Obrazy na stronie

times) which God hath spoken of by the upon as good ground as you reject the Unimouth of all his holy prophets since the versal Restoration, and perhaps better; for world began.” Acis iii. 21. And the whole you have nothing to plead against the RestoraNew Testament teacheth us to wait for the tion, but some threatenings of punishments, coming of Jesus from heaven; (1 Thess. i. which are called everlasting or eternal, in our 10.) which would be highly absurd upon the translation, but they plead express promises supposition, that he is always to abide there : of the everlasting continuance of their church which yet he must, if the word for ever, as state and worship, in opposition to Christianiapplied to things of another state, intends end- ty. But if it be true that both the Hebrew less duration.

and Greek words, which our translators have Friend. I confess, I never observed this rendered by the English word everlasting, do before.-But, do you know of any passages not intend endless duration but a hidden period, in the New Testament, where the words, for- or periods; then the ground is changed at ever and ever, certainly intend limited dura- once, and the Jews have no right to object tion? For I observed, that all the instances against Christianity, because God promised a you brought were from the Old Testament. continuance of their temple worship, for a cer.

Minister.— Yes: Heb. i. 8. But unto the tain age, or hidden period; nor the Christians Son he saith, " Thy throne, (in distinction to reject the universal Restoration, because from the throne of the Father) O God, is for- God hath threatened the rebellious with such ever and ever ;" yet we read, (1 Cor. xv. 34, dreadful punishments, which shall endure 38.) of the end, when he shall have delivered through periods, expressed in the same terms. up the kingdom to God, even the Father; It is indeed confessed by some of the most when he shall have put down all role, and all learned Jews, that they have no word in their authority and power; and then shall the Son language, which absolutely signifies endless also himself, be subject unto him that put all duration ; therefore they can only argue the things under him, that God may be all in all.” endless continuance of any thing from its na

Friend. But when Christ ihreatened sin- ture, and not merely from the words rendered hers, with everlasting fire, everlasting punish- forerer or everlasting. And if this is the truth ment, and eternal damnation; did not his ex- of the case (as who can deny it?) then, neither pressions naturally convey the idea of endless did Jehovah speak to deceive the children of misery? And may not the Son of God be ac- Israel, when he promised them blessings of cused of duplicity and deceit, if he did not such long continuance which have ended long mean to denounce punishment without end? ago, and which are never to be restored by And, therefore, if we believe his words to be virtue of that covenant which he made with true, as most certainly they are, we must re- their fathers, when he brought them out of ject the doctrine of the restoration, which puts Egypt; but by the new covenant which he an end to a state, which is called everlasting, will make with them when he shall return by the mouth of truth itself.- Are you able to them to their own land; nor did the Son of answer this fairly ?

God speak to deceive, when he threatened the Minister.-If I am not able to answer this wicked with those punishments, which shall objection, which you have stated in the not end till they have answered the purposes strongest manner, I assure you, I will confess for which it seems reasonable to believe they myself in an error; and shall thank you, (as shall be inflicted, viz.: to bring them down an instrument) for bringing me to know it. and humble their proud and stubborn hearts; The same objection that you make against the which shall be done, during the periods of Restoration, the Jews make against Christ and his kingdom, before he shall have delivered his religion ; for they argue thus: God is an it up to the Father, that God may be all in unchangeable Being, and he declared, in most all. solemn manner, that the ordinances of the Friend.—But if I should grant that the Levitical dispensation should be everlasting, word aionion doth not even in the New Tese and the anointing of Aaron's sons should he tament always signify endless duration, yet an everlasting priesthood, throughout their what would you gain by it, since it is plain generations; (See Exod. xl. 15, and Lev. xvi. that Christ hath set the happiness of the 34.)—and, therefore, we must reject the Mes- righteous, and the misery of the wicked, one siah of the Christians, as an impostor; inas- | against the other; and hath expressed the much as he pretends to abolish those statutes, continuance of both, by the same word, which God hath called everlasting, and to set aionion, in St. Matth. xxv. 46.

Here, the himself up as a Priest, contrary to the express punishment of the wicked, and the life of the promise of the Lord, who cannot lie, nor re- righteous, are both declared to be aionion or pent, that Aaron and his sons should have an eternal, without distinction. Now can you everlasting priesthood; and, therefore, if this show me any passage of scripture, where the is the true Messiah, God meant to deceive us same word is applied to two different things, when he promised us these everlasting bless- whose existence is not the same, or the time ings, and privileges, which, we must suppose of their continuance not alike? were only for a time, if Christianity be true; Minister.-Fairly stated! And if it be not therefore, we reject it, as being inconsistent as fairly answered, it shall be looked upon as with the promises of God.

an insuperable difficulty. But, happily, there It is evident, from this view of the matter, is a passage in Heb. iii. 6, where the same


stood and measured the earth ; He beheld, and | kingdom prepared from the foundation of the drove asunder the nations; and the everlasting world,” (which it would be hard to prove) mountains were scattered, the perpetual hills then an answer might be given without all did bow. His ways are everlasting.” In our this labour, in this manner, viz., that as the translation, the mountains, and the ways of Father hath appointed Christ a kingdom, so God, are called everlasting, and the bills per- he hath also appointed his saints a kingdom; pelual, but in the original, the word gnad is (see St. Luke xxii. 29, 30.—Rev. ii. 26, 27, applied to the mountains, and the word gnolam ii. 21.) but as the kingdom which the Father i the hills, and the ways of God. But hath given to Christ, as Mediator, and as whether we argue from the original or from Judge, shall end, when he shall have subdued the translation, it makes no difference. The all things, and put down all rule, and authority, question is, are the mountains, or the hills, and power; (See 1 Cor. xv. 24, 25, 26, 27, ternal in the same sense in which the ways 28.) so, of consequence, that kingdom which of God are? If so, the earth must have exist- is given to the saints or overcomers, to subdue ed coecal with the ways of Jehovah, and the the nations, shall also end, when they all bills and mountains must never be removed, shall be subdued, and brought to submit. But while his ways endure; and, as his ways can as the glory of Christ shall not be lessened Dever be destroyed, the absolute eternity not but increased, when God shall be all in all; of the earth only, but of its present form, its so the happiness of the saints shall be so far mountains and hills, must be inferred; con- from ending or being diminished, at that petrary to Isaiah xl. 4, xliv. 10—Ezek. xxxviii. riod, that it shall then arrive at the summit of 20—Pet. iii. 7, 10, 11, 12—Rev. xvi. 20, xx. perfection; but shall never close nor decrease 11. Nay, even in this very text, the ways of while Jehovah endures. God are spoken of as being of a different na- Some time ago, a woman came to hear me, ture from the mountains, which are scattered, and I, happened to mention in my sermon, that and the hills, which did bow.

Christ's mediatorial kingdom was called everThus, no solid argument can be drawn from lasting or aionion ; but that it must come to the application of the same word to different an end, when the kingdom should be delivered things, to prove that they shall be equal in their up to the Father, when he should have put continuance, unless their nature be the same. down all rule, and all authority and power.

Thus in the Greek New Testament, in Rom. After sermon, she was asked how she liked? xvi. 25, we read of the mystery which hath She answered, “ Not at all : he the everbeen kept secret, from Chronois aioniois, and lasting kingdom of Christ shall end, and I never in the 26th verse, we find, that it is now made heard of such a thing before in all my life; and known by the commandment Tou aionion I am sure it must be contrary to Scripture.” Thent. But must it be argued, that because The person who asked her, told her, that there cionivis is applied to times, and aionion to was such a text somewhere, she could not tell God; therefore, times are as ancient as Jeho- exactly where to find it. But the woman tah, and must continue while he exists? The persisted in it, that there was no such text; absurdity of this is too glaring. Our trans- and went away full of prejudice. Now, had lators have rendered Chronois aioniois, “ since this passage of Scripture been in the book of the world began," instead “of eternal times;" Revelations, it would not have been so much and have thereby shown their judgment to be, to be wondered at, that she had never heard ibat words cannot change the subjects to which of it; but when we consider, that this is ex. they are applied, but the meaning of the pressed in that part of the 15th chapter of St. Fords must be determined by the nature of the Paul's first epistle to the Corinthians, which subject.

is in the burial service-what shall we say ? In Jer. xxviii. 8, the word hegnolam is used Thus, if Christ's kingdom shall end, much in the Hebrew; but the translators did not more Satan's! If rewards, as such, shall cease, think themselves obliged to render it " from how much more punishments! If the everlasteverlasting," or, from eternity ;as it would ing kingdom of the saints, which they shall bave been highly absurd to have read, eternal possess forever and ever (See Dan. vii. 18, 27.) prophets, or prophets which were from eterni- shall end, or be swallowed up in that kingty; and have therefore rendered it " of olddom of boundless love, where God shall be toagh it is a stronger word than gnad, all in all; how much more, shall all sin, which they have translated “ eternity." Isa. pain, sorrow and death, cease, and have no lvii. 15.

more a name in God's creation ! Many other instances of the like nature Friend.—But supposing the doctrine of endmight be brought; but these are fully suffi- less misery to be a truth, how would you exeiedt io convince any unprejudiced mind, that pect to find it expressed in the Bible ? nothing can be concluded in favour of endless Minister.— I should have a right to expect, punishment, from the word aionion being used in the first place, that there would be no to set forth the duration of it, as well as the promises in the Scripture to the contrary; no deration of that life which our Saviour pro- such passages as these: “For I have sworn Duises to the righteous.

by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth Bat upon the supposition that our Saviour in righteousness, and shall not return; that introds no more by the “life eternal,” in the unto me every knee shall bow, and every 4 th verse of the 25th of St. Matthew's gos- tongue shall swear.” Isaiah xlv. 23. Mind pi, than he doth in the 34th verse, by the well, EVERY TONGUE SHALL SWEAR. Swearing allegiance, as every civilian will tell you, im- But, above all, there is one objection that plies pardon, reception and protection, on the may be brought against this idea, which is part of the king; and a hearty renouncing of hard to answer; and that is, God haih said, rebellion, truc subjection, and willing obedience, • For I have no pleasure in the death of him on the part of the rebels. Kings of the earth that dieth, saith the Lord God. Say unto may be deceived, but God cannot; he will them, as I live, saith the Lord God, I have no never accept of any feigned subjection; and, pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that therefore, all that swear, shall swear in truth the wicked turn from his way, and live; turn and righteousness;—so shall rebellion cease, ye, turn ye, from your evil ways; for why will and disobedience be no more.

ye die, 0 house of Israel ?" Ezek, xviii. 23, The apostle St. Paul, seems to quote this xxxiii. 11. It is evident to me, that God passage of Scripture with some variation, in must take pleasure in what glorifies his name; his epistle to the Phillippians, chap. ii. 9, 10, and as he hath sworn that he takes no plea11; where, speaking of the suilerings of sure in the death of the wicked, it must be set Christ, and the consequences of the same, he down for a truth, that punishment, without says, * Wherefore God also hath highly ex- having the reformation and subjection of realted him, and given him a name which is bels for its end, is unworthy of the Being we above every name; that at (or in) the name adore; and even now, it is called “his strange of Jesus every knee shall bow, of things in work," and "his strange act.But to pro heaven, and things in earth, and things under ceed: If endless misery were a truth, I should the earth; and that every tongue shall confess not expect that the mystery of the will of God, that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God which he hath made known into his chosen, the Father.” Now this confession appears according to his good pleasure, which he hath to me to imply a willing subjection to the purposed in himself would be, " That, in ine ruthority of the Saviour, broughi about by the dispensation of the fulness of times, he might operation of the blessed Spirit; for the same gather together in one (or rehead) all things apostle saith, “Wherefore, I give you to un- in Christ, both which are in heaven, and derstand, that no man, speaking by the Spirit which are in earth,” Ephes. i. 9, 10. Far less of God, calleth Jesus accursed ; and no man should I expect to find, that "it pleased the can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; Holy Ghost.” 1 Cor. xii. 3.

and, having made peace by the blood of his Then the argument thrown into a syllogis- cross, by him to reconcile all things to himsical form, will run thus:

self; by him, I say, whether they be things in If every knee shall bow, of things in heaven, earth, or things in heaven.”—Col. i. 19, 20. and things in earth, and things under the And I am not able to imagine, how St. John's earth; then shall all rebellion cease.

vision (Rev. v. 13.) could be just, if endless But the first is true; therefore also the last. damnation is true, where he says, “ And every If every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ creature in heaven, and on earth, and under is Lord to the glory of God the Father; and the earth, and such as are in the sea, all that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but hy are in them, heard I saying, blessing, and the Holy Ghost; then shall the Holy Ghost honour, and glory, and power, be unto him work effectually in every man. As the major that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the is proved by Phil. ii. 11, and the minor by 1 Lamb forever and ever.” In the nature of Cor. xii. 3, the conclusion must be evident to things, it appears impossible to me to believe a demonstration.

these passages to be strictly and literally Friend.--I acknowledge, that in the pre- true, if endless misery be a truth: therefore I sent state, no man can say that Jesus is the say, that I should not expect any intimation, Lord but by the Holy Ghost; but when they far less absolute promises, that God would shall stand before his bar, they shall confess uestroy death, the works of the devil, and him Lord, to the glory of God the Father by make all things new, with many others of the force.

like nature Minister.-But St. Paul speaks generally, We find it promised, that every knee shall “ That no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, bow; and lest some might say, that every but by the Holy Ghost.” He does not men- knee, meant only some knees, it is explained tion time or place, but represents the matter by the inspired apostle, to mean all things in impossible; beside every expression here used, heaven and in earth, and under the earth; and implies a willing, and not a forced subjection ; not only so, but every tongue shall swear, and as bowing in the name of Jesus ant confessing confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory him to be Lord of all, to the glory of God the of God the Father; which could not be, ex. Father.

cept all were reconciled to him, whether Friend.-But we are sometimes told, that things in heaven, or things in earth: whereGod is as much glorified by the eternal dam- fore this is also promised; and, in consenation of some, as by the eternal salvation of quence of their being subdued, humbled, made others.

obedient, and reconciled, they shall be reheadMinister.-I have, indeed, heard some as- ed in Christ; never more to go astray, nor sert the same. But as the glory of God is the break that band of eternal union, which shall ultimate end of all that he doth, we may pro- bind all together in one body, joined 10 one perly ask, why he should take any pains to head; and all shall give never ceasing praise As endless damnation appears to me to be this subject, in many places; as, in St. Luke's against the promises, I cannot hold it as an ar- gospel, Chap. xx. 35, 36, where he says, ticle of my faith; but were there no promises * But they who shall be accounted worthy to or intimations to the contrary in Scripture, I obtain that world, and the (first) resurrection should not require it to be threatened in any from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in stronger terms than it is; I should believe it marriage; neither can they die any more; for as a iruth, though I might not be able at pre- they are equal unto the angels; and are the sent, to see the propriety and equity thereof; children of God, being the children of the reI should never suffer my weak reason to gain- surrection:" and in St. John, x. 27, 28, 29, say Divine Revelation : but my difficulty we read thus: “my sheep hear my voice, and arises from these express promises of God, I know them, and they follow me: and I give which compose so great a part of that book unto them eternal life; and they shall never which is given us as a rule of faith and prac- perish, neither shall any pluck them out of my tice; and which promises expressly assert a hand. My Father, who gave them me, is future state of things beyond sin, sorrow, pain, greater than all; and none is able to pluck and death of every kind; when all things them out of my Father's hand." In Chap. xi. shall be made new; and death, the last enemy 25, 26, Christ says, “I am the resurrection of God, Christ, and man, shall be destroyed, and the life; he that believeth in me, though swallowed up in victory; and sin, which is he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoits sting, shall be no more in existence; and ever liveth and believeth in me, shall never tears shall be all wiped away from all faces. die." And in chap. vi. 50, he says, " This is

But, though I have acknowledged that I the bread that cometh down from heaven, that should not dare to dispute the doctrine of end- a man may eat thereof, and not die." And he less damnation, unless God had given inlima- expresses the perpetuity of the heavenly bliss, tims, and even promises to the contrary; since and of our enjoyment of the same, by advising I find several dreadful threatenings in the us, saying, "Lay up for yourselves treasures Scripture, in which the word aiunion, or ever- in heaven; where neither moth nor rust doth lasting, is joined with the punishment of the corrupt, and where thieves do not break wicked; yet a very little attention will shew through nor steal. Fear not little flock; for us, that the felicity of the righteous is pro- it is your Father's good pleasure to give you mised in much stronger language, than the the kingdom. Sell that ye have, and give misery of the wicked is threatened in the alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not Scriptures.

old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not; I remark in the first place, that the word where no thief approacheth, neither moth corcionion, rendered everlasting, or eternal, is rupteth,” St. Matth. vi. 20, and St. Luke, xii. used much oftener in St. John's gospel alone, 32, 33. This is that which St. Paul calleth to express the continuance of the life, or well " a better and an enduring substance,” Heb. beint, of the righteous, than it is used in the xii. 34. But what shall I say of the apostle's whole Bible, to express the misery of the words, 2 Cor. iv. 7? - For our light afflic. wicked; and this remark is strengthened by tion which is but for a moment, worketh for observing that he never once uses the word in us, kath hyperbolen eis hyperbolen aionion baros his whole gospel, nor in his epistles, to set dozes kater gazetai emin: a glory exceeding forth the duration of punislıment. See St. aionion, or eternal, to an excess.” Here is John iii. 15, 16, 36, iv. 14, v. 24, vi. 27, 40, an hyperbole upon hyperbole; beyond eter47, 54, 68, x. 28, xii. 25, 50, xvii. 2, 3, in all nal; a far more exceeding eternal weight of which passages, the word aionion is used to glory. express the continuance of the well being of But it is not so much by the different words the righteous.

made use of to denote the permanency of the Bat not to insist on this: I observe, that felicity of the righteous, from those which are there are many stronger expressions (even in used to express the duration of the misery of our translation) to sei forth the well being of the wicked, that I judge of the continuance of the righteons, than any that are used as con- the one beyond the other; so much as from the Dected with the misery of the wicked. Isaiah different sources from whence they flow, and xls. 17, we read, “ Israel shall be saved in of their different natures. JEHOVAH with an everlasting salvation; ye The happiness of those who are reconciled shall not be ashamed, nor confounded, world to God arises from their union to Christ; in without end." But where do we read, that which if they continue grounded and settled the misery of the wicked shall have no end? during this present life, wherein they pass The word endless, or world without end, is through so many sore trials, the union will never once used by our translators, to express become so permanent, as that it will be imthe eternity of punishment, in the whole possible to dissolve is; and the very nature of Bible.

things shews, that if we abide firm to the end, We read, in 1 Pet. i. 4, of “an inheritance, through all difficulties, and overcome all incorruptible, and undefiled; and that fodeth those things that would seek to separate us not away, reserved in heaven:" and in Chap. from Christ, when we come into that state v: 4, of “a crown of glory, that fadeth not where we shall meet with no more temptasway;" and, Heb. xii. 23, of a kingdom, tions, nor any thing that has the least tenwhich cannot be moved :" and our blessed dency to draw our minds from God, we must, Savienr's words are remarkably strong upon of consequence, remain attached, or united to



him while we have an existence. This doc- drawn by the Father, united to the Son, sealed trine was known to David; and therefore, he by the Holy Ghost, willingly choose the Lord said, “While I live, will I praise Jehovah; for their portion, and constantly adhere to him I will sing praises unto my God, while I have to the end, shall never be separated froin him any being." Psal. cxlvi. 2, civ. 33. It may in the future ages; for he himself saith, “ As be proved, that the union shall continue be- the living father hath sent me, and I live by tween Christ and his faithful ones after this the Father; so he that eateth me, even he life, and shall become indissoluble; and that shall live by me," St. John vi. 57. And as neither " tribulation, nor distress, persecution Christ is the great attracting loadstone, that nor famine, nor nakedness, nor peril, nor shall finally draw all things to him; it is evisword; neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor dent, that he will preserve for ever, those principalities, nor powers, nor things present, whom he hath thoroughly drawn to himself, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor and who have adhered to him through the any other creature shall be able to separate us time of trial. Thus is the life eternal of the (who abide in him) from the love of God righteous, or their endless state of well being, which is in Christ Jesns vur Lord.” See expressed in much stronger language than the Rom. viii. 35–39. See also St. John xv. 4, misery of the wicked; and moreover, has its 5, 7, 9, 10. 1 John ii. 24, 28.

foundation in the union between Christ and The never ending continuance of the life, or his church, and in the nature of things. state of well being of the righteous, may be Friend. But if the Spirit of God dwelling certainly inferred, with the greatest ease, in us, and thereby causing us to adhere to from the continuance of the life of Christ; Christ, and to follow him through all trials, who is made an high priest, “not after the makes our union to him so perfect, tha: law of a carnal commandment, but after the nothing shall be able to separate us from him power of an endless life,” Heb. vii. 16. And to all eternity; since we are confirmed in he hath expressly declared, “ Because I live, habits of goodness by free choice, and by oft ye shall live also,” St. John xiv. 19. Thus repeated exercises; why, by the same rules, as long as the cause remains, the effect must shall not the misery of the wicked be endless, continue ; but the cause, even the life of seeing that they have chosen and adhered to Christ, must undoubtedly continue to endless evil through life, and by constant practice are periods; therefore also, the effect, or the life confirmed therein? Evil is grown up to a of those who are joined to him in an indisso- body in them; and it appears to me as diffiJuble union, shall continue. The apostle cult to reform and bring them off from their Paul understood logic as well as any in our vicious habits, as it would be to draw the days: and he thus reasons upon this glorious saints in light from their adherence to virtue truth; " The spirit itself beareth witness with and goodness. our spirits, that we (who are led by the Spirit Minister.—Your reasoning would be conof God, and have received the spirit of adop- clasive, upon the supposition that there are tion, whereby we cry, Abba, Father) are the two eternal principles, viz.: good and evil; if children of God: and if children, then heirs ; it can be proved, that evil is coexistent with heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ; if goodness, that it hath always been; then, the so be that we suffer with him, that we may absolute eternity of sin and misery may be be also glorified together.” Rom. viii. 16, 17. easily inferred. This is the true foundation

Now, as Christ, the principal heir, cannot of endless misery, and it came from the Pagan be disinherited; so, neither can those who are theology. The Heathens believed in two joint heirs with him. The Holy Spirit is eternal principles, ever warring against each given us as the earnest of our inheritance, and other, and neither fully prevailing; that men to seal us to the day of redemption, 2 Cor. v. had the liberty of enlisting under which they 5, Ephes. i. 13, 14, and iv. 20.-Christ is the pleased; and that those who in life choose head, and the overcomers through the blood virtue should enjoy endless felicity; while of the Lamb, are the members of his body, those who chose and adhered to vice, would and shall inherit all things; he will be their eternally remain under its dominion, and of God, and they shall be his children; he is consequence be always miserable. Thus, the their life, and he will make them pillars in infernal deities being judged by the poor Pa. the temple of God, and they shall go no more gans to be as eternal as the good gods, and out,” Rev. iii. 12. St. Paul says, “When more powerful; they sacrificed more to the Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then evil principle than to the good, out of fear, and shall ye also appear with him in glory,” Col. to appease the anger of those abhorred, maleiii. 4.-And St. John says, “Behold what volent agents ; hence the frequency of human manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon sacrifices. us, that we should be called the sons of God; Now, when the Christian Religion triumphtherefore the world knoweth us not, because ed over Paganism in the Roman empire, many it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the of the philosophers embraced and professed it, sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what but withal, retained many of their Pagan nowe shall be; but we know, that when he tions; among which was the eternity of these shall appear, we shall be like him; for we two opposite principles; hence arose the anshall see him as he is,” | John iii. 1, 2. cient sect of the Manichees, who believe not Thus, we are sure, from the Scriptures, and only the eternal existence of two contrary eter

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