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believed he had a favor unto and would save me. But now I hear all is to be finally well, & I am to go to heaven at last--I will rebel with a high hand, till I get there; I will sin, as.it were, with a cart-rope, and go to the utmost length and stretch in wickedness.”_This is what the speech implies ; though they would! shudder, perhaps, to see it at full length, and to read it in the extent it is here given.
God, my good friend, wiH vindicate his own cause, and his own truth'; which never operates to the disadvantage of mankind, when simply stated and considered. If men will blend their own errors and mistakes with it, and turn food into poison ; they must see to that, and stand to all the consequences. He and his truth stand clear.
And now, I have said enough in answer to this objection. And, I think, it must evidently appear, the belief of Universal Salvation is not, in itself, licentious. * If any make it so, his blood be on his own head. We need not be careful to answer further in this matter. This appeal only may be made :-He that will sin, because God is thus good-will sin upon every other doctrine of his grace. And to such, the same answer will serve.
The Editor of this Magazine has very solidly refuted this objection, in a series of Dialogues, lately published by him--in the 4th of which he has made it very clearly appear, that, from first principles, from the nature of experimental and practical Religion, and froin facts, the doctrine of Final Restoration cannot be liceittisms.
Two or three more objections you make, which I hope to reply to in my next.
In the mean time, you can have no objection to my being
Affectionately Yours, A. V.
L E T T E R V:
Being a Reply to some other objections that are
made to it.
MY DEAR FRIEND,
My two last, contained Replies to three formidable difficulties that stood in the way of your full and firm belief of the final salvation of all men ; viz. The novelty, the licentiousness of the doctrine, and its apparent contrariety, to the sin, cr blasphemy against the Holy Ghost. This will bring an answer to some other objections you
ke; and which have arose in the minds of others, as well as your own. It appears contrary, you say, io Psalm xlix. 19. where it is said of the wicked, “ He shall go to the genera.
. tion of his fathers, they shall never see light. To John u. 36. where it is written, “He that bclicveth not the Son, shall not see life, but the Frath of God abideth on him." And again, to chap. vii. 34..“ Ve shall seek me and shal ! not find ne: and where I am, thither le canPot cone.
These three passages, you think invalidate this doctrine ; and are three Scripture-obstacles in the way of it. They seem forever to shut the door of everlasting, happy life, against those who in this life have put it from them ; judged themselves unworthy of it, and have died in their sins and unbelief.”—Let us pay them due attention, and perhaps they will turn out only apparently, and not in reality, against the Universal Doctrine.
Psalm xlix. 19. would have been thus morc properly translated : “ He shall go to the gene. ration of his fathers : until they are subdued, they shall not see the light.” There is nothing in the Hebrew that means never : had this been the case, Job xxxiv. 36. must have been rendered in this manner :-"Let Job never be tried.” Which would have been a strange rendering ! But if it be translated, “Let Job be tried, till subdued,” (as it should have been) it it is then good sense ; agreeable to the context, and scope of the place ; and suitable to the He. brew word, used in both places.
As to John iii. 36. it is plainly (like this) an eliptical way of speaking; more is implied, and to be understood than is expressed. The clipsis is a figure of speech very frequently used in Scripture; and in this place, the sense and truth of things seem to require it. Many, to whom our Lord then spoke, it is not to be thought always remained as they were, but came afterwards to believe in him : his meaning, therefore could not be, to seal them up in final, enu's less unbelief; or to say, that he who did mi
at ihat time believe on him, should never come to do so; or should never see life-or that the Wrath of God should forever, and without ceas. ing, abide on him. The word never, is not us ed either in the original or the translation. It is only said, the unbeliever shall not see lise ; (that is, so long as he continues unbelieving) but the wrath of God abideth on him; that is, until be be converted, and live ; which may, and will be the case in some future period, since every knee is to bow ; every tongue to swear fealty, and sing praises to God and the Lamb, in the longrun, or final upshot of things. Our Lord then, seems to speak eliptically, and not fully out.Something is supprest. And this also appears to be his meaning, in chap. vii. 34. Whither I 80, ye cannot come ; that is, till there is a change and an alteration in you for the better. Chap. xiii. 33. he tells the disciples so, as well as the Pharisees here. But though it could not be tken, yet afterwards it might, as he tells Peter at ver.36. John viii. 43. Christ says to some un believing Jews, Why do ye not understand my speech ? even because ye cannot bear my word. They were not naturally deaf, they could hear it with the outward ear; but through one sinful cause or other, they were so disaffected, and prejudliced against him, that they could not bear to hear it. This must be understood, tho* it is not exprest; and so in many other cases, and passages of Scripture : which may all be reconciled with the doctrine of Universal Sal. vation, by virtue of a figure in speech, called elipsis or meiosis.-----Jer. xxx. 24. is the key to
all such Scriptures as these. There, UNTIL is expressed ; in these it is implied, and to be understood. See the place, with the preceding verse.
You next say, You could more easily believe the doctrine, if Mark ix. 43—49. did not stand as an immoveable barrier in the way : but this passage carries with it such force and weight, and is at present so much in favor of the end. less, ceaseless torments of the wicked, in a future state, that you must see it replied to, and fairly got rid of, before you can think otherwise. Let us then attempt it, and give it a fair discussion.
We find then the same expressions used by the prophet Isaiah, chap. Ixvi. 24. From Ezekxxxviii. 39, and some other prophecies, it clearly and evidently appears, that the Jews, before their conversion and re-establishment in their own land, shall be grievously harassed and troubled. The rest of the nations will have great struggles and contests with them; and multitudes shall fall upon the mountains of Israel: so as to cover them and their precincts with an immense number of dead carcasses.This passage then will be literally fulfilled : the bodies of the slain, will be exposed not only to contempt, and the abhorring of all flesh; but to the fire, and the worms; which shall neither die, nor be quenched, so long as there is any thing to be devoured by them. In reference to this, our Lord speaks of the future sufferings and miseries of the wicked: advising them, now in this present time of life, to cut off all oc