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which indeed is the least of all seeds; but when it is grown it is the greatest among herbs, and becomes a tree; so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.” Also, by the parable of the leaven, , " which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened." There is a beautiful indication of the same in the 72d Psalm, as follows: “ There shall be an handful of corn in the earth upon the top of the mountains; the fruit thereof shall shake like Lebanon; and they of the city shall flourish like grass of the earth:”
Thy people shall
be all righteous.” And speaking of the Prince of Peace, he says;
« Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end.” David says, “ All kings shall fall down before him; all nations shall serve him-All the ends of the world shall remember, and turn unto the Lord; and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee. For the kingdom is the Lord's; and he is the governor among the nations."
This extensive harvest was seen by St. John, on the isle of Patmos, as he thus describes : “I beheld, and lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; and cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God, which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb." This is the rejoicing of the extensive harvest. And though this vast multitude of all nations, &c. were seen together, there were
“ white robes” enough for them all.
My hearers—You were all seen in this vision; the robe of righteousness is ready for you. The time will come when every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the Father.
Though the mustard-seed was despised when the Saviour planted it, and though it lie a long time in the earth, its glory will unfold, and its increase shall
ENTERING INTO LIFE MAIMED; AND BEING CAST INTO
MARK ix. 43, 44.
And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched; where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
Some of the motives which have inclined the speaker to call the attention of this audience to the consideration of this portion of divine truth are the following:
1. There is, perhaps, no passage in the scriptures, that has been more commonly used to lead the minds of people to believe in the doctrine of endless misery, and to be exercised with the fear of such a state, than this.
And as one of the objects of these lectures is to disprove such a doctrine, and to show that the passages, which are usually quoted in its support, are misapplied, it seems proper to notice this passage in a way to show the error of its common use. And,
2. That the opportunity may be embraced to enforce the argument of the text to induce the mind to submit to any privations, which are necessary to the discharge of that christian obedience by which we enter into the spiritual life of the spirit of truth.
We may, in the first place, institute an inquiry, directed to satisfy the mind respecting the usual application of this scripture to a future state of endless misery.
In giving to this inquiry such a form as may tend to
facilitate a judicious conclusion, the following things are premised;
1. The testimony, by which any fact is to be proved, should be of one who knows the thing to be a reality, to which he bears such testimony.
2. In a case where testimony is all the evidence that can be had, this testimony should be of such a character as to admit of no reasonable doubt respecting its true application.
3. It is indispensable, that testimony, by which the belief of any proposition is to be established should be entirely free from any contradictions. And,
4. It is moreover proper to observe, that in proportion to the greatness of the subject, on which we are called to form a judgment, what has been premised enforces its claims on the mind.
As to the magnitude of the subject, which is now called in question, nothing exceeds it. The doctrine which asserts, that mankind are to suffer unspeakable torments to all future eternity is a subject, that justly requires as direct and clear evidence as any nameable case whatever.
With the foregoing considerations impressed on our minds, let us examine the words of our text with the design to ascertain the truth concerning this vast question. “ And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off; it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands, to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched; where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.”—This is the testimony on which the doctrine of eternal, never-ending misery is founded. The hearer is most earnestly requested to lay aside all prepossession on this subject, and investigate it with as much caution as the interest which we all have in the subject demands.
1. Let us ask, is there in this passage any thing that goes to prove that its author was speaking of what is to take place in a future state of being? Most certainly, without a doubt, replies the believer in endless punishment, for Jesus here speaks of being cast into hell; and surely hell is not in this world. My
dear friend, I humbly asked you to lay aside all pre-
upon me; I found trouble and sorrow." Jonah says; I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the Lord, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest
Now as certain as David and Jonah were in this world, when they thus spake, so certain it is, that in the days of these prophets, hell was in this world. Why might it not be in this world in the days our Saviour was on the earth?
It appears evident, from the passages just quoted, that a state of extreme trouble and affliction is, in the language of scripture, called hell. Therefore, in order to justify the application of this word to a state of punishment in a future world, there must be a declaration directly to that effect; but there is no part of the text under consideration that can in any way answer such a purpose.
2. Will it be contended, that as the Saviour said; - Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched," he must necessarily mean to speak of a future endless torment? To this we reply; as it has already been agreed, that the scriptures must be taken in their connexion, and their united testimony admitted in this inquiry, it seems most proper to connect these words of our Saviour with a similar
passage the 66th of Isaiah, which reads thus; “ For as the new heavens, and the new earth, which I have made, shall remain before me, saith the Lord, so shall your seed