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never fall, or, if fallen, that he should rise again? If there is but one supreme, eternal Being; if that Being is infinitely good, just, and powerful; there must be an infinite reason against moral evil, that is, against the only possible evil; and this reason may lie as well in the infinity of punishment, as in that of reward. It can indeed be nothing else, but one or both. But creatures can neither enjoy nor suffer infinitely, any otherwise than in point of duration; which proves the eternity, either of the reward or punishment. Now, there is not so much reason for the eternity of a reward, which we can never deserve, as for the eternity of a punishment, which we may, if our sins are infinite. Since I have been here again obliged to mention the infinity of sin, I beg leave to be understood in this sense, not that such things are infinite as are committed under the ignorance of God's law, or without any tincture of contempt, or an intentional insult on his majesty ; but such only as give a character to our whole lives; such as we persevere in to the last, although we know God abhors them, and us for committing them ; such in a word, as on the whole, shew we are by.choice the servants of Satan, and not of God.

A man of this stamp is infinitely guilty in the sight of God; because, as far as in him lies, he disappoints the whole intention of the creation. God made all things here for man, and man for himself. But if man turns every thing here to an occasion of sin, and himself to rebellion, how are the wise and gracious intentions of God to be answered ? Will a temporary punishment, followed by annihilation, make amends ? No; God did not make him in vain; yet in vain he must have been made, if, after a life of sin, and a short punishment, he is to be unmade again. Surely, the infinitely wise Being who created and disposes all things, can turn this his creature, who would not be his servant, to a better account. He can even make him serve the

of righteousness by exhibiting in him to all eternity a wholesome example of his indignation at sin, that angels and men may see, and fear to offend. This way, and this only, God may bring universal good out of moral evil, and make either happy, or at least useful, servants of all his moral creatures; insomuch that what St. Paul said, Rom. xi. to the Gentile converts, concerning the unbelieving Jews, may for ever be


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truly said to the just, concerning the benefits they will derive from the example made of the wicked ; . If the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world-behold therefore the goodness and severity of God; on them which fell, severity; but towards you goodness, if you continue in his goodness; otherwise you also shall be cut off.'

But, over and above all this, God may apply the wicked to other particular uses, of which, at present, we can form no determinate idea. Throughout his universal empire he may have offices and stations of inconceivable use to the whole, which none can so well fill as the wicked; because confinement, disgrace, and pain, may be as essential to those offices, as they are to the business of a miner, or a galleyslave. As, for instance, they are threatened in Scripture with a punishment of fire; how do we know but the inscrutable phenomena of that element may arise from the agency of evil spirits, who, although chained themselves in the blackness of darkness toward the centre of a luminous body,

a may, in order to some small mitigation of their pain, so elaborate the combustible matter as to be the cause of that motion whereby the rays of light and heat are propelled towards, and from, the surface ? This supposition will always have a possibility to countenance it, till the nature of fire, and the activity of light, are discovered to be the effects of some other cause. But be this as it will, there is all the reason in the world for supposing, God obliges them to answer some other ends of their creation, besides that of exemplifying his justice ; and, in order to it, assigns them such a situation as may render them physically, as well as morally, useful. The devil, who, from a prince in heaven, is become a tyrant in hell, is continued in being, not for the evil he is permitted, but for the good he is forced, to do. While he is himself the highest example of God's justice, he is also the punisher of those he tempts to sin ; and will, as the executioner of vengeance, be compelled to do more good, on the whole, to the moral world, than God will suffer him, as a tempter, to do evil. What other services he renders to God against his will, in his station as 'prince of the air,' we know not; but we are sure he does not hold that principality merely on the merit of doing mischief. To shut up this argument; we are not to conclude for the


annihilation of the damned, till we are sure infinite wisdom and power can by no means serve itself either of them or their punishment.

It is to no manner of purpose, that the favourers of annihilation make use of the words death' and 'destruction,' as applied to the wicked in Scripture, in order to wrest a proof from thence of their falling into nothing. The word death' is used by the sacred writers in three different senses. Sometimes it signifies 'a death unto sin,' sometimes 'a separation of soul and body, and sometimes a separation of the soul from God,' in order to its eternal confinement in hell, which is called the second death.' The first happens to men while yet alive. The second, when the soul and body are disunited. And the last is called death; not because it is attended with annihilation, which bath no analogy with any kind of death ; but metaphorically; because, as in a natural death, the body is cut off from the soul, its only principle of life, so, in this, the soul is cut off from God, who is the life, that is, the happiness and joy, of the soul. If a wicked soul ceased to exist on its departure from the body, how could it be judged, or sent away into punishment with the devil and his angels at the last day?' Now, after this, we are assured, there shall be no more death ;' that is, no new deaths of any kind; so that, if there is to be an annihilation of the damned, no argument is to be drawn for it from any use of the word death' in Scripture.

Neither does the word 'destruction' afford them any advantage, there being no one place in all the Bible where it signifies an absolute annihilation of any substance; no, not even when it is called “utter destruction, as Zech. xiv. 11. Indeed, when it is applied to worldly power, sin, death, &c. which are either but nonentities, or mere modes of things, it sometimes, not always, intimates a total abolition of the subject. When it is applied to kingdoms or cities, it threatens dissolution to societies, and ruin to houses; that is, dissipation to the mere assemblages; but by no means annihilation to the men or materials whereof they consist. When it is applied to men simply, it often signifies disappointment to their schemes, downfal to their ambition or power; or a substitution of poverty and affliction, for wealth and pleasure; never more than a natural death. But when

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it is applied to the incorrigibly wicked, it signifies expressly their final punishment or damnation, not annihilation ; for, after all that is intimated by destruction' is actually executed on them, we hear of them again existing in their torments. This might easily be shewn from many passages.

I shall only take notice of two. Our Saviour saith, Matt. vii. 13, Wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, or hell, and many there be which go in thereat.' Now, that hell does not annihilate the damned, though it is here called destruction, is plain from the parable of the rich man, whom we find existing in the midst of its torments. Hence it appears, that destruction only signifies misery without hope of relief. Again St. Paul tells us, Heb. ii. 14, that our Saviour took on him the flesh and blood of a man, that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death,' that is, the devil. Here the devil is expressly said to have been destroyed by the death of Christ; but surely not annihilated; for we know he is to be judged at the last day, and punished afterward; and therefore what follows, but that, by destruction' in this place, we are to understand the abolition of his empire, namely, sin, and its effects, in all who should embrace the gospel of Christ, and believe in his death?

It is easy to see what men mean by such dissolute objecjections, founded on arguments so evasive. They pretend the honour of God, and tenderness to their fellow-creatures; whereas nothing can be more manifest, than that they mean all the time an indulgence for themselves, for the vilest part of themselves; and preach up this indulgence among their acquaintances for no other reason, than because they cannot securely enough believe in it, till they have a crowd to believe with. For this goodly end they represent us, who believe in the eternity of future torments, as cruel and inhuman; not seeming to consider, that, although the infliction of such torments should be ever so unjust and cruel, we are not to be blamed for it, since we are not the inflictors ; nay, nor considering, that, while we believe their eternity, we must be really cruel and unfaithful in the highest degree, should we be silent on the awful subject. But they indeed ought to reflect a little more closely, whether, as they cannot be absolutely sure, that the punishment of the wicked will


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be only temporary, they do not act a most ensnaring and cruel part in giving vice such hopes of indulgence, as in the generality of men, will have the same effects with the hope of total impunity. For my own part, I solemnly declare, there is nothing in revelation I am more thoroughly convinced of than the eternity of those torments. This declaration I make, not that I presume to hope it will have any weight, merely because it is mine, but that it may be my apology for often and strongly insisting on the terrible doctrine; and surely it is a sufficient one.

That clergyman, who believes, as I do, can in nothing shew himself so truly tender and affectionate to his flock, as in dwelling often on the dreadful subject, in painting it to the life in all its horrors, and in urging it home on the hearts of the insensible with every argument that can convince, and every expression that can alarm. He cannot possibly exceed on such a subject; for, say what he will, he must still be short of infinity. The Scriptures will best supply him with materials, whether he aims at convincing or rousing. Let him say after God, and fear not, though the wicked should wince, when he lances; and the affectedly nice ascribe that shock to their delicacy, which is felt only in their guilt. They may say he is unmannerly for talking of hell to the genteel ; but this is not to move him; for hell was made for the genteel, and for them that ‘fare sumptuously every day,' as well as for meaner mortals. If they would have him speak to them only of heaven, let them shew him in their lives, that they are in the way to heaven. But if avarice, or ambition, or pride, or oppression, or if riot, sensuality, lust, and villany, shew themselves triumphant in their actions, he ought to shew them the latitude of the road they are in, and the fire and brimstone, yes, I say, 'fire and brimstone,' in which it ends. If they would have him delicate in his preaching, let them be delicate in the morality of their actions. But what right hath the stupid drunkard to soft words; or the hardened adulterer, to delicate expressions; or the despicable trickster, to honorary addresses ; or the infernal perverter of justice, the cruel oppressor, the horrid murderer, to tender or distant admonitions, from him who delivers a message of vengeance from the Lord of hosts, and the Judge of heaven and earth?

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