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and protracts to an incalculable length the duration of their misery! Such an impression would cloud every hour of life with the shadow of death, and the horrors of despair; distract their fearful souls between the dread of dying, and the consequences of prolonged existence here; and make them prefer death itself, which would fix bounds to their vice and misery, to life, robbed of every comfort by such gloomy apprehensions, and serving only as a long and dreary passage to regions of woe; a passage filled with terrifying spectres of the imagination, and only growing more steep as it lengthened, till it terminated at the brink of the bottomless pit.”
How forcibly, on the contrary, must it stimulate our virtuous energies, to conceive, that every instance of self-denial, every holy purpose and virtuous exertion; every service done to man, and act of obedience to God, will enhance our value in his sight, and our exaltation in the kingdom of heaven! A man impressed with this conviction, would rejoice in every trial that might befal him, if it tended to prepare him for a higher degree of glory;, and would welcome death, as withdrawing him from danger and temptation, and putting him in secure possession of an eternal reward,
Let, then, your souls, my brethren, be fired with this spiritual emulation, this divine ambition, You are indulging in pleasures, which must end
with the body; beware of forfeiting those, which will endure as long as the soul. You labour to amass riches, that may be valuable only to your heirs; “ lay up treasure in heaven,” which you yourselves may enjoy for ever. You vie with each other in worldly distinctions, vain, transitory and deceitful; rather contend for pre-eminence among the candidates for immortality. You barter your immortal souls for visionary reputation, and posthumous fame; try rather to establish a character, where you shall live for ever to enjoy it.
Ρ. 377.-(1) Τους γαρ ανευ του σωφρονείν ταυλα [μαθηματα] δυναμενους, αδικώτερους τε και δυναλωτερους κακουργειν (Σωκρατης) ενομιζεν ειναι. Πρώτον μεν δη περι Θεους επειραθο σωφρονας ποιειν τους συνονθας.Xenophontis Memor. iv. 3.–See Sermon I,
17. P. 379.-(2) Matt. xxii. 32.-" I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. God is not the God of the dead, but of the living." And therefore they are still in existence.
“The notion of confining the benefits of Christ's mediation to the covenants entered into by circumcision and baptism, is absolutely contrary to the promise given to Abraham; and as this promise was made before circumcision, there can be no pretext for confining it to those who were circumcised; nor consequently to the Christians, who succeeded to their peculiarity.”-Ben. Mordecai, p. 830.
P. 394.-(3) “No pity shall be shown to them from their nearest and dearest relations. The godly wife shall applaud
the justice of the judge in the condemnation of her ungodly husband; the godly husband shall say amen, to the damna. tion of her, who lay in his bosom; the godly parents shall say, halleluiah, at the passing of the sentence against their ungodly child; and the godly child shall, from his heart, approve the damnation of his wicked parents, the father who begat him, and the mother who bore him.”-Boston's Fourfold State, St. iv. Head iv. $ 9.
The damned shall have none to pity them. God will not pity them; but laugh at their calamity. The blessed company in heaven shall rejoice; and sing, while the smoke riseth up for ever; Alleluiah. Neither shall one pity another, &c. In hell they will find a prison, they will never escape out of; a lake of fire, wherein they will be for ever, swimming and burning, &c. &c.-Ibid.
A dying mother to her son :-"How tenderly I have loved thee is but too evident. But the period is approaching, when I shall hear the sentence of even your eternal destruction with a majestic composure and an entire complacency.”—Ecleatic Review,
“How terrible must it be to be cast with devils into one fire, locked
up with them in one dungeon, shut up with them in one pit. To be closed up in a den of roaring ủions, girded about with serpents, surrounded with venomous asps; and to have the bowels eaten out by vipers, altogether and at once, is a comparison too low to show the misery of the damned. They shall be filled to the brim with the wrath of God. How will these lions roar and tear, how will these serpents hiss; these dragons vomit out fire; what horrible anguish will seize the damned, finding themselves in the lake of fire with the devil, who deceived them!”— Boston's Human Nature in its Fourfold State.
Other writers speak of this as giving “a relish of their own enjoyments to the blessed."
P. 395.-(4) Final restitution. “I am one of those, who, though believing in the doctrine of final restitution, admit it only on the grounds of inference. That the doctrine is expressly and designedly inculcated in any one passage of the Old or New Testament, does not appear to me ever to have been sufficiently made out.- Rev. Thomas Madge.
“It may be granted, that the letter of Scripture is favourable to the doctrine of destruction.”—Dr. Estlin, on Universal Restitution.
“2 Thess. i. 9.-Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction, from the presence
of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.”
P. 395.—(5) The Hebrew word oly signifies time finite, or indefinite, past or future, and is translated for ever: 79 also signifies time to come, or past, sometimes eternity, and is also rendered for ever. When joined to the former, they are translated for ever and ever; as it were two for evers. To on in the 119th Psalm, v. 112, is added another word signifying to the end; for ever to the end: but eternity has no end. So vague were their expressions for time.
Simpson on the Language of Scripture, states, that the words translated everlasting, for ever, &c., are applied ten times in the New Testament, to future punishments. In 18 examples, they signify present time, this life, or age, or world: in 10, past limited duration; in 22, future limited duration; in 11, duration without end; in 7, without beginning and without end. Hence he infers, that “no conclusion can be drawn, merely from the use of these words, for the absolute eternity of the punishment of the wicked.”
P. 403.—(6) Luke xxii. 29.—“I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father bath appointed unto me: that ye may eat and drink at my table, and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” Or more correctly, “as my
appointed unto me a kingdom, I appoint you to sit and eat at my table in my kingdom : and to sit upon thrones, judging (or governing) the twelve tribes of Israel.”
ROMANS vi.--23. “ The wages of sin is death: but the gift of God is eternal
life, through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
DEATH is the wages paid by sin: but eternal life is the free gift of God, through Jesus Christ. The most active and obedient servant of sin, will only earn everlasting death; but the humblest servant of God may receive eternal life, not as wages due to his merits, but as a free gift from the grace of God, through Jesus Christ our Lord. This gift will be conferred on those who please God; so as to encourage, not presumptuous confidence, but humble piety; and so that we shall be convinced, that we owe it to our Lord, as well as to his heavenly Father. Such is the import of my text: and in discoursing on it, I shall attempt to unfold that dispensation of grace, by which life eternal was communicated to mankind.