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Abraham in a way
SIR, Clapton, June 4, 1819. + which is stated by
WISH your Correspondent (p. - and this satisfies 103] had copied a few more lines
from Voltaire. Those which he quoted "hority in a are in La Henriade, (Cant. vii.) where
wce. In Saint Louis, in a vision, conducts his aul avers, descendant among the shades. That urrection of exclamation of Henry on beholding ist not risen; the sufferings of the wicked, is imme. not, then they diately followed by this reply from asleep in Christ his conductor: assertion which is “ Ne crois point, dit Louis, que ce tristes ent with the doctrine victimes siate state of percipient Souffrent des châtinients, qui surpassent etween death and the re
leurs crimes; To such an expectation, Ni que ce juste Dieu, créateur des huį, it is impossible that he
mains, refer in the Epistle to the Se plaise à déchires l'ouvrage de ses
mains. ippians, (i. 23,) where he ex. resses a desire to depart and to be Non, s'il est infini, c'est dans ses recomwith Christ. How does the reverend Prodigue de ses dons, il borne ses ven
penses; gentleman, who maintains the doc
geances. tripe of an intermediate state, solve Sur la terre on le peint le premier des the difficulty? By his usual summary tirans; process. Believers, who thivk as he Mais icy c'est un père ; il punit ses endoes, cannot be mistaken. “ Plain fans," people," says he, p. 81, “understand, Of these lines any of your readers, and cannot but understand, the mean to whom the original is not familiar, ing of the apostle; and they are not may, if they please, accept the followsuch conjectures of impossibility as iny translation; in which I have enthese which will prove effectual to deavour to convey the poet's sense: subvert their faith." That is, plain Think not, said Louis, in this dreary people first believe that virtuous souls exist in a state of happiness separate The allotted pains exceed the sufferer's
clime, from the body between death and the
crime; resurrection; and the same plain peo. Or that the forming Pow'r, by justice ple also believe that, if there be no sway'd, resurrection, all that have fallen asleep Delights to ruin what his band has made. in Christ are perished. These “plain No, boundless is the recompence be pays, believers," says the author, “under. Lavish of good, his wrathi alone be stays. stand, and cannot but understand, the On earth portray'd, a Tyrant, vengeful, meaning of the apostle;" but I am
wild; sure it is not for such witlings as the Here, as a Father, he corrects his child. Editors of the Improved Version to I question whether White, Stoneunderstand these plain believers. But house, Winchester or Vidler, have surat any rate it is very clear, that they passed this unchristian poet, as I fear who believe what these plaid people we must describe Voltaire, in a just reare reported to believe, need not stick presentation of the Divine character, at any thing. Contradictions are a as it is loved and venerated by those trifle. Transubstantiation would be who receive and understand the ChrisRothing. Alps are no Alps to them. tian doctrine of Universal Restoration. Difficulties are no obstacles to them. The note quoted from Voltaire, at In short, there is no knowing to what the close of the lines, (p. 103,) rensinds sublimity of absurdity the author and me of an unmerciful Doctor of the his plain friends“ may wing their seventeenth century. This was Lewis little way,” after the notable specimen Du Moulin, who died in London which they have thus exhibited of the 1680, having published, that year, transcendent vigour of their faith. “ Moral Reflections upon the number
B. of the Elect; proving plainly from
Scripture Evidence, &c., that not one
in a hundred thousand, (nay, probably to particular events, which are neces. not one in a million,) from Adam sarily involved in complicated circumdown to our times, shall be saved." stances, but that in a question which, (Wood, A. 0. 1692, II. 754.) This like this, regards the final result of Du Moulin was a brother of Milton's the Divine government, certain neantagonist, the author of Regii San. cessary consequences from the Divine guinis Claruor ad Cælum. The Moral attributes may be manifest enough. Reflections produced the same year Now this, as a general remark, appears
Mercy Triumphant: the Kingdom very just, but I wish to shew that it of Christ enlarged beyond the narrow is not applicable to the present ques. bounds which have been put to it, tion; that is, that we are as unable to hy Dr. Lewis Du Moulin, in his most dcduce the doctrine of the final hapAntichristian Book. By Edward Lane, piness of all men from what we know M. A., Cambridge." (Ibid. I. 898.) of God, as we are to prophesy distant of this writer I know nothing but events from what we know of the what Wood further relates, that he course of things in this world. " was educated in Paul's School, and Let us consider the sort of argument afterwards in St. John's College, by which this doctrine is maintained. Cambridge,” that he " became Vicar “God," it is said, " is almighty, and of Nortlı-Strobury, (perhaps Shoe- just and good: it is highly improbury,) in Essex, by the favour of the bable that such a being should create Lord-Keeper Coventry, 1630, and such a race as mankind, and afterward was thence removed by the same hand suffer any of that race to perish;" that to the Vicarage of Spersholt, near is, as the matter stands, that he should Rumsey, Hants." His answer to Die suffer any man to fail of final happiMoulin was reprinted in 1681, “ to- ness through obstinate impenitence. gether with several arguments about Here the question arises, Why is it Transubstantiation, not in any author improbable? How is it at variance yet;" and an Answer to Hickeringill's with any known attribute of God? “ Second Part of Naked Truth." Is it unjust? It is inconceivable on
J. T. RUTT. what ground any one can complain of
injustice, if by wilful, persevering misSir,
Clapham. conduct, he forfeit a gift to which, S one of your Correspondents were he innocent, he could have po
(p. 295) has been pleased to claim, and which, were he penitent, potice some remarks of mine, which he could not receive but through an you lately inserted on the subject act of pardoning mercy. Some, inof Final Restitution, (p. 87,) perhaps deed, have most fool-hardily deniert you will allow me to add a few words that God can justly punish transgresfurther in support of what I then ad. sion at all, inasmuch as a creature can vanced. As to the general observa- be neither better por worse than his tions made in the paper alluded to, Creator has made bim. The premises they are just, I think, and liberal, and here are vot unjust: God asserts for I heartily approve of them. I love free himself that he creates evil as well as inquiry as well as any one, though I good: he has not so constituted the believe there is not much room for it world as to prevent sin and evil from , on the present subject. What I main. entering; that is a fact, and we do not tained was this: that the arguments now attempt to explain it by the his by which the doctrine of Final Resti- pothesis of two creators; but would tution is supported, are feeble and un- it mend the case to suppose that God sound in their nature, and can form allows this evil to proceed without no just ground for allowing this doc- check or punishment? trine to pass for a part of religious punishment must come together. That truth. Now I argued that in attempt. sin should exist may be a myster, ing to deduce this doctrine from the but it is a fact; but then that punishattributes of the Deity, we enter on a ment should follow sin, is no mystery, field where we have not sufficient ex. but perfectly natural: God would be perience to guide us. In answer, your unjust if it did not. He would be « Occasional Reader” observes, that destitute of every moral attribute. we may indeed be thus in the dark as But perhaps I have dwelt too long on
No; sin and
this blind sophistry, which best refutes treated with justice, mercy and love. itself. Let me proceed to ask, Is the Whatever, therefore, is fairly and disfinal impenitence and consequent de. tinctly implied in this assurance, we structiou of some part of the human may firmly believe. But, if I have arrace incongruous with the goodness of gued justly, it appears that no man will the Deity? Yes, it is," some will have reason to think himself either answer, “the God of love can never unjustly or unkindly treated, if, after suffer any of his reasonable creatures an adequate season of trial, persethus to ruin themselves, and to forfeit vering disobedience hardeus itself into that immortality for which they were final impenitence, and the boon of fitted." There is some plausibility, I immortality is forfeited. lu saying allow, in such a sentiment, but if I this, I seem to rest on natural feeling mistake not, no shadow of sound rea. aud common sense. And let it be son. The argunient is this; such a remembered, that unless the contrary catastrophe is disagreeable to the will can be established by clear and sound of a benevolent being, and therefore argument, that is, that a man so peto the will of God; and since he is rishing in impenitence will be unjustly almighty as well as benevolent, we or unkindly treated, the whole docmay conclude he will not suffer it. trine of final restitution falls unsupNow, to be convinced of the fallacy ported to the ground. of this way of reasouing, we may apply time, against this doctrine there stands it to the question about the origin of not only an awful and absolute silence evil in general; on which it bears ex- in the word of God, but many ex actly in the same way that it does on press denunciations, which, in my the present question. Were we now own judgment indeed, are decidedly in Edew, as inan was before sin and opposed to it, but which, I suppose, evil entered together, we might plau- all will allow to be calculated to leave sibly enough by this argument per- a very contrary expectation on the suade ourselves that evil was a thing mind. impossible. Indeed, something very I have said enough : your Correlike this was actually suggested in spondent writes with friendly candour, that happy place: but we know by and I trust that he will believe that I whom, and we kuow the cousequences. also am no enemy to the freest disThe source of difficulty, I conceive, iscussion of religious questinus ; no, not this: we first form abstract ideas of even of that before us, as far as we infinite power and goodness; we at have any light to guide us.
But as tach these to the Deity, and then pro- the matter stands, I must regard it as ceed to expect that his conduct will foolish and vain and unhallowed, to realize them. Whereas we ought to attempt to bring to light the destiny conceive of the Deity by what we of those around whom the Scripture actually know of him, as manifested has thrown the blackness of darkness in the world around us, and in the for ever. facts and predictions of Scripture.
EUELPIS. Now if we do this, we shall never dream of any such love or power as
August 5, 1819. will produce pure, unmixed good; and THE following free remarks ou a seeing how much evil and how much subject which has been lately punishment actually exists in the pre- under discussion in your valuable sent world, we shall feel utterly in- pages, are with frankness, but I trust competent to judge to what extent becoming deference, submitted for they may go in another. I do not consideration. mean that we must be tossed about in In inquiries concerning the treata boundless sea of gloomy apprehen- ment of offenders under the Christian sions. Not only what we see before dispensation, it appears to be of the us tends, on the whole, to inspire us greatest importance to keep steadwith cheerful hopes, but God has fastly in view the grand object and himself, in his word, given us certain design of that dispensution. The Aposwell-defined assurances, on which we tle Paul, in brief but comprehensive may rely, and which limit the regions terms, describes Jesus as having of doubt and fear. He has assured " abolished death, and brought life and us that every man skall find himself immortality to light by the gospel."
Thus his revelatiou is opposed to every ing to a glorious pattern which is exthing connected with death : it does hibited, can it be imagined that it has not, like the dreams of the Heathens, for its proper object, in the cases of rest our hopes and our fears in the numerous iudividuals, perpetual sufimaginary realms of the dead, the re- fering? Can this newly-constructed gions of Elysium and Tartarus ; nor and most exquisite frame be fit only does it suffer the former to wither in to be torn aud deranged? Or is it despondency, by the dreary prospects reasonable to suppose that the Creaof endless insensibility; but it dissi: tor will re-edify the frames, and repates all the shadowy and threatening produce the vital powers of some clouds presented by the grave, and persons so indifferentiy, or so wellimparts to mankind the assurance, fitted to live in misery or die in not merely of renewed life, but of a wretchedness, that perpetual suffering life of immortality. As this is the or dreadful destruction will be all they purport of the Christian revelation, so have to anticipate, either through all it is the design of the kingdom or eternity, or for a period of time so government of Christ, or as it is often lasting that it may be compared to it? termed the Christian dispensation, to Admitting this last supposition to be realize and establish such an event the truth, and that it is intended to Nothing was so opposed to the objects terminate in the immortal felicity of of our Lord's mission, character and the sutferers, would not the expectaoffice, as human misery and death; tion of such a result, from such a there was no object which he so in- process, be like expecting to put a cessantly laboured to accomplish as machine, constructed anew, but rethe mitigation and ultimate removal taining some of its former defects, of these evils, and the promotion of into the best possible order, by exposthe blessings of a renovated and inn- ing it to the most violent treatment? mortal existence.
Is it not infinitely more reasonable The present life, mingled as it is than either of these suppositions, to with evil and suffering, and transitory conclude that the great object and in its duration, has evidently for its proper effect of this resurrection from primary object, use and enjoyment, death, must be to destroy, and not in not abuse and consequent dissolution. any cases to impart new energies to It is the result of a most curious or- this principle of destruction ? To supganization, made not to produce pain, pose that while new vital powers are but to yield pleasure, to acquire know- imparted to one grand division of ledge, to effect objects of utility. mankind for use and felicity, the like Sickness, disease and death are the new vital powers are imparted to derangement and disorganization of another whole division of our race, to the structure, and consequently in be sources of suffering, is such an optheir own vature opposed to the pur- position of ideas, as I feel assured can poses for which it was fashioned. never have had its origin from the When life is removed, it can only be fountain of revealed truth. restored by a renewed act of that The many healing and life-restorcreative power by which it was ori. ing miracles which God wrought by ginally produced, and in proportion Jesus, among a nation generally in as its new powers are of a superior fixed enmity to his gracious designs, and more durable kind to those we were evident blessings to all on whom now possess, they must be the result they were effected. But if the res. of a higher act of omnipotence, and toration of this life, or its re-estaball those evils which bring death in lishment in health and vigour, be : their train, must be proportionately great blessing, its reproduction with further removed from their very na- powers of far superior vigour and duture. To suppose destruction or suf- rability, must in its very nature be a fering to be the very objects for which blessing of proportionately greater superior vital powers are imparted, magnitude to all its partakers. And appears scarcely any thing short of in this light it is clearly represented absolute contradiction. When an as- in the New Testament. The gospel surance is given that the dead will be is an annunciation of the universal reanimated, and even exalted to the resurrection of the dead, as I think condition of quickening spirits, accord- may be clearly learned from the tenor
and concluding events of the gospel. above passage, in which it appears histories, from the Acts of the Apos. that the faithful followers of Jesus tles, who “preached through Jesus have the priority in order, and that the resurrection of the dead," from all moral evil must be subdued before the first and all the following verses immortality can be universally realof 1 Cor. xv., the declaration of Paul, ized. It seems to have been generally above quoted, and many other pas concluded, that bad men will be sages of the New Testament, Ifthen raised with precisely the same evil the gospel, or glad tidings, intelligence propensities with which they were from heaven of a joyful and animating characterized in this life; the proud nature, and the doctrine of the resur- man still swelling with pride; the rection of the dead, be convertible avaricious and selfish still hankering terms, it follows that the event is in after wealth and devoid of social feel. its own nature a great blessing. The ing; the sensual still doating on the universal subjection of the human objects of his low gratifications. This race to death is described as a state conclusion appears at variance with of condemnation, and their universal the moral ends justly to be anticipated resurrection as a justification of life; from events of such magnitude, so
a phrase which seems to indicate alternately awful and glorious as those s something more than mere deliver- of death and the resurrection. Are
ance from that condemnation. As such operations of infinite power for that sentence was consequent to the no purposes of corresponding magnisiu of our primitive parents, and passed tude? ' Assuredly their objects coin-. upon all men on account of their com- cide with their nature and power. mon sins and imperfections, so the Death is the mortifier of sin-resurpromise of universal resurrection was rection the animating principle of consequent to the exemplary righte- righteousness. The proud man in ousness of Christ, who was raised as death quits all the sources of his the first-fruits from the dead. “ As haughtiness, all the means of his suin Adam all die, so in Christ all will perciliousness and coutempt of others, be made alive ; Christ the first-fruits, and resigns all the energies by which afterwards they who are his at his his short-lived greatness was .susappearance; then (or next after) will tained. In the resurrection he will be the end, when he shall have put be so far from finding those sources, down all rule, and all authority and means and energies restored, that power—the last enemy that shall be every thivg around and within him destroyed is death," I Cor. xv. 20, will inculcate the absolute necessity &c. What is this language but an of reversing his conduct and pursuits. assurance that as all men now are He will be placed under the proper mortal like Adam their parent, so all and absolute dominion of Christ; to men, in a great degree according to whose will all other authorities will the order of moral worth, shall at now be subdued, and have become length be raised like Christ their great extinct. His renovated powers being exemplar; that as they all died from for no other purposes than obedience, their resemblance to Adam in moral will find no objects, no gratification imperfection, so they will all be raised in any other pursuits. In proportion on account of their resemblance to as he wishes to attain any distinction Christ in moral capability; that in in this new kingdom' and world, he the end they shall all be brought to must reverse his former steps-must that resemblance, by the subjugation humble all remaiving pride and preof all other ruling principles to his sumption, and cherish humility, broauthority, when all the moral causes therly-kindness and charity. He will of death being removed, this only re- see the faithful followers of Jesus maining enemy will be destroyed — rising far above him in the scale of that is, life and immortality will be wisdom and true greatness; but so universally established ?
far from en vying those whom he had That there will be great distinctions contemned, he must learn to rejoice in the resurrection state, which will in their ascendancy, and meekly, prohe regulated entirely according to the bably at a bumble distance, to imitate scale of genuine Christian escellence, their virtues. Were this view of reway be sufficiently inferred from the tribution, which, from the nature of