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argued in this manner. But whatever weight such arguments might have in their day, or whatever apology may be offered for those who used them, it is surprising to see them revived in our age, when critical learning is so much improved, and the literal sense of scripture so well understood. No one now will believe that wicked men and devils will be restored to happiness and the favour of God, because there are some promises of a restoration made to the Jews, or because it is said—yet will I bring again the captivity of Moab in the latter days; though the same be said too" of Egypt, and the children of "Ammon.” The author appears perfectly sensible of all this himself; and therefore, after citing a few more passages from the Psalms, which need not be mentioned, being as pertinent as the rest, he concludes thus, addressing himself to his correspondent,

"I don't believe, sir, you'll require any more "proofs upon this subject; you may take these in "what sense you please; I only beg you'll consider "there is nothing in the sense I have put upon them, "but what agrees perfectly well with unchangeable "truths, that is, with the ideas we have of the na"ture and perfections of God; nor any thing but "what is agreeable to the truths clearly revealed to "us concerning the design of the redemption."

What he had to offer concerning the design of the redemption has been taken notice of already. We

ciet inimica mea Babylon, et cæteræ gentes in circuitu, et operietur confusione, quæ nunc dicit insultans, Ubi est Dominus Deus tuus? Oculi mei videbunt eam, et non longo post tempore, sed nunc et in præsentiarum conculcatam, quasi lutum platearum. Hactenus Jerusalem, sive propheta ex persona populi sit loquu

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may now consider his "unchangeable truths," in which he lays the foundation of his system, and which are, he tells us, "the basis of all religion." And indeed the basis of all religion they are! for they are such truths as these, "God is wise, just, and good; no one of his attributes destroys another:" &c. And if what he builds upon this foundation be of the same solid and immutable nature with the foundation itself, no doubt but it will stand, and all attempts to overthrow it will end in the confusion of those who make them. If therefore I apprehend this to be the case, I should here drop my pen, and have no further contest with a man who is thus supported, in every step he takes, by immutable truths. On the other hand, if I have done any thing in the former chapters of this work; if I have proved in the first and second that eternal punishments are plainly threatened in scripture, and in the third that it is

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t It has been urged to this writer, "that if the justice of God "did not allow him to punish the wicked with eternal torments, "his wisdom would not have allowed him to threaten them with "them." To which he answers, p. 378. “This argument would "admit of no reply, did it not suppose the very thing in dispute." The question, he says, is, "whether the terms eternity, and for ever, ought always to signify a duration without end?" which, with submission, is not the question at all. What words signify always, or are used always, in the whole extent of their meaning? not ἀιώνιος, nor ἀΐδιος, nor ἀθάνατος, in Greek; (see Blackwall's Sacred Classics, vol. i. p. 178. in 8vo.) nor the words that answer to them in other languages. The question therefore is, whether the words signify duration without end, not always, but in the particular subject before us? And this I affirm, upon the strength of what I have offered in the chapters mentioned, without any danger of begging the question. This gentleman indeed is pleased to tell us, that the "expressions on both sides are equivalent;" nay, that those on his side are both "more numerous, and more posi

consistent with the perfections of God to execute his threatenings; then I think all our author's arguments, though he may imagine they are fairly deduced from" unchangeable truths," are in effect obviated, and answered already. And indeed, notwithstanding all his big words, his courage seems to fail him towards the conclusion of his Letter, where he confesses that "what he has hitherto said" (viz. in this first Letter, which draws its arguments from the nature of God, and the unchangeable ideas we have of his perfections) "ought to be considered only as imperfect proofs, or as a sort of probabilities," &c. What then has he left to rest or rely on? his scripture proofs are taken from him, and many of them given up by himself"; and the arguments, which he draws from immutable truths, are to be considered

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only as imperfect proofs, or as a sort of proba"bilities." What is this but a confession, in effect, that he cannot prove his point, either from scripture or reason? To be more particular;

These invincible proofs of his, which he so much boasts of, are delivered by him in such a loose and rambling manner, that it is harder to collect them, and place them together in a proper view, than to

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tive;" (see p. 355. and 365.) But we have seen what sort of expressions he was able to produce; the number of which indeed may look considerable, but their weight amounts to just nothing at all.

" See page 402, of his book; where he gives up several of his proofs from the New Testament, viz. Acts iii. Coloss. i. Ephes. i. and more of the same kind. He will "give them all up," he says, "without fearing the edifice will be shaken." For that truly "is "founded on things, not on expressions, the sense of which may "be disputed." Why then did he pretend to prove it by expressions, or interest scripture in the question at all?

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answer them. But the substance of them, as far as I can judge, is as follows: "That the Deity has but "one design in creating beings, which is to render "them happy *: that, being supremely wise, he must "have foreseen what would befall his creatures; and upon supposition that he was not able to make "them happy, he should have dropped his design, " and not exercised his creating power: that as it was his design, in creating them, to render them happy, so his purposes cannot be frustrated by the "resistance of man, but he will find out some method "for bringing them to repentance and holiness, with"out forcing their liberty 2: that the contrary supposes in God a helpless wisdom, reduced to the ne"cessity of abandoning his most perfect work, and letting it perish eternally, for want of means to re"store it; or, in other words, it supposes the infinitely wise and perfect Being to propose a design "in which he miscarries; and which he is not able "to accomplish through the immense space of eter

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nity." The author suggests some other considerations, such as these; viz. that evil, not being eternal in its origin, will not be eternal in its duration b; and that punishment being a violent state, a forced situation, it consequently cannot endure for ever; which however, supposing the truth of them, fall short of his design, since a period may be put to these things, whether there be a restoration or not. His first proposition, that "the Deity has but one

* See p. 250, 251, 252. Conf. p. 388.

y See p. 253. Conf. p. 257. not. and p. 388.

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"design in creating things," is either no truth at all, or, however, a truth which cannot be admitted in terminis, without explanation. The happiness of the creatures may be one end, but there is no reason to make it the sole and only end, of the creation. The Deity might have some regard to himself;-to the display and manifestation of his own attributes and perfections. We at least are commanded to do every thing to the glory of God, and are taught to pray for the advancement of his glory. And it is hard to conceive how that should be made the first thing in our prayers, and the chief end of our actions, which to the Deity himself is no end at all. It is no reply to this, to say that the happiness of his creatures tends to the glory of God, or that his glory is displayed and promoted in their happiness. For, allowing this, still they are distinct ideas; and one is not precisely the other. The glory of God is displayed in the happiness of his creatures, and it is also displayed by other ways;-displayed even by just and righteous punishment. For this is a manifestation of some or other of his glorious perfections. In short, every wise and good end, accomplished by the creation of the world, was intended by the Creator; for there is no reason to exclude one more than another from a mind which takes in every thing at one comprehensive view.

He foresaw "what would befall his creatures;" that is, he foresaw the misery which some of them would bring upon themselves, notwithstanding all his care, notwithstanding all the dispositions of his good providence, and all the dispensations of his grace, to prevent it. But still this was not a sufficient reason why he should forbear the exercise of

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