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earth shall remember and turn unto the Lord, and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee." “All Kings shall fall down before him.” “All the Kings of the earth shall praise thee."— “Men” the term includes all “shall be blessed in him, and all nations shall call him blessed.” “All the earth shall worship thee, they shall sing unto thy name.” “All thy works shall praise thee,” &c. Can such of his works praise him as are consigned to hell, if they are never to be ransomed from it? Can they “remember and turn unto the Lord?" Can they “worship before him?”—Impossible! But again he says, “the Lord is good to all, and his tender mercies are over all his works." If there be anything that is not the work of God, it is sin itself; and it shall certainly be destroyed. . But you must either prove that unbelievers are not his work, or you must prove it to be false that all his works shall praise him, and that his tender mercies are over (or upon) all his works. Again—“Thou hast led captivity captive, and received gifts for men, even the rebellious;” and who are not included in that term? And again, “the Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and plentious in mercy; and with the Lord there is mercy, and plentious redemption." How can God be said to be “plentious in mercy,” and “plentious in redemption," if none but the elect few are to be redeemed, as you assert, thus “limiting the Holy One of Israel,” (chapter lxxviii. 41.) And, farther; that the Lord shall be faithful to these his promises, and that he shall, without fail, accomplish the universal redemption held forth in these declarations; -when it is said, “Mercy shall be built up for ever,” it is added, in the same sentence, “thy faithfulness shalt thou establish in the very heavens." And it is remarkable that when mercy and redemption, are spoken of, in opposition to judgement, and condemnation, mercy is generally said to be for ever, while vengeance, wrath, and anger, are said to be for the period of a day, (see Isaiah xxxiv. 8.-lxiii. 4.) Even the short period of a moment is, both by the Psalmist and the Prophets, frequently applied to the one, when contrasted with the other. “For his anger endureth but for a moment.” “For a small moment have I forsaken thee, but with great mercies will I gather thee. In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment, but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy, on thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer.” Again: When he says (chapter lxxxviii. 32.) “I will visit their transgressions with the rod, and their iniquities with stripes," mark what follows—“Nevertheless my loving-kindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail." Therefore, what is termed the wrath of God is, for the destruction of sin, and in merey and loving-kindness to the sinner. I shall take leave of the Psalmist, with one more quotation (psalm xxii. 29.), “All they that go down to the dust shall bow before him; and none can keep alive his own soul.” Therefore, if none can keep alive his soul, or preserve from going down to the dust, there can be none but must one day bow before and worship him. You must either renounce your scheme of endless misery, or give the lie to all such passages; and with such the scriptures abound. Again:
The Prophet ISAIAH, by the holy spirit, was no less an univer. salist than was the Psalmist. His poetic powers, like those of David, were much employed on this glorious subject. You tell me, in your formerletter, of his license to deal in fiction, or “in the hyperbolical style of eastern poetry” and “highly coloured figures.” But we must regard these glorious intimations of “good will to men" as dictated, not by the fanciful flights of an earthly muse, but by the spirit of the living God. And, let it be remembered, that when mention is made of People and Nations and Gentiles, &c. it is never meant to refer to only a few individuals, of these people and nations and Gentiles; but must be understood, “in the largest sense,” as is admitted by our esteemed author, the late Mr. Archi. bald M'Lean, (who was not a universalist), and he adds, “There are a great many promises, to the same purpose, which are expressed in terms, EQUALLY UNIVERSAL, (see his sermon from Psal, xxii. 27, 28). Having premised this much, we shall now run over a few of Isaiah's strains, with very little note or comment;-let the passages speak for themselves. of s: : “And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek, and his rest shall be glorious, (chapter xi. 10). Again, “I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth," (chapter xlix. 6). And again, “In this mountain,” the heavenly Zion, “shall the Lord of hosts make unto all people, (here there is no limitation), a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, well refined. And he will destroy the face of the covering that is cast over all people, and the tail that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death in victory, and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces," (can any thing be more universal;-can words possibly be divised, more completely to overthrow your system, and to establish mine?) Again, “I will give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles, to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison-house,” (chapter xlii. 4–7.). “For I will not contend for ever, neither will I always be wroth: for the spirit should fail before me and the souls which I have made," (chapterlyii. xvi.) “Thus saith the Lord God," not the people called orthodox, “behold, I will lift up my hand to the Gentiles, and set up my standard to the People; and they shall bring thy sons in their arms, and thy daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders.” And it follows, “and all flesh shall know that I, the Lord, am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob,” (chapter xlix. 22–26.) “For thou shalt break forth on the right-hand, and on the left; and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles,” (chapter liv. 8). And when it is said, “Israel shall be saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation,” let it not be thought that salvation is limited, by being applied to the term “Israel;” ser, it is added, in the very next sentence, “Look unto me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth, for I am God, and there is none else. I have sworn by myself—the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return,-that unto me every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall swear, (chapter xlv. 17–23). Again: when I look into chapter xxxv. I can hardly refrain from transcribing it wholly; but I must confine myself to a few short extracts. “The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing: the glory of Lebanon shall begiven to it: they shall see the glory of the Lord and the excellency of our God; behold your God shall come with vengeance, even God with a recompense, he will come and save you.” And when he has taken vengeance on their sins, and evil inventions, (as in chapter i. he says, “I will avenge me of mine enemies; and I will turn my hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross, and take away all thy tin,”) it is added,—“Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deafshall be unstopped; Then shall the lame leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing,” &c. “And the parched ground shall become a pool, and springs of water: In
the habitation of dragons" the polluted heart “shall be reeds and rushes,"—Then, there shall be “no lion nor ravenous beast there —And the redeemed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion, with songs, and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness; and sorrow and sighing shall flee away,” (compare this with Hos. xiii. 14.—l Tim. ii. 6). But, again—“The day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come, And I looked and there was none to help,” &c. “therefore, mine own arm brought salvation,-and my fury it upheld me," (chapter lxiii. 4, 5). Whence is all this vengeance, anger, fury, &c. so blinded with salvation, if not in mercy to the sinner, while punishing for their sins? “For by fire and by sword, will the Lord plead with all flesh,”—“for I know their works and their thoughts: It shall come, that I will gather all nations and tongues, and they shall come and see my glory,” (verse 19.) “And they shall declare my glory among the Gentiles. And they shall bring all your brethren for an offering unto the Lord, out of all nations, as the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel, into the house of the Lord,” (verse 23.) “And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, shall all flesh come and worship before me, saith the Lord (chapter lxvi. 16–23). Again, (chapter xxiv. 21–23.) “And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall punish the host of the high ones, and the kings of the earth. And there shall be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in prison, and after many days shall they be visited,” (compare with Zech. ix. 11). Again, (chapter xliii. 5.) “I will bring my seed from the east, and gather them from the west; I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth," (verse 11.) “I, even I, am the Lord, and besides methere is no Saviour.” When it is said (verse 24.) “Thou hast wearied me with thine iniquities,” it is added, next sentence, “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.” And when it is asked, (chapter xlii. 24.) “Who gave Jacob for a spoil,” &c.; it is answered, “did not the Lord, he against whom we have sinned:” and it is added, “But now this saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee ... O Israel, Fear not; for I have redeemed thee,” &c. And in (chapter lx. 2.) when it is said, “darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people," it is added, same verse, -“but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy fight, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.” -It is remarkable, in this prophet, that almost in every instance, where he mentions the judgements, and the vengeance of God, it is always in the way of mercy to the subjects of it. (Chapter lyi. 1.) “He hath sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captive, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn,” &c. Again, (chapter xlii. 14.) “I have long time holden my peace; I have been still and refrained myself: now I will destroy and devour at once. I will make waste mountains and hills, and dry up all their herbs; and I will make the rivers islands, and I will dry up the pools. And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; and I will lead them in paths that they have not known. I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, (after destroying and devouring as above), and not forsake them,” saith the Lord. Behold, then, the gracious end of their destruction and misery ! And that these gracious declarations of God, are truth, and shall assuredly be accomplished, he says, (chapter xlvi. 9.) “I am God, and there is none like me; declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet dome, saying, My council shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.—Yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it,” (compare with Ezekiel xviii. 23–82).
Again—The whole of the prophecies of JEREMIAH seem also intended to show that God will assuredly take vengeance on sin, but that he will also ultimately save the sinner. We have, in this book, the captivities of the Jews, of the Moabites, the Ammonites, and Elamites, foretold, as the consequence of their sins. But all these judgements are followed up by prophetic declarations of their restoration after the Lord's gracious end has been accomplished in their damnation. First; with respect to the Jews, it is said, (chapter ii. 19.) “Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee: Know, therefore, and see that it is an evil thing, and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the Lord thy