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have taken place when the dissolution of the Jewish state, above alluded to, transpired? Was there to be more than one such coming of Christ? If so, as they are all similarly described, how shall we distinguish between them ?

A careful analysis of this text, with the context, presents the following as its chief subject-matters, viz. : The apostle writes to comfort the Thessalonian christians under their persecutionshe asserts the righteousness of God in recompensing tribulation upon those that troubled them—he promises them rest from these affictions when the Lord Jesus should be revealed, to take vengeance on the persecutors and rejectors of his gospel-this vengeance is termed “ everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.” In the next chapter the apostle terms the time of these transactions “ that day ;” and he cautions them against being deceived by reports that it bad already arrived, for it should not occur until “a falling away" had taken place; (alluding, no doubt, to some signal apostacy, ) and the “ man of sin" had been revealed, whom the Lord should “consume with the brightness of his coming." This very caution implies that the coming of Christ alluded to was not distant, although less near than some would have had them think; they would not, methinks, have been likely to be deceived with expectations of an immediate coming of Christ to judgment, if they had not been taught that it should happen at no great distance of time.

“ But then,” it may be objected, “ this epistle was written to a gentile church, and said church was situated in a gentile city; how then could the overthrow of the Jewish state concern them ?" Thessalonica, it is true, was a gentile city; but the number of Jews which were there seems to have been considerable, and quite influential also, (see Acts xvii.) and extremely active in their opposition to the gospel. “ Now, when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews. And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath-days reasoned with them out of 'the scriptures ; opening and alleging that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead ; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ. And some of thein believed, and consorted with Paul and Silas; and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few. But the

Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people. And when they found them not, they drew Jason and certain of the brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying, These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also.” (Acts xvii. 1–6.) I cannot doubt that it is to these the apostle refers in his letter to the christian church in this place, when he says, “it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you :" for such was the rancorous enmity of these Thessalonian Jews to the cause of Christ, (and indeed of the Jews in general,) that they followed the apostles with persecutions even to other and distant places : see what is said of their conduct at Berea. “ But when the Jews of Thessalonica had knowledge that the word of God was preached of Paul at Berea, they came thither also, and stirred up the people.” (ib. 13.) Similar notices of the opposition of this bigoted people to the apostles appear in several places in the book of Acts: see the following, for example, which relates to Antioch. “And the next sabbath-day came almost all the whole city together to hear the word of God. But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming.” (Acts xiii. 44, 45.) “And the word of the Lord was published throughout all the region. But the Jews stirred up the devout and honourable women, and the chief men of the city, and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coasts." (ib. 49, 50.)

“ But what," it may again be asked, “are we to understand by a destruction from the presence of the Lord ?!” &c. Literally, the presence of God is every where: “ Whither shall I go from thy Spirit ? or whither shall I flee from thy presence ? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day : the darkness and

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the light are both alike to thee." (Psl. cxxxix. 7–12.) There can be no getting out of God's presence, then, literally : this must necessarily be understood in some qualified sense, and that sense may well be supposed, a banishment from such place or places as Jehovah was supposed specially to manifest himself in. I need not inform my hearers that the land of Judea was thought by the Jews to be such a place ; more especially Jerusalem, and more especially still the temple there: To it, in their banishments, they turned their faces when they prayed. There shone the shekinah, the representative of the divine presence there was the holy of holies, where Jehovah was supposed to dwell between the cherubim. Jonah expressly identifies the temple as the place of God's presence : “ Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple.” (Jonah ii. 4.) So says David, repeatedly, (Psi. xcv. 2: c. 2.) The fact of Jerusalem being regarded in that light is still more plainly evinced in the following passage, which commemorates the forbearance of God toward the Jews, in not exiling them from their country : “ And the LORD was gracious unto them, and had compassion on them, and had respect unto them, because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and would not destroy them, neither cast he them from his presence as yet.” (2 Kings xiii. 23.) The following is also to the same effect: " For through the

anger of the LORD it came to pass in Jerusalem and Judah, until he had cast them out from his presence, that Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon.” (ibid. xxiv. 20.) Now if even the Jews were sojourning in foreign lands, yet, as they were in the habit of going to Jerusalem at the times of their great feasts and religious festivals, they might with equal propriety all be said to have been driven from God's presence, when their beloved city and temple were consumed with flames—their civil and ecclesiastical privileges taken from them, and they, scattered as a conquered and captive people amongst the different nations of the Roman empire.

" But the punishment is termed everlasting, and this," it may be said, “ signifies duration without end." On this feature of the case I shall not at present devote much time, as I design by and by to consider the scriptural uses of these words at large. One only view of the subject will I here take, which, however, I think ought of itself be sufficient. If the word everlasting, as used in the scriptures, strictly, and generally, mean endless duration, we then have two communications, resting equally on divine authority, which are in direct, and irreconcilable contradiction to each other. The one of these is an absolute promise that the Israelites should hold the land of Canaan by an everlasting possession. (Gen. xlviii. 4.) The other is that they should be exiled from their country, and scattered amongst all the nations of the earth. I need not quote authority for the latter, as it occurs in several places, and long since is so strikingly confirmed by fact. If the everlasting banishment of the Jews from their country were now brought to a close, it would even then have proved of as long duration as did the everlasting possession ; but the former may still continue as long in the future, for aught that appears to the contrary, as it already has in the past.

Let us now to the passage in Heb. ix, in which it is thought the doctrine of a judgment after death is directly asserted. Surely no text has been more trifled with, or more wrested from its purpose, than this : in order to make it speak a sense which it was never meant to speak, it is a usual practice of our opponets to mutulate it at both ends; from the beginning are clipped the words, “ And as," which agreeably to the laws of grammar, connect it inseparably with what goes before : and at the end is unceremoniously lopped off all that follows the word “judgment;" whereas the adverbial conjunction, “ so," by the same laws, indissolubly joins it to what comes after! By thus mincing the passage, our opponents have brought it into tolerable subserviency to the notion of a post mortem judgment. Correctly quoted it reads as follows: “ And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment; So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many: and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time, without sin unto salvation.” (Heb. ix. 27, 28.)

Who, that reads the whole connexion, can suppose the writer had any allusion to the death and judgment of men in common? Understood in such light it is as whimsical and vagrant an episode to the subject in hand, as was ever perpetrated by a writer in sober prose! It is a link of sand in a chain of gold!

Truth is, that Paul (or whoever is the author of this epistle) is speaking of a particular elass of men, and not of men in general ; this is confirmed by the Greek reading of the text. “ And as it is appointed unto the men (TOAS Qv@partous) once to die,” &c. Those, namely, with whom he is contrasting Jesus Christ in his priestly capacity-the Jewish high-priests. It is quite impossible for any one who candidly attends to the connexion to deny this. But I may be asked, “ In what peculiar sense did these men die ? and what are we to understand of the judgment which followed ?" Fair questions these, and they shall be fairly answered.

Paul, as I have said, is running a parallel between the Leviticai priesthood and that of Jesus Christ; the former did not continue long in one person “ by reason of death,” but Christ continueth forever, and therefore “ hath an unchangeable priesthood :” the saviour "needeth not daily as those high-priests to offer up sacrifices,” for this, (" when he offered up himself,”) he did once, forever: the Levitical priests went “into the holy places made with hands,” but Christ “into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:" the former entered “ with the blood of others, but Christ with his own blood;" the annual death of the former was but typical, not actual; the one sacrificial death of Christ was real, and personal. When the Jewish high-priest came out from the holy of holies, (having died, in the manner stated, “ for his own sins, and for the sins of the people,") he pronounced a judgment upon the congregation who waited with out the tabernacle for his re-appearance ; this was a sentence of acquittal of their errors of the past year; it was in the following words: “ The Lord bless thee, and keep thee The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee; The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.” (Num. vi. 24–27.) The author of the epistle to the Hebrews has most ingeniously accommodated this circumstance in the usages of Jewish worship to illustrate certain facts under the gospel : as, for example, the Levitical high-priest was seen after his ceremonial death by the congregation, looking for him, to their joy, and justification from the sins of the past year. So Christ, though dead, shall appear in the hearts of all believers unto their salva tion-salvation, not from the condemnation for sin merely, but from sin itself.

So much for this passage, so strongly relied upon by many in proof of post-mortem judgment. I put it to your candor and good

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