Matthew 25:46
And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."
Sermons
Eternal LifeJ. H. Evans, M. A.Matthew 25:46
For EverReynolds.Matthew 25:46
Heaven and HellT. Raffles.Matthew 25:46
The Eternal FutureW.F. Adeney Matthew 25:46
The Final State of the Saints in HeavenOutlines of Sermons., J. BlackburnMatthew 25:46
The Nature of True RighteousnessRichard Price.Matthew 25:46
The Great AssizeJ.A. Macdonald Matthew 25:31-46
The JudgmentMarcus Dods Matthew 25:31-46
The Judgment of the NationsW.F. Adeney Matthew 25:31-46
This is a fearful subject, and one from which we naturally shrink. Yet if Christ spoke of it he must desire us to study his words; if what he said was true, we can only neglect it at our peril. The difficulty is to take his words just for what he meant them to teach us, without over-weighting them with the fantastic horrors of the mediaeval imagination, and also without diminishing their force when we have set them free from those monkish accretions.

I. THE DREADFUL DOOM.

1. This is called punishment. The word in the Greek is not the strongest term that could have been employed, viz. one that stands for vengeance. It is a word that generally signifies chastisement, i.e. remedial punishment. But whether such an idea was in the mind of our Lord it is impossible for us to say, especially as he did not speak in Greek, but used the less definite Aramaic language. It is sufficient to know that his language plainly teaches

(1) that there will be suffering in the future for those who are hard and selfish in this life; and

(2) that this suffering will be justly apportioned according to character. Of its nature Jesus says little, but his dreadful words about "wailing and gnashing of teeth" show that it must be very severe - a suffering to be avoided by all means as a fearful evil.

2. This is to be eternal. The adjective is indefinite; though it is frequently used for what is everlasting, it is not always so employed, and a stronger term, which plainly means "endless," is not applied to future punishment. We can infer nothing positively from the usage of the word in regard to the question of the possible termination of future punishment. On the one hand, it cannot be said that it forbids all hope; on the other, it must be affirmed that it offers no hope. It presents a dark prospect stretching out into the ages of the future, and it shows no gleam of light beyond it. It is not wise for us to dogmatize on what God has left thus veiled.

II. THE GLORIOUS REWARD.

1. It is personal. Life is not a possession like money or lands, which can be detached and valued separately. It is in ourselves. God's best gift is within the soul.

2. It is positive. Here is more than rest after toil and peace after storm. A gift of actual energy is suggested to us. Life has its powers and faculties. This life of God is more than existence in the future, for St. John tells us that some men on earth have it, and that others have it not (1 John 5:12). While its full development is for the future, it begins here and now. It is the life of God in the soul, the powers and energies of the spiritual nature. The prospect of such a life teaches us that we do not yet know what it is to live; the future will unfold possibilities not yet even dreamed of.

3. This too is to be eternal. Its endurance rests on a better foundation than the endurance of the punishment, though the same adjective is used for both states, for it rests on the everlasting love of God. Still the word "eternal" in its vast vagueness points to the life growing and expanding in the future ages, so far on that we cannot trace its remotest future. That is the glorious future of "the righteous;" and "the righteous" are just those who minister to their needy fellow men. - W.F.A.







And these shall go away into everlasting punishment.
Outlines of Sermons., J. Blackburn.
There is a state of happiness which the spirits of just men enter into immediately after their separation from the body, But after the resurrection and the general judgment, then the righteous shall go into life eternal.

I. The state of happiness itself. That good men shall enjoy a state of happiness in the world to come is evident.

1. From the light of nature and reason. General notion among the wiser heathens. Universal desire in mankind. The unequal distribution of things in the present state.

2. From Divine revelation.

II. The eternity of this happiness. Testimony of Scripture.

(Outlines of Sermons.)

I. THE PARTIES SENTENCED.

II. THE PENALTIES AWARDED.

1. Positive infliction.

2. Incited passions.

3. Bitter reflection.

4. Painful associations.

5. Mutual recognition.

III. THE PERPETUITY DETERMINED.

1. Necessary.

2. Just.

3. Certain.

(J. Blackburn.)

Your opinion about "for ever" can have no manner of effect upon the reality of that "for ever." A party of boatmen on the Niagara river may have a very strong opinion when they are caught by the rapids, that it is very pleasant rowing; but neither their shouts nor their merriment will alter the fact: that the world's cataract is close at hand. You have a strong opinion that hell-fire is a delusion; that they are superstitious, and cruel, and ignorant who ask you to pause, and awake, and prepare for this coming, this continued retribution; but your opinions will not have the slightest, the remotest, the minutest influence on the tremendous fact.

(Reynolds.)

I. The everlasting state of the righteous. It will consist of:

(1)Perfect knowledge;

(2)Perfect love;

(3)Perfect purity;

(4)Perfect felicity.

II. The eternal state of the wicked. Includes:

1. The privation of infinite good.

(1)They have lost heaven and all its blessedness at once.

(2)They are strangers to the endearments and consolations of friendship.

(3)Nor is there any, the smallest, rest from pain.

2. The infliction of infinite evil. Tormentors in hell:

(1)Conscience;

(2)Satan;

(3)Fellow-damned;

(4)The sufferer will be his own tormentor;

(5)Memory;

(6)Anticipation.

(T. Raffles.)

The following four particulars are necessary to entitle us to the denomination and character of righteous men.

I. The establishment within us of good principles, and acting from them.

II. The superior efficacy of such principles within us to the efficacy of all other principles.

III. The manifestation of their superiority by avoiding all habitual guilt, and practicing all known duties; and

IV. A constant endeavour to grow better.

(Richard Price.)

I. Eternal life, what it is.

1. It is life in the most perfect existence.

2. It is life in its fullest enjoyment. The intellect in its highest flights, the will in its most entire subjugation, and the affections, shall be fully enjoyed there.

3. It is life in its eternal duration.

II. The persons who are to enjoy eternal life — "the righteous." They have been stripped of their own righteousness, and are clad in the righteousness of Christ.

(J. H. Evans, M. A.)108

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