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It is an unsupported assertion, from any part of our Lord's discourse, that this kingdom, or the life eternal enjoyed by the righteous, is the happiness of the heavenly state.
But the view I have given is amply supported both by it and other parts of Scripture. It is the same as going in with the bridegroom to the marriage, verse 10. And entering into the joy of their Lord, 21, 22. And to inherit this kingdom is to enjoy all the blessings and privileges of it. See Rom. 14:17. Matth. 8: 11, 12. and Luke 22: 29, 30. My views, then, accord with the nature of the kingdom Christ received from the father, the throne on which he sits, and his rule and government in it, and which, at the period called the end, he is to deliver up to God the father, 1 Cor. 15: 24--28. To this kingdom he had a right to invite all those who endured to the end, chap. 24: 13. and to punish all those who said, we will not have this man to rule over us."
It has long been considered one of the strongest arguments in favor of eternal misery, that the same Greek word is rendered here everlasting and eternal, and applied both to life and punishment. It is hence inferred, that if the punishment is not endless, neither is life. Universalists do not admit this, for they adduce some texts where everlasting is used in the same verse, where it is allowed by their opponents that it is used both in a limited and unlimited sense. But if my views are found correct, it puts a final end to this argument and mode of reasoning, for everlasting is not used in either case to express endless duration. A brief sketch of my views of the phrase “ everlasting life," has been given above, and some things may just be noticed here in confirmation of them.
1st. It is concluded by many, that this chapter contains an account of the end of this world, and the day of judgment. But why is such a conclusion
drawn? for certainly, though it speaks of everlasting fire, everlasting punishment, and life eternal, it gives no intimation that these are suffered or enjoyed after death, the resurrection, or in another state of exist. ence. The general usage of the word everlasting is against such a conclusion; and it is beyond all debate, that this term is applied in other texts to the temporal punishment of the Jews, which no one believes to be of endless duration. Besides, the whole scope of our Lord's discourse shows, that here the word everlasting is used to express the duration of this very punishment, and is the fulfilment of what Daniel predicted, chap. 12: 2. considered above. This is confirmed from the word kolasis, here rendered punishment. Parkhurst says it comes from kolazo, to punish, and it comes from cla in the Hebrew, which signifies to restrain. This punishment, then, is for the purpose of restraining the subjects of it, and not, as we are sometimes told, for wihe glory of divine justice in their cternal misery;" or, that “the happiness of the righteous may be sweetened in seeing the smoke of their torment ascend up forever and ever.” The sense given by Parkhurst to the above words is supported by their Scripture usage. See 1 John 4: 18. Acts. 4: 21. 2 Peter 2: 9. On this last text see my answer to Mr. Sabine. The word rendered punishment in both places, is a confirmation of my opinions.
2d. The life eternal, verse 46. and the kingdom the righteous are called to inherit, verse 36. are the same, or the life eternal is to be enjoyed in this kingdom. It has then been shown above, that eternal life was promised to Christ's disciples in the world to come, or the age of the Messiah, which certainly agrees to this passage. This passage is the fulfilment! of what Christ promised, Mark 10:30. Luke 18: 30. Matth. 19: 29. considered above. The father ap
pointed to Christ a kingdom, and he having returned from receiving it, his faithful followers enjoyed the life or happiness of it. They entered into the joy of their Lord, and shone forth like the sun in the kingdom of their father.
It may be objected—“How could it be said, these shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal,' if endless duration in a future state be not meant, for such persons could only live a few years in this world either to suffer or enjoy ?” See this objection noticed page 310. I would add here, that it is certain, everlasting is applied in Scripture both to punishment and enjoyment, when all allow endless duration is not meant. Why not so here, when we have seen that eternal life was to be enjoyed in the world to come, which is to end? That the present punishment of the Jews is called everlasting, no one can dispute, and we think has been shown, is the punishment referred to in this very passage. If the Jews, while in Canaan, enjoyed it successively in their generations as an everlasting possession, and now cast out of it, endure in their generations an everlasting punishment, why not also believers enjoy eternal life, in a similar way, in the age of the Messiab? This life, I conceive, is not ą. called eternal on account of its endless enjoyment by the individuals, but from its being a life connected with the kingdom of Christ, wbich is called an everlasting kingdom, which is to endure until the end, or resurrection of all the dead, and then mortality shall be swallowed up of life in being forever with the Lord. It is everlasting in a similar sense as the kingdom itself, or the gospel of this kingdom, which is called the everlasting gospel.
Is it further objected" That Matth. 24. has a double meaning, first, in the destruction of Jerusalem during that generation, and second, in the dissolution
of this world and a day of general judgment?” But
2 Thess. 1: 9. "Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and frem the glory of his power.” We have considered this passage, with its context, very fully in the Universalist Magazine, vol. v. beginning at page 157. To it we refer the reader, and shall here only give a brief abridgment of our remarks. Let us consider,
1st. Who the persons were to whom Paul alluded when he said, “who shall be punished with everlasting destruction.” Most people say-“All the wicked." The apostle and the Thessalonians knew who they were to their painful experience, for they were the persons who troubled them, verse 6. and from whom their persecutions arose, verse 4. Who, then, persecuted and troubled them? The Thessalonians were persecuted by their own countrymer, chap. 2: 14, 15. But their persecutions chiefly arose from the unbelieving Jews, as is evident from Acts 17:5—7. Comp. i Thess 2: 15. The whole New Testament shows this. But it is evident from the context. Let the question be asked—Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction ? The answer is found, verse 8. Those that know not God, and obeyed not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ." Was not this the case with the Jews? Comp. John
16:3. God was to recompense tribulation, and to take vengeance on those that knew not God; and God's vengeance on the Jews is expressly called “the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled,” Luke 21: 22. Comp. also Luke 18: 7, 8. Rom. 12:19. The connexion between the 8th and 9th verses clearly shows, that the vengeance to be taken on them that know not God, and who shall be punished with everlasting destruction, refers to the same persons, and the same punishment. And in verse 6. it is said, it is a righteous thing with God “to recompense tribulation to them;" and which our Lord calls, Matth. 24: 29. “ great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be." Comp. verse 21. By troubling and persecuting Christians, the Jews were to fill up the measure of their iniquity, and bring upon themselves such tribulations. Accordingly, it is said, verse 5. “ which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God.” What is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God? The answer is, verse 4. the persecutions and tribulations which the Thessalonians endured. But this only provokes the question-A manifest token of the righteous judgment of God upon whom? The answer evidently is, verse 6. upon them that troubled the Thessalonians, which we think beyond all dispute, were the unbelieving Jews. Comp. Philip. 1: 28. where it is called “an evident token of perdition” to them, By pursuing such a course, the Jews fulfilled what our Lord predicted, and brought upon themselves all the righteous blood shed upon the earth. See Matth. 23: 34–36. and i Thess. 2:16. 2d. Let us now consider at what time such
persons were to be punished with everlasting destruction. If the persons were the unbelieving Jews, the answer is given already in the above remarks. It was at the