ a ‘man of purification?’ If I eat a ‘clean beast,’ do I eat a ‘beast of purification?’ The gallant General is no critic.
The ‘clean water’ of Ezekiel is wholly different
from ‘the water of purification,’ described in Num. 19.
The water mentioned by Ezekiel was ‘clean water.’ The ‘water of
purification’ was not ‘clean water.’ I would drink of Ezekiel’s clean water, if
permitted. But I should be sorry to
drink of the water of purification; water mingled with ashes! A clean man was to sprinkle the
unclean person with Moses’ ‘water of purification;’
not in order to regenerate him, but to cleanse from defilement. But God is hereafter to
sprinkle the clean water in
(3) The General would make the birth out of water to mean the application of the blood of Christ to the guilty sinner. But no! Water never, I believe, means blood, in the Old Testament or the New. He who affirms, must prove it. Much less does the being ‘born out of water,’ signify the sprinkling of Christ’s blood upon any. Jesus is referring to the Spirit’s work of regeneration, not to His own work of atonement.
(4) ‘Except a man’s conscience be sprinkled with the blood of Christ,’ says the General, ‘he cannot enter the kingdom.’ Very true. He would then deduce the conclusion that ‘if so sprinkled, he must enter.’ By no means. Let me put a like case. ‘Except a man have six hundred a year, he cannot be a member of parliament’ - conversely, therefore, ‘If he have six hundred a year, he must be a member of parliament!’ The gallant General is no logician.
He proceeds :-
"As to the reference to deniers of Jesus; let me remark, that it is not an uncommon thing with the apostles to address men making a profession merely of Christianity (and received into church fellowship on that ground) as if they were true believers. This is for the purpose of testing their condition of heart, (a matter that even an inspired apostle never presumed to judge of except by outward acts,) and either of constraining them to separate from an assembly in which they had no lot or part, (1 John 2: 19,) or by conviction of consciences, bring them to a knowledge of eternal life!"
"But the true believers, always under the unerring hand of the Father, though they may be permitted like Peter to fall, cannot fall away. They are ‘kept by the power of God, through faith,’ for the inheritance ‘reserved in heaven’ for them."
Here again the text of which I rest is left out by the General. It is very strong, so I am not surprised. "I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they also may attain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. It is a faithful saying: for if we be dead (died) with him, we shall also live with him; If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us. If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful, he cannot deny himself:" 2 Tim. 2: 10-13. ‘Apostles often address mere professors, as if they were true believers!’ Does Scripture say so? No! It is the General’s theory, by which he would turn aside from believers the solemn threats which the Holy Spirit addresses to them when they go astray. The passage from Timothy just quoted, - is it spoken to ‘mere professors?’ Are "THE ELECT" mere professors? Was Paul a mere professor? He classes himself with those to whom these warnings are addressed. “If we deny him, he also will deny us." ‘Ah, but He can’t: for we are elect!’ "If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful, he cannot deny himself." Those who take the General’s word for it, will find it will not stand in that day against the declaration of Christ: Matt. 10: 32, 33. Is there no danger of a Christian denying Christ? Was Peter no believer? Did not he deny? ‘Ah, but he cannot finally fall away.’ And don’t I teach that? But may he not so fall as to lose reward? "Then all the disciples forsook him and fled."
Will the General affirm - ‘that wherever the threatenings against sin are found addressed to disciples or believers in the Gospels or Epistles, they refer to professors only?’ If so, it would be well to prove it by the Scriptures. 1 John 2: 19, is not a case in point. "Even now there are many antichrists ... They went out from us, they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have* continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all (none) of us." Now is this an instance where the apostle is seemingly addressing threats to all believers, but really aiming at mere professors only? There is no threat: and these were outside the church. ‘Aye, but they once were within.’ Granted, and what then?
[* "No doubt" are words inserted by translators.]
Matt. 7, Jesus addressing disciples, says,
that those who admire His teaching, and own His Lordship, but do not obey His
words in the Sermon on the Mount, will, in the last great crisis before His
kingdom comes, fall heavily; giving up their profession: Matt. 7: 24-27.
‘Ah, but the Sermon on the Mount is not for us.’
I have answered that; and now I add - ‘If the Sermon on the Mount is not for
you, neither is the
What again says Jesus? "I say unto YOU MY FRIENDS, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear, Fear him, who after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell ; yea, I say unto you, Fear him:" Luke 12: 4, 5. ‘There is ‘Mr, Govett’s doctrine, plain enough!’ But is it he who says so?
See also my previous remarks on 1 Cor. 6: 8-11. They are no mere professors who are addressed there.
The General proceeds:-
"A very forcible illustration of the above occurs in Heb. 6, where those Hebrews are alluded to, who after the day of Pentecost had obtained special privileges beyond even those which had been nationally conferred on them; yet who blasphemed against the Holy Ghost, and murdered the witness of Christ, when the touchstone of the exaltation of that Jesus whom they had crucified as a malefactor was applied to their consciences."
Would it not have been well to state this matter a little more clearly? Are the unconverted Jews referred to in Heb. 6: 4-8? Had they been made "partakers of the Holy Ghost?" Had they received "powers of the future age?" Had they professed Christ’s faith, been baptized, and, by the laying on of the apostle’s hands, received the gifts of inspiration and miracle? Would it not have been as well to show that Scripture says so? At present I find only that the General does. Can he point out any instance in which apostles laid hands on, and gave gift to, any unbeliever? I know of none. Simon Magus came the nearest to it of any: but he is informed that these gifts are not for him, because his heart is not right with God: Acts 8. ‘Yes, but Jesus speaks of rejecting at His coming those who, as He confesses, wrought miracles, and were inspired.’ This then must refer to something yet to come. There is no record of any such thing in the Acts or Epistles.
How, on the General’s theory, does the warning of Heb. 6 belong to Paul’s argument? - ‘O Christians, I have much to tell you about Milchizedec, but you are become dull of hearing. Considering the length of time you have been believers, you ought now to be teachers of others, instead of which, you need to be taught again the alphabet. You want pap, instead of solid food. You are babies in Christ, instead of being men. Come, be not ever poring over the first principles of Christian faith and practice, but go on to the deeper truths of it!’ And how do his succeeding words fit on to this? ‘For it is impossible if unconverted men fall away from the supernatural gifts and the grace they have never received, to renew them again to repentance!’ Is that it?
No! it is evident that Paul is speaking of believers who had years ago been baptized, and received the miraculous gifts of the Holy Ghost, and yet were in danger of falling back to the law of Moses. "Let us go on to perfection!" Was Paul one of the unconverted, who had committed the unpardonable sin? ‘It is not said Paul wrote the Hebrews.’ Very well: the inspired writer (whoever he was) says of those he thus addresses, that he was persuaded of them, that they were to be saved. For God could not forget their good works springing of love to him: ver. 10. Does that speak them unbelievers?
Others seeing that this Epistle teaches ‘Mr. Govett’s doctrine,’ hurl it overboard altogether. That is the integral method of getting rid of it.
The General next observes:-
"These notes might be indefinitely prolonged, - in fact, I have many more to confirm the above, but enough has been stated to show the unscriptural character of Mr. Govett’s doctrine, of which an account will have to be rendered before the face of the Great High Priest, on account of the perplexity, distress, and sorrow, which it has caused to many of His sheep and lambs."
A great deal of a like kind would go but a little way towards showing what the Scriptures say on the points in question. Does the General think he has hereby proved Mr. Govett’s doctrine unscriptural? ‘Mr, Govett’s doctrine!’ Did he write the Gospels? Epistles and Revelation? It is from them that the seventy-five texts in the text-paper on which the General is commenting, are drawn! ‘Mr. Govett’s doctrine unscriptural!’ It is very odd, if it be unscriptural, that he only collects Scriptures together, thinking they prove his point. What is Scripture? And where are teachings from it to be found, if not in this collection of texts? What is there of Mr. G.’s but the grouping of them?
‘But for this offence Mr. G. will have to give account at last before Christ!’
Would that Mr. G. were as strong, and ready to give account on all points, as on this. It seems then, that the General owns at last that account is personal, it may be attended with shame or damage to the teacher!
But where is the mischief of pressing on believers words spoken to them by Christ and His apostles? ‘Oh, such perplexity has been caused to many!’
Alas for those who wrongly simplify matters, by explaining away unpleasant parts of God’s truth! Is the doctrine so very intricate? Eternal life is the gift of God: Rom. 6: 23. The millennial glory is a reward to be sought by the believer in the way of obedience: Heb. 3., 4.; Phil. 3.; 1 Cor. 6.; Matt. 6: 33; 7: 21. I would promise to teach the truth to children of twelve!
‘But it has caused such sorrow to many of Christ’s people.’
It would be a good thing if many of them were led to repentance. I find Jesus calling believers of His churches seven times over to repent! Rev. 2: 5, 16, 21, 22; 3: 3, 19. I find Paul rejoicing at the "mourning" to which he led Corinthian Christians. "Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of:" 2 Cor. 7: 9, 10. "Purify your hearts, ye double-minded," says another apostle. "Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness!" James 4: 8, 9.
Mr. G. errs in good company.
He thinks that many of Christ’s sheep and lambs have gone astray, and need to be led back, with Christ’s staff in hand. He will not be one of those who lift them over the hedge, and its thorns. He thinks, too, that many of the sheep butt at those who would lead them back to the fold. He will then not be one of those who assure them, either that they cannot stray; or that, if they do, they cannot hurt themselves. Are there no threatenings to believers?
‘But you lift up sad denunciations of woe against disciples,’ Who utters "woes" against disciples? "Woe unto the world because of offences: for it must needs be that offences come, but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh:" Matt. 18: 7; Luke 17: 1.
After addressing some of the disciples as "blessed," there is One who goes on:-
"But woe unto you (disciples) that are rich: for ye are receiving (Greek) your consolation. Woe unto you that are full : for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now : for ye shall mourn and weep. Woe unto you , when [all] men shall speak well of you: for so did their fathers to the false prophets :" Luke 6: 24-26. Who said so? Jesus, I think!
‘But you darken the poor pilgrim’s earthly path!’ Alas! Many believers are not ‘poor pilgrims,’ but
are rich citizens of the earth, enjoying its wealth, honours, pleasures;
carving as large slices of the world as they can. Shall we give these fresh
sleeping-draughts? I dare not! Unless it be after James’s fashion. - "Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the
friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever then will be
(wishes to be) the friend of the world is the enemy of God:"
James 4: 4.
Or after Paul’s - "Be not deceived: God is
not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth that shall he
also reap." "Know ye not
that the unrighteous shall not inherit the
The General then drops a word against "isolated texts, apart from their context."
No Scripture in itself is "isolated." Each is connected part with part. In the paper of Scriptures on which the General is commenting, these are manifestly not isolated; for together they make up a harmonious system. If "in the mouth of two or three witnesses" any truth of Scripture may be proved: how impregnable this collection of seventy-five conspiring testimonies. Mr, G. has also other guns in reserve; forming a body of upwards of 370! Talk of ‘isolation’ after that! ‘Tis the isolation of a marshalled battalion, where each soldier has others on right and left, and all march on together. Have any been wrested from their context, which speaks a different language? This must be proved. It has not been attempted hitherto. But the General has been guilty of this in his citing 1 Cor. 6: 2, 3, while verses 9-11 teach exclusion; and in citing Col. 1: 12, 13, while verse 23 of that chapter and parts of chapter 2 teach exclusion: 8: 18-23.
the General prefers the integral method of establishing the doctrine, he shall
have that also. He has only to look at
the first Epistle to the Corinthians. There he will find in chapter 3, the teacher’s responsibility, and the woe on him who
defiles God’s church. In chapter 4 there is the judgment of motives before
Christ. In chapter
5 present exclusion from the
church is the witness of a future one. The same sins which exclude from God’s table
now, shut out from sitting down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in the
Or, if you please, turn to HEBREWS.
I read, that the mission of the Son of God, far from
setting believers free from responsibility, lades them with a still heavier one
than that of
[* There is no "any man."]
I have also further proved the doctrine in my work on ‘Entrance into the Kingdom,’ First and Second series.
The General’s last observations have a double edge: and I would earnestly exhort him in the view of the evidence given to submit to God’s truth, established both by the ‘fractional’ and ‘integral’ methods. I would also add, that I did not carry the doctrine I here teach to the Scripture. To my surprise I found it there.
We are now come to the last point of the subject.
WHAT IS THE PERIOD WHICH THE SAVIOUR’S RECOMPENCE OF HIS PEOPLE TAKES EFFECT?
The difficulty under this head is to know what the General meant; so awkwardly is the matter expressed, so confusedly is it put together. His argument appears to be, that there is but one kingdom, and that eternal.
1, "The kingdom of heaven temporary."
"A clear establishment of the fallacy of this statement, I believe will render easier the task of refuting others. The kingdom that God is about to confer upon His Son will be conferred upon Him at the sounding of the seventh or last trump, and is said to be "For ever and ever." The correct reading of Rev. 11: 15 being, "The kingdom of the world," or, "Sovereignty of the world," (Tregelles.) Moreover, this assignment of Sovereignty to the Glorified Man Christ Jesus, is at the time when the whole members of the body first meet Him in the air, and are then "Cought up to the throne of God:" (Rev. 12: 5; Jude 24, with 1 Thess. 4: 16, 17,) this conferring joint sovereignty upon the Church, as an entire body with Christ."
I shall consult best the reader’s comprehension of the subject by dividing the General’s observations into three parts.
1. THE RAPTURE
2, THE MILLENNIAL REIGN.
First, then, with regard to (1) THE RAPTURE.
On this the General asserts, that:-
1. There is but one rapture of the Church.
2. It takes place at the seventh trump.
3. Thenceforward all the Church rules together with Christ, as a perfect body of which He is the Head.
A simple and pleasant scheme - if it were only Scripture!
But the General alleges on his behalf three texts.
(1) Rev. 12: 5. "She brought forth a man-child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up to God, and to His throne."
(2) Jude 24. "Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faltless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy."
(3) "For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with Him in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we be ever with the Lord:" 1 Thess. 4: 16, 17.
Now do these texts prove the General’s theory? Very far from it!
(1) Is the Man-child the Church? What is his Scripture proof? Perhaps the General will allege Jude 24.* He must prove then that Jude 24 refers to the Man-child’s rapture. To me it is evident, that while some of the Church will constitute a part of the Man-child, yet that the praises given of the Child are higher than can be truly stated of believers in general. "They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony, and they loved not their lives unto the death:" 11. The testimony of some believers, far from being the ground of victory against Satan, would but furnish him with fresh matter of accusation: for it is not true. Nor is every believer ready to give up life for Christ.
[* The true reading of Jude 25 shows that Christ is not the presenter there spoken of.]
(2) Is this the only rapture? What Scripture says so? It is the General’s theory, without Scripture proof. The Apocalypse is full of proof, that there are more raptures than one. Before a seal is opened, there is one: Rev. 4: 1, 2. Under the sixth seal there is another. For then is beheld the Great Multitude of the victorious standing before the throne of God: Rev. 7: 9-17. In chapter 11, just before the mention of the seventh trump, occurs the rapture of the Two Witnesses. After the resurrection of the Man-child, there are those left on earth who hold the testimony of Jesus: 12: 17. In chapter 14: 1, the First fruits are seen on high before God’s throne; and after that, the Harvest generally is reaped by the Son of Man: 14-16. Nay, even at the sixth vial, while the spirits of Satan are collecting men for the great Battle of God, there is a rapture: 16: 15.
(3) Is the Man-child’s rapture at the seventh trump? On what proof of Scripture does this rest? On none. The General says so. It is evident on the contrary, that it must occur before the fifth trump. For the Child is caught up before the woe begins: Rev. 12: 12. But the woe of earth beginning at the fifth trump: 8: 13. And I suppose, that the fallen star who opens the pit’s mouth in Rev. 9: 1, is none other than Satan, ejected from heaven after his lost battle against Michael - a battle which arises because of the Man-child’s ascent: 12: 7-9.
Also in 2 Thess. 2: 1-3 it is taught, that the watchful saints will be caught up to Christ before the terrible Day of the Lord sets in upon the earth. But the terrible day of the Lord is nearly at its height when the seventh trump sounds. The watchful saint is to be kept out of the hour of temptation which shall try the whole habitable earth: Rev. 3: 10. But if there be no rapture till the seventh trump sounds, the whole church will be left in the midst of the temptation of Antichrist’s day.
(4) Where is any word in these texts about "the whole members of the body" of Christ? The book of Revelation presents the Church to our notice as consisting of seven lamp stands, and each of the churches is dealt with separately on its own responsibility. The consequences of which is, that each is divided into conquerors and conquered, the promises being only for the former. Nor does Rev. 12 show the Church as one body with Jesus. The Man-child is a unity complete in itself. If Jesus be in the scene, it is as Michael. And the voice of heaven describes the Man-child as separate from the "Christ:" ver. 10.
(5) Does Rev. 12: 5, describe the same scene as 1 Thess. 4: 16, 17? Where is the proof? The General says so. But where is the descent of Christ, with shout and trump? Whither is the Man-child taken? Into the air? Nay, but to the throne of God. Does Christ reign on earth as soon as the Man-child is caught up? Nay, but earth’s darkest three-and-a-half years begin after it: Rev. 13: 5.
(6) Does all the Church reign with Christ during the thousand years? Where are the Scriptures which assert this? Nowhere. The General says so: the Scripture does not. Jesus promises to the conqueror who keeps His works to the end that he shall then rule the nations: Rev. 2: 26, 27. But not all the Church are conquerors in this day of trial; not all keep Christ’s works unto the end.*
[* But the General cites also Psa. 149. "All his saints” are to execute judgment on kings. No New Testament doctrine is to be proved by Old Testament citations, unless by one inspired. What mischief has come in through the contrary practice! These saints of the Psalm appear to be men in flesh. Do risen men need "beds?" ver. 5.]
1 Cor. 6: 2 does not affirm, that all believers shall judge the world. Verses 8-11 speedily introduce the exceptions to the Spirit’s general statement. The true meaning of 2 Tim. 4: 1, derived from it true reading, is, "I continue to testify before God and Christ Jesus, who is about to judge the living and the dead, both His manifestation and His kingdom." This then will not aid the General.
All the General’s three propositions then concerning this point are erroneous.
We consider next:-
2. THE MILLENNIAL KINGDOM
On these points the General says, further:-
“The kingdom has at first a judical aspect, (Psa. 2., 97.; 98: 9; 2 Tim. 4: 1.) and "all His saints" have this honour of judgment jointly with their Lord. (Psa. 149; 1 Cor. 6: 2; Dan. 7: 13, 14, with the interpretation thereof, ver. 22.) This judical government is for the purpose of bringing in the heathen nations of the millennial earth to the blessings of the glad tidings of salvation, through the ministry of Israel: (Isa. 52: 7-10; Psa. 22: 27, 28; Psa. 2: 6-9; Rev. 21: 24, 25.) In order to this, "He must reign till He hath put all enemies under His feet." But does He cease to reign then? First examine the use of the word "till" in following passages:-
Isa. 43: 4. "He shall not fail nor be discouraged till He have set judgment in the earth." (Did HE fail then!)
Psa. 112: 8. "His heart is established, He shall not be afraid until He see His desire upon His enemies." (Was HE afraid then?)
Rom. 5: 13. "Until the law, sin was in the world." (Did sin quit the world then?)
These are some of the passages that tend to show the use of "till" in 1 Cor, 15: 25.
As to the eternity of His kingdom, see following Scriptures: Isa. 9: 6, 7. The kingdom established "Even for ever."
Luke 1: 32, 33. "Of His kingdom there shall be NO END!"
Dan. 7: 14. "Shall stand forever."
Dan. 2: 44. "Shall stand forever."
Heb. 1: 8. Of the Son it is said, "THY THRONE, O GOD, is for ever and ever."
2 Peter 1: 11. "
Again in reference to 1 Cor. 15: 24. "When he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God even the Father." This is simply the act of transference of the kingdom from David to Solomon, both types of the same person, and their joint acts typical of his. "Solomon sat on the throne of David:" 1 Kings 2: 2. But he also "sat on the throne of the Lord as king, instead of David his father." Thus David’s, Solomon’s, and the Lord’s throne is one. David reigned until he had subdued his enemies, and then transferred THE SAME sovereignty to Solomon, which at that time was that of the world: 2 Chron. 9: 23."
In answer to this I shall prove that there are TWO kingdoms:-
1. The temporary one, of a thousand years.
2. The eternal one, which succeeds it.
(1) I cited two passages as establishing this: 1 Cor. 15. "Christ the first-fruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at His coming. Then (afterwards) cometh the end, when He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father: when He shall have put down all rule, and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet:" 23-25.
Here then is a kingdom which is temporary. It lasts only, till Jesus as the Christ has put down all foes. He has done that at the close of the earth’s existence. Death itself is then made powerless. Then the Christ delivers up the kingdom which was committed to him, to the Father.
But the General does not accept this testimony of Scripture. He seems here to be pleading, that there is but one kingdom, and that without end. He sees that the word "till" is in his way. So he labours to silence its testimony: but in vain. He thinks he finds passages where "till" loses its meaning. They are not to be heard, till it can be shown that the idea of any change beyond its limit must be surrendered. Is it so here? The farthest from it! We are instructed in the change which does commence and continue beyond the limit.
Verse 28 of the same Scripture confirms the two proofs which have gone before it. "And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Sun also himself be subject to him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all." The General would have it, that after all foes are subdued, Jesus shall not give it up, but shall hold it still. Here then he contradicts Scripture.
The General does not give my statement fairly. I put in my text-paper:-
"The kingdom of heaven temporary: 1 Cor. 15: 24. For a thousand years: Rev. 20: 4-6."
He omits the Scripture passage from the first line. He does not notice the second line, or its appended passage.
That then let us consider: Rev. 20: 4-6.
1. John sees in vision some who "lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again, till the thousand years were finished." Those who enter this glory reign with the Christ a thousand years : 4-6. When the reign of the Christ for a thousand years is ended, Satan is loosed, the last rebellious army marches against God, and is cut off. Then occurs the judgment of the dead, and the passing away of the old earth.
Here then the Apocalypse adds its coincident testimony. There is a temporary kingdom of a thousand years; which Jesus having received, as the Father’s viceroy in order to put down all hostile power, at length surrenders to the Father, after that purpose is accomplished.
So clear is this, that one wonders how any believer can question it, and much more deny it. In so doing, the General is at variance, not with Scripture alone, but with himself. In his Antitypical Parallels, he says, p. 461:-
"The divine purpose for which the Lord Jesus will have come to rule over and judge the world will have been at this time accomplished. The residue of His Father’s family will be redeemed, and He will have judically purged out from His kingdom during the thousand years all evil principles, and all living evil men opposing His authority and power. Thus He will close His Davidical reign, having "put all his enemies under his feet:" p. 484, Also pp. 471, 482, 483.
The word "till" then is to have its usual signification.* It here implies limit, after which a predicted change takes place. ‘Do you mean that Jesus will not reign after that?’ Not a day after it, in His character of ‘the Christ!’
[* Such as in Luke 1: 20; 21: 24; Acts 3: 21; Matt. 24: 38.]
Jesus is never called ‘the Christ’ in the Apocalypse, after the thousand years are ended. Twice is He so called during them: not once after it. Lest any should allege Rev. 22: 21, as contradicting this statement, I haste to fill up the pitfall, by assuring the student that the word "Christ" there is not genuine; as decided by the Alexandrian and Sinaitic manuscripts, and by Buttman, Lachmann, and Tischendorf, among the critics.
It is during the millennial kingdom, or "the age to come" that the recompense is given to the accepted: Luke 6: 20-24; 20: 35, 36; Heb. 3., 4.; Rev. 11: 18; Luke 14: 13, 14.
And now concerning the
Jesus, after the thousand years, is to "deliver up the kingdom to God, even the Father." On this the General says:-
"This is simply the act of transference of the kingdom from David to Solomon, both types of the same person, and their joint acts typical of his."
The confused paragraph out of which this is taken, is designed to prove, that Jesus rules during the thousand years, as David; after them, as Solomon. The empire is the same, before and after the millennium; and the same person rules it before and after that period. Then there is no transference! What is it to transfer? "To convey from one (place or) person to another; to transport or remove to another (place or) person." "To convey as a right from one person to another." If therefore the same person hold the kingdom, there is no transference!
But the Scripture not only declares the transference, but teaches us also with whom the transfer begins, and to whom it is made. "He (Christ) shall have delivered up the kingdom to the Father:" 24. "He must reign till" - "The Son also himself shall be subject to Him that put all things under Him, that God may be all in all:" 28. As the kingdom was given by the Father to the Son, so, the end accomplished,- it is rendered back by the Son to the Father. Herein then the General is not only not stating what the Scripture does; but is contradicting it.
Moreover the eternal state differs from the millennial in not a few points; points so fundamental, that it cannot be called "the same sovereignty."
1. Its scene is different. The millennial kingdom is upon the old earth: the eternal, is upon the new earth, after the old is passed away; Rev. 21: 1, 2.
2. The millennial kingdom is in not a few points imperfect: the eternal is perfection. In the eternal kingdom Satan is no more loosed; nor are any foes of God and Christ left at large: Rev. 20.
3. The principle of rule is no longer said to be the "rod of iron;" for there are no wicked men to be destroyed. Death is ended. God hath made all things new: Rev. 21.
4. There is a difference in the form of Government. During the millennium Jesus sits upon His own throne, and that is on earth: Rev. 3: 21. Around His are other subordinate thrones; as those of the twelve apostles: Matt. 19.
But after the millennium we read only of one throne, and that seated in the heavenly city. On it the Father sits paramount ; the Son occupies a subordinate place. The General’s idea, which he has very obscurely stated, is, that the Son alone is the visible and prominent Ruler after the millennium as well as before it ; that the heavenly Father is unseen by His saved ones.
The General adds:-
"The reference above from Heb. 1: 8, is enough to establish the fact, that the Lord will continue His reign on the new earth as God. "Unto the Son He saith, Thy throne O God, is for ever and ever." He is the "express image" of the invisible God, and "the brightness of His glory:" (Heb. 1: 3; Col. 1: 15.) He is "over all, God blessed for ever:" Rom. 9: 5. In Isa. 9: 6, He is called "the everlasting Father:" and Himself has declared the oneness of the Father with Him: John 14: 8, 9. In Him is "the fulness of the Godhead bodily," that is in His glorified humanity."*
[* The Godhead of the Son is and was present in the person of Jesus, not only after His glorification, but before it also.]
"The throne of God and the Lamb (not "of," Tregelles) are one:" Rev. 22: 1.
The intent of all this is to prove, that after the millennium ‘tis not the joint visible reign of the Father and the Son, the Father being pre-eminent, the Son subordinate; but that there is but one Person visible on the throne, and that that person is the Son.
Now this is manifestly contrary to the Scriptures which describe the eternal kingdom. "And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty is its temple, and the Lamb:" 21: 22. Here the order of the Greek is followed: and it is evidently God’s design in this singular placing of the words, to prove to us, that there are two persons in question, of whom "the Lamb" occupies the subordinate place. So again - "The glory of God did lighten it, and its lamp is the Lamb :" 23. Here is the same singular position of the words with the same intent. Also in the last chapter, "He showed me the river of the water of life bright as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb." The throne is one; but the persons occupying it are two. Though Tregelles in his English translation omits the "of" before !the Lamb," giving thus to the English reader the idea that "God and the Lamb" are the same person, yet he does not so in his Greek and English edition of the Apocalypse. And it is either an oversight of his in the English translation, or else a mistranslation unworthy of his scholarship. For there are two articles ; one before God, and one before the Lamb, showing that the persons are two. The same Greek expression, to be rendered in the same way, occurs in verse 3.
While God is at present the unseen God, dwelling in light unapproachable, yet it is not to be so forever. As John tells us, "The throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and His servents shall serve Him. AND THEY SHALL SEE HIS FACE:" 22: 3, 4. Shall the sons of God never see their Father? Eph. 1: 5.
Whatever our views of the typical character of the reign of David and Solomon, they cannot be allowed to alter in the least the direct statements of the New Testament. Our views of the types must conform to them, not the text of the New Testament to our views of the types. In the Old Testament history David ends his reign; Solomon begins it, receiving the kingdom from his father. In the day to come, Jesus, having received from His Father power delegated to Him for a time, at the close of that time restores it to Him who gave it. The cases on this point are unlike, even to contrast.
The General proceeds:-
"Strange indeed would it be to see the Son of God set aside
from that dominion which is plainly shown to be His, as "the Last Adam,"
and that in "the Paradise of God on earth!" (Rev. 2: 7.) Whilst it is announced that "the Tabernacle of God is with men." when the
What the General is aiming at in the first part of this obscure paragraph, I cannot tell. He has next made a misquotation if a singular kind. "The paradise of God on earth:" Rev. 2: 7. There is no such words as those in italics; and on them the stress seems to be laid.
Jesus, but the New Jerusalem is the tabernacle of God in the eternal
kingdom. Jesus is the king dwelling in
His royal abode. ‘The mystery of God is
finished.’ "I saw the
[* Probably it should be "out of the throne," as Tregelles gives it in his English translation.]
Heberws 9: 11 proves against the General, that Jesus is not the temple, but the priest passing through it.
"But Christ being come an High Priest of good things to come, by (through) a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building, entered in once into the holy place."
What Ezekiel 37 has to do with the matter, unless to bear witness against the General’s interpretation, I know not. The sanctuary is certainly distinguished in it from the God who dwells therein: Exek. 37: 26-28.
"Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall
be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them and multiply them:
yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And the heathen shall know that I the Lord do
As the proof of God’s exercising both grace and justice in relation to His people is continually confirming itself on my mind from clear testimonies of Holy Writ, I will now give a new view of the matter, sustained by some of the Scripture evidence.
1. With my whole heart I rejoice in the blessed place which the grace of God holds in our salvation. On that we are in accord. From this principle proceed God’s sovereign election, justification, sanctification, certain perseverance, and ultimate reception of the elect in eternal life.
2. But righteousness of God’s part has also its play, its times, and its results. God intends in a day to come to render to each son of man according to his deeds.
This is established by:-
(1) There being no passages which speak of the kingdom as being God’s gift to simple faith; but of graces additional to faith being required : 2 Pet. 1: 5-11; Matt. 7: 21; 5: 1-12, 20; Luke 14: 13, 14; Matt. 28: 3.
(2) That class of passages which tells of a day of justice to come, in which God will render to each in justice "according to his works :" Rom. 2: 5-16; Rev. 22: 12; Matt. 7: 1, 2; Heb. 10: 30; 13: 4; Jas. 2: 12-26; Matt. 5: 21-30; Rom. 14: 10; 2 Cor. 5: 10; 1 Tim. 5: 24, 25; Heb. 2: 1, 2.
Those passages which call on such as are ready believers to seek the kingdom;
and warn us of the danger of losing it: Phil. 3:
10-15; 1 Cor. 9: 24; 10: 14; Matt. 6: 33; Luke 12:
(4) Those passages which describe the effects of Jesus’ coming and reckoning with His servants: Matt. 7: 21. We have then the ‘blessed’ enterers, and the excluded with a ‘woe:’ Luke 6: 20-26; 17: 1; Matt. 18: 7; 24: 45-51;25: 14-30; 28: 21-35; Rev. 2., 3.
(5) Those passages which speak of Jesus as "counting" some "worthy:" Luke 20: 36; 2 Thess. 1: 5, 11; Rev. 3: 4; Luke 21: 36.
(6) Those which speak of ‘fruit’ and ‘works’ as alone accepted in that day ; Matt. vii, 21 ; Rom. ii, 6, 10 ; Matt. xvi, 21 ; Rev. ii, 23 ; xxii, 12.
(7) Those which describe the reward of works as being as certain and as natural as the harvest after the sowing: 2 Cor. 9: 6; Gal. 6: 7. Or as the result of self-denial and effort, like the prize at the Grecian games: 2 Tim. 4: 7, 8; 1 Cor. 9: 24-27; Phil. 3.; Rev. 11: 18; 22: 12; Luke 6: 23, 35; Heb. 11: 6, 26; 10: 35 ; Matt. 6: 1-16; 10: 41; John 4: 36; 1 Cor. 3: 8, 14; 2 John 8.
(8) The past facts of Jewish history considered as typical teach the same truth: 1 Cor. 10: 1-12; Heb. 2: 1-3; 3: 7 – 4: 11; Jude 5; Heb. 12: 16, 17.
More might be added: but these will suffice for the candid.
In conclusion, I think the reader will agree with me, that he has seldom or never seen a tract whose contents are farther astray from its title. It professes to give what the Scriptures say: it really gives what the General thinks about some of the Scriptures I have adduced in my collection of passages.
As I am sure that no one could discover from the General’s tract and his description of my text-paper as a ‘syllabus,’ what sort of thing it is, I print it at the conclusion of this. Then the candid will see, that it has nothing of mine but the grouping. He will see too, how little of it the General has touched; only, I think, ten passages out of seventy-five. But there are other papers of texts beside this.
Here then I close. God speed the truth.
ETERNAL LIFE THE GIFT OF GOD (Rom. 6: 23,) TO BELIEVERS: (John 3: 36; 6: 23,)
The kingdom of heaven temporary: 1 Cor. 15: 24. For a thousand years: Rev. 20: 4-6.
Judgment of the saints at Christ’s coming according to works:* 2 Cor. 5: 1-10; Eph. 6: 5-9; Phil. 4: 17; Rev. 2: 23; Rom. 14: 10-12.
[* It was in the former pages given as 2 Cor. 9 by mistake.]
ENTRANCE INTO THE KINGDOM TO BE ACCORDING TO WORKS: Matt 5: 20; 7: 21; 16: 27.
SOME BELIEVERS WILL BE EXCLUDED.
Generally stated: 2 Cor. 5: 1-10.
As not coming up to the right standard: Matt. 5: 20.
As offenders against a brother’s rights: Matt. 5: 25, 26.
Rich: Luke 6: 24.
Sensual and mirthful: Luke 6: 25.
High in repute: Luke 6: 26.
From entrance into the kingdom - the unbaptized: John 3: 5.
The Unrighteous : 1 Cor. 6: 1-10.
The circumcised Gentile believer: Gal. 4: 30; 5: 5.
Takers of oaths: James 5: 12.
Deniers of Jesus in time of persecution: 2 Tim. 2: 12.
Receivers of false doctrines and traditions of men: Col. 2: 8, 18.
Disobedient: Heb. 4: 11. (Not "unbelief.")
THREATS TO BELIEVERS.
For angry words: Matt. 5: 21, 22.
Hand or eye causing stumbling: 27-30.
The unforgiving: Matt. 6: 14, 15; 18: 23-35.
Judging: Matt. 7: 1, 2.
Envious and quarrelsome: Matt. 24: 48-51.
Ashamed of Christ: Matt. 8: 38.
Causer of stumbling to little ones: Mark 9: 41-50; Matt. 18: 6-9.
Disobedient: Luke 12: 47, 48.
Deniers of Christ through fear: Luke 12: 4, 5.
Slothful servant: Matt. 25: 14-30.
Resisters of civil authority: Rom. 13: 2.
Teachers of false doctrine, right in fundamentals: 1 Cor. 3: 10-15.
Disturbers of churches: 1 Cor. 3: 16, 17; Gal. 5: 10.
Defrauders and many other characters: 1 Cor. 6: 1-10.
Wrong-doers: Col. 3: 22; 4: 1.
Unclean: 1 Thess. 4: 3-7.
Disobedient: Heb. 6: 7-9.
Refusers to listen to Christ: Heb. 12: 25-29.
Adulterers: Rev. 2: 22, 23; Heb. 13: 18, 19.
Corrupters of Revelation: Rev. 22: 18, 19.
Those who abide not in Christ: John 15: 1-6.
"SHALL NOT ENTER THE KINGDOM." Seven texts.
Matt. 5: 20; 7: 21; 18: 3; 19: 23; Luke 18: 17, 24; John 3: 5; Mark 10: 15.
1 Cor. 6: 9, 10; Gal. 5:
19-21; 6: 7, 8; Matt. 10: 32, 39; 16: 26; 18: 17, 18; Luke 9: 26.
Esau’s exclusion from the blessing typical: Heb. 12: 16, 17.