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Here and Hereafter

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    19 Influence of the Doctrine

    WHY promulgate the doctrine of the destruction of the wicked, it is asked, even if it be true? Will not evil rather than good result from it? Some, honestly no doubt, deprecate any agitation of this question; and we have even heard some, impelled either by their fears or their prejudices, go so far as to declare that “it will make more infidels than Tom Paine’s ‘Age of Reason,’” and that “no conversions to God will ever follow in the track of its blighting and soul-destroying influence.”HHMLD 332.1

    It might be necessary first to inquire what idea these persons have of infidelity. Perhaps they apply that term to everything that is not in agreement with their views. And if this is the standard by which they judge of this matter, their assertion may possibly be in part correct; for converts to this doctrine are multiplying, as we have seen, at a rapid rate. But giving to infidelity its legitimate definition, we call upon all those who claim that this doctrine makes infidels, to give some proof of their assertion before they again repeat it. This matter can be easily tested. The friends and advocates of this doctrine are neither few nor obscure. Men from all the walks of life, public and private, are daily swelling the ranks; and if this doctrine makes infidels, the infidels of our day should be found among those who receive it. But do we find them there? If one solitary individual can be found who repudiates the Scriptures as the revealed will of God, because he has been made to believe that they do not teach eternal misery for the lost, we would be glad to see him, or even to learn of him. No! this is one of the most false and unjust charges that it is possible for language to frame.HHMLD 332.2

    So far from being the cause of infidelity, the view we here advocates is just what cures infidelity. Whom do we find in the ranks of the friends of this doctrine? Not the criminal and vicious classes, not those who have thrown off all moral and legal restraint, not rejecters of divine revelation; but we find those who were formerly skeptics rescued from their skepticism, and infidels recovered from their infidelity. We find multitudes who can now rest down with sweet assurance on the word of God, the perplexities with which they had been troubled respecting God’s dealings with his creatures all cleared from the mind, and whose feelings may well expressed in the following language from Henry Constable, A. M.:—HHMLD 333.1

    “For myself, I cannot express my sense of the value I place on the view I now seek to impress on others. It has for me thrown a light on God’s character, and God’s word, and the future of his world, which I once thought I should never have seen on this side of the grave. It has not removed the wholesome and necessary terrors of the Lord from the mind, but it has clothed God with a loveliness which makes him, and the eternal Son who represents him to man, incalculably more attractive. I am no longer looking for shifts to excuse his conduct in my own eyes and those of others, and forced to feel that here at least I could never find one to answer my object. I can look at all he has done, and all he tells me he will hereafter do, and, scanning it closely, and examining it even where it has most of awe and severity, exclaim with all my heart and with all my understanding, ‘Just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.’” 1“Duration and Nature of Future Punishment,” p. iv.HHMLD 333.2

    These are among its general good effects. But there exists a special reason at the present time why men should be made acquainted with the true teachings of the Bible on this question. It is the only antidote against modern Spiritualism, that master-piece of Satan’s cunning and deception, and the climax of his corrupting work in the earth. In what horrid blasphemies has this delusion arrayed itself! To what corruption does it lead it votaries! How utterly it debauches the moral natures of all those who suffer themselves to receive its polluting touch! And notwithstanding it carries in its train all these terrible evils, how rapidly is it spreading through the land, and at what a fearful rate is it swelling the catalogue of its victims!HHMLD 333.3

    Why is this? — It is because the way has long and thoroughly been prepared for it in the doctrine of the conscious state of the dead, and the immortality of the soul. This is its foundation, its life, and spirit. Take away this, and it is robbed of its vitality. For if it be true, as the Bible declares, that when a man goes into the grave, his thoughts perish, his love and hatred and envy are no longer exercised, and he knows not anything, and has no more a portion in anything that is done under the sun, here in this state of being, then whatever spirit comes to us from the unseen world, professing to be the spirit of a dead man, comes with a lie in its mouth, and thus shows itself to be of the synagogue of Satan. The doctrine of the unconscious condition of the dead is the “Ithuriel spear” of Milton’s “Paradise Lost,” that transforms this lying system, which at its best showing is as low and ugly as the blotchiest “toad” that ever lived, into the real “devil” that it is. Then let this truth be spread abroad on all wings of the wind, that in the hands of the people may be placed some safeguard against this ghastly embodiment of falsehood, pollution, and death.HHMLD 334.1

    With the truth clearly stated as to how God will deal with the sinner and finally dispose of sin, we can appeal with confidence to the calm reason and the better nature of every child of Adam. We can second the tender entreaty which God extends to every wayward soul, “Turn ye, turn ye, for why will ye die?” “As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live.” Life and death are set before you. The Saviour bids you look unto him and live. Mercy entreats you to destroy not yourself. The Spirit and the bride bid you come and partake of the water of life freely.HHMLD 335.1

    You can no longer take refuge from an awakened conscience under the idea that the threatenings of the Lord are not understood, and may not therefore be so terrific as supposed. The sinner’s doom is unmistakably declared; and in the justness of that sentence, however slightly you may now realize the heinousness and just desert of sin, your own reason cannot but heartily concur. Will you, then, plunge headlong to ruin? or will you turn and accept the immense gratuity of eternal life? Of course you do not mean to perish. We accuse you not of this. The shining form of Hope is dancing on before you in the path of life — hope that ere it is to late, ere the “silver cord be loosed,” or ever “the golden bowl be broken,” you will make sure a treasure and an inheritance in heaven.HHMLD 335.2

    We would impress upon your mind that this hope may deceive you. Ere you reach the delusive phantom, the earth may suddenly open beneath your feet, and hades receive you to its fixed embrace/ Ere you overtake the beckoning form, ere the good intention be carried out, ere you grasp the prize now held only by the uncertain tenure of good resolve, the glory of the coming Judge, descending through the parting and dissolving heavens, may suddenly burst upon your unprepared soul. Yes! the great voice from the temple of heaven, crying, “It is finished!” may suddenly arrest you in the midst of your delaying and dallying career! The heavenly court of mercy may cease its sitting, ere you have made a friend of the great Advocate, who alone can plead your cause!HHMLD 335.3

    “Procrastination is the thief of time.” It may be the thief of your eternal bliss. Its every moment is high-handed and insane presumption. Its path is a path of unseen and innumerable dangers. You have no lease of your life. The present state is one of exposure and peril. The shafts of death are flying thickly about you. Time is short, and its sands are swiftly falling. The bliss of heaven, or the blackness of darkness forever, will soon be yours. With the saved or lost you must soon take your position. There is no intermediate ground. Choose, then, we beseech you, the enduring portion! Choose for eternity, choose wisely, choose now! And may it be ours to join the great song of salvation at last, ascribing blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, unto Him who sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb, who poured out his soul an offering for sin, that whosoever would believe on him might not perish, but have everlasting life.HHMLD 336.1

    Worthy the Lamb once slain! So shall at last
    All beings sing in heaven and earth and sea,
    The direful reign of sin forever past,
    Before them, bliss whose end shall never be.
    Worthy the Lamb! His life has saved from death,
    Through him alone the immortal boon is given;
    So shall each bounding pulse, each joyful breath,
    Ascribe to him the life and bliss of heaven.
    Welcome, life-giving hour, expected long!
    Dawn on these regions peopled with the dead.
    Our hearts leap forward to begin the song
    Of a glad universe whence sin has fled.
    HHMLD 336.2

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