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96. God induces all good people to pray for the salvation of all men, which he could not do, if it were opposed to his will; because, "if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us," 1 John v. 14; and because "the desire of the righteous shall be granted." Prov. x. 24.
97. Peter said; "Believing ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and FULL OF GLORY.' Can it be possible that they believed in the doctrine of endless sin and misery? Would this have made them rejoice with unspeakable joy? Not unless they were demons in human form.
98. All the threatenings of the word of God, when properly understood, harmonize with the doctrine of Universalism; the punishments spoken of being limited punishments only, and no threatening or law extending sin, or its consequences, beyond the resurrection.
99. Universalism is the only hypothesis in which the perfections of God can harmonize, — since, if men are lost forever by God's decree or permission, it impeaches his goodness; if, by his neglect or want of foreknowledge, it impeaches his wisdom; or, if sin be too mighty for him, and rebels too stubborn for him to subdue, it impeaches his power.
100. Lastly; "All things shall be subdued unto Christ, Christ shall be subject unto him that put all things under him, that GOD MAY BE ALL IN ALL." 1 Cor. xv. 28.
PASSAGES FROM THE OLD TESTAMENT EXPLAINED, WHICH ARE ADDUCED TO DISPROVE THE SENTIMENTS OF UNI. VERSALISTS.
I. THERE are but few passages in the old Testament, which are adduced in proof of the doctrine of endless misery; and these are not always adduced singly, and written out in full, but are generally given in shreds and patches, with a sort of connexion, arranged by the author who quotes them, to suit himself. In proof and illustration of this, we offer the following extract from Hawes's "Reasons for not embracing the Doctrine of Universal Salvation," page 15. The author professes to lay before his readers a comprehensive view of what the Bible says, in regard to the future punishment of the wicked, meaning, thereby, their endless punishment. We quote here what he states in regard to the evidence found in the Old Testament. "To begin with the Old Testament it is said of the wicked, they are to be ' turned into hell;''their name' is to be put out forever; the portion of their cup' is 'snares, fire, and brimstone, and a horrible tempest;' they shall perish; consume into smoke; consume away; they 'shall die in their iniquity; they shall rise to shame and everlasting contempt; their 'joy is but for a moment;' their 'candle shall be put out,' and their hopes perish; their hope is like the giving up of the ghost; their triumphing is short; their end is to be cut off;' a day which burns like an oven, shall burn them up, and leave them neither root nor branch ;' they shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy;' God will laugh at their calamity, and mock when their fear cometh; he will tear them in pieces, and there shall be none to deliver;' their expectations shall perish;' their hope shall be cut off, and their trust be a spider's web.'"
Is this the way to show what the Bible teaches? What doctrine may not appear to be proved from the Bible, if a writer may gather up shreds and fragments of Scripture in this manner, and weave them together in any order and form that may suit his own taste? It displays somewhat the taste of the wag, who attempted to prove it the duty of men to commit suicide, by adducing these words; "Judas departed, and went and hanged himself," "Go, and do thou likewise."
II. We sometimes find Gen. ii. 17, referred to, to prove the doctrine of endless misery; "In the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die." Luther Lee states, "The penalty of the divine law is, in itself, an endless curse; "(Universalism Examined, p. 242 ;) and he adduces Gen. ii. 17, in proof. The objection which has been so long urged against Universalists, that the serpent in the garden of Eden preached Universalism to our first parents, when he said, "ye shall not surely die," is founded upon the presumption, that the death threatened in case of disobedience is endless death.
But look at the passage. Is it said, thou shalt die endlessly? No. Is it said, thou shalt die in the future state? No. Is it said, thou shalt die at some future time? No. But these are the words; "In the day thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die ;" in that very day, - at that very time. There is not the slightest intimation given in the Scriptures, that this death was endless death. Adam Clarke supposed this death to be physical, not eternal. The phrase, which is rendered thou shalt surely die," he translates, a death thou shalt die, or, dying thou shalt die. "Other meanings," he adds, "have been given of this passage, but they are, in general, either fanciful or incorrect." Com. on Gen. ii. 17. Universalists in general suppose this death to be a moral death, a falling from a state of purity to a state of transgression and guilt; but a few, like Clarke, consider it to be natural, or physical death.
III. Gen. vi. 3. "And the Lord said, my spirit shall not always strive with man."
By what rule can the doctrine of endless misery be inferred from this passage? Different views have been taken of its sense. Some suppose that God will not always strive with man, because, after he has striven sufficiently, he will give them over to punishment. Thus, Adam Clarke, "God delights in mercy, and, therefore, a gracious warning is given: even at this time, the earth was ripe for destruction, but God promises them one hundred and twenty years' respite ;- if they repented in that interim, well if not, they should be destroyed by a flood," (Com. on Gen. vi. 3.) not sentenced to endless misery. There are others, who suppose God's spirit will not always strive with man, because it will be rendered unnecessary by the conversion of the creature. It is supposed by some, that it would be impossible for man, a child of dust, to endure always the strivings of his Maker; and, for this reason, he will not always strive with man. So Isaiah seems to speak, in God's behalf. "I will not contend forever, neither will I be always wroth for the spirit should fail before me, and the souls which I have made." Isaiah lvii. 16. Whichever view of the passage the reader may adopt, we are sure, that no just interpretation will favor the doctrine of endless misery.
IV. Deut. xxxii. 22. "For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell."
This passage is quoted by Parsons Cooke, and J. M. Davis as proof of endless misery. Certainly, the passage has no reference to the future state. See the whole verse and context. "For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest (sheol) hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains. I will heap mischief upon them; I will spend my arrows upon them. They shall be burned with hunger, and devoured with burning heat, and with bitter destruction; I will also send the teeth of beasts upon them, with the poison of
serpents of the dust. The sword without, and terror within, shall destroy both the young man and the virgin : the suckling, also, with the man of gray hairs." Can this passage be justly applied to the future state? Will men be burnt with hunger in the immortal world? Will the teeth of beasts be upon them there? and the poison of serpents? Will the sword destroy them in that world? Adam Clarke honestly applies the passage to the temporal destruction of the Jews. He says, the lowest hell signifies, "the very deepest destruction; a total extermination; so that the earth, their land, and its increase, and all their property, should be seized, and the foundations of their mountains, their strongest fortresses, should be razed to the ground. All this was fulfilled in a most remarkable manner, in the last destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, so that of the fortifications of that city, not one stone was left upon another."" Commentary on the place. The learned Lightfoot says, "The destruction of Jeru salem is very frequently expressed in Scripture, as if it were the destruction of the whole world, Deut. xxxii. 22, 'a fire is kindled in mine anger, which shall burn unto the lowest hell,' (the discourse there is about the wrath of God consuming that people; see verses 20, 21)." So far Lightfoot, Works, XI. p. 303. Dr. Allen, late President of Bowdoin College, in his Lecture on Universal Salvation, grants, that the punishment referred to in this passage, is "cutting off from life, destroying from the earth by some special judgment, and removing to the invisible state of the dead."
V. Job viii. 12, 14. "The hypocrite's hope shall perish: whose hope shall be cut off, and whose trust shall be a spider's web."
It is difficult to believe, that any sensible person would adduce this passage as proof of endless punishment; yet such is the fact. We find it adduced in Hawes's "Reasons," in J. M. Davis's "Universalism Unmasked," and in Edwards against Chauncey. Does the hypocrite never find, in this life, that his hope has perished? that it has become like a