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THE several treatises which have, within these late years, been published against the doctrine of the eternity of future punishments; and the too great success which, it may be feared, they have met with in a licentious and unbelieving age; may have rendered it perhaps but too necessary to examine this subject once more, and to try, whether it cannot be reasonably and fairly defended. It has long appeared in the world as a doctrine of the gospel, and been received under that character; which, though indeed it be no proof that it really is so, is yet an argument that it should not rashly be rejected. It ought, at least, to be set in a proper light, have its proper evidence produced for it, and have at last a fair and impartial hearing. When this is done, it must take its chance; the cause will then be determined, not by general exclamations, not by hard names, and abusive invectives; not by appeals to the pity and passions of men, not by spurious authorities; (none of which are of any weight at all in the case ;) but by what alone ought to determine it, true genuine scripture, and right reason.
That this doctrine may be maintained upon this footing, I am fully persuaded; but whether I am able to maintain it, is a point which I have reason to be much less sure of. However, it is but reason
able, that every one should distinguish between the
VOL. II. HORBERY.