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OBJECTION.- The great gulph between the region of happiness and misery is impassable.
Answer. -Christ has passed it when he went and preached to the spirits in prison, who were disobedient in the days of Noah.
This proves a state of conscious existence after the death of the body.
The rich man seems to have had compassion towards his brethren.
The scriptures constantly hold out punishment in proportion to the sins committed in the present life.
OBJECTION.—The case of Judas, of whom Jesus said, “Good were it for that man that he had never been born."
ANSWER.-1. This was a proverbial saying. 2. Both Job and Jeremiah cursed the day of their birth, and wished they had never been born. 3. Solomon declares an untimely birth to be far better than the longest and most prosperous life of one whose soul is not filled with good, and who hath no burial. 4. If Judas had died before he was born he would have escaped all earthly trouble, and future misery, and would have been immediately happy. 5. The Jews as much rejected and doomed to woe as Judas.
DIALOGUE III. OBJECTION.—That the doctrine of the Reg toration tends to licentiousness, and is calculated to encourage the wicked to a continuance in their evil ways, &c.
Avswer.— First, by shewing the principles upon which the doctrine of the Restoration is founded. 1. God is the Creator of all. 2. His
benevolence is universal. 3. Christ died for all without exception.
Objection. That Christ did not die for all, because he did not pray for all.
ANSWER.--This objection is entirely groundless;--for though in one place he prays exclusively for his apostles, yet a little after he prays for all that should believe on him, through their word, &c. 4. Another of the first principles on which the doctrine of the Universal Restoration is founded, is the unchangeableness of God. 5. The immutability of his counsels; cofirmed by his oath. 6. That God hath given all things into the hands of Christ, and that nothing that is given to him shall be lost. 7. That the Scriptures must be fulfilled, and that none of them can be broken.
Secondly, It is proved that the doctrine of the Restoration cannot lead to licentiousness, because it is perfectly consistent with experimental religion.—Queries asked upon this subject. A little sketch of the author's experience. Queries submitted to the consideration of all experienced Christians. Inference deduced therefrom in favor of the doctrine of the Restoration.
Thirdly, it is proved, that the doctrine of the Restoration does not lead to' licentiousness, by iús tendency to practical religiou. 1. We commanded to love all mankind, even our enemies. 2. To do good to all.3. To forgive all that trespass against us. 4. To pray for all men, that they may be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.
The belief of the Restoration so far from preventing us from these things, enables us to ser
form them with pleasure and consistency.
All shall be restored at last by the blood of Christ.
Fourthly, It is proved, that the doctrine of the Restoration is according to godliness, because the belief of it tends to fill our hearts with all amiable tempers, &c.
Fifthly, The doctrine of the Restoration is vindicated from the charge of licentiousness, by an appeal to facts, especially by the amiable conduct of the Tunkers, or German Baptists, in America, who universally hold these sentiments.
Reply to those who call this the doctrine which Satan taught Eve in the Garden.
Dr. Whitby's grand objection, that the unbeliever shall not see life, answered.
OBJECTION.—The doctrine of endless punishment said to be the strongest possible restraint
Answered.--1. By showing that God doth not always lay the greatest possible restraint upon sin. 2. T'he idea of limited punishment by appearing more just and reasonable to the mind, is more calculated to restrain sin & iniquity than the doctrine of endless misery. 3. That in fact, though the greater part have professed to believe endless damnation, yet their belief appears not to have much restrained them from sin. 4. The great number of heathen people that die without ever hearing the gospel, infants, idiots, persons born deaf, &c. render it probable that many are reclaimed in a future state. 5. That the intention of God is not so much to restrain sin, as to show its enormity; and finally to destroy it out of the universe. 6. If the doctrine of the Restoration should be abused, that can be no argu
ment against it, as the gospel itself has been perverted, yet is the greatest blessing to mankind; therefore it is evident that this glorious doctrine cannot justly be charged with the least tendency towards icentiousness.
OBJECTION.-It would not be prudent in God, even if he intended finally to restore the wicked to let them know his gracious designs beforehand; it is time enough to let them know his gracious purposes towards them, when his former threatenings have failed of their effect, but not before.
Answered.—God has thought it the abounding of his wisdom and prudence to make known to his saints this mystery of his will, even_his promise to rehead all things in Christ. This discovery is chiefly intended
for the comfort and satisfaction of the good, and not for the encouragement of the bad.
God has frequently mixed promises of great mercies with threatenings of terrible judgments; yet his threatenings are not thereby weakened.
OBJECTION.—The doctrine of the Restoration seems not very plainly revealed in the Scripture, or it would not have been so long hidden from so many great and good men.
Answer.—Things that have been plainly revealed, have been still hidden from great and good men; as the death and resurrection of Christ.
Question.--But how comes this man to know better than all the world? &c.
ANSWER.-The charge denied. Many have known, believed, preached and defended it.
The doctrine of endless misery is one princi
pal cause of the disagreement among Christians.
DIALOGUE IV. OBJECTION.–Christ threatens the Jews that they should die in their sins, and that they could not come whither he went.
ANSWER.-Our Lord told his disciples themselves that whither he went, they could not come, that is, then, as afterwards explained.
2. There are blessings promised in scripture, to all Israel, without exception.
3. Those that have been rejected and cast off shall at last return and be received.
OBJECTION.--That the blessings promised only respect to those that shall be found alive on the earth at a certain time.
Answer.— The inhabitants of Sodom, Samaria, and Jerusalem, with their daughters, or neighboring cities, shall all be restored, though destroyed long ago.
2. That all things are given to Christ without exception; and that all that are given shall at last come to him in such a manner as not to be cast o. From which promises, the Universal Restoration is inferred, and proved to be certainly true.
OBJECTION. -God sware in his wrath that the Israelites should not enter into his rest.
Answer.— The rest was the land of Canaan, being typical of the time of the Millennium, or Christ's reign on earth, and not of the ultimate state of happiness.
OBJECTION.—There are some of whom we read, that he that made them will not have mer