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the earth suddenly ensnared by the destruction of Jerusalem. To the Roman empire, then the greatest part of the world, those were days of triumph and dividing of spoils.
And then what is meant by sending his angels with the sound of a trumpet, and gathering his elect from the four winds? Should it be said that this is a figure for the spread of the gospel in all parts of the world, aud the gathering of christians into the church, I answer, this interpretation presupposes that the preaching of the gospel to all parts of the world, was cotemporaneous with the destruction of Jerusalem. But it does not appear from history that the publication of the gospel to the heathen, received any new and special impulse, while the work of destruction was going forward upon Jerusalem. But this phraseology is specially appropriate to Christ's coming to raise the dead, and judge the world. And you might, with as little violence to the language, where the Apostle says-The Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, and with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God, and the dead shall rise first-say, this is only a figure for the powerful and effectual preaching of the gospel; and so you might undermine all the proofs of a resurrection.
Further, we are exhorted to watch, because we know not at what hour this coming of Christ will overtake us, whereas the disciples were made to know by distinct signs, as to the time when the national dangers were approaching, in order to facilitate their flight. But they were given to understand that the world could determine by no precursors, when the morning of the resurrection would open upon them, because no flight could evade the terrors of that day. Of two women grinding at a mill, or two men in the field, the one should be taken and the other left. And so unavailing would be all efforts to escape, that he who should attempt to save his life, should lose it, and he that would lose it, should save it. This circumstance effectually characterizes the final coming of Christ, of which his people were forewarned, to watch and make timely and strenuous efforts to escape the perils.
I trust it will now be seen, that there is language in this
chapter which cannot be appropriately applied to anything short of the scenes of the last day. And that all the universalist conclusions, drawn from the application of the whole of chapter 24th to the scenes of Jerusalem's destruction, are unsound.
We come now to the 25th chapter. Much reliance is made on the particle "then" commencing the parable of the Ten Virgins, as a connecting link between the two chapters. But as I admit that the same general subject is continued from the last part of the 24th, into the 25th, I shall have no need to dispute it. Neither the parable of the ten virgins, nor of the unfaithful servant, need be particularly considered. The scenes of Jerusalem's destruction, could hardly be represented as a marriage festival, even to the christians. For they were even to them, scenes of consternation and flight. And much less is the parable of the servants capable of such a meaning; for where, in those scenes, was the distribution of rewards, according to what each had gained? Was the more faithful christian who had gained his five talents, able to make better speed towards the town of Pella, than he who had gained but two? And was the advantage of this flight to Pella, the glorious reward, with which the faithful in Christ's kingdom are crowned?
If we look now, at the passage directly under consideration, we shall find insuperable difficulties in applying it to Jerusalem's destruction. When the Son of Man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him. Mr. W. will have us understand that the holy angels, here represent the Roman armies; and justifies the interpretation by the instance of the Assyrian army, sent for the punishment of Israel, being called God's army. But he gives us no reason why the Roman army, composed of heathen, and the enemies of christianity, should be called HOLY, his holy angels. When a man is driven to the necessity of making holy angels out of a Roman army, it is time for his opponents to lay down their pens. Is it from such holy angels as these, that the Redeemer collects the splendors of his train, when he comes to judge the world in righteousness?
Again, there was not an assembling of all nations before the throne of Christ's glory in that event, nor anything which answers to it. It was not an event which very particularly affected all nations. For this Mr. B. and Mr. W. have the same answer, i. e. that the phrase, all nations, is used twice before in this discourse, when all nations really are not meant. Ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake.—And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations. That the apostles were hated of all nations, and that they preached the gospel to all nations, Mr. B. admits; but denies that this passage is to be understood of all individuals of all nations. But there is one consideration which he overlooks; the separation in the text is of individuals, as such, as the shepherd divideth the sheep from the goats. And then the preaching of the gospel is the making of sheep and goats, and not the sitting in judgment on them after they are made. And then how could the results of the preaching of the gospel, even if it were called the assembling of all nations, be represented as a part or appendage to the destruction of Jerusalem? All nations to whom the gospel had been preached, according to our authors, are represented as collected to have a part in this scene, for the purpose of receiving their doom. And the one class adequately rewarded for all their piety, and the other for all their hatred of the gospel. But on what page of history stands the record of this? Mr. W. thrice repeats his own assertion, that all nations were assembled at this time, and then leaves us staring in every direction in vain, to see them so assembled. Besides, the Roman army which we have just been taught were the all of the holy angels of God, are a part of these all nations, who hated Christians, and who were assembled to be judged for so doing. This Roman army then, were both the executioners of justice, and the fclons who felt its weight. In still another point, the interpretation is lame. What judgments were here inflicted upon the pagan world, for their hatred of the gospel and their murder of its preachers? History gives us no account of sufferings, sent upon them through the destruction of Jerusalem. Probably
Mr. Balfour's next edition of his Second Inquiry will inform us that it consisted in the immense wealth, which the pagan world carried away from the plundered cities of Judea.
Equally ridiculous is his disposal of the passage, which speaks of the devil and his angels. He makes the devil to mean the Jews. But who were they on the left hand on whom the curse was thundered? They also were Jews. If Jews and the devil are synonymous here, we may read it, Depart, ye cursed Jews, into the fire prepared for the Jews and his angels, or, Depart, you cursed devil, into the fire prepared for the devil and his angels. And then according to this who were the devil's angels? "The emissaries of the Jews," says Mr. W. Very well. But who were the Jews' emissaries? The Jews were too much reduced in power and influence in the world, long before this, to have under them a class of men by this name, a class of men for whom a fire was prepared with themselves.
But they have made their most shiftless evasion of the passage-These shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal. They deny that eternal life has reference to anything enjoyed in the future world, but they make it the joy in the Holy Ghost, experienced by Christians in this world. But if it be nothing more, how can it be represented as a reward for righteous conduct? It is no more than what the righteous already had before these formalities of the judgment. The Universalist interpretation of this passage amounts to this-These, that is the Jews, and all pagan enemies of the gospel, shall go into the punishment which was inflicted by the Roman army on Jerusalem, figuratively called everlasting punishment; and the righteous shall go away into that state of happiness, in which they always have been since their conversion, figuratively called eternal life. And then you will ask, what means that word everlasting? The punishment is held up as terrible because everlasting? And you are told it means the everlasting reproach, that rests upon that nation till this day. But you will still inquire, how that reproach now existing, could be a terror to individuals then living, and
how the wicked men of the all nations gathered there, could have their punishment, their everlasting punishment, in the infamy which came upon the Jews? But these questions will be asked.in vain.
Once more. The language before us is that of a judicial sentence. The words-Depart ye cursed into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels, are taken from the mouth of a judge uttering sentence at the close of a trial— which circumstance of itself excludes the figurative interpretation put upon it. Judges are not wont to give sentence in poetry or hyperbole. The nature of the case requires that the sentence of the law be expressed with the greatest possible exactness and precision. That every word be so measured as, to express the thing intended, and no more. And the general practice of courts corresponds with this rule. Whenever you read a solemn sentence of death pronounced by our courts you read language framed with the most studied precision, at the farthest remove from all metaphor or exaggeration. The judge is seen to speak as if from the consciousness that the condemnation which, as the organ of the law, he utters, has itself a weight which it is far from desirable to aggravatę by the swell of turgid phraze. If there is any occasion when such rhetorical expedients are utterly inadmissible, not to say unnatural and ridiculous, it is that of a judicial sentence. A judge may use what style of language his feelings dictate, when laboring to produce an impression on the criminal, and on the spectators, by a statement of the grounds of the condemnation. But when he comes to the simple utterance of the last voice of the law, he of necessity falls into language the most naked and literal, that can be found. Statutes written in poetry, would not be a greater solecism, than hyperbole in a judicial sentence. But in the verse before us we have the judge of all nations, uttering sentence after trial, from his throne of glory— a senterce touching the weal or woe of all nations—and surely if any conceivable occasion could require the language to be used according to its most obvious meaning, it must be this. And yet our authors will have us understand it all as the most