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t'pon this Mr. S. observes, p. 27. "Here thi* parable leaves them, as do all the other representations of Christ upon the fame subject, in outer dark;
els and extreme misery. Who can bring them rotn the place and state in which the judge hath left them; they are unworthy, and are cast out from the marriage feast; and if/hat seast is to be an eternal one, as none will probably deny, their misery must be eternal." Z;ch. ix. 1. "As for thee also, by the blood of thy covenant, I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water." This is a good answer to Mr. S.'s question, "Who can bring them from the place and state in which the judge hath left them? The blood of Jesus, the blood of the covenant, will bring them all up from the pit, or from the lake of sire."
In the last clause of what we last recited from Mr, 5., is an example of very extraordinary reasoning, 'They are unworthy, and cast out from the marliage seast; and if that seast is to be an eternal one, as ffone will probably den)', the ir misery must be eternal."
Did it escape Mr. S.'s reflection, that the seast
night possibly bean eternal one, in the strictest and
nost rigid sense of the word, and yet that those now
excluded, might hereafter be admitted? Persons
unworthy, at one time, may not be so at another,
or not always unworthy.
Recking on the ancient character of the Sodom
ites, we should judge them very unworthy the divine favor. And, if we had seen them buried in the ruins of the conflagration of their city, and suffering (be vengeance of eternal fire; we should hardly have entertained a hope of their returning to their former estate. Yet God hath assured us they will. And he is fully able to effect such a moral change in those, once abandoned and abominable wretches, as shall prepare them for their return, and to become the objects of his eternal favor. It was incumbent on Mr. S. td have proved, that this exclusion from the marriage feast was to be more than a temporary one; whereas there is not one word in all the passage he recites, that signisies any thing of this kind.
At the close of Mr. S.'s observations on the parable of the ten virgins, he has the following expref* sions, p. 28. " There are no earthly events to which such descriptions as these can possibly apply, and the wise saviour of the world either spake without any meaning, or they mult be applied to the closing Of man's probationary state on earth, and the eternal consequences thateniue." I hope my brother S.'s views will be more enlarged hereafter than they now appear to be. We have no reason to think ihat any events, spoken of in the xxv. chap, of Matt, will be any where else but on this earth, or near it. Poes Mr. S. suppose that the scene of the general judgment wili be on some other planet, and that this earth will be deserted or literally burnt up, and rendered unsit for habitation ? St. Peter and St^Johft
were were of quite a different opinion. They suppose that, at the resurrection, the earth shall be transformed, in some part of it at least, and made a proper dwelling place for the saints; and thac the other part of it wiljl be the lake of sire into which the wicked will be cast at the close of the general j udgment.-rrThis transformation of the earth is no novel idea!the psalmist foresaw and predicted it, though, possibly, he might not foresee all the uses of the transformed and renovated earth. Ps. cii. 25, 26.—>.' Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the work of thy hands. They shall perish, but thou shalt endure : yea, all of them, shall wax old like a garment; and as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed."— That the consequences of the general judgment, as they respect either the righteous, or the wicked, will be immutable and eternal, we have no reason to think. St. John, as we have seen, speaks of very great changes, both with regard to the righteous and the wicked. Martyrs and saints shall reign with Christ a thousand years in persect peace :—satan, shall be restrained during this term ;—and wicked men shall be susseiing the second death :—at the close of this millenium, perhaps millions of millions of the human race shall rise to happy lise, join the saints in the new earth, and experieiice the effects of almighty power in destroying the wicked dead, and fatan at their head. Then, St. John tells us, the saints shall go on and reign with Christ far ages of
ages;— *£** ;—within which term all the wicked dead may he restored to virtue and happiness; and the second death, the last enemy, being destroyed, the mediatorial plan may close, and Jeliis deliver up the kingdom to the Father; and God shall thenceforth be all in all, for eternal ages. Mr. S. may think as I do in the present world, as to many of these events now named; if not, I am persuaded he will hereafter.-*-' We shall think more alike in the new earth, than we do in this old crazy one. Mr. S. next proceeds to recite our Saviour's representation of the grand and amazing scene of the general judgment. My readers are well acquainted with that representation. I shall recite only the last verse of the chapter. "And these shall go away into everlasting punishment; but the righteous into lise eternal:' An observation, which Mr. S. immediately makes, is this, p. 31.— "The words translated everlasting and eternal in the last verse, are expressed by .the fame Greek word in the original, and whatever duration of blessedness the righteous have, the fame duration of misery is declared concerning the wicked."
Mr. S. cannot intend, either from the real or customary meaning of the word's used by our Saviour, to prove the never ending punishment of the wicked, or the never ending lise of the righteous.— "And these shall, go away into everlasting punishment; but the righteous into lise eternal." Ftom both the words used to.signify the future punishment »f the wicked, it seems as though our Saviour really
intended5 intended to convey his meaning in a manner least liable to be misunderstood. The word kolafis, u« sed by our Saviour to express the future punishment of the wicked, properly, and in its most customary meaning, signisies chastisement. And the epithet applied to it aioonion, signisies es, or belonging to, an age, or dispensation, whether the age or dispensation be long or short.
Grotius, in his rights of war and peace, as 1 sind him quoted by Petitpierre, fays, "that the kind of punishment which tends to the improvement of the criminal, is what the philosophers called, among other things, kolasis or chastisement. Wyttenbach, quoted by the fame author, fays, "that God, by the infliction of sufferings, has three ends in view; the sirst of which, is the correction of the offender, in order to his future amendment. And that the Greeks frequently gave to such sufferings the name kolafis. As to aioonios, the derivative of aioon, it cannot signify, naturally, any more than of, or belonging to, an age; since the substaative aioon signisies an age.
The proper tranflation of the Greek of Matthew xxv. 46, is, «« And these shall go away into a state of chastisement; but the righteous into an age of lise." And this very well agrees with our Saviour's language elsewhere, and with the language of St. John. We have seen in a forecited text, John v, 28, 29, that all that are in their graves shall hear the voice of the son of man, and come forth, "they that have done good to the resurrection of lise j and