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that the fire was not quite over in many ages; not in St. Jude's own time, as may be fairly inferred from Strabo and Philo the Jew, who were contemporaries with him, or very little before him. But what need of other witnesses, when it is plain that St. Jude himself speaks of it as not quite over, but still enduring a ? For this reason therefore he calls it, if he does call it, rūp aiávov, because it had lasted for above two thousand years.
Mr. W. makes no remark on ver. 13, but only renders eis tò aiūra, as usual, for an age : to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for an age.
This blackness of darkness, according to him, (see Num. IX.) is not in gehenna, but in hades. And then indeed it will not endure for ever ; though it may be of a much longer duration than one of Mr. Wi's ages. But who are they, whom the apostle threatens with this blackness of darkness in hades? the curable, or the incurable part of mankind? The curable part, Mr. W. tells us, (see Num. III.) are to be corrected by the “ eruption of the fire, or “ flame of gehenna,” into such parts of hades as they are forced into, before the day of judgment. This blackness of darkness therefore can be no description of their state and condition; for “ we have no
a See Dr. Hammond on the place. He understands hy Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them, not the walls and buildings, but the inhabitants of those cities; and agreeably, the fire they suffer, is the eternal fire of hell. But this opinion has its difficulties, which cannot well be removed. However, it shews how sensible that learned writer was, that St. Jude speaks of this fire as then subsisting
Dicitur alários ignis qui per tot secula ex bituminosa materia arsit, et forte etiamnum ardet. J. Clerici Dissert. de Sodoma &c. Subversione.
“ notion of fire and flame without light, though it “ be never so dismal.” Instead of blackness of darkness, the apostle should have threatened such as these with the eruption of flaming fire. And as to the incurable, it seems utterly incredible that he should threaten them with punishments in bades, rather than with those into which they are to depart at the day of judgment. They are to have no “posi“ tive torments inflicted on them in hades;” (see Mr. W.'s book, p. 120.) no punishment, but what arises from within, from their own consciences, and fearful expectations. The proper punishment reserved for them is in gehenna; and this therefore, no doubt, it is, that St. Jude here denounces against them. So that there being nothing here, in the sense or context, to limit the meaning of eis tèv aiūva, that phrase ought in all reason to be understood in its most extensive sense, agreeably to the other declarations of scripture relating to this matter. I will only add here to what I have observed in other places, that though Adam lived nine hundred and thirty years, Gen. v. 5. which is several of Mr. Wr's ages, yet he did not live εις τον αιώνα, but was driven from the tree of life, lest he should eat, and live for ever. See Gen. iii. 22.
Num. XCV. A poc. xiv. 10, 11. The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation ; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: and the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever:-(eis alūras aicórw.)
Mr. W. has several expedients to prevent this passage from hurting his hypothesis. First, he ob
serves, that “ these are the first places we have met “ with, relating, as is supposed, to the torments of “ hell, which mention aiūves tūv aiów, ages of ages; “ or even barely alõves, (or ages, in the plural num“ ber :] i. e. several of such ages succeeding one “ another.” P. 48.
Now all that there is in this matter, I conceive, is this. . The other New Testament writers express the duration both of happiness in heaven, and punishment in hell, generally, if not always, by cis Tòv alõva, or the like, in the singular number. St. John in his Revelation raises his style; and as he uses the plural, and its reduplication, (aiôves Tõv aióvwv,) with regard to the kingdom of heaven, so he does likewise with reference to the torments of hell. So that as far as the mere terms are concerned, we have all the reason in the world to think that the two states will be of equal duration. Well, but “the ~ phrases are very far from denoting a proper eter“ nity.” If he means that they never denote a proper eternity, (a parte post,) the assertion is evidently false. Even the phrase in the singular number does so, in numberless places. If he means that they don't denote a proper eternity in these places, it is, to say no more of it at present, begging the question. Next he offers a “ conjecture, that the smoke “ of such their torment may ascend up in terrorem, “ longer than the torments themselves of particu“ lar offenders continue; and that the fire and the “ smoke, thereto belonging, may be the common “ place of torment for sinners, in different ages and “ periods of the world, one after another.” It is not worth while to ask, What ages and periods, and of what world, since this world will be ended? The conjecture is of no more weight than a dream ; and, if he had attended to his own texts, he would have seen there is no room for it. The context plainly supposes that these particular offenders themselves still exist in these torments :the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever : and they have no rest day nor night.-We readily admit, nay we contend for the observation he quotes from sir Isaac Newton, “ that the degree and duration of “ the torments of these degenerate and antichristian “ people will be no other, than what will be ap“ proved of by those angels who had ever laboured for “ their salvation, and that Lamb who had redeemed " them with his own most precious blood.” This is the great aggravation of their guilt; and renders them worthy of much sorer punishment; because they had trodden under foot the Son of God, and had counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith they were sanctified, an unholy thing, and had done despite unto the Spirit of grace, Heb. x. 29. Surely the Lamb who adjudges them to these torments will approve both of their degree and duration; and the holy angels will not only approve, but applaud his justice. Mr. W. next intimates, that he is not “yet fully satisfied that these words relate to “ the torments of hell b.” “ They belong to the wor
b Dr. Clarke understands then of the torments of hell, and makes a remark upon them to the same purpose with sir Isaac Newton's. “ Our Saviour himself, who loved us, &c. even he “shall say, to those who impenitently reject his gracious offers of “ life, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared “ for the Devil and his angels, Matt. xxv.41. And in the presence " of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb, who as“ suredly can take no pleasure in beholding any punishment but
“ shippers of the antichristian beast only.—They are “ very much the same with those, Isaiah xxxiv. 9, “ 10. already set down, p. 25. prius, they may be “ thought directly parallel to them, and to belong to " the vengeance to be taken on the enemies of God's “ people at the battle of Harmageddon only. Which “ surely is to be upon this earth, and not in ge“ henna, or hell. I determine nothing, till some fur“ ther light appear; as it will presently.” (P. 49.) This light appears to him in the very next page; where he owns, notwithstanding what he here says, (that this “ vengeance to be taken on the enemies of “ God's people, is to be upon this earth, and not in “ gehenna, or hell,") notwithstanding this, I say, he owns, that " whatever preludes to this dreadful pu“ nishment there may be upon this earth, at the s coming on of this fire and brimstone, at the great “ day; yet will the upshot of all be no other than “ the fire of gehenna, or hell;—and that Gog and “ Magog (the enemies of God's people perhaps at “ the battle of Harmageddon) shall be tormented “ there.” But of this in its proper place. See Num. XCVIII.
“ what is necessary, shall they be tormented with fire and brim“ stone, Rev. xiv. 10.” Sermons, vol. x. p. 356, 357.
So also St. Cyprian,—“In Apocalypsi quoque legimus," &c. And then reciting the words, concluding with those in the eleventh verse, Nec habebunt requiem die ac nocte, qui adorant bestiam et imaginem ejus ; he adds, “ Cum ergo hæc tormenta, “ hæc supplicia in die judicii Dominus comminetur iis qui Diabolo “ obtemperant, et idolis sacrificant; quo modo se putat,” &c. Epist. p. 162. ed. Fell.
c See Dr. Burnet de Futura Judæorum Restaurat. p. 380, 381.