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the Saviour in Matt. xxi. 21. So Jeremiah and Job curse the day of their birth, and declared that they had better never deen born; not from the fear of endless wo however, but in consequence of the trifling ills of life; and Solomon says, that an untimely birth is better than to be the father of many children, and live an hundred years, if they are years of misery. Here we see, that Solomon, Job, and Jeremiah used the same language, as that used by the Saviour, and in reference to temporal evils. Is it not evident that Jesus spake in the same sense with them, meaning, that some awful calamity was to fall upon Judas?
On this Clarke says: "Woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born!' I have considered this saying in a general point of view, in my note on Matt. xxvi. 24, and were it not a proverbial form of speech, among the Jews, to express the state of any flagrant transgressor, I should be led to apply it, in all its literal import, to the case of Judas, as I have done in the above note to the case of any damned soul; but when I find it was a proverbial saying, and that it has been used in many cases where the fixing of the irreversible doom of a sinner is not implied, it may be capable of a more favourable interpretation than what is generally given to it." He also adds:→ "The utmost that can be said of the case of Judas is this: he committed a heinous act of sin and ingratitude, but he repented and did what he could to undo his wicked act; he had committed the sin unto death, i. e., a sin that involves the death of the body; but who can say, (if mercy was offered to Christ's murderers, and the gospel
was first to be preached at Jerusalem, that these very murderers might have the first offer of salvation through him whom they had pierced,) that the same mercy could not be extended to wretched Judas? I contend that the chief priests, &c., who instigated Judas to deliver up his Master, and who crucified in, and who crucified him too as a malefactor, having at the same time the most indubitable evidence of his innocence, were worse men than Judas Iscariot himself; and that if mercy was extended to those, the wretched, penitent traitor did not die out of the yearning of his bowels. And I contend farther, that there is no evidence of the final damnation of Judas in the sacred text." Note in fin. Acts, chap. i.
7. 1 Tim. vi. 7. The remarks under our third head are equally applicable to this; and if they were not, I see no reason for answering so many assumptions. You have assumed that the destruction in the text means endless wo. Have you any proof of this?
8. Matt. xxv. 30. See this explained in letter No. vii., 8th head.
9. John xv. 6. "Cast them into the fire, and they are burned." On this text you make several assertions, but as they are backed up by no proof, they must go for assertions, not for arguments.Under the figure of the vine and its branches, Christ represents himself and disciples; the cutting off and burning the branches, he uses as a figure of cutting off and destroying unfaithful christians. We have frequently shown in this discussion how apostates were destroyed, and that fire was a common figure to represent the destruction. Such, we believe, is the case here,
At any rate, nothing is said of another world.Your assertion, therefore, is unfounded.
10. Rom. xiv. 15. "Destroy not him with thy meat," &c. Here you assume that destroy means endless punishment, but as there are so many destructions mentioned in the Holy Scriptures, proof is requisite to sustain your assumption. The words, it seems, were spoken, in consequence of a division respecting the use of meat; some being for and some against it. The word destroy is used to express the effect which eating meat might have on those who considered it wrong; and is synonymous with stumble and fall, (v. 13.) with 'offended' and 'made weak' (v. 21.) He that can discover the doctrine of endless wo in any of these words, must have a remarkably penetrating mind. They certainly say nothing of another world, but simply relate to some being offended, because others ate what they considered unclean and forbidden of God.
11. 1 Cor. viii. 10, 11. 'Perish.' This word is used in a variety of senses; but the most frequent is death. As the apostle is here discussing the same subject as in Rom. xiv. 15, and as he uses the same figures, we will only add in the language of Gill: The perishing of this weak brother is to be understood of his peace and comfort, and is explained by defiling his conscience, ver. 7, by wounding it, ver. 12, and making him to offend, v. 13, through an imprudent use of christian liberty in those who had the greater knowledge, and by a participation of things offered unto idols in an idol's temple, and not of his eternal damnation in hell, which could never enter into the apostle's thought, as to be brought about hereby, as appears from ver. 8," &c. Expos. in loc,
12. 2 Cor. iv. 3. " Hid to them that are lost." The only thing on which you rely here is the word lost. Now as Christ came to seek and save the lost, and as the prodigal son was lost and found again, no argument can be drawn from this word against Universalism. The meaning of the text is thus expressed by Pyle: " Nor can what I have preached and written to you be denied to be the sincere gospel truth, unless by such sensual and profligate men, whose affections are so wedded to their temporal ends and advantages, that they have no relish of the wise and glorious purposes of the religion of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the image of the Father, and the revealer of his true and last will to mankind."Par. in loc.
13. Heb. x. 39. "Draw back to perdition."— As though not satisfied with the arguments, by which you sustain your application of this text, you must cry out, in relation to our views of it, miserable subterfuge.' O when will men men learn to be candid and charitable! That this means temporal destruction, at the siege of Jerusa lem, is evident, 1. Because the Christians were then suffering great persecution and many in consequence were slinking away from Christ and his cause. Of these, the apostle says, "We are not." 2. In verse 27 it is said "Yet a little while, and he that shall come will come," &c. which Clarke refers to Christ's coming to execute judgment upon the Jews. 3. They had need of patience because they could not receive the promise until Christ's coming. Hence they had need of patience to endure their trials. 4. "To the saving of the soul," Clarke explains, to the "preservation of the life," thus showing that both the sal
vation and perdition were temporal. Your three arguments therefore have no foundation.
14. Matt. xvi. 26. "Lose his soul." On this Clarke says: “By what authority our translators rendered psuche, soul, I know not; for it is the same word which, in the verse preceding, is twice rendered life." That it simply means animal life is evident from the situation of the christians. They were in a state of great persecution, from which they were to be delivered at Christ's coming. At this time the persecutors were to be destroyed. Hence the declaration, if they sought to save their lives, that is, if they renounced Christ for safety, they should lose their lives. But if they would lose, or live as though they would lose their lives, that is, give up all for Christ, they should save them. These words proved true, for not a single christian suffered in the siege of Jerusalem. To render this the more impressive, Christ adds, "What will it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul, (life) or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? (life.) This explanation is unquestionable, because the text refers to Christ's second coming. Hence the verse following (27) says, the Son of man shall come before that generation shall pass away. Your paraphrase therefore is fallacious. That a person who reads Greek should refer this text to the future world, seems incredible! Why sir, you are a century behind the age, and a dozen, I was about to say, behind Clarke.
15. James ii. 13. "Judgment without mercy." To show your entire misrepresentation of this text, it is only necessary to observe 1. That the