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shall be, in the General Judgment, condemned to a State of punishment for their sins, should ever be numbred amongst the Righteous and partake with them in the Joys of Heaven: And the Reason is such as can never be answer'd, that 'tis Impossible for those to Repent and be Converted, who are finally deprived of the means of Grace, and already consigned to the place of Torment; and there is no Possibility of obtaining the happiness of Heaven by any other means, or upon any other terms than Repentance and Conversion. And this leads me to the consideration of a 2d Objećtion, that though wicked men should be for ever excluded the Kingdom of Heaven, yet they are not Capable of subsisting for ever under that other punishment, the punishment of Sense, which is denounced and descri– bed in Holy Scripture; that they must of necessity be at last quite consumed by that fire which shall never be quenched, and so their Misery must end in their utter Extinétion. Upon this, some Writers have taken a great deal of pains in ransacking ransacking the Histories of Nature, to find out such creatures as are able to bear the extreme heat of fire so as neither to perish, nor be in any measure

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been in these enquiries I shall not examine; nor do I lay any stress upon such discoveries and the Arguments drawn from them. For there is another con

fideration, from which any one, who believes a God and the Holy Scriptures,

may furnish himself with a full answer to this difficulty, the confideration of

God’s Power.

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parately from the Revelation of his Will. But when he hath plainly and Positively revealed any thing, the Nature of

which we cannot clearly comprehend, we may and ought stedfastly to believe it

on this Principle, that though it may

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red shall be, though we cannot account for it, as that he hath effected those things that have been, which likewise are to us Unaccountable. We have not more reason to believe that the three Children survived the flames of the fiery Furnace, without being in the least Injured or Affected by them, than that the Wicked shall endure the most exquisite torments of Unquenchable fire in the world

to come. But there is

3 ly, Another objećtion which strikes at this very Revelation of God's Will, upon which, in conjunction with the confideration of his Power, we thus build our Belief of the Article. 'Tis urged, that some things are in Scripture represented as Etermal or Everlasting, which yet are of a finite Duration; as Islx. 15. //hereas thou has been forsaken and hated, so that no man went through thee; I will make thee an Eternal excellency; and Gen. xvii. 8. I will give unto thee, and to thy Seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a Stranger, all the land of Canaan for an Everlasting possession, But the answer is easy and satisfactory, That 'tis 3. plain plain from the nature and circumstances of the things, which the terms Everlaffing and Eternal are in these and the like texts applied to, that they are There used with Limitation and Restriótion; whereas it cannot be denied, that they do in their most Proper and Strićt Sense denote an Endless duration: And that they are always used in this most Proper and Strićt Sense, when applied to Future punishment, is certain from those other expressions, whereby the same Future punishment is represented and described, as in the text above cited, where 'tis called * the fire that never shall bequenched, where their worm dieth not, and the fire is mot quenched, and where 'tis positively declared, that the Wicked + shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever, and that it the Smoke of their torment as: cendeth up for ever and ever; Expressions these so clear and full, that scarce any words can more certainly and plainly fignify an Endless duration both of the torment and the Persons that are to endure it. For, as the Learned and Judicious


* Mark ix.43, 44. f Rey, xx. 10. # Rev. xiv. 11.


Bishop Pearson excellently argues, “If “ the Fire, in which the Reprobates are “ to be tormented, be Everlasting; if so “absolutely Everlasting that it never shall “ be quenched; if so certainly never “ to bequenched, that theSmoke there“ of shall ascend for ever and ever; if . “ those which are cast into it shall be “ tormented for ever and ever, (all “ which the Scriptures expresly teach;) “ then shall the Wicked be Coeternal to “ the tormenting Flames.” The torment shall be Everlastingly endured by the Wicked. And this suggests a 4th Objećtion, in confirmation of the last mention'd, from the Testimony of Scripture, That Wicked men shall be Annihilated. Disconsolate and miserable indeed must mens condition be, when Destruction becomes matter of hope, when they would be glad to take Sanétuary even in Annihilation; and much more Miserable still, when disappointed of this Frightful refuge it self, which is no otherwise to be hoped for from the Holy Scriptures, - than

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