Page images


After the evil angels and chief enemies of God have been sentenced, judgement will be passed upon the whole race of mankind. Rev. xx. 11–15. “I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it. ... and I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened ; and another book was opened, which is the book of life ; and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works : and the sea gave up the dead which was in it, and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them; and they were judged every man according to their works."


The passing of the sentence will be followed by its execation; that is to say, by the punishment of the wicked, and the perfect glorification of the righteous. Matt. xxv. 46. “ these shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal.” Rev. xx. 14, 15. “death and hell were cast into the lake of fire : this is the second death : and whosoever was not found written in the book of life, was cast into the lake of fire.”

Then will be the end, spoken of 1 Cor. xv. 24—28. “then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule, and all authority, and power ; for he must reign till he hath put all enemies under his feet: the last enemy that shall be destroyed is death ; for he hath put all things under his feet: but when he saith, all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted which did put all things under him; and when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all."

It may be asked, if Christ is to deliver up the kingdom to God and the Father, what becomes of the declarations, Heb. i. 8. “unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever” (in sæculum sæculi, for ages of ages), and Dan. vü. 14. “his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed;"

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

Luke i. 33. “ of his kingdom there shall be no end." I reply, there shall be no end of his kingdom, for ages of ages, that is, so long as the ages of the world endure, until time itself shall be no longer, Rev. x. 6. until every thing which his kingdom was intended to effect shall have been accomplished ; ' insomuch that his kingdom will not pass away as insufficient for its purpose ; it will not be destroyed, nor will its period be a period of dissolution, but rather of perfection and consummation, like the end of the law, Matt. v. 18. In the same manner many other things are spoken of as never to pass away, but to remain eternally ; as circumcision, Gen. xvïi. 13. the ceremonial law in general, Levit. iii. 17. xxiv. 8. the land of Canaan, Gen. xiii. 15. Jer. vii. 7. xxv. 5. the sabbath, Exod. xxxi. 16, the priesthood of Aaron, Numb. xviii. 8. the memorial of stones at the river Jordan, Josh. iv. 7. the signs of heaven. Psal. cxlviii. 6. the earth, Eccles, i. 4. although every one of these has either already come to an end, or will eventually be terminated.

The second death is so termed with reference to the first, or death of the body. For the three other, or preparatory degrees of death, see chap. xiii. on the Punishment of Sin. The fourth and last gradation is that of which we are now speaking, namely, eternal death, or the punishment of the damned.

Under this death may be included the destruction of the present unclean and polluted world itself, namely, its FINAL CONFLAGRATION.o Whether by this is meant the destruction of the substance of the world itself, or only a change in the nature of its constituent parts, is uncertain, and of no importance to determine ; respecting the event itself, we are informed, so far as it concerns us to know, Job. xiv. 12. “till the heavens be no more.” Psal. cii. 26. "they shall perish.” Isai. xxxiv. 4. “the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll, and all their host shall fall down." li. 6. “the heavens shall vanish away like smoke.” Matt. xxiv. 35. “heaven and earth shall pass away.” 1 Cor. vii. 31. “the fashion of this

8 Then thou thy regal sceptre shalt lay by,
For re

sceptre thou no more shalt nee
God shall be all in all.

Paradise Lost, III. 339.
The world shall burn.

Ibid, 333



world passeth away.2 Pet. iii. 7. “the heavens and the earth, which are now.... reserved unto fire against the day of judgement and perdition of ungodly men.” v. 10. "in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise.” v. 12. “wherein the heavens being on fire.'

Rev. x. 6. “ he sware by him that liveth for ever and ever.... that there should be time no longer.” xxi. 1. “the first heaven and the first earth were passed away, and there was no more sea.'

The second death, or the punishment of the damned, seems to consist partly in the loss of the chief good, namely, the favour and protection of God, and the beatific vision of his presence, which is commonly called the punishment of loss ; and partly in eternal torment, which is called the punishment of sense.

Matt. xxv. 41. " depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels," Luke xiii. 27, 28. “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.' xvi. 23. “ being in torments, he seeth Abraham afar off.” 2 Thess. i. 9. “who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.”

The intensity and duration of these punishments are variously intimated. Isai. xxx. 33. “Tophet is ordained of old; yea, for the king it is prepared : he hath made it deep and large; the pile thereof is fire and much wood; the breath of Jehovah, like a stream of brimstone, doth kindle it.” lxvi. 24. compared with Mark ix. 44. “where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.' Dan. xii. 2. “ to shame and everlasting contempt.” Matt. viii. 12. "outer darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” See also xiii. 42, &c. Mark ix. 43. "fire that never shall be quenched.” Rom. ü. 8, 9. "indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish."


Quidam enim eorum censent peccatum originis puniri tantum pæna damni ; alii vero insuper ei pænam sensus adjungunt.' Dissertatio Secunda de Peccato Originis, Curcell. 61. “To which two heads, all that is necessary to be known concerning this everlasting punishment may be reduced ; and we shall accordingly consider it as it is both poena damni and pæna sensus, the punishment of loss and the punishment of sense.' Beveridge, Works, Vol. II. 449. See also Taylor, Works, JX. 369.


[ocr errors]



2 Thess. i. 9. "who shall be punished with everlasting destruction.” Rev. xiv. 11. "the smoke of their torment ascendeth

up for ever and ever, and they have no rest day nor night.” See also xix. 3. xxi. 8. “ they shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone."

Punishment, however, varies according to the degree of guilt. Matt. xi. 22. “it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgement, than for you.” Luke xii. 47, 48. “he shall be beaten with many stripes. ... he shall be beaten with few stripes.'

The place of punishment is called HELL; Tophet,Isai. xxx. 33. “hell fire, Matt. v. 22. and still more distinctly, X. 28. “outer darkness,' viii. 12. xxii. 13. xxv. 30. “a furnace of fire,” xiii. 42. Hades, Luke xvi. 23. and elsewhere : "a place of torment,” v. 28. "the bottomless pit," Rev. ix. 1. “the lake of fire,” xx. 15. “the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone,” xxi. 8. Hell appears to be situated beyond the limits of this universe. Luke xvi. 26. “between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot.” Matt. viii. 12. "outer darkness." Rev. xxii. 14, 15.“ they may enter in through the gates into the city; for without are dogs.” Nor are reasons wanting for this locality; for as the place of the damned is the same as that prepared for the devil and his angels, Matt. xxv. 41. in punishment of their apostasy, which occurred before the fall of man, it does not seem probable that hell should have been prepared within the limits of this world, in the bowels of the earth, on which the curse had not as yet passed. This is said to have been the opinion of Chrysostom, as likewise of Luther and some later divines. Besides, if, as has been shown

Tophet thence
And black Gehenna call'd, the type of hell.

Paradise Lost, I. 404. 3 In the argument to the first book of Paradise Lost, hell is described as situated • not in the centre (for heaven and earth may be supposed as yet not made, certainly not yet accursed) but in a place of utter (i. e. outer) darkness, fitliest called Chaos.'

4 Και πού, φησί, και εν ποία χωρίω αύτη έσται η γέεννα και τι σου τούτου μέλει και το γάρ ζητούμενον, δείξαι ότι εστίν, ου πού τεταμίευται, και εν ποία χωρίς αλλ' εν ποίω τόπω, φησίν, έσται και έξω που, ως έγωγε oίμαι, του κόσμου τούτου παντός, καθάπερ γάρ τών βασίλείων τα δεσμωτήρια και τα μέταλλα πόρρω διέστηκεν, ούτω δή και της οικουμένης ταύτης έξω που έσται JEEVVA. Chrysost. in Ep. ad Roma



[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

from various passages of the New Testament, the whole world is to be finally consumed by fire, it follows that hell, being situated in the centre of the earth, must share the fate of the surrounding universe, and perish likewise ; a consummation more to be desired than expected by the souls in perdition.

Thus far of the punishment of the wicked; it remains to speak of the perfect glorification of the righteous.

Perfect glorification consists in eternal life and perfect happiness, arising chiefly from the divine vision. It is described Psal. xvi. 11. “ thou wilt show me the path of life; in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” xvii. 15. “I will behold thy face in righteousness ; I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.” Dan. xii. 3. “they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever. Matt. xiii. 43. “then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kindgdom of their Father.” xxii. 30. “they are as the angels of God in heaven.” v. 8. " blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” Homil. 31. The opinions of the Fathers and others on this subject are quoted by King On the Creed, p. 225--230. Milton elsewhere refers to the locality of hell :

Such place eternal justice had prepared
For those rebellious ; here their prison ordain'd
In utter darkness, and their portion set
As far remov'd from God and light of heaven,
As from the centre thrice to th' utmost pole.

Paradise Lost, I. 70.
.. Them that bide
In heav'n, or earth, or under earth in hell.

III. 321. Again : 'to banish for ever into a local hell, whether in the air or in the centre, or in that uttermost or bottomless gulph of Chaos, deeper from holy bliss than the world's diameter multiplied, they thought not a punishment so proper and proportinate for God to inflict, as to punish sin with sin.' Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce. Prose Works, III. 224. See, however, Paradise Lost, XII. 41, where Milton is inconsistent with himself, as Bentley has noticed.

5. The distinction which Milton makes between the beginnings of bliss which are attainable in this life, and that perfect glorification wich will ensue hereafter, coincides with the expressions in theHymn ɔn the Nativity:

And then at last our bliss
Full and perfect is,

But now begins. xviii. 165,



« PreviousContinue »