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in future, you will give us your reasons, and not the unsupported opinions of other men.
2 & 3. Let us now consider Matt, xxv. 41,and on to end of the chap. This you say is not a parable, 1. Because there is no indication of it. That is easily said, but what does v. 33. mean? "He will set the sheep on the right and the goats on the left." Now if you are correct, we need discuss the subject no further; for it refers not to men, but to sheep and goats. The sheep shall go into life eternal, and the goats into everlasting punishment. The sheep fed the hungry, clothed the naked, &c. while the goats were wanting in these kind offices. A kingdom was prepared for the sheep; but the goats were to be penned with the devil.
Again; you say many phrases in this scripture, such as come in his glory-holy angels-all natims, &c. can only be applied to a general judgment. See Matt. xvi. 28. where Christ was to come in the glory of his Father with his angels to reward every man according to his work, before those to whom he spoke, tasted death. See also Matt. 24. 30-34. where it is said, all the tribes of the earth should mourn; Christ should come in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory; send out his angels to gather his elect from one end of Heaven to the other; and all before the generation then living passed away. But you knew all this before; you were not ignorant of our views on this subject; for you have read my sermon on Matt. 25, 31—46. Why then bring up these old arguments, which we have refuted, without replying to what we have said? You lay great stress upon the phrase all nations; but is there more difficulty
in understanding that, than the phrases, reward every man-all the tribes of the earth shall mourn -gather his elect from one end of heaven to the other? You think there is a difficulty in the phrase, "inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." But did not the disciples have a kingdom; and one too prepared for them? This dear sir, is in favor of our views. Besides, Jesus told his disciples that he would appoint to them a kingdom, as his Father had appointed one to him. Thus every circumstance connected with this scripture, shows, that aionios is limited. What you say about Chauncy, and the best of commentators is entirely foreign from the question. Further, it is not true, for Pearce and Cappe explain the subject as universalists do.
4. Mark iii. 29. next claims our attention. Here you find two forms of speech, negative and positive, which teach endless misery. Now I consider this uncandid; for as you read the Greek, you must have known that the original will bear no such construction. Aion and aionios both occur in this text, but only one (aionios) is translated. According to the original, it reads, "but he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost, hath not forgiveness unto (aioni) the age, but is obnoxious to the aionion judgment. This destroys your negative argument. It is not an unlimited, but a limited negative. Now as we must believe, that Mark uses aion in the same sense as Matthew, we feel justified in saying, unto the aion, means unto the christian aion or dispensation. This accords with Matthew-neither in this age (the Jewish) neither in the age to come, (the christian,) Hence the damnation
of which Mark speaks, is under the new dispensation. This he calls aionion. Aionion remember, is formed from aion; and as aion is used to signify age, an aionion damnation must be the damnation of an age. Such was the damnation of those, who sinned against the Holy Ghost. According to this explanation Matthew and Mark agree.
One word as to this sin. To justify your interpretation, it would be necessary to prove, that the sin was infinite; otherwise it would not deserve an endless punishment. But this text refutes the idea, that sin is infinite; and shows, that the common method of proving its infinity is incorrect. For as the sin against the Holy Ghost, was greater than against the Son of man, because committed against greater light, sin takes its magnitude from the knowlege of the sinner, and not from the greatness of God.Hence it cannot be infinite; and if so, its punishment must be limited.
5. I regard your manner of alluding to 2 Thess. 1. 9. as virtually giving up the text. It is true you have offered a few remarks expressive of your opinion, but not a word have you said respecting my reply to the propositions of your first letter on the text. Neither have you answered my four questions; and until this is done, I shall consider that the subject, as it respects 2 Thess. 1. 9. is settled. Dr. Chauncy's admission is nothing.
6. Heb. vi. 2. is your next proof text. To understand this we must consider the verse preceeding I suppose you will admit, that Clarke is correct in saying, "leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ," might be rendered, "the
discourse of the beginning of Christ, as in the margin." In the previous chapter, much is said respecting Christ and his priesthood; and the Hebrews are charged with being ignorant of what was contained in the Old Testament, or oracles of God concerning it. See Psal. cx. and Isai. liii. where the order and duration of Christ's priesthood is described. Their ignorance of this, caused the Apostle to call them babes.
The 6th chap. commmences: Leaving the discourse of the beginning of Christ, let us go on to perfection; that is, let us not stop at what David and Isai. have said about Christ, but let us go on to perfection in the Christian doctrines, Suppose by principles, the leading doctrines of the Gospel are intended; how could we leave these, and go on to perfection? It is abiding by these, that perfects the Christian character. Hence Paul not only exhorts them to leave or waive what had been said respecting the genealogy and priesthood of Christ, but not to lay agam the foundation of repentance, of faith, baptism, &c. Here he mentions other doctrines, peculiar to the Jews, besides those respecting Christ, to which they must not return. That I am right, is evident from verses 4, 5, 6, where Paul speaks of apostacy and the awful consequences which would result from it. The situation then of the Hebrew christians and the whole discourse concerning them, justifies us in our application of the 1st and verses. Should there still be doubts on this subject, they will be removed by considering, that all the particulars mentioned were held by the Jews, com
prehended the outlines of Judaism, and were the very points, to which Apostates would return.
1. Repentance: This was a Jewish doctrine, as appears from Lev. xvi. 21, 22, 29, 30. 2. Faith towards God: this was purely Jewish; for under the old dispensation, faith was required to be in God, while under the new, it is required to be in Christ. 3. Baptisms: He speaks in the plural, showing that he refers to the Jewish baptisms, for they are always spoken of in the plural; while the christian baptism is spoken of in the singular. Paul in Heb. 9. 10 speaks of divers baptisms. 4. Laying on of hands, was a common ceremony among the Jews. 5. The resurrection of the dead. In chap. xi, Paul refers to the raising of the dead mentioned in 1 Kings xvii. 21. 2 Kings iv. 24. And that this is his reference here is evident from the fact, that these were regarded as convincing proofs, that Judaism was true. 6. Eternat judgment: This was a doctrine of the Jews as appears from the tremendous judgments upon Sodom and Gomorrah, upon Pharoah and his host, and upon the Israelites in the wilderness. That the word rendered everlasting was used by them in a limited sense is evident from Exod. 14. 13; Prov. 22. 28; Jer. 18, 15; Ezek. 36. 2. To your definition of krima I have no ob jection. I will only observe, it is often used to denote temporal judgment, as 1 Pet. 4. 17; 1
Cor. 2. 29.
Having fully proved that all the six particulars were Jewish doctrines, I will ask you to point out a judgment in the Old Testament where endless misery is taught. Then you