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dispute, that sheol, in this instance, refers to a state of misery beyond the resurrection of the dead.
XIII. "Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brim. stone, and a horrible tempest; this shall be the portion of their cup." Psalms xi. 6.
Several of the principal defenders of endless misery quote this, viz. Strong, Davis, Hawes, Ely, and others. But what proof does it afford of the doctrine of endless misery? Is there the least intimation given, that this punishment was to be poured out in the future state? David was justified, by his knowledge of sacred history, in using the above language as descriptive of the punishment of sinners in this life. God had punished sinners in this world, before David was born, in the manner referred to by him. "The Lord rained upon Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven; and he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground." Now here is an instance in which the language of the passage before us, was literally fulfilled in this world. Dr. Clarke says of these words, "This is a manifest allusion to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah." Com. on Psa. xi. 6. Before we can allow that the above passage refers to a future state of punishment, we must see some proof of it. It seems to us, the evidence is all on the other side.
XIV. "Arise, O Lord, disappoint him, cast him down; deliver my soul from the wicked, which is thy sword; from men which are thy hand, O Lord, from men of the world, which have their portion in this life." Psalms xvii. 13, 14.
Andrew Fuller, President Edwards, J. M. Davis, and many others, adduce this as proof of endless punishment. The argument is this; if men of the world have their portion in this life, there will be no happiness for them after death. But try this argument on the other side. If "men of the world," i. e. wicked men, have their portion in this life, there will be no misery for them after death. Why is not this inference
as good as the other? The plain question is, what is the portion of the wicked? Look at the passage under section XIII. "Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and a horrible tempest; this shall be the portion of their cup." Well, where do they get this portion? Ans. "In this life," according to the passage we are now considering. We read in Job, "This is the portion of a wicked man from God, and the heritage appointed unto him by God." xx. 29. Now let any one read the preceding verses, viz. 4–28, and he will see that it is trouble and sorrow upon the earth, which is declared to be the portion of a wicked man from God. Eternal torments in hell is the portion denounced on the wicked by uninspired men; but trouble and sorrow in this life "is the portion of a wicked man from God, and the heritage appointed unto him by God." Job himself says of the wicked, "their portion is cursed in the earth." xxiv. 18. Isaiah says, "God shall rebuke them, and they shall flee far off, and shall be chased as the chaff of the mountains before the wind, and like a rolling thing before the whirlwind. And behold, at evening-tide trouble; and before the morning he is not. This is the portion of them that spoil us, and the lot of them that rob us. " xvii. 13, 14. Was not this portion in this life? It was said of Nebuchadnezzar, "Let his portion be with the beasts in the grass of the earth." Daniel iv. 15, 23. See also, Matt. xxiv. 51, Luke xii. 46.
The portion of a righteous man is directly of an opposite nature. He trusts in God. "The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance." Psalms xvi. 5, lxxiii. 26, cxix. 57, "I cried unto thee, O, Lord; I said, thou art my refuge and my portion in the land of the living." cxlii. 5. Lamen. iii. 24.
Warburton is clearly of opinion, that this passage (Psa. xvii. 13, 14) has no reference to the future state. See Div. Leg. Book vi. Sec. 3; and Dr. A. Clarke gives the passage a similar interpretation in that respect. See his Com. on the place.
XV. "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." Psalms xxxvii. 20. "The transgressors shall be destroyed together; the end of the wicked shall be cut off." Ver. 38.
Strong and Hawes, with several others, adduce these passages as proof of endless misery. But how weak are such attempts to sustain that cruel and unscriptural doctrine ! This is the common language employed by the sacred writers to describe the trouble and vanity of wicked men in this life. "When it goeth well with the righteous, the city rejoiceth; and when the wicked perish there is shouting." Prov. xi. Shall this be fulfilled in the immortal- state? or does it take place in this world? The sinful prodigal perished when he left his father's house. Luke xv. 11. The scriptural sense of the word perish is to sink, to fail, to be overcome, to be driven away, to be disappointed, to be slain in battle, &c. &c. All these things happen to the wicked in the present life. The word consume has the same sense. "I will consume them by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence." Jer. xiv. 12. The same may be said of the phrase destroy. Thus Moses describes God's overthrow of the Egyptian hosts. "In the greatness of thy excellency thou hast overthrown them that rose up against thee; thou sentest forth thy wrath which consumed them as stubble. ***** My lust shall be satisfied upon them; I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them.' Exodus xv. 7-9. This is explained further by ver. 10. "Thou didst blow with thy wind, the sea covered them; they sank as lead in the mighty waters."
How can it be doubted, that all the terms employed in the passage before us, are used by the sacred writers to describe the overthrow and punishment of the wicked in the present life?
We call upon the writers who adduce these passages in support of the doctrine of endless misery, to bring
forward some text like this: The wicked shall perish in the immortal state; into smoke shall they consume away in the immortal state; the transgressors shall be destroyed beyond the grave; the end of the wicked shall be cut off in eternity. They ought at least to adduce one passage which speaks of the punishment of the wicked, in which it is evident the punishment must necessarily be confined to the immortal existence. We ask for one such text.
XVI. "Like sheep they are laid in the grave; death shall feed on them; and the upright shall have dominion over them in the morning; and their beauty shall consume in the grave from their dwelling. But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave; for he shall receive me." Psalms xlix. 14, 15.
This text is adduced by Parsons Cooke to prove endless misery. Is there one word intimated in regard to punishment after the resurrection of the dead? Not a syllable. A careful observer of Old Testament phraseology, will be unwilling to adduce a passage like this in proof of endless punishment. Warburton says, "The literal meaning of this passage is, as appears by the context, that the wicked should be untimely cut off and destroyed, in the morning, that is, by the judgment of the law, which was administered in the morning hours; but that his [the Psalmist's] life, and the life of the upright, should be preserved and prolonged. Here, once for all, let me desire the objectors to consider, what it is that is ever opposed in the many places of this sort to life, redemption, &c. It is not misery, torments, &c., as it must have been, did life literally signify eternal life in a future state; but it is death, which shows it was a life here on earth.” Divine Legation, Book vi. Sec. 3.
XVII. "Now consider this, ye that forget God, lest I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver." Psalms 1. 22.
Is there the slightest proof that this refers to the future state of existence? Not at all; yet J. M. Davis, Hawes, and many others, adduce the passage as positive proof of endless suffering. Men certainly
forget God in this life; and both literally and metaphorically, they get torn to pieces in this life, when there is none to deliver. The author of the book of Lamentations says, "He hath turned aside my ways, and pulled me in pieces: he hath made me desolate." iii. 11. To be torn in pieces is a metaphor signifying to be crushed, to be put down, to be utterly oppressed.
XVIII. "As smoke is driven away, so drive them away; as wax melteth before the fire, so let the wicked perish in the presence of God." Psalms lxviii. 2.
Dr. Strong adduces this text in proof of endless torments. But is there the slightest proof that the punishment here described is to be inflicted in the immortal existence? Are not these metaphors of precisely the same character with those we have noticed in other passages, and shown to be applied to punishments in this life? What more, then, is it necessary for us to say? Will the caviller pretend, that because the wicked are to perish in the presence of God, therefore their punishment must be in the future state? If this position be assumed, then we say the objector is ignorant of the scriptural sense of the phrase "presence of the Lord." See the following texts. "Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod." Gen. iv. 16. Was the land of Nod in this world? God said to Moses, when he was on his way to Canaan, "My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest." Exodus xxxiii. 14, and Moses replied, "If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence." Ver. 15. See also, 1 Chron. xvi. 27, 33. Psalms xcv. 2, xcvii. 5, C. 2, cxiv. 7. Jer. iv. 26. Jonah i. 3, 10. The presence of God was in the ark; it was afterwards in the temple upon Mount Zion; and, in the same sense, it is in any place where God makes himself known, and reveals his power and glory to the children of men. Acts x. 33.
XIX. PSALM lxxiii.
The whole of the seventy-third Psalm is relied on by a few authors, to prove the doctrine of endless mis