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ciples, where he describes himself in the character of the good shepherd, who lays down his life for his sheep, has the following remarkable expression. “ And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice, and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd."* St. Paul, in that celebrated chapter of his Epistle to the Corinthians, where some important circumstances, respecting the future world, are enumerated, says, “For as in Adam all die, 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. Then cometh the end, when he shall deliver
the kingdom to God his father; when he shall have put down all rule, and all authority and power.
For he must reign till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is DEATH.”+ Can the last enemy be destroyed, if sin and misery are to be of eternal duration ? Can that death be destroyed, which holds myriads of beings in an eternal captivity ? Can death be destroyed, without the introduction of universal life? St. Paul, in his Epistle to Timothy, orders that prayer, intercession, and thanksgiving, bę made for all men; for this is good and accepta ble in the sight of God, our Saviour, who will have all men to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth. He adds, “ For there is one God, and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all men: to be testified in due time."* In the mysterious book of the Revelations there are hints given, which are less obscure when applied to the above doctrine, than by any other explanation that can be devised. They mark various distinctions of life and death, which must have specific applications, although it may not be in our power to comprehend them. Thus in chap. XX. V. 5, “But the rest of the dead lived not again, until the thousand years were finished, This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy be he that hath part in the first resurrection, on such the second death hath no power,” &c. Again, v. 12, “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened, and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and the
* Johnx, 16.
† i Cor. xv. 22-25.
grave delivered up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death,” &c. The 21st chapter opens in the following manner: 56 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away ; and there was no more sea. And I, John, saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God, out of heaven, saying, the tabernacle, the dwelling of God, is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor cryings, neither shall there be any more pain; for the former things are passed away,"
It would be extreme folly to propose such obscurities as the foundation of an hypothesis, but it is gratifying to observe, that principles rendered probable, by various coincidental circumstances, throw some rays of light upon these obscurities; for this augments the probability of their being true,
We must again recall to our consideration, some observations which have been made, concerning the usual motives, or designs of punishment, observable in all human transactions. We remarked, that punishments are inflicted from a principle of resentment against evil conduct;-in order to deter others from committing similar offences ;-to protect good subjects from being injured by the wicked and unjust;—and with the desire of reclaiming offenders themselves. * Surely, excepting there be an express revelation to the contrary, it is most rational, and most honourable to God, to ascribe to him the choicest of these motives. We cannot imagine that he is influenced by a spirit of resentment; much less could he retain his resentments, were the character of the subject to be totally changed by his sufferings. To punish the wicked in a future world, in order to deter others from vice, has something extravagant in the motive ; nor can it be exempt from the charge of cruelty. No punishments can be necessary to awe the blessed into permanent obedience. None of these considera tions are admissible. Total annihilation of the irreclaimable, it is true, may be an act of mercy. For as misery and wickedness are inseparable, there is no unjust or merciless severity in their total destruction of the wicked, where they
cannot be subdued. But unless they were swept from existence by one indiscriminating ordination, the punishments nicely adjusted, to the comparative demerits of offenders, will require the protracted torture of myriads, without any specific object in view, worthy of a wise legislation.
In a wise legislator, in an affectionate parent, in a benevolent man, the motive the most honourable, and the most approved, is to RECLAIM the offender; to replace him in the rank of virtuous society, and to give him an opportunity to
bring forth fruits worthy of repentance.” 6
do err from the truth,” says the Apostle James, “and one convert him, let him know that he which converted a sinner from the error of his way, shall save a soul from death, and hide a multitude of sins."* It is most natural to suppose that the Deity will himself act upon the principle which he thus recommends, and which is thus enstampt with his approbation.
We shall also remark, that the proper signification of the word xéneris, in that passage upon which so much stress is laid,f and which we translate punishment, is much more applicable to
* James, v. 19.
† Matt. xxv. 46.