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fall in their iniquity; Judah also shall fall with them.”—“For I will be unto Ephraim as a lion, and as a young lion to the house of Judah; I will tear and go away; 'I will take away, and none shall rescue.”—“They are all adulterers, as an oven heated by the baker; For they have made ready their heart like an oven, whiles they lie in wait.”—“Wo unto them! for they have fled from me; destruction unto them! because they have transgressed against me; though I have redeemed them, yet they have spoken lies against me." Now, in proof that all these judgements, and wo, and destruction, are in mercy, and shall issue in redemption, it is afterwards said concerning them (chapters xi. 8.-xiii. 9–14.) “How shall I give thee up Ephraim P-how shall I deliver thee Israel?— how shall I make thee as Admah?—how shall I set thee as Zeboim 2 Mine heart is turned within me, my repentings are kindled together, I will not execute the fierceness of mine anger, I will not return to destroy Ephraim, for I am God and not man.” And again, “I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues: Ograve, I will be thy destruction.” Let me now ask,-whether do those intimations of Jehovah, by the mouth of his prophet Hosea, savour more of a final restitution of his sinful creatures from misery and wo, or of their neverending torments?—I shall leave you to answer the question.
In the prophecy of JOEL, which consists but of three short chapters, we have the same doctrine clearly taught, namely, punishment for sin, and restoration from that punishment, after having answered its end; but I shall notice it very briefly. “The day of the Lord is great and very terrible; and who can abide it? Therefore, also now, saith the Lord, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for he is gracious, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil," (verse 11—13.) “And it shall come to pass, afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh,” &c. (verse 27, 28). “And it shall come to pass in that day, that the mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with new milk, and all the rivers of Judah shall flow with waters, and a fountain shall come forth of the house of the Lord, and shall water the valley of Shittim,” (chapter iii. 18).
Thus we have seen the day of the Lord described as so great and very terrible, that none could abide it: After which we see them turning to the Lord with fasting, and weeping, and mourning, and the Lord is represented as “Gracious, merciful, slow to anger, of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil,” &c. And then follows the promise of the spirit upon all flesh, and the blessings, represented by the above beautiful figures of the mountains dropping down new wine—the hills flowing with new milk—rivers flowing with water, and a fountain coming “forth of the house of the Lord,” &c. After all which it is said (in the two last verses), “Judah shall dwell for ever, and Jerusalem from generation to generation.” Now, although these expressions may have a primary reference to earthly calamities, great and terrible, and a subsequent restoration to earthly blessedness, will any one maintain that their full accomplishment does not plainly refer to another state of things 9 But, although I am, comparatively, only taking a few of the very many passages that might be adduced in favour of universal redemption, I find I am far exceeding my limits, and must be yet more brief with the rest of the prophets, though both against my inclination, and my purpose—To be brief, then:
In AMOS we find Tyrus punished, “because they delivered up the whole captivity to Edom, and remembered not the brotherly covenant"—We find Edom punished, “because he did pursue his brother with the sword, and did cast off all pity, and kept his wrath for ever."—We find the children of Ammon punished, “because they ripped up women with child,” and other cruelties, (chapter i. 9–18). Now, mark what is the cause of all those punishments, —it is because they remembered not the brotherly covenant—because they did cast off all pity—kept wrath for ever, &c. Now mark, again, the inference deducible from such passages:—How can God consistently punish his creatures for, casting off pity, and keeping wrath for ever against those very persons whom he himself is to cast offin wrath, and without pity, eternally? for in this they would only be imitating himself. Or, how can he enjoin us to practise pity and forgiveness towards those whom he will never forgive and pity? In short, how can God, consistently, call upon us to “love our enemies,” and he, himself, hate his enemies with an eternal hatred? Answer me these things, if you can?—You cannot! And, with respect to these very Edomites and Ammonites, who were punished “because” of their “casting off all pity" to their brethren, I have already shown, from the prophecies of Jeremiah, that even they are to be redeemed from hell, after having borne their punishment (see pages 106, 107).
But, in MICAH, we find the true cause of the misery of the
wicked stated; and, also, the deliverance from that misery, very plainly pointed out. “I will bear the indignation of the Lord, be cause I have sinned against him, until he plead my cause, and execute judgement for me; he will bring me forth to the light, and I * shall behold his righteousness.” And he says, “Rejoice not against
me, O mine enemy: when I fall I shall arise,” (chapter vii. 8, 9).
And, in NAHUM, after the expression—“Who can stand be-,
fore his indignation—his fury is poured out like fire,” it follows- .
“What do ye imagine against the Lord; he will make an utter end? affliction shall not rise up the second time,” (chapter i. 9). And mark what follows, in verse 12. “Though I have afflicted , thee, I will afflict thee no more,” &c. &c. From all which, the end and design, and the happy termination of afflictions, are clearly pointed out. " *
Again:—In HABAKKUK (chapteri, 12.) it is said, “O Lord, thou hast ordained them for judgement," mark the expression, “and O mighty God, thou hast established them for correction.” And, again—(chapter iii. 5.) “Before him went the pestilence, and burning coals went forth at his feet.” And it follows, next verse, “The everlasting mountains were scattered, the perpetual hills did bow; his ways are everlasting.”
From which passages we learn, first—that “Judgement is ordained" for the sinner-that they shall all “bear the indignation of the Lord, who have sinned against him:” but that he will, at last, “pardon and subdue their iniquities,” and that they will be “brought forth to the light, and shall behold his righteousness." And, secondly—we learn, from the term “everlasting,” being applied to the mountains, whose duration will have an end (as well as in numberless instances to things similar, see Gen. xvii. 18– xlix. 26—xlviii. 4. Exod. xii. 14—17,-xl. 15. Liv. xxiv. 8. "Num. x. 8. 2 Sam. xlix. 26. Isa. lx. 15,-xxiv. 5. Jer. xxiii.
40. Ezek. xxxvii. 26, &c. &c) —the term being applied to these, I say, as well as to the ways of God, that term, therefore, when applied to punishment, cannot prove it to be endless, in opposition to the great mass of scripture to the contrary, in opposition to the
character and attributes of God, the spirit of the gospel, and every thing that is good and amiable.—But I must not enlarge.
From the Prophet ZEPHANIAH we learn, also, that what is
... called eternal damnation on account of sin, is ultimately to give
place to holiness and happiness. I could quote much to this purpose, but must confine myself to a few sentences,—“As I live, saith
the Lord, surely Moab shall be as Sodom; and the children of Am-
mon as Gommorrah, even a perpetual desolation,” (chapter ii. 9). Now, we have already seen, from Jeremiah and Ezekiel, that the
Moabites, the Ammonites, and Sodomites, after “suffering the vengeance of eternal fire,” are all to be restored together. But, far
ther;-the Lord, by the mouth of this Prophet, declares thus (chapter iii. 8, 9.) “My determination is to gather the nations, to pour upon them mine indignation, for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy. For then will I turn to the people a pure
language, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to
serve him with one consent." And, again, (verse 15.)—“The Lord hath taken away thy judgement—thou shalt not see evil any more.” Here we have first the “pouring out of his indignation,"— and “devouring with fire;” and then we have them afterwards, “all calling upon the name of the Lord to serve him with one consent.” Can anything more clearly prove a restoration from hell, and reconciliation to God—Is it possible to frame words more to the purpose? But I must hasten to have done; and shall just show, by a mere glance at the prophecies of Zechariah, and Malachi, that they also taught the same doctrine,—namely, restoration from hell and damnation.
ZECHARIAH says, of the Messiah, “He shall speak peace unto the heathen,” (chapter ix. 10). And, “By the blood of thy covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water,” (verse 11). This surely means hell; at least, I think, you would make it so, if it were to suit your purpose. And again, in the very same verse, those prisoners in the “pit," are thus addressed, “Turn you to the strong hold, ye prisoners of hope." But who can read the following verses, and not perceive that the Prophet is speaking of a restoration from another than an earthly “captivity,” to another than an earthly “inheritance.” “And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem,” &c. “And the Lord shall be king over all the earth: in that day there shall be one Lord, and his name one,” (chapter xiv. 8, 9–11).
But MALACHI is no less to the purpose than those that went before him, and shows plainly that God, in taking vengeance against sin, so far from casting off all mercy to the sinner, is just making him “meet for the heavenly inheritance.” Speaking of the “Messenger of the covenant," he says, “But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fuller's soap: and he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver,” (chapter ini. 2). And, for what purpose is all this purifying by fire and affliction?—It is, “that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness." Here, as throughout the bible, we find that punishment, so far from. being of a vindictive nature, is commissioned in mercy, as the very means of recovery. Well might this Prophet exclaim, “Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us?" Why then talk of punishment from our heavenly Father, from any other than motives of good to his children? And when God says, (chapter iii. 5.) “I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers and against the adulterers,” it is added, in the next verse, “I am the Lord, I change not; therefore the sons of Jacob are not consumed.” So that wherever we find denunciations against any of the sons of Adam, it is either immediately, or more remotely followed up by declarations of mercy.
To conclude,-You will readily allow, that all the sufferings of the righteous will work together for their good; but not so with the wicked, who die in unbelief. They cannot, you say, repent in hell, and believe the gospel; and, therefore, cannot be restored. But I must just meet all such reasoning with this—“Who art thou that repliest against God?” The question, with me, is simply this, —is it truth?—is it the language of scripture? If the scriptures tell me, in plain language, and a thousand times over, that all men shall ultimately be saved, all your reasoning to the contrary is, to me, of no avail.