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pare this with Matt. v. 28, 29, 30. & with Col. jii. 5. and with its parallel place, Matt. xviii. 7, 8,9. it does not commend itself so satisfactorily to the minds of some, or appear, in general, so agreeable to our Lord's meaning, as the above interpretation : but if any prefer it, they will judge for themselves.
The last objection you make is, “That if everlasting, and eternal, when applied to the future miseries of the wicked, is to be taken in a limited sense, and not to mean strictly endless ; it must be so taken, when applied to the future happiness of the righteous, and so leave room to believe, that also may come to an end ; which though Mr. Whiston believed, yet who else can come into ?”—It is agreed, the same word in the original is used for the duration of both, (Matth. xxv. 46.) and I have no scruple in saying, that I believe, the happiness as well as the misery, that are spoken of in that passage, will both have an end. But it is because I do not apprehend the happiness here meant, to be the last or final happiness of the righteous, but that only which they will enjoy with Christ upon earth during his Millenial reign ; it is their aionion, or a thousand years happiness; not that which shall succeed it, when Christ shall have given up the kingdom to God, even the Father. This happiness then, which is peculiar, and to be enjoyed only by the children of the first resurrection, may, and will have an end : and who can reasonably object to it, when it is in order to a greater and more enduring onewhen it shall end in something higher ; even in.
hat far more exceeding and eternal (or endless) weight of glory, the apostle speaks of 2 Cor. iv. 17. Which words are very strong indeed in the original, and such as are no where applied to any miseries the wicked will endure. Had Mr. Whiston considered this, he would not have fallen into his strange mistake. It would have solved the difficulty, better than he has done, and is what I offer in reply. But, see this, with many more objections to Universal Restoration, ably, sensibly, and more at large replied to, in the Dialogues I mentioned to you in my last.
When I write again, I mean to maintain this generous and noble doctrine, in opposition to the doctrine of Annihilation, or that view of the future sufferings of the wicked, which maintains them to be positive and lasting for a time; but after that, to end in Extinction and Perdition. In the belief of this good, and better news, be lieve me Your fast, and faithful friend,
L E T T E R VI;
İn which it is defended against what is called by
some Annihilation, and by others Perdition, Destruction, and Non-existence.
MY DEAR FRIEND;
I NOW sit down to fulfil the engagement my last laid me under ; which was to maintain the doctrine of the final Restoration of all fallen and intelligent beings, in opposition to Annihilation, or Destruction. There are some who plead for a literal Resurrection, both of the just and unjust i büt these latter, they say, when raised, tried, and condemned, are to be sensibly tormented for a time only, not always : The remainder of their punishment is to be negative, and that of loss only, not positive pain and suffering. After they have endured a proportionate degree of misery, they are no longer to exist, or be thought worthy to live but to go out of all sensitive life, into endless silence and oblivion. This is the nature and state of the future punishment of the wicked; in thë opinion of some ; and what they think most agreeable to Reason and Scripture.
But Restoration Universal Restoration is so much better news, and has so much more evidence from Nature, Reason, & Revelation, in favor of it, that it prevails with me: and I cannot help joining issue with the Night-Poet, and say
Heav'n is all love; all joy in giving joy;
YOUNG, Night VII.
Proportionate misery in a future state, is God's truth, and agreeable to his holy word : but endless torments have no such evidence against them. They have been made to appear so inhuman, so irrational, and so unscriptural, that by all candid minds, and thinking people, they are in general given up as indefensible. Their advocates declaim indeed, but will not coolly plead : They harrangue, exclaim, and now and then skirmish; but will not come to open fight, or in close quarters, with those on the contrary side. They begin to see that the doctrine was traditionally taken up, and will not bear the scrutiny ; so let it silently go, and it dies away by degrees. The only contention now is, bez tween those who maintain final Restoration and final Extinction. Each of these have some thing to say for themselves ; and both seem
friends to Truth. It is my present undertak. ing, to shew the Restitutionist has it.
While then, the Extinctionist lays stress, and hinges his cause as scriptural, on the words death, perish, destruction, and perdition ; the Universalist is able, and has frequently shewn, that these words are capable of and have a different sense in Scripture, from what he puts upon them. Things and persons that die, come to life again, and those who perish, are seen afterwards in existence. What is destroyed, and falls into perdition, often is brought back again ; and persons, as well as buildings,rise out of their fall and ruins. Seed that is sown in the ground, though it rot and perish, rises and sprouts out again ; yea, is not quickened, except it first die.
A lost soul has more than once been found ; and those who were dead in trespasses and sins, have been quickened by the power of God. Why this must be limited to the time that now is, no reason can be given, but what may be easily answered. Time extends beyond the grave; and there are ages to come, as well as the present age. These men yield too much, & are in too close alliance with their adversaries, in allowing the words eternal, everlasting, always, and forever and ever, to mean an endless curation. In the original, their sense is finite and periodical ; however it may sound in the translation. When the scholar can find akata. lutos, or aterhantos ; and the English reader the word endless in Scripture, annexed to the dura. tion of the future miseries of the wicked, they will do something; and then it will be time