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Now, if such passages as I have already adduced from the Prophets (and I have taken but a very cursory survey of their writings), do not prove universal redemption;–and if those, in reference to damnation, do not distinctly show that sufferings, of every description, are, in the end and design of the Almighty, not of a vindictive nature, but all intended, and are in their very nature calculated for the good of his creatures, I neither know the meaning of language, nor understand the doctrine of the cross. But this doctrine of suffering, by which the disciple should be as his master, and the servant as his lord, is so repugnant to our nature, that we would almost forego the glorious issue, rather than embrace it:-" it is a hard saying, who can bear it?” But if he tasted death and hell for the redemption of sinners, is it too much that sinners themselves should, by death and hell, be made “conformable to him in his death and sufferings?” I feel inclined to enlarge on the subject of affliction, or punishment; and to show, from scripture, that pain and suffering are, in the purpose of God, the very means of arriving at true pleasure and happiness; in a word, that the misery consequent upon sin, is, in the appointment of heaven, the very means of recovery; but I must leave this for a separate essay. And, as I have already, even by a mere glance at the prophets, extended this epistle beyond my limits, I shall reserve my promised review of the New Testament scriptures for another communication. Before taking leave of the prophets, however, permit me, in the words of the Apostle, frankly to “confess unto thee, that after the way which you call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law, and in the prophets," in union with the New Testament, “that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust,” that “in Christ shall all be made alive,” and that wheresoever “sin hath abounded, grace shall much more abound." So you may call this heresy; but, “by the help of God, I shall continue" in this heresy, “witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come: That Christ should suffer (for the sins of the whole world"—of “all men"—of “every man"—of “every creature,”) and, that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should show light unto the people, and to the Gentiles:" and finally; “having made peace through the blood
of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven." For such a belief as this, you may call me heretic, or what you please; but, “whether it be right, in the sight of God, to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.”
s From the Author to THE BAPT1st MINISTER. A brief Survey of the New TESTAMENT, in reference to - Universal Redemption. - DEAR SIR, . I HAve, in my last epistle, shown you, that the doctrine of universal restoration is clearly taught throughout the scriptures of the Old Testament. This, I think, you can hardly deny. But when you are, by the Prophets, so “shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed” concerning this doctrine, that you cannot escape; and seemingly resolved to take any shift, rather than yield to the truth; you say, “The prophets write in the hyperbolical strain of eastern poetry, and our Lord and his apostles in plain prose. From the former, we must expect highly coloured figures; from the latter, nothing but blunt truths.” I shall now, therefore, as I promised, direct your attention to those truths which they taught; and shall begin with the SAviour himself, who “is the head over all things to his body the church:” and, as I formerly said, you surely cannot pretend to plead a higher authority." —Hear, then, the gracious declarations which proceeded from his lips, and tell me how those “blunt truths” will suit your system. “All things are delivered unto me of my Father,” (Mat.'xi. 27). “The Father loveth the son, and hath given all things into his hands,” (John iii. 35). Now, “all things,” in plain language, must include all, and not a few of the human race. If so, then they shall all be saved, for he says, (John vi. 37.) “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me,” (verse 39.) “of all which he hath given me, I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day,” (see also verse 40). Again:-“For God sent not his son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved,” (John iii. 17). And again —“I am not Q
come to judge (condemn) the world, but to save the world,” (John xii. 47). And again;–" The bread that I will give, is my flesh,
which I will give for the life of the world." (John vi. 51). In
short, we are told that Jesus loved the world, prayed for the world, that the world will believe on him, and that he will save the world. For it is said, “God so loved the world"—and again—“that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them.”. And he prayed for the world, thus—“I know that thou hearest.
me always; but because of the people which stand by I said it,
that they may believe,” &c. And again —“Neither pray. I for .
these alone (the disciples), but for them also which shall believe
on me, through their word,” &c. “that the world may believe that . . . thou hast sent me,” (John xvii. 20). Therefore, if Jesus so . . .
loved the world, that he gave his life a ransom for all; and if he
prayed for the world, and even for his very betrayers and murderers (see Luke xxiii. 34.) we must either admit that the world shall be saved by him, or we must give him the lie direct, by denying that “whatsoever he shall ask of the Father shall be granted unto him."—We must either admit that they shall be saved by him, or deny the power and efficacy of his atonement, for we see that they are the subjects of his intercession and mediation. Unless you admit universal redemption, what can you make of those passages which represent him as “the Saviour of the world,”—“the Saviour of all men,”—“a light to lighten the Gentiles,”—“the
true light which lighteth every man that comethinto the world,"— .
“the lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world,”—“the
propitiation for our sins, and not ours only, but also for the sins of
the whole world,”—“who gave himself a ransom for all,”—“ tasted death for every man 2" &c. &c. But I shall return, again, to the, gracious declarations which proceeded from his own lips. Hear him again:-“The son of man is come to save"—what? “that which was lost.” Therefore, if there be, in the creation of God, a being of whom it may be said, it is lost (and surely none of the human race are exempted), of that being it is said, that Jesus came to save, and will save, And when he calls himself “the Saviour of the world,”—“the light of the world,” it is not even generally, but individually, “which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” - - Say not that by these expressions are meant, the believing world, or the elect world, for there is no such world mentioned in scrip
ture:—such a phrase is of human invention. The term “world,” when applied to mankind, in scripture, always respects the unbelievers, or non-elect, either in contradistinction from, or in connection with, believers.-Unbelievers are never excluded, by the term —“world.”
Having quoted a few declarations of the Saviour, in reference to universal redemption, let us next take a view of his character; and of the doctrine which he taught, as all tending to teach and to illustrate the doctrine I maintain.
What was his chARActER, but that of the purest benevolence?
* —But why need I stop to enumerate the instances of this, for
his whole, life was a scene of benevolence, and “good-will to men;" and this was the very end of his mission. “He went about teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and disease among the people,” (Mat. iv. 23). He even “wept over Jerusalem” at the thought of their temporal calamities. Indeed,
such was his character, for benevolence and mercy to the wretch
ed, that he was styled, by way of reproach, “a friend of publicans and sinners,” while his sharpest rebukes were pointed against those “which trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised others.” * And as for his DoctriNe; when he opened his mouth he taught them saying, “Blessed are the peace makers, for they shall be called the children of God,” “blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy,” (Mat. v. 7). And, “if thou bring thy gift
to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought
against thee, leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way: first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift,” ... (Mat. v. 23). And when Peter asked him “Lord how of shall ... my brother sin against me and I forgive him?—till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee until seven times, but until seventy times seven,” or, without limitation. It is the will of God, that we should practise universal forgiveness; and he cannot enjoin upon us, what he would not practise himself. Again—“Ye have heard that it hath been said, thou shalt love thy neighbour and hate thine enemy: But I say unto you, love your enemies—bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you, that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven:" for (notice his character), “he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust," (Mat. v. 43–45). Again; (chapter vi. 14, 15.) “If ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." In short, says he, “Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them; for this is the law and the prophets,' (Mat. vii. 12). Observe;—he not only requires his disciples to “love one another," but enjoins them, as we have already seen, to love even their enemies. Now, if God is not that Being, who him-self loves and does good to all men, even his greatest enemies, how " can he, consistently, enjoin his creatures to the performance of this virtue which is not to be found in himself ?—Impossible. . For when he is thus exhorting us to the exercise of universal love and . . . forgiveness, he says, “Be ye merciful, even as your Father also is . merciful." (Luke vi. 86).. So that, by so doing, we would only be imitating him who is “good unto all," who is “kind unto the unthankfulandtotheevil," (Lukevi.35). Canuniversal benevolence and forgiveness be so amiable and praise-worthy in man, and not be an ingredient in the character of God himself?—You may “so dishonour God,” as to think so, but I cannot. And, if the very brief sketch I have given, both of his character, and his doctrines, . " does not bear me out in my conclusion, I shall let any one be the judge. . . . * ***. . Now, if these declarations of “blunt truths," from the very lips of the Redeemer himself, and if the testimony of his Evangelists, concerning him, which I have quoted, are not preaching universal redemption, I am at a loss to know what you will make of them; . . . and I believe you will have some difficulty to dispose of them upon any other ground. In truth, if you will have the candour to ac-. knowledge it, you must allow, that if those words of the Saviour. have any meaning at all, the dispute is at an end. Well, if to do the Saviour common justice, and allow his words to have some meaning; and if to admit their meaning, in common sense and common language, will establish the doctrine of universal redemption, then I conjure you, “by the love of God, by the meekness and gentleness of Christ,” to give your assent to it, unless you can produce a higher authority that will overturn it. - Having, therefore, adduced,—first the Prophets, then the Redeemer himself, and his Evangelists, all corroborating in proof