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and many similar ones that we might quote, shed upon this passage, how can it be maintained, that Solomon was speaking of a judgment in the future state? See Prov. xi. 31.
XXVIII. "Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?" Isaiah xxxiii. 14.
What fire was here referred to? The preceding words are, "The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites." What is more likely, then, than that the fire in Zion is referred to? "The Lord's fire is in Zion, and his furnace in Jerusalem." Isaiah xxxi. 9. See also Ezek. xxii. 17 - 22. It is true, the term "everlasting burnings" occurs; but the term everlasting proves not that these burnings are in the future state, for it was the custom of the Hebrew writers to apply the term here rendered everlasting to things of a temporal nature, as the possession of Canaan by the Jews (Gen. xvii. 8, xlviii. 4); the hills (Gen. xlix. 26); the Levitical priesthood (Exodus xl. 15, Numbers xxv. 13); the statutes of Moses (Lev. xvi. 34); the mountains (Hab. iii. 6). "The Lord's fire is in Zion." "Who among us, says the prophet, "shall dwell with devouring fire?" He goes on to answer the question, and show who shall dwell with the devouring fire. "He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, ," &c. Such were to dwell with the "devouring fire;" that is, not in an endless hell in the future state; but they were to dwell in the midst of the fiery afflictions that God sent upon his rebellious people, and were not to be injured by them. This is implied in the question, "who shall dwell with the devouring fire?" that is, live in the midst of it, and not be destroyed by it. So saith the very learned Dr. Lightfoot. "Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? Who shall dwell with everlasting burnings?" Yes, in the next verse, he that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly, and despiseth the gain of oppressions; that shaketh his hands from
holding of bribes," &c., such a one shall dwell with the devouring fire, and it shall not touch him; as the fiery furnace did not touch a hair of the three children. But look at the beginning of verse 14. "The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites; who shall dwell with the devouring fire? &c. Not they; but they shall be destroyed and devoured by that consuming fire; as those that cast the three children into the furnace were consumed by the fire, though they came not into it." (Works, V. 324, 325.) So we see it was evidently the opinion of Lightfoot, that the devouring fire was the indignation with which God visited his rebellious people in Zion, which should devour the hypocrites and sinners, but in which the righteous should dwell without being harmed.
XXIX. "And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to`shame and everlasting contempt." Dan. xii. 2.
As it is contended by some, that a general and literal resurrection of all the dead is taught in this passage, it may be useful to examine its phraseology a little. We find, then, to "repent in dust and ashes," to be "bowed down to the dust," to "lick the dust," with similar phraseology, are modes of speaking which express a humble, subjected, and even degraded condition, see Job xlii. 6; Isaiah xlvii. I; Nahum iii. 18; Psalm xliv. 25, and cix. 25; Isaiah xxv. 12, and xxvi. 5. As a contrast to these expressions, to 66 arise from the dust," to "awake from the dust," "shake a person's self from the dust," are expressions used to signify being raised from a humble, subjected, degraded condition, to honor and happiness. See Isa. lii. 2, xxvi. 19, 1 Sam. ii. 8, Psalms cxiii. 7, 1 Kings xvi. 2.
But the phraseology in this passage is, to "sleep in the dust of the earth." The term sleep is often used to express natural death, John xi. 11-14, with many other passages. It is also used for natural sloth or indolence, Prov. vi. 9-11 and xxiv. 33, 34. It is also
used to express a state of national and spiritual sloth,
But look at Dan. xii. 1, 2, 3, in connexion.
Adam Clarke was clearly of opinion, that this passage referred to the things of this world; although he gives it a spiritual reference to the general resurrection. But he interprets the context generally as having reference to things of time. It will be recollected, that Dr. Jahn says of this text, that it is uncertain whether it relates to the future state at all, although it possibly may.
That deeply learned individual, Grotius, says, that this text is, in its literal meaning, a prophecy of the restoration of the Jewish government under the Maccabees; though he thinks it has a spiritual allusion to the general resurrection. See Critici Sacri, in Dan. xii.
XXX. "For behold the day cometh that shall burn as an ove ; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble; and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch." Mal. iv. 1.
That the destruction of the Jews is set forth under the figure of burning, is too palpably true to need confirmation. Isaiah xxxi. 9; Ezek. xxii. 17 – 22. So evident is it that this passage has no reference to a judgment beyond the grave, that Dr. A. Clarke abandons it entirely as a proof of future misery. His notes on the passage, are the following. "The day cometh that shall burn as an oven, the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans. And all the proud, this is in reference to verse 15, of the preceding chapter. The day that cometh shall burn them up, either by famine, by sword, or by captivity, all these rebels shall be destroyed. It shall leave them neither root nor branch; proverbial expression for total destruction, neither man nor child shall escape." Com. on Mal. iv. 1. Thus it will be seen, that Clarke applies the passage wholly to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans.
PASSAGES FROM THE NEW TESTAMENT EXPLAINED, WHICH ARE ADDUCED TO DISPROVE THE SENTIMENTS OF UNIVERSALISTS.
1. "O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?" Matt. iii. 7.
The parallel passage is Luke iii. 7. What is meant here by the "wrath to come"? Dr. George Campbell
translates the phrase, "the impending vengeance," and says it signified the "wrath about to come," which was then very near, and just ready to break forth upon the Jewish nation. By the consent of the best of the commentators, who themselves believed in endless misery, it refers to the destruction which was about to fall on the Jews. Adam Clarke says, the wrath to come "the desolation about to fall on the Jewish nation, for their wickedness. * * * * * This wrath or curse was coming; they did not prevent it by turning to God, and receiving the Messiah, and therefore the wrath of God came upon them to the uttermost." (Com. on the place.) To the same purport is Lightfoot's exposition (Works, IV. 264); and also that of Bp. Pearce (Com. on the place); that of Dr. Hammond (Par. and Annot. on the place), and of Dr. Gill (Expos. on the place), and many others. It is not necessary for us to occupy much room in proving that this is the true definition of this passage, since the fact is so generally conceded by the commentators who believed in the doctrine of endless misery.
SeeNotes and Illus. of Parables," 35, 36, and Paige's "Selections," Sec. II.
II. "Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire." Matt. iii. 12. Luke iii. 17.
This is a continuation of the same subject mentioned n Matt. iii. 7, (which we have already considered,) and also in ver. 10. We offer the remarks of Adam Clarke, as expressing the true view of the passage. Whose fan is in his hand. The Romans are here termed God's fan, as in ver. 10 they were called his axe, and in chap. xxii. 7, they are termed his troops or armies. His floor. Does not this mean the land of Judea, which has been long, as it were, the threshingfloor of the Lord. God says he will now, by the winnowing fan, (viz. the Romans,) thoroughly cleanse this floor, the wheat, those who believe in the Lord Jesus, he will gather into his garner, either take to