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by opon those expressions which either affirm This hypothesis involves the absardity or imply that the wicked will be punished which has been often pointed out in the pre with the second death ; the controversy is ceding pages. It supposes that the Deity rethus brought into a very narrow compass. stores millions of creatures to life for no other

With respect to the phrase, dueteros thanatos, purpose than that of rendering them miserathe second death, it is obvious, that, were ble, which is an act of cruelly of which we death really the endless extinction of organized can form no adequate conception. and intelligent existence, the expression, se- A resurrection to a state of pure, unmixed cond death, would be absurd ; for there could suffering, (which is the common notion of a be no second death, were the first absolute state of punishment,) which lasts for a very and eternal.

protracted period, and terminales in destru If it be just to give a literal interpretation to tion, must render the existence of these un this phrase, it seems to warrant the conclusion, happy persons, upon the whole, a curse. If that the wicked will die a second time; yet it the Creator saw that any combination of cir is not affirmed that they will never rise again. cumstances would be attended with this conOf the first resurrection we are certain, and sequence, he would either have prevented the we have no assurance that there will not be a occurrence of such a train of events, or have second. There is no passage of scripture hos- withheld the fiat which was about to call the tile to the conclusion that there will. Should sufferers into life. It has been proved, that it be inferred, that a second resurrection will every benevolent being would certainly do the not take place, because there is no express one or the other. Either, therefore, there must promise to authorize the expectation, it may be, even in the state of punishment, a greater with equal justice be concluded that there prevalence of happiness than misery, which will, because it is not positively affirmed that is contrary to the general idea of that state, there will not. Of these opposite inferences, or, if this be not the case, since it must render the latter is at least as well founded as the the existence of millions of creatures infinite former; nay, it is much more so, because the ly worse, upon the whole, than non-existence, first is incompatible with some passages of it is irreconcilable with the divine benignity. scripture, but the second is contradicted by If, however, any advocate of the ductrine none, and is directly supported by several, of destruction should affirm that he does not particularly by those which speak of a first re- adopt this opinion of the state of punishment, surrection; for a first resurrection implies a but believes that, at the winding up of the second.

great drama of life, every intelligent being It is affirmed, 1 Corinthians, xv. 26, that will have reason to bless his Creator for his the last enemy which shall be destroyed is existence, it is cheerfully admitted, that this death-that death is swallowed up in victory argument does not apply against his hypothe -that Jesus Christ has abolished' death, and sis; but surely, while his heart glows with brought life and immortality to light by the pleasure at the generous conclusion he adopts, gospel, 2 Timothy, i. 10. But if the second he cannot but wish that his satisfaction could death be absolutely endless, or reduce the be perfected by the sight of pure, happy, and subjects of it to a state of total and eternal un- ever-improving intelligences, in the room of consciousness, death is not abolished ; its du- that awful and eternal blank which must press ration is commensurate with eternity; it is upon his view, and close the scene !* not vanquished—it is the victor; it is not de

* It affords me great satisfaction to perceive stroyed-it triumphs.

that this argument in favour of the doctrine of - To the doctrine of destruction, as well as to Universal Restoration, founded on the resurreothat of Endless Misery, the great truth, that tion of the wicked, which I think extremely im. there will be a resurrection both of the just portant, and even decisive of the controversy, imand of the unjust, is decidedly hostile. Who pressed with equal force the mind of my much can believe that the benevolent Father of the respected friend, the late Dr. Estlin, of Bristol. human race will call the greater part of his tions I enjoyed with him on this subject, at an

I cannot reflect without pleasure on the conversacreatures from the sleep of death, and re-or- early period of my life, and to which I owe, proganize the curious and beautiful structure in bably, much of that interest and zeal with which which intelligence and consciousness reside, I have since pursued the inquiry. Intelligent, on purpose io inflict upon them everlasting worthy and the wise, pirying, with Charity's own

amiable, benevolent-admiring and loving the Inisery, or very protracted suffering, which tenderness, the vicious, cheerful and diffusing will terminate in destruction? What a work cheerfulness, he lived-he died -The Christian does this doctrine assign to the beneficent Philosopher. Part of the passage in his Dis, Creator! How inconsistent with every per- courses on Universal Restitution, which has led fection of his nature! How different this his me to the mention of his name, and who that second from his first creation !

knew him can refer to his name without paying

it a tribute of respect ?) I must allow myself the From every thing which we see and feel, pleasure of quoiing. it is evident that he intended to communicate • It is proper to mention two doctrines, which, happiness by bestowing the gift of life. Is if they had been sufficiently adverted to, one would it then possible to imagine that he will raise suppose he idea of the final destruction of the bis creatures from the dead with no other view wicked) could never have entered the human than to counteract his own design—that he withoui doubt, constimtes by far the greater part

• The first is, that the wicked, will exert his omnipotence on purpose to frus- of the human race. This truth, which, although trate the counsels of his benevolence ? it is reconcilable to infinite benevolence, yet, to a

Such are the arguments, in favour of the, by destruction, and such are the difficulties doctrine of Limited Punishment, terminated with which the hypothesis is encumbered. heart which is suscepribleof the finest humın af. Every objection which is commonly urged, fections, is, after all, a most painful consideration, by intelligent persons, against the opinion, cannot be evaded. The voice of Infallibility hath that it is the great design of the divine governspoken it; the elevated standard of Christian moment to bring all mankind to a state of perfect rality, compared with the general moral state of purity and happiness, whether derived from the mankind, confirms it; every analogy of nature doctrine of Endless Misery, or from that of total points out to it. "Enter ye in at the strait gale; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that lead- and eternal destruction, has now been fully eth to destruction, and many there be that go in considered. With regard to the doctrine of thereat; because strait is the gate, and narrow is Endless Misery, it has been shown that the the way which leadeth into life, and few there be terms everlasting, eternal, for ever, for ever that find it." "The next doctrine, which must not be forgot: do not denote duration without end, but only

and ever, &c., on which it is chiefly founded, ten, (I confess I found myself inclined to give it up. when I saw clearly that the doctrine of Anni- a lasting period—that, even if it could be hilation could not be maintained in consistency proved that these expressions, when applied with ii,) is the resurrection of the wicked. If the to the subject of future punishment, must nescriptures had positively asserted that the wicked cessarily be taken in the sense of endless, it would not rise, and that their death would be the would by no means warrant the conclusion, final extinction of their being, the mind must have that the wicked will be kept alive in misery acquiesced in what-reasoning from the infinite benevolence of God, ihe best foundation of reason through the ages of eternity ; because it is ing-it would still have acknowledged a difficulıy. everlasting punishment, not everlasting torIf the scriptures had said nothing on the subject, ment, with which the wicked are threatened their resurrection and restoration to virtue and that the application of the same term to the happiness might, I think, have been inferred from duration of the punishment of the wicked, and the same sure and certain principles. They do the happiness of the righteous, by no means not, however, leave any room for doubt on the subject. It is expressly said, “All that are in their proves that both are of equal continuance; begraves shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and cause this word denotes different degrees of come forth : they that have done good to the re- duration, when applied to different subjects surrection of life, they thai have done evil to the because the nature of these two subjects is not resurrection of condemnation.” Every account only not the same, but directly opposite, and which is given in scripture of the day of judgment because many considerations prove that one confirms this. The doctrine of Annihilation, then, supposes

of these states will be truly everlasting, but that by far the greater part of mankind were that the other cannot be so—that the argucreated by a benevolent and holy Being, whose ment derived from the metaphor of fire, and prescience foresaw how they would act, to be vi. particularly from the expression, unquenchacious and die, to be raised from the dead, re-or. ble fire, is totally fallacious, because this langanized or recreated, to be miserable, and then to undergo a public execution, by which they would guage is used respecting fires which have been be for ever blotted out of this creation. Some of extinguished for ages, and respecting places the wisest and best men that the world ever pro- which have since flourished and which are duced have adopted this scheme of the origin, pro, still in existence that the sin against the know we are apt to overlook the fate of this im- cisive a proof of this doctrine, directly congress, and end of the divine, dispensations in! Holy Ghost, which has been deemed so demense multitude ; and a most banetul effect upon futes it, since it affords the most satisfactory the human mind, upon all the institutions of so. ciety, and particularly upon penal jurisprudence, evidence, that expressions of this kind do not has this overlooking of what others, even the ma. and cannot denote duration without end, and jority, suffer. My brethren, if the fact be so, fix since the punishment annexed to this crime your minds upon it. You have often regarded may be inflicted to the very letter without its with admiration that curious effect of the divine being endless—that those minor arguments, of the eye and the ear, ihe nerves and brain, the which are deduced from some expressions and veins and arteries, and the various organs of 'sen- parables of scripture, are insufficient to esta. sation, respiration, and motion ; you have contem- blish the doctrine, while some of them afford plated with devout wonder the faculties of the hu, powerful arguments against it, and that the man mind; you have acknowledged with grateful same is true of the reasonings by which many satisfaction, that God is love--that every organ, that every power, both of body and mind, is an

have endeavoured to support it.

persons inlet to enjoyment, and that man was forined in

With regard to the doctrine of Limited Punthe image of God, that he might be the object of his ishment, terminated by destruction, it has favour for ever. Contemplate the scene which is been shown that it is founded solely on terms now to take place. What a process is going on to which an unscriptural meaning is affixedthrough nature! Myriads of those beings are to that, while it professes to be established on be raised from the dead, that is, re-organized, re- the plain and positive declarations of seripformed, or re-creared, (a work to which Omnipo. tence alone is equal, for the laws of nature are ture, it is countenanced chiefly by a phrase nothing but the mode of operation of the God of which occurs only in the most highly figunature,) to be miserable in a greater or less de rative book of the New Testament, and gree according to their degrees of guilt, and at amidst expressions entirely metaphorical fengih to be finally destroy d hv fire! The mind that this very phrase affords it no other supcannot dwell on this idea!' Discourses on Uni. versal Restitution, delivered to the Society of Pro- port than what can be derived from an infertestant Dissenters in Lewin's Mead, Bristol. By ence which is so extremely equivocal, that the Joan Prior Estlin, LL. D., pp. 82—87. opposite cunclusion may be deduced with equal plausibility, and that, while there is not doctrine, that the whole human race will be a single passage in which the doctrine is ex- ultimately restored to purity and happiness, pressed in clear and precise terms, there are having been thus fully considered, the mind many with which it is utterly incompatible. may now be prepared to enter on an examina

All the objections which are commonly tion of the scriptural evidence which appears urged against the cheering and benevolent to favour it.




It is admitted, that the term Universal Re- j events, it is termed a kingdom, of which he storation no where occurs in the Old or New is said to be the Head-that he will conduct Testament. It has been adopted in this work the governinent of this kingdom with perfect merely for the sake of brevity and precision. wisdom, unul it shall have accomplished all The doctrine of the scriptures is, that God is the purposes for which it is appointed until the Ruler of the world—that every event is it shall have extirpated sin, destroyed the under his direction, and promotes in its ap- consequence of it-death-restored universal pointed measure the purposes of his wise and purity, and produced universal happinessbenevolent administration that the natural that then, being no longer necessary, be will and moral evil which prevail are the instru- resign his office, restore to him from whom ments which his wisdom has chosen, no less he received it the power with which he was than the most obvious blessings of existence, invested, in order that the great Sovereign of to promote the highest advantage of his intel- earth and heaven, the Fountain of all being ligent creatures—that, by his almighty and and happiness, may himself .be all in all.' all-perfect superintendence of events, he will Such is the glorious consummation of the secure this result—that he has placed man- divine dispensations which the scriptures kind in a state of discipline, in order to form teach us, to expect! Such are the sublime and to try their characters that those who and cheering truths, the evidence of which is improve their present advantages, will be re- now to be detailed! warded after death with endless felicity-that The principle on which the following inthose who neglect and abuse them, and inca- vestigation of scripture is conducted, and on pacitate themselves for pure enjoyment, will which it is concluded that the passages which be placed under a painful and lasting disci- will be cited express or imply these truths, is pline, which will correct their evil dispositions that which is adopted in the most exact inquiand vicious habits, and form in their minds a ries to which the human understanding is die genuine love of excellence—that, in order to rected. In every philosophical inquiry, it is accomplish these benevolent purposes, he has admitted that that hypothesis ought to be raised op Jesus Christ, whom he has special. adopted, which accounts for all the phenomely and miraculously qualified to execute the na with the greatest clearness, and which is most important of them, having with this attended with the fewest difficulties. Whatview revealed to him the glorious gospel, and ever theory best explains acknowledged facts commissioned him to declare it to the world is universally considered most entitled to rethat, in regard of the firmness and fidelity gard; and, if it solve the several phenomena with which he executed this momentous trust, easily and simply, while every other hypothenotwithstanding the danger and suffering to sis is attended with contradictions and absurwhich it exposed him, God has highly exalted dities, no doubt is entertained of its truth. him, and made him the medium through Now the doctrine, that all mankind will be which he communicates the greatest blessings ultimately restored to purity and happiness, to mankind—that, as Jesus revealed the gos- | is this perfect theory, with regard to the dipel, so he will fulfil its promises and execute, vine dispensations, and the scriptural terms its threatenings—that, as he was the Instruc- by which their nature is expressed. It actor of mankind, so he will be their Judge-cords with every expression that is used in that to him is committed the direction of the scripture concerning the state of mankind in state of discipline to which the wicked will the world to come, and is confirined by all be consigned-that, as the execution of the our best sentiments of the attributes, the propurposes which are comprehended in this vast vidence, and the government, of the Supreme and benevolent plan supposes the government Being. But the notions of Endless Misery, of innumerable intelligent beings, and the and of the total and eternal extinction of life, superintendence of many great and important neither accord with all the expressions of 30 12

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scripture relative to a future state, nor with | existence. In the strictest sense it is true, thao our purest and most exalted sentiments of the in him we live, move, and have our being.' attributes and proceedings of the Universal And, as he is so much more intimately and Parent. According to the strictest rules of truly our Father than our human parents, so philosophizing, therefore, the first must be he must be as much more perfectly so in reregarded as the true hypothesis.

spect to the disposition with which he regards, The passages of scripture which favour the and the manner in which he treats us. All opinion, that the whole human race will final that is tender and endearing in the most affecly be restored to purity and happiness, may tionate and excellent of human parents can be divided into those which imply its truth, afford us but a faint image of what he is to and into those which appear precisely and his whole family of mankind. positively to affirm it.


any good father punish with revenge? The passages which imply it are those Does any tender mother harbour implacable which contain certain declarations which resentment against her child? Would she, must be false, if this opinion be denied, but if she were able, punish it with endless which are full of truth and beauty if it be ad. misery, or inflict upon it intolerable anguish mitted. The passages which appear posi- for a very protracted period, and then blot it tively to affirm it are those, to the language of out of existence ? which it seems impossible to affix any other If a human parent who acted in such a meaning.

manner would be regarded with universal execration, who can believe an hypothesis

which attributes such conduct to the benevoCHAPTER 1.

lent Father of men ? We may be mistaken

in the meaning of a word, or the accuracy of OF THE PASSAGES OF SCRIPTURE WHICH imply a criticism, but we cannot err in rejecting THAT ALL MANKIND WILL BE ULTIMATELY opinions which give such an exhibition of the

character of God. But in this manner both Under the passages which imply the ulti- the doctrines of Endless Misery, and of absomate restoration of the whole human race to lute, irrevocable destruction, represent our virtue and happiness may be arranged- heavenly Father as treating the greater num

1st, All those which speak of God as the ber of his children, while that of Universal kind and benevolent Father of mankind. Restoration teaches that his conduct towarda

Psalm cii. 13, 14, * Like as a father pitieth every individual of his large family is infinitehis children, so Lord pitieth them that ly more excellent than that of the most wise fear him; for he knoweth our frame, he re- and benevolent parent. The latter opinion membereth that we are dust.'-Malachi, ii. 10, therefore, is true; the others are false. •Have we not all one Father? Hath not one. 2d, The ultimate restoration of the whole God created us?'—Ephesians, iv. 6, There human family to purity and happiness is fais one God and Father of all, who is above voured by all those passages which represent all, and through all, and in all.' We are God as good. likewise instructed by our Lord, Matthew, Psalın xxxiv. 8,0 taste and see that the vi. 9, to address the Supreme Being in prayer Lord is good. liii. 1, •The goodness of God as our Father,

endureth continually.' cxlv. «The Lord is good The scriptures delight to exhibit the Deity to all, and his tender mercies are over all his to his human offspring in the character of a works.'-1 John iv. 8, . God is love. Father. It is the most natural, as well as the If there be any foundation for the doctrine most endearing manner in which we can con- of Endless Misery, or of absolute, irrevocable ceive of him. He is our Father in a much destruction, these passages are not true. The more strict and intimate sense than any crea- doctrine of Endless Misery teaches that God ture is the parent of another. He constructed created the great majority of mankind to make the curious and delicate fabric in which our them miserable-that he called them into beconsciousness and intelligence reside. He ing with no other view than to glorify his jusformed those wonderful organs which are con- tice by their eternal condemnation, and ihat tinually at work within us, and which minis- from all eternity he foreordained them to this ter equally to life and to enjoyment. He en- horrid fate. To say of such a Being, that he dowed us with those noble faculties by which is good, that his very nature is love, that his we are capable of pursuits and pleasures of tender mercies are over all his works, and that the same

nature with those that constitute his goodness endureth continually, is to dehis own happiness, the operation of which stroy all distinction between tenderness and affords us continual gratification, but of cruelty, and to identify malevolence with bewhich we know nothing, except that they nignity. are wonderful and glorious. It is he who has If it be said that he treats the elect with so exquisitely adapted our nature to the ob- benevolence, and that these expressions relate jects which surround us, that we can scarcely only to these favoured individuals, it is remove without experiencing pleasure, and that plied, that this is an assumption which is un80 many things which interest and delight us supported by the shadow of proof; for these continually crowd upon our senses. It is he passages do not affirm that he is good to the who has made us what we are, and his con- elect, but that he is good to all, and that his stant energy is necessary to continue us in / tender mercies are over all his works.

If he elected a few individuals to happiness, | There is not a single passage from which it and decreed the great majority to endless mis- can be fairly deduced. Those which might ery, how can there be any truth in the decla- seem to favour it have been fully considered. ration, that he is good to all ? And if the The declarations of scripture are not—The greater number are to be doomed to torment, Lord is merciful and gracious, but hie clemenday and night, without intermission, forever-cy is limited to the present state. He is slow if, in the anguish of their souls, they incessant- to anger and plenteous in mercy, but he bely cry to him for mercy, beseeching him to comes implacable and inexorable the moment lighten or shorten their suffering, and if he be this life terminates; its language is, •The hold their misery without pity, and turn a Lord is merciful and gracious; slow to anger deaf ear to their supplications, how can his and plenteous in mercy: he hath not dealt tender mercies be over all his works, or his with us after our sins, nor rewarded us accordgoodness endure continually ?

ing to our iniquities; for as the heaven is high Nor is the doctrine of destruction consist- above the earth, so great is his mercy towards ent with these passages; for according to this them that fear him; as far as the east is from opinion the wicked will be raised from the the west, so far hath he removed our transdead, afflicted with terrible and unremitted gressions from us. Like as a father pitieth anguish, for a very protracted period, and then his children, so hath the Lord compassion on blotted out of existence for ever ; so that, them that fear him: for he knoweth our frame : upon the whole, they must be incalculably he remembereth that we are dust.' more miserable than happy. Even if the con- If he place his offending offspring under a trary should be maintained, and it should be discipline which corrects their evil dispositions, said that they will enjoy more than they suffer, and forms in their hearts a genuine love of ex still, according even to this concession, these cellence, this beautiful and affecting descrippassages can be true only in the lowest sense. tion of the Deity is just; but if he doom them

But, if the Deity design and pursue the ul- to intolerable, unremitted, and unending antimate felicity of all his intelligent creation, guish, or if, after having made them suffer the what a light and glory do they shed on his utmost penalty of their crimes, he blot them character, and how perfectly do they accord out of existence for ever, every syllable of it with the noblest ideas we can form of the ob- is false? ject of his dispensations !

4th, The ultimate happiness of every in3d, The final restoration of all mankind to dividual of the human race is favoured by parity and happiness is favoured by those pas- all those passages which positively deny tha sages which speak of God as merciful. God will be angry for ever.

Exodos, xxxiv. 6, 7, The Lord, the Lord Psalm xxx. 5, His anger endureth but for God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering and a moment.' ciii. 9, He will not always chide, abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mer- neither will he keep his anger for ever.' cy for thousands, and forgiving iniquity, trans- lxxvii. 7–12, Will the Lord cast off for ever, gression and sin.'—2 Chronicles, xxx. 9, and will he be favourable no more? Is his The Lord your God is gracious and merciful, mercy clean gone for ever; doth his promise and will not turn away his face from you if fail for evermore? Hath God forgotten to be you return unto him.'—Psalm ciii. 8, • The gracious; hath he in anger shut up his tender Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, mercies? And I said, this is my infirmity : and plenteous in mercy.'

I will remember the years of the right hand These repeated declarations of the compas- of the Most High. I will remember the works sion and clemency of God cannot be true, if of the Lord. I will meditate on thy work, through the ages of eternity he refuses to be and talk of thy doings.'—Isaiah, lvii. 16, I reconciled 10 the great majority of his crea- will not contend for ever, neither will I be ab tores. It is vain io endeavour to prove that ways wroth: for the spirit should fail before he is merciful, on the ground that he is will- me, and the souls which I have made.' ing to forgive the penitent sinner in the pre- How different is this description of the dissent state ; for—not to mention that, if there position and conduct of the Deity from that be any truth in the common doctrine of the which is exhibited by the doctrines of Endless divine deerees and of election, the pretension Misery, and of total and eternal destruction ! is an idle mockery-were his clemency re- They affirm that his anger will flame with restricted to this life, he would have infinitely lentless fury through all eternity; the scripless claim to the character of merciful, than tures declare that his anger endureth but for that man would possess who should inflict a moment. They affirm that the punishment the most intolerable suffering on another, for which he will inflict will never terminate ; the the space of eighty years, without any dispo- scriptures declare that he will not always sition to relent, except for a single hour. There chide, neither will he keep his anger for ever. is, indeed, an utter disproportion between the They affirm that he will hereafter have no two cases, because this life, compared to mercy on the wicked, but cast them from him eternity, is inconceivably less than an hour for ever; the scriptures make the most solemn compared to eighty years.

and touching appeal to our own understandThey who contend that the mercy of God ing and heart, whether this can be true:is restricted to the present life ought to re- Will the Lord cast off for ever, and will ho member that they have no scriptural authori- be favourable no more ? Is his mercy clean ty for this opinion. Such a notion is never gone for ever? Doth his promise fail for ever inculcated in the old or New Testament. more? Hath God forgotten to be gracious !

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