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that they may be utterly consumed in a few minutes k ? believe it who can! Besides, call you this taking vengeance? it is shewing favour. It is, in effect, reducing these sinners back again from gehenna, their proper place of punishment, into hades the separate state; where they cannot be punished by such external torments at all. Is it not infinitely more congruous to think, that the union between soul and body, just reestablished, will continue; and the whole person that sinned be punished ? Hear Mr. W. himself upon the point ; “ It deserves “ our remark further,” says he, p. 109. “ that the “ ancient Christians had little notion of directly pu “ nishing a separate soul, or a soul in another re“ hicle or body, for what the man, composed of a “ soul and present body, had been guilty of: and
* But suppose, to prevent dispute, we put hours or days instead of minutes, the thing is still absurd. And if we argue from the force and influence which fire has over human bodies here, it cannot possibly be many hours or days in consuming them. Mr. W. sure will not take refuge in the poor expedient of their bodies being miraculously preserved; a weight, with which he is often attempting to load the common opinion. But to remove it, I take the liberty to acquaint him, once for all, that he is entirely mistaken. We wholly reject all arbitrary acts, all miraculous interpositions, of mere power, either for destruction or preservation in this question ; being fully conscious, that if we cannot defend our side of it consistently with the nature and constitution of things under the laws of God's ordinary providence, we cannot defend it at all. But, to the point in hand, what I say is this; the Aaming fire here spoken of must either act as fire acts upon human bodies now, or not. If it does, it will consume the bodies almost as soon as they are cast into it; (which is absurd in reason, and contrary to the scripture representations of these future torments ;) if it does not, there is no consequence in the argument, that it will utterly consume the future bodies, because fire now consumes the present.
“ did hardly think it consistent with justice so to “ do.” Perhaps Mr. W. supposes, that the soul, after this second separation from the body, will be punished no more. He says nothing about it in the passage before us; but rather seems to think that body and soul will both be utterly consumed: but in a passage, formerly quoted, (see Num. X.) he intimates, that as the soul may not then be utterly destroyed, “ it may remain capable of a second re“surrection, after the second death is over.” Lay these things now together, and you see those terrors of the Lord which are to persuade men, reduced to little more, or no more, than what many have suffered in this world ; being burnt to death. The fire (he adds worms too, in the place referred to) will utterly consume the body, (and if at all, very quickly!,) and the soul, without any further punishment, will be capable of a second resurrection. How dare men trifle thus with the vengeance of that God, who is himself a consuming fire ? Sure some men's concern is only for the wicked, and their mercy confined to those whom God abhors. The virtuous and happy, and only valuable part of God's rational creation, are to be annihilated ; because, forsooth, “coeternity with God” (that is, if he means any thing to the purpose, eternity, à parte post,) “ is too vast and immense a thing to be expected.” (See p. 64.) The curable part of mankind are to be burnt (contrary to all reason, scripture, philosophy,
1 “In no very long time," he himself seems to think there is reason to “suspect;” (p. 139, 140.) and see the answer he makes to an objection rising hence, from the intermediate punishments iv. bades, which are nothing to the purpose; under Num. XXII. towards the end.
and common sense) in hades; some of them, it may be, for thousands of years. But when we come to the torments of the wicked in hell, their kóraris aioria is to be—what?—it is but too plain from what I have said already, and I will not repeat it.
But there is one passage of scripture, suggested by Mr. W. himself, which gives a decisive blow to his phantom of a second death, and a second resurrection m. St. John, in the xxth chapter of his Revelation, describes the general resurrection, and general judgment; I saw, says he, the dead, small and great, stand before God ;— And the sea gare up the dead which were in it; and death and hades delivered up the dead which were in them : and they were judged every man according to their works. Immediately after he adds; And death and hades were (themselves) cast into the lake of fire: this is the second death. The meaning of which is, if words have any meaning at all, that there shall no more be any such event as death, or the separation of soul and body; nor any more any such place or state as that of hades, or the separate existence of souls. These things, represented here as persons, must utterly cease to act, and to be;
m Cujus (mortis) non ea vis est, ut injustas animas extinguat omnino, sed ut puniat in æternum. Eam pænain, secundam mortem noininamus; quæ est et ipsa perpetua, sicut et immortalitas. Primam sic definimus; mors est naturæ animantium dissolutio : vel ita; mors est corporis animæque seductio. Secunda vero sic: mors est æterni doloris perpessio. Vel ita : mors est animarum pro meritis ad æterna supplicia damnatio. Lactant. 1. ii. c. 12. Confer l. vii. c. 10, II.
Infideles vero in ardenti stagno mittendi sunt; sulphureo fætore concreto : quæ nuncupatur veracissime mors secunda. Cassiodorii Complexiones, p. 228.
they shall never more affect mankind, being themselves cast into the lake of fire ;-into the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, chap. xxi. 8. And this (it is expressly said in both places, this) is the second death: therefore, not any future separation of soul and body; for the very being, power, and principle of death, in that sense, is destroyed; destroyed for ever in the lake of perpetual fire; and hades, as the consequence thereof, is destroyed with it.
Num. LXX. 2 Thess. ü. 3. —the son of perdition. See Num. XLVIII.
Num. LXXI. 2 Thess. ï. 10. -in them that perish. N. B. It is plain from the context, (contrary to what has sometimes been inferred from it,) that the terrible punishment here threatened is not any arbitrary act of God's power upon the hearts or understandings of men, deceiving them to their destruction, without any regard to their previous dispositions or conduct; but it is a just judgment, in the natural consequences of things, upon wicked and corrupt men, who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. For this cause God shall send them strong delusions, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned, (so that they will all be damned,) most justly, for their utter aversion to truth and virtue, wilfully and wickedly contracted by themselves. See Dr. Clarke's excellent Sermon on the words, vol. vin. p. 89. .
Num. LXXII. I Tim. vi. 9. —which drown men in destruction and per
dition., · With these words Mr. W. has joined part of the
VOL. 11. HORBERY. H
19th verse, translated as he pleases, viz. that the good may lay hold of the lasting life,) in order to introduce the following remark : “ N. B. Since we “ still find the opposition between the final state of “ the wicked and the righteous to be this, to the “ former utter destruction, and to the latter a last“ ing life;" (that is, utter destruction too, though at a vastly greater distance of time ;) “it is very hard “ that our paraphrases still suppose both to be equally “ a lasting life, or duration.” P. 43.
The only thing here that looks like an argument is the opposition between the final state of the wicked and the righteous. But this opposition, rightly considered, lies with all its weight against Mr. W.'s hypothesis, instead of serving it. For the final state, or Son aiários of the righteous, never means bare existence or duration, (which in itself is neither a punishment nor a reward, but may become the foundation of either,) but happiness, everlasting happiness. The final state therefore of the wicked, so far as this argument of the opposition holds, must be, not nonexistence, or utter cessation of being, but everlasting misery. The truth is, being and not being are philosophical niceties with which the scripture has no concern. The sanctions of God's laws are rewards and punishments, happiness and misery. Utter destruction puts an end to both, and, as applied in Mr. W's scheme to both parties, confounds all our ideas of right and wrong. Whenever it comes, though after millions of millions of ages, it must be a terrible punishment to the blessed in heaven, as it deprives them, not merely of existence, but of supreme felicity; deprives them of it, when, through their long and great improvement in virtue, and high advance