Parish Papers eBook

Norman Macleod
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 266 pages of information about Parish Papers.
be secured.  Man’s undying sense of righteousness, and what ought to be, is not satisfied by the prosperity which, in spite of every drawback, so frequently attends the most selfish and unprincipled villain to his grave.  Like the Psalmist, we all are disposed to exclaim when contemplating such histories, “As for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well-nigh slipped.  For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.  For there are no bands in their death, and their strength is firm; neither are they plagued like other men....  Their eyes stand out with fatness; they have more than their heart can wish....  And they say, How doth God know? and is there knowledge with the Most High?”

But when we open the Word of God, it is impossible for any honest man to deny, that whether its teaching be true or false, the fact of future punishment is an essential portion of what is taught.  By no conceivable perversion of the words of Christ, so often repeated on this subject, and by no interpretation of His parables, can it be denied that it was His intention to give the very impression which the universal Church has received, that there is a “wrath to come,” and a state of being which to some is “cursed,” and so very dreadful that, with reference to one of His own disciples, who is called “the son of perdition,” the Saviour said that it would have “been good for that man had he never been born.”

I must presume that this general statement regarding the teaching of Christ himself, not to speak of that of His apostles, requires no proof to any one who has ever read the Gospels.  Punishment of some kind awaits the wicked after death.  Yet if this much is admitted, we have surely already reached a conclusion which ought to fill with the most solemn awe the mind of every man who has any reverence for the Divine authority of Jesus Christ; or who even believes that He who represented Himself as saying, “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels,”—­“Depart from me, I know you not, all ye workers of iniquity,” and who narrated such a parable as that of the rich man and Lazarus, was one incapable of all exaggeration or evil passion, and one who possessed the only perfect love which was ever manifested in humanity.  The apostles, who express in language as strong and unhesitating the certainty and dread nature of future punishment, were men also who, more than any who have ever lived, loved their fellow-men, wept like their Divine Master for their sins, and devoted their lives, with untiring unselfishness, to rescue them from present evil and future woe.  Now, if this be so far a true, if not a full, representation of the teaching of Christ and His apostles on this momentous theme, I may be permitted to put two questions of a practical and personal kind to my reader.  One is,—­Whether the knowledge of the character, apart from the authority, of Jesus and His apostles, who spoke in such language

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Parish Papers from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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