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    It has been understood, in accordance with the idea that man is possessed of inherent immortality, that the true object of hope is to be obtained at death. And thus the Poet has sung.MPC 107.3

    Death is the gate to endless joys,
    And yet we dread to enter there.”
    MPC 107.4

    We wish now to call the attention of the reader for a short time, to the sentiments advanced in Scripture, in regard to the true object of hope. We shall claim, that the christian’s hope is not as commonly represented in hymns, sermons etc.MPC 107.5

    Read the following poetic description of death from the Baptist Register.MPC 107.6

    “The air is full of farewells to the dying,
    And mournings for the dead:
    The heart of Rachel for her children crying
    Will not be comforted!
    MPC 108.1

    We see but dimly through the mists and vapors,
    Amid these earthly damps;
    What are to us but dim funeral tapers,
    May be Heaven’s distant lamps.
    MPC 108.2

    There is no death! what seems so is transition;
    This life of mortal breath,
    Is but a suburb of the life elysian,
    Whose portals we call Death.”
    MPC 108.3

    But we will notice Bible testimony. Job Says, in regard to his hope, when speaking of death, [chap 17:13-16.] “If I wait, the grave is mine house: I have made my bed in the darkness. I have said to corruption, Thou art my father: to the worm, thou art my mother, and my sister. And where is now my hope? as for my hope who shall see it? They shall go down to the bars of the pit, when our rest together is in the dust.” He does not speak in this testimony, as though death was his hope: but in the grave he would wait. Wait for what? the fulfillment of his hope. In chap 19:23-26, he tells us plainly what it is that he expects: not to go to heaven and see God when he died, but, “O that my words were now written! O that they were printed in a book! that they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever! for I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth; and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet IN MY FLESH shall I see God.” The candid mind will see at once, that Job’s hope was in the resurrection. He does not once intimate that he should realize his hope at death.MPC 108.4

    But before we pass into a thorough investigation of the Scripture testimony on the subject of hope, we shall inquire What is hope? It has been commonly defined, expectation and desire. Neither of these alone constitutes hope. A man may expect to receive that which he does not desire. And on the other hand, he may desire that which he cannot expect to receive. Because we simply desire some object, is no proof that we shall receive it. You ask professing christians of the present day in regard to their hope, and ninety-nine out of one hundred would answer you, that they hoped “to die and go to heaven.”MPC 109.1

    Peter says be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” 1 Peter 3:15. We shall claim the privilege of asking those who hope to go to heaven when they die a “reason of the hope,” that they cherish. Of course they have no good reasons to expect, or desire to go to heaven at death, unless God has promised it. If God has made no such promise to men, then their hope is without foundation, and not the gospel hope. It will not answer to have a conjecture, or merely an inference as the foundations of such a hope. We want a “thus saith the Lord.”MPC 109.2

    Whatever may be the true object of hope, the Scriptures will certainly furnish us with testimony concerning it. We might expect, that whatever God designed to bestow upon his people he would give the most plain and positive assurance concerning it. Says Paul, [Hebrews 6:17, 18,] “where in God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsels, confirmed it by an oath: that by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us.” If the hope set before us, is the hope of going to heaven, then we have a clear promise on the subject, or else the hope is not well grounded. Where is there such a promise? Don’t produce the thief on the cross, Moses on the Mount, nor any of those texts we have been investigating, which you claim prove the existence of man in death: for we have shown, that they prove no such thing. Where is your “thus saith the Lord,” the saints go to heaven at death? You have none. Perhaps you are ready to reply, the Lord testified through John to the church of Smyrna, [Revelation 2:10,] “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” When? At death say you. But the text does not say, I will give you a crown of life at death. Now, unless you can prove from positive scripture, that men are to receive the crown of life at death, the above testimony will weigh nothing in favor of your hope of going to heaven at death. No such testimony can be found. We shall conclude, that the popular hope of going to heaven at death, is a hope without foundation, being not once promised in the book of God.MPC 109.3

    We now inquire, what is the christian’s hope? Paul in his letter to Titus, [chap 1:2] represents himself, as being “in hope of Eternal Life.” This is a true gospel hope; for God has made plain promises in regard to it. 1 John 2:25. “And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.” Paul in Romans 2:6, 7, speaking of the same thing, says, God “will render to every man according to his deeds: to them by continuance in well-doing, seek for glory, and honor, and immortality, eternal life.” That is, God will render eternal life to those who seek it. As we proceed to notice the testimonies of the Scriptures on this subject, we shall find that the gospel hope, is the hope of eternal life at the resurrection.”MPC 110.1

    Christ says in Luke 14:13, 14. But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind; and thou shalt be blessed, for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed AT THE RESURRECTION OF THE JUST. Here is a plain promise concerning the time when the saints’ reward is to be given them, and it differs as much from the common faith of professing christians on the subject, as the resurrection differs from death. We will now call attention to John 6. In this chapter, Christ plainly tells how and when the reward is to be given, Verse 39. “And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me, I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.”MPC 111.1

    From the above testimony it is plain; that if Christ did not raise up at the last day that which God had given him, viz; his people, some thing would be lost: that which God hath given him. Now he will save that which God has given him. How? He will raise it up at the last day. Verse 40. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have EVERLASTING LIFE; and I will raise him up at the last day. He does not say I will re-unite the soul and body, (which would be a resurrection, if as we before have noticed, death was the separation of soul and body, but “I will raise him up. Him does not signify merely the body. Him is the one that is raised up, that he may receive that which the Father hath willed that he should receive, viz; everlasting life.MPC 111.2

    Says the objector, We have everlasting life now; it commences here when we believe on Christ; he says in verse 47, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.” We reply, this text, if it proves that we actually have everlasting life here, proves as positive that we receive it by faith in Christ; therefore, those who have no faith in Christ would have no eternal life. Does Christ convey the idea that in the strictest sense we have eternal life? I think not! Read verse 54. “Whoso eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. “Now putting the testimonies together that we have above granted, although men may eat (not literally) the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, and have eternal life, yet, if they are not raised up at the last day, they will be lost. How can this be, if they absolutely have eternal life? It cannot.MPC 112.1

    We understand the eating of the flesh of the Son of man, and drinking his blood, to be a work of faith; meaning that the creature, man has sinned, must lay hold of the merits of Christ’s blood, as he would take his daily food to protract natural life. Christ makes a similar statement in John 3:36.MPC 112.2

    “He that believeth on the Son, hath everlasting life.” We read in 1 John 5:13: these things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God: that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” Read now verses 11, 12, “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life: and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son, hath life: and he that hath not the Son of God, hath not life.MPC 113.1

    Paul in Colossians 3:2-4, sets this matter forth in its clear light. “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth; for ye are dead and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.” Those who believe on the Son of God have eternal life, not in themselves, but it is in the Son. They are to have it in themselves, not at death, no! no!! but when Christ who is their life appears; viz., at his second coming. If we should claim, that man was now actually in possession of eternal life, it would make the testimony faulty, that rays we are in hope of eternal life. For as Paul says, “What a man seeth why doth he yet hope for!” what would be the necessity of earnestly desiring that we already had? None at all “But,” says Paul, “if we hope for that we see not then do we with patience WAIT for it.” Then according to this testimony, if we are in hope of eternal life, we must be, not literally in possession of it, but waiting for it.MPC 113.2

    Christ made a promise concerning the reward in answer to the inquiries of Peter, as recorded in Matthew 19:27, 26. Then answered Peter, and said unto him, behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what we have therefore?” There can be no dispute but here was a plain question as to what they should receive as their reward. If it was the design of God, that they should go to heaven at death, here was certainly, the most favorable opportunity to make it known; for their minds were stirred up to the subject. Mark well the reply of our Saviour: [Verse 28:] “And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, that ye which have followed me in the regeneration, WHEN THE SON OF MAN SHALL SIT IN THE THRONE OF HIS GLORY, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” Does Jesus intimate that they will go to heaven, or that they have a deathless spirit that will survive the scenes of death? Not a word of it. But, when the Son of man should sit “IN THE THRONE OF HIS GLORY that they should receive their reward.” Read Matthew 25:31, and there you will learn when it is that he sits in the throne of his glory. “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, THEN shall he sit upon the throne of his glory. This will be at the literal second coming, that is the time when he comes with all the holy angels with him. See Matthew 24:31.MPC 113.3

    Paul states in Acts 23:6, “Of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question.” And in Chap 26:6-8, he says; “And now I stand and am judged for the hope OF THE PROMISE made of God unto our fathers: Unto which promise our twelve tribes instantly serving God day and night, hope to come. For which hope’s sake, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews. Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead?” Here again Paul has stated what the burden of his preaching was. He states in verses 22, 23, of this chapter, “Having obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing to both small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come: that Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should RISE FROM THE DEAD.” etc.MPC 114.1

    The burden of Paul’s testimony, in his gospel sermon, 1 Corinthians 15, is the resurrection. And he clearly holds forth by his testimony, that without it the salvation of God’s people is a failure. We will notice a little of his testimony at this point. Verses 17, 18. “And if Christ be not raised your faith is vain; ye are yet in your 1 sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” We know of no sense in which the saints of God could be said to have perished, if they possess immortal souls, though their bodies might never have a resurrection. But allowing the Scripture sentiment held forth in this book to be true, viz., that man in death is unconscious, without reward, and waiting a resurrection that he may receive a reward, then, if he does not rise from the dead, he is perished, and out of existence for ever. Mark the language of the 19th verse: “If in this life only we have hope in Christ.” This testimony is equivalent to saying, that if there was no resurrection, there is no hope beyond this life.MPC 115.1

    Paul says, Verse 32, “If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, (periling my life) what advantageth it me IF THE DEAD RISE NOT?” His language here clearly shows, that he had no other hope, but that of a resurrection from the dead. And if there was no resurrection, he would choose the sentiment of the Epicurean—“Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die.” But do you think there is any danger of those of the professing church at the present time, who are denying the resurrection becoming Epicureans? Nay! verily, for they claim the resurrection would be no advantage whatever that they get all their reward without it. It must be that their theology embraces something that Paul did not believe, for he could see no future hope aside from the resurrection.MPC 116.1

    We will now notice the testimony of Paul in Romans 8:19-25 for the earnest expectation (hope) of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope; because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption, into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth, and travaileth in pain together until now: and not only they (or that), but ourselves also, which have the first-fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting (to go to heaven at death? No, but) for the adoption, to wit, the REDEMPTION OF OUR BODY.” The creature spoken of in Verses 19, 20, 21, we understand to be the saint of God. It cannot be the wicked, they have no earnest expectation. Neither can it be the beasts as John Wesley claims, for then it would prove, that every beast would be delivered into the kingdom of God. The saint of God is “waiting for the manifestation (revelation) of the sons of God,” That is for it to be made known who are the sons of God. And as stated in Verse 23, they are waiting for “the redemption of our body.” “For we are saved by hope. But hope that is seen, is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.” By the above testimony, Paul plainly represents, that the saint of God is waiting and hoping for the redemption of the body, or the resurrection.MPC 116.2

    Compare the above testimony with Paul’s testimony in Philippians 3:20, 21. “For our conversation is in heaven; FROM WHENCE also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ; who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body.” Why says the objector, Christ comes at death. That is a popular sentiment I know, but where is the authority for it? Perhaps you are ready to quote Matthew 24:44. Be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of man cometh,” which is often quoted on funeral occasions and applied to death, and thus the Son of man is made to mean death, while the book of God represents death as “the king of terrors.” See Job 18:14.MPC 117.1

    Did the disciples understand that Christ’s second coming was at death? Look at the case of the disciple Jesus loved, spoken of in John 21:20, 23. “Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved, following: (which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee?) Peter seeing him, saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do? Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee, follow thou me. Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple SHOULD NOT DIE, yet Jesus said not unto him, he shall not die, but, if I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?” Here is positive proof, that the disciples of Christ understood his coming to refer to something aside from death.MPC 117.2

    Calling the coming of Christ death, would make an absurdity of the testimony of Paul in Philippians; for it would prove that our bodies were fashioned like unto Christ’s glorious body, when they go into the grave. Paul was not expecting to go to heaven at death, but he was waiting for Christ to come from heaven. Not when his body should go into the grave, but when the time should arrive for it to be changed and fashioned like Christ’s body. His language in the same chapter plainly shows us what encouraged him to labor and suffer. Verse 11, “If by any means I might obtain unto the RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD.” The Greek term employed in this text rendered resurrection is exanastasis, which signifies, a rising from the dead, which is the same as, out from among. Paul did not merely wish to rise, but he wished to have a part in the first resurrection.MPC 118.1

    Paul in writing to Titus, states plainly what the hope is, and what the saints of God should do in view of it. Titus 2:11-13, “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation, hath appeared to all men, teaching us, that denying ungodliness, and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world: looking for that blessed hope, and—kai, even—“the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.”MPC 118.2

    But perhaps you are ready to ask, Did not Paul in some of his teachings, show, that men would go to heaven at death? No. We have already answered every text that can be construed in that way. We will now notice the testimony of Paul, as he is about to fall a victim to death. Here, if anywhere, we might expect to find him speaking of being rewarded at death, if that is the time of reward. 2 Timothy 4. In the first verse he gives him last solemn charge to Timothy. “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge (all men at death? No, but) the quick and the dead at his appearing and kingdom.” Why not charge him in view of death? Because that is not the time of recompense. Says Solomon, “Neither have they (the dead) any more a reward.”MPC 119.1

    After giving this charge Paul says, [Verse 6-8,] “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.” The sentiment of the present time would say, you will go right to heaven. But let us here what Paul says on the subject. “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord the righteous judge, shall give me at death? No, but) that day; and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” My fellow christian, you and I want each of us a crown, but if I supposed that the day of Paul’s death was the time crows were given to all, I should despair of ever getting one. The day spoken of above, is the day of the Lord’s appearing. Then the righteous of all ages will be made perfect at once.MPC 119.2

    Paul, at the time of his death, cast his mind forward to that scene which he had described to others, to console them in the hour of affliction and bereavement. Mark well his testimony in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. We will read it. He says, [Verse 13,] “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.” The saints of God are not said to be sleeping in heaven, but in the grave. Verse 14. “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.” The testimony of the Apostle is [Hebrews 13:20] that “God brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ.” And “them which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.” Not from heaven, for they are not sleeping there, but in their graves. Verses 15-18. “For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore, comfort one another with these words.”MPC 120.1

    Dear reader, are these words of comfort to you? Not if you cherish the sentiment, that death sets the Christian free and sends his soul to bliss and happiness. I presume if you cherish such a sentiment, you have been ready to exclaim long before reading this page, What a gloomy doctrine! True, death is a gloomy picture when viewed without the light of the resurrection. As Job says, it is “the land of darkness, as darkness itself.” But Christ has “brought life to light.” He is coming again to “proclaim liberty to the captives and the opening of the prison to them that are bound.” He says, “I am the resurrection and the life.”MPC 121.1

    John says of Christ and his work, [John 1:4, 5,] “In him was life; and the life was the light of men.” If light, here signifies life, darkness would mean death. Says John, [verse 5,] “And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” This light (eternal life) that was in Christ shined into death, and the grave, but the darkness (death) comprehended (understood) it not. Why? Answer. “The dead know not anything.”MPC 121.2

    Paul desired of the Lord, as he expresses it in 2 Thessalonians 3:5, that he would keep his Thessalonian brethren from evil, and direct their hearts “into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ.” The rest of the apostles taught the same sentiment to the church, that Paul had taught. Says James, [Chap 5:7, 18,] “Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.”MPC 121.3

    Peter speaks of the hope [1 Peter 1:3-7] as follows: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which, according to his abundant mercy, hath begotten us again unto a lively hope (hope of life) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed IN THE LAST TIME, wherein ye greatly rejoice though now for a season (if need be) ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto the praise, and honor, and glory, AT THE APPEARING OF JESUS CHRIST.” From this testimony of Peter, we learn that the saint’s inheritance is reserved, to be revealed IN THE LAST TIME. There is no other time to which we can apply this, but at the appearing of Jesus, where Peter’s testimony applies it.MPC 122.1

    Peter gives a charge to the elders in his first epistle [1 Peter 5:2] to “feed the flock of God, and he adds, [verse 4,] “And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.” The crown of glory is not to be given at death, but when Christ, “the chief Shepherd,” appears.MPC 122.2

    John teaches the same sentiment in his epistle. Read 1 John 3:2, 3. “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doeth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.” Christ in the revelation he made to John taught the same sentiment. Revelation 22:12. “Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.”MPC 122.3

    We see then, that the harmonious testimony of the New Testament is, that at the resurrection and coming of Christ, is the time when the saints of God are to receive their reward. They are represented as deprived of a reward unless they have a resurrection. “If the dead rise not, then they which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.” Should the objector yet contend that man is conscious between the periods of the death and the resurrection of the body, he will have to admit, that during that time the saint has no reward. But we have already shown that there is no consciousness during that period.MPC 123.1

    The hope of the christian we understand to be, the hope of eternal life, to be obtained through the resurrection, at the appearing of Christ. So if there is no appearing of Christ, there will be no resurrection. If no resurrection, no eternal life. Yea, no reward. Faith then, in the coming of Jesus and resurrection, attributes to Christ the work he claims as his. If we believe the scripture doctrine, that then, life is to be obtained, it throws a radiant glory like morning sunlight around that event. But, if we incorporate into the items of our faith the sentiment that man has an immortal soul, and the saint goes to his reward at death, we at once mar the work of God, and render the coming of Christ and the resurrection of the dead of no effect.MPC 123.2

    The testimony of the Word concerning Christ’s second coming is, “My reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” Now if the saints of God go to heaven at death and receive their reward, the object is then accomplished for which Christ is coming, (viz., to give them their reward.) So by this sentiment his coming is superseded.MPC 124.1

    To illustrate. Suppose a man in London was owing you half a million dollars that had fallen to you. He promises to meet you in New York city on a certain day, and pay you that sum, of course your mind will be fixed on the point of time when he is coming to New York. But if matters should so happen that you go to London and get the money before the day arrives, it entirely supersedes the necessity of the man’s coming to New York, as the sole object for which he is coming has been accomplished in some other way.MPC 124.2

    The Scripture represents, as we have quoted above, that Christ is coming to reward his saints. But, if they go to him and get their reward, I fail to see the necessity of his coming to reward every man according to his work. It is no marvel, that professing christians of the present time see no force in the doctrine of the second coming of Christ, and manifest no more care in regard to that event; for they cherish a sentiment which robs the doctrine of Christs coming of all its force and beauty. They claim that they have an immortal soul and shall have eternal life whether Christ comes or not. We would candidly ask such, if they should read these pages, to reflect on the testimony of Paul. “The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” The Lord help us to realize it. Let us set rightly about the work of seeking for immortality, and patiently wait the return of our Lord, that we may receive a crown of life.MPC 124.3

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