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were a sovour of death to the conquered. Thus it was with the Gospel; to the believer it was the savour of life, to the unbeliever of death. But as life and death are common terms to express the moral condition of saints and sinners on earth, the text proves nothing respecting the future state. "We know that we have passed from death unto life." "Dead in sin." "He that believeth hath life." This explanation is confirmed by Horne, Gilpin and Hammond. The latter says: For by our preaching the gospel, we perform a very acceptable service to God, and bring in glory to his name, offer up a sweet smelling sacrifice unto him among all sorts of people,both among the penitent believers which receive the faith, and live according to it, and the impenitent unbelievers that receive it not. For though this sweet perfume, to the obstinate impenitent hath been the most perfect poison, (as high perfumes sometimes are,) they have grown the worse for the gospel's coming among them; yet to all that have forsaken their old courses of sin, and obeyed this call to a new life, it hath been the most comfortable vital savour that ever came to them."
3. Phil. iii. 19. Whose end is destruction." Pyle explains this as follows:-"Their notions and views of religion are all temporal, and their chief aim is at the gratification of their sensual appetites and pleasures; they boast in what they ought to be ashamed of; and, for such irreclaimable prejudices and practices, God will destroy their whole nation with a most exemplary destruction.." Par. in loc. Whitby is of the same opinion.
Your argument, that destruction cannot mean temporal death, because the good also die, stands opposed to two facts. 1. The god of these people was their belly-that is, they were sensual, and devoted to the gratification of their appetites and passions. And are not such people now destroyed? Alas! See the thousands hurrying to an untimely grave. 2. Temporal destruction is often threatened as a punishment. This none will deny. And is it not a punishment, a sore punishment? So it was regarded under the old dispensation, and so it is now regarded. The fact that the good must also die, does not affect this in the least, because to die, as a punishment, and a natural death, are two things quite different.— Your argument, therefore, is fallacious; for the end of these people was temporal destruction.— The apostle speaks of their temporal, not their eternal end.
4. Heb. vi. 8. "Is nigh unto cursing." On this Dr. Clarke says:-"It is acknowledged, almost on all hands, that this epistle was written before the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans.— This verse is, in my opinion, a proof of it; and here I suppose the apostle refers to that approaching destruction, and perhaps he has this all along in view, but speaks of it covertly, that he might not give offence."
He then adds, "there is a good sense in which all these things may be applied to the Jews at large;' and after showing this application he says, 'the Jewish nation was then nigh unto cursing, about to be cut off from the divine protection, and their city and temple were about to be burnt up by the Roman armies.' Thus sir, the text agrees with
Universalism even though 'rejected' and 'burned,' do not mean saved; for there are rejections and burnings, besides endless wo. Had you nothing but such a turn to give in justification of your view of this text? This is all you have given! Oh how weak is error! how feeble all the arguments by which it is supported!
5. 2 Pet. ii. 20. "The latter end is worse with them than the beginning." As Peter was speaking of apostates, and showing that their character after apostacy, was worse than before, I need offer nothing on this text. By their latter end, he means, as the context shows, not their final state, but their state as apostates. So says Kenrick.
6. Matt. xxvi. 24. Judas. According to your application of this text, there are two startling and awful facts: 1.That Judas was born and raised up to betray Christ, and for fulfilling the purpose of God in this, was sent to an endless hell. If this be not reprobation with a vengeance, then I know not what is. Say no more, Sir, against Calvinism, while you argue for such a doctrine. 2. That the endless ruin of one man was essential to the salvation of others. "Offences must needs come, but wo unto that man by whom they come."
Now, sir, rather than adopt two such awful conclusions, I would say, that our Lord used a proverbial expression, common among the Jews, when any great calamity was about to fall on an individual. Expressions of this nature were frequent. Hence they said of people who surmounted great difficulties or performed great things, they had removed a mountain; and from this Paul borrowed his figure in 2 Cor. xiii. 2, and
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 him, 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 You have assumed that the many assumptions. 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.