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After Mr. S. had finished his observations he proceeded to other passages of our Saviour's dis. courses.
He begins his 4th fec. on p. 21, in this manner, “The question whether all men shall be saved, is expresse ly resolved by Jesus Christ, in fo plain a manner, that it seems strange any who profess to believe the holy fcriptures should doubt the event.” After this what can we reasonably expect, from a divine, a gentleman of good abilities, short of the most plain and posisive assertions of our Saviour, either that God is unwilling that all men thould be saved, or that the future misery of the wicked will be without end ? The passage of scripture he recites is the xiii, chap. of St. Lake, 23-30 verses inclusively. " Then said une unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved ? And he said unto them, strive to eriter in at the strait gate : for many, I say unto you, thail seek to enter in, and shall not be able. When once the master of the house is risen up, a.id hath Thut' to the door, and ye begin to ftand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us : and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence you are : Then shall ye begin to say, we have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou haft taught in our streets. But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence you are; depart from me, ye workers of iniquity. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall fee Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets
in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out."
If we should allow this to be a representation of the sentence of the eternal judge, at the conclusion of the general judgment, excluding some from heave, cn; and dooming them to a place of misery; still it is no proof that these very persons, thus excluded from heaven, and doomed to misery, shall not be saved; or that their misery shall never terminate. So that there is not a single word in all this passage which affords the least objection against the salvation of all men.
If Mr. S. had proved that the present life is the only probation time for mankind; then such a pafsage, as the above; might have been well introduced, as proof that some will never be saved. But till be shall have done this, such scriptures are not to his purpose. Yea, I will concede more to Mr. S. If he will produce one single passage of scripture, that renders it as probable that this life terminates man's state of trial, as the passage in St. John, which we have considered, renders it probable that it will not ; I will freely allow him to cite such passages as this of our Saviour in proof of eternal misery. And I think this a fair concession.
St. John hath expressly mentioned a first resurrection to life ; plainly giving us to understand that there will be a second.
Yet, wonderful as it may seem, Mr. S. says, prefently after citing this scripture, “Many Thall never
be saved," p. 22. This is the very point to be proved ; and not a syllable yet adduced in proof of it. If Universalifts should frequently affert 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 perfift in affirming it, as a scripture truth.
As the chief scripture proof of eternal misery Mr. S. produces, turns on this supposition, that the pref. ent life is the only disciplinary state for man ; the only ftate 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. Ifa. y. 1, 2, 3, 4. “Now will I fing to my well beloved a song of my beloved touching his vinc. yard. My well beloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill. And he fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choiceft 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 Judah, 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 Gtuation for mor. al 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 hould be righteous or wick. ed; and repeated the declaration, that it was an established maxim of his government, that the soul on- ' ly who should fin, should die; he adds, Ezek, xviii. 25, 26, 27, “Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. Hear now, O house of Israel ; is not my way.equal? are not your 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 fall save his soul alive.”
I adduce these scriptures, to show that God con. descends 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 infinite variety in the birth, education, abilities, and advantages of mankind in the present life. 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, himlele and mankind. The supposition just made, that millions of the human race have died, after having enjoyed but one hour of probationary life, is un. doubtedly just. Millions have enjoyed a day, a week, a month, a year, and then died, after these fhort terms of probationary life. Some of the antediluvians enjoyed almost a thoufand years of probationary life. Since the contraction of human life, 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 life, lie in the lake of fire, as long as he who hath lived nine hundred years ? would this be equal ? I javite my kind reader to pause ; and attend closely to this question.
Abraham was satisfied, and I doubt not that his fatisfaction was well founded, that the judge of all