Page images

seems, depends upon the treatment which they meet with ; wicked people may therefore tell God at the day of judgment, that they never received one gracious message from Him, for if they had they must have been benefited by it; and they may very truly say that they never derived any advantage from the tidings which they received from heaven. I have been in the habit of thinking that those tidings deserve the denomination of good which propose any advantages to me, whether I avail myself of

them or not.

Mr. Weaver assumes much importance on Rom. xi. 11, 12, 25, 26, 32, 33. "I would be glad to know," says he," what riches there can be in that system which "shuts up a whole nation in unbelief for many ages to"gether, that he" (God)" might at last have mercy on "their offspring. Every good man would desire to be “excused from such a happiness as he can receive only "at the expense of his ancestors' infinite misery."* A man of Mr. W.'s pretensions to Greek and Hebrew criticism ought to have known that the word, them, is not in the original. The all concluded or locked up in unbelief includes both Jews and Gentiles.† The Gentiles in times past had not believed God, ver. 30. i. e. were not His people by profession, this privilege being restricted to the Jews. Yet ye (the Gentiles) have now obtained mercy through their (the Jews') unbelief: i. e. are called to a profession of the Gospel, and to the enjoyment of its privileges. See Acts xviii. 6.-xxviii. 28, 29. The apostle goes on-Even so have these (the Jews) also now not believed, that through your (the Gentiles') mercy, they also may obtain mercy, by being provoked to jealousy. See ver. 11. He then observes,-God hath concluded, (or shut up) all (both Jews and Gentiles by "turns) in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.

* Free Thoughts, p. 59.

+ See Coke's Comment on this text.

[ocr errors]

From this review of Divine Providence, in calling the Gentiles to be, by profession, the people of God under the Gospel, after the Jews had rejected it ;-in his provoking the Jews to jealousy by their observing his mercy to the Gentiles, and in his bringing the nation of the Jews, by this method, to a profession of the Gospel,the apostle might well exclaim, "O the depth!" &c. But what is there in this like bringing about the conversion of the Jews, in the latter day, at the expense their ancestors' infinite misery? If many of the Jews perish, it is not to purchase the salvation of their posterity, but as a punishment for their own unbelief, of which unbelief they themselves were the authors, and not God.


If the Universalists will have it that this chapter has any thing to do with their doctrine of a rest oration from hell, they should inform us, how the believing Gentiles can be said to provoke the Jews in hell to jealousy, and thereby induce them to seek salvation; for the apostle says, "Salvation is come unto the Gentiles for to pro"voke them (the Jews) to jealousy." He also observes of himself,-"I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office; if by any means I may provoke to "emulation them which are my flesh, and might save "some of them." But I have not yet read of the apostle magnifying his office so far as to try to provoke the inhabitants of hell to emulation, that he might save them. If the Universalists have found out a method of doing this, it is a pity they have not published their discovery to the world, that others might assist them in this salutary undertaking.




We read of the restoration of all Israel in Ezek. xxxvii. "I will take the children of Israel from among "the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather "them on every side, and bring them into their own land. "And I will make them one nation, and one king shall be "king to them all, and they all shall have one shep


herd, &c." The dead cannot be included in this account, because these Israelites are not represented as being taken out of hell, but from among the heathen nations. The political distinctions here spoken of, will not exist after the day of judgment. The increase of population mentioned in ver. 26. cannot take place according to our Lord, after the resurrection. Now can

any man make it appear, that the all of the apostle is to be understood in a more comprehensive sense than that of the prophet? and that they do not both refer to the same period?

"To suppose

Mr. Wright remarks on Rom. v. 20, 21. "that sin will abound and death reign to all eternity, over "millions of creatures, is to suppose that grace never "will abound equally with sin; but the apostle saith "much more; and if grace do not ultimately reign over "all mankind, it cannot be said that grace ever will reign as sin hath reigned, for sin hath reigned over all."* Mr. Wright is mistaken as to the meaning of the word sin in this passage. He supposes it means all the sins, of all men in all ages. But if this were its meaning, the apostle's assertion in the next verses (Chap. vi. 1, 2.) would not be true; for if we continued in sin, grace would abound; and the more sin we committed there would be the more grace; but the apostle enters a caveat against putting any such sense on his words, and says, God forbid: If sin in this place is to be understood in Mr. W.'s comprehensive sense, even then grace could only abound as much as sin; for how it could abound over more than all sin, I confess I have not penetration enough to discern ; but the apostle says much more. By sin in this text, I understand the sin of Adam which hath reigned unto death, ver. 12. Grace abounds as much as this sin, by justifying us from it as soon as we are brought into existence, ver. 18. And it abounds much more, by taking away all the personal sins of believers, making them righteous, and * Hints on the Restoration, p. 9, 10.

This inHere the sin

conducting them to a glorious immortality. terpretation is confirmed by ver. 15, 16. is called the offence of one, and the abounding of grace consists not only in the justification of many (all) persons from the one sin of Adam, but also in the justification of all believers from their many personal offences. In this view, the words much more, may be understood with strict propriety, if the pardon of all the offences committed by millions of believers may be considered as a matter of great importance.

Mr. Winchester contends that Heb. ii. 9. should be rendered, according to some manuscripts, for all except God.* I cannot see what would be gained if this were admitted. The Universalists will restrict the word all to intelligent beings; and of these they will except the good angels, as they stood in no need of a Saviour. And I shall take the liberty to leave out the fallen angels because we are told, ver. 16, that He taketh not hold of them. And though He died for all men, yet he bringeth only the many sons to glory, ver. 10. We become the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus; and he will profit those nothing who do not believe. Gal. iii. 26.-v. 2-4. This text therefore affords no support to the doctrine of Restoration.

[ocr errors]

"I ground the Restoration of all things," says Mr. Winchester, "upon these two premises, which I call the major and the minor; 1. That all things are given to the "Son without exception: 2. That all that are given him "shall come to him, in such a manner as not to be cast out; "and that none shall be missing, lost or wholly destroyed."t I have no controversy with any man about the major. Mr. W. refers to John vi. 37, 39. in proof of the minor. But these verses relate only to the salvation of believers, who hear and learn of the Father, not in hell, but on earth, ver. 44, 45. and therefore come to Christ, and are said to * Dialogues, p. 40. + Ibid. p. 140.

[ocr errors]

be given to him in a peculiar sense. This must be evident to every one who attentively, and without prejudice, reads the whole paragraph. I shall only quote from ver. 35. "Jesus said, I am the bread of life; he that cometh "to me shall never hunger; he that believeth on me shall never thirst. But I said that ye also have seen me, and "believe not. All that the Father giveth me," in a peculiar sense, viz. all that hear and learn of him, ver. 45. "will come to me," #gos μe nže, that is, "will believe in "me, and him that (thus) cometh" by faith, "to me I will "in no wise cast out. For I came down from heaven not "to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. "And this is the Father's will who sent me, that of all "which he hath given me," (viz. all that hear and learn of him, and therefore believe in Christ,) "I should lose "nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. "And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one "who seeth the Son and believeth on him, may have "everlasting life, and I will raise him up at the last day."

In short, although the Father hath given all things into the hands of Christ as a Proprietor, and Christ will raise all men again at the last day, and as a Sovereign will reward his faithful, and punish his rebellious subjects; yet the Father only giveth believers into his hands, as a Saviour, that they may obtain everlasting life. Accordingly in the verse last quoted, the very verse following that which Mr. W. refers to in proof of the Restoration, everlasting life is restricted, by the will of God, to believers.

It is impossible to make common sense of chap. xvii. 2, 6. without admitting this distinction. "Thou hast given "him power over all flesh. I have manifested thy name "to the men which thou gavest me out of the world." Here we see that all are given into the hands of Christ, and that some are given him out of these, i. e. out of the world. Of the former it is said, he hath power over them, i. e. to govern them. But of the latter it is said, He hath

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »