By  W. P. CLARK.*


[*To the judicial mind - Mr. Clark is a Resident Magistrate in Jamaica - the Scriptures dealing with our responsibility, unutterably solemn yet unutterably just - naturally make a powerful appeal. On such passages as Matt. 18: 34, 35 Sir W. Robertson Nicoll said, as strikingly as truly:- "The Christian Church has never fairly faced these words."]


The real reason underlying the refusal of some dear children of God to accept belief in the punishment of unfaithful believers - not eternal, but during the millennial reign of Christ - is an inadequate sense of the justice of God.


God's justice has been described as "The dark line in God's face," and this dark line cannot be left out. It is false to reason and to revelation, and it is degrading to God's character to erase the line. His infinite inflexible justice declares that God has no caprice, that He will not trifle with a wrong, nor softly indulge even His Own and His dearest. It declares that God is unswervingly just and impartially righteous toward all men. We can look up at that dark line and see its beauty. We can see that justice is a nobler attribute in God than easy generosity. We can see that Mercy and Love axe not to be exercised at the cost of Justice, and we are hushed and awed, and yet tranquil, because He is too just to do what our sin-excusing hearts might do - "clear the guilty." We can trust His absolute justice to weigh all the circumstances of each man's life and do what is just. His justice is actuated by His wrath at sin and His passionate desire for holiness. "And reckonest thou, 0 man," who sins, whether thou be a saved child of God, or an unbeliever, "that thou shalt escape the judgment of. God?" (Rom. 2: 3).


It is the same inadequate sense of God's justice that refuses to admit that the unprofitable "servant" "cast into the outer darkness" not Gehenna, the hell of fire, but somewhere, not revealed, outside the bright millennial Kingdom - is a believer, notwithstanding the fact that he is spoken of as one of His Lord's "own servants"(R.V.), entrusted with His goods during His absence, and described by exactly the same term as the faithful "servant"; and so in the Parable of the Pounds called a "servant" in contradistinction to the Lordís "enemies, who would not that He should reign over them" (Luke 19: 27). Alas, that it should be true that Christians, as stated by the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 10. and as we know by sad experience, are guilty of heinous sins. Would Godís justice be satisfied if they escaped punishment in this life, as they undoubtedly often do, and immediately afterwards be rewarded with a place in Christís Kingdom? Acceptance of the belief in the temporary punishment of such Christians during the Millennial Reign safeguards the Eternal merits of Christís atonement on the Cross, and, at the same time, preserves the absolute Justice of God. A contrary belief might well turn a Calvinist into an Arminian, to the abandonment of the truth of the final perseverance of the saints: on the contrary, such a belief would set at rest the doubts of many a sincere Arminian in the eternal standing of Believers.