Page images


ephanismene eis ton aiona, a perpetual desolation, Zeph. ii. 9.' Annot. in loc.

2. GILPIN. Suffering the vengeance of eternal fire : that is, those cities

were forever destroyed. The apostle cannot well mean future punishments, because he mentions it as a deigmasomething that was to be a visible example to all. That word (deriving from deiknumai, to show, or exhibit,) properly signifies to give a sample of something to be sold.' Erpos. in loc.

3. Benson. By their suffering the punishment of eternal fire, St. Jude did not mean that those wicked persons were then, and would be always, burning in hell-fire. For he intimates that what they suffered was set forth to public view, and appeared to all, as an example (or specimen) of God's displeasure against vice. That fire which consumed Sodom, &c., might be called eternal, as it burned till it had utterly consumed them, beyond the possibility of their ever being inhabited, or rebuilt. St. Peter has well expressed it, in saying, God reduced them to ashes. But the word will have a yet more emphatical meaning, if (as several authors affirm,) that fire continued to burn a long while; nay, that even to the time of the writing of this epistle, and afterwards, smoke and small flame did sometimes break out.' Note in loc.

4. HAMMOND. Everlasting destruction signifies an utter destruction, as of Sodom it is said, Jude 7, that it endured the vengeance of eternal fire and brimstone, which in all reason belonging to the fire and brimstone that destroyed Sodom, must signify, not the eternal burning of that fire, but the utter consumption of the city by that fire, or the fire's never ceasing to burn till it had utterly consumed the city.' Annot. in 2 Thess. i. 9.

[ocr errors]


Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core. These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear; clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth; without fruit, twice dead plueked up by the roots ; Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.' JUDE 11-12.

THERE is nothing in this text which naturally indicates punishment in the future life. All the figures here used are as applicable to the present state of existence, as to the next. The last may, perhaps, be thought

an exception, because the word forever occurs in it. But this word imparts no special force to a subject; it rather receives its own force from the subject in connexion with which it is used. This is allowed by critics, generally, in the present day. The sense of the passage seems to be well expressed in the paraphrase which is subjoined:

1. Gilpin. They follow the examples of the very worst persons they find recorded in the bible historythe malice of Cain—the covetousness and seducing arts of Balaam, and the implacable opposition of Corah. A feast of charity they turn into wantonness. Like unwholesome air, they blast wherever they come

-like withered trees, they only incumber the ground-like waves they spend their rage only in foam-like uncertain meteors, their light soon sets in darkness.

• The text says, twice dead : the apostle may mean, that they were once wicked Jews, and, having apostatized, are now wicked Christians. Or, perhaps, he only expresses more strongly their deadness, as Virgil, expressing happiness, says-terque, quaterque beati.' Expos. in loc.

2. HORNE. "Death: the state of a soul insensible of sin and corruption, and destitute of the spirit of life, Jude 12, twice dead. Introd. foc., vol. iv. p. 494.


* And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousand of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.' JUDE 14, 15.

This passage evidently is a prediction of heavy judgments; but that these judgments do not necessarily belong to the future life, is admitted in the quotations which follow :

1. Grupin. *Against such persons, Enoch prophesied, when, speaking of the old world, he threatens them with God's heavy displeasure for their enormous crimes.' Expos. in loc.

2. CAPPE. The Lord cometh with ten thousand of his saints to execute judgment, which is the language of very ancient times, relating, probably, to some signal judgment of God upon unbelievers and scoffers, and applied by this writer to those of his own day.' Crit. Rem. i. 152.

3. GROTIUS. • Whatever Enoch said, or was able to say, on the approach of the deluge, might very fitly be referred, by Jude, to that almost universal slaughter which menaced the contumacious Jews.' Annot. in loc.

4. CLARKE. To execute judgment: this was originally spoken to the antediluvians, and the coming of the Lord, to destroy that world, was the thing spoken of in this prophecy or declaration. But, as God had threatened this, it required no direct inspiration to foretel it.' Com. in loc.



ye shall


'Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer. Behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried ; and have tribulation ten days. Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.'-Rev. ij. 10.

Whitby, in the preface to his discourse on the millenium, remarks, that . Scaliger was pleased to say, Calvin was wise, because he did not write upon the Revelations. I confess, continues Whitby, 'I do it not for want of wisdom—that is, because I neither have sufficient reading, nor judgment, to discern the true intendment of the prophecies contained in that book.'

It had been well, perhaps, if others had followed the example of Calvin and Whitby. As several have written, however, I may be allowed to quote them, without assuming to be deeply skilled in the meaning of this most mysterious production. I only remark, that any doctrine, resting for support solely on the supposed meaning of this book, can scarcely be entitled to implicit belief.

1. HAMMOND. * Take courage against all possible dangers, remembering me, as I have represented myself to you, ver. 8. And now I tell you before-hand, that your constancy to the faith must, in reason, be expected to raise you up enemies, both at this present, the Jewish zealots for the synagogue, ver. 9, (incensed against you by the Gnostics,) and afterwards the Roman officers, asserters of the diabolical idol worship against christianity, and these latter shall apprehend and imprison some of you, being permitted by God to do so, on purpose for the further trial of your constancy. And this persecution which shall come upon you, when the Jews are destroyed, (in the time of Marcus Aurelius and Verus, under which, Polycarp, the bishop of this church, shall suffer death,) shall then last for a little while ; and all this shall prove a foundation of greater glory to you, and help them to

the reward and crown of martyrdom which suffer in it, and that is all the hurt which your constancy shall bring you.' Par. in loc.

2. Gill Crown of life: which may refer, not only to eternal life, but to the deliverance of the christians from persecutions by Constantine ; who coming to the imperial crown, that became not only a crown of glory to him, but of life to the church, and was as life from the dead to the saints; to dead men is promised a crown of life, in allusion to the Gentiles, who crowned their dead.' Expos. in loc.


He that hath an ear let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; he that overcometh, shall not be hurt of the second death.' Rev. ii. 11.

The second death has been supposed to signify endless torment. But there is orthodox authority for interpreting the phrase to mean merely an utter destruction, such as fell on Sodom, when the Lord rained upon the city fire and brimstone ; but having no special reference to the situation of men in the future existence.

1. HAMMOND. "They that hold out to the end, that persevere in despite of all these temptations, shall continue a prosperous, flourishing church-shall not have their candlestick removed from them, as all they shall, that, by the sharpness of persecutions, are scandalized, and fall off from Christ. See note on chap. xx. 6.' Par. in loc.

In the note referred to, (quoted in its proper place,) the reader will find some remarks on the phrases, first resurrection, and second death, which are worthy a careful perusal.

« PreviousContinue »