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me: and I cannot help joining issue with the Night-Poet, and say
Heav'n is all love ; all joy in giving joy;
Young, Night VII.
Proportionate misery in a future state, is God's truth, and agreeable to his holy word : but endless torments have no such evidence against them. They have been made to appear so inhuman, so irrational, and so unscriptural, that by all candid minds, and thinking people, they are in general given up as indefensible. Their advocates declaim indeed, but will not coolly plead : They harrangue, exclaim, and now and then skirmish ; but will not come to open fight, or in close quarters, with those on the contrary sicle. They begin to see that the doctrine was traditionally taken up, and will not bear the scrutiny; so let it silently go, and it dies away by degrees. — The only contention now is, be tween those who maintain final Restoration and final Extinction. Each of these have something to say for themselves ; and both seem
friends to Truth. It is my present undertaking, to shew the Restitutionist has it.
While then, the Extinctionist lays stress, and hinges his cause as scriptural, on the words death, perish, destruction, and perdition ; the Universalist is able, and has frequently shewn, that these words are capable of and have a differ. ent sense in Scripture, from what he puts upon them.
Things and persons that die, come to life again, and
those who perish, are seen afterwards in existence. What is destroyed, and falls into perdition, often is brought back again ; and persons, as well as buildings rise out of their fall and ruins. Seed that is sown in the ground, though it rot and perish, rises and sprouts out again ; yea, is not quickened, except it first die.
A lost soul has more than once been found ; and those who were dead in trespasses and sins, have been quickened by the power of God. Why this must be limited to the time that now is, no reason can be given, but what may be easily answered. Time extends beyond the grave; and there are ages to come, as well as the present age.
These men yield too much, & are in too close alliance with their adversaries, in allowing the words eternal, everlasting, always, and forever and ever, to mean an endless duration. In the original, their sense is finite and periodical ; however it may sound in the translation. When the scholar can find akatalutos, or aterbantos ; and the English reader the word endless in Scripture, annexed to the duration of the future miseries of the wicked, they will do something; and then it will be time
nough to believe they never will be saved :
ut till then, we have great reason to think, hey will finally be restored, when they have uffered the due reward of their deeds. Can he breath of the Almighty be extingnished, and go out ? or that which is immortal die ? Reason & Scripture forbid it. Were men made out of nothing (as some have inconsiderately sup. posed) they would return to nothing again. But this is not the truth : For all things were of God, as well as to him. Besides, Psalm, cvii. 20. we read of the wicked being saved from their destructions, as well as from their sins : and is their no force in that ? - What though it be temporal destruction the Psalmist meant in that place, it will hold equally true of a greater: for is any thing too hard for the Lord ? The perdition and destructions of the Old Testament, never ended in the extinction of the destroyed: it banished them out of sight, out of present favor, out of house and home; but not out of being and existence. They still were somewhere found they yet were under the promise. All which was typical of greater destructions, and of future salvation therefrom. Neither is this mere argument alone-we have Scriptures, as well as other facts, in favor of the idea. Jerusalem was destroyed ; but will again be restored, and rebuilt. The Jews were cut off from being any longer the Elect, the distinguished people of God: but they still exist, and are to be restored to their God and their own land again. Trouble upon trouble will be. fal them first, and affliction will be added to
grief; but it shall issue well, and end in their deliverance and return. In foresight of this time, and the calamities that should precede it, we hear the weeping prophet say, (chap. XXX. 7.)“ Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it! It is even the time of Jacob's trouble ; but he shall be saved out of it.” The prodigal was lost, but found again. Kingdoms, and empires do fall, families are extinct, and individuals come to ruin : but from all this they arise, and spring forth, and come forward into being. --Again, numbers and numbers are dead and buried, and lie slumbering in the dust; who all shall revive, and rise from their graves, and sta. d up, an exceeding great army.—Even the Pagans teach Restoration fabulously, in the account they give us of the phenix ; who after being burnt, they represent as arising from her ashes in her young. -But to come still closer to the point, Sodom and Gomorrah, with the inhabitants thereof, were reduced to ashes, for their sins; had a terrible overthrow ; perished, and came to a fearful end; and are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. But we hear of their Restoration. Ezek. in his 16th chapter, speaks of this prophetically, at the 53d, 55th, 6)st, and 63d verses : he tells us, that she, with her daughters, or connected cities of the plain, should, when Samaria and Jerusalem are restored, come also into favor again ; be brought to shame and repentance, and have God pacified towards her. This has never yet taken place ; but will, in a period to come, afier that new and future covenant is made with
If it was
the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah, spoken of Jer. xxxi. 31----34. and other places. Now this is after they have perished, anciten destroyed; which makes it an argument of RStoration, in opposition to Extinction, cr endiuss Perdition.*--This latter view thongh specious, and not without something in its favor : yet hardly seems worthy of God.
His wisdong, goodness, power, and love, are not so fully seen, if he annihilate the work of his hands; nor the reason of his raising the wicked-dead at all, if they are to return to $10n-existence.
not to answer a better end than to shame, con1. found, and punish them, in a formal and open
manner; one cannot but think, his mercy would have inclined him to let them forever sleep in their
graves. He is not a vindictive Being ; nor does he take pleasure in vexing and tormenting his creatures,& putting them to shame, without it answer some good end to themselves. Man, passionate revengeful man, sometimes chastises out of caprice and humour, and for his own pleasure ; but God never : He for our profit, that we may partake of his holiness. It is the amendment, and return, of his rebellious creatures, that he means and aims at, by all his corrections and inflictions, whether present or future; not their destruction or extinction. This all along appears, from his own word, and his own declaration. Punishment he calls his strange work, his strange act, Isa. xxviii. 21.
* If any one would see this cleared of all reasonable objection, and set in a fuller and more persuasive light; they would do well to read the last of those Dialogues, mentioned in two former Lesters, from page 197 to page 201.