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are other and great blessings promised, but eternal happiness is a peculiar and distinguished blessing. Christ has brought life and immortality to light, so that present peace is given to the believer, not only, but it can also be said, blessed are the dead which die in the Lord. Godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. Thus christians are called heirsheirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ. This proves that their inheritance shall be as enduring as his-they are heirs of salvation-heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Daniel says, they that be wise, shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and they that turn many to righteousness, as the stars forever and ever. And Matthew says, in a similar figure of speech, the righteous shall shine forth as the sun, in the kingdom of their father. One came and said unto Jesus, good master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? Jesus said unto him, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven. Again, he that reapeth, receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal. To them, who by patient continuance in well doing, seek for glory, honor and immortality, [God will give] eternal life. Being made free from sin, and become the servants of God, ye have your fruit unto holiness and the end everlasting life. Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life; he that cometh to me, shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me, shall never thirst. Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him, shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him, shall be in him a well of water, springing up into everlasting life. He that believeth, shall
be saved. The righteous shall go into life eternal. These scriptures, with a great variety of passages, going to establish the same general truth, do not admit the shadow of a doubt, that perfect holiness and eternal happiness, are distinguished characteristics of the promises of the Gospel.
These promises, however, as we have intimated before, are made to a peculiar character.— They are not made to men generally and promiscuously, as are the offers of mercy; but in every instance in which the peculiar blessings, perfect holiness and eternal happiness, are promised, the application is clearly and distinctly restricted to a certain class of men-to a class of men, whose character is accurately defined in the scriptures. It is he that overcometh that shall walk with the Saviour in white. The dead that are blessed, are those who die in the Lord. It is to godliness that the promise is made, not only of this life, but also of that which is to come. Those are called children of God, in distinction from the world, that shall be heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ. It is the wise that shall shine as the firmament, and those who have turned many to righteousness, that shall glow like the stars forever and ever. It is to them, who by patient continuance in well doing, seek for glory, honor and immortality, that God will give eternal life. They are those who become the servants of God, that have their fruit unto holiness and the end everlasting life. It is he that believeth that shall be saved; and the righteous that shall go into life eternal. Are not, then, these two peculiarities of the Gospel promises, fully sustained by the scriptures?
1st. That perfect holiness and eternal happiness are the blessings promised; and,
2ndly. That these are in their application restricted wholly to a particular class of men, termed the righteous, believers in Christ, children of God, &c. If so, we think the inference unavoidable, that all men will not be saved. The very fact that Eternal Salvation is promised to a class of men particularly described, plainly shows an intention to exclude others.
For an illustration of this point, look at the proposals made for receiving pupils into our higher schools of learning. An acquaintance with certain branches of science is required, and particular testimonials with regard to moral character are demanded. Now does any one doubt that it is one intention of these notices, to exclude those who have not made such attainments, and who do not possess such a character? And can it be doubted, that those who publish these proposals, take it for granted, that the whole community are not, and will not be fitted for these schools? Do not the proffers of such blessings, to such characters exclusively, plainly imply that all will not receive them? It is a regulation adopted in an extensive hospital, to admit any well dressed stranger to view the buildings, and the accommodations, which public charity has provided for the unfortunate. Now can any one doubt, that it is the intention of such a regulation to admit one certain class of the community, and exclude another? Would there be any force or pertinency in the language, if the whole community were well dressed, and all were expected to be admitted? But let us apply this illustration, particularly to the case in hand. When it is said, that to them, who by a patient continuance in well doing, seek for glory, honour and immor
tality, [God will give] eternal life, who can help seeing, that it is strongly and undeniably implied, that all will not seek glory and honour: and immortality, and so eternal life will not be given to all. The peculiar blessing, eternal life, is proffered to a defined character, in all the promises of the Gospel. From the very fact that the character is defined, it is implied that there are other characters, which do not fall within the terms of that definition; and which, consequently, will not receive that peculiar blessing. If I were to look around upon this assembly, and give out an invitation like this, all the white people in this house, are invited to attend Divine Service here, to-morrow evening, you would immediately look around to see if there were any colored people present; if there were none, and it was evident that I knew there were none present, you would see that my language was destitute of all force and appropriateness. You would think me deranged. But when it is said, blessed are the dead who die in the Lord, if all die in the Lord, and all are ultimately blessed; this language has no force, and the writer appears as much deranged as I should appear in giving out such a notice. When it is said the righteous shall go into life eternal, it is plainly destitute of all meaning, if all shall be righteous, and all shall go into life eternal.
From the peculiar character of the Gospel promises, as comprising perfect holiness and eternal happiness, and from the fact that these blessings are promised to a certain defined character, it is evident that all will not receive eternal happiress. Many will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.
But if the souls of any are shut out of heav
en, and deprived of eternal happiness, they must, of necessity, remain in a condition of unspeakable misery. What overwhelming reflections, must possess the sinking spirit, in its. eternal abandonment of God, and exile from heaven! The remembrances of mercies abused, entreaties slighted, and warnings despised, haunt it like the shades of murdered benefactors. If it would escape from these, the most direful bodings of the future, meet it in every pass; If it would turn its contemplations back upon itself, there it meets the foul stain of its misdeeds and conscience arises with the fury and steadfast hate of a blood avenger, to commence anew the work of retribution.
II. Our next argument is drawn from that class of texts, which contrast the future destiny of the righteous and the wicked.
In the prophecy of Daniel, we have this remarkable declaration, with respect to the future resurrection, and the subsequent state of the friends and enemies of God. Many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth, shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. Among the last words of our Saviour, before he ascended to heaven, he said, he that believeth, and is baptised, shall be saved, but he that believeth not, shall be damned. In Romans. the apostle declares, that the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is et nal life, thro' Jesus Christ our Lord. W quote these texts only as a sample of a large multitude of passages of the same import. We have attempted to show in our last argument that perfect holiness and eternal happiness are promised to the righteous; but here others are spoken of whose future character and condition