<< previous (1:186) next (1:188) >>

p320 [From the French.] * * * As to this article in the -, I have not seen it, but I have a general idea of the doctrine it contains, and I hold it to be entirely false. Something similar - the same doctrine, only pushed to its furthest consequences - shewed itself (not amongst brethren, but outside), so that I have had to do with it. I believe these views are calculated to do much evil. There is a literalism which to me errs greatly in interpretation. Often the intelligence occupies itself too much with the word, without question of souls, and without having to do with souls, and it is speculation.

The passages in Matthew and Mark, and in Luke also, depict the rejection of the Jews, children of the kingdom according to the flesh, and the children according to grace, received. Also, to take the bosom of Abraham literally is nonsense. The idea of the bosom of Abraham is the best place, in the eye of the Jews. For the Jewish system, riches were proofs of blessing; but the Lord lifts the veil and shews the other world, but He depicts it from a Jewish point of view. For a Jew, Abraham was the head of blessing, and the poor man was the nearest to him, like John leaning on the bosom of Jesus at the last supper. If we take these passages literally, the wicked rich man ought to have a body (Lazarus also); then one drop of water ought to have been able to relieve him. It is real nonsense. Those whom we call the Fathers of the church amused themselves with the same speculations, which proves to me nothing more than this, that the sense of the passages has not been seized, nor, with regard to this, the bearing of redemption and of sin. Matthew 8:11-12 does not apply to the time of the establishment of the kingdom on earth; it refers to being with Abraham who will be raised, on the one hand, and the Jews rejected on the other, which they will not be when the kingdom is established. If Matthew 13:42, 50 applies to the judgment of the reign, I reply, the judgment of the living is as final as that of the dead: Matthew 25:46 proves it. When we hold firmly fundamental truths, we are saved from these mistakes, which result from conclusions hastily drawn from passages which do not speak of it.

The case of the wicked rich man was certainly not the judgment of the kingdom, for it was immediately after his death. If Matthew 22:13 spoke only of a temporary judgment, no hypocrite would be subjected to any other; if this judgment is not temporary, then the whole system falls. But see the effect when parables which state general principles are used for the details which will accompany them: 1. There will be only one man judged. 2. All who profess the gospel must live till the end, and be judged on the earth. Further, thirdly, it is those who are called, not chosen; they are not saved, or verse 14 contradicts verse 11. All this is but to save themselves. In Matthew 25, the Lord says, "I know you not." This is not so if they are only rejected for the kingdom. If they mean that those who are excluded from the kingdom will be judged all the same before the great white throne, Matthew 25:41-46 shews that it will not be so.

Luke 13:24-30 proves the contrary of what is said. It is the total condemnation of those who had the pretension of being children, of having the kingdom by right, and the revelation of the admission of Gentiles. … Naturally I can say nothing of the details, for I have not the article; but I understand the principle of this system, and I believe it to be entirely without foundation.

London, 1861.