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serve in being, or to destroy that being; but meant here only in the moral. As is also the next passage to be quoted; viz.


James v. 20. -he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.


1 Pet. iii. 18, 19, 20, and chap. iv. 6. These being the texts of the New Testament, on which Mr. Whiston grounds his doctrine of preaching, and repentance in hades, I reserve them, till I come particularly to consider that point. A point, the more needful to be considered, as it is not a mere speculation, but of great practical importance. For if men once begin to depend on I know not what preaching and repentance after death, all the arguments of preachers here to bring them to repentance before it, will avail little. It is, however, to be remembered, that be this matter determined as it will, the argument for the eternity of punishments after the judgment, when hades itself is over, stands as it did before.


2 Pet. ii. 1. who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, (αἱρέσεις ἀπωλείας,) even denying the Lord that bought

ferent and innocent,) speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law, (as if it were deficient, and blameable for allowing men such liberty:) but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge: which is absurd behaviour, and acting contrary to the truth of the case. There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy, (whose sentence alone is decisive, and by whose determination we must stand or fall :) who art thou that judgest another?

them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction (raxıνὴν ἀπώλειαν).

Whatever destruction be here intended, whether in this world, as the destruction then impending on the Jewish nation, or in the world to come, it cannot possibly, in either case, mean annihilation. Not in the former, it is plain, since no temporal destruction extends to utter extinction of being, but still leaves the wicked to be reserved unto the day of judgment to be punished, ver, 9. Not in the latter; because then by threatening swift destruction, instead of giving an edge to his threatening, the apo stle disarms it of all its terror, To men in misery. the swifter annihilation is, the better. It deprives them of all sense of pain, and lays them down in utter insensibility. I may only observe further, that the apostle speaks here, as if he thought that some doctrines, as well as practices, are damnable.


2 Pet. ii. 3. —whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.

Their damnation, ἡ ἀπώλεια αὐτῶν; the same word which in ver. 1. is rendered destruction: and as there it is called swift destruction, so here it is said not to slumber: and whose judgment, rò «pîμa, lingereth not. It is plain the same destruction, judgment, damnation, is meant in both places; and for the same reason it cannot be annihilation.


2 Pet. ii. 4. -God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment.

Hell here does not mean gehenna; for these sin,

ning angels are, as yet, only reserved unto judgment; therefore not judged already; nor, consequently, consigned over to that place of punishment which awaits them after the judgment. But they are cast down from those bright regions, which were τὸ ἴδιον οἰκητήριον, their own proper habitation, into the darkness of this world, Ephes. vi. 12. and kept in chains of darkness, (though with liberty to go about, seeking whom they may devour, 1 Peter v. 8.) unto the judgment of the great day, Jude 6. For the import and propriety of the word TapTapúoas, see Windet de Vita Functorum Statu, sect. xiii. which he thus concludes 9;-" Dicendum ergo angelos prævaricatores a luculenta illa regione, quam pridem incolebant, exulare: detinerique in ob"scuro caliginosoque atmosphærio, perinde ac male"fici in carcere vinculis constricti: quoad post ulti“mum judicium, fatalis illa hujusce mundi confla"gratio cesserit: quæ illos simul cum impiis homi"nibus horribili ruina pessunditos æternum cruci"abit." Compare Dr. Thomas Smith's Comment. in loc.




2 Peter ii. 9. to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished.

They are reserved to the same time, and to the same condemnation, with the angels in the preceding article: Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the Devil and his angels,

See Mr. Mede's Works, p. 31. who would have Taptapúσas rendered, not cast down to hell, as if it were done already; but, having adjudged them to hell torments, he delivered them to be kept, or reserved, for chains of darkness at the day of judgment : oг, Tаρтаρúσaç, casting down to hellward.

Matt. xxv. 41. Yet Mr. W. says, "this text con"tains nothing that relates to the duration of the " torments of hell." (p. 46.) The text by itself implies this, that their state, after the day of judgment, will be a state of punishment, not of insensibility; and, compared with other texts, it appears this state of punishment will be eternal: see Num. XXII. What he further says, about the time when the wicked are to be cast into hell, viz. not till the day of judgment, is very true, and contradicted now by none, that I know of, unless it be himself. He has something in this very book, which a great genius perhaps may reconcile; but to meaner mortals it looks very like a contradiction. Take his own words, p. 85.—“We may here take notice of a very "remarkable point of doctrine, with relation to "the nature and duration of hell torments; which


though implied by many ancienter authors before, "yet is here (viz. in Tertullian) plainer than in any "of the rest, viz. that this unquenchable fire is to "arise from our own earth, in its present state; "and to burn up the wicked while it is such an "earth, and no longer. So that unless this first "earth be to last as long as its Creator lasts; and "there is never to be a new earth at all; at least "unless this first earth be never to flee away, so "that no place be found for it; both which events


yet St. John assures us are to come to pass before "the resurrection, and the end of the general judg"ment; the duration of torments arising from this "first earth cannot be properly eternal, or coeternal "with its Creator."

I have read this passage over several times, and it appears to me to say plainly, that the wicked will

be cast into hell before the day of judgment. For if "this unquenchable fire is to arise from our own


earth, in its present state;" and not only so, but also "to burn up the wicked while it is such an earth, and no longer;" and if "this earth be to "flee away, so that no place be found for it ;" and there is "to be a new earth, before the resurrection, "and the end of the general judgment:" the consequence, I think, must be, that the wicked must be cast into hell before these grand events, the resurrection and the judgment, or not at all. They cannot be cast into it after them; for this hell is to be "our own earth," and to continue only "while it is “such an earth, and no longer;" but this earth is "to flee away," and there is "to be a new earth, be"fore the resurrection, and the end of the general


judgment." What he means by the end of the general judgment, I do not perhaps comprehend; but it is no matter. The resurrection will be prior to the judgment; for men will not be judged till they are raised again; (as he himself contends, p. 109;) and therefore if they are cast into hell before the resurrection, as his reasoning above implies, they are cast into it also before the judgment.

Again, how does the paragraph just recited agree with some other of his opinions? According to the principles laid down in his Theory, the general conflagration is not to extend to the dissolution or destruction of the earth, but only to the alteration and melioration of it; that it may be proper to receive those saints, who, at the first resurrection are to enter, live, and reign a thousand years upon it. When these are completed, comes the second resurrection, the general judgment, and the final con

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