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conformed to God in heart and practice, and perfectly happy. (e) Q. 6. consist?
In what does the happiness of heaven
A. It consists not merely in passive enjoyments, but mostly in positive activity. The inhabitants of heaven dwell in the immediate presence of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, and enjoy a glorious, happy, and lasting union and communion with them. They love, serve, worship, and glorify God, continually. They study the character, creation, and providence of God; the character and redemption of Christ; and the character and work of the Holy Spirit. They know, love, and serve each other as brethren, with the highest joy, having a common interest and aim. (ƒ)
Q. 7. Are there different degrees of holiness and happiness among glorified saints?
(e) 1 John iii. 2. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth 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.-1 Cor. xiii. 12. For now we see through a glass darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.-Rev. vii. 16, 17. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat; for the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne, shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters, and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.-Ps. xvi. 11. Thou wilt show me the path of life; in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
(f) Rev. vii. 15. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple; and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.-Rev. xxii. 3. And there shall be no more curse; but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him.— Rev. v. 9, 10. 13. And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof; for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood, out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests, and we shall reign on the earth. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb, forever and ever.
A. There are. Though all the redeemed in heaven are entirely holy and happy, still they possess different degrees of holiness and happiness, according to their capacity.
Q. 8. Will the saints in heaven continue forever to increase in knowledge, holiness, and happiness? A. They probably will. If so, a time will come, when they will be as far above what the angels now are, as the angels now are above them. The angels will also probably be making continual progress in spiritual attainments, and, consequently, the redeemed will never be any nearer to them, in greatness and glory, than when they enter heaven.
How does the heaven of the Christian differ from that of the Mohamedan?
A. The latter consists in carnal possessions and delights; the former in spiritual possessions and joys. Q. 10. What number from among men will be thus happy?
A. A countless multitude. Many were saved before the flood, many under the Mosaic dispensation, and vastly more will be saved under the Christian dispensation, especially if all the inhabitants of the earth who will live during the millennium are included. It is not improbable that a far greater number will be saved than lost. (g)
Q. 11. How should we be affected at the death of the righteous?
A. We should not sorrow on their account, for death is their gain. But by it we should be excited to live the life of the righteous, that we may die their death, and our last end be like theirs. (h)
(g) Rev. vii. 9. After this, I beheld, and lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands.
(h) Phil. i. 21. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. Num. xxiii. 10. Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his.
Q. 1. What are the evidences that there is a future state of misery for those of mankind who die impenitent?
A. 1. The plain and explicit declarations of the Scriptures, in relation to this subject, are decisive evidence of the truth of this doctrine. (a) 2. The opposition made to the instruction of Moses and the Prophets, Christ and the Apostles, by the impenitent, to whom they preached, is evidence that they did teach this doctrine. Their hearers would never have been so bitter against the truths they taught, if they had declared that all men would be saved. 3. The concern in many for their own future salvation, produced by the preaching of Christ and His Apostles, is an evidence that the doctrine of future punishment was taught by them. 4. The great solicitude for the salvation of souls which the Prophets, Christ, and the Apostles manifested, proves beyond a doubt, that they believed in the doctrine of the future misery of the wicked, and that they taught it.
(a) John v. 29. And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.-Mark xvi. 16. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.-Ps. ix. 17. The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.-Prov. xi. 7. When a wicked man dieth, his expectations shall perish; and the hope of unjust men perisheth.-John viii. 36. He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.-Phil. iii. 19. Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is their shame, who mind earthly things. Matt. xxv. 30. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.Matt. vii. 13. Enter ye in at the strait gate; for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat.-Prov. i. 31. Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices.
Q. 2. Why does God inflict misery or penal evil upon the wicked in the world to come?
A. He does it because they deserve it, and because the general good requires it. By punishing the wicked God shows His hatred of sin and love of holiness, maintains the authority of His law and government, vindicates His character as moral Governor, and promotes the general good of the universe.
Q. 3. How long will the future misery of the wicked continue?
A. Eternally. Reason teaches that God may punish sinners so long as they continue to sin, and there is no reason to suppose that those who die impenitent will ever cease to sin; for as inful volition or exercise will never produce a holy one. Sinners, too, will always deserve to be punished. God may, therefore, justly punish them forever. With respect to the duration of future punishment, mankind are not proper judges, for they know not the full demerit of sin. This God alone can determine; and He speaks of it in the Scriptures as 'eternal,' 'everlasting,' 'forever, forever and ever.' We must therefore renounce the Bible, or believe the doctrine of endless future punishment. (b)
Q. 4. Is there any evidence that those who die impenitent will be restored or annihilated, in any period in eternity?
(b) Matt, xxv. 46. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal.-2 Thess. i. 9. Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.-Rev. xiv. 11. And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up forever and ever, and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image; and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. Dan. xii. 2. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake; some to everlasting life; and some to shame and everlasting contempt.-Mark iii, 29. But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation.Matt. xxvi. 24. The Son of man goeth, as it is written of him but wo unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born. See also reference (e).
A. There is none. The punishment of the future world is not disciplinary or remedial. It is not so in the case of rebel angels. And we have no evidence, from reason or revelation, that it is so with the finally impenitent of the human race. Further, neither reason nor Scripture gives us any assurance or intimation whatever, that the finally impenitent can expiate their sins by suffering for a limited time. The doctrine of annihilation, or literal destruction of the wicked, is nowhere taught, but is every where expressly or impliedly opposed in the Bible. The doctrine, then, of restitution and of annihilation is unscriptural and false. (c)
Q. 5. By what language is the future punishment of the wicked represented in the Sacred Scriptures? A. It is represented by terms the most terrific and affecting. It is called 'death,' 'worm that never dieth,' bottomless pit,' 'darkness,' 'mist of darkness,' 'blackness of darkness forever,' 'lake of fire and brimstone,' 'fire that never shall be quenched,' 'suffering the vengeance of eternal fire,' furnace of fire,' 'fire prepared for the devil and his angels.' Though these expressions are metaphorical, yet they convey the idea of the greatest and most dreadful pains and torments. The capacities and faculties of the wicked will be much enlarged after death, so that they will
(c) Luke xvi. 22--26. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom; the rich man also died, and was buried. And in hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy life-time receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed; so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.-Rev. xxii. 11. He that is unjust, let him be unjust still; and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still; and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still; and he that is holy, let him be holy still.