Εικόνες σελίδας
PDF
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

and going after {trange flesh, they are set for an exce' ample, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire." That fire, which was rained down from heaven upon them, burnt till it had consumed them, and therefore St. Jude calls it eternal fire ; because it continued burning till the divine purpose was answered , by it; even the destruction of those cities. So here; our Saviour says, the fire is not quenched, and the worm dieth not: they both continue, as the eternal fire of Sodom did, till they effect their design. And we could not reasonably expect that a fire and a worm, which God had prepared for the punishment of wicked men, sfiould be extinguished' and die, before they had accomplithed their design. The eternal fire of Sodom will be no more heard of in the uni. verse, after she and her daughters shall be restored to the divine favor, and have returned to their first eftate, as we are divinely assured they will,

At the close of what Mr. S. hath produced from cur Saviour's discourses, he hath the following remarkable assertion, p. 37.' "The whole scheme of doctrine tauglit by Christ, strongly implies future and eternal misery."* Strange indeed! that after looking through the four Evangelists, with professed design to find positive proof of eternal, never end. ïng mifery, he should be reduced to the necessity at l'aft, to own there was no such proof to be found, and humbly to confess that this idea of eternal misery was only implied in our Saviour's scheme of doc. trine! Had there been positive proof of never end

ang misery in our Saviour's scheme of do&rine, and Mr. S. had been so fortunate as to have found it, who will believe that he would have closed with so humble a confeflion ? Further, does the reader think that, if our blessed Saviour had con Gdered the doctrine of endless misery to be true, he would have left it to be inferred from what he taught, and not have expressed it in the most indubitable language ? I am persuaded he does not, That glorious persoņ. age knew that it was the will of his Father that all men should repent, know the truth, and be saved. He knew that he came to die for the world ; that the world through bim might be saved ; that he came to taste death for every man, and that he himself was willing that all men hould be faded, and come to the knowledge of the truth. It is not at all strange that he hath, no where, expressly declared the positive eternity of future misery. It would have been acte ing entirely out of character, and contradicting the great design of his coming into the world.

Leaving the testimony of Christ, Mr. S. proceeds to that of John the Baptist, recorded in Matt. iii. and Luke iii. "O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come ?- And now also the ax is laid at the root of the tree ;therefore every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit, is hewn down and cast into the fire.- Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge bis floor, and gather his wheat into the garner ; but be will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire."

[ocr errors]

1

In answer to this last paffage, I will refer Mr. Ş. to one of St. Paul, who, I have no doubt, was as great an adept in the gospel scheme of salvation as John the Baptist, and in perfect harmony with him. i Cor, iii. 11-15. " For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, Giver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble ; every man's work shall be made manifeft: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire ; for the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burnt, he shall suffer loss ; but he himself shall be saved : yet so as by fire."

Here are fame who shall fuffer loss: whofe works shall be burnt up, who shall have no reward; who yet themselves shall be saved by fire.

What is said in p. 209, 210, of unquenchable fire, is fufficient for what is quoted from John Baptist concerning unquenchable fire.

Mr. S. next proceeds to the testimony of Peter. 1 Peter. iii. 19, 20. By which he went allo and preached to the spirits in prison, which some time were disobedient, when once the long suffering of God waited in the days of Noab." Mr. S. then quotes a few verses from St. Peter's 2d epistle, 2d chapter, which, he says, explain what is meant by the {pirits in prison, The quotation follows ; privily bring in damnable herefies, even denying

the

1

“ Who

the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And through covetousness fhall they, with feigned words, make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not; and their damnation flumbereth not. For if God spared not the angels that finned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of. darkness, to be reserved unto judgment. And fpared not the old world, but faved Noah the eighth person.”

His observation immediately follows ; "these lait words explain what is meant by the spirits in pris. on, mentioned in the first epiftle. They are the impenitent finners of the antediluvian world, deliv. ered unto darkness, and reserved in chains, with the finning angels, to the fame punihment.” "After the quotation from 1 Pet. iii. 19, 20. Mr. S. has there observations “ The apostle is here speaking of the

grace, which were used with ancient în ners in the days of Noah: when God bare long and. warned them, the whole time the ark was building, and they repented not. Why are they now called {pirits in prison, unless they are confined for a public trial and punishment ??"

A very great majority, both in the catholic and protestant church, have supposed that Christ went in person and preached to the antediluvians in hell. Be this as it may; he went in person, or by his fpirit. Mr. S. affirms that the means of grace were used with the antediluvians ; but that they did not

repent.

[ocr errors]

means of

repent. We have now got from St. Pet, and from Mr. S. that Christ went in person, or by his fpirit, and preached the gospel to the antediluvians, and used the means of grace with them; and that they did not repert.

Now, I wish to ask Mr. S. whether God knew of this preaching, and using the means of grace with the antediluvians ? If he did, whether he approved of it? If he knew and approved of it, whether he had not some good end in view, in giving his approbation to this measure ? If he had some good end in view, what it was? Was the end, to bring the antediluvians to repentance ? The end must have been, either to render them more criminally guilty,or to make them penitent,

We will suppose it was, to make them more crim. inally guilty. Then the inference is this, that God, the wise, the powerful, the good, the merciful God, the maker of the antideluvians, who knew they would be eternally miserable, when he made them, and who foresaw that they would increase their guilt and aggravate their future misery, by refifting his fpirit, and turning a deaf ear to his overtures of grace; yet sent his spirit and gospel to them, with design to render them more criminally guilty, that they might suffer the more !. My kind reader, do you believe all this to be true of the wise, good, powerful, and merciful God, who hath sworn that he is unwilling that any should perilh ? If this cannot be admitted ; let us try the other alternative. Then God sent his spirit and gospel to the antediluvians,

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »