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Volume 1 - Page 96 of 111 Index | Zoom | |
Oh, Lord, is this true? our hearts cry out, shall we be so changed that we shall,
unmoved, witness this writhing, suffering mass, nay, witness the tortures of some of our
own dear ones with calm enjoyment, giving glory to God, can it be? Is this the truth of
God? We have not overstated the conceptions of Hell that have been expressed by some
of our leading evangelical preachers. Who among us has not at some time or another
read with profit the Works of Dr. Jonathan Edwards, yet he is quoted in a pamphlet
before us as saying:--
"Imagine yourself to be cast into a fiery oven or a great furnace. . . . Imagine also
that your body were to be there for a quarter of an hour, full of fire, and all the while full
of quick sense, what horror would you feel at the endurance of such a furnace, and how
long would that quarter of an hour seem to u. O, how then would your heart sink if you
knew that you must bear it for ever and ever; that there would be no end, that after
millions and millions of ages your torment would be no nearer to an end, and that you
never, never should be delivered."
Some reader may say, Why fill your pages with such revolting things? Because, dear
reader, we are going to face the truth, to shut our eyes to nothing, and if eternal conscious
suffering is truth, we desire to receive it in all its horror, and all its despair. Confident are
we that were we to fill ten thousand pages with the most harrowing descriptions that the
human mind could conceive, it would be as nothing in comparison to the dreadful reality
of eternal conscious suffering.
What saith the Scriptures concerning this subject? Certain it is that we read the words,
"everlasting punishment." Let us consider this passage; it is found in Matt. 25: 46,
"And these shall go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."
We have quoted from the R.V. because it gives the word eternal in both instances. We
are often reminded that the duration of the punishment must be the same as the duration
of the life mentioned in the same verse, and to this, of course, we most heartily agree.
We know of a Mission where the solemn words were exhibited in large characters,
"Everlasting Punishment." This method of treating Scriptures is to say the least unfair;
let us have the whole truth. If the everlasting punishment of Matt. 25: is truth for the
present time, so also is the everlasting life of Matt. 25:, and upon the terms of
Matt. 25:, without any man-made alteration. Who are they that receive everlasting life
here, and who everlasting punishment?
"When the Son of man shall come in His glory. . . . then shall He sit upon the throne
of His glory, and before Him shall be gathered all nations."
The whole passage relates to the judgment of the nations who are on the earth at the
end of the period covered by the great tribulation. The gospel of the grace of God is not
in view; the kingdom and eternal life are the portion of those who gave meat and drink,
clothing and consolation to the brethren of the King. Let us then be consistent; let those
who apply the everlasting punishment of Matt. 25: preach everlasting life upon the
conditions laid down in that chapter. If they cannot, where is their warrant for thus
picking and choosing in this vital matter? Who told them that the method of punishment
mentioned here is to be indiscriminately applied to old and young, moral and immoral,
sceptic and heathen, during all time and under all circumstances? The whole thing is a
piece of unwarrantable and mischievous mutilation of Scripture at the dictation of the