« FöregåendeFortsätt »
himself. That in the dispensation of the fulness of times, he might gather together (or rehead) in one, all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him ; in whom we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things according to the counsel of his own WILL, Ephes. i. 8, 9, 10, 11. God is our Savior, (or Soteros, Restorer) who will have all men to be saved, (sothenai, restored) and to come unto the knowledwe of the truth," I Tim. ij. 3,
This is the will and counsel of that God, who doeth accordiog to his will in the armies of heaven, haud among the inhabitants of the earth ; and none can
stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou ?97 Dan. iv. 35. He hath sworn by himself, the word is gone out of his mouth in righteousness, and shall not.
return, that unto him "every knee shall bow, every od tongue shall swear," Isai, xlv. 23. The counsel of je God shall stand; he will perform his pleasure, not
withstanding all the opposition that men can make : "God is not a man, that he should lie, neither the son of man, that he should repent : Hath he said, and shall he not do it ? or, hath he spoken, and shall he bot make it good ?” Numb. xxiii. 19. If God will have all men to be saved, or restored, and to come to the knowledge of the truth, if it is his good pleasure, which he hath purposed in himself, in the dispensation of the fulness of tims, to rehead all things in Christ, both in heaven and on earth ; it' he hath sworn that, unto him every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall swear ; and it be worketh all things after the counsel of his own vvill, and is determined to perform all his pleasure, which he is able to do ; and with bim nothing that he pleases is impossible : I say, if all these things are trne, (as who, that believes the Scriptures, can deny ?) then, is not the doctrine of the kestoration true? And who will venture to charge that with licentiousness, which God, in the counsel of bis will hath purposed, and is determined to perform!
We know, the will of God is a will to all goodness, and that he cannot do any thing unjust, or contrary to his holy nature, or inconsistent with his plan of moral government, or that shall tend to promote rebellion; therefore, if God had seen that this great work had been in any respect, injurious to his perfections, character, government, &c. be would not have proposed it; and if he had foreseen that the knowledge of it a would have been hurtful to mankind, he would not have revealed it : But since he hath done both, we may certainly argue, that it is not a licentious doctrines to declare, that God will finaliy make all his intelli gent creatures happy ; by making them all his sub, jects, hy destroying their sins, and making ihem holy, in a way perfectly consistent, with all his perfections and attributes ; without doing the least injury to his character, or rendering his morai government weak, or making any of his words void, whether threateniogs or promises, or in the least setting aside the sanctions of his law or gospel, or a future state of rewards and punishments ; without derogating at all, from the glory of the Mediator, but rather exalting it to the highest possible prich; without sa:ldening the hearts of the righteous, or diminishing in the least, from the happiness of Heaven, but rather causing it to increase ; for if there is joy in lleaven over one sin- . ner that repenteth, there must be more over many, in exact proportion ; and as God will certainly give the greatest possible joy to his chosen, and there is no doubt but it will receive addition from every one that is restored, or brought home to himself ; Therefore, it can only be brought to its highest possilile pitch by the universal Restoruiiin ; which doctrine į cannot, therefore, he licentious, as (iod has appointed a and revealed it, and all holy beings (except some of weak good men on earth) rejoice therein exceedingly.
6. Another of the principles on which the general Restoration is founded is, that God hath given all things
into the hand of Christ, who hath declared that it is the father's will, that of all that he gave him he should lose nothing ; and that power was given him over all, that he should give the knowledge of God, even eternal life, to all that the Father. had given him; and that all, without exception, whom the Faiher hath given, shall come in such a manner as not to be cast out: But as all these Scriptures bave been recitedly and reasoned upon before, I shall only now, observe that as God the Father hath given all things to CHRIST, and as he hath engaged to bring all back, without exception, and hath both will and power to perform this work, and came into the world on purpose to accomplish it, it must of consequence, be finally performed; yet it cannot tend to licentiousness, or the God of Heaven; & the Lord Jesus Christ, would never have planned it, approved of it, or sought to execute it.
Many more first principles, on which the doctrine of the Restoration is founded, might be mentioned, and shewn to be far from tending to licentiousness : But I shall mention but one more; and that is~ The Scripturcs inust be fulfilled ; the Scriptures cannot be broken: None of the words of God can fail of being accom-, plished; and he hath not only denounced dreadful threatenings, but made many gracious promises to the same people : These cannot be fulfilled logether;ma, and if there is no truth in the Restoration, I cannot, see how the latter will ever be fulfilled at all; and if sins are not punished in the persons who commit them, lam equally at a loss what sense or truth there can. be in the former. It would be a great task to collect all the texts which justify remark, that threatenings and promises belong to the same people in differenti periods, some specimens of which have been given in the course of these dialogues. Now, it cannot lead to licentiousnes, to suppose that the Scriptures shall all be fuifilled; but it must lead to infidelity, & all kinds of evil to surpose the contrary,
These are the first principles upon which the doc. trine of the Restoration stands, and by which it is sup. ported; and as these have all been considered, and proved to have no tendency to encourage sin, separately, much less can they have any such tendency, jointly; and then it evidently follows, that a doctrine which seems necessarily deduced, or inferred by undeniable
consequences, from all these considerations united, cannot be false, or have any evil tendency.
But I shall next proceed to shew, that all true, experimental, and practical religion, seems so consistent with the universal Restoration, that it may be reckoned a wonder, that all who have tasted that the Lord is gracious, & have diligentiy practised his commands, have not, in all ages, been fully convinced of the truth of it.
Friend. Is it possible that you can do this ? If so, I hope your reasoning will be attended to; and I must confess, that you have cleared your way so weli, by considering the first principles of the doctrine, ard shewing that they are very far from tending to licentiousness, that I am half inchined to think
will be able to answer this objection, formidable as it has been considered hitherto.
Minister. As I trust you have been mada acquainted with experimental religion, I need only appeal to your own experience, for the truth of what I advance ; & I am apt to think, if you will answer me candidly, to a few questions, you must acknowledge either that the Restoration is true, or that your experience is false.
Friend. I am willing to give you as plain and candid answers as I can; for it will be of no use to deny what the Lord has done for my soul.
Minister. Let me then ask you in the first place, Did you not see yourself lost and undone ; and that you were vile before God, unworthy of his mercy, and totally unable to deliver yourself from your sin and misery?
Friend. I certainly did; and I was sometimes ready to think there was hardly such a sinner on earth. as myself, all circumstances considered; for I bad sinned against such light and love, that I thought all the world might be forgiven sooner than myself.
Minister. And were you not brought by the power of God, to resign yourself into his hauds, without reserye, to do with you, and diepose of you, accoriing to bis will and pleasure ; being convinced, liiat ke bei. (her would nor could do you any injustice ?
Friend. ( yes; and then I found peace ; my rehellion against God ceased; I looked upon him quite differently from what I did before ; I saw that he was wholly right and just, & that I was entirely to blame : My murmurings against him ceased; I viewed him as such a boly, good, mercitul, & yet righteous God, that I could trust iny soul in his hands, with the most entire satisfaction.
Minister. And when Christ was revealed to you as a Saviour, how did he appear? Friend. As one able and mighty to save, even
the mattermost; and I thought there was not only a suthciency in him for me, the vilest of all, but for the whole world, yea for a thousand worlds, had there been so many. His blood seemed to me so precious, bis obedience and sufferings so meritorious, his power so great, bis love so rich, boundless and free, that I - Was overcome with the transporting view : And as I saw in him a fullness for all, so I found in bin an infinite willingness to save all : for how could I think otherwise? I knew myself to be most unworthy, and that he had graciously pitied me: I bebeld his love, like a river, flowing down to me as free as water ; eta I was amazed that I had not beheld it before, in the same light. I saw that the love of God to me, did not now begin, but was now mauifested to my soul. I saw that there was no change in God, but all in myself. Those words were precious to my heart at that time: