Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

C's scheme, very small, compared with what it is on the opposite scheme, is manifest at first sight; it is infinitely less. And that it is far less, nay infinitely less than the wicked deserve, is manifest by what Doctor C. as well as his oponents, allows, that all who are saved, are saved by unbounded grace. Therefore, if the damned be finally saved, as they are saved by unbounded grace, they are punished infinitely less than they deserve. Also, that according to Dr. C's scheme, the wicked are to be punished with a disciplinary punishment suited to the good of the subjects, is manifest from his whole book.-Now that this punishment of the wicked does comparatively encourage vice, may be illustrated by an example. It is generally agreed that murder deserves death. But suppose a law should be made, by which no murderer should be punished with death, or with any other punishment to be continued longer, than till he should repent. Would not such a law as this, compared with the law as it now stands, naturally and directly tend to encourage murder? I need not make the application.

Doctor C. seems to think that his doctrine of future punishment even more powerfully restrains from sin, than the doctrine of endless punishment, because his doctrine is more credible to men in general. But are we to inquire what is most likely or most easy to be believed by men in general, to determine what is most likely to restrain from sin or to be the real truth of God? Then certainly the doctrines of the divine character and mission of Christ, of his miracles, resurrection, ascension, &c. &c. in short the doctrines of christianity in general, are not so likely to restrain men from sin as the doctrines of mere natural religion. Or if it be said that those doctrines are capable of such proof, as will satisfy and convince all candid inquirers; the same is said of the doc trine of endless punishment,

I have now finished my reply to Dr. C's answers to the arguments in favour of endless punishment; and having before considered his arguments in favour of his own scheme; I shall proceed to some arguments in confirmation of the doctrine of endless punishment.

CHAPTER XVI.

IN WHICH SOME DIRECT ARGUMENTS ARE PROPOSED, TO PROVE
THE ENDLESS PUNISHMENT OF THE WICKED.

I AM sensible that my book is already protracted to a
considerable length. Therefore to relieve the patience
of the reader, I shall endeavour to crowd this part inte
as narrow a compass as possible. Indeed if the answers
already given to the objections to endless punishment, be
sufficient, the less needs be said in way of direct proof.

The various texts always brought in discourses on this
subject, come now with full force, in proof of this doc-
trine. As Matt. xviii. 8;
"It is better for thee to enter
into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands
or two feet, to be cast into everlasting fire." Chap. xxv.
41; "Then shall he say unto them on the left hand, de-
part from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire prepared
for the devil and his angels." Verse 46th; "These
shall go away into everlasting punishment." 2 Thess. i.
"Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction
from the presence of the Lord and the glory of his
power." 2 Pet. ii. 17; "To whom the mist of darkness
is reserved forever." Jude 13; "To whom is reserved
the blackness of darkness forever." Rev. xiv. 10, 11;
"And he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone, in

9;

the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up forever and ever." Chap. xix. 3; "And again they said, Alleluia and her smoke rose up forever and ever." Chap. xx. 10; "And 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."

The evasions of these texts have been particularly considered, and it is hoped, sufficiently answered.

The Greek words used in these texts are, αιώνιος, εἰς αιώνα and εις 7ους αιώνους των αιώνων. From an inspection of every text in which these words and phrases are used in the New Testament, it has been found, with regard to the first, that quite contrary to Dr. C's account, it "is almost perpetually," i. e. in the proportion of 66 to 2, used in the endless sense; setting aside the places in which it is applied to the punishment of the wicked. With regard to the other two phrases, it has been found, that they are without exception used in the endless sense. Nor does the Greek language furnish any word more determinately expressive of endless duration: and notwithstanding what Dr. C. says to the contrary, it appears that they do as properly and determinately express an endless duration, as the English words eternal and eternity. If therefore these words be explained away to mean a mere temporary duration, it is impossible that any words be used, which would not suffer the same treatment from the same hands.

The texts concerning the sin against the Holy Ghost. still remain a clear proof of endless punishment. They are Matt. xii. 31, 32, "The blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, shall not be forgiven unto men-Whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world neither in the world to come."

[ocr errors]

Mark iii. 29; "He that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost, hath never forgiveness; but is in danger of eternal damnation." Luke xii. 10; "Unto him that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven."

So long as the gospel rejects every idea of the salvation of men without forgiveness, so long will these texts confute the salvation of all men.

To these I may add the following texts; 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." So that we are not to pray for those who sin unto death. Why not? evidently because their salvation is impossible. If their salvation be possible, I presume no sufficient reason can be given, why we should not pray for it. If it should be said that we are not to pray that the salvation of such should be immediately accomplished, but that it may be accomplished in due time: the answer is at hand, that we are not at liberty to pray that any man may be saved out of due time; and in this sense we are prohibited to pray for the salvation of any man.

Heb. vi. 4—6; "For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come; if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance." Since it is impossible to renew such to repentance, it is according to Dr. C. as well as the scripture, impossible that they be saved. Of like import is chapter x. 26, 27; "For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment, and fiery indig

nation, which shall devour the adversaries." If there remain no more or no longer a sacrifice for sins; then neither will the man whose character is here described, be able by his own sufferings to make a sacrifice or satisfaction for his sins, nor will the sacrifice of Christ be longer of any avail to him. And if the judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries, remain for him; he must suffer them without a possibility of escape, either by the sacrifice of Christ or in consequence of his own sufferings.

*

The wo denounced by Christ on Judas also seems to remain a demonstrative proof of endless punishment. Matt. xxvi. 24, and Mark xiv. 21; "Wo to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed: good were it for that man if he had never been born." Let Judas suffer a temporary misery of ever so great duration, it must be infinitely less than an endless duration of happiness. So that if Judas were finally to enjoy endless happiness, he would be an infinite gainer by his existence, let the duration of his previous misery be what it might. It was therefore on the supposition of his final salvation, not only good, but infinitely good, that he had been born: which is a direct contradiction to the declaration of our Saviour.

In connexion with this passage, I shall introduce the following; Luke vi. 24; "Wo unto you that are rich: for ye have received your consolation." On the supposition of the salvation of all men, the rich do by no means receive in this life their consolation; but they are to receive infinitely the greatest consolation in the future life.-Psalm xvii. 14; "From men of the world, who have their portion in this life;" Plainly implying that they are to have no portion in the future life. Luke xvi. 25; "Son, remember that thou in thy life time receivedst thy good things." If all shall be saved, the

« AnteriorContinuar »