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the earth would do right. I entertain no doubt of the perfect rectitude of the divine moral government of men. But I shall never believe, that the infant, and the finner, who dies an hundred years old, will lie in hell an equal term. This cannot be, under the divine government.
It will be of no avail, to say, 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 ablurdity of this observation is too glaring, ayer to be admitted by any unbiased mind. I certainly should not esteem it the least favor, to have the quantity of - my future misery perfectly optional with myself, if it must be eternal.. :: - Eternity absorbs every other consideration"; and he must be stupid, and infenGble, to a prodigy, who can derive the least consolation from the reflection, that he shall endure a less quantity of never ending misery, than others. :: *. We have the promise of God himself that the punishment of some of the greatest offenders that have ever'lived on earth fhall cease : and this gives ius en. couragement to hope that the punishment of all men will eventually cease. Ezek. xvi. 48-63.'
As I live, faith the Lord God, Sodom thy fifter hath not done, faenor her daughters, as thou haft done, thou and thy daughters. 'Behold, this was the iniquity of thy fister Sodom, Pride, fullmess of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her, and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the
hand of the poor and needy. And they were haugh. ty and committed abomination before me; therefore I took them away as I saw good. Neither hath Sa. maria committed half thy sins; but thou haft multiplied thine abominations more than they, and haft justified thy fisters in all thine abominations which thou hast done. Thou also, which haft judged thy fifters, bear thine own shame for thy sins, that thou haft committed more abominations than they : they are more righteous than thou: yea, be thou confounded also, and bear thy shame, in that thou haft justified thy sisters. When I shall bring again their captivity, the captivity of Sodom and ber daughters, and the captivity of Samaria and her daughters, then will I bring again the captivity of thy cap. tives in ibe 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. Wben tby fifters, Sodom and ber daughters, fball return to their former estate ; and Samaria and her daughters ball return to their former eftate ; tben thou and iby daughters ball return to their former estate. For thy lifter Sodom was not mentioned by thy mouth in the day of thy pride. Be. fore 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 Phil. 'ifines, which despise thee round about. Thou hast borne thy lewdness and thy abominations, faith the Lord.
For thus faith the Lord, God, I will even deal with theo as thou hast done, which haft despised the oath in breaking the covenant. Nevertheless, I will remember my covenant with thee in the days of tby youth, and I will establish unto thee an evera lafting covenant. Tben tbou Malt remember thy ways and be ashamed, when thou shalt receive thy filters, thine elder and tby younger : and I will give them unto thee for daughters ; but not by tby covenant. And I will efablish my covenant witb thee; and thou shalt know that I am the Lord. That thou mayest remember and be confounded, and never open thy mouth any more, because of thy fame, when I am pacified towards thee for all that thou haft done, faith the Lord God.”
In order to understand this passage of scripture, we must know where the scene of those great events predicted in it is to be laid ; whether in this world or in the next, before or after the general refurrection and judgment. And I think it is plain, from several notes in the passage itself, that the great scene of the restoration of Sodom, Samaria, and Jerusalem, is to be carried forward into a future state. Of the Sodomites it is said, “they were haughty and committed abomination before me : therefore I took them away as I saw good.” Those very persons, whom God took away for their wickedness, by fire and brimstone rained out of heaven, or the atmosphere, upon them, fhall return to their first estate. This cannot be without a resurrection; confequently Sodom will not return to her first eftate till after the resurrection.
And Samaria, and Jerusalem Mall not return to tbeit firft eftate, before Sodom fball return to her first estate. V. 55, of the forecited chap. of Ezek, “When thy fifters, Sodom and her daughters, fall return so tbeir former estate ; and Samaria and her daughters fhall return to their former estate; tben tkou and thy daugba ters fall return to ibeir former estate.” Thus we fee it to be absolutely necessary, in the very nature of the things to be done, to carry forward, and lay the. scene of the return of Sodom, Samaria, and Jerusalem, in the resurrection world. Further as to Ifa rael, it is expressly said that they shall be restored to a virtuous temper, before their return to their former estate. V. 63, before cited. “That thou mayest remember and be confounded, and never open iby mouth any more because of thy foame, when I am pacified towards thee for all that thou hast done, faith the Lord God." .
The reader now plainly sees it to be demonstrate ed from scripture, that there will be repentance, resto. ration to a virtuous temper, and return to the divine favor, after the resurrection and general judgment. And if some of the greatest finners that have ever been in the world, the Sodomites, the Samaritans, and rebellious Ifraelites, shall be restored to a virtu. ous temper and to the divine favor; why not all mankind ?
The reader now fees, in the clearest light, that no passage of scripture, which speaks of future misery, declares it to be great, and of long continuance, is
any objedion againit the final reloration of all men to virtue and happiness. No one will doubt the return of Sodom, Samaria, and Jerusalem, means a return to the divine favor, when it is considered that it is expressly said, that God shall be pacified towards Israel, as in the last verse of the forecited xvi. chap. of Ezekiel.
We will now go on with the further consideration of Mr. S.'s scripture proof of eternal misery.
He says, sec. 5. p. 23. “ Several of Christ's para ables seem to be spoken on purpose to place this sub. ject beyond all doubt.". The subject, the reader will observe, is the absolute eternity of future misery.'
He first recites the parable of the tares ; and then makes this observation, “ To prevent all possibility that the parable should be explained away, or misunderstood, our Saviour explained it in the following words. It will be sufficient for us, if we cite only our Saviour's expofition of the parable of the tares. He that soweth the good feed is the son of man ; the field is the world : the good feed are the children of the kingdom, but the tares are the children of the wicked one, the enemy that sowed them is the dev. il; the harvest is the end of the world ; and the reape ers are the angels. As, therefore, the tares are gathered and burot in the fire ; fo shall it be in the end of the world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them wbich do iniquity, and fall cast them into a furnace of fire; there shall be