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NOT CAST OFF FOREVER. But, though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies, for he doth not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men." Lamen. iii. 31 – 33. O, what a precious declaration is this! . Though God cause grief, yet he will have compassion according tọ the multitude of his mercies, for he doth not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men. This is the principle of the divine government. God does not afflict for the purpose of afflicting, but for the good of the sufferer. How, then, can endless torment be inflicted?
58. Daniel said, of the reign of Christ, "there was given him dominion, and glory and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom, that which shall not be destroyed." Dan. vii. 14. If all people, nations, and languages serve the Saviour, will they be endlessly miserable? Will they not be, endlessly happy? This passage should be applied, undoubtedly, to all for whom the Saviour died. Jesus seems to have referred to the declaration of the prophet, in what he said after his resurrection, Matt. xxviii. 18.* 59. Hosea said, "I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death. O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave (or Hell, sheol), I will be thy destruction." Hosea xiii. 14. Let the light of inspiration guide us. St. Paul applies these words to the resurrection of the dead, at the last day, 1 Cor. xv. 54, 55. At the resurrection of the dead, then, God will destroy sheol, HELL. He does not raise his creatures from the dead in order to punish them forever in sheol, for sheol shall then be destroyed.
60. Micah said, of Jehovah, "He retaineth not his anger forever, because he delighteth in mercy." Micah vii. 18. A most precious assurance! altogether at variance with the doctrine of endless misery.
THE TESTIMONY OF JESUS.
61..Jesus, when on earth, preached in such a manner, that the people "wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth." Luke iv. 22. This could not have happened, had he threatened the people with endless misery. He preached salvation to sinful, guilty man; he preached the love of God to the whole world; and declared, that God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world, but, that the world, through him, might be saved. Well might the people wonder at his "gracious words."
62. Jesus inculcated the strongest confidence in God; and reasoned in the most tender and judicious manner with the people, to dissuade them from taking anxious thought for the future. Read Matt. vi. 25 -34. This is one of the most striking passages in the whole New Testament. The object of the Saviour was, to encourage, in the hearts of those whom he addressed, the most implicit confidence in God, for all future blessings. God is good; he is kind, even to the unthankful and to the evil; therefore said the Saviour, "take no anxious thought." Be not afraid; God will do thee good. He has already proved his beneficence to thee. He takes care of the lower orders of beings; why shouldst thou doubt? He clothes the flowers of the field with beauty; why shouldst thou despair? Take not anxious, painful thought for the future. Sufficient unto the present is the evil thereof. Such is the spirit of the passage, which is perfectly consistent with the doctrine of Universalism, but utterly inconsistent with the doctrine of endless misery.
63. Jesus warned the people against the doctrine of the Pharisees, who are well known to have believed in endless punishment. Matt. xvi. 6; compare verse 12. There is no doubt, that the doctrines of the Pharisees were of a partial nature. Jesus was impartial in his teachings. He was the friend of publicans and sinners, and for this, the Pharisees hated him. This was the
great point on which he differed from the Pharisees. Their doctrine peculiarly was a doctrine of cruelty, wrath, and partiality; his was a doctrine of love, compassion, and universal grace. No person, who will make the comparison fairly, can avoid coming to this result. Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees.
64. Jesus taught, that men in the future world will be like the angels of God in heaven, holy, spotless, and pure. "In the resurrection, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels of God in heaven." Matt. xxii. 30; Luke xx. 35, 36. In what sense shall they be as the angels of God in heaven? Let the passage in Luke xx. answer this question. "Neither can they die any more, for they are equal unto the angels, and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection." Here are two points, in which they will be equal to the angels, viz. 1st. they will be immortal; and, 2nd. they will be children of God, bearing a moral likeness to him. This will be the state of all who shall be raised from the dead.
65. Jesus reproved the Pharisees for shutting up the kingdom of heaven. "Woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in." Matt. xxiii. 13. These Pharisees were never charged with having shut up the kingdom of hell; that, they appear to have kept open. But they shut up the kingdom of heaven. Jesus desired to have all men enjoy his kingdom; and we are assured, that, at last, all shall know the Lord, from the least unto the greatest. They will then all have entered the gospel kingdom.
THE TESTIMONY OF PETER.
66. Peter saw, in the vision of the vessel like a sheet knit at the four corners, that all men came down from heaven; that they are all encircled in the kind care of God, while here on earth; and, that "all will
be drawn up again into heaven.”
Acts x. 10-15;
THE TESTIMONY OF PAUL.
67. Paul represented the free gift of life as extending equally with sin. "As, by the offence of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one, the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life." Rom. v. 18. This
is a very important passage. It teaches us, that the free gift of eternal life shall extend equally with sin. On the one hand we are told, judgment came upon all men by sin; on the other we find, that "the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life." This free gift is eternal life, see Rom. vi. 23. But, for a further view of the argument of the apostle in this place, see section 68.
68. Paul also says, "For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.' The same many that were made sinners, Paul declares "shall be made righteous." This certainly asserts the salvation of all sinners. Parkhurst, in his Greek Lexicon, says, Oi molloì, the many, i. e. the multitude, or whole bulk of mankind, Rom. v. 15, 19, in which texts οἱ πολλοὶ are plainly equivalent to πάντας ἀνθρώπους, all men, verses 12, 18." The learned Dr. Macknight is to the same purport. "For as of nolloì, the many, in the first part of the verse, does not mean some of mankind only, but all mankind, from first to last, who, without exception, are constituted sinners, so the many in the latter part of the verse, who are said to be constituted righteous, through the obedience of Christ, must mean ALL MANKIND, from the beginning to the end of the world, without exception." See his commentary on the place. The evident sense of the passage is this: For as the many, that is, the whole bulk of mankind were made sinners, so shall the many, that is, the whole, the whole bulk of mankind, be made righ
teous. What can be plainer than this fact? We agree with the authors of the Improved Version, who say, "Nothing can be more obvious than this, that it is the apostle's intention to represent all mankind, without exception, as deriving greater benefit from the mission of Christ, than they suffered injury from the fall of Adam. The universality of the apostle's expression is very remarkable. The same " many " who were made sinners by the disobedience of one, are made righteous by the obedience of the other. If all men are condemned by the offence of one, the same all are justified by the righteousness of the other. These universal terms, so frequently repeated, and so variously diversified, cannot be reconciled to the limitation of the blessings of the Gospel, to the elect alone, or to a part only of the human race. Note on Rom. v. 19.
69. Grace shall abound more than sin, and reign more potently, so that at last all shall end in everlasting life. Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound; that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness, unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord." Rom. v. 20, 21. What a blessed assurance! Grace shall conquer sin ? In every heart where sin has reigned, grace shall set up its empire. Grace shall reign triumphantly and successfully. We see not yet all this done; but it shall be done at last.
70. Paul teaches, that the same creature which was made subject to vanity, "shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption, into the glorious liberty of the children of God." Rom. viii. 21. It is worthy of remark, that it is the same "creature," or creation, which was made subject to vanity, that is to be delivered. Rev. Thomas White, in his sermons preached at Welbeck Chapel, translates the passage thus: "For THE CREATION was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who subjected it; in hope that THE CREATION ITSELF also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption, into the glorious liberty of