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who promulgates this doctrine dishonours God as much (if noť more) than he who denies his very existence---though I grant he may not design it. The following extract from a pagan author*, may serve to shew how repugnant this doctrine is to the feelings of men of that description. « The atheist, who denies a God, does him less dishonour than the man who owns his being, but at at the same time believes him to be cruel, hard to be pleased, and terrible to human nature. For my own part, I would rather it should be said of me, that there was never any such man as Plutarch, than that Plutarch was ill-natured, capricious, or inhuman.”
Not only Plutarch, but Pythagoras, Plato, Cicero, and all the other philosophers who believed in a future state, were far from consigning the greater part of mankind to endless misery. Plato, indeed, supposed that some might fin in such a manner as to become incurable, and thereby obnoxious to eternal punishment; but he considered those to be few, in comparison to the other part of mankind, whom he believed, were either purged here from their fins, or else with future punishment, by means of transmigration. This will appear from the following statement of his sentiments by a very ingenious and correct writer t. « Plato (says he) classed fouls, at their going out of the body they had informed, into three forts---the incurable, the curable, and the pure. The first were consigned to eternal punishment---the second were made pure by means of transmigration, which answered the purpose of a modern purgatory, and prepared them to ascend to their ancient habitations---the laft having been purified before death, wanted none after it, but returned back to the Soul of the Universe (God) when it left the body. And in this he followed Pythagoras, as Cicero afterwards followed him; the latter being such an admirer of Plato, that on one occasion he said, “ It is better to err, and be wrong with Plato, than to be in the right with other people.”
But as example is better than precept, fo facts adduced in evidence have a greater tendency to strengthen the cause we ; espouse, than a multiplicity of arguments; I shall therefore
conclude this effay with the following well authenticated one, to shew the ill effects produced by missionaries preaching the docar trine of endless punishment, and that that doctrine is not calculated to foften the heart of the savage, the pagan, or the no less obdurate heart of the man in civilized society.
† See Crawford's Dissertation on the Phædon of Plato.'
When a certain catholic nation sent missionaries to Japan to convert that nation from paganism, it appears the Japanese heard all the doctrines advanced by those miffionaries with patience, until they came to shew the consequences that would ensue to those among them who rejected the gospel, namely, that they would render themselves obnoxious to eternal (that is, as they explained it, to endless) torments in the prison of hell. Then we are told, that the Bonzes (an order of priests among the Japanese) began to stir up the people against the missionaries, and to thew the inconsistency of their doctrines, who, after setting forth the love of God to be such towards his creatures, as to induce him to give his only son to die for them, should likewise declare him to be a being of implacable wrath and endless fury towards the damned, whom the Scriptures represent as the greater part of his rational intelligences; affirming, that “ strait is the gate and narrow is the way, that lead. eth unto life, and few there be that find it; but broad is the way and wide is the gate that leadeth unto destruction, and many there be that go in thereat.”
“What God (said they) is it which this strange Bonze comes to declare to us? A cruel deity, who has built frightful hells to torment men with eternal punishments, without being willing to be appeased, or to take pity on their sufferings.”
The Bonzes then infamed the people, by representing to them the INCONSISTENCY of ETERNAL PUNISHMENTS with the ATTRIBUTES of God. Vide Life of Ignatius a Loyola, Founder of the Sect of Jesuits, 2 vols. 12mo.
J. H. PRINCE.
REVIEW OF BOOKS.
ARTICLE I. An Esay on Universal Redemption; tending to prove that the
general sense of Scripture favours the Opinion of the final Salvation of All Mankind. By John Brown, M. A. late of Sidney Suflex College, Cambridge. Price is. THE writer of this article is, we understand, a minister of
T the establishment. Several men of great learning and piety have heretofore borne their testimony to the Univ: rsal Doctrine in the established church, as Rust, Tillotson, Burnett, Whiston, Law, Stonehouse, Newton, &c. But as their works VOL. III.
are voluminous, and what they have written upon the subject was not printed separate, it never circulated much beyond the circle of the learned and curious. The present writer has presented to the public a small, plain, and popular pamphlet upon this very interesting theme. Doubtless, a very expeditious and almost certain method of propagating a sentiment is by the publishing of small tracts. To this is owing the rapid spread of infidel principles, which we have unhappily witnefled within these few years. If infidels have such wisdom and zeal for their cause, shall not Christians have more? Universalists, in particular, ought not to be backward in disseminating the knowledge of divine love in Christ Jesus. Mr. B. considers the genuine import of the word aswe and its derivatives, by which the duration of future punishment is expressed in the New Testament. He contends that xw does not in the least refer to eternity, but that it expresses only a long duration; and that its derivatives, therefore, can only mean a limited duration. He then touches upon most of the usual topics of argument on which the Universal Doctrine is founded, and concludes with a brief view of the practical effects of the sentiment. Some friends of the doctrine may perhaps think that Mr. B. has not been sufficiently evangelical, but that he ascribes too much to the endeavours and sufferings of the creature. However this may be, we believe that his book is of useful tendenc', and will have its good effects, particularly among the members of the established church, among whom the doctrine is, as yet, but little known. Upon the doctrine of Annihilation Mr. B. animadverts as follows :
« The words death, perdition, destruction, which are applied in Scripture to the future state of the wicked, are suppoled, by some, to imply the eternity of their future torments, and by others, that those torments will end at length in their destruction, (taking the word in the literal sense) or annihilation. « It is, (say they) an evident absurdity to suppose the punishment of death inflicted for a limited time, or with any view to correct the judgment, or reform the principles of the offender; that state, therefore, which is described by such terms, whatever it may be, must be eternal and unchangeable.” This, however, seems to me to be judging of the Deity by huinan laws. These, indeed, cannot inflict the punishment of death with any view to the reformation of the offender. But with Deity the case is certainly different. If we take the word death in its literal sense, nothing is more certain than that it is inflicted for a limited time, and that at the resurrection the soul will be again united
to the body. Judging, then, from the usual interpretation of metaphorical language, we have, I think, no reason to imagines : from the future state of the wicked being described under the metaphor of death, that it will be, in the proper sense of the word, eternal.”
We observe, that the.phrase Universal Redemption is used instead of Universal Restoration. This is not the usual mode of speaking upon this subject; but perhaps Mr. B. might have his reasons for his phraseolog '; and as Universal Restoration is founded upon Universal Redemption, he might think the former was necessarily included in the latter.
ARTICLE II. An Abridgment of Five Discourses on different Subjects, in.
tended to obviate several ObjeЕtions which have been made to the Doctrine of the Universal Restoration, and calculated to answer other important Purposes. By Richard Wright, Wisbech. Price is. 6d. TT was with great pleasure that we read this Abridgment, I and it is with equal pleasure that we announce it to the public. The contents are as follow:
I. An Attempt to prove that nothing is impossible with God.
II. The Lordship of Jesus Christ, as Mediator, afferted.. · III. The Practical Tendency of the Universal Doctrine examined.
IV. Observations concerning the First Fruits of the Crea
V. The Cause, Nature, Extent, and Design of Future Punishment. !
When any doctrine of divine truth is little known and much oppofed, the professors of it will act much on the defensive; but when it is better known and approved of, its friends willdilate upon it, shew its connection with other parts of truth, and point out its genuine practical effects. This Mr. W. has done in relation to the Universal Doctrine. We are happy to fee its practical uses so ably set forth, and demonstrated in fo clear, rational, and masterly a manner.
« The Universal Doctrine (lays Mr. W.) places the divine " character before the finner who is under deep conviction of fin, and feels the greatest distress on account of his tranigreifions,
a proper fathing is negod, only.in
in that light which is best calculated to excite him to hope in the divine mercy, and trust in God for his salvation. The great obstacle which prevents sensible finners looking to God for deliverance, is their supposing that their fins have extinguished his love to them, and that he is full of wrath and fury against them. If, in such a state of mind, they hear that the fins of creatures are capable of quite extinguishing the divine love to them, and of kindling in God implacable wrath, unrelenting revenge, and endless fury against them, it will be natural for them to suppose, that this is the case with respect to themselves; which supposition is calculated to extinguish all hope in their breasts, and drive them to despair: but if they be assured, that nothing can extinguish the love of God to his creatures---that his wrath proceeds from love---that all the punishments inflicted by him are intended for the good of his creatures, to bring them to proper reflection---that, as a proof of his love to finners indiscriminately, he gave his son to die for them ---that their fins have made no change in God, only in themselves---that, consequently, nothing is necessary, but for them to be brought to a proper state of mind, in order to their receiving the divine mercy and grace---such views of things will be calculated to remove their doubts of the possibility of salvation, and bring them to trust in the name of the Lord; for they that know his name will put their trust in him. The reason why finners do not trust in God is because they continue strangers to his love as revealed in the Scriptures; but the views entertained of the divine character by Universalists are calculated to assure finners universally of the unchangeable love of the Most High to them, consequently to bring them to put their trust in him.”
" As we cannot love any object farther than that object appears lovely in our eyes, I conceive the Universal Doctrine is calculated to inspire the Christian with more love to God than the opposite view of subjects, as it makes his character appear in the most amiable light. As it is declared, that we love him because he first loved us---as his love is the cause of our love to him.--and as causes operate in a moral sense no farther than they are perceived and felt, it cannot be supposed that we can love God any further than we have a perception of his love. If our views of his love be narrowed, our love to him will be narrowed in proportion. If our views of his love be enlarged, our love to him will be enlarged likewise. The reason why men do not obey God, is because they do not love him; the reason why they do not love him, is because they do not believe