Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

Satan's subjects are slaves led captive by him at his will; he is an usurper, and all that are in bondage to him belong to Christ, who will finally draw them all to himself.

Those that are in bliss shall be eternally attracted by him, and shall always choose that which is good; but when evil is broken, its influence shall no more prevail over those that are captivated by it; and they shall feel the consequences of sin in such a manner as to loathe it; and they shall heartily return, and swear allegiance to their rightful King.

There shall be no influence to draw the saints in bliss from Christ, and thereby dissolve his kingdom; but all the influence of God and goodness, shall tend to dissolve the kingdom of darkness, and to put an end to the thraldom and misery of its unhappy slaves.

Thus, I might go on with a long train of arguments upon this subject; but these may suffice.

Friend. Your arguments would seem very conclusive, for the entire subjection of all things, if you could prove that the word ALL, intends literally and mathematically, the whole, without exception; but this I think, will be difficult for you to do, as you must know that it is very frequently used in common language for a part; and sometimes for only a small part of mankind.

Minister. Yes, my friend, very easily, and in the most unexceptionable manner. Hear what the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews says upon this matter: Thou hast put ALL things in subjection under his feet; for in that he put ALL in subjection under him; he left nothing that is not put under him." Heb. ii. 8.

intend ALL, in the largest sense; for how would this conclusion naturally and necessarily follow," For in that he put ALL in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him;" unless it be premised, that ALL is used in the universal sense of the word.

It is evident, that the apostle's reasoning would be very inaccurate, if not entirely false, upon the supposition that ALL things did not

Friend. But hath not the same apostle made an exception, when he used the word ALL, in some other of his writings?

Minister.—Yes, truly; but it is such an exception as justifies this sense of the_word, more than a thousand arguments: "For he hath put ALL things under his feet; but when he saith, ALL things are put under him, it is manifest, that he is excepted which did put ALL things under him.” 1 Ĉor. xv. 27. Here God the Father being alone excepted, proves all other beings to be included in the words ALL things; and that in so convincing a manner, that I am astonished that I did not perceive it long before I did.

Minister. This is very easily done; for it is universally acknowledged by all Christians, that all things are now, and have ever been subject to his control; for when he was upon earth, in his lowest state of humiliation, even the unclean spirits, the most rebellious of beings obeyed his word; which made those who saw his miracles dry with amazement,

Minister. I acknowledge this is the case in common conversation, and in such parts of the sacred history where we are in no danger of being misled by it, being well informed by the context, or some other passages, or from the nature, or from the circumstances of the facts, that we must take it in a limited sense; but I do not recollect any passage, where anywhat thing is this? What new doctrine is point of doctrine is spoken of, in which the this? For with authority commandeth he word ALL is used in that uncertain and unde- even the unclean spirits, and they obey him." terminate manner; and it is necessary that it St. Mark, i. 27. The devils obeyed him unishould not be used in that way, in matters of versally in whatever he commanded them; importance; because we might be led into and could not enter into the swine without his confusion and great uncertainty thereby; not permission; and how disagreeable soever his knowing whether to understand it universally, words were to them, they were forced to comor partially.-Wherefore I lay down this plain ply, without daring to complain; yea, they rule, viz., when the word ALL is used in any frequently seemed like humble suppliants; passage of Scripture, and we are not neces- and once we read, they went so far as to adjure sarily obliged, either by the context or some our blessed Lord not to torment them. See other text, or the nature and circumstances St. Mark, v. 7. The winds, waves, fishes, all of the case, to understand it partially; and obey him; all diseases, and even death itself, especially where any important point of doc- heard his voice, and departed at his bidding; trine is spoken of, we are always to understand and to his disciples he said, "All power is it universally, without exception. given unto me, in heaven and in earth." Matth. xxviii. 18. And certainly now, he is at the right hand of God, angels, and au thorities, and powers, are made subject unto him." 1 Pet. iii. 22. God hath exalted him far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion; and every name that is named; not only in this age (for sc I render the word aioni) but also in that which is to come; and put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church." Ephes. i. 21, 22. But as though the apostle had known that the sense would be disputed, he hath said, "But now we see not yet all things put under him." Heb. ii. 8.

Friend.—But can you prove from the wri-¡ tings of the apostles, that they used the word ALL in this large and universal sense?

Friend. It is true, that nothing can be plainer, than that ALL things in these places, must mean ALL beings except God; but then, perhaps, St. Paul only meant, that they should be subject to his control, and not brought willingly to obey. If you can prove this point as clearly as you have the other, and from the same authority, it will seem to put the matter with me beyond dispute.

[ocr errors]

necessary distinction between all things being
put under him; and all things being subdued
unto him, the former is already done in the
fullest manner; and the latter shall be as per-
fectly and fully accomplished in due time:
Because the creation itself shall be delivered
from the bondage of corruption. into the glo-
rious liberty of the children of God. For we
know that the whole creation groaneth and
travaileth in pain together, until now," Rom.
viii. 21, 22.

All things were subject to his control, even on
earth; and they cannot be less so, now he is
exalted to heaven, to the glory which he had
with the Father before the world was; and
yet many years after his ascension, the apos-
tle says, "But now we see not yet all things"
put under him;" by which he must certainly
mean their being willingly subject unto him;
for, in all other senses, all things are now put
under him, in the most unlimited manner, as
we have seen already. But the apostle goes
on to tell how far the important work is ac-
complished, and that a sure foundation is laid
for its entire completion; saying, "But we
see Jesus, who was made a little lower than
the angels, for the suffering of death, crowned
with glory and honour, that he, by the grace
of God, should taste death for ALL;" (for so
the word pantos ought to be rendered.) There
was anciently a manuscript in use, in which
the words were choris Theou instead of chariti
Theou, that is, for all EXCEPT GOD. And
there is a little doubt of its being the true
sense; because St. Paul makes the same ex-
ception, with respect to those who are put
under Christ, as we have before noted, 1 Cor.
XV. 27.

Though what hath already been spoken, may seem more than enough to prove the point respecting the word all; yet there is one passage more, full to the purpose, that I would not omit; it being of itself, fully sufficient to settle the dispute forever:-The apostle, speaking of Christ saith, "Who is the image of the invisible God, the first born of every creature; for by him were all things created that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers; all things were created by him, and for him; and he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church; who is the beginning, the first born from the dead; that in all things he might have the pre-eminence. For it pleased the Father, that in him should all fulness dwell; and having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him, to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven." Col. i. 15, 20,

As the word all is generally acknowledged to be used in its most extensive sense, in every place in this paragraph, except the last, there is no reason to be given why the apostle should change the sense of the word, without giving us the least notice of it; and, indeed, it would be very unkind, if not unfair, for him thus to do; as it would tend to mislead us in a matter of very great importance.

Friend. I hope I am not so attached to my own opinions as to be unwilling to hear and consider what may be advanced against them; but the doctrine of endless damnation has been so generally considered as a most important article of faith by all denominations, that I can by no means think of giving it up, unless you are able to establish the contrary system upon the most solid ground, and answer all the scriptural objections fairly, that have been, or that can be brought against it; for I must have all my doubts solved, before I can think of believing such a strange doctrine as this appears to me.

Then the apostle adds, "For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings." Heb. ii. 9, 10.

Instead of the word all intending only a part, we find in several places, that the word many intends all, as in Rom. v. 15, 16, 19. "For if through the offence of one, many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. The free gift is of many offences unto justification. For, as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners; so, by the obedience of one, shall many be made righteous.' Isaiah liii. By his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many (or the many) for he shall bear their iniquities. And he bare the sins of many and made intercession for the transgressors." These many are called all, in the 6th verse. "All we, like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and JEHOVAH hath laid on him the iniquity of us all."

11, 12. 66

But to return to our subject: St. Paul assures us, that though all things, without exception, are put under him, in one sense, yet, in another, he says, "But now we see not yet all things put under him." But he leaves us not in the dark about the matter; but speaks of that effectual "working, whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself." Phil. iii. 21. And when all things shall be subdued unto himself, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be ALL in ALL." 1 Cor. xvi. 28. Here we plainly find, a very

Minister. I must heartily commend your prudence and sincerity. I took the same resolution; and would never receive this view, till I could answer all objections to my own satisfaction; and if you are disposed to inquire farther at another opportunity, I shall be happy in giving you all the assistance in my power.

B

CONTENTS OF DIALOGUE II.

OBJECTION. Of the worm that dieth not, and the unquenchable fire, five times threatened by our
Lord Jesus Christ in one passage.

ANSWERED. By reference to the words in the prophesy of Isaiah, to which our Lord probably
alluded. Passages from the prophets brought to shew a literal accomplishment of the original words.
The dreadful threatenings of future misery to the wicked, implied in those words of our Saviour.
They shall be publicly punished and tormented in the lake of fire, which is the earth in its melted or
dissolved state. Nevertheless, there shall be a new creation of the earth, and so the lake of fire shall
cease. Many instances of fires mentioned in Scripture, of which it was said, they shall not be quenched,
which yet have ceased long ago. And of those fires whose smoke is said to ascend up forever. Things
contrary are often predicted of the same places and people, and must be understood as occurring at
different times. Our Lord's words of every one being salted with fire considered.

OBJECTION. All the fires above mentioned were on earth, and in time; but the fire of hell, being
in eternity, can never go out, or cease to burn to all endless duration.

ANSWER.-Those fires on earth that were never to be quenched did not continue to burn as long as
the earth remained; and therefore there is no necessity of granting that the fire of hell shall burn to
all eternity. Punishments belong only to the ages of ages before Christ shall have delivered up the
kingdom to the Father.

OBJECTION.-The blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall never be forgiven, &c.

ANSWERED.-1. By shewing what this sin is, &c. 2. All that bears the name of death shall be
destroyed, and all sorrow, crying, and pain, shall cease and be no more. 3. Where sin abounded
grace shall much more abound.

OBJECTION. The deplorable case of Esau.

ANSWER. He lost the birthright, and the peculiar privileges that belonged to the first born, but
yet he had a blessing from his father of a lower degree. The great difference between them was more
fulfilled in their posterity than in their own persons. Love and hatred are sometimes only compara-
tive, and not positive terms, and only imply a preference of one to the other.

OBJECTION. The great gulph between the region of happiness and misery is impassable.

ANSWER. Christ has passed it when he went and preached to the spirits in prison, who were
disobedient in the days of Noah. This proves a state of conscious existence after the death of the
body. The rich man seems to have had compassion towards his brethren. The scriptures constantly
hold out punishment in proportion to the sins committed in the present life.

OBJECTION. The case of Judas, of whom Jesus said, "Good were it for that man that he had
never been born."

ANSWER.-1. This was a proverbial saying. 2. Both Job and Jeremiah cursed the day of their birth.
and wished that they had never been born. 3. Solomon declares an untimely birth to be better
than the longest and most prosperous life of one whose soul is not filled with good, and who hath
no burial. 4. If Judas had died before he was born he would have escaped all earthly trouble, and
future misery, and would have been immediately happy. 5. The Jews as much rejected and doom-
ed to woe as Judas.

DIALOGUE II.

Friend.-Good day to you, sir, I was just
passing by, and if you have a little time to
spare, I should be happy to have some further
discourse with you, respecting your senti-
ments; for although I cannot fall in with your
views, yet I am convinced, that your mind is
upright in the matter, and that you do not
disagree with your brethren for the sake of
differing, but for what you believe to be truth.

Minister. I have this to say, (and I can
with truth declare it) that I never should have
dissented from my brethren, had they only
given me the liberty of enjoying the natural
right of freely thinking for myself in matters
of religion. I sincerely wish to live and die
in unity with all that love God and keep his
commandments; and I should never have
troubled the world with my sentiments, had
not great pains been taken to represent me as
a heretic, and my sentiments dangerous to
mankind; this was done to prevent people
from hearing what I had to say in other mat-
ters. I was therefore in sort, compelled to
sit down and answer all the objections that
were brought against the truth I believed;

which answers drawn (as I trust) fairly from
the Scriptures, have satisfied many who have
read what I then wrote upon the subject.

Friend. I never saw your answers to ob-
jections in print; but in our last conversation,
you gave such answers to many questions, as
to convince me that much more might be said
in favour of the general Restoration than I
formerly imagined: but I have a number of
objections remaining, which appear to me un-
answerable; and which I beg leave to state
in the plainest manner.

Minister.-Do, my dear friend; you wil
give me pleasure by being free and open upon
this subject; propose all your objections in
the strongest manner possible, and I will give
you such answers as have satisfied me in the
matter; and I beg leave to assure you, that
no light, trifling, or forced answer, far less a
manifest evasion, would satisfy my mind upon
this awful and interesting subject; and if
what I believe is not capable of a scriptural
defence, I shall endeavour to quit the ground
as speedily as possible.

Friend. The word of our Saviour, recorded

[ocr errors]

by St. Mark, ix. 43-49, forms a very serious, and to me an unanswerable objection against the Universal Restoration.

66

And if thy hand offend thee (or cause thee to offend) cut it off; it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell; into the fire that never shall be quenched (or that is unquenchable;) where their worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched. And if thy foot offend thee (or cause thee to offend) cut it off; it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into that fire that never shall be quenched (or that is unquenchable;) where their worm dieth not, and their fire is not quenched. And if thine eye offend thee (or cause thee to offend) pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire; where their worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched. For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt."

Hammon Gog. And seven months shall the house of Israe! be burying of them that they may cleanse the land." (See Ezek. xxxix. 4, 5, 11, 12.) "And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem, shall even go up, from year to year, to worship the King, JEHOVAH, of Hosts and to keep the feasts of Tabernacles." Zech. xiv. 16." And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another and from one Sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith JEHOVAH." Isaiah lxvi. 21. "And they that shall come up to Jerusalem, to worship the Lord, during the time that these bodies shall lie in the open field, shall go forth, and behold them in a state of putrefaction, a prey to worms; and all the nations of the earth shall see God's judgments executed upon those who dare rebel against him, by making war against the Lamb, and against his army." Rev. xvii. 14, xix. 19.

Here our Lord repeats five times, that "the fire is not, or never shall be quenched, or is unquenchable; words of near similar meaning; three times he speaks of hell, as a place where "their worm dieth not;" and to shew the propriety of the sufferengs of the miserable, he says. For every one shall be salted with fire;" i. e. preserved by the fire, as salt preserves meat. These are the objections from this passage, briefly stated: are you able to answer them fairly, without any evasion, from the authority of Scripture.

Minister-This is certainly a most terrible passage, and deserves to be considered particularly.

There is no doubt but that Jesus Christ had his eye upon that passage in Isaiah lxvi. 24. "And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcasses of the men that have transgressed against me; for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh."

It will be of no use for us to understand when this prophecy shall be fulfilled: It shall be when the children of Israel shall return, and be settled in their own land; and their enemies shall come against them, and shall be destroyed, and their carcasses shall fall upon the mountains of Israel, and shall be a prey to the fowls of heaven, and their flesh shall be devoured by worms, which shall not die, till they have eaten and entirely destroyed their bodies.

"Thou shalt fall upon the mountains of Israel, thou and all thy bands, and the people that is with thee; I will give thee to the ravenous birds of every sort, and to the beasts of the field to be devoured. Thou shalt fall upon the open field; for I have spoken it, saith Adonia JEHOVAH. And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will give unto Gog a place there of graves in Israel, the valley of the passengers on the east of the sea; and it shall stop the noses of the passengers; and there shall they bury Gog and all his multitude, and they shall call it the valley of

It is also intimated by Ezekiel, that a fire shall be kindled, to burn their weapons of war, &c., which shall last for some time. Hear his words: "And they that dwell in the cities of Israel shall go forth, and shall set on fire and burn the weapons, both the shields and the bucklers, the bows and the arrows, and the handstaves and the spears: so they shall burn them with fire seven years; so that they shall take no wood out of the field, neither cut down any out of the forests; for they shall burn the weapons with fire." See Ezek. xxxix. 9, 10.

Thus have I endeavoured to give the plain sense of the text to which our Lord alluded; and I have not the smallest doubt of its being hereafter literally fulfilled.

I will now endeavour to give what appears to me the meaning of the text before us :-Christ threatened that those who would not deny themselves, and cut off those things that led them into sin, should hereafter suffer infinitely greater inconveniences, by being cast into hell fire. And, oh! who can conceive how dreadful a portion is threatened to some transgressors! that they "shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture, into the cup of his indignation! and 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 ages of ages; and they have no rest day nor night." Rev. xiv. 10. 11.

Thus, as the enemies of God, who shall be destroyed near Jerusalem, shall have their carcasses exposed, full of worms, and be an abhorring unto all that behold them; so those who are cast into the burning lake, shall be publicly exposed to shame, and shall suffer openly for their crimes; and the smoke of their torment shall ascend up continually, during those ages that the lake of fire, or the second death shall continue.

But when I consider that this terraqueous globe itself is probably to become the lake of fire, when the elements shall melt with

fervent heat; and yet after that dreadful for your iniquities, and for your abominations. scene is past, the earth itself shall be renewed, Not for your sakes do I this, saith Adonia and become the habitation of righteousness; JEHOVAH, be it known unto you; be ashamed I can hardly have any doubts, but all the ra- and confounded, O house of Israel."—Ezek. tional part of the creation, "shall be delivered xxxvi. 31, 32. from the bondage of corruption, into the glori ous liberty of the children of God." See Rom. viii. 19, 20, 21, 22.

But the lake of fire shall go out, when all the purposes for which it shall be kindled are accomplished; and if so, then it follows of course, that intelligences shall be no longer tormented therein.

Friend. But when God says; that a fire shall not be quenched, does it not necessarily imply, that it shall never cease burning?

Minister. By no means; for we read in several places of Scripture of fires that have ceased, ages ago, that were spoken of in as strong terms as are used by Christ, respecting the fire of hell.

As for instance: in Lev. vi. 13, we read,

Thus, if the lake of fire, or second death itself, shall be destroyed, shall cease, and be no more; there is an end to tormenting pain; though, perhaps, such inward reflections, shall continue for some time longer, (if not to eternity) which, though they shall tend exceedingly to increase the love of God in the souls thus delivered, shall fill them with shame similar, or perhaps more pungent than we feel here on earth, when we are melted under a deep sense of our manifold transgressions, and of the pardoning love of God at the" The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; same time. This seems to me to be the mean- it shall never go out." This is a much stronging of such passages as these: er expression than if it had been said, "It shall not be quenched;" for it is said, "It shall never go out." But surely, it must be used with some limitation; for we know that it hath ceased ages ago. And we read, that Daniel prophesied of the Messiah, that he should "cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease." Dan. ix. 27; but it would certainly have been a weak argument against Daniel's prophecy, that as Moses had said, the fire should never go out upon the altar, therefore the Messiah could never cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease; but it would be just as good an argument against Daniel's prophecy, as the words of Christ are against Isaiah's:

"O my God, make them like a wheel; as the stubble before the wind. As the fire burneth the wood, and as the flame setteth the mountains on fire; so persecute them with thy tempest, and make them afraid with thy storm. Fill their faces with shame, that they may seek thy name, O JEHOVAH. Let them be confounded and troubled for ever; yea, let them be put to shame, and perish: that-(our translators have added the word men, but the sense determines that the addition should be) --they may know that thou whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the Most High overall the earth." Psal. lxxxiii. 13, 18. "The wise shall inherit glory, but shame" For I will not contend forever, neither will shall be the promotion of fools." Prov. iii. 35. They shall be greatly ashamed, for they shall not prosper; their everlasting confusion shall never be forgotten." Jer. xx. 11, xxxiii. 40.

66

I be always wroth; for the spirit should fail before me, and the souls which I have made. I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return. That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.-Surely shall say, in JEHOVAH have I righteousness and strength; to him shall men come; and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed." Isaiah lvii. 16, xlv. 23, 24.

In Jer. xvii. 27, we read: "But if you will not hearken unto me, &c., then will I kindle a fire in the gates thereof, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and it shall not be quenched." See also chap. iv. 4, xxi. 12, Ámos v. 6, 2 Kings xxii. 17.

Similar threatenings we find positively pro

"They shall be ashamed, and also confounded, all of them; they shall go to confusion together, that are makers of idols." Isa. xlv. 16. "And all that are incensed against him, (JEHOVAH) shall be ashamed."-verse 24. "For thus saith the Adonia JEHOVAH; I will even deal with thee as thou hast done, which hast despised the oath in breaking the covenant. Nevertheless, I will remember my covenant with thee in the days of thy youth, and I will establish unto thee an everlasting covenant. Then thou shalt remember thy ways, and be ashamed, when thou shalt re-nounced by Ezekiel, at the command of God. ceive thy sisters, thine elder and thy younger Moreover the word of JEHOVAH came unto me (viz., Samaria and Sodom ;)—and I will give saying, Son of man, set thy face towards the them unto thee for daughters, but not by the south, and drop thy words towards the south, covenant. And I will establish my covenant and prophesy against the forest of the south with thee, and thou shalt know that I am JE- field, and say to the forest of the south, hear HOVAH That thou mayest remember, and be the word of JEHOVAH; thus saith Adonia JEconfounded, and never open thy mouth any HOVAH, behold I will kindle a fire in thee, and more, because of thy shame, when I am pa- it shall devour every green tree in thee, and cified towards thee, for all that thou hast every dry tree; the flaming flame shall not done, saith Adonia JEHOVAH." Ezek. xvi. be quenched, and all faces from the south to 59, 63. the north, shall be burnt therein; and all flesh shall see that I JEHOVAH have kindled it; it shall not be quenched." Ezek. xx. 42, 46, 47, 48. See also Jer. vii. 20.

"Then shall ye remember your own evil ways, and your doings that were not good, and shall loathe yourselves in your own sight,

« FöregåendeFortsätt »