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• Pfalm xxxvii. 20, “ But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the Lord shall be as the fat of lambs; they shall CONSUME ; into smoke shall they cONSUME away."
; : It is said in these places that God is a consuming fire, that a fire not blown shall CONSUME the wicked, and that into smoke they shall consume away like the fat of lambs. I do not see how any person of common sense can suppose that the wicked can experience all this, and yet exist eternally in misery, or be afterwards restored to the favour of God.
11. Devour is another word to express the same thing as CONSUME.
This is applied to the wicked. Heb. x. 26, 27, “ For if we fin wilfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for fins; but a certain fearful looking for of judgment, and fiery indignation which shall devour the adversaries:" When any thing is devoured by fire every person knows this makes an end of it.
12. END is a word to describe the last thing the wicked shall receive. This word sometimes means purpose or intent: “ To this end was I born,” to this purpose or cause. But in general it signifies to finish a thing, fo that there is no more of it. Peter fays, 1 Eph. iv. 7. “But the end of all things is at hand.” He means the time when all earthly things will cease to be forever. The END of this world means the time when these things which we fee shall be done away and be no more. World without END, means a world which will continue forever.
The End of the wicked in this world, means the time when their bodies die : but their end at the last day, means an End of their fouls as well as their bodies.
The end of the wicked is mentioned in the New Tel. tament. Philip. ii. 19, “ Whose End is destruction." This is the same as what Christ said of the foul and body being destroyed in hell. . i Pet. iv. 19, 6 What shall be the END-of then that obey not the gospel ?" Paul tells us what their end shall be. “Whofe end is destruction." Peter says of the wicked, “ The latter and is worse than the beginning." These are considered as thorns and briars. Heb. vi. 8, “ But that which beareth thorns and briars is rejected, and is nigh unto curfing, whose end is to be burned.” The end of the wicked for their fin is death. Rom. vi. 21, “What fruit had ye in those things whereof ye are now alhamed? For the end of those things is death.” In these scriptures, the end of the wicked is said to be DESTRUCTION, and to be burned as briars and thorns. There cannot be plainer words to describe the complete overthrow of the wicked. The BND of the righteous is life, the End of the wicked is death, which cannot mean existence in any sense whatever.
“WE HAVE ALSO A MORE SURE WORD OF:
N1 AVING noticed twelve words which are used to describe the end or death of the wicked, I shall now mention some of the different expressions used in fcripture, to describe the state of the wicked, after the day of judgment; that each one may fee, that the Author of that blessed book, meant we should under. stand, that the wicked will cease to have a being, after the judgment of the great day. . • 1. “ BURNT UP," is one expreflion used. When a thing is burnt up, is there any thing of it left except the alhes ? No. Samson's foxes with the fire brands“ burnt up" the Philistines' wheat; the fire burnt up the captains with their fifties. . The fire of God burnt up Job's fheep. The wicked burnt up all the synagogues of God in the land. This certainly made an end of them. David speaks of the Israelites. Psal. cvi. 18. “The flame burnt up the wicked.” John speaking of the wicked, says, Matt. iii. 12. " Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor,and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will barn up the chaff with unquenchable fire." By the chaff, is meant the wicked. Job xxi. 18. * They are as ftubble before the wind, and as chaff that the storm carrieth away." Psal. i. 4. “ The ungodly are not so; but are like the chaff, which the wind driveth away." Isaiah v. 25, « Therefore as the fire devoureth the Aubble, and the fame confumeth the chaff, fo their
root shall be as rottenness, and their blossom shall go up as dust." . If the God of heaven had meant to inform us of an ever during itate of misery, which the wicked shall have, after the day of judgment, would he have used such a similitude as chaff burnt up with unquenchable fire, which means a fire which shall not be put out? He certainly would not. Had it meant a fire which would not consume, or devour, there would have been such ex. pressions as these, Exod. iji. 2., “And he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not .confumed. And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bus is not burned.” How different this reads from burning up chaff with un.
quenchable fire ! * The parable of the tares and the wheat caries the
same ideas as that of the chaff. Matt. xiii. 30. “ Let both grow together until the harvest ; and in the time of harvest, I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together, first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them; but gather the wheat into my barn.” This is explained in ver, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, “The field is the world ; the good feed are the children of the kingdom ; but the tares are the children of the wicked one ; the enemy that, sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world, and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, fo fhall it be in the end of this world ; the Son of Man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gadier out of his king. dom, all things that offend, and them which do iniquity, and shall cast them into a furnace of fire.”. What can be more expreflive of the end of them that do iniquity, than this parable? The fire certainly burns all the life of the tares, and all that can possibly be left is the ashes. The wicked shall be as afhes under the soles of your feet. If the wicked are to exist eternally in fire, they cannot be more than finged; for the most fubftantial part must be left. Here it is said, as the tares are burned, so ihali it be in the end of this world with the wicked.
It is said in Malachi iv. I, “ It shall leave them nei. ther root nor branch." What can there: be, when
neither root nor branch are left ? or nothing left ? Jesus · says, Matt. vii. 19, “Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit, is hewn down and cast into the fire.” In the first text, the wicked were compared to chaff, burnt up in the fire ;-then to the tares burnt up;-here they are compared to a bad tree, which is hewn down, and cast into the fire. In another place, they are called dead trees, plucked up by the roots. In Matthew, the fire into which the wicked are to be cast at the last day, is called “ a furnace." Chap. xiii. 42, “And shall cast them into a furnace of fire ; there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. How foon would chaff, tares, or even dry wood be consumed in a furnace! The fire into which the wicked will be cast at the day of judgment, never shall be quenched. “He will barn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.". The meaning of this is, that the fire will not be stopped; but will continue to burn until the wicked are wholly consumed. If the wicked are to exist forever, the fire must be quenched ; for whatever burns any, would burn wholly, if the fire is not quenched, or the person or thing taken out of it. We all know that whatever begins to burn must and will burn up, unless the fire is put out. If an house is on fire, if it is not quenched, the house muit certainly be devoured by the fire. This text is so far from being an argument in favour of the eternal duration of the wicked, that it is wholly in favour of their being burnt up like chaff.
The fire which will burn up the wicked is called eter. inal fire and everlasiing fire because it will make a final end of them without any recovery. This does not mean that the fire will bnrn them eternally ; but that they will by it be eternally beyond recovery. If this is the meaning of eternal fire, to burn the wicked eternally, then the cities of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboim, are burning yet; for the fame eternal fire which burnt up the inhabitants, burnt up the cities. See Gen. xix. 25, “ And he overthrew those cities, and all the plains, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground.” Here we are told, that