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and will not punish them forever, deserve to be punished, as long as he pleases, for abusing such love and goodness; and they will surely find it
This is the law, and the testimony of God. And having premised this, I would now give, what I apprehend to be a true and scripture state of the case.
The fallen angels, we are told, (Jude 6.) are reserved in everlasting (or, according to the original, unknown) chains, under darkness, unto the judgment of the great day. How much longer, is not specified ; nor indeed was there any occasion.
Long enough, to answer the end of their confinement and restoration. The following verse intimates, it will not be endless ; for, like Sodom and Gomorrah, they are set forth for an example, which one time or other must cease, and be no more, as having no end to answer; and, like Sodom also, must return to their former estate. Ezek. xvi. 55. Both will suffer the vengeance of eternal fire. (But eternal does not mean endless.) But fallen men is our principal, and more interesting con
All mankind then, fell in Adam; and all mankind are restored in Christ : that is, the redemption, ransom price, is paid for them all. The whole human race are the purchase of his blood. This, I think, appears from 2 Cor. v. 14, 15.--I Tim. ii. 6.--Heb. ii. 9. and many other places in scripture. Some, indeed, still imagine Christ's blood will bave no saving effects respecting many; but it cannot well be supposed, he will finally lose his purchase, tho'
he may, for a while, suffer it to fall into other bands.-Redemption and Salvation, seem connected in scripture ; nor can I think, they will forever be unconnected in reality. Universal Salvation appears to be scriptural, and the mind and will of God concerning us ; but in his own way and time, and agrecable to his own consti.. tution of things. As mistakes are made in this matter, and the best minds are apt to err about it, I would state it more particiarly, and correctly ; and shew first, what I dot not mean by it ;-and secondly, what. I do.
1st. Then, I do not mean, a mere act of mercy, or indemnity in God; as though he had, or would freely and fully pardon and forgive the sinner, and receive him to favor and happiness, without something more. Some think, and talk strangely here, and have exposed the doctrine' to contempt, except to libertine minds. They have supposed, that a sinner dying in his sins, and rising again, shall in virtue of a sovereign act of grace, and of the offering of Christ, once offered, be admitted immediately to favor and life, without any change of heart, or heavenly disposition of mind. But this is both antiscriptural and dangerous, and not the truth of this matter, as it is. in Jesus. Sin is a disease and infection of nature, as well as an offence a. gainst God; and therefore must be removed and destroyed, as well as pardoned and forgiven. Remission removes the guilt, but not the being and power of sin. However it be atoned for, by the blood of Christ ; and however, in a certain sense, all mankind may be considered in
the eye of the law, and justice, as clear, and jus. tified before God ; yet, as pertaining to the conscience of the sinner, it is unremitted : and ex. cept it be forgiven there, as well as here, there is no peace : nothing but uneasiness, fear, and distress ;
or else, a stupid ignorance, and hardness of heart. Unless the conscience be purg. ed from dead works, and the heart purified by the blood of sprinkling, we cannot serve the living God, in a lively way, nor with a quiet mind. To do this scripturally and acceptably, there must be no more conscience of sins. Forgetting this, many have run into blunders and mistakes, and some into wildness and extrava. gance, supposing they were serving God, when it was only themselves. Sin, satan, and the world, they were serving with clivers lusts and pleasures.
To be happy and comfortable in mind, there must be peace in ourselves, as well as with God; and till it comes to this, we shall have no enjoyment of our privileges, but live and die as careless, senseless, and ignorant, as though there was no Saviour or salvation to be had. But it is not only justification and forgiveness, and a consciousness thereof; a new heart and spirit, is also needful. Mere absolution without this, might make us not miserable ; but who can rejoice, and be sensibly happy long, that has not a new nature, and the same mind and spirit in hiin, that was also in Christ Jesus? It is not a bare act of grace, or absolvency, that I mean by either present or future salvation : nor is it sal. vation only in part, life and happiness for a seda
son to the righteous, and then, ending forever ; or misery and positive pain to the wicked, for a time, and then falling into non-existence or annihilation.
These are too sable and gloomy ideas for the gospel ; and such as will not suit, and come up to the many glorious declarations it makes in many parts, of God's love and good will to all his creatures; and his tender mercies towards all the works of his hands. But this positive and more extensive part of the subject I must defer, till I can write again; and am not only in the ties of friendship, but in the boncis also of that gospel which bringeth salvation to all men, very cordially,
L E T T E R II,
MY DEAR FRIEND,
So, they have cast you out; and that without the form and process they used of old, who excommunicated the blind man. They reasoned and argued the matter with him first; but your Sanhedrim has been despotic, and observed no such rule and order. Well : Jesus knows of this, and will be your stay and support. He has already honored you, in giving you not on.
ly to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake. Continue to believe in, and worship him ; and you will more clearly and fully see into this and all truth. In the mean time, you wish for my further thoughts upon this point in particular ; and I have no objection, simply to declare them.
My last concluded negatively on the subject ; shewing, wherein I apprehended Universal Salvation did not consist, viz. “Not in a mere act of mercy in. God, or in non-existence, and annihilation, with the wicked, after some time of suffering ;)
This will more positively show what it is I do mean, by Universal Salvation, or Restoration. I mean then, that all fal. len and intellectuat creatures, shall, by the one offering of Christ, once offered, (with other means God may use to this purpose) be one day be brought back from their sad fall and apostacy, to the love, favor and friendship of God, from whom they have revolted. They shall be brought to such a sense of their sin and guilt, and to such a deep and heart-felt conviction of their wretchedness and danger, as most heartily to repent; cordially and willingly to believe in Christ; and to a new and second birth in the Spirit. Freely, and of their own accord, they shall drop all that natural and ac: quired enmity, they lived and died in ; shall acknowledge themselves worthless, helpless, miserable creatures ; having nothing to say in their own defence, why sentence of ENDLESS death should not take place, and pass upon them. From that strange aversion, and aliena.