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most glorious promises of Universal Redemption which the Scriptures contain, and one whose sense is so lucid and brilliant, that it has cost the popular 'orthodox' commentators more severe and tedious labor to smother and put out its obvious meaning, than almost any other passage of the kind we can think of.
For THIS PURPOSE was the Son of God manifested, That he might Destroy THE Works of the Devil,' (viz : temptation, sin, error and ignorance, sorrow, suffering, and death.1---1 John iii. 8. O, who would not rather give credence to this broad testimony of the final extinguishment of evil, an end of things which would so highly exalt Christianity above all other systems or sciences in the world, an end so well worthy of the God of the Universe, and which would so infinitely exemplify His glory, than to believe that dreadful and contrary teaching of the creeds of mens' devisings, that God shall not only immortalize but infinitely magnify the evils of time in eternity, and grant them a separate universe, larger perchance than all the dominions of Heaven, where the Triumphant and Mighty Prince of Evil shall eternally reign in his majestic glory as sovereign and independent in his sphere, as the Original and the Good ?
What was the Everlasting Decree of Jehovah respecting the children of men ? Let the Bible answer : "I will Declare THE DECREE : the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art My Son, this day have I begotten thee. Ask of Me, and I will Give thee The Heathen for thine Inheritance, and the Uttermost Parts of the Earth for thy Possession.' ---Ps. ii. 7, 8. Here we have a plain testimony of the Decretal Purpose of the King of Kings to 'subdue all things unto himself,' through the mission and spiritual ministry of the Son. Now behold a specimen of the obliquity and degeneracy of the 'wisdom of this world. The Presbyterian "Confession of Faith,' tells of an eternal and immutable Decree in the counsels of heaven, whereby according to the supreme and absolute Will of God, and without the least foresight of either faith or good works, because He foreordains whatsoever comes to pass, which foreordination extends not only to the first fall, but to all other sins in particular, certain men and angels, whose number was so certain and definite that it never can be either increased or diminished, were particularly predestinated to endless happiness, while all the rest of mankind that should be created, to whom the ministry of the Spirit should be purposely withheld, were irretrievably doomed and foreordained to everlasting death, to the glory of His vindictive Justice! This is a strong example of the fearful variancy which subsists between the glorious and ennobling teachings of the divine record, and the unworthy, the degrading conceptions of celestial things which are woven into the written and standard superstitions of perverted intellects. It would perhaps be edifying and amusing to denote all along through the course of ourargument, the great-gulph contrast between the teachings of the various Partialist creeds on many points, and the plain language of those prophecies which came in the olden time ‘not in words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth. But as this did not enter into our plan, we propose rather towards the end of our book, to treat the reader to a chapter of the Beauties of the Creeds.
Again, "The Father Sent the Son [for this purpose,---ex. pressly Designed him] to be THE SAVIOUR OF THE WORLD.' -1 John iv. 14. Now let me ask those who believe and teach that the Father sent the Son only for the purpose of being the Saviour of the elect, whom God should save, or of the righteous, who should save themselves, let me entreat them to look this plain scripture in the face, fairly, and tell us whether it is not of itself a triumphant proof of our Proposition ? Mark its conciseness, its clearness, and its force. Consider how fruitless and vain would be the task of the Universalist to evade the strength of that passage, were it to have been written "The Father did not send the Son to be the Saviour of the World. Can you possibly distil from the inmost essence of those brief and easy words, any other signification whatever, than the Father's righteous Intention to redeem the world of the lost through the mediation of Jesus Christ? If I can get you to agree to this, and surely, it seems to me that the believer in Christ cannot honestly refuse credence to a proposition which is so plainly taught, I am quite as confident that I shall be able also to convince you that whatever God hath Determined, shall surely be brought to pass.'
Here is another passage which beautifully illustrates the merciful disposition and benevolent intentions of the Heavenly Parent towards the children of men. 'I know the thoughts which I Think toward You, saith the Lord, thoughts of Peace and NOT of Evil, to Give you an Expected sa hopeful] End. Then SHALL ye call upon Me, and ye shall go and pray unto Me, and I will hearken unto you, and ye shall seek Me, and SHALL FIND Me.'-Jer. xxix. 11 --13. Mark, again, “YE SHALL ! 'I WILL!
"God hath NOT APPOINTED US TO WRATH, but (He hath Appointed Us] to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for Us,' [even 'for all,' 'for every man,' for his 'enemies,''for the whole world.']—1 Thess. v. 9, 10.
There are some, and there have been theologians of eminence, who have professed to disbelieve in any such thing as an original, vast, and all-comprehending Design, or Purpose of God in the creation of the universe. Their reasonings have amounted to this. That in the event of creating at all, it was well known to Deity that certain circumstances must necessarily arise which would operate counter to the general good tendency of things, and thus introduce into the elements of the spiritual and natural world, a confusion that to an immense extent would be absolutely irremediable forever. This being the case, it were impossible for God to fix and chain the order and relations of things to all eternity, sufficient to bring about an ultimate consummation which would comprise the highest possible excellence and harmony of all things. Consequently, all that may be inferred concerning any eternal or original Purpose, is, according to this view, that God designed to work all things together so that as much good as possible should be evolved, under the circumstances; or in other words, that He resolved to do as well as He could, though, indeed, He could not bate the awful demands of His Justice for the sake of good,) while the act of creation itself, though it should inevitably result in the production of so much final, endless evil, was perfectly justifiable on the supposition that God was confident of His ability to produce in the end of things a larger aggregate of good than evil. (Yet strange to say, the abettors of this same theory fix their criterion of human salvation at a mark, such that, not one-millionth scarcely of the whole family of our race from Adam until now shall possibly escape the doom of endless burnings !) It would seem that no individual who is tolerably conversant with the Scriptures, could entertain so unworthy, so inglorious an opinion concerning the Divine Purposes, as that which we have above cited. But there is such an almost irradicable predisposition in the minds of the greatest part of Christendom, and even with many of the pious and learned, in favor of the truth of endless misery, that almost any straw of a support will be caught at that it may be kept afloat, no matter if that supporting principle be as contradictory to revelation and to reason as the other. It will require but very little reflection on the part of the reader to discover how such a conception of things as we have stated above, debases the lofty, infinite attributes of Jehovah, His Power aud Wisdom, even down upon a level in kind with the imperfection of those qualities in man.
But what possible view of this question except that which Universalism assumes, is reconcilable with this grand theological maxim, this infallible test of religious truth, that each of the divine attributes are illimitable and infinite in measure? Or shall we say that the wonderful and mighty work of this beautiful and harmonious creation was undertaken by the Almighty Architect without regard to any defined, all-skilful, and all-comprehensive Plan,—that this stupendous machinery of the worlds was all broken into being and hurled into its complicated evolutions at hazard, and blindly regardless of its immense consequences, of its progressive developments of, and final resolution into, weal or woe, with the myriad immortal hosts with which it is peopled ? This, surely, it were madness to suppose, for it is denied by every teaching which is spoken from the glories of nature, through the admirable traces of design that are everywhere discoverable, and all the skilful adaptations of the elements and objects of the creation which are seen, to the production of good and the perpetuation of harmony. A proposition like this would arraign the Wisdom of God. Shall we then say, as there seems to be a lingering notion in the creeds, that until the fall of man, the earth and man and all things were perfect ; that the introduction of evil was a casualty unforseen and unprovided-for, and which consequently did not enter into the original Design of creation, which design was all comsummiated in perfection universal, when the rebellion of the angels and the fall of humanity ushered into the universe irremediable ruin ?Nay, for we should impugn the infinite Knowledge. Should we then admit the Arminian proposition of God's original purpose, firm and determinate, to confer immortal happiness upon all the creatures of His hands, even though the existence of evil were foreseen, a Purpose which extended uniformly down even to the advent of the Redeemer ; yet, after all, that its accomplishment was allowed to hinge upon the variableness of subordinate circumstances, upon the brittle thread of emergency and conditionality, upon the frail impulses and manifestations of creature wills, so that the eternal purpose must inevitably be swallowed up of everlasting and inglorious defeat ? Not with the Scriptures in our hands could we countenance such an opinion, for we should be continually upbraided with a denial of the Divine Omnipotence, which is sovereign over every soul of man to turn it 'whithersoever He will. What then? Ought we to acknowledge with the Calvinist, that all things, even to the most trivial and minute circumstance that ever bubbled upon the sea of existence, that every motion of nature, and every slight or mighty impulse of mind or instinct, whether it open into evil or good, are all universally and forever interwoven into the sure dependencies of a magnificent series of cause and effect, which to the veriest item all revolves in the unerring lines and fixed courses designated by the unwavering index of the Infinite and Original Decree? but that the great cycle of eternity shall roll its round and