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ever Preludes to this dreadful Punishment there may "be upon this Earth, at the coming on of this Fire "and Brimstone, at the great Day; yet will the up“shot of all be no other than the Fire of Gehenna or Hell, for Ages of Ages afterward.” But he has forgot to produce the Passages in St. John's Revelation, where ai@ves tộv aióvwv signifies only Ages of Ages, or any thing less than for ever and ever. That Phrase is used fourteen times in the Apocalypse ; and never, as far as appears, in any other sense than that of Eternity. In far the greatest Number of the Passages it evidently must have that meaning; and therefore in the other two or three places under Debate, unless the Subject plainly requires another sense, to give it a different meaning, is to destroy the Use of Language, and render the meaning of Words perfectly arbitrary. And that the Subject does not require a different sense of the Words in the controverted Texts, will appear, I trust, in the Course of these Papers.
If Hell-torments cannot, absolutely cannot, in the nature of things, be eternal, why then indeed this Phrase, in these Places, must denote only a temporary Duration; but if this cannot be proved, if the contrary can, I would ask what reason any Man has to limit the Sense of the Words in these few Passages, contrary to their Import in all the rest? Let us not make a Nose of Wax of the Scripture; let its uniform Language have some determinate Sense. Mr. W. goes on; “ It deserves our Remark, “that it is not directly said here, that the Beast and " the false Prophet, but only the Devil, with Gog and Magog, shall be so long tormented there.” Now, not to take notice of the Reading of this Text in some Versions, which is quite inconsistent with this Remark; I would only ask why Baoavionoovtai
(being in the plural,) should not include the Beast and the false Prophet, as well as the Devil, and those he had deceived? And as to the Reason of the thing, why should the Beast and the false Prophet come off better than Gog and Magog ? The Text says they were deceived; and therefore Mr. W. might, if he had been so disposed, have applied his Apology to them, which he makes for other wicked Men, p. 19. They fell into their Sins by the Secret Snares of the Devil, and other violent Temptations : So that if this be any Excuse, I don't see why Gog and Magog should not have the Benefit of it. But they are, he says, a "People utterly unknown to us, and not "perhaps to be heard of till after the Millennium " is over :". And again, p. 104."an unknown wicked "People after the Millennium is over.” Now what
1 The Gentlemen, who with Mr. W. place this Battle of Gog and Magog after the Millennium, are reduced to great Difficulties to account for the Origin of this wicked People, and to tell us from whence they come. If they be any Race of Mortals that inhabit the present Earth, the Question is, How they happen'd to survive the Conflagration ? Dr. Burnet therefore, very Philosopher-like, generates them anew from the Slime of the Ground, and the Heat of the Sun:(Theory B. iv. Ch. 10.) But this is too gross to pass. Others suppose that the Gentiles to whom the Gospel was not preach'd before, shall be raised from the Dead during the Millennium ; and the Gospel being then communicated to them by some Preachers sent out of the New Jerusalem, they who reject it, will at last compose this wicked Army of Gog and Magog. It is not pretended that the Scripture gives any countenance to this Conjecture. On the contrary, some Reasons are offer'd for the Silence of Scripture on this head. But the misfortune is, the Scripture is not so silent in the Case, as is supposed; but has rather determin’d on the other side. St. Paul plainly teaches, Rom. Ch. ii. that as the Gentiles had a Law, tho' not a written one, so they shall be judged by that Law at the great Day. And when St. John has told us that the Martyrs and Saints shall live in the
a beggarly Refuge is this? What is it to the purpose, whether these People are known, or unknown, whether they live before the Millennium, or after it? Still they are God's Creatures; and will have as fair and impartial a Trial at the last great Day, as we ourselves shall have. And therefore if they may finally miscarry, and be tormented for ever and ever ; -the Consequence is easy: Let him that standeth, take heed lest he fall. As to what Mr. W. asserts, that excepting this single Place, the Duration of future Punishment is never said to be for more than a single Age, (p. 50, and 104;) some notice has been taken of it already; compare No. XCV. It has not, he supposes, been observed by any Commentator before him; and will not, I believe, in haste by any Commentator after him.
Vers. 14, 15. And Death and Hell weré 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. Ch. xxi. 8. But the Fearful and Unbelieving, and the Abominable, and Murderers, and Whoremongers, and Sorcerers, and Idolaters, and all Liars, shall have their part in the Lake which burneth with Fire and Brimstone: which is the second Death.
I have already in several places obviated what Mr. W. suggests under these Texts, p. 51, 52. about Millennium, and reign with Christ a thousand Years, Apoc. xx. 4. he adds expressly in the next Verse, that the rest of the Dead lived not again until the thousand Years were finished.
See the Preface to Mr. Johnson's Select Discourses Doctrinal and Practical. Printed 1740.
Death, the second Death, and the like. The State of the worst sort of Sinners, he says, that are incorrigible, is never once styled Life at all." And it would be strange if it should; since Life in the Gospel-Dialect denotes that happy Immortality which is the Reward of the Righteous. In opposition to this ζωή αιώνιος, everlasting Life, and σωτηρία αιώνιος, eternal Salvation, the final State of the wicked that are incorrigible, is styled Death. And what sort of Death that is, the very Opposition shews. See No. LXXII. Besides, the other Descriptions of it in the New Testament, explain the true Notion of it : such as πύρ αιώνιον, κόλασις αιώνιος, κρίσις αιώνιος, κρίμα αιώνιον, εκδίκησις, τιμωρία : which certainly point out a State, not of Insensibility, but of Sensation and Punishment. As to our Saviour's Words referr'd to by Mr. W. see No. X. Tho' he refers to them here as declaring for the utter Dissolution or Destruction both of Body and Soul, yet he owns there that they say no such thing; but leave room for hope that the Soul may remain capable of a second Resurrection, after the second Death is over. Thus he talks backwards and forwards, without any consistent Principles; sometimes in the Hypothesis of a Restoration, and sometimes in that of Annihilation ; inferring which of them he pleases from the same Texts, just as it serves his turn; tho' 'tis certain they are utterly contradictory, and as Scripture cannot teach, so no Man can consistently argue for both. His Quotation from Hermas has been consider'd before, No. XCIII. I have also shew'd, No. LXIX., what is meant by the second Death, and by Death and Hades being cast into the Lake of Fire. “ One cannot conceive any more, says Dr. Wall, by Death and Hades cast into the
1 On the New Test, p. 413.
Lake, than that there shall be no more Death or "Hades; but all Heaven or Hell.” And Lord King1 having quoted St. John's Words, thus explains them; “ That is, Death or the Grave surrendered her im“prison'd Bodies, and Hell her detained Souls, after " which their Empire and Power over the Children of
Men was destroyed and annihilated.” There will then be no more Death, that last Enemy will be destroyed, and swallowed up in Victory; I Cor. xv. 26, 54.
And Hades, his Companion and Attendant, Apoc. vi. 8.2 must follow with him. In consequence of this, the second Death with regard to wicked Men, cannot be any future Dissolution of Body and Soul; but a State of Punishment; having their part in the Lake which burneth with Fire and Brimstone : This is the second Death. In this Sense, he that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second Death: A poc. ii. 11. Nor would the Wicked be hurt by it, but greatly relieved, if it only meant Annihilation. “The Victory over
temporal Death shall be in some measure (as has “been already observed) universal ; for all shall rise
again from the Dead, and all both just and unjust “shall be clothed with immortal and incorruptible
Bodies, which shall never be dissolved any more. “But tho' there shall be no more Dissolution of the “ Body, nor Separation of the Soul, yet is there a
greater Destruction, into which they who believe not "God, and obey not his Gospel, shall at last fall; and " that is, the second Death ; Rev. xxi. 8. The Fear . "ful, the Unbelieving, the Abominable, and Murderers, "and Whoremongers, and Sorcerers, and Idolaters, and "all Liars, shall have their part in the Lake that
i Critical Hist. of the Creed, p. 227.
2 Και είδον, και ιδού ίππος χλωρός, και ο καθήμενος επάνω αυτού, όνομα αυτά ο θάνατος και ο άδης ακολουθεί μετ' αυτού.