Brother J.P. Burruss, whose communication will be found on another page of this paper, desires an expression of our views on the subject. With our esteemed brother, we regard the doctrine of the resurrection of the bodies of the just and of the unjust as clearly set forth in the testimony of the scriptures of truth; and in regard to the importance of the doctrine, the Holy Ghost, by the apostle Paul, as our brother has shown, has presented it as a fundamental doctrine of the gospel, and so essential to the faith, that in its absence our preaching and our faith would all be in vain; and not only so; but the doctrine of redemption, and justification by the blood of Christ would be annulled, and those for whom his blood was shed would be left in their sins.
It is clearly taught in the scriptures that our mortality is the legitimate consequence of sin. By the offense of one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and death has passed on all men because all have sinned. The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law; but thanks be unto God who giveth us the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ. Now if sin which is the cause of death is by the sacrifice of Christ, effectually put away, the cause being removed must secure the discontinuance of the effect. Sin being put away death is destroyed, and the resurrection from the dead must certainly follow.
The evidence that Christ had effectually put away the sins of all his people which sins were all laid on him, was given by his personal resurrection from the dead. And as he arose as the first begotten from the dead, and as the first fruits of them that slept, so all for whom he died, must eventually in like manner be raised from the dead; and in their resurrection receive that resurrection life and immortality, in the quickening of their mortal bodies, which was manifested in the risen body of their Redeemer. Hence the argument of Paul. If Christ be risen from the dead, how say some among you that the dead rise not? If the dead rise not, then is Christ not risen, and the whole work of salvation is a failure, and we are yet in our sins; and in that case, only in this life have hope, and are of all men the most miserable.
The resurrection of the ungodly is equally certain from the words of Christ, John v. 27, 28, although in their resurrection they rise not to that life and immortality which is peculiar to the church of God. The saints shall come forth in a resurrection to life; the wicked shall also rise, but it will be to a resurrection of damnation. As interminable state of existence under the wrath of God, in which, with the guilty sons of Sodom, they must suffer the vengeance of eternal fire.
We might greatly enlarge upon this subject; but as we have often had occasion to express our convictions on the subject, and as we expect so long as it shall please our Lord to spare our mortal life, to contend earnestly for this Bible doctrine, we will not now extend our remarks.
We do hope and pray that our brethren in those sections of Zion where this subject is agitated will not attempt to be wise above what is written; and may God in infinite goodness preserve them from being carried away from their steadfastness in the faith, or driven about by winds of doctrines. May we all remember the admonition given by Paul to Timothy in 2 Tim. ii. 16-18. “Shun profane and vain babblings; for they will increase unto more ungodliness; and their word will eat as doth a canker; of whom is Hymeneus, and Philetus, who concerning the truth, have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrown the faith of some.”
Since writing the above, we have received a letter from an esteemed Elder in Northern Pennsylvania informing us that it is reported in that section of the country that we disbelieve in the doctrine of the resurrection of the bodies of mankind after death, and desiring us to state our views on that subject. The individual who is now spreading that report in that country knows it to be an unmitigated falsehood. We have never entertained any more doubt of the final resurrection of the bodies of all the children of men including both the just and the unjust, since we professed faith in Christ, than we do in the existence of God, or of our own existence, nor have we ever knowingly expressed a doubt on that subject. Let those who have read the Signs of the Times for the last twenty-two years put their finger on the passage in all that we have ever published in which the shadow of a doubt has been expressed or implied. And if the open volumes of the Signs are not sufficient to settle all queries in regard to our faith in the doctrine of the resurrection, let the churches of New Vernon and Wallkill with which the most of our time has been spent for the last twenty-eight years, be called on for testimony in the case. About two or three years ago a similar slander was started by two individuals who attended the Delaware Association in the city of Philadelphia; but the calumny was promptly met and the falsehood nailed upon them by an appeal made by us to the Elders and messengers which were in attendance at that time and place. What possible pretext any person can trump up for reviving the slander cannot be imagined, other than willfully and knowingly to utter falsehood.
The foregoing remarks may be considered severe, and we admit they are nothing short of a wanton and unprovoked attack upon our character, our faith, and our doctrine as a minister of Christ and servant of his churches would in our estimation justify the same degree of severity, but this, it is believed, is one of the cases in which we are commanded to “Rebuke them sharply.” Paul’s rebuke to Elymus the sorcerer was truly severe, yet well directed and effectual when he said to him, “O full of all subtlety and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right way of the Lord?” etc.
We may be too sensitive, but we believe it will be admitted that our patience has been put to the severest test for the last two or three years. We have been falsely and maliciously assailed and charged with heresies which might have done us much harm if it had not been that we were so well known throughout the United States that brethren were not easily imposed on by our enemies. If we know our own heart we would not indulge in a vindictive spirit. - We ask not for vengeance, but would rather pray for those who persecute and spitefully use us. Our subscription has increased from about 4,500 to nearly 5,000 since the commencement of the current volume, which affords unmistakable evidence that our readers are not so easily turned about by the rabid foamings of our enemies as they have supposed, while some, at least, of our assailants have already fallen into the pit which they have dug for us.
April 15, 1854
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 3
Pages 58 - 61