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summation of all things. And then the “ earth will “ desert its present seat and station in the world, and “ be no longer found among the planetary chorus ;" that is, it will become a comet. Now, it is in the last of these periods, when the earth is become a comet, that it is, if ever, to be the place of the punishment of the wicked; according to Mr. W. himself, both in his Astronomical Principles of Religion ", and in this book on Hell Torments. How then can this be “ before the resurrection," and while our earth continues “ such an earth, and no longer?” I will only add, that St. John does by no means “ as“ sure us," as he affirms, “ that this earth will flee “ away,” and that there will be “ a new earth, be“ fore the resurrection.” The thing is absurd in itself; and St. John plainly relates the resurrection, and the general judgment, as antecedent in order of time, before he saw the new heaven and the new earth, Apoc. xx. 12, 13. xxi. 1. It is true, he mentions the fleeing away of the earth and the heaven, before the resurrection and the judgment; but that does not imply that that event will really come to pass before them. On the contrary, it is evident, ver. 13. that the old earth remains still; for the sea gives up the dead which were in it; and death and hades deliver up their dead, and are themselves cast into the lake of fire, and all the wicked with them: and then appears the new heaven and the new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were then really passed away; and there was no more sea. So that though St. John tells us, chap. xx. 11. that the earth and heaven fled away, from
Astronom. Prin. p. 156. on Hell Torments, p. 110.
the face of him that sat on the throne ; yet that cannot be understood as done immediately, but after the resurrection, when the sea and the grave had delivered up their dead, and they were judged. Then it is that “ the earth will desert its present “ seat and station in the world, and be no longer “ found among the planetary chorus.” And to “this “ consummation of all things, when a final period is “ to be put to the present place and use of this “ earth, with its atmosphere,” does Mr. W. himself refer St. John's words, chap. xx. 11. in his Astronomical Principles of Religion, p. 153. and in his Theory, book iii. chap. 5. at the end.
Num. LXXXVIII. 2 Peter ïi. 12. --made to be taken and destroyed, and
shall utterly perish in their own corruption. The parallel place in St. Jude is ver. 10.—what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves ; spoken plainly of moral corruption; but for which, at last, they shall receive the reward of unrighteousness,
Num. LXXXIX. 2 Peter ü. 17. -to whom the mist of darkness is reserved
for ever. See Num. XCIV.
Num. XC. 2 Peter iii. 7. But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
“ This text,” Mr. W. says, p. 46. “ agrees with “ the foregoing, (viz. Num. LXXXVII.) as to the “ time when the positive punishments of the wicked
“ in hell are to begin, viz. at the day of judgment; “ and with many of the foregoing, in determining “ that punishment, to be not a continuation of their “ lives in misery for infinite ages, but as ending in “ their utter destruction and perdition.”
Neither this text, nor any of the foregoing, determine what Mr. W. here asserts. The only shadow of an argument, to this purpose, arises from a word or two, which in scripture and moral discourses means quite another thing. In the sixth verse we are told, that the old world, being overflowed with water, perished (aúdeto); yet that perishing did not extend to utter destruction, or annihilation; but only to a great and general change in the world that then was. And as the world once perished by water, so it must by fire at the conclusion of its present state. (See Mr. Whiston's Theory, book üi. chap. 5. book iv. chap. 5.) “ Yet this second perish“ ing will not extend,” Mr. W. tells us, “ to the en“ tire dissolution or destruction of the earth, but only “ to the alteration, melioration, and peculiar disposi. “ tion thereof into a new state.” (Theory, towards the end.) Why then must the word perdition, åtonela, as applied in the 7th verse to ungodly men, be un.' derstood of utter destruction of being ? especially, since we know from philosophy, that fire cannot an, nihilate them; and from scripture, that this day of their judgment, and of their perdition, is so far from being the day of their annihilation, that it is the day when they will be sent into everlasting punishment.
Num. XCI. 2 Peter iii. 9. -not willing that any should perish, but that
all should come to repentance.
Num. XCII. 2 Peter ii. 16. —which they that are unlearned and un
stable wrest-unto their own destruction. Compare Num. LIX. LXXXIV. LXXXV. XC.
Num. XCIII. 1 John v. 16. If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it. .
A sin unto death, ápapria após Gávatov, is the same sort of phrase which this apostle uses in his Gospel, chap. xi. 4. This sickness is not unto death, após bán VATOV. So that a sickness unto death, and a sin unto death, means, each in its respective way, something absolutely fatal; when no medicines would avail in one case, nor prayers in the other: not meaning the prayers, accompanied with the repentance, of the of fender himself; for the sin unto death implies final impenitence; whether that sin be a habit of any sin persisted in to the last, or any particular sin, such as the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, or apostasy from Christ, or the like; about which the best interpreters are not agreed. It appears from Hermas, that the phrase was usual in his and the apostles' days; and therefore the nature of this sin was then, no doubt, well understood. And to speak my sentiments, it seems clearly to me to mean, not a habit of any sin, (though that, finally persisted in, will prove fatal,) but the particular sin of renouncing Christianity, and blaspheming its divine Author; which too being done, not only after the performance of his own miracles, but those also of his apostles, with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven, is in effect
the same with the unpardonable sin of blasphemy against the Holy Ghost. “Some of these,” says the angel to Hermas, “ are corrupted unto death,” usque ad mortem ; “ others to a defection, or falling “ away,” usque ad defectionem. Hermas here acquainting him that he did not understand the distinction; “ Hear then,” says his instructor; “ The “ sheep which thou sawest exceeding joyful are “ such as have for ever departed from God, and “ given themselves up to the lust of this present “ time. To these therefore there is no return by “ repentance unto life;" (why so ? since the others who were fallen away had also “ given themselves “ up,” he tells us, “ to pleasures and delights ;” and yet there was “ hope laid up for them in repent“ance;" but the reason of this difference immediately follows,-" To these therefore there is no return, by “ repentance unto life;) because that to their other “ sins they have added this, that they have blas“phemed the name of the Lord. These kind of “ men are ordained unto death.” Here is, if I mistake not, St. John's sin unto death ; as well as St. Paul's wilful sin after we have received the knowledge of the truth, Heb. x. 26, 27. It is ridiculous to quote Hermas, as if he meant by death any thing like annihilation. “ They that are dead are utterly “ gone for ever.” (See Mr. W. p. 52.) Does not every one see, by the whole tenour of his discourse, that he here means gone beyond recovery? beyond all return, by repentance unto life ? beyond
* The life of such men is death. Gr.
t 'O sè Dávatos áráhelov čxei alárioy. The meaning is, the consequence of such a death (as he calls the life of such men) is what the scripture calls everlasting destruction.
VOL. II. HOR BERY.