Matthew 25:44-46. Then shall they answer, Lord, when saw we thee a hungered, &c. So their endeavour to justify themselves will remain with the wicked even to that day! Perhaps, however, it may not be intended here to signify that the wicked shall make this answer in words: it is probably, rather, to be considered as the language of their hearts, which Christ perceiving, shall reply to as in the next verse. Multitudes will, no doubt, remember that they had often heard what reply will be made to such a plea: God grant that none who read it here may be in the number of those to whom it will be made! These shall go away into everlasting punishment So the word κολασιν properly signifies, and not destruction, or annihilation, as some would understand it; and the righteous into life eternal Either, therefore, the punishment is strictly eternal, or the reward is not; the very same expression in the original being applied to the former as to the latter. It appears, that the Judge will speak first to the righteous in the audience of the wicked; and then to the wicked, who shall go away into everlasting fire in the sight of the righteous. Thus the damned shall have no view of the everlasting life, but the righteous will see the punishment of the ungodly. It is not only particularly observable here, 1st, that the punishment lasts as long as the reward: but, 2d, that this punishment is so far from ceasing at the end of the world, that it does not begin till then. To conclude, the issue of the judgment, as it is represented in this paragraph, is awful beyond description. If the meaning of this last short sentence were fully understood and duly considered, what an impression would it make upon the minds of men! Everlasting punishment! Eternal life! What is there that is not comprehended in these words? And how miserable are they who dare to venture their souls on the supposition that the important word αιωνιος , which is the same in both places, signifies a limited duration in either!
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