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dred and forty and four thousand.” But, from the next verse, we see that salvation is not to be confined to them; for, besides these, are represented “a great multitude which no man could number," ascribing “Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.” Thus we see then, that the elect, or first fruits, are represented by a certain number;—the non-elect, by a multitude which no man could number: But we see also, that both are to stand before the throne, clothed in white robes, and to ascribe salvation to God, and to the Lamb.
To conclude:—Although, in advocating the doctrine of reconciliation, I may appear to have run counter to those particular passages that you build so much upon, you must certainly do me the justice to admit, that I have done no violence, neither to the scope, nor the spirit of the scriptures, generally.—Nay, to be candid, you must admit, that I have these very fully upon my side. But this is not all. You must do me the justice also, to allow, that I have been, at least, laudably vindicating the character of the Almighty, by allowing Him to be possessed of as much benevolence as yourself (I should ask pardon of God for the expression), in asmuch as you admit that it is your wish, from motives of the purest benevolence, that the doctrine were true—I feel so “pressed in spirit,” upon this subject, that I beg of you to permit me, out of your own mouth, to condemn you.
You believe in the doctrine of endless torments, and acknowledge, in plain terms, that you shudder at it. Now, if you really believe God to be capable of what your humanity shudders at, you have evidently more benevolence—more philanthropy than God himself. Where is then his perfection in those virtues of which you claim a greater share than Him? Is not this robbing God? Believe, and know assuredly, that those dispositions of philanthropy and benevolence, by which you would embrace, in one grasp of love, the whole human race, have their origin in God. It is just in proportion as we participate of his spirit and disposition, that we feel, and see, and think, and act as he does. This disposition, is verily a part of that divine nature, which, in its full perfection, is to be found only in him,-even in Him whom you represent, as the “Saviour of the world," in name only; but, in reality, of a small number, whom he has been pleased to choose, and to redeem. Now, let me here put a question home to your conscience.—Is it, do you think, speaking of God, “the thing that is right,” (Job xlii. 7.) to make him such a monster, that even your little benevolence with which he has endowed you, in participation of his own nature—that this, your benevolence, which is the gift of God, should shudder at His ways of dealing with the creatures which his own hands have made? This is representing the Godhead as “divided against itself,” by acting contrary to his very nature and essence. Permit me to address you, and all who hold such sentiments, in the language of Job, “Will ye speak wickedly for God? and talk deceitfully for him?—Do ye so mock God?” (chapter xiii. 7). Whence, let me sincerely ask, arises your opposition to a doctrine that you really wish to be true, that is confessedly so lovely—benevolent, and God-like, and which is so consonant to the general scope, and the obvious spirit of the gospel scriptures? It is evidently because that by education, and prejudice, you have been accustomed to think as you do; and it is difficult to unshackle our minds from our prejudices. But allow me, Dear Sir, to remind you, as I wish to bear in mind, myself, that “It is better to trust in the Lord, than to put confidence in man,” who, discarding the very oath of Jehovah, “teach for doctrine the commandments of men,” (Psal. cxviii. 8.Mark vii.7). Beware of following “after the traditions of men, —after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ,” (Col. ii. 8). And remember the rebuke of the Lord against such as, saith he, “take counsel, but not of me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my spirit,” (Isaiah xxx. 1). I might refer you to many other passages (which are not destitute of meaning), and urge your attention to them,--such as “Search the scriptures,” “Try the spirits whether they be of God,”—“Prove all things; hold fast that which is good,” &c. And surely, if these passages have any meaning at all, they are not inapplicable to you, in your present circumstances. “Wherefore, be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.” I have, as I promised, given you such an host of scripture, in favour of universal redemption, as all the passages which, in your opinion, bear an hellish like aspect to poor sinners, cannot possibly overturn. But I have done more; I have admitted all those awful passages in their full force and meaning—for I discard no part of revelation. But, by a careful examination of the scriptures, inquiring “What the will of the Lord is,” I have shown that, even in reference to those passages of the most damnatory nature, the end of the Lord is salvation, “For the Lord (who hath the keys of hell and of death), will not cast off for ever; but, though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies. For he doth not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men; to crush under his feet all the prisoners of the earth,” (Eccl. iii. 31–34). I have not only shown you, or rather reminded you, that the scriptures expressly teach the necessity and the certainty of punishment for sin, and the salutary nature and design of it; but I have shown, also, that the scriptures declare that all afflictions will ultimately issue in good to the subjects of it. That portion of scripture is neither of any “private interpretation,” nor is it limited in its application, which sayeth, “Though no chastisement (whereof all are partakers), for the present seemeth joyous, but grievous; yet, nevertheless, it afterwards yieldeth the peaceable fruits of righteousness, to them who are exercised thereby.” We have no authority for saying that such passages are only applicable to one class of persons, and not to another; they are applicable to all them who are exercised thereby. We have seen the truth of this, not only as it respects the Jews, and others his chosen, or elect and peculiar people, but we have seen that even those nations who were “accursed”—“destroyed from being a people,” and who are declared to be “suffering the vengeance of eternal fire,”—we have seem, I say, that even they, and all of them, shall be restored to bliss, after the torments of hell have effected the purposes of the Almighty, (see Jer. xlviii. 16, 25, 42, 43, 47.- : xlix. 6, 8, 33, 39. Ezek. xvi. 49–63, &c. &c.). Finally;From what I have quoted, both from the scriptures of the Old and the New Testaments (and much more might yet be adduced), one thing is evident, either that you must admit the truth of the doctrine I have been advocating, or admit that the sacred writers, under both dispensations, have been declaring many untruths. It is impossible, by any sophistry or argument, to get rid of this conclusion. But setting aside, altogether, the prophets and the apostles, who all testify the same things, I am quite willing to rest the whole evidence for the truth of the doctrine of universal redemption, upon the declarations of the Saviour alone. I contend for no other universalism than what he taught. Turn, then, to the beginning of this paper, and read those declarations over again; and you will
either be forced to admit the doctrine, or allow that his declarations are FALSE.-There is no avoiding this alternative. “Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee (and me) understanding in all things.”
Although I canuot charge myself with even an unfriendly thought towards you, yet, in glancing over my correspondence, I find some expressions which may probably be reckoned rather strong; and such as I would perhaps soften a little, were I to write them over again. Yet, I honestly assure you, Sir, that so far from intending anything like disrespect, I would be extremely sorry to give you even the slightest offence; and you know me too well, I dare say, to impute any such motive to me. TRUTH (not domination or victory), is the grand object I have in view: and I believe you will do me the justice to admit, that you have ever found me open to conviction, and ready to yield to truth. We should bear in mind, that whatever is truth must be of God, and ought to have our ready assent, however unpalatable, or however opposed to our systems and prejudices. Let me, therefore, beg of you, my dear Sir, to divest yourself of every prejudice: and when you peruse my epistles, think not of me, nor of any man, or sect of men. Look at the subject only, having truth alone for the object of your research.-And when you do so, take not the scriptures partially, but as a whole. Under such an exercise of mind, and in the spirit of christian philanthropy, I am persuaded, you will either be led to embrace the doctrine I have been advocating, or cease to give utterance to such expressions as some of those I have been objecting to in your publication, and in your discourses. How important, to us all, the exhortation—“Let your moderation be known unto all men.”
objections to The DocTRINE of UNIVERSAL REDEMPTION, conside RED, AND REFUTED; AND,
The inseparable connerion between Sin and Punishment
I HAVE met with a number of christian people, who admit, that they themselves, may, without much danger, read the sentiments held by the universalists, on the unbounded love of God, although they still do so with a kind of dread. “But then,” say they, “how dangerous it is to put such into the hands of the young, or of inftdels?” How preposterous such reasoning! Show me wherein the danger lies, or, wherein they do, in one iota, contradict the scriptures. Do universalists say, that even the vilest of the vile shall be saved?—so say the scriptures, as I have amply shown. Do they say that sin, in any one, shall go unpunished?—No. They do not say indeed, as you do, that even the least aggravation of sin in the damned, shall be punished to never-ending eternity: but, they say, as the bible says, that “every one shall receive according to his works.” Now, in thus stating, that sin shall assuredly be punished, and, that the punishment will be in proportion to the sin,-where is the encouragement given to sinners? Can any thing be more calculated to excite to watchfulness against sin, than to believe, that as the guilt, so shall the punishment be 2 And surely, if a sense of the love and goodness of God be at all calculated to lead sinners to repentance, and to wean us from sin (as also saith the scriptures), then has our doctrine an advantage over all others.--Where them, let me again ask, is the mighty danger in the young, and in infidels embracing the doctrine?—It does not exist, but in the minds of the objectors. Would to God, that not only they, but that all mankind would believe and embrace this doctrine, and act under the influence of such a belief. Then would the love of God, and hatred of sin, take possession of the soul, and the effects produced, would naturally be, “the peaceable fruits of righteousness.”