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SCRIPTURE PROOFS OF
in duration, the other can by the same arguments. The proofs, that the righteous will be happy forever, is the same and no other than that the wicked will be miserable forever. Now as the original word is the same in both clauses, and as the contrast between punishment and life is carefully preserved, he must be blinded in no ordinary degree, who will risk the interests of his soul on interpreting the same word temporary in one instance and eternal in another, of the same sentence, and in reference to the same general subject, the future destiny of man. It has, however, been conlended that the punishment of the wicked here spoken of, will have an end. This they argue from the difference of the two subjects, from the difference of the two substantives to which the adjective is applied, and from other passages to which they refer us as parallel, where the same word is used in the same text in a sense totally different. Whatever difference there may be, between the two subjects there is, as we have remarked, no more evidence that the punishment of the wicked will come to an end than that the happiness of the righteous shall have an end. Whatever difference there may be between the two substantives, punishment and life, the adjective everlasting is applied to both and this so far as an antithesis can go to fix its meaning determines the word everlasting to mean the same when applied to punishment as when applied to life. I admit that in Hab. iii: 6, the same word is used in the same sentence in a different sense. But this passage is not parallel with the pasbage under consideration, for there is no such antithesis in that as in this. It has been thought by some that the everlasting ways of God denote the operations of his providence, by which the mighty potentates of Canaan were broken to pieces and their kingdoms totally subdued, and that the term everlasting in both instances is expressive merely of limited duration. But admitting that the everlasting ways of God are opposed to the everlasting hills, or that the former signifies absolute eternity while the latter denotes limted duration, still the antithesis and the subject direct us in this case to give them such an exposition; whereas in our text they direct us to the contrary. Our text is parallel to John v: 29, “Some
shall come forth to the resurrection of life and some to the resurrection of damnation;" and we might with as much propriety contend for two entirely different meanings to the word resurrection in the one case as to the word everlasting in the other. But as this passage before us will be further noticed in a subsequent lecture, I shall make no further remarks upon it.
“ But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation."* This will be considered in a future lecture. We shall therefore omit giving any comments upon it for the present. It is so plain and pointed that it needs no comment-"to never have forgiveness" is equivalent to endless condemnation. “Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and the glory of his power.”+ It is manifest that in this instance everlasting must apply to something beyond this life. The apostle is comforting the Thessalonians under their afflictions and persecutions which they suffered during the cruel reign of Nero and Domitian. They were directed to look forward to the final judgment, when both the belieyer's rest, and the recompense of the wicked will be consummated. They were directed to look forward to that "rest which remaineth for the people of God," which they would experience at the resurrection of the just,—when their persecutors and the heathen who do not acknowledge God, but worship idols, and all who do not believe the gospel of Jesus Christ, shall experience an everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and the glory of his power, ministered by the same hand that consummates the rest of the righteous. The time when this righteous recompense is to be made, is at the revelation of the righteous judgments of God, for then will he judge the world in righteousness. Now the heavens will retain or conceal Christ till the period of the last judgment. Then will he be revealed, so this recompense cannot be prior to the last judgment. The misery of those who are punished will run parallel with the line of eternity. Their destruction will not be the annihilation of their conscious being, but of their well-being. • Mark iii ; 29.
+ 2 Thess. i; 9.
“ Ani ue anges, thich kent ook tez isst estzze, bez ieit their wa habitzura, te bati rexerted in eteria.az caiss, under darknem, onto the judgment of the great day. Even a Sodom and Gomsrah, and the cities about them in lite masner giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange fiesi, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire." It has been objected that the fire of hell or eternal fire, is not here meant, for the following reasons: First, Peter mentions thecase of Sodom and Gomorrah, but says nothing respecting their going to bell—but this does not prove that Jude has not. Shall we reject the testimony of one inspired writer because all have not testified in the same words to the same point? Again, it is objected that Sodom and Gomorrah were set forth as an example, if the example were in a future state, for an example must be visible to be of any effect. But cannot a fuct which is known by sufficient testimony affect us as an example, unless we witness the fact with our own eyes? If so, the example of Christ can be no example to us. The testimony of the passage then remains unimpaired. In the passage we have a recital of the former judgments of God upon sinners with a design to awaken those to whom warning is given in the Epistles. The apostle reminds them of the fall of the angels who kept not their original office, but forfeited it by some misbehavior. They left their proper station, rebelled against their Creator and Sovereign Lord, and thought to have usurped the throne of Omnipotence. Hence God drove them out of Heaven, notwithstanding their power and numbors, and reserved them ever since, in everlasting chains of confinement, under darkness, unto the judgment of the great day to be punished. The design of introducing the fall of angels in this connection is to show how impossible it is for those who rebel against God, to effect their escape. Are angels reserved, and shall simtul man escape! In illustrating the same point, the apostle also Introduces Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them who are set forth as an example of that terrible punishment which is to Popi antitrui on the wicked at the general judgment, having unders
• Jude 6, 7.
gone the punishment of an eternal fire, a fire whose effects will be eternal. Thus will all the ungodly be punished with eternal fire at the general judgment—the consideration of which should lead them to speedy repentance. This I conceive to be the import and design
of this passage.
“ These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest, to whom the mist of darkness is reserved forever."** The persons spoken of in the context are false teachers who privily introduce destructive heresies, denying even the Lord who bought them,—who bring upon themselves swift destruction,—whose punishment threatened of old lingereth not, and whose destruction slumbereth not,—whom the Lord will keep in ward to the day of judgment to be punished, -as he spared not the angels who sinned, but with chains of darkness confining them in Tartarus, delivered them over to judgment, and as he did not spare the old world, and as he punished the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. After heaping upon them a number of opprobrious epithets he adds for whom the mist of darkness is reserved forever. Surely there is nothing in these epithets that would lead us to conclude that their punishment was some temporal calamity only. The blackness of darkness signifies a state of disconsolate misery. Here it denotes the punishment of the wicked after the judgment, which our Lord also has represented by being cast into outer darkness. Should any one however contend that this punishment of the false teachers was experienced in this life, he is required to show in what historical fact they experienced temporal calamities that were fitly represented by the mists of darkness forever, and by the casting down to hell the angels that sinned.
“And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up forever and ever.”[ " And they said Alleluiah, and her smoke rose up forever and ever."! 66 And the devil that deceived them was cast into a lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are and shall be
* 2 Pet. ii : 17.
† Matt. viii : 12.
# Rev. xiv: 11.
Il Rev. xix ; 3.
tormented day and night forever and ever.
:39* It is objected that “these passages have respect to punishment in a future state of existence.” But no reason is assigned why we may not understand them as a proof of everlasting punishment in the world to come. They have been so understood by our ablest and best divines, and no comments of my own upon them will render the grand truth they exhibit more manifest. I have now finished the examination of the particular passages in which these words and phrases are found in application to punishment. I shall therefore proceed to lay before you a concise view of the forms of speech in which endlegs punishment is taught in language equally explicit as in the terms everlasting, eternals forever, and forever and ever. But these we shall reserve for consideration in a future lecture..