Imagens das páginas

same 'lake of fire,' are also immortal. But this is not allowed." 1 That the interpretation of this passage is encumbered with difficulty we frankly admit. Bo far, however, as the present question is concerned, it does not embarrass us. Without entering into details, we will simply state our opinion, that Death and Hades are here personified as the enemies of man.2 To complete the representation of Christ's victory over the foes of his church, they also, as well as Satan, must be cast into the lake of fire. This implies, as in the case of Satan, the Beast, and the False Prophet, both their punishment, and the destruction of their power. But they are not real beings. They are only figurative persons; and therefore both their punishment, and the destruction of their power as persons, are figurative. Is it not absurd to raise such a grave comparison between the immortality of true persons and mere personifications?

6. Eternal perdition. 2 Thess. 1: 9 — " Who shall suffer as a penalty everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his might" (on-tve? Sitajp Tlaovaiv, o\e^pov alwviov, airb irpoawirov Tov Kvpiov, Kal airo Tijv S6f>7? Ti)? to-y^o? avrov.) With this passage we may conveniently consider another which occurs in 2 Pet. 3: 7 — But the heavens which now are, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire, against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men" (e« rjfj.epav Kpiaeay; Kal dirw\eias Ttov aae[3o)v av*2>pwirwv). The words oXe^po? and onrwkeia are of general signification. They denote either the act of bringing into a lost or ruined state, or that state itself. The form of the ruin is always to be determined by the nature of the subject. The destruction of a house by fire is one thing; of a land by war, another thing; of a man for his pride (" a man's pride shall bring him low") still another. When now we have the express testimony of Scripture respecting

1 p. 214.

2 Compare I Cor. 15: 26: "The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death ;'' and lloseu 1.'): 14: "O death, I will be thy plagues; O Hades (Ws, SAeol, the Hebrew equivalent), I will be thy destruction."

the nature of the perdition that shall overtake the ungodly at the last day," these general terms, and all others of a like character, are to be interpreted accordingly.

7. Destruction of soul and body in hell. Matt. 10: 28. Luke 12: 4, 5. The context makes it certain that these two passages are but different accounts of the same discourse. The former of them reads as follows: " And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." The latter, thus: "And I say unto you my friends, be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed, hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you fear him." We see at a glance that casting into hell, and destroying both body and soul in hell, are equivalent expressions. To be cast into hell, is to be cast into the "everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels," "to go away into everlasting punishment." This is the destruction of both soul and body in hell. The Saviour's design is to contrast man's impotence with God's almighty power. Man can only kill the body, without the ability to kill the soul. The writer uses the word kill (awoKTetvai) because it is in this way that wicked men seek to destroy the righteous. God, on the other hand, can not only do all that man can do — kill the body — but after he has killed can cast into hell, and thus destroy (tnrokeo-ai,2 not a-rroKTuvai, which would not be here the appropriate word) both body and soul in hell. The nature of this destruction has been already considered.

i uTToXiaat, like its cognate nouns uxC>7.cia and Wfflpoc, is a word of general signification. It is applied to the demons whom Jesus casts out: "Art thou come to destroy us?" Mark 1: 24. Elsewhere the demons say: "Art thou tome hither to torment us before the time?" Matt. 8: 29. Mark 5: 7. Luke 8: 28; and they beseech him " that he would not command them to go out into the deep {upvooov, the !x)Uomless pit of the Apocalypse, 20: 1,3) Luke 8:31. Here wo have the manner of their destruction. It is by being despoiled of their power over men, and cast down to the abyss, to be there tormented.

Vol. XV. No. 59. 56

There are many more passages of Scripture that might be considered, did our limits permit, but the above examination is abundantly sufficient for our purpose.

8. Scriptural antitheses to eternal life. The expression eternal death does not occur in the Bible. The following are the scriptural antitheses to the expression eternal life.

Shame and eternal contempt; Dan. 12: 2.

Eternal punishment; Matt. 25: 46.

Perishing; John 3: 15, 16. 10: 28.

Abiding under God's wrath; John 3: 36.

Coming into condemnation (Kpiaiv); John 5: 24.

Indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish; Rom. 2: 7, 8, 9.

Death; Rom. 6: 21, 23.

Destruction (<jfoopdv); Gal. 6: 8.

Life in the sense of eternal life has the following antitheses:

Perdition (airtoXeiav) Matt. 7: 13, 14. Being cast into the fire of hell (yeewa); Matt. 18: 9. Mark 9:43,45.

Condemnation (Kplaews) ; John 5: 29.

Death (generally in the more comprehensive sense including its beginning in this world); Rom. 7:10. 8: 6. 2 Cor. 2: 16. 2 Tim. 1:10. 1 John 3:14. 5: 16.

The above contrasts are highly suggestive. They show at once how unfounded is the assertion that, according to the scriptural view, the proper antithesis of eternal life is eternal death literally taken. Rather is it a state of condemnation and suffering.

III. Destiny of Satan,

The destiny of "the devil and his angels" is a question of awful significance, for it cannot be separated from that of the wicked. The holy Scriptures teach us that Satan existed at the beginning of the world; that he first seduced the human race to sin; that he has established a kingdom, consisting of those who yield themselves to his influences, and allow themselves to be led captive by him at his will; that Christ came to destroy this kingdom; that at the end of the world, after having put down the power of this malignant spirit (which is the crushing of the serpent's head spoken of in the original promise, and the bruising of Satan under the feet of believers), he will cast him and the wicked together into that eternal fire that was prepared for him and his angels; and that there he shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. Unless, now, the doom of Satan can be explained away, the first step is not taken towards erasing from the pages of the Bible the doctrine of eternal punishment in the proper sense of the term. But it cannot be explained away. There it stands on the sacred record, like 'some mighty mountain of granite, rising rugged and awful from the unfathomable depths of the sea, and hiding its head amid dark thunder-clouds. God has placed it there, as a beacon to an apostate world, and man cannot remove it.

IV. Resurrection of the unjust.

This is another fact of terrible import revealed in the Bible. "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."1 "There shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust."2 Why are the unjust raised from the dead? According to the Scriptures, it is that they, as well as the just, may appear before the judgment-seat of Christ, that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad."8 It is that the righteous may be publicly acquitted and received to the kingdom prepared for them before the foundation of the world, and the wicked publicly condemned, and sen

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

tenced to everlasting punishment with the devil and his angels. This is an end whose magnitude corresponds with the stupendous miracle of the resurrection. The improbability of the idea that the dead are raised by a miracle to be annihilated, staggers even our author. He may well ask: "If they have no immortality, why are their slumbers disturbed ?" 1 He attempts to solve this difficulty by a reference to certain natural processes.

Damaged seeds that are sown, often exhaust their vitality and perish, in germination. And we have noted the fact, that of insects which pass through the chrysalis state to that of the psyche, or butterfly, many, from injuries suffered in their original form, utterly perish in the transition, p. 263.

If the resurrection were a natural process, these analogies might be in place. But since it is wholly supernatural, they utterly fail. According to the Scriptures, the resurrection of the wicked is as complete as that of the righteous, that of both being accomplished by the direct power of Christ, " in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye." Although it does not become us to pronounce positively respecting what is, and what is not, becoming to the wisdom of God in the arrangements of the final judgment, there is, according to the commonly received doctrine, a congruity between the resurrection of the unjust and their final destiny, which the author's view fails to make manifest.

V. Degrees of future punishment.

The Scriptures teach, in the most unequivocal terms, that there will be degrees in the final punishment of the wicked, not less than in the final rewards of the righteous. The general principle laid down by our Lord: "That servant which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes; but he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes," 3 he himself

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »