Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

6 THE

RESTORATION OF ALL THINGS:

OR

A VINDICATION

OF THE

GOODNESS AND GRACE OF GOD.

TO BE MANIFESTED AT LAST, IN THE RECOVERY OF HIS WHOLE CREA

TION OUT OF THEIR FALL.

BY JEREMIAH WHITE,

CHAPLAIN TO OLIVER CROMWELL.

THE FIRST AMERICAN EDITION.

“And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and unto every nation, and kindred,

and tongue and people.”—Rev. xiv. 6.

PHILADELPHIA:

GIHON, FAIRCHILD & Co.

[ocr errors]

PREFACE.

THERE may possibly need something by loose principles from hence, that on this sup way of apology, for putting out a book of this position he gave up the cause. And thus we kind, especially in an age so profligate; and may see how, with relation to mankind, if it may by some be looked upon as a design to God were truly represented in the infinity of promote libertinism, and concur with the aim his grace and goodness, and the authority of and end of too many writers of these times, those other schemes which give his justice so under pretence of religion to undermine it at great a prevalency over his mercy, were the root : but I doubt not but the seriousness rebated or taken off, many that can stand the and solidity with which this subject is man- shock or terrors of the common preaching of aged, the zeal for the glory of God, the vindi- eternal wrath and damnation, or a hell-fire cation of his most glorious attributes, and the without end, might yet be reclaimed by the earnest endeavours for promoting the love of manifestation of the goodness of God when God and charity to all mankind, which all they should come to see, or understand it as along appear só conspicuous in this work, it is. For love is strongest, and in its own will soon convince the reader that there is a nature most powerful to attract and to perdesign of the utmost service to religion at the suade. And therefore when it is objected, bottom; and that rather hy a new topic of this doctrine ought not to be broached in a persuasion to bring in proselytes to the king-licentious age, apt to take hold of all occadom of grace, than to drive any from it. sions of encouragement: we must turn back

With relation to God, it cannot but be an the argument upon the objectors, and tell acceptable service to represent him in his them, therefore there is need of greater most amiable excellencies, and vindicate the strength and argument for persuasion ; that supereminence of his love, which is his na- the best wine at last should be drawn out, ture, and the full latitude of his mercy and and the full strength of the love in its turn goodness towards his creatures, which has had and season should be superadded to the a cloud or veil of darkness drawn over it in strength of justice and judgment for influence the minds of the generality of mankind; so upon the minds of men. that it has shown out less amiably, and less It may be yet said, “Supposing this doctrine powerfully convincing and commanding the to be true, that in the opinion of several that hearts and affections of men, and giving oc- have held it, it ought to be kept as a secret, casion to many that have been strong in the among such as may be fit to receive it, and faculty of reasoning, and have taken their not publicly exposed ?" To this I answer, notions of God rather from thence than from 1. 'Tis true, Origen himself says so: but the Scriptures, as translated and glossed upon, this is not to be understood of writing upon and represented according to the schemes the subject, for that he did himself most freeand systems of these latter ages, by reason of ly; but rather for the general conduct of our the many inconsistencies therein, to throw off conversation, not to expose the mysteries of all revealed religion, and own only a God in religion to such as could not receive them. such manner as can be proved by human But, reason; and others that have less considera- 2. There is a time for all things. There is tion and use of that talent, through their im- a time when all secrets are to be revealed mersion into sense, have hence had too great and proclaimed upon the house tops. And encouragement and too great arguments for this is in the latter day, in which WISDOM atheism and libertinism itself. And those that is to manifest herself, and knowledge to inwould convince them upon the common hy- crease as the waters that cover the sea : Isa. potheses have wanted also their greatest ix. 11. See also Dan. ult. iv. 10. Yea, this arguments to prevail upon them. One in- very secret has its proper time to be revealed; stance I shall give, which I have been well as 1 Tim. ii. 6. i. e. “To be testified in due informed of, and that is in the late Earl of time.”—And when is it, that this pouring ont Rochester; in the midst of all his extravagan- of knowledge is expected to be, and the mani. cies, both of opinion and practice: he was festations of the hidden wisdom of God, but once in company with the author of this in the preparation or entrances of the blessed treatise, who discoursing with him about times of refreshment from the presence of the religion and the Being of a God, took the Lord, in his next or latter day advent, i. e. to opportunity to display the goodness of God his millennial kingdom; of which we hear in its full latitude, according to the scheme the alarms at this very day, from all quarters laid down in this his present work; upon and all parties ; from such as have been stuwhich the earl returned him for answer, dents of the prophetic writers, or heedful “ That he could approve of and like such a observers of the signs of the times. As then God as he had represented.” So far was he in this very age, we have found many ranfrom drawing any encouragement for his I ning to and fro, and knowledge increased,

[ocr errors]

so we may expect will be yet much more, ed to full view by the direct pencil of the die

vine wisdom, which operates all in perfect The occasion of our author's writing upon unity and harmony, and wants not the breach this subject is so very singular, that I believe or division of the properties of nature in any some account thereot will be both acceptable degree of disproportion and disharmony, or of and useful to such as shall incline to look real contrariety in order to its own perfect into it.

When he was at the University, and product. And the accidental illustration of had studied all the schemes of divinity, he grace by sin and sufferings; seems to be could not find from any, or from all of them chiefly in the passage through the vale of together, that God was good, that God was misery, or the first sensation of those that are love, as the Scriptures declare of him. This admitted to the heavenly enjoyments, which put him into a great dissatisfaction and per- without these extraneous and accessory explexity of mind, from which he could no way citements, go on increasing and multiplying extricate himself; but it grew upon him more without bound or end, from their own eternal and more, till it threw him into a fit of sick- motives and incentives; from the ground of ness, and that so dangerous that there was the eternal and infinite fulness and perfection no hope of his recovery; but in it, at the of the Godhead, as moving in its own har. most, he had a beam of divine grace darted monious unity, proceeding and manifesting upon his intellect, with a sudden, warm, and itself, of itself, and by itself, in all harmonilively impression ; which gave him imme- ous variety; and that without any such thing diately a new set of thoughts concerning God as a defective foil; which has rather been and his works, and the way of his dealing an offence or impediment of its glory, only with his offending creatures, which, as they as this has, and still does, like the sun, break became the rule and standard of all his through the fog and discover itself. thoughts and measures of things afterwards, In this work the author has gone only upon as I have heard him declare, so they gave in Scripture grounds; and yet from the Scripparticular, the ground and occasion of this tures which he has produced and discoursed present design. And upon this he presently at large upon, he has sufficiently absolved the recovered. This, as reasonably may be sup- rational part. And for further confirmation, posed, might give occasion to an expression it has been thought fit here to add some tesof greater freedom in his title, as he at first timonies both ancient and modern to this intended it; which we have taken the liberty great point; and they are as follow. to omit, lest any might stumble at it; yet the ORIGEN is well known to be the great reader will find it mentioned by him in the propagator of this doctrine, so that it might book.

seem scarce needful to make citation from He had wrote at first more voluminously, him to this purpose, yet as a leader of others, but towards the latter end of his life he was I shall here set him in the front, with a tese busied in contracting and preparing it for the timony or two. We find then, this learned public service; in which he was more par- father, Origen in fine Lib. 8vi. Explanat in ticularly taken up, and so brought it to a con- Epist. ad Rom. declaring himself after this clusion, a little before his death.

manner:*

“But he that despises the purificaHis character is great, and has been more itons of the Word of God, and the doctrine of than once given to the world in print; though the Gospel, is reserved for those dreadful and on account of the offence many will be apt penal purifications afterwards; that so he to take at the subject, it has been thought fit may be purged by the fire and torment of here to conceal his name.

hell, who would not receive purgation from He goes indeed upon the predestinarian the apostolic doctrine and evangelical word, hypothesis, as will appear in several passages according to that which is written of being of his work; but by his additional scheme 'purified by fire. But how long this purifimakes it quite another thing, and entirely cation which is wrought out by penal fire evacuates it as the severer part. But if any shall endure, or for how many periods or ages inured to other schemes of divinity are yet it shall detain sinful souls in torment, he only unsatisfied in this, they may take his general knows to whom all judginent is committed by hypothesis of the restoration, and graft it upon the Father.” their own, and it will suit as well; and serve And then, upon the same place and subject, to rectify and improve it, as it has done he adds : “But we must still remember that the this.

apostle would have this text accounted as a There are many indeed that run so far in mystery, so as that the faithful and perfect magnifying the method God has taken for ones may keep its secret sense among themmanifestation of his grace and mercy towards selves, and not ordinarily divulge it to the his fallen creatures, as to imagine their fall imperfect and less capable of receiving it." was needed in order to the perfect display of The next I shall cite, (and indeed who . the wonders of his goodness. Indeed there might have disputed precedency with the foris something of a particular and partial man- mer, as being Origen's master, though less ifestation accidentally made through the ob- noted on this account) is CLEMENS Alexanjects of mercy, rendered so by their sin and folly: but surely God needed not this accident * [In this as well as in all the following refor. to show that grace which was contained in, ences, we have omitted the passages as they and but as a part of his essential goodness; simply given the translations as they appear

occur in the original Latin or Greek, and, have and which might by the enlightened eye be in the preface. Those who wish to consult the contemplated therein; or by the works of original can doubtless obtain the works from God, and manifestation of himself, he exhibit- I which the quotations are made.)

DRINUS ; Adumbrat. in Ep. 1. Johan. printed of God and latitude of his grace. 'Tis 'from at the end of his treatise, Quis Dives Sulvetur; St. Austin, as follows. where he has these words :-—"The Lord is Augustis, De Civ. Dei, lib. xxi. cap. 17. not (says he, v. 2.) a propitiation for our sins “ And now I see I must have to do with our only, that is, of the faithful, but also for the merciful men, and must dispute with them whole world. Therefore he indeed saves all gently and peaceably, who either will not beuniversally; but some as converted by pun. lieve everlasting punishment to be inflicted ishments, others by voluntary submission. on those whom the just Judge shall condemn And hence he obtains the honour and dignity, to the pains of hell; or at least not on all of that to Him every knee shall bow, both of them : but that after certain periods of time, things in heaven, and things on earth, and longer or shorter, according to the proportion things under the earth, that is, angels, and of their crimes, they shall be delivered of that men, and souls departed this life before his state.” coming into the world.

St. JEROME, at the end of his comment on Another is GREGORY NAZIAXZEN. He Isaiah, speaks thus, concerning the opinion tells us, Puris Edit. 1630. Orat. Quadrug. that hell torments shall have an end; though Pug. 664, 665,-" There is another fire, not he himself was persuaded in and believed the for purging but for punishing; whether it be eternity of the torments of devils and Atheists. of that kind by which Sudom was destroyed, “Which (matier) we ought to leave to the or whether that prepared for the devil

, or wisdom of God alone, whose judgments as that which proceeds before the face of the well as his mercies are in weight and mea. Lord (out his last adrent], or lastly, which is sure, and who well knows whom, or how, or most formidable of all, that which is conjoin- for how long he ought to judge them.” ed with the worm that never dieth, which is I shall conclude these testimonies of the not quenched, but burns perpetually upon the fathers with that of Facundus, Episcop. Herwicked All these are of a destructive na. miensis, lib. iv. cap. 4. pag. 62. Edit. Paris. ture. If yet we are not even here (in the last 1679. “ In the book which Domitian, Bishop kind of fire) to understand it more mildly (or of Ancyra, wrote to Vigilius, he is found comwith greater philanthropy or love to mankind) plaining of those that contradicted the docand more worthy of [or, suitable to the nature irines of Origen, which maintained that the of ] Him that punishes.”

souls of men pre-existed in a stale of happiWe have for another testimony, from GRE- ness before they came into bodies; and that GORY NYSsents. In Diul. de Anima and Re- all those that were doomed to the eternal pun. surrect. Paris Evit. 1659.-—" For 'tis wholly ishment, shall, together with the devil and and absolutely needful that evil should be his angels, be restored to their former state removed out of the circle of being. For of blessedness." And after this he adds, since evil is of that nature, that it cannot be “They have rashly run out to anathematize without a will and purpose of its own; and the most holy and most glorious doctors, (or since all will and arbitrement is in (and of teachers of the Church) on occasion of those right belongs to] God; how can it be other doctrines that have been advanced concernwise, but that the evil must be entirely ing the pre-existence, and the restitution of abolished, so that nothing shall remain that all things. And this indeed under pretext of can be a receptacle of it.” And again in his Origen, but thereby anathematizing all the Catechetical Oration, chap. xxvi, p. 517, 'lis (great) saints which were before him, and said of Christ, “ Who is He that delivers man which have been after him.” Thas have we from evil, and who heals the inventor (or the declaration and testimonies of two of the author) of evil himself.”

ancient fathers and bishops of the Church in Sulpicres SERVERUS, De Vita B. Martini, p. one. 188. Edit. Lugd. Bat. 1647. “ If thou, o This is a taste of those numerous testimomiserable one, (speaking to the devil] would nies of the ancients to the truth of this doccease from the temptation and persecution of trine; and those of the moderns are yet more man, and repent thee of thy facts, even at numerous. There have been several books this time of day when the judgment is so near written on this subject in French, in the High at hand; I myself could with true assurance Dutch, and the Low Dutch ; and particularly (or confidence] in God, promise thee the mer- in the High German hy the learned Dr. Jo. W. cy of Christ.”

Petersen, sometime Superintendent of LunenThis testimony, if it does not absolutely burgh, at large in folio; where he has streconclude for the point, yet it does against the nuously defended this point, and collected so great difficulty and impossibility of it,which and adopted into his work the writings of is by some supposed; and vindicates the several others upon this subject in lesser good will of God, as all being ready, and tracts : 'tis called The Restitution of all nothing wanting on his part for the salvation Things. There is also an ingenious piece of all his creatures. That which follows written in French by a noble eminent lord and may likewise be of use to show the gentleness minister of the court of the King of Prussia, and tenderness wherewith the propagators of intitled, Entretiens sur la Restitution Univers this doctrine have been received, and serve selle de la Creation : or, A Conference upon the to open the narrowness, and allay the seve. ' Universal Restitution of the Creation, berwirt rity and rigidness of spirit, with which they Dositheus and Theophilus. But to collect are treated by many at this day: as also to testimonies from all these would make a shew that in the times of the latter, as well volume instead of a preface: therefore I shall as elder fathers, there was still a reserve in content myself with producing a few testimothe Church, of vindicators of the great love' nies from some of the learned ur curious en.

« FöregåendeFortsätt »