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might be true, under the limitation which the subject imposes. When it is said also of the fire of hell, that it is unquenchable, that it never shall be quenched, the declaration is equally unambiguous; for as the subject is not limited by the boundaries of time, it is capable of an absolute eternity. It is satisfactorily inferred, that the fires of hell shall never be quenched, or never cease to burn; or, by stripping the idea of its figurative dress, that the miseries of lost men will never terminate. It is, therefore, scarcely necessary, when we examine these passages by just principles of interpretation, to give them any further notice. It is enough to assert, without other proof, that they teach the endless duration of future torments. For such an assertion cannot be disproved. Instances may perhaps be cited, in which unquenchable is applied to punishments which have an end, but never in any case where future punishment is the subject of affirmation. Temporal calamities may be described, under the figure of unquenchable fire, provided they continue so long as the subjects of them exist, but the punishments of the future world cannot be thus described, unless they are absolutely

endless. Allow me to comprehend what has been said in one sentence. If God threatens a nation with his displeasure, declaring that his wrath shall burn and none shall quench it, it is understood, that this nation shall be involved in calamities as long as it endures, but if he threatens persons in reference to the future state with indignation, which shall burn and not be quenched, it can only denote an endless punishment. It may be remarked, too, that as God never threatens men with temporal calamities, in language of such severe reprobation, unless they are very abandoned sinners, it may be used, even in such cases, with reference to punishments which shall succeed this life and be literally perpetual. In illustration of these facts, nothing better could be desired, than the passages so often quoted from the Old Testament to show, that the terms everlasting and unquenchable, when applied to the miseries of the damped, do not denote eternal punishment."It shall not be quenched night nor day; the smoke thereof shall go up forever, from generation to generation it shall lie waste; none shall pass through it forever and ever." "Behold, mine anger and my fury

shall be poured out upon this place, upon man and upon beast, and upon the trees of the field, and upon the fruit of the ground; and it shall burn and shall not be quenched." "And I will bring an everlasting reproach upon you, and a perpetual shame, which shall not be forgotten." There is no misunderstanding these passages. They apply the words, everlasting, unquenchable, forever and ever, to judgments which were to fall, in part at least upon the wicked in this life, and which were utterly to ruin them. The hopelessness of their condition, the inflexible purpose of God, never to forgive, and never to withdraw his hand from the work of destruction, is thus forcibly expressed. No one is in danger of supposing, that an absolute eternity is intended, so far as the subject of discourse is, in its own nature, temporary. The smoke of the land of Idumea, cannot literally ascend up forever and ever. The reader very properly limits the language, to mean, that it will be an object of the divine displeasure, so long as it exists. But this denunciation, as well as that of bringing upon the Jews an everlasting reproach, may relate, not only to temporal calamities, but to the eternal displeasure of God.

Nor does such a supposition, assign a double sense to the language. It only asserts, that God will never be reconciled to those, against whom these threatenings are uttered. And if this is true, if those, whom he pursues with his displeasure to the end of life, are also the enemies of his government, and the objects of his indignation after death, the literal import belongs to the language. But however this may be, there is manifestly no argument to be drawn from the Old Testament use of unquenchable and everlasting, against the sense which is generally assigned them in the New. If it should be contended, that the judgments mentioned in the Old Testament, as everlasting and unquenchable, are evidently temporal; then, by a plain rule of interpretation, they are said to last only during the natural lives of those who suffer them; but if these judgments are of a nature to last forever, everlasting and unquenchable imply that they shall be endless. Thus, a case scarcely arises, in which the use of these and similar terms is ambiguous. The words are perpetually used in English books, sometimes denoting an absolute eternity, and sometimes but a short period, yet always with perfect perspicuity.

When some hated truth is not to be rejected, men apply the rule, which has been stated, without knowing it, and arrive at the true sense without failure, and without difficulty. A servant forever, they see at once, is a servant as long as he can be, or during his natural life. To be in heaven forever, is to be there always. But mention those passages, where future punishment is said to be everlasting or unquenchable, and instead of inferring, as they should, that it is endless, they abandon their rule, deny the only just conclusion, and attempt to justify themselves by saying, that everlasting and unquenchable do not always denote an endless duration! A servant forever, they very gravely tell us, is a servant only so long as he lives, and everlasting hills, are hills which endure only while the earth exists! But if they would judge of the meaning of language, when applied to future torments, by the same rule of interpretation, by which they conclude that the righteous shall never lose their seats in heaven, there would not be an universalist among believers in the bible. To say, that the wicked shall be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched, is to assert, that a punishment,

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