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told therein, that the elect are made kings and priests to God: certainly then, those who die in their sins, will never inherit any part of this double portion; but by falling under the power of the second death, must suffer the eternal punishment of disgrace and loss: for if he who laid up his one talent in a napkin, was cast into outer darkness for his negligence, how much lower will those be degraded, who, so far from improving many talents, grievously mispent them! and notwithstanding, In the fulness of time, “God will wipe away all tears from their eyes," yet, as these is a very great and manifest difference in the degrees of wickedness. in this present world, it is clearly evident (to me at least) that a very great distinction will remain among the children of men, after they are delivered from the actual pain and misery of the second death': and I think it no absurdity to suppose, that although their condition, after that deliverance, when contrasted with that dreadful state from which they are delivered, will be inexpressibly happy and comfortable; yet the scars and marks (if we may so speak) of that infernal fire, will remain upon them after their deadly wounds are healed. This disgrace and loss, therefore, will operate on them as a punishment to the endless ages of eternity. So shall that Scripture be fulfilled, “ the first shall be last, and the last first."
To return; that the word asylon signifies an absolute eternity, in either of the cases, mentioned in Mat. xxv. I much doubt. The prospect opened into the invisible world by our Saviour himself, in the account of Dives and Lazarus, compared with other passages of Holy Writ, indisputably proves, that there is an intermediate state, both of happiness and misery, preceding the final consummation (1 say restitution) of all things. Now it is clear to ine, that this text refers to that state, and to that alone; and therefore, as it is impossible to suppose that our Lord ever meant to contradict either himself or his messengers, the signification of eserie which from a defect in our language of a proper word to express its
That, in the fulness of time, they will be thus delivered, is clear to me from those astonishing declarations of our Lord and his apostle “ Behold I make all things new," and, “ The creation itself shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption, into the liberty of the glory of the sons of God.” What room for either sin, inisery, or torment, after this renovation and deliverance!
+ The Rev. Mr. Richard Clarke, whom I account an exceeding good judge, both of the language as well as of the essence and meaning of the Sacred Scriptures, translates this word conial, and says, adjective way cannot bear any other sense than the substantive citys from which it is derived; and this last, it is confessed, signifies sæculum. anage, or along duration of time. Ages, under the gospel, have respect to the types and shadows of ihe seven days and new moons, and sabbatical years; and in regard to Christ, they point out that time when he shall deliver up the kingdomn to God even the Father. Cor. xv, 24, 27, 28, 29." See his Gospel of the Daily Service of the Temple, p. 20.
Notwithstanding the whole weight of argument for the absolute eternity of hell torments rests almost entirely on the signification of the * above word and its derivative, the foregoing observation of Mfr. precise meaning, we render eternal, and everlasting (and which are often used in Scripture to express a long and indefinite duration) must be fixed by those plain and positive declarations of the almighty love, power, and justice of our Lord, recorded in John, xii. 32. “ And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto ine." And Luke xii. 48. “ He that knew his master's will, and did it not, shall be beaten witha many (not endless] stripes; while he that knew not his Lord's will,” (which is undoubtedly a vast majority of the human race)
« shall be beaten with few." “ These stripes, therefore, (as Mr. Clarke well observes) must regard duration, whatever that be, and which is represented by ages of ages, įn the book of the beloved Apostle*."
Clarke is abundatnly confirmed even hy our present translation. No
And again, in verses 40 and 49. So shall it be in the end of this for ever.
Mat. xii. 31. Whosoever shall speak against the holy ghost, it shall not be forgiven neither in this for ever, neither in the future.
Mat. xxviii. 'last verse. Behold, I am with you always, even to the consummation of the forever.
1 Cor. ii. 6-8. But we speak not the wisdoin of this for ever, nor of the princes of this for ever; but we speak the hidden wisdom of God in a mystery, which God foreordained before the for evers, which none of the princes of this for ever knew, &c.
Heb. ix. 26. But now once in the consummation of the for evers. hath he appeared, &c. See also Eph. iii. 9, and last verses.
Every unprejudiced person must therefore acknowledge, that there is clearly an end pointed out to some of the for evers mentioned in Sacred Writ. How much better then would it have been, to have literally and uniformly rendered it age or ages. And where repeated age, or ages of ages, as expressed either in the singular, or plural. And it we cannot perfectly understand the language of the Almighty, let us rather acknowledge our ignorance, than contend for an interpretation, which, by misrepresenting the Supreme Father of all, in the exercise of his divine attributes, has only served to confirın infidels in their prejudices against the whole Christian revelation; and to shock the feelings of mankind without convincing their understandings.. :
* Mr. Worsley in the margin of his translation, renders Mat. xvi. 26. “ What shall it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and be amerced in his life?” And the same interpretation (at animam suam mulctetur) is 'confirmed in the Antwerp interlineary version of 1583. As, therefore, a •fine, or mulct, is the loss of a part only, not the whole of a man's substance, is certainly (in my opinion however) a strong collateral proof the truth of the foregoing interpretations.
TO BE CONTINUED.
WESLEYS THOUGHTS ON THE NEW CREATION,
BY inserting in your Miscellany the following lines, being part of a
Sermon published by the Rev. John Wesley, M. A. you will much oblige
A CONSTANT READER
" Behold I make all things new." Rev. xxi. 5. 1. WHAT a strange scene is here opened to our views ! How remote from all our natural apprehensions! Not a glimpse of what is here revealed, was ever seen in the heathen world. Not only the modern, barbarous, uncivilized heathens have not the least conception of it, but it was equally unknown to the refined polished heathens of ancient Greece and Rome. And it is almost as little thought of or understood, by the generality of Christians : I mean, not barely those that are nominally such, that have the form of godliness without the power ; but even those that in a measure fear God and study to work righteousness.
2. It must be allowed, that after all the researches we can make, still our knowledge of the great truth, which is delivered to us in these words, is exceedingly short and imperfect. As this is a point of mere revelation, beyond the reach of all our natural faculties, we cannot penetrate far into it, nor form any adequate conception of it. But it may be an encouragement to those who have in any degree tasted of the powers of the world to come, to go as far as they can go, interpreting Scripture by Scripture, according to the analogy of faith.
3. The Apostle, caught up in the visions of God, tells us in the first verse of the chapter, " I saw a view heaven and a new earth." And adds, ver. Si “ He that sat upon the throne said, (I helieve the only words which he is said to ulter throughout the whole book,) Behold, I make all things new."
4. Very many commentators entertain a strange opinion, that this relates only to the present state of things, and gravely tell us that the words are to be referred to the flourishing state of the church, which commenced after the heathen persecutions. Nay, some of them have discovered, that all which the apostle speaks concerning the “ new heavens and the new earth," was fulfilled when Constantine the Great poured in riches and honours upon the Christians. What a miserable way is this of making void the whole counsel of God, with regard to all that grand chain of events, in reference to his church, yea, and to all mankind, from the time that John was in Patmos, unto the end of the world! Nay the line of this prophecy reaches further still. It does not end with the present world, but shows us the things that will come to pass
when this world is no more. For, 5. Thus saith the Creator and Governor of the universe, “ Behold I make all things new: all which are included in that expression of the Apostle, “ A new heaven and a new earth." “ A new heaven."
The original word in Genesis (chap.'1.) is in the plural number. And indeed this is the constant language of Scripture; not heaven, but heavens. Accordingly the ancient Jewish writers are accustomed to reckon three heavens. [In conformity to which the Apostle Paul speaks of his being caught up into the third heaven.” It is this, the third heaven, which is usually supposed to be the more immediate residence of God-so far as any residence can be ascribed to his omnipresent spirit, who pervades and fills the whole universe. "It is here (if we speak after the manner of men, that the Lord sitteth upon his throne, surrounded by angels and archangels, and by all his flaming ministers.
6. We cannot think, that this heaven will undergo any change, any more than its great inhabitant. Surely this palace of the Most High was the saine from eternity, and will be world without end. Only the inferior heavens are liable to change; the highest of which we usually call the starry heavens. This, St. Peter informs us, " is, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment, and destruction of men.” In that day,
being on fire," it shall first “ shrivel as a parchment scroll:" then it shall “ be dissolved," and "shall pass away with a great noise:" lastly, jt shall “ fee from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and there shall be found no place for it."
7. At the same tiine " the stars shall fall from heaven," the secret chain being broken, which had retained them in their several orbits from the foundation of the world. In the meanwhile the lower, or sublunary “ heaven," with “ the elemer.is (or principles that compose it) “ shall melt with fervent heat," while “ the earth, with the works that are therein, shall be burnt up." This is the introduction to a far nobler state of things, such as it has not yet entered into the heart of inen to conceive; the universal restoration, which is to succeed thc universal destruction.
ROBINSON CRUSOE AND HIS MAN FRIDAY,
DEAR SIR, IN the Biographia Brittannica, published by the late excellent Da.
Kippis, may be found the following curious anecdote respecting the doctrine of Universal Restoration. It is in the life of De Foe, and relates to his famous production of Robinson Crusoe : I have transcribed it, supposing it not altogether unsuitable to the nature of
your instruétive Miscellany.
MANY fine displays of natural sentiment (says Dr. Kippis) occur in Robinson Crusoe's man Friday; and there is one, which, in reading ito appeared, to the present writer, particularly striking. It is in the conversation which Crusoe has with Friday concerning the devil. Friday, being informed by his master that God was stronger than the Devil, asks, “ If God mych strong, much might as the devil, why God: Aot kill the devil, so make him no more wicked?" At this question Crusoe was greatly surprised and embarrassed, but having recovered himself a little, he answered, that God would at last punish the devil severely; that he is reserved for judgment, and is to be cast into the bottomless pit to dwell with everlasting fire. Still, howerer, Friday, not being satisfied, returns upon his master, repeating his words• Reserve at last! mne no understand. Bur why not kill the devil now? why not kill great ago?"" You may as well ask me, replied Crusoe, why God does not kill you and me when we do wicked things here that offend him; we are reserved to repent and be pardoned." Ar this Friday, mused awhile, and then said, mighty affe&tionately, "Well, well, that well ; so you, I, devil, all wicked, ALL preserve, repent God pardon all."
Perhaps (observe the Doctor) it would be going too far to assert that De Foe intended covertly to insinuate that there inight be a more merciful distribution of things, in the final results of divine providence, than he dared at that time openly to exhibit.
Be this as it may--and Dr. Kippis speaks very modestly about it certain it is, that the honest unsophisticated heart of Friday thought, and rejoiced in the thought, that the mercy of the Supreme Being would einbrace the whole creation.
I am, Sir,
THE ZEAL OF A SCOTCH OFFICER.
SOON after the conclusion of the French war, in the time of Queen
Anne, a young pert officer, who had but lately entered the service, came to the ordinary at the Black Horse Ion, Holborn, where Major Johnson, a brave, sough, old Scotch officer, a religious man, usually dined. The young gentleman, while at dinner, was venting some infidel notions, and speaking, in the gaiety of his humour, against the dispensations of providence. The major, at first, only desired him to speak more respectfully of one whom all the company reverenced; but finding him run on in his extravagance, began to reprimand him in a inore serious manner. • Young man, (said he) do not abuse your benefactor whilst you are eating his bread. Consider whose air you breathe, whose presence you are in, and who it is that gave you the power of that very speech which you make use of to his dishoncur." The young spark, who thought to turn matters to jest, asked him if he was going to preach; but at the same time desired him to take what he said to a man of honour. “ A man of honour! (says the major) thou art an infidel and a blasphemer, and I shall use thee as such." In short, the quarrel ran so high, that the young officer challenged the major. Upon their coming into the garden, the old gentlemen advised his antagonist to consider the place into which one pass inight plunge him; but finding him to grow upon him to a degree of scurrility, as believing the advice proceeded froin fear,“ Sirrah! (said he) if a thunderbolt does not strike thee dead before I come at thes, I shall not