Imágenes de páginas

risen up and shut the door, they shall stand without, crying Lord, Lord, open to us: to whom the master shall say, I know you not, depart from me.-After they them-selves shall have been thrust out, they shall see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and all the prophets in the kingdom of God.-The rich man in hell saw Abraham afar off and Lazarus in his bosom.-The saved shall go forth and look on the carcasses of transgressors, and they shall be an abhorring to all flesh.-The beast and false prophet, and by parity of reason, all men dying in wickedness, shall be cast into a lake of fire and shall be tormented forever and ever; Bacavio novla in the plural number, determining, that they, the devil, the beast and the false prophet, shall be tormented forever and ever. -The wicked shall be tormented with fire and brimstone, in the presence of the angels, and in the presence of the Lamb.

-But how can those who are annihilated, be said to be cast into fire, into a lake of fire and brimstone, and to be tormented there; to have no rest; to weep, and wail and gnash their teeth; to dwell with everlasting burnings? -As well might these things be said of them before they were created. How can they be said to plead for admission into heaven, and to reason on the subject with the master of the celestial mansions? How can they see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of God? How can they seeing Abraham and Lazarus in that state, enter into discourse with the former ?-Rev. xiv. 11. The smoke of their torment ascendeth up forever and ever, and they have no rest day nor night. But those who are annihilated, so far as they have any thing, have continual rest day and night.

The different degrees of the punishment of the wicked in hell prove, that their punishment does not consist in annihilation. Matt. v. 22, "Whosoever shall be angry

with his brother without a cause, shall be in danger of the judgment: whosoever shall say to his brother, raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, thou fool, shall be in danger of hell-fire."-The servant who knows not his master's will, and commits things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes, but the servant who knows his master's will, and commits things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with many stripes. It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon and for Sodom, than for Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum. The wicked shall receive according to their works, according to the fruit of their doings, and according to that which they shall have done in the body. The scribes and Pharisees were to receive the greater damnation, Matt. xxiii. 14.—But if annihilation be the punishment of the wicked, there is no difference between the punishment of the least sinner and the greatest, who die impenitent: which is both absurd in itself and absolutely contradictory to the scriptural account.

If it should be pleaded in answer to this argument, that though all the wicked shall suffer annihilation; yet the punishment of all will not be the same; as the more aggravated sinners will be made the subjects of misery for a while, and then be annihilated: it may be replied, that this supposes the curse of the law to consist in two things, temporary misery and annihilation. But where have we any hint in the scripture, that the curse of the law, as suffered in the future world, is such a heterogeneous compound as this?—After all, it seems, that annihilation is but a small part of that curse; for that alone will be inflicted on the least sinner only, and on account of the least sin; and all that punishment which shall be inflicted on any person, above that which is due to the least sin; is to consist in torment. Why then might not the constitution have been, that the small additional

part of the curse, which is to consist in annihilation, should likewise be inflicted in torment? This was very feasible. He who suffers the punishment of ninety-nine sins in torment, might by a small addition, in degree or duration to his torment, have suffered the punishment of an hundred sins. Add to the torment of every sinner dying impenitent, a degree or duration of misery, equal to that which is deserved by one sin, and that the least, and there would have been no need that any of them be annihilated, but having suffered the whole curse of the law, they would on the foot of strict justice be entitled to exemption from further punishment. And who having by misery satisfied for all the various and most aggravated sins of his life, would not choose to satisfy, in the same way, for the least of all his sins, rather than to be struck out of existence, and to lose inconceivable and endless enjoyment? As therefore this supposed constitution would be so apparently unnecessary and unwise, it cannot be expected to obtain credit, unless it be most clearly revealed in scripture, which is not pretended concerning it. Besides, this hypothesis places so small a part of the punishment of sinners in annihilation, that it cannot with any propriety be said, that the curse of the law consists in annihilation.

Should it be further objected, that though all the wicked be annihilated, yet their punishment may be of different degrees, as the losses they shall respectively suffer, will be different according to their various degrees of enjoyment or capacities for enjoyment: it may be answered, that the wicked are to be punished according to their several crimes. A man guilty of murder, will, if his other crimes be the same, be punished more than the thief, who steals the value of five shillings. Yet the enjoyment of the latter and his capacity for enjoyment, may be far greater than those of the former.

By annihilation therefore he would suffer a far greater loss. Not all those who know their master's will, and yet commit things worthy of stripes, possess greater enjoyments or capacities for enjoyment, than those who know not their master's will.

3. The punishment of the fallen angels does not consist in annihilation: and the damned suffer the same kind of punishment with them. That the fallen angels are as yet annihilated, I presume, will be pretended by no believer in divine revelation, and that they are not to be annihilated, will be evident, if we consider, that in expectation of that full punishment, to which they are liable, they asked our Lord, whether he were come to torment them before the time. It was torment then, not annihilation, which they expected. The present state of the fallen angels is a state of torment to a certain degree. They believe and tremble :" "They are reserved in chains under darkness, to the judgment of the great day," Jude 6: 66 They are cast down to hell," 2 Peter ii. 4: "The devil that deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and [they] shall be tormented day and night, forever and ever," Rev. xx. 10. This text proves,

(1) That the devil is now, before the general judgment, in a state of torment, in the lake of fire and brimstone.* And it appears from the question, which he put to our Lord, to which reference was just now had, that he anxiously dreads the removal, which he is to suffer, from this his present state, to that in which he is to be after the general judgment, and to which he and his angels, are reserved in chains. But can we suppose, that he would anxiously dread a deliverance by annihi

The scene of which this text displays a part, is manifestly an exhibition of what is to take place before the general judgment. This is evident from the context.

lation, out of the lake of torment by fire and brimstone? This would imply, that endless annihilation is more to be dreaded, than the endless torment which is the subject of this controversy. If so, Dr. C. ought to have dropped all objections to the justice of endless torments, since he allowed that the annihilation of the wicked would be just. And if that be just, then also endless continuance in the lake of fire and brimstone, which is the utmost punishment that any man holds concerning the wicked, and which is now supposed to be a less punishment than annihilation, is just.—But if it be granted, that annihilation is not so great a punishment as endless continuance in the lake of fire and brimstone; it is as absurd to suppose, that the devils should dread or tremble at the prospect of annihilation, as that a man tormented with the gout or stone, should dread or tremble at an assurance, that he should ere long be delivered from his tortures, and in their stead should suffer the prick of a pin.

(2) That text directly proves, that the devil is to be forever tormented, and not annihilated. "And they," [the nominative to be supplied] "shall be tormented forever and ever."-To say that this means, that the devil will be first tormented for ages of ages, and then be annihilated, leads into the absurdities before noticed.

But to this state of torment, in which the fallen angels are, and are to be, the wicked shall be sent. "Depart ye cursed into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels." "The devil that deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are." And as the devil is not to be annihilated, but punished with torments, so are the wicked.

4. Rom. ix. 22, affords an argument pertinent to the present subject. The words are, "What if God willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known,

« AnteriorContinuar »