« السابقةمتابعة »
vince, that 'tis Final and Unalterable, fo the Confequences of it fhall be Immediately executed; both the Righteous and the Wicked fhall presently enter upon the Different states thus Finally allotted them: There is nothing more to be feared by the one, or hoped by the other, but immediately after Judgment thus paffed, These * Shall go away into Everlasting punishment, but the Righteous into life Eternal. And we are further confirmed in the Belief of this by our Saviour, Mar. ix. at the 43. and following Verses, where he thrice ftyles the state of future misery, The fire that never shall be quenched, where their worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched, as if he did industriously Anticipate every the leaft degree of hope, that the punishment of Wicked Men fhall ever have an end. To this account which our Saviour hath given us may be added that Remarkable paffage, where 'tis said of the Wicked, that they shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his Indignation, and shall be tormented
* Matth. xxv. 46.
with fire* and brimftone in the prefence of the Lamb; and the Smoke of their torment afcendeth up for ever and ever.
The certainty therefore of everlasting Happiness prepared for Good men, which no body is inclined either to Disbelieve or Dispute, is not more plain and clear than the eternal Mifery of the Wicked; which yet hath been Question'd by fome, and boldly Contradicted by others, upon several Principles, all which seem to be manifestly trivial and groundless, as may appear from what is in the second place proposed, viz.
II. Secondly, The folution of the Principal Ojections that have been made against the Eternity of Future punishment. And
1st. I fhall take notice of the Notion commonly charged upon Origen; That after the Wicked have, for a long time, endured the punishment inflicted upon them at the day of Judgment, they will be, at last, tranflated from Mifery into the state of the Bleffed; a Notion which there is not one tolerable Reason brought to prove, there being nothing, from
*Rev. xiv. 10, II.
which it can be deduced, in holy Scripture. For the texts alledged in favour of it, which St. Jerom* recites, do plainly relate either to God's Goodness in General, as, P. xxxi. 19. O how great is thy Goodness which thou haft laid up for them that fear thee? or, to God's deliverance of the Jews from Affliction, as, Mich. vii. 9. I will bear the Indignation of the Lord, because I have finned against him, until he plead my cause and execute Judgment for me: He will bring me forth to the light, and I shall behold his righteoufnefs; or, to the conversion of the Jews to Christianity, as, Rom. xi. 25, 26. Until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in, and fo all Ifrael fhall be faved. And this is a full anfwer to thofe Teftimonies of Scripture which are urged upon this Occafion.
St. Auftin† confiders this Notion as proceeding from an Exceffive Compassion in the Authors of it. And Theophylact cenfures Origen as a Trifler in this point, concluding it Impoffible, that thofe, who
* Comment. in If. lxvi.
† De Civ. Dei, l. 21. C. 17.
fhall be, in the General Judgment, con-
2d Objection, that though wicked men fhould be for ever excluded the Kingdom of Heaven, yet they are not Capable of fubfifting for ever under that other punishment, the punishment of Senfe, which is denounced and defcribed in Holy Scripture; that they must of neceffity be at laft quite confumed by that fire which shall never be quenched, and so their Misery must end in their utter Extinction. Upon this, fome Writers have taken a great deal of pains in ranfacking
ranfacking the Hiftories of Nature, to find out fuch creatures as are able to bear the extreme heat of fire fo as neither to perish, nor be in any measure wafted by it. How fuccessful they have been in these enquiries I fhall not examine; nor do I lay any stress upon fuch discoveries and the Arguments drawn from them. For there is another confideration, from which any one, who believes a God and the Holy Scriptures, may furnish himself with a full anfwer to this difficulty, the confideration of God's Power.
Indeed we cannot conclude the Exiftence of any thing from God's Power to effect it, if his Power be confider'd feparately from the Revelation of his Will. But when he hath plainly and Pofitively revealed any thing, the Nature of which we cannot clearly comprehend, we may and ought ftedfaftly to believe it upon this Principle, that though it may be Impoffible with Man, it is Poffible with God. We have the very fame
reason to.reft in a Belief, that God's Pow
er will effect whatsoever he hath decla