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the land thereof shall become burning pitch, IT SHALL NOT BE QUENCHED NIGHT NOR DAY ; the smoke thereof shall go up for ever: from generation to generation it shall be waste; none shall pass through it for byer. But the cormorant and the bittern shall possess it: the owl also and the raven shall dwell in it: and he shall stretch out upon it the line of confusion, and the stone of emptiness.”

No fire, with which the wicked are threatened, is expressed in language so strong as this, yet it is obvious that this phraseology cannot denote ą fire which shall never end; for if any one can believe that Idumea was really turned into pitch and brimstone, and set on fire, yet it is impossible to suppose, that it will continue burning through

, the ages of eternity; and if the denunciation be interpreted in a figurative sense, the calamities it threatens must be understood to be of a temporal nature, and therefore of limited duration,

Simpson concludes his examination of the term tug, fire, in general, and of these passages in particular, with the following admirable observations:

All these several metaphors, by which future punishment is described, will not admit of being understood literally. For if thus interpreted, some of them would clash with others. Nor is there any proper authority for taking any one of them in preference to the rest, and explaining

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them so as to accord with that which we select as the rule of interpretation. We are compelled, therefore, to look out for some key to the explanation of them all, so as to be consistent with each other. If

any one of these figurative representations has united with it a plain term that will accord, not only with the single figure with which it is conjoined, but also with the various other figures that are employed upon this subject in the New Testament; and especially if it coincides with the actual explanation and use of the very same figúres in the writings of the Jewish prophets, we may fairly interpret all the figurative expressions by this plain one.

“Now the words anger and indignation that occur in Rev. xiv. 10, Heb. *. 27, have a plain and distinct meaning. The same shall drink of the wine of the : wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation, and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone, in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the lamb: All the other terms that are employed to describe the grievous future punishment of the wicked, are proper figurative representations of the dreadful effects of divine indignation against sinners; and, considered in this light, they entirely agree with each other. The Old Testament was both the religious and the civil code of the Jews, and the Greek translation of it was commonly used by

them in the time of our Lord and his apostles. They therefore adopted many expressions from the books contained in it. Now the Jewish prophets, it is well known, described the Deity himself, and all his operations and proceedings, in a bold and most highly figurative style. The similitudes which we are now considering, they often employed, in representing the great displeasure of the Most High' against sin, and the painful chastisement of death that he will inflict in this world, upon those who transgress his laws and abuse his favors. The metaphors of fire, unquenchable, fire, and their worm-not dying, as well as other figures, are thus applied in the following texts, in which there are plain expressions, that lead to the true interpretation of the figurative.

« Deut. xxxii. 22-25: A fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains. I will heap' mischiefs upon them: I will spend mine arrows upon them: they shall be burnt with hunger and devoured with burning heat, and with bitter destruction; I will also send the teeth of beasts upon them, with the portion of serpents of the dust; the sword without, and terror within, shall destroy both the young man and the virgin, the suckling also with the man of grey hairs.' Isa. Ixvi. 14–16:


• The indignation of Jehovah shall be known towards his enemies. For behold Jehovah will come with his fire and with his chariots, like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke like flames of fire. For by fire and by his sword will Jehovah plead with all flesh, and the slain of the Lord shall be many.' Ver.24: . * And they shall go forth and look upon the carcasses of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched, and they shall be an ab. horring unto all flesh. Here dead carcasses are spoken of as being devoured by worms or destroyed by fire. This, therefore, does not imply, but excludes the idea of their feeling pain. See also Isaiah v. 24, 25, xxx. 27-33; Ps. lxxxix. 46, &c.

“From the above quotations out of the Old Testament, it appears, that the metaphors in the New Testament, which we are considering, must, in the strongest sense, be understood, of grievous suffering and destruction by death. The wicked, then, are described as dying again after severe punishment in the world to come.

There is no passage in which it is said that they shall be immortal, or shall remain in a state of torment without dying. We have no sufficient ground, then, for maintaining that the punishment of sinners will have no termination, nor for affirming that the second death, which we are assured they shall undergo, will put a final period to their existence. These are conclusions

upon which consequences of too great moment depend, to admit of their being deduced from figurative language alone. Plain and explicit terms seem indispensably requisite to justify such senti. ments."

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