« PreviousContinue »
died for all, 2 Cor. v. 14, 15; that as in Adain all died, so in Christ shall all be made alive, 1 Cor. xv. 22; and that this does not mean merely being raised to life and consciousness, to be condeinned to eternal torment, he plainly shews in his Epistle to the Romans, chap. v., where he states, that not as the offence, so also is the free GIFT, “for if through the offence of one the many," so is the original, “ be dead, much more the grace or favour of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto the many," that is the very same many, the mass of mankind, who through the offence of one, had died. So he says afterwards, “Therefore as by the offence of one, judgment came upon all men unto condemnation, even so by the righteousness of one, the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life;" the very samne all men upon whom judgment came to condemnation; for he continues, “ As by one man's disobedience, the many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one, shall the many be made righteous, that is the very same many who had been made sinners, the mass of mankind, shall at some time or other be made righteous. But how can this be, if they are to pass a whole eternity in a state of sin, unrighteousness and enmity to God, and of unutterable torments ?
The Apostle however does not stop here, for he proceeds thus: “Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound; but where sin abounded, grace
did much more abound.” Now where did sin abound but amongst the great body of mankind, the whole human race ? Consequently, if grace is extended only to a few of them, and the great majority are abandoned to eternal sin and misery, sin will have abounded much more than grace. Where sin abounded, grace will not have much more abounded, nor as much; because amongst the great majority, amongst thousands of millions, where sin hath abounded, grace will not have abounded, nor ever will abound at all.
But why, where sin had abounded, did grace much more abound? The Apostle's answer is, “that as sin had reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness, unto eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord;" so that, according to the Apostle's account, where sin had abounded, which was amongst all men, grace much more abounded, that as sin had reigned unto death, which was over all men, even so might grace reign, which must in like manner mean over all men, unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord ; meaning that all men should in the end, by the grace or favour of God, receive eternal life by, or through the means of, Jesus Christ. In like manner, the Apostle, speaking of the Israelites, says, Rom. xi. 32, “For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all,” clearly shewing that God designs to have mercy upon all Israel without any exception; for though all are
concluded under unbelief, yet to the very same all, mercy is to be extended.
There is undoubtedly to be a second death, a state of punishment for the disobedient and impenitent, who have not been reconciled to God in this world. But are they always to remain enemies ? Is their punishment never to produce any salutary effect upon them? Is it to be wholly vindictive and not correctional ; and are they never to be released from it, so that the second death shall last for ever? If that were the case, it would not only contradict what the Apostle has said above, but also what he tells us in his Ist Epistle to the Corinthians, chap. xv. 21—28, where he says, “For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection from the dead; for as in Adam all died, even so in Christ, shall all be made alive; but every man in his own order, Christ the first fruits, afterwards they that are Christ's at his coming: Afterwards cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father, when he shall have destroyed all rule, and all authority, and power; for he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy shall be destroyed, that is death, for he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under hirn, it is manifest that he is excepted who did put all things under him; and when all things shall be subjected unto him, then shall the Son also him
self be subject unto him that subjected all things to him, that God may be all in all."
From this passage it appears that Christ shall reign till he shall have destroyed all rule, and all authority and
power that opposes him, till he shall have put under his feet, not destroyer, all enemies, till all things shall have been subjected to him, till death, the LAST enemy, shall have been destroyed, for it appears that that enemy, and that enemy only, is to be destroyed, that then our Lord is to deliver up the kingdom to God, tw Jew, even the Father, and to be subject to him who subjected all things to bim, that God, ó Jeos' again, meaning the Father, not the Trinity, nor the Father, Son and Spirit, may be all in all.
But how can this be true, if there are to be thousands of millions of intelligent beings in a state of sin, rebellion, and enmity against God, for ever and ever? How can death be the last enemy, or how can the last enemy ever be destroyed, when there are to be, according to the Calvinistic system, so many millions of other enemies living, and continuing in enmity to God to all eternity ? How can God ever be all in all, if there are to be so many millions of obdurate and enraged rebels, reviling him and cursing him for ever? If this were so, sin and death would last for ever, death would never be destroyed, nor would moral evil ever be annihilated, but would continue for ever to disfigure the works of God, and shew that his inten.
and severe coun
tions haye been in great part frustrated, and that his loving kindness and tender mercies are not, as he has declared, over all his works.
Is it not then a more rational and consistent interpretation of this passage, that after the resurrection there will be a death, which is called elsewhere the second death, for the punishment of those, who having quitted the present state impenitent and unreformed, will rise again with the same vicious and rebellious habits and propensities, as they were under the dominion of in this world, and will require a long them, and so fully to impress their minds with the wickedness, folly, and dreadful consequences, of acting in disobedience to the commandments of God, their Father and their Friend, as to prevent them from ever returning to their evil practices; that Christ shall reign, till by the salutary, though severe measures of his administration, they shall all be completely subdued, and from enemies be converted into friends, and shall all have benefited by his mission; and that when all this shall have been accomplished, when the second death shall have answered all its purposes, and have left no other
enemy existing, then that last enemy shall be destroyed, shall be finally put an end to, and Christ himself, having fulfilled all the objects of his' mission, having died for all, and saved all, having, as it has been said of him, restored all things, shall deliver up