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which he intersperses in all his instructions, relate to the approaching ruin of Jerusalem: and among the rest, we inust believe that the
, text is of this description. There is, however, not only an improbability on the face of their assertion, but it is wholly unsustained. Life no where means an enjoyment of the temporal privileges of the true church. To enter into life, may denote entering into the kingdom of God, when this last expression is used for heaven, but in no other case. Though enough has been said to establish the proof, which the text affords, of future punishment, yet:I cannot forbear adverting to the unanswerable confirmation, furnished by an analogous passage in the thirteenth chapter of St. Luke. “Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved ?” What is the import of this inquiry? saved from what? from the destruction of Jerusalem ? The answer of Christ will determine. 66 And he said unto them, strive to enter in at the strait gate; for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in and shall not be able. · When once the master of the house is risen up and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without and to knock at the door, saying,
saying, Lord, Lord, open
unto us; and he shall answer, I say unto you, I know you not whence ye are: then shall
ye say; we have eaten and drunk in thy presence and thou hast taught in our streets. But he shall
say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are : depart from me all ye workers of iniquity. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.” The figure of shutting to the door, seems to refer to the close of probation; and the banishment of the workers of iniquity, from the presence of Christ, when seeking for admission, is utterly inexplicable, on any supposition, but that of a final judgment. But what should set the subject at rest, is the closing representation ;—" And there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.” This, as well as the other facts here stated, has not yet taken place, and can be fulfilled only at the close of the world. Then, and not till then, shall they “ come from the east and from the west and from the north and from the south, out of all nations, " and sit down in the king
đom of God.” This account must not only be regarded, as an illustration of the views which have been taken of the text, but also, as an independent proof of future punishment.
2. 6 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things which offend and them that do iniquity; and shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” This seems to be sufficiently explicit and intelligible, especially if we read in connexion with it the following text. 66 So shall it be at the end of the world ; the angels shall come forth and sever the wicked from among the just, and shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” This too, it is said, relates to the destruction of Jerusalem, at which time the Jews ceased to be a nation. But in that event the declaration was not accomplished, that the wicked shall be separated from the just, and that all things which offend shall be gathered out of Christ's kingdom. Not to say, that this is predicted to take place
Math. xiii. 41, 42, 49, 50,
at the end of the world, which it will be difficult to prove, means the end of the Jewish state; it is obvious, that Christ has never yet gathered out of his kingdom, all things which offend and them which do iniquity. It should also be noticed, that gehenna and the furnace of fire are synonymous expressions.
3. “Many shall come from the east and west and shall sit down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom (the Jews who had enjoyed the privileges of the kingdom of God on earth) shall be cast into outer darkness : there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." The kingdom of heaven in this place, manifestly means the heavenly world. When many of the Gentiles are admitted into it, in company with the pious ancestors of the Jews, they themselves are to be cast into outer darkness, where they are to suffer the most excruciating torments. The representation of men coming from all parts of the earth, and entering inio the immediate society of the patriarchs, while the unbelieving children of the visible church are cast
Math. viii. 11 12.
into a dark and miserable place by themselves, is not applicable to any events, which have taken place in this world. In the fifth chapter of St. John, the same fact is differently expressed. “ Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation." Punishment, is not only the sense of damnation, most agreeable to common usage, but which the construction of this sentence requires. While some of the dead are raised to immortal happiness, others will come forth to the resurrection of damnation. They are not annihilated, nor admitted to heaven, but are condemned and punished.
4. At the same conclusion we arrive, by examining that large class of passages, which develope the principles on which the destinies of men will be decided. 66
“But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof, in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be
Math. xii. 36, 37.