Contents The Christian System
by Alexander Campbell



I. THERE are two classes of men in this world. They are often and in various manners contradistinguished from each other. They are called the righteous and the wicked, the saints and the sinners, the holy and the unholy, the good and the bad, he that feareth God, and he that feareth him not. Of the one class many things are predicated which are not predicated of the other. Of the one it is said, that they "in Christ," justified, sanctified, saved, children of God, heirs of God, joint heirs with Christ, an elect race, a royal priesthood, a peculiar people. Of the other class, these things are never predicated in the Bible. They are not in Christ, not justified, not sanctified, not saved; children of the devil, "children of wrath," not an elect race, not a royal priesthood, not a peculiar people.

II. These have not been reconciled to God through the propitiation of his Son. They are still enemies of God in heart. And for them that loved darkness rather than light, and would not have God's Son to be their Saviour, he has appointed a day of judgment; a day for the ultimate perdition of ungodly men. Then they shall perish "with an everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power, when he shall come to be glorified in all his saints, and to be admired by all the believers." Then will the King say to them on his left hand, "Depart, you cursed into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels." They are the allies of Satan in his rebellion against God, and have spent their energies and fortunes on his side of the question; and therefore it is reasonable that they should have their ultimate portion with him.

III. Of this judgment, Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, "Behold the Lord cometh with ten thousand of his saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds, which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him." God had, then, long before the Christian era - from the foundation of the world, "appointed a day in which he will judge THE WORLD, (the whole world,) righteously by Jesus Christ," whom he has constituted Judge of all the dead as well as of the living.

IV. "It is, indeed, appointed to men once to die, and after this the judgment." The judgment consequent upon death, is not the general but the particular judgment of individuals, as the phrase would seem to indicate, whose spirits returning to God are judged and instantly rewarded, so far as in a separate state they can be the subjects of reward or punishment. But the "judgment of the great day," is for another purpose: not, as some profanely say, "to bring men out of heaven and hell to judge and remand them back again;" but in the presence of an assembled world to vindicate the administration of the moral government and providence of God, to develop the real characters of angels and of men, and to pronounce an irrevocable sentence upon all according to their works. For, says Paul, "we must all appear before the tribunal of Christ, that every one may receive, in his body, the things he has done, whether good or bad." It is, then, because of the actual and public pronunciation and execution of this judgment, that the last day is called "THE DAY OF JUDGMENT," and that the judgment itself if called "THE JUDGMENT OF THE GREAT DAY."

V. The final judgment and "perdition of ungodly men" is set forth by the Lord himself, as well as by his Apostles, in the clearest and strongest terms, and in the boldest and most appalling imagery which human speech and human knowledge can afford. Indeed, to place this awfully sublime and glorious day in full array before the perceptive powers of man, is impossible. The best efforts have exhausted the powers of nature in all her wonted energies. John, in his sublime visions of the last acts of the great drama of human existence, says, "I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face earth and heaven fled away, and there was found no room for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is called the Book of Life; and the dead were judged out of the things that were written in those books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and the grave1 gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged every one according to his works: and death and the grave were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the BOOK OF LIFE was cast into the lake of fire." Surely "it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God."

 1  Hades.

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