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threatened with a second death from which there is no promise of deliverance, we must conclude, that their punishment will consist in absolute and irrecoverable destruction.
A little attention to the subject, will probably show, that the fundamental principle upon which this argument is founded, is fallacious. Oavatos does not denote the endless extinction of conscious existence. It occurs in the New Testa. ment in several different senses, but never once in this, when used concerning intelligent beings. When it relates to the guilty, it denotes, like the other terms which have been considered, pain, punishment, suffering. Schleusner observes, that it signifies, 1. Properly natural death, or the separation of the soul from the body, not occasioned by external violence. 2. Violent death, or the punishment of death. 3. Per metonymiam, quodvis gravius malum et periculum mortis. 4. Pestis, morbus pestiferus. 5. Any kind of misery and unhappiness, but chiefly the punishment of wickedness, and of offences in this, as well as in a future life : omnis miseria et infelicitas, maxime quæ est vitiositatis et peccatorum pæna in hac paritur ac in futura vita. 1 John iji. 14; Rom. vii. 24; John v. 24; Rom. i. 32.
It must be evident, then, that these words, when applied to future punishment, do not denote literal and absolute destruction, or the extinction of conscious existence, but the pain
and suffering which will be inflicted upon the guilty, in consequence of their offences. By attaching this meaning to these terms, we render every passage in which they occur, consistent with the general tenor of the language of the New Testament, with the benevolent spirit of the gospel, and with the perfections of the Divine Being: but the argument attempted to be deduced from them in favor of the doctrine of destruction, is founded merely on their sound, without regarding their real and scriptural meaning.
But even were the fundamental principle upon which it is attempted to establish this hypothesis, namely, that death signifies the eternal extinction of consciousness and life, admitted, (though it has been proved to be false,) instead of supporting the doctrine of limited punishment, terminated by destruction, it would be fatal to it: for if death denote, together with the disorganization of the corporeal frame, the utter extinction of the intellectual faculty, the wicked cannot be punished in a future state with great and protracted suffering, as this hypothesis teaches, because the moment which terminates their mortal existence, must, according to this meaning of the term, put an eternal period to their being.
Should it be urged, that the Scriptures affirm that the wicked shall awake from the sleep of death, and suffer the punishment due to their sins, it is obvious that this very argument proves in the most decisive manner, that the meaning attempted to be affixed to the terms we are considering, is not just, and establishes the important conclusion, that death is not the endless deprivation of life, nor destruction the everlasting extinction of the intellectual principle.
If it be contended, that we are assured that the wicked will undergo death again after their resurrection, and that we have no authority for supposing that they will be restored a second time to life, then the ground of the argument is changed: it is made to depend entirely upon those expressions, which either affirm or imply that the wicked will be punished with the second death : the controversy is thus brought into a very narrow compass.
With respect to the phrase δευτερος θανατος, , the second death, it is obvious that were death really the endless extinction of organized and intelligent existence, the expression second death would be absurd ; for there could be no second death, were the first absolute and eternal.
If it be just to give a literal interpretation to this phrase, it seems to warrant the conclusion, that the wicked will die a second time ; yet it is not affirmed that they will never rise again. Of a first resurrection we are certain, and we have no assurance that there will not be a second. There is no passage of Scripture hostile to the conclusion that there will. Should it be inferred, that a second resurrection will not take place, because there is no express promise to authorize the expectation, it may with equal justice be concluded, that there will, because it is not positively affirmed that there will not. Of these opposite inferrences, the latter is at least as well founded as the former : nay, it is much more so; because the first is incompatible with some passages of Scripture, but the second is contradict. ed by none, and is directly supported by several, particularly by those which speak of a first resurrection ; for a first resurrection implies a second.
It is affirmed, i Cor. xv. 26, that the last enemy which shall be destroyed is death ; that death is swallowed up in victory; that Jesus Christ has abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light by the gospel, 2 Tim. i. 10. But if the second death be absolutely endless, or reduce the subjects of it to a state of total and eternal unconsciousness, death is not abolished ; its duration is commensurate with eternity ; it is not vanquished, it is the victor; it is not destroyed, it triumphs.
To the doctrine of Destruction, as well as to that of Endless Misery, the great truth that there will be a resurrection both of the just and of the unjust, is decidedly hostile. Who can believe that the benevolent Father of the human race will call the greater part of his creatures from the sleep of death, and re-organize the curious and beautiful structure in which intelligence and consciousness reside, on purpose to inflict upon them everlasting misery, or very protracted suffering, which will terminate in destruction ? What a work does this doctrine assign to the beneficent Creator ! How inconsistent with every perfec. tion of his nature ! How different this his second from his first creation !
From every thing which we see and feel, it is evident that he intended to communicate happiness by bestowing the gift of life. Is it, then, possible to imagine, that he will raise his creatures from the dead, with no other view than to counteract his own design ; that he will exert his omnipotence on purpose to frustrate the counsels of his benevolence ?
This hypothesis involves the absurdity which has been often pointed out in the preceding pages; it supposes that the Deity restores millions of creatures to life for no other purpose than that of rendering them miserable, which is an act of cruelty of which we can form no adequate conception.
A resurrection to a state of pure, unmixed suffering, (which is the common notion of a state of punishment, which lasts for a very protracted period, and terminates in destruction, must ren