on earth is bound in heaven, else why not pray for the wicked dead?? It is certainly a remarkable fact, if this theory is true, that we have in Scripture not a single instance of prayer for the dead.
The apocryphal 2Maccabees 12:39 sq. gives an instance of Jewish prayer for the dead. Certain who were slain had concealed under their coats things consecrated to idols. Judas and his host therefore prayed that this sin might be forgiven to the slain and they contributed 2,000 drachmas of silver to send a sin offering for them to Jerusalem. So modern Jews pray for the dead. See Luckock, After Death, 54-66 ? an argument for such prayer. John Wesley, Works, 9:55, maintains the legality of prayer for the dead. Still it is true that we have no instance of such prayer in canonical Scriptures. <19D201>Psalm 132:1 ? ?Jehovah, remember for David All his affliction? ? is not a prayer for the dead, but signifies ?Remember for David?, so as to fulfill thy promise to him, ?all his anxious cares,? with regard to the building of the temple, the psalm having been composed. Paul prays that God will ?grant mercy to the house of Onesiphorus,? in all probability for the temple dedication. ( <550116>2 Timothy 1:16), from which it has been unwarrantably inferred that Onesiphorus was dead at the time of the apostle?s writing. Paul?s further prayer in verse 18 ? ?the Lord grant unto him to find mercy of the Lord in that day? seems rather to point to the death of Onesiphorus as yet in the future.
Shedd, Dogmatic Theology, 2:715 note ? ?Many of the arguments constructed against the doctrine of endless punishment proceed upon the supposition that original sin, or man?s evil inclination, is the work of God, that because man is born in sin ( <195105>Psalm 51:5), he was created in sin. All the strength and plausibility of John Foster?s celebrated letter lies in the assumption that the moral corruption and impotence of the sinner, whereby it is impossible to save himself from eternal death, is not self-originated and self-determined, but infused by his Maker. ?If,? says he, ?the very nature of man, as created by the Sovereign Power be in such desperate disorder that there is no possibility of conversion or salvation except in instances where that Power interposes with a special and redeeming efficacy, how can we conceive that the main portion of the race, thus morally impotent (that is, really and absolutely impotent), will be eternally punished for the inevitable result of this moral impotence?? If this assumption of con-created depravity and impotence is correct, Foster?s objection to eternal retribution is conclusive and fatal. Endless punishment supposes the freedom of the human will, and is impossible without it. Self-determination runs parallel with hell.?
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