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to death, and I will give thee a crown of life. 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." Note 1st. This address is to a church of believers, who are exhorted not to fear those things which they had to suffer, to try them. 2d. Those who overcome all the trials which were put upon them, were not to be hurt of the second death. 3d. The fair conclusion is, that those who fell from their stedfastness in the faith and patience of Christ, would be hurt of the second death. 4th It is the opinion of Christian professors in general, that those who are brought to believe in Christ that they may fall away, yet not finally. It is then evident, that those who were believers in him who is the first and the last, who was dead and is alive, were liable by being overcome of the devil, to be hurt of the second death,
The epistle to the church in Sardis is remarkably clear on the subject in discussion, Rev. iii. 1-6," And unto the Angel of the church in Sardis write; these things saith he that hath the seven spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things that remain, that are ready to die : for I have not found thy works perfect before God. Remember, therefore, how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If, therefore, thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. Thou hast a few names, even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white : for they are worthy. He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my father, and before his angels. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the spirit saith unto the churches." Note 1st. The church in Sardis is accused of being DEAD. That this death is the SECOND DEATH, is evident from the text quoted from the apostle to the church of Smyrna. "He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death". This shows, as has been noticed, that those who do not overcome, but are overcome, must be hurt of the second death. The church in Sardis had fallen into death, and are exhorted to repent; they had not overcome, but were overcome, therefore, according to the text, when compared, the church of Sardis had fallen into the SECOND DEATH. 2d. It is acknowledged that there were a few names in Sardis, who had not defiled their garments. This was a testimony against the
greatest part that they had defiled their garments. Those who had not defiled their garments were to walk with him who hath the seven spirits of God and the seven stars, in white, being worthy. This is a testimony, that those who had defiled their garments, should not walk with Christ, because they were not wor thy. 3d. To those who overcome, it was promised, that they should be cloathed in white, and that their names should not be blotted out of the book of life, but that their names should be confessed before God and his Angels. This is a plain testimony, that those who had not overcome, but were dead, should not be cloathed in white nor walk with Christ, but that their names should be blotted out of the book of life and disowned before God and his Angels. 4th. In that the text proves that the major part of the church in Sardis, had defiled their garments, it as fully proves that they had garments which were not defiled. And wherein the text shows that those who did not overcome, should have their name's blotted out of the book of life, it as fully shows that their names had been written in the book of life, for they could not be blotted out if they were not there.
It may be as well at this time, to see where our researches will end, as any time. See Rev. xx. 14, 15, «And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death, and whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." It is now perfectly plain, that those whose names had been in the book of life, were blotted out, and their names being blotted out, they were cast into the lake of fire, which is called the second death. In the 21st chapter and 8th verse, the above lake of fire is called "the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone which is the second death."
This fire and brimstone is spoken of in the 14th chapter as follows. See verses 9, 10, 11, « And the third Angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, if any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indig nation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy Angels, and in the presence of the Lamb and the smoke of their torment ascendeth up forever and ever and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. Note 1st. This fire and brimstone is called the SECOND DEATH, in the quotation from chap. xxi. 8. 2d. This fire
and brimstone is called the wine of the wrath of God in this last quotation. 3d. Those who are set forth to be the sufferers of this second death we learn from the following passages in connection with this above quoted. See chap. xxi. 8, "But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, which is the second death. In the quotation from the 14th chapter, those characters are distinguished as receiving the mark of the beast, by worshiping the beast, &c. See chap. xiii. 16, 17, "And he caused all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their forehead: and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name." 4th. According to the quotation from the 14th chapter, the worshipers of the beast are tormented with this fire and brimstone at the same time that they are worshiping the beast. See the text, " And they HAVE no rest day nor night who WORSHIP the beast or his image." This suffering is not only confined to the time when the beast is worshiped, but also to DAY and NIGHT, which shows it to be in this world of error and condemnation 5th It is observed, note 2d, that this fire and brimstone is called the wine of the wrath of God. This wrath and the dispensation of it is noticed in the following scrip
Chap. xv. i," And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God." Verse 7, " And one of the four beasts gave unto the seven angels seven golden vials full of the wrath of God, who liveth forever and ever." Chap. xvi. 1, 2, " And I heard a great voice out of the temple, saying to the seven angels, go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth. And the first went and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshiped his image." This wrath of God, this fire and brimstone, this lake of fire, and this second death are evidently all the same thing; and nothing can be plainer than that this suffering is on this earth, during the changes of day and night, and while the beast is worshiped If we carefully examine the whole dispensation of this wrath of God, represented by the pouring out of the seven vials, it will still confirm this opinion. See verse 3, " And the second angel poured eut his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead
man and every living soul died in the sea." See further "The third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood." The fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun, &c. The fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast. The sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates. And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air. What is there in all this, which has the least to do with an eternal state of mankind in a future world? Will this beast be worshiped in the eternal world? See chap. xiii. 5, " And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things, and blasphemies: and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months." This cannot mean an endless duration. This is the same forty and two months which the holy city was to be trodden under foot of the Gentiles, the same forty and two months which the woman was to be in the wilderness, the same as the three days and a half which the dead bodies of the two witnesses were to lie in the street of the great city which we have seen in a former subject to signify one thousand two hundred ard sixty years.
The similarity between this second death and the death which has been illustrated as thefirst, is very evident. The lively oracles of God were given to the Jewish church as they also were to the Christian church. The Jewish church corrupted and made void the law by their traditions, and the Christian church has corrupted and made void the Gospel by their traditions. The Jews denied the holy one and the just, and desired a murderer-and the Christian church have denied the holy Jesus, the just God and the Saviour, and have desired the murdercus antichrist. The Jews fell under great condemnation, and the judgments of God were poured out upon them in an awful manner-and the Christian church by reason of similar sins have and are meeting with similar awful and dreadful calamities. They have shed the blood of saints and of martyrs and God hath given them blood to drink for they are worthy.
All these things are noted at large in the scriptures and they are written for our admonition. But as has been noticed, the scriptures do not exclude the apostatised Jewish church from the final benefits of the Gospel, but on the contrary show that the receiving of them shall be life from the dead. So also in the merciful counsels of divine grace, as taught in the scrptures, we find that the beast, who is antichrist, and the worship of the beast, together with the wrath of God, will not eternally last, but will close in due time, and that dispensation of Universal ho
liness and happiness will commence, which is noted in Rev. xxi. 3, and on, in which it is declared that the tabernacle of God is with men, and that he will dwell with them; and wipe away all tears from their eyes; and that there shall be no more DEATH. Here then there must be an end to the SECOND DEATH. It is further said that there shall be no more sorrow nor pain. And the reason given, is, that the former things, (relating to the lake of fire) are passed away, and that he who sits upon the throne should make ALL THINGS NEW.
Altho' there are a great many arguments furnished in the scriptures of the Revelation as well as other parts of the New Testament, by which this subject might be further illustrated, which have not been here noticed, it is conceived that the general subject is made sufficiently plain, to render further arguments unnecessary to be here inserted. Whoever would wish to acquaint themselves with further light on the subject, can easily do it, by comparing the scriptures which treat on the various particulars which have been brought under consideration.
Many, no doubt, who having formed a different opinion, on the subject of the second death, will at first, feel a hesitancy in subscribing to the one suggested in the foregoing investigation: but if the scriptures decide on the ground which has been argued, it is seriously hoped that no professed lovers of divine truth will shut their eyes, willingly against this testimony.
Showing that the scriptures do not support the commonly received doctrine of endless misery, it is hoped, will be gladly approbated by all Christian readers, though they may have unhappily imbibed that general sentiment; as it is evident to every considerate mind, that that doctrine is opposed to all the godlike desires of the real Christian. The character of God, to the understanding of man, relieved from all the odium which the doctrines of antichrist have wickedly charged upon him, will shine with infinite beauty, through the mediation of Christ Jesus, to the reconciliation of those who have been alienated through the ignorance there is in them.
What gross darkness must that have been, which first produced the opinion that the wisdom of God had so disposed of events, that the scheme of divine revelation, through Jesus Christ, issues in God's endless wrath and vindictive vengeance poured out on his own rational offspring, as long as he himself shall exist?
Can any thing be devised more contrary to the testimony of all those scriptures which speak so fully of the love of God t