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away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take
away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen." (Rev. xxii. 10, etc.)
Having thus attended to what we find in the Holy Scriptures respecting the future punishment of the wicked, the following remarks may be made upon it:
1. Their punishment will certainly be very great and terrible. If it were not so there would not be so much said of it, and it would not be represented in such language, and by such figures and similitudes, as have been transcribed. It is said, they shall be cast into a furnace of fire, where they shall express their anguish, torture, and rage, by wailing and gnashing of teeth. They shall be tormented day and night, without cessation or the least intermission of ease, in a lake of fire and brimstone. They shall suffer God's fiery indignation and wrath, being in the utmost tribulation and anguish; and in punishing them God will show his wrath, and make his power known, they being vessels of wrath, fitted to this terrible destruction, etc. That must be a very great and dreadful evil which requires such language as this in order to give us the most proper idea of it that we can have in this state.
2. It is abundantly evident, from a great number of the passages of Scripture which have been cited, that tbis punishinent is to be extended beyond the day of judgment; yea, will then commence in its proper magnitude and terrible perfection. They are said to be reserved unto the day of judgment, to be punished. They are said to be treasuring up wrath while in this world, against that day of wrath; and then they are to receive the awful sentence from Christ, Depart, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, and actually go away into everlasting punishment.
3. Is it not surprising, that any who profess to adhere to the Bible as a revelation from God should believe there is no punishment for the wicked in a future state; or if there may be some degree of evil after death, it will not be extended beyond the day of judgment in any instance, but all will be perfectly happy from that time forever? This notion is so directly opposed to the Scripture account of this matter, and 'particularly the passages which have now been mentioned, that it may be expected they, especially the most sensible of them, who have embraced it, will either soon give it up and admit that the wicked will be punished in the future state after the day of judgment, or reject the Bible and turn deists. If they do the latter, they will be more consistent with themselves than now they are. If they persist in their present professed belief, with the Bible in their hands, they must be considered as remarkable instances of infatuation and “strong delusion.” They, indeed, say they have a number of passages of Scripture in favor of their opinion. But he who has with seriousness and attention considered the Scriptures which have now been produced, may be confident that no Scripture can be found to support a doctrine so directly contrary to such a great number of plain, express declarations; and that he must be under the power of great prejudice and enthusiasm who can be confident he has found one passage in favor of such a doctrine. However, the Scriptures they produce will be particularly considered hereafter, by which, it is hoped, the justice of this remark will be sufficiently supported.*
* To evade the force of the numerous declarations and threatenings of the future punishment of the wicked, which have been recited in the foregoing pages, they who deny that any man will be punished in the future state have suggested the following things :
It has been said, these threatenings are all levelled against the sins of men; and that these sins or evil principles in men, when separated from them, shall be punished.
But to talk of the existence and punishment, pains and sufferings of sins or evil principles in men, when separated from those who sinned, and they are made perfectly happy, is too absurd and ridiculous to need a serious and formal answer. And it is difficult to conceive how any man can be satisfied with such a solution, or even believe what he advances.
It has also been said, that this threatened punishment is to be inflicted on the devils, not on man.
ANSWER. Though this does not shock common sense so much as that just mentioned, yet it flatly contradicts what is expressed in every threatening; for wicked men are threatened, not devils. It undermines all ground of reliance on the Word of God; for, according to this, when he says, hundreds of times, that wicked men shall be punished, and particularly gives their character, he does not mean any such thing! Besides, when the devil shall be cast into the lake of fire, the beast and the false prophet are there with him, where they shall be tormented forever and ever. Yea, all the fearful and unbelieving, and murderers, and whoremongers, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the same lake of tire. (Rev. xx. 10; xxi. 8 )
Others have said, these threatenings are designed only to show what sinners deserve, and not what they shall suffer, for Christ suffers the whole; all the evil threatened falls on him. The sinner, therefore, will escape what he otherwise must have suffered.
Ans. 1. This is directly contrary to those threatenings and declarations. It is expressly said, in a great variety of passages, that wicked men, whose character is particularly and abundantly described, shall themselves, in their own persons, be punished : that God will infict it on them; and that these shall be rewarded according to their works, and receive of Christ the Judge according to what they have done in the body; and that these shall actually go away into everlasting punishment, etc.
Ans. 2. If those declarations and threatenings were only to declare and show what all men deserve, and not what any will suffer, or if they only refer to Christ, and he is the only person that suffers, then one man or class of men, of a particular character, could not be pointed out as the objects of these declarations and theatenings, more than all others; for, on this supposition, they must be equally true of all men, and equally applicable to them, whatever be their charVOL. II.
4. It ought to be observed, that though these Scriptures have been produced only to show that it is abundantly asserted that a sore and awful punishment awaits all the wicked in the future state who die impenitent; yet, from an attentive view of them, they prove more, even that this punishment will be without end. This has been remarked concerning a number of Scriptures that have been mentioned, in which the punishment is not expressly said to be everlasting; but that it will be so, is necessarily implied; and the same remark might be made concerning a number of others. And it may be observed here, that what the Scripture says of future punishment, being considered in one collective view, nothing can be found which carries the least intimation that this punishment will ever end; which we might expect, since there is so much said of it, if this were true; especially, since there is such infinite difference between a temporary and an endless punishment, and it is of such importance to men to know whether it be without end or not; but, on the contrary, the whole taken together, or if every passage be viewed separately, it carries the complexion of an endless punishment; especially since it is so often, and in such a particular way and connection, asserted to be eternal and everlasting. But as this was not to be particularly considered under this head, it of course brings us to the next section.
The Holy Scriptures teach that the future Punishment of the
Wicked will be endless.
It is particularly and abundantly declared in the Holy Scriptures, that the future punishment of the wicked will have no end.
The evidence of this proposition will be produced under the following particulars :
acter. Why then is this punishment threatened, and said to be inflicted only on one class of men, of a particular character, viz., those who have no love to Christ, are unbelievers, know not God, and do not obey the gospel, etc., while not one threatening, but promises of deliverance and salvation, are made to those of a different and contrary character, and it is abundantly declared that while the former are punished with everlasting destruction, the latter shall not be punished or condemned, but have everlasting life? This is impossible.
On the whole, do not such notions and evasions as these serve to show how weak and defenceless their cause is who assert there is no punishment for any man in the world to come, rather than to give it so much as any plausible supe port? Surely they tend to render the Bible useless and contemptible. Must not every consistent friend to that sacred book reject them with abhorrence, and not without surprise that they should ever be thought of by any man:
First. The punishment of the wicked is many times, in the Scriptures, expressly declared to be everlasting, eternal, and to continue forever.
These passages have been mentioned under the preceding head, but must be rehearsed here, with a view to illustrate this particular. “ It is said, that the wicked perish forever.” (Job xx. 7.) " When the wicked spring as the grass, and when all the workers of iniquity do flourish, it is that they shall be destroyed forever.” (Ps. xcii. 7.) The evil that is coming on sinners is called "everlasting burnings.” And the prophet Daniel, speaking of the wicked, says, they shall rise to shame and everlasting contempt. (Dan. xii. 2.) St. Paul, speaking of Christ's coming to judgment, to take vengeance on all that have not known and obeyed him, says, they shall be punished with everlasting destruction. The apostles Peter and Jude, speaking of the punishment of the wicked, say, “ To whom the mist of darkness is reserved forever." 66 To whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever. Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.” (2 Pet. ii. 17. Jude i. 7, 13.) And Christ himself has repeatedly declared, that the punishment of the wicked will be everlasting. “ He that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation.” (Mark iii. 29.) “ 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.” (Matt. xviii. 8.)
" Then shall he şay also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.” (Matt. xxv. 41, 46.) On the last-mentioned words, the following observations may be made:
1. Our Savior here gives a particular and solemn representation of the day of judgment, and states the issue of it, both to the righteous and the wicked, very particularly, and doubtless uses language that is quite plain and intelligible, so that the final state of one and the other is precisely stated, and will be clearly suggested, without need of any labored criticism. The subject is of infinite importance to all; and when our divine Teacher undertakes to give a particular account of it, and to tell all men, of every capacity, learned and unlearned, what are the different and opposite characters of those whom he will set on his right hand, and on his left, and what will be the sentence which he will pronounce on each ; what will be the reward and happiness of the one, and what the punishment and misery of the other, we may be sure he has chosen words that are most plain and easy to be understood, and best suited to convey the truth, and has properly guarded against every mistake. He has not left us in the dark about the duration of the happiness of the righteous, or punishment of the wicked, whether the one or the other shall be endless, or infinitely short of it, but most certainly has stated this important point, in which we are all so much interested, very precisely, so that we are in no danger of making a mistake, and of taking his meaning to be infinitely otherwise than it really is, unless it be wholly our own fault.
2. The word which our Savior uses twice, in this passage, to denote the duration of the punishment of the wicked, and tell us how long this shall last, he has used twenty times on various occasions, and in different discourses, and in every one of these instances he evidently uses it in exactly one and the same sense, and intends by it an endless duration. And when he uses it twice here on purpose to tell us how long the punishment of the wicked shall continue, is it possible that he should intend by it something infinitely different, a duration infinitely short of endless, and that without giving the least intimation of his using it in such a different sense? So far from this, he uses it in such a connection here as will naturally lead us to understand him as designing to express an endless duration, though he had never used the word on any other occasion. This leads to another remark.
3. The same word is used here, in the very same sentence, to express the endless life and happiness of the righteous, which is used to denote the duration of the punishment of the wicked. “ And these shall go away into everlasting punment, but the righteous into life eternal.” The word in our translation is indeed varied, though everlasting and eternal have precisely the same meaning, but in the original, the very same word is used in each part of the sentence, and might be most exactly rendered, These shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into everlasting life. If the life into which the righteous go be endless, which all grant, and Jesus uses a word here to express such a duration, then certainly the same word, used in the same sentence to express the duration of the punishment into which the wicked shall go, must mean an endless duration ; especially, as the life of the righteous and punishment of the wicked are set in direct opposition to each other. If the punishment of the wicked were temporary and must have an end, and the life of the righteous endless, so that the former is as nothing compared