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such inconscious innocence, cannot be the subject of damnation, for "of such is the kingdom of heaven." Neither can the nonelect be damned for the sin of Adam. No man shall suffer punishment, beyond this life, but on account of his own sins; and that punishment, we are told, will be in proportion to their demerit.^ "Every one shall receive according to the deeds done in the body." "Every man shall be rewarded according to his works." How does this proportionate punishment, comport with the idea of neverending torments? If every one consigned to hell, shall remain there, to all duration, where is the proportion of punishment.— How can ceaseless and never-ending torments be termed, a "few stripes?" And if infinite justice required it, justice would require a satisfaction, that it never could receive, even in eternity.
Thus, then, we see that God is love, even in his bitterest chastisements, and punishments, just as every parent and ruller, is commanded to be, in immitation of Him. Now, I believe, there are few who will just deny this, in plain terms. Neither can it be denied, that the scriptures abound with declarations, as we have already seen, and will yet more abundantly show, that all shall be subjected, reconciled, restored, at last. Where then lies your difficulty? All the difficulty lies in one word, which is frequently used in reference to punishment, and this word is sometimes translated everlasting, eternal, and for ever, although it is more frequently applied, in scripture, to duration of various measures of time, (as I have shown in an essay on that subject.) When this word then can, and does admit of such a meaning, how unwarrantable is it to render it unlimited, in reference to punishment, at the expense, and to the disannulling of his attributes of benevolence, and mercy, and love, which shine so conspicuously throughout the sacred volume? You cannot, and you do not, attempt to deny the limited acceptation of the term, in scripture; but you Bay, "the language of scripture is, upon this system, not more conclusive regarding the happiness of the blessed, than it is respecting the duration of the misery of the wicked." But I have elsewhere sufficiently exposed the fallacy of the argument, by showing that the blessedness of the redeemed is always identified with the life of Christ. "Because I live ye shall live also." And we know, that "Christ being raised from the dead, dieih no more: death hath no more dominion over him." And the redeemed are represented as "heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ,"—heirs of "his kingdom which cannot be moved."—" They shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of my hand."—" Neither can they die any more, for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God." Besides these, and very many similar expressions, there are such terms used in reference to the duration of bliss, as cannot possibly be affected by any limitation which we find in reference to the terms everlasting• and forever,-—such as " incorruption," "immortality," &c. —But my limits will not permit me to enlarge.
You say, that I admit the agefrts (the worm that dieth not, and the fire that shall not be quenched) to be eternal; and you triumphantly ask, for what purpose? and concluding in the affirmative, you think this admission fatal to my argument. Now, I have admitted no such thing, except in the limited and scriptural sense, in which we are to understand the same expression in Isaiah, from which it is borrowed. For I believe the scripture, which sayeth, that "Death and hell (after having performed their office) shall deliver up the dead which are in them;" and after which, "death and hell shall be cast into the lake," and shall no more be found. Then shall be brought to pass, the saying that is written, "Death is swallowed up in victory;" and then follows the triumphant exclamation,—" O death where is thy sting, O grave where is thy victory," evidently implying that they are no m6re to be fouud. And, indeed, they shall no more be found—For " there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, for the former things are passed away." Now, these are the words, not only of prophets, but of the apostles, and evangelists. When yon see the words of prophecy are against you, you say—(a miserable shift indeed), "The prophet writes in the hyperbolical strain of eastern poetry, and our Lord and his apostles in plain prose. From the former, we must expect high-coloured figures, from the latter, nothing but blunt truths." Take then a few of their " blunt truths," and tell me how they will comport with your system.—For my own part, I want no better universalism than they taught. "AH things are delivered unto me of my Father."—" The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand." If so, then ail shall be saved, for he says, "All that the Father giveth me, shall come to me,—of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing." Again,—" For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn* the world, but that the toorld through him might be saved." And1 again, "I am not come to judge (condemn) but to save the world." But why atop here to multiply quotations, when the scripture* abound with such "blunt truths," namely, that he is " the Saviour of the world,"—" the whole world,"—of "all men,"—of "every man,"—of " every creature." In short "he came to save that which teas hst," and where will you show me the man that is not included in that term? But these, though enough for my purpose at present, are a mere sample of the "blunt truths" to which I intend to call your attention in the sequel. How do these you have already got suit your purpose? What method will you take to explain away their meaning? Tell us not, as in your publication, that he died for millions whom he never intended to redeem:—that he died for those who shall be eternally damned, as well as for the saved. This, I consider, to be so absurd, as to be apparent to every one but yourself, so that I shall neither waste time nor words with you about it. I should like you to point out the man of common understanding, who, after reading the first part of your book, would read the second also,—or who will just read the quotations from it, in my former letter to you, and not perceive your absurdity. For my part, I have not met with any, even the most senseless, who has not perceived and remarked this. Now, as I have made all this so abundantly plain, in my former letter, and as yon have not attempted to clearyourself from the charge of inconsistency, I must conclude that you cannot, and I aver you cannot. Tell me not that "the inconsistencies and contradictions betwixt your letters and sermons, are of no consequence to the point in question."—This is an expression so silly, and so ridiculous, that I feel ashamed at it, and will spare ypu the mortification of the reply that it merits.
. With regard to the process by which sinners are to be reclaimed, namely, by the death of his Son, I have no need that you should inform me. This forms the grand topic of revelation. I know that there is no other name given among men, whereby they can be saved,—no man can come to the Father but by him. (John xiv. 6.) It is the process, or discipline, by which those who die in unbelief are to be reclaimed, in the world to come, of which I confess myself ignorant, because the scriptures are silent respecting it. The scriptures do inform us, however, that they shall be "reconciled," and " restored." And as they are said to become "reconciled to Christ," and "through him," we are warranted to conclude that their punishment will be under his superintendence, and a mediatory work. I affix no atoneing merit to the sufferings of the damned. But it is the divine appointment, and is, in the very nature of things, necessary, that those who sin shall suffer, " according to their deeds." Some shall 'be punished with "few stripes," some with "many stripes," even with "the vengeance of eternal fire," as the Sodomites (whom the Lord hath nevertheless pro-• mised to restore and bliss,—see Ezek. xvi. 53, 63.). No sinner shall ever get to glory but through sufferings, and why not through sufferings in Ms own person, as well as in the person of Christ? If it became him, in bringing many sons into glory, to make the captain of our salvation perfect through sufferings, is it any way strange that sinners redeemed, should, through sufferings also, enter the kingdom? He suffered for sinners "thepains of hell," and shall it be reckoned strange in them experimentally "to know5 him in the fellowship of his sufferings?" Is it strange that those who are to reign with him, should also suffer with him,—should drink of his cup, and he baptised with his baptism? Is'it strange that those in hell should be saved by his death, who are themselves by death and sufferings made "conformable'" to his? Nay, farther:—however much ease, and comfort, any christian may appear to live and die with, be assured, that of chastisement he is "a partaker," less or more.—We must, there is no avoiding it, "Through much tribulation enter into the kingdom." We naturally seek Ease and Pleasure, but Hardships and Sufferings are, in the very nature of things, more "for our profit." We naturally like Sin and Folly, but "the Rod" is the appointment of Heaven to counteract these, and to lead us to true Wisdom. In short, Miseri/ .is the road to Happiness, Suffering the way to Glory, and Death the way to Life. (Truly his ways are not as our ways, nor his thoughts as our thoughts.) It is evident, from Bcripture, and also from experience, that these are the maxims of Heaven. Nothing, however, can 'be more opposite to flesh and blood; but we know that "flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven;" and that what is directly opposite to our natural and corrupt inclinations, is just what is best for us. For every pleasure, which springs not from virtue, we shall experience its reverse—pain, sooner or latter. Sin (or pleasure) shuts heaven against us; pain, or suffering is the divine antidote, which destroys sin, and opens heaven again. People may say, this is putting our sufferings in the room of Christ's sacrifice. No matter what they say, if suffering can be shown to be the corrector, and the antidote of sin, and the road to glory and happiness. The Apostle Paul, in writing to the Colossians, was not quite so scrupulous on that subject, when he said, "I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, iaAJill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesb, for his body's sake, which is the church," &c. There are many things, in scripture, as well as this, of punishment, and of redemption from hell, which we are called to believe, which we are equally unable to explain, or understand; but if they are clearly, and expressly revealed, we are bound to believe them. The doctrine I am contending for, "the restitution of all things "—" the reconciliation of all things to Christ," is one of those truths. To you, therefore, and to all who oppose this truth, I would say, in the words of St. Paul, "who art thou that repliest against God." Your argument, that to deny the existence of endless torments, Would be as absurd as to deny that sin and misery exist in this world, is so weak, and futile, as to be entirely beneath my notice. And with Mr. Swanston, whom you irrelevantly introduce into the subject, I have nothing to do. I wish to look the subject in the face, and stick to the point in hand; and that is what you neither have done, and cannot and dare not do, and keep the ground upon which you set out. Again:—
With regard to your objection that none of the men who were bidden, should taste of the marriage supper, I reply, that we are not to form our opinions of any divine truths from a detached passage, much less from a single word, but must take the scriptures as a whole. There are many seeming contradictions in the word of God, which can be reconciled in no other way. By viewing diyine truth in a detached and partial manner, men have been led to pervert and misunderstand many of its doctrines. "How they «hall be excluded from the marriage supper of the Lamb," you say, f and yet be ultimately restored to holiness and happiness" you leave me to determine. But as I do not pretend to be wise above what is written, I shall leave the scriptures to determine that point. This Utave done already; and have promised you an hundredfold more weight of scripture in the sequel.
To prove that a reconciliation shall never take place, beyond this' life, you again have recourse, not to the "language which G,od employs," but to your method of misquoting scripture, and saji (with an emphasis marked under), " God's people shall be