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doctrines; and what fire can burn them? But I insist not upon this allowing that by the day is meant the day of judgment, and by fire, real literal fire; the meaning will only be, what every one grants, that the day of judgment will make a full distinction between true doctrines and false. The true, like gold, silver, and precious stones, will abide the trial; while the false will be destroyed, and come to nothing, as wood, hay, and stubble are consumed by fire. Thus the man will suffer loss; the loss of his work itself, and of the labour and pains he was at in building it. He himself, however, shall be saved. So that he is not one of those to whom our Lord will say, Depart from me, ye cursed, &c. and consequently nothing can be inferred from his case, concerning the perpetuity, or non-perpetuity, of punishment after the day of judgment; in which he is not concerned. But then, though he be saved at the day of judgment, yet he is saved so as by fire; "such," says Mr. W., " as the rich man under"went in hades," Luke xvi. 24. That point has been considered already; see Num. XXXIX. But I shall add here the words of the great Cudworth 3, that" to say that incorporeal substances ununited to "bodies" (and such, for any thing Mr. W. has said to the contrary, are human souls in the intermediate state)" can be tormented with fire, is as much as in "us lieth, to expose Christianity and the scripture, "to the scorn and contempt of all philosophers and philosophic wits." But what then is the meaning of being saved; yet so as by fire? Every one knows that it is a proverbial phrase, used not only in scripture, but in profane authors, to signify "a narrow Intell. System, p. 817.


"escape out of a great danger." Instances sufficient of this may be seen in archbp. Tillotson's sermon on this very text; who observes further, that the particle of similitude (s) plainly shews, that the apostle did not intend an escape out of the fire literally, but such an escape as men make out of a house or town that is on fire h. The point is really too plain to bear a dispute; and therefore Mr. W.'s reasoning (if one may call it so) upon the place proceeds wholly upon a mistake. Lesser sins and greater sins, if they have been repented of, will be forgiven in the world to come without burning; the salutary effects of which Mr. W. seems to have too high an opinion of. He makes some amends however, by owning, in effect, that the "denial of fundamentals by professed Christians, may be then irremissible." As for his subjoining" though not to be punished "with endless torments, but only with utter con"sumption;" it is a bare conjecture, contrary to the best philosophy; and, by his own confession, not directly asserted in any one text of scripture. See Num. X.


Num. LXI.

1 Cor. vi. 9, 10. the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, &c.-shall inherit the kingdom of God.

Theophylact observes, that the apostle here intimates, that there were some even then, who through false notions of God's goodness, or philanthropy, were willing to persuade themselves that he would not punish. But here is as plain a declaration, as a

h With difficulty, so as a man escapes out of a house which is on fire. Dr. Clarke's Sermons, vol. ix. p. 198.

few words can make it, of the exclusion of the unrighteous from the kingdom of God. And it is extreme folly and presumption to expect any afteradmission into it, when the sentence is once passed, and the door is shut; Be not deceived.

Num. LXI.

1 Cor. viii. 11. -Through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish? See Num. LIX.

Num. LXII.

2 Cor. ii. 15, 16. —in them that are saved, and in them that perish: to the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life.


2 Cor. iv. 3. if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost.

Num. LXIV.

Gal. v. 21. -as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Compare Num. LXI.

Num. LXV.

Gal. vi. 7, 8. Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption. Parallel to Rom. viii. 13. if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die. See Num. LVII.

Num. LXVI.

Ephes. v. 5. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, &c.-hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. See Num. LXI. LXIV.


Philipp. iii. 19. Whose end is destruction,


1 Thess. v. 3. —then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.

Num. LXIX.

2 Thess. i. 9. Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.


Which Mr. Whiston renders thus ;-" Who shall "have for punishment őλelpov alwvov, a lasting destruction, from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power." And his remark upon it is as follows: "This text is so far from affirming, as is "commonly supposed, that the wicked shall, at the "last day, be preserved in being, in order to the enduring everlasting torments, that it rather implies "the direct contrary; that the flaming fire into "which they are to be cast at that day, will, in "some time, utterly consume them." P. 43.


Now this version and this comment are, in my opinion, utterly inconsistent. If λelpos means annihilation, aivios must mean everlasting; for to talk of lasting annihilation only, as distinguished from everlasting, is nonsense. If the flaming fire, into which the wicked are to be cast, will utterly consume them, their destruction will be not barely lasting, but everlasting. But to let this pass; what is it that Mr. Whiston grounds his remark upon, that "this text implies that the wicked will be utterly "consumed?" is it upon the import of the word "^eOpos, destruction? that word here imports no such thing. As explained by Matt. xxv. 41, 46. it evidently means eternal exclusion from Christ, and departure into everlasting punishment. There it is,

Depart from me, (àn' èμoũ,) ye cursed, into everlasting fire; ver. 46. into everlasting punishment (eis Kóλαow alávov). Here it is, everlasting destruction from the presence (åñò πpoσáπov) of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; or, from his glorious power. To say the truth, Mr. W. does not seem to lay the stress of the thing upon the meaning of this word at all, but upon the flaming fire mentioned ver. 8. But how does this imply that the fire will utterly consume them? them too! as if the fire would utterly consume their whole persons, body and soul which he allows in another place (see Num. X.) it is not capable of doing. Well, but the fire will utterly consume their bodies. Does this text, or any text, imply this? if it does, it can only be for this reason, because it is of the nature of fire to consume human bodies. But can any one think seriously, that this fire will have the same effect upon the bodies of the wicked after their resurrection, which fire has upon human bodies now? What absurdities will not this run us into? for if this be the case, the fire into which they are to be cast will not only utterly consume them, in some time, but in a very little time. The present human body would be utterly consumed by such flaming fire in a few minutes. And will God raise up the bodies of the wicked, and reunite them with their souls, only

i Theophylact observes, that the flaming fire may be joined either with the taking vengeance, and so relate to the punishments in gehenna; or to the coming, or revelation of Christ, which will be in, or with, flaming fire: so David, Psalm xcvi. 3. (xcvii. 3.) A fire goeth before him, and burneth up his enemies round about: and Daniel vii. 10. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him.

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