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flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power."

Q. May not everlasting be taken here to signify very long? Or must we understand by the word a duration which never will end?

A. In this and every other inquiry, involving an important doctrine of our Church, we should form our judgment according to the revealed will and word of God. Adopting this method in the present instance, we do not seem at liberty, from the tenor and language of sacred writ, to entertain any reasonable hope that the word 66 everlasting" can be taken in a qualified sense. The wicked are doomed, by the declarations of Scripture, "to be cast into everlasting fire; into the fire that never shall be quenched." Christ, it is said, " will burn up the chaff (i. e. the wicked) with unquenchable fire." Which last expression (unquenchable) is so opposed to the idea of any limit being assigned by God to the tortures of the condemned sinner, that the believer in revelation could not in our opinion

i 2 Thess. i. 7. 9.

* Matt. ix. 43. Mark xviii. 8. iii. 12. Luke iii. 17.

be justified in cherishing any expectation of the kind.

Q. Does the Revelation of St. John contain any very powerful argument against the supposition of the limited duration of punishment hereafter?

A. In the book of the Revelation there is this

fearful description : "When the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, and shall go out to deceive the nations, which are in the four quarters of the earth, the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever'."

Q. But is not the language too figurative in the Revelation to admit of our building any argument on the turn of its expressions?

A. We are free to acknowledge that the most sublime and mysterious prophecies are wrapped up and concealed from mortal view, beneath the imagery and metaphor used by St. John in that treasure-house of future information-the book of Revelation. But still, making every allowance for these circumstances, we dare not, as we value our hopes of heaven, attempt to explain

Rev. xx. 8. 10.


away the terrific words, *“ shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever." They are too plain to admit of any qualified or enigmatical interpretation". We must leave them to operate with their full force on the conscience of the reprobate sinner. But may they, O blessed Lord God, may they have the effect, the blessed effect, of awakening him to a sense of the horrible danger he is incurring. Oh! may the despiser of God's laws, the wilfully blind, the immoral and the irreligious, be wise in time; may they be endued with the grace of thy Holy Spirit; may they cast far from them all their former evil habits; may they be thoroughly penitent, and truly turn to God. If they turn to God, we are assured that he will turn to them.

Q. Have we any account of the boundless and eternal glories which await the righteous in the kingdom of heaven?

A. It is not given us to raise the veil which hides futurity from the too curious gaze of mortal men. As St. Paul expresses himself, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things which

It is also most worthy of remark, that the punishment of the wicked, and the reward of the good, are, with respect to their duration, described in the same Scripture terms. If, therefore, we deny the eternity of the torments of hell, how shall we maintain the eternity of the joys of heaven?

God hath prepared for them that love him " Fully enough, however, is revealed, to animate our hopes, to inspire our confidence, and to fill us with holy ardour, that we may strive to the uttermost to attain unto the " prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus"."

Q. What particulars are revealed?

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A. We have a beautiful figurative description of the joys of an hereafter from the inspired pen of St. John. "I beheld," says he, "and lo, a great multitude which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands, and cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God, which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders, and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, saying, Amen: blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. These (in white robes) are they, who came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne, and serve

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I Cor. ii. 9.

Philip. vii. 14.8 12

him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light upon them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes "." Again he says, "After these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia, salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God. And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia; for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour unto him "."

Q. Have any uninspired writers attempted to collect into one, the scattered notices of our future state of bliss, which are to be found in the Bible?

A. The eloquent Blair thus expresses himself on this most interesting subject: "There," he says, "in a happier world to come, are assembled all the wise, the holy, and the just, who ever existed in the universe of God; without any distress to trouble their mutual bliss, or any

P Rev. vii. 9-17.

9 Rev. xix. 1. 7.


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