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This does not imply that there are any bounds set to the reign of the immortal God, or that his honour and glory will cease when the ages of mediation shall end; but it is contended, that neither this text nor any similar one goes farther than these ages.
Thus I hope justice is done to these texts without giving them the idea of unlimited duration.
It is a feeble attempt of yours* indeed to venture to accommodate. your own mode of speaking of "THIS eternity of bliss,” and “THAT eternity of bliss," to the mode of using the Greek this age and that age, --for unless one of your eternities of bliss can expire, and another of your eternities of bliss can succeed it, there is no parallel betwixt them.
I have no hesitation in admitting that they of Dan. xii. 2. answers to the Greek av, nor that the antithesis in this passage, and in Mat. xxv. 46. determines it to mean the same when applied to shame and contempt, as when applied to life." You seem greatly to have mistaken me in what I said about the eternity of future happiness. I believe I have never pleaded for that on account of its being expressed either by the word by or alv. I conceive it to stand on much firmer ground than these words can afford. But I may say something further. on that subject in another letter.
Your quotation, in which the authority of: Aristotle is brought forward, proves little to your purpose. The critic who furnished you with it, says, that the ancients admirably expressed eternity by the word aion; for they call the term of each person's life HIS alon!!! Most admirable indeed! Are you in the habit of speaking to your hearers in this admirable manner about eternity?. If I had brought a quotation of such a nature, I should probably have been told, that it was a proof of the scarcity of evidence in the paths which I am in the habit of treading.
In my next I may go on to consider further what you have said in your fourth letter. Meanwhile,
Your sincere friend in the love of the truth,
A LETTER FROM A MINISTER
GAY YOUNG GENTLEMAN, LATELY CONVerted.
Conceive it will not surprize you to understand that your good mother communicated to me your letter to her, which brought her the acceptable news of your conversion to God.
I, who have often been a witness to her concern for you on a spiritual account, can attest with what joy this news was received by her, and imparted to me as a special friend, whom she knew would bear a part with her, on so joyful an occasion. And, indeed, if, as our Saviour intimates, there is joy in heaven, and among the angels of God, over a sinner that repenteth, it may well be supposed that of a pious mother, who has spent so many prayers and tears upon you, and has, so to speak, travailed many years in birth with you again, till Christ was formed in you, could not be small.
You may believe me also, if I add, that I, as a common friend of hers and yours, and, which is much more, as a friend of Christ, whom you have now heartily submitted to, could not but be tenderly affected with an account of it under your own hand. My joy on this occasion was the greater, considering the importance of your situation, interests, and prospects; which, in such an age as this, may promise most happy consequences to many others, by hearty appearing on God's behalf, and embarking in the interest of our dear Redeemer.
If I have at any time hitherto remembered you at the throne of grace, at your mother's desire-which you are pleased to take notice of with so much respect I assure you I shall henceforth be led to do it, with more concern and particularity, both by duty and inclination. And if I were capable of giving you any little assistance in the noble course you are now engaged in, by corresponding with you by letter, while you are at such a distance, I should do it most cheerfully. Perhaps such an offer may not be altogether unacceptable: for I am inclined to believe, that when some, whom you are obliged to converse with, observe your behaviour so different from what it formerly was, and banter you for it, it may be some little relief to correspond with one who will take a pleasure in giving you encouragement. Also when a great many things offer, in which conscience may be concerned, where duty may not always be plain, nor suitable persons to advise with at hand, it may be soine satisfaction to you to correspond with one, towards whom you may always use a friendly freedom in all such matters, and on whose fidelity you may always depend. You may therefore command me in any of these respects, and I shall take a pleasure in serving you.
One piece of advice I shall venture to give you, though your own good sense will make my enlarging upon it less needful; I mean that you would, from your first setting out, carefully distinguish between the
essentials of real religion, and those things which are commonly reckoned by its professors to belong to it. The want of this distinction has had very unhappy consequences, from one age to another, and perhaps in none more than the present. But your daily converse with your bible, which you mention, wiil herein give you great assistance.
I advise also that, since infidelity so much abounds, you would, not only by close and serious consideration, endeavour to settle yourself well in the fundamental principles of religion; but also that, as opportunity offers, you would converse much with such books which treat most judiciously on the divine original of Christianity, such as Grotius, Abadie, Baxter, Bates, Du Plessis, &c. which may establish you against the cavils that occur in almost every conversations, and furnish you with arguments which, when properly offered, may be of use to make some. impression on others.
But being too much streightened to enlarge at present, I will only add, that if your hearty attatchment to serious religion, should prove any hinderance to your advancement in the world-which I pray God it may not, unless such advancement would be a real snare to you-I hope you will have faith to trust our Lord's words, that it shall be no disadvantage. to you in the final issue. He hath given you a promise for it, upon which you may safely depend, Matt. xix. 29. I am satisfied, none, that ever did so, at last repented of it. May you go on and prosper, and the. God of all grace and peace be with you,
THOUGHTS ON PROVERBS, XIV. 10.
I Have sent you the following Thoughts on Proverbs, xiv. 10. if worthy a place in your Miscellany shall be glad to see them inserted. Yours, &c.
T. C. A.
"The heart knoweth its own bitterness, and a stranger doth not intermeddle with its joy." Prov. xiv, 10.
THE book of Proverbs, as consisting of so many moral aphorisms, differs from any other Scripture treatise; therefore to seek to determine the sense of a passage therein contained, from its connection, must be in vain; each text (with but a small exception) conveying a distinct and explicit meaning in itself. To suppose, then that the above words have the least reference to any thing contained in what is called Christian experience, must appear an opinion exceedingly futile and contradictory.-We know how the language of Solomon is applied by
a certain sect of spiritual, and, as they deem themselves, sound expositors.But admitting that by the bitterness of the heart we are to understand that inward sorrow which is inseperable from a conviction for sins, can the subject of it feel a joy resulting therefrom,—I mean at that time? It seems impossible, from their being opposite passions, that this should be the case-not to say that the feeling of one seems to imply the want of the other. If a man be in a state of suspense as to the issue of any doubtful event, though these sensations exist in him, yet each one, I suppose, in respect of its exercise, will have the ascendancy in succession, though it be for a very short interval: but certainly there cannot be joy in bitterness. All, then, I conceive, that the wise man means in the assertion is, That the heart only knows its own bitterness, when thus affected; so, by the same parity of reasoning on the contrary experience, a stranger intermeddleth not with its joy. The apostle Paul will furnish us with the best comment on the subject, when he says,— “For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of a man which is in him." 1 Cor. ii. 11.
T. C. A..
ON THE RESURRECTION.
PERMIT me to add one observation to Omicron's "Answer to
Difficulty on the Resurrection *."
.:. That there will be a first and also a general resurrection, appears to me a discovery peculiar to the gospel dispensation, made in the New Testament. The resurrection being spoken of in a general way, in the Old Testament, should not, therefore, be considered as evidence to the rejection of what is so clearly revealed in the New.
From the text in Job, xiv. 10-12. might be brought an objection against another important discovery made in the New Testament, viz. the changing of those at the last trump. Let us suppose the following conversation between A. and B. on reading 1 Cor. xv. 51, 52. "Behold I shew you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump; for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”
A. It appears, from this passage, that those who are alive at that period, will not die, but be changed into the same state as those who are raised from the dead.
B. We must not understand one passage of the word of God in such
a sense as to contradict another. I recollect a text in Job, xiv. 10.
See p. 300 and 352.
which proves your views to be inadmissible. "But man dieth, and wasteth away; yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where is he?"
A. All men became mortal by sin; and death is often spoken of as the common lot of man. But must we infer from thence that every individual of the human race will certainly die?
B. Most certainly we must. For the word man is an aggregate term, including all mankind, as in the first verse- "Man that is born of a woman;" and intends the whole human race; and therefore I Cor. xv. 51, 52. must not be taken in a literal, but in a figurative sense.
Nothing appears to me to be wanting, but the prejudice of education and custom, and this objection would be equally valid as that against the first resurrection.
IT is, I believe, generally acknowledged, that the brute creation are
compounded as well of spirit as of matter-and is not al! spirit immortal? If so, does not this favour the idea of their restoration, according to the hypothesis of Mr. Henry and others?
If you, Sir, or any of your correspondents, will offer a few thoughts in reply to this question, it will oblige,
THE FUTURE STATE OF BRUTES.
THE PHRASE “IMMERSE WITH WATER,”
See U. M. P. 349.
WHE HEN I sent you the query on Mr. Scarlett's Testament, it was not with a design to enter into the controversy between the baptist and the pedobaptist; nor do know intend it. The writer of the answer*