« AnteriorContinuar »
all hopes, and all possibility of pardon ? On the other hand, they who were corrupted only to “a de“ fection, or falling away,” had “ hope laid up for “ them in repentance.” Defectio enim habet spem aliquam redintegrationis ; mors vero perpetuo tenetur interitu. Her. Past. lib. iii. simil. 6.
Num. XCIV. Jude 6, 7, 13. And the angels which kept not their first
estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves Otet to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire-to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.
These three verses Mr. W. quotes together, and his reflections upon them are as follow: “ They “ are,” he says, “ exceeding remarkable, and inform “ us plainly of two things of the greatest conse“ quence in our present inquiry, viz. (1.) That the “ word äidios, which is generally supposed to be much “ more expressive of a proper eternity than alávics, “ is yet used for a time limited, or for the duration “ of the age or ages, till the day of judgment, and “ no longer. (2.) That the conflagration of Sodom “ and Gomorrha, and the cities about them, because “ it utterly destroyed them, is styled the vengeance “ nupòs alwviou, of lasting, or, as we render it, ever. “ lasting fire: although such fire or conflagration “ were quite over in no very long time, and burned “ no longer than the utter destruction of those cities “ required. These verses are therefore the proper “ key of such language in the rest of the holy scrip
36 tures; and a more authentic and satisfactory key “ they are, than all the schoolmen and critics of “modern ages can afford us.” P. 47.
In the first of these observations it is affirmed, or implied, 1. that äidios is more expressive of a proper eternity than aiários, and, 2. that it is used here for a limited time. Now supposing both these things to be true, what is the consequence? certainly this only, that aidvios also may be used for a time limited; not that it always actually is so; which we know is contrary to truth and fact. Without entering into the comparative strength and value of the words, it is undeniable that they are both expressive of a proper eternity; and, unless we will deal arbi trarily with them, ought to be so understood, where the sense of the context, or the subject of the writer, does not limit them. The word didios in the passage before us is thus limited, according to Mr. W., by the sense; as these chains are but to last till the day of judgment: otherwise, it would denote eternity. And so it is with alórios: when it is spoken of any thing that must end before, or at, the day of judgment, it is there plainly confined, by the sense, to a limited time: but what is this to the signification of the same word, when it is not so confined ? as it plainly is not, when it is applied (and it is applied equally) to the rewards and punishments of heaven and hell. But, 2. How does it appear that the word åídios is here used for a limited time? is it any consequence, that, because these angels are reserved in chains unto the judgment of the great day, therefore the chains will not be everlasting? What should ail them u?
· Or take Mr. Mede's opinion, that oespañs in the parallel place of St. Peter, (Num. LXXXVI.) and deopoñs here, are put for els
Are the devils then to be set at liberty, or confined more closely? if the latter, why may not the chains be everlasting? And what are these chains ? “ Me“ taphorice significant Dei potentiam, qua, tanquam “ vinculis quibusdam æternis, id est, nunquam sol. “ vendis, eos constringit ac detinet, ne liberi feran“ tur quo volunt,” says Estius on the place. If then Mr. W.'s premises be false, what becomes of his conclusion? or granting one of them, viz. the superior claim of aidos, the other, aiários, still keeps its ground, and is just where it was before : for alolos here signifies everlasting, and is a strong proof of the eternity of the punishment of the Devil and his angels. “ Cum perpetuorum vinculorum heic men“ tio fiat una cum imminente die judicii, recte hinc “ theologi conficiunt, malis geniis nullam redempti“onis spem superesse.” Wolfii Curæ Phil. et Crit.
Mr. Wi's second observation, which is on ver. 7. asserts, or implies, these three things; 1. That the fire of Sodom and Gomorrha is here styled the vengeance, aupòs alwviou, as we render it, of eternal fire. 2. That it is so styled for this reason, “be“ cause it utterly destroyed them.” 3. That this fire was “ quite over in no very long time, and burned “ no longer than the utter destruction of those cities “ required.”
Now, as Mr. W. lays so great a stress on these verses, as to make them “ the key of such language “ in the rest of the holy scriptures; a more authentic “ and satisfactory key, than all the schoolmen and cri
σειράς, and είς δεσμούς, and then the construction will be, not that the evil angels were now already delivered to chains of darkness, or everlasting chains, but reserved for them at the day of judgment. Works, p. 31.
“tics can afford;" these particulars, as well as those under the former article, none of which are at least self-evidently true, ought to have been clearly proved. But no proof is attempted; we have Mr. Whiston's bare assertions; of which one is, that the fire of Sodom and Gomorrha is here styled the vengeance, aupòs aiwviou. But had he not too much despised the critics to have consulted them, he would have found that this point is far from being certain. Some of them join the words πυρός αιωνίου with δείγμα, not δίkny, and so make the version thus; are set forth for example of eternal fire, suffering punishment, or vengeance. And so Cassiodorus, no modern, but an ancient critic, seems plainly to understand it: “So“ domam quoque, et Gomorram, et finitimas civita“ tes, quæ graviter deliquerunt, obscena carnis vitia “ diligentes, consumptas perhibet, in exemplo ignis “ æterni.” But, should this sense be rejected, there is another, approved by no less men than Grotius, and Mede>, and Wall; and that is, that Tupos aiwviou díky iméxcvoal, or imepéxovoal, should be rendered, suffering a resemblance of eternal fire; as Totauoữ dikny, like a river, &c. I will mention no more interpretations, which, however, might easily be done; as all interpreters have been sensible that aiávcov tüp, in all other places of the New Testament, means the fire of hell, it was not very natural for them to suppose that St. Jude uses it of the fire of Sodom and Gomorrha. But be it for once that he does; why should the pompous style of St. Jude, whose bold oriental figures and phrases are copied from some ancienter Jewish writer, and perhaps in this very
* Mede's Works, p. 1118. Wall's Annot. p. 367.
particular y, be made the key to the language of the rest of the New Testament? the plain correct language, for instance, of our Saviour himself in Matt. xxv. 41, 46. where he declares what will be the sentence at the last day on incorrigibly wicked men, and the consequence of that sentence, in the plainest and most positive terms. Surely there is no reason or consequence in saying, that because ainoy is applied by a pompous figurative writer to the fire of Sodom, and must then necessarily be taken in a limited sense; therefore it must always be taken in such a sense, when applied by our Lord himself to the fire of hell, declared by his own repeated asseverations to be unquenchable.
Mr. Wi's next assertion is, that this fire of Sodom and Gomorrha is styled aiúvov for this reason, “ be“ cause it utterly destroyed them.” And may every fire then, that utterly destroys its subject, be so styled, how short a time soever it lasts? I should rather think that aiáriov expresses some considerable duration, either lasting or everlasting; and that it does so here, supposing it to relate to the fire of Sodom, we have good reason to conclude from all antiquity, sacred and profane. For in the next place, which is contrary to Mr. W.'s third assertion, it is not true that the fire was “ quite over in no very “ long time, and burned no longer than the utter “ destruction of those cities required.” It appears from the authorities collected by many learned men?,
y See bishop Sherlock’s Dissertation on the Authority of the second Epistle of St. Peter.
? Grotius De Verit. Rel. Christ. lib. i. sect. 16. Revelation examined with Candour, vol. ii. dis. 6. Saurin's Dissertations on the Books of Moses, English edit. p. 155.