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in its glory and power. It was a matter of hope to his disciples, for then they were to enter into life, or into the joy of their Lord. But again, the term life is used both in the Old and New Testaments to express happiness or enjoyment. We have seen that it is used very often to designate the spiritual or moral life of believers. Those who believed were not condemned, did not perish, but were saved. Those who did not believe of the Jewish nation, and those believers who did not endure to the end did perish. The wrath of God abode on them, and his wrath came on them to the uttermost at the destruction of Jerusalem. The Jews, by putting the word of God from them, judged themselves unworthy of everlasting life. The apostles turned to the Gentiles, and thus the kingdom of God was taken from the Jews, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. would only add, that this eternal life is expressly said to be enjoyed in the world to come. This world or age to come, we are told by the orthodox authors above, began at our Lord's first advent, and shall be completed at his second coming. How then is eternal life to be enjoyed if the world to come ends, according to their own explanation of this expression?


In regard to the word everlasting being associated with the term life it can occasion no serious difficulty. The term everlasting is also applied to the kingdom of Christ, and the gospel of this kingdom is called "the everlasting gospel." But surely no one ever thought that the gospel is to be preached to the endless ages of eternity. Is it said, "How could the apostles enjoy everlasting life in the kingdom of God here, seeing a few years terminates the existence of every man in this world?" I answer this by asking, how could Samuel abide before the Lord forever? Or how could the slave serve his master forever? In short, how could the priesthood be enjoyed by Aaron and

his sons forever? Or the land of Canaan be an inheritance to Israel forever? But these remarks I have merely suggested for consideration. Allowing they have no weight, the grand subject of our investigation stands unaffected; for all must admit the remarkable fact, that frequent as eternal life is mentioned, yet no sacred writer ever ventured to speak of eternal death; and it is with the application of this word to future punishment we are at present chiefly concerned.

In Luke 20: 34-36. we have this world and that world mentioned, or, this age and that age or state. But as it requires no particular consideration, it is unnecessary to transcribe it. I would only remark, that aionos here cannot mean endless duration or forever. It would not do to say the children of this forever marry, and the children of that forever do not marry.




MATTH. 25: 46. "And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal." See also verse 41. which refers to the same persons, and the same punishment. Before we proceed to consider these words directly, we beg

leave to make some general remarks on chapters 24. and 25. together.

1st. What is contained in these two chapters, is one continued discourse of our Lord's, addressed to his disciples. The word then, in verse T. of chap. 25. shows this. "Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins." When was the kingdom of heaven to be likened to this? The answer is found in chap. 24. which is, at the coming of Christ to destroy Jerusalem. It is further manifest from chap. 26: 1. "And it came to pass when Jesus had finished all these sayings." And what sayings could these be but all the sayings contained in the two chapters? For it will be difficult to point out any change of subject or interruption of our Lord's discourse, from verse 4. of chap. 24. to the end of chap. 25. That this discourse was delivered to the disciples alone, is plain from comparing chap. 24: 1-4. with chap. 26: 1, 2.

2d. The whole of this discourse is in answer to the questions put by the disciples, verse 3. of chap. 24. "Tell us when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world," or age? This supposes he had said something about his coming, which we find was the case from the last verse of chap. 23. The questions put, were to obtain information about this coming, and the signs whereby they might know its approach. All allow, that the coming, in chap. 24. refers to our Lord's coming at the end of the Jewish age or dispensation, but many contend that the coming in chap. 25. refers to his coming at a day of general judgment at the end of this world. But the word then, so clearly marks the connexion of these two chapters, as to forbid such a supposition. Nor can any man point out where our Lord left off speaking of the one coming, and began to speak of the other. He mentions his coming, chap.

24: 3, 27, 30, 37, 39, 42, 44, 46, 48, 50. and in chap. 25 6, 10, 13, 19, 27, 31. as one: nor can any one doubt that the same coming, chap. 25: 31. is the same as that, chap. 24: 30-35. from the language used and the circumstances mentioned. See also Matth. 16:27, 28. Luke 9: 26, 27. Mark 8: 38. and 9:1. From verse 4. of chap. 24. our Lord proceeds to answer the disciples' questions, and points out particularly the signs whereby they might know that his coming was at hand. These I need not particularize.

3d. What has led many to conclude, that chap. 25. refers to a day of general judgment, is, overlooking the connexion between the two chapters, marked by the word then, in verse 1. of chap. 25. and not noticing how exactly the three parts of chap. 25. correspond to and illustrate three things inculcated on the disciples from verse 42. to the end of chap. 24. These I shall briefly notice, hoping the reader will compare the passages I refer to. Notice, then,

1st. That our Lord inculcates on his disciples the duty of watchfulness, in view of his coming. See chap. 24:42-44. Let the reader then compare these three verses with chap. 25: 1—13. and we think he must be convinced, that the parable of the ten virgins was spoken to illustrate, and enforce on his disciples this very duty. Hence the parable ends with these words, expressive of its object-"Watch therefore; for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh ;" which are almost the very words in which he stated the duty of watchfulness in chap. 24: 43, 44. Who can dispute this? But admit it, and this part of Matth. 25. must be given up as referring to a day of general judgment at the end of this world.

2d. In chap. 24: 45. our Lord also inculcates on his disciples the duty of faithfulness, in view of his coming. Let the reader again compare the second

division of chap. 25. from verse 14-31. and we think he must also be convinced, that the parable of the talents, was spoken by our Lord to illustrate and enforce the duty of faithfulness upon them. Here I ask every candid reader to say Is it not the same Son of man which is mentioned in both chapters? Are not the servants to whom the goods were delivered the same as in chap. 24: 45.? Is not the faithfulness and unfaithfulness of the servants the same in both? And is not the coming of our Lord to reckon with them the same coming in both? Who can with any show of reason deny these things? But who can admit them, yet contend that this second part of chap. 25. has any relation to a day of general judgment?

3d. In verse 46. and to the end of chap. 24. our Lord states the consequences which would result, according as they were found watchful and faithful, or the contrary. Now compare this with the third division of chap. 25. from verse 31--46. and all must see how exactly the one corresponds to the other. In the one, he states what rewards and punishments would, at his coming, be awarded his servants: and in the other, he goes on to illustrate this, by what may as justly be called the parable of the rewards and punishments, as the two former are called the parables of the ten virgins and talents. This agreement of chaps. 24, 25. is not an accidental thing, but the effect of design, and clearly marked by the word then, with which chap. 25. begins; but it is not noticed by most readers as it ought, by the improper division of our Lord's discourse into chapters and verses. Our Lord no more ends his discourse, chap. 24. than Paul ends his Epistle to the Romans, chap. 4. If the question is asked, when shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins? The answer is found in chap. 24: 42, 44, 46, 50. where his coming is repeatedly mentioned, and in

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