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should have been rendered so in this place. — And though it is translated WORLD ; yet it is but faintly, and in italic characters, in the last clause of the verse, as it was not found in the original ; and the translators might have their demur about the sense. Or,
As the Jewish age, and legal discusation, was not formally abolished, when our Lord spoke thus to the Pharisees ; may i not be sup posed his meaning in thus speaking to then, as this " He that shall blaspheme agains: the Holy Ghost, shall not be forgiven in this are, for under the law ;) nor in the next, (or in der the present dispensation of the gospel." } But af. ter that, it may, for any thing he has said to the contrary. In some suture periods, after he lias taken to himself his great power and reign, and reigns till he hath subdued all things unto himself, and put all enemies under his feet; these blasphemers may be brought to subjection ; yield themselves to the Lord; and, so far from blaspheming any longer, humbly bow, and cheerfully submit themselves; and from henceforth sit at the feet of Jesus, the universal Lord and King. This is not contrary to the proportion of faith, or the analogy of other Scrip. tures, whether it were his particular meaning or no : And therefore is submitted to the judgment of the liberal and candid enquirer; and, with what is said above, offered as a reply to this objection to Universal Restoration. i Oh! but you fear-" It is a hurtful doctrine
a bad and dangerous tenet; not according to godliness.” This is another objection you
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make- If all were to be finally saved, men would not be careful how they lived: they would take liberties, and grow careless, and sin, that such grace might abound."
! Let us attend to this objection a little. For fairly and properly stated, it is not liable to such a charge as this. Corrupt minds may abuse it; and it is to be feared will, and do.: but still the doctrine stands free. And such shall bear their own burden, whoever they be.","I shall. finally be saved ; I will therefore sin ;?! is say. ing, in other words--I am willing to go to heaven, through the torments of hell. For this place of torment is the sure and certain portion of all who die in their sins; and the greater sinner, the greater damnation and the lowest pell for the bipbest offenders. This is threatened, and determined upon, in scripture. : If any then, believing this, will venture to offend; the dreadful evil that will follow is both just and equal, and they are self-destroyed: and will surely find, it was not the non-eternity of their misery, but following their evil ways and coura ses, and not believing and obeying God's word, that brought them to their misery and wretchedness. Limited punishment is no cause of sin. It is men's setting no limits or bounds, to their unruly wills and affections, but giving the reins to their inordinate appetites and passions, that has caused their pain and sufferings. Thus the Word of God states this matter, and warns. men against doing evil that good may come; telling them, if they do, their damnation is just Do any take poisorious draughts, with an intent
- to bring them up again ;s or drink the deadly
cop, because it has a mixture of sweet in it ? Yet this the sinner does, if he sins because God is good, and will not forever torment him. For, though he is. restored at last, he must come to repentance first ;:'(nor can he be finally saved, till he is brought to the lowest degree of selfabasement,and has nothing to say why he should not be cast off forever. Men strangely mistake the nature of salvation, if they think it consistent with living and dying in their sins. We must be spiritually minded, or there is no life and peace, either here or hereafter.. But as I made this appear in my last epistle to you-I need not enlarge upon it here. Let me only. further say, that tiris being the true and Scrip. ture-state of the case ; it clearly and evidently appears, that none can be saved, much less all, so long as they remain, rebellious, unbelieving and disobedient'; and take occasion to sin, from the riches of God's goodness, forbearance, and long-suffering ; and because his tender mercies are over all his works : not knowing that such goodness of God leadeth them to repentance. That is its tendency not to encourage and embolden them in their wickedness,in hopes of being one day justified, and saved. And this, in the eyes of all wise and discerning men, will clear the doctrine of Universal Salvation from being a licentious doctrine; and may suffice, till I write again, in reply to this objection. As it is both the first and last that is usually made to it-it deserves, and must have, some, further strictures upon it. In the mean time, let none
be able to accuse our good conversation in Christ, or with justice be able to say, we have taken it up as a cloak, But let all who behold us have reason to declare, they are holy men, and live holy lives. The eyes of all men will be upon us. Our eyes then, must be upon Him who is able to keep us from falling, and to save us and them to the uttermost: and in whom I still remain, Your affectionate and faithful
. .. A.
LETTER IV, In which the Objection to its being a LICENTIOUS
doctrine, is more fully answered.
MY DEAR FRIEND,.
. THE last I sent you concluded with a pronta ise-and this begins, and perhaps will end, with the fulfilment of it. I engaged more fully to reply to that question-" Is not the doctrine of the Salvation of all Men, a licentious docirine ?"
From the nature of Salvation, I made it then, and in a former Letter, appear, that it could not in itself, and without perversion, be of such evil tendency. I would now be more full upon this point. That some will abuse and sin, upon it, there is too much reason to fear. The laws of God and man, when executed and put iD
force, will recress this grievance"; and the ini. quity of such shall find them out, and meet with a due reward. Our business, at present, is with the doctrine. Is this to blame? or, on this account, to be never spoken of, and given up? Let it be so spoken of, and so connected with personal holiness, when it is spoken of, as to be no Scripture-doctrine without: And I may venture to say, it is a doctrine worthy of God to reveal, and of men to receive and attend to ;. and in no other view would I ever wish to hear of it, or speak of it. What doctrine of grace has ever yet been made known, that has not, by some one or other, been thought of bad tendency ; and made, by some, to serve the foul cause of Sin? Even the doctrine of Repentance, has been charged with a tendency to Sinbe. cause some have delayed it ; and others sinned on, in hopes they should, and intending, one day to repent. There is no end of such rea. soning. Surrender the Bible at once, if the doctrine of Universal Salvation is to be rejecteif for no other reason than because men will sin upon it. What is it the evil-minded do not make a handle of? More sin upon the Bible itself, than like or love it, and more stumble upon Christ, than live by faith upon him. Get but the evil mind changed; and there will be no occasion to hide or reject the UNIVERSAL sobenie. *
Sin ! because God is merciful, and his goodness extends to all! The fault then, must be in the sinner---not at all in God, or his word. The goodness of God, whether bound or bound