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mited; but I find it impossible to reconcile his silence, admitting an endless punishment, with his declaration, that he declared the whole counsel of God. Still, if you can prove your doctrine from other inspired writers, you refute Universalism, but you do not answer the question which you attempted. Do you intend to perplex me with much proof like the following: "Neither Paul or any other inspired writer taught that punishment would come to an end. Nearly all have declared, either directly or indirectly, that it will not come to an end. Whether am I to believe the infallible word of God or the word of fallen man"? Who desired you to believe the word of man? Surely Universalists have made no such repuest. But when you, as in the words above, give us your ipse dixit concerning what the Apostles did and did not teach, we are left to infer, that you would wish us to take your word, rather than that of God.
Your remarks on Gehenna, require but a few words. I shall not consider your proof texts, until you give your reasons for applying them as you have. Neither will we argue the question, whether Christ is better authority than Paul, for I consider both good, but we will consider the fact, that while Jesus spoke of Gehenna, Paul was silent respecting it. Now if Gehenna in Paul's day, was the common word to designate a place of endless misery, and if Jesus used it in this sense, how shall we account for the fact, that Gehenna is not to be found in all the preaching and writing of Paul?
The new positions taken in your second letter, compel me to propose this question, as they
bring up an entire new subject for discussion. The original question, had no relation to the meaning of Gehenna, but it referred entirely to the fact, that Paul never used it. Hence the propriety of my remark, that Paul, to justify the preaching of the present age, should have been continually thundering about Gehenna &c. Therefore you have perverted my meaning, in saying, I admit, that had Paul used Gehenna, it would have justified the popular preaching about hell. I admitted nothing of the kind.
I was simply considering the circumstance of Paul's not using Gehenna, without any reference to its meaning, which was agreeable to the original question. But now, as you have abandoned the first question, and adopted one in relation to the meaning of Gehenna, I shall expect your particular attention to the question proposed, and to your proofs for applying Gehenna as you have.
In considering what you have said respecting 2. Thes. 1. 9. I shall pass in silence your charge of "perversion of scripture" and want of "sense" for they are entirely gratuitous, and can do me no injury, and you no service. Το your 1st proposition I reply: It matters not of whom the church at Thessalonica were composed, or whether they were interested in the affairs of the Jewish nation, since they were troubled and persecuted on every hand by the Jews. See. Acts xvii. 13. where you will find an explanation of the phrase, "you who are troubled rest with us. These persecutions, gave the Thessalonians a thrilling interest in the question, when the Jewish government was to be abolished? Hence the language, rest with
us-when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed-taking vengeance, &c.
To your 2d proposition I reply: To say that Paul uses no appellation by which the Jews or the Roman army can be understood, is assuming the point in question. If the Jews were not intended, whom did Paul mean, by them that troubled the Christians? And if the Roman army was not intended, what did he mean by taking vengeance? In Matt. 24th chapter, which all refer to the destruction of Jerusalem, the Jews are not named; neither is the Roman army. But whoever brought this as an argument against the common application of the chap.? It speaks of persecution, exhorts to faithfulness by the coming of Christ, and threatens the persecutors with destruction. Now the same persecutions are mentioned, the same exhortations given, and the same judgments denounced in Thess. and the time of the destruction is in both, declared to be, at the coming or revelation of Christ. Must not the Apostle then, have referred to the overthrow of the Jewish nation?
To your 3d proposition I reply: When we connect, and obey not the Gospel, with the phrase, know not God, it is impossible to resist the conclusion, that Jews were intended; for those who had not heard the Gospel, could not be damned for not obeying it. Besides, in the scriptural sense, the Jews were ignorant of God, and of the great work which he was doing. As vengeance is frequently used to express temporal punishments, I can see no reason for 1eferring it in this instance, to a judgment beyond this world. See Isai. xxxiv. 8; xlvii.
3. Jer. li. 6; 36. In Luke xxi. 22, vengeance is applied to the destructich of Jerusalem. The word therefore is against you. Inasmuch as all the churches enjoyed a season of rest, after the destruction of Jerusalem, I can see no difficulty in the phrase, admired in all them that believe. It is the same as, glorified in his saints. Language far more comprehensive, is used with reference to the coming of Christ. See Matt. xvi. 27. where the phrase every man is used; and Matt. xxiv. 14. where the phrases, all the world and all nations, are used.
Your 4th proposition is refuted by the circumstances, which called forth the Epis. from which the text under consideration is taken.— From some circumstance, many of the Thessalonians believed that the coming of Christ was immediately to take place. The 2d Epis. to them was written partly to correct this error. Hence the Apostle says, "Now I beseech you brethren by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, that ye be not soen shaken in mind or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand." Now while the Apostle cautions them against expecting Christ immediately, and of being deceived, he holds up the idea, that Christ would come in their day. Hence after having said the day would not come unless there was a falling away, and the man of sin was revealed, he speaks of his already working, and of there being then signs of the iniquity, that would foretell the day. Suppose the day was a general judgment; how could it be uncertain? How
could it depend on there being a falling away first?
On your 5th proposition, I will only say; had your reading been more extensive, you would have found commentators, who agree with the opinion, which I have advanced.Hammond and Cappe both refer the text to the destruction of Jerusalem. So does Gill, though he afterwards contradicts the opinion. And Clarke has some doubts on the subject.
As 2d Thess. 1. 5-10. is regarded,as one of the strongest texts, in favor of endless misery, I am ̧ anxious to have it fully discussed. And for this purpose, I will propose the following questions: 1st. If the revelation of Christ, here mentioned, was not his coming at the destruction of Jerusalem, wherein was the propriety, of exhorting the Thessalonians to faithfulness, with reference to it?" You who are troubled, rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from Heaven, in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God." This, when considered with the verses in connexion, (see v. 5.) shows, that at Christ's coming, they would be delivered from suffering and persecution. But if we make this coming, still future, how can that be? Such exhortations are common. 66 For ye have need of patience; that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and he that shall come, will come, and will not tarry." Heb. viii. 36, 37.
2d. Was not the Apostle speaking particularly of the persecuted Christians and their deliverance; of their persecutors and their punishment? Seeing it is a righteous thing with