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living, no less perilous than desperation ;' or, they have taken refuge in the belief of
nonexistence after death, and the Resurrection ; and flown, for ease, into the arms of Annihilation and Extinction or else have settled in down, right infidelity, and believed nothing of what the Scripture hath said, or can say.-Such have been the fearful consequences, sometimes, of stretching future miseries beyond the line, and making them ceaseless, and without end. Whereas proportionate sufferings, and such degrees and duration of misery as is judged meet and
proper, and found necessary hy God, the Judge of all-has the consent of Reason—the declaration of Revelation--the vote and suffr:
rage of Common-sense----the approbation of Mankind in general--and the tacit, silent verdict, of even the wicked themselves. And this is more likely to work properly upon them than an over-strained interpretation of Divine threatenings, and extending them to a merciless extreme. Here is room both for free-grace and free-will to operate, and for the return of the sinner to God, For thus may he argue, in his cool and reasoning moments, (and such moments he has) let his case be what it will :-" It is true, I am a rebellious creature, have sinned, and go on still in my rebellion ; which, sooner or later, must end sadly. He is a just God, and I may expect his vengeance ; I already feel some consequences of my sins. Diseases, pain, and rebuke, I suffer, both in body and mind; and have strange forebodings sometimes, of something more fearful to come. Is it not better to stop
to retreat—and think of being saved ? Once, indeed, I had such thoughts ; but I heard his grace was confined—that his designs of special favor were towards some only, without any view to the rest--that no provision was made for their salvation—they were to be partakers only in common blessings. This daunted and discouraged me ; and I went back again to the old course and way. Of late I have heard better news, which engaged my attention and hope ; that God so loved the world, (as well as the chosen out of it) as to give his Son to die for it. And that with this intention; that being lifted up upon the cross, and from earth to heaven a. gain, he would draw all men unto him ; not only to the seat of hiš judgment, but to the throne of his grace and mercy also, so as to be saved and restored, and to come unto God by him. This is glad tidings indeed, and makes me to think in good earnest, if God be thus good and gracious, intending even me to be saved ; it is time I look about me, give up my sins and companions, and break with all that is evil : For this being the case, it is more than madness to continue in my sins; since the more I sin, the more I shall suffer ; and the longer I go on in my present way, the longer will be my misery and woe. I will stop, and look immediately for mercy.”_This is more likely to be the case (even with the wicked at times) than any other view men have given of the gospelgrace. Partiality grieves & hardens the sinner; endless torments shudder his humanity and exceed his belief :--but universal love and good
will, with salvation in consequence thereof, commands his attention, excites his approbation, forbids his trampling on it, and tends (if any thing can do it) to cause him so to hear as to live. So far is it from being licentious.
. It is stated and apprehended wrong, if men can sin upon it. Those who do not believe it sin: and if any sin more who do, it is because they only profess, but do not actually believe it with the heart. Man believeth unto rightcousness, this, and every other doctrine of the gospel; and the unrighteous then must be unbelieving,, however they may hold and maintain it ; and the doctrine is not accountable for this.
But some have said" If I thought this was true, I would sin yet more, a great deal."Such, then, betray a weak head, and a corrupt heart ; and must be made to hear the thunders and see the lightnings of Mount Sinai, and with the men of Succoth, be taught better conduce by the briars and thorns of the wilderness. But their reasoning is no argument against it. Let them but see the full force of their saying, and they would startle at the sight of it, and be ashamed and afraid to repeat it; and find, they knew not what they said, nor whereof they affirmed. It was speaking in other words thus : -"I hate God, with a perfect hatred; and the more so, for declaring he loves me too well to let me be forever miserable. I served him once, it is true ; but from fear and dread—not from gratitude and love. I served him as a slave does a tyrant, or the wild Indians do the devi!, lest he should destroy them :--not because I
believed he had a favor unto and would save me. But now I hear all is to be finally well, & I am to go to heaven at last.- I will rebel with a high hand, till I get there; I will sin, as it were, with a cart-rope, and go to the utmost length and stretch in wickedness.”—This is what the speech implies ; though they would shudder, perhaps, to see it at full length, and to read it in the extent it is here given.
God, my good friend, will vindicate his own cause, and his own truth ; which never operates to the disadvantage of mankind, when simply stated and considered. If men will blend their own errors and mistakes with it, and turn food into poison ; they must see to that, and stand to all the consequences. He and his truth. stand clear.
And now, I have said enough in answer to this objection. And, I think, it must evidently appear, the belief of Universal Salvation is not, in itself, licentious. * If any make it so, his blood be on his own head. We need not be careful to answer further in this matter. This appeal only may be made :-He that will sin, because God is thus goodwill sin upon every other doctrine of his grace. And to such, the same answer will serve.,
The Editor of this Magazine has very solidly refuted this objection, in a Series of Dialogues, lately published by hin--in the 4th of which he has made it very clearly appear, that, from first principles, from the nature of experimental and practical Religion, and from ficts, the doctrine of Final Restoration cannot be licentions.
Two or three more objections you make, which I hope to reply to in my next.
In the mean time, you can have no objection to my being
Affectionately Yours, A. V,
L E T T E R V:
Being a Reply to some other objections that are
made to it.
MY DEAR FRIEND,
My two last, contained Replies to three fórmidable difficulties that stood in the way of your full and firm belief of the final salvation of all men ; viz. The novelty, the licentiousness of the doctrine, and its apparent contrariety, to the sin, or blasphemy against the Holy Ghost. This will bring an answer to some other objections you inake ; and which have arose in the minds of others, as well as your own. It appears contrary, you say, to Psalm xlix. 19. where it is said of the wicked, “He shall go to the generation of his fathers, they shall never see light. To John ii. 36. where it is written, “ He that believeth not the Son, shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him.” And again, to chap. vii. 34. “ Ye shall seek me and shall not find me: and where I am, thither ye can200 come.'