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be saved," p. 22. This is the rery point to be proved; and not a syllable yet adduced in proof of it. If Universalists should frequently assert the thing to be proved, before producing their proof; we know what they would be charged with, by Mr. S., from what we have already seen. Fair dealing is always the best, in all cases. If scripture do not support us, in any article of our faith, by a natural and easy interpretation, it will be no honor to us to persist in afsirming it, as a scripture truth.
As the chief scripture proof of eternal misery Mr. S. produces, turns on this supposition, that the present lise is the only disciplinary state for man; the only state in which he may repent and obtain forgiveness; it may be well for us, before we proceed any further, to collect, in one view, the evidence we have, that this is not the plan of God, with regard to to his government of men.
That we have a right to exercise our reason and judgment, concerning the justice and equity of the divine moral government of mankind, is plain from the appeal God expressly made to the judgment of the Jewish church, concerning his conduct towards them. Isa. v. », «, 3, 4. "Now will I sing to my well beloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard. My well beloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill. And he senced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a wine-press therein: and he looked that
it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes. And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judab, judge, I pray you, between me and my vineyard. What could have been done more to my vineyard that I have not done in it? Wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes ?*'
God had highly favored the Jewish church, and given them peculiar advantages for the knowledge and practice of virtue, and to bring forth the fruits of righteousness. So good was their situation for moral improvement, that it would justify an appeal to any candid impartial judge.
After God had made a statement of the method of government he had adopted, with regard to the father and the son, who should be righteous or wicked; and repeated the declaration, that it was an established maxim of his government, that the foul only who should fin, should die; he adds, Ezek, xviii. 25, 26, 27. "Yet ye fay, The way of the Lord is not equal. Hear now, O house of Israel; is not my way equal? are notyour ways unequal? When a righteous man turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and dieth in them: for the iniquity that he hath done shall he die. Again, when a wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his foul alive."
I adduce these scriptures, to show that God condescends to admit man to reason upon the methods of his moral government,-and to judge whether they are equal or not.
Now it is certain that there is an insinite variety in the birth, education, abilities, and advantages of mankind in the present lise. Men die, as well as live, variously. From mere infancy, to a hundred years of age, millions die every intermediate age, Millions, no doubt, have died, after they had enjoyed but one hour of proper probationary time. For no one will suppose that one is in a probationary state, before he is a moral agent, or in a capacity both to know, and do his duty to his God, himlelf and mankind. The supposition just made, that millions of the human race have died, after having enjoyed but one hour of probationary life, is undoubtedly just. Millions have enjoyed a day, a week, a month, a year, and then died, after theft short terms of probationary lise. Some of the antediluvians enjoyed almost a thousand years of probationary lise. Since the contraction of hu-,man lise, millions have died in every intermediate minute between ten years of age, and three score years and ten. Shall the youth of ten years of age, who hath enjoyed but one hour of probationary lise, lie in the lake of sire, as long as he who hath lived nine hundred years ? would this be equal? I invite my kind reader to pause ; and attend closely to this question.
Abraham was satissied, and I doubt not that his satisfaction was well founded, tha.t the judge of all
/the earth would do right. I entertain no doubt of the persect rectitude of the divine moral government of men. But I shall never believe, that the infant, and the sinner, who dies an hundred year* old, will lie in hell an equal term. This cannot be, under the divine government.
It will be of no avail, to fay, that the quantity of misery will be proportioned to the quantity of guilt; but that, in all cases, future misery will be equally durable. The absurdity of this observation, is too glaring, eyer to be admitted by any unbiassed mind. I certainly should not esteem it the least favor, to 'have the quantity of my future misery persectly optional with myself, if it must be eternal.
- Eternity absorbs every other consideration; and he must bs stupid, and insensible, to a prodigy, who cart derive the least consolation from the reflection, fhathe flialr endure a less<quanlity of never ending misery, than others.
We'bave the promise of God himself that the punishment of some of the greatest offenders that' have ever lived on eaTth shall cease : and this gives .us encouragement to hope that the punilhmdnt of all men will eventually cease. Ezek. xvi. 48—63. Jt' As I live, sakh the Lord God, Sodom thy sister hath not done, fee nor her daughters, as thou hast done, thou and thy daughters. Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom. Pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her, and in her daughters, neither did stie strengthen the I hand
hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty and committed abomination before me; therefore I took them away as I saw good. Neither hath Samaria committed half thy sins j but thou hast multiplied thine abominations more than they, and hast justisied thy sisters in all thi»e abominations which thou hast done. Thou also, which hast judged thy sisters, bear thine own shame for thy sins, that thou hast committed more abominations than they: they are more righteous than thou: yea, be thou confounded also, and bear thy shame, in that thou hast justisied thy sisters. When IJhall bring again their captivity, the captivity of Sodom and her daughters, and the captivity of Samaria and her daughters, then will I bring again the captivity of thy captives in the midst of them. That thou mayest bear thine own shame, and mayest be confounded in all that thou hast done, in that thou art a comfort unto them. When thy sisters, Sodom and her daughters, shall return to their former estate; and Samaria and her daughters Jhall return to their former estate j then thou and thy daughters (hall return to their former estate. For thy sister Sodom was not mentioned by thy mouth in the day of thy pride. Before thy wickedness was discovered, as at the time of thy reproach of the daughters of Syria, and all that are round about her, the daughters of the Philistines, which despise thee round about. Thou hast borne thy lewdness and thy abominations, faith the Lord.