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render it impossible: but my only hope is in God.

Friend.-Yes; if you can find similar ex pressions used for limited times, it will be satisfactory.

But, to encourage us the more, there are not only promises of what God will do, but examples of what he hath done, recorded in Scripture, as the cases of Manasseh, Nebuchadnezzar, Mary Magdalen, Saul, and many of the murderers of our Lord, priests, and even Pharisees, are left on record, as patterns of God's long suffering, power, mercy and love. And I would advise those Christians that doubt of the Universal Reconciliation of all things, to remember St. Paul's words to the Collossians on this subject, chap. i. 21, "And you that were some time alienated, and enemies in your mind, by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled;" as a proof and example of his power to reconcile all things. Let all remember their own stubbornness; and then instead of reviling and deriding a truth which God has revealed, they will adore him, of whom, through whom, and to whom, are all things; who "doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, what doest thou?" Rom. xi. 36, Dan. iv. 35.

Friend. But allowing that God has power to change the hearts of the vilest of men, is not the exercise of that power evidently limited? For I find it written in Rev. xxii. 11, 66 He that is unjust, let him be unjust still, and he that is filthy, let him be filthy still, and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still; and he that is holy, let him be holy still." By these words it seems to be intimated, that the characters of both the wicked and the righteous, shall at some period be so confirmed and fixed, as to admit of no change or alteration.

Minister. This appears to be a considerable difficulty, but can by no means overthrow the system of the Restoration, which seems established upon many gracious promises. The word seems to refer to a particular period, even when the Lord shall come, and shew that his coming will not (as some suppose) change the characters of men; but that all shall continue for a certain time, in the same character as before. But though he that is unjust, shall be unjust still; and he that is filthy, shall be filthy still-during the age of judgment; and shall have the dreadful curse pronounced upon him; for, "If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be anathema Maranatha ;" that is, accursed, the Lord cometh, 1 Cor. xvi. 22. Yet I trust I have proved, that the vilest shall be finally changed; and consequently, that these words must be understood with some limitation. And thus though this text is plainly contrary to the opinion of those who suppose that all the human race shall be admitted into the kingdom of heaven at the day of judgment, yet it may well be reconciled to the system laid down in these Dialogues; especially if it can be proved that similar expressions are used, where a limitation is supposed, or necessarily implied.

Minister.-St. Paul says, 1 Cor. xiv. 38, "But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant." But we can hardly suppose that he meant without limitation. So we read of the Jews, that God hath given them the spirit of slumber; eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear, unto this day." And David saith;-"Let their table be made a snare and a trap, and a stumbling block, and a recompense unto them. Let their eyes be darkened that they should not see, and bow down their back alway." Rom. 8-10. These expressions of their remaining in a blinded, hardened, and reprobate state, are stronger than those "He that is unjust, let him be unjust still," &c., for, instead of still, the word alway is used; and yet we are informed, that this “blindness in part has (only) happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in and so all Israel shall be saved." And that “ God hath concluded them all (or shut them up together) in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all," even all whom he had shut up, or concluded in unbelief. And, as I observed before, David says; "Fill their faces with shame, that they may seek thy name, O Jehovah. Let them be confounded and troubled forever; yea, let them be put to shame, and perish that they may know that thon whose name alone is Jehovah, art the Most High over all the earth." Psalm lxxxiii. 16–18. Many other similar passages might be mentioned; but these may suffice, to shew, that often where the words let it or let them be, in such and such a state, they only intend a certain period, until another dispensation takes place. As for righteousness, holiness, and happiness, they have quite a different foundation from sin and impurity, as I have shewn before: and therefore, no arguments used in favor of the total destruction of evil, can, in the least, prove, that goodness, which is the divine essence, shall cease: but the contrary : and those who are firmly joined to the Lord, and have continued with him through the state of temptation, shall never cease to be righteous, nor be separated from their Head, from whom they shall derive eternal life: for Christ hath said, "Because I live, ye shall live also." St. John xiv. 19.

Christ, at his coming, will bring every hidden thing to light, and shall take off all disguises: so that he that is unjust, shall appear unjust: and he that is filthy, shall be discovered: hypocrisy shall be no more. "The vile person shall be no more called liberal, nor the churl said to be bountiful." Isaiah xxxii. 5. "Then shall ye return, and discern, betweer the righteous and the wicked: and betweer him that serveth God, and him that serveth him not." Mal. iii. 18. The judgment God is according to truth, and, is designed make an entire discovery of all persons, and all secret things," that every mouth may b stopped, and all the world become guilty be

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fore God." Rom. iii. 19. But though judg- away his part out of the book of life, and out ment has its great use in discovering, laying of the holy city, and from the things which open, convincing and condemning: and pun- are written in this book." But I can almost ishment in destroying, subduing, and hum- foresee how you will answer this; that though bling yet the powerful, saving grace of God, the plagues that are written in this book shall and the operation of the Divine Spirit, must be added, yet mercy shall finally rejoice have the glory of restoring, or creating men against judgment; though a man's part may anew: and the blood of Jesus must cleanse be taken out of the book of life, and he, in their souls from the guilt and pollution of consequence, suffer the torments of the second sin. Evil must be destroyed out of them: death; yet, as a time will come, when there this is done by afflictions: and goodness shall be no more death of any kind, neither must be restored: this is done by God's re- sorrow, nor crying, nor any more pain; his newing power and grace. Restoration may be certainly inferred; and though his part in the heavenly city may be forfeited, so that he may never become one of those who shall reign therein, nor yet have a constant dwelling there; he may, neverthe less, enter as a worshipper, and a subject of the great king; and may drink of the water of life; fced on the fruits of the life, and be healed by its leaves; and be one of the happy inhabitants of the earth, which God will create.

But the objection may be answered another way, without any of this reasoning by considering the subject comparatively. Thus: as God only is holy; as none are good but he, in an absolute sense; as he putteth no trust in his holy ones, and the heavens are not clean in his sight, and his angels he chargeth with folly; (See Job xv. 15; iv. 18.) and as all intelligences, compared with him, are unjust and unclean; so, those who have lived and died in rebellion against God, and in the pollution of sin, may remain unjust and filthy, compared with the saints, those vessels of honour and glory, who have purged themselves. "But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood, and of earth; and some to honour and some to dishonour. If a man therefore, parge himself from these (sins) he shall be a vessel of honour, sanctified and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work." 2 Tim. ii. 20, 21. Here we may observe, that in our Lord's great house there shall be divers vessels of various kinds, yet all useful, but some more highly so than others: that honour and dishonour are comparative terms: and that the way to become vessels of the highest honour at last, is to parge ourselves from iniquity while on earth, by obeying the truth. For it must appear evident, from the nature of things, that there will always be an immense difference between those who shall be kings and priests to God, and those who shall be subdued in the ages to come, so as to be subjects, but who shall not attain to that honour and glory which they shall have who suffer with Christ here, and shall be glorified with him hereafter.

Friend. Since I have conversed with you I must acknowledge that many things have appeared in a different light from what they did before; and if I do not wholly embrace the doctrine of the Restoration, I must allow that there is much more to be said for it than I could have imagined. But I have still some di Fculties that I wish to propose. There is a terrible threatening which is indeed the last in the Bible, that I should be glad to hear your thoughts upon, which is thus expressed, (Rev. xxii. 18, 19,) "For I testify unto every man, that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book. If any man shall add unto these things, GoD shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book. And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, GOD shall take


Minister.-Yes, my friend: but though this Scripture may be easily reconciled to the plan laid down in these dialogues; it contains such threatenings as are very terrible indeed; and should make us exceedingly careful not to contradict what God hath here revealed, by adding vain interpretations of our own, contrary to the sense of the text: nor in any wise to explain away or weaken, the force of either the threatenings or promises, set forth in this wondrous book. The amazing torments which they shall feel that have these plagues added to them, and the dreadful loss which they shall sustain that have their part taken out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, cannot be even conceived; and it being possible to forfeit this glorious portion entirely, and for ever, made St. Paul warn the Hebrews in such a solemn manner as he doth throughout the whole epistle.-Oh, what affecting advice is the following!" Looking diligently, lest any man fail of the grace of God: lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled: lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat, sold his birthright. For ye know, how that afterIward, when he would have inherited the blessings, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully, with tears." Heb. xii. 15-17.

"Poor Esau repented too late,

That once he his birthright despis'd;
And sold for a morsel of meat,

What could not too highly be priz'd.

"How great was his anguish, when told,
The blessing he sought to obtain
Was gone, when the birthright he sold;
And none could recall it again!"

Thus, though Esau, as well as Jacob, was blessed concerning things to come: (See Heb. xi. 20) yet their birthright, and the particular blessings connected therewith, he lost forever: and so it is possible that we may lose our parts in the holy city, or no such threat


enings would ever have been made. For it is a maxim with me-that God never warns where there is no danger to fear: and never encourages us to hope, where there is no possibility of obtaining.

A preacher whom I once knew, encouraged this wickedly presumptuous disposition so far, as, openly to say: "God cannot damn me: He can as soon cease to be God, as he can cast me off: even though I should sin ever so much. If I should kill a man, he could not damn me: nay, if I should kill all the men in the world, he cannot damn me."

As the glorious and universal deliverance of all men from the bondage of sin, and their obtaining an inheritance in the new earth, was clearly pointed out by the great year of Jubilee, under the law in which every servant went out free, and every man returned to his possession, and to his family: (see Lev. xxv. 10:) so, the possibility of being cut off from the holy city, for ever, was pointed out by that notable exception, ver. 29, 30. "And if a man sell a dwelling-house in a walled-This man was rigid in trifles, religiously city, then he may redeem it within a whole scrupulous in frivolous things, such as dress, year after it is sold within a full year, he &c., yet he made traffic of the human kind, enmay redeem it. And if it be not redeemed gaged in war, and performed acts of cruelty within the space of a full year, then the house and outrage with as little tenderness as may that is in the walled city shall be established be imagined! He long bloated himself with for ever to him that bought it, throughout his a notion of God's peculiar favour-but near generations it shall not go out in the Jubi- the close of his life, the displeasure of the lee." Almighty coming visibly upon him, the rhapsodist changed his tone, and exclaimed, that God had forsaken him!

I would advise all men, of that bold, presuming, self-confident spirit, to read and consider well those words, in Jer. xxii. 24: "As I live saith JEHOVAH, though Coniah, the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, were the signet upon my right hand; yet I would pluck thee thence."

Something similar to this may be found in Rev. iii. 11.—“ Behold I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown:" and the 5th verse is also worthy of consideration-" He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment: and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life: but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels."-O, what promises are made to overcomers! That they shall eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God: shall have a crown of life: and shall not be hurt of the second death: shall eat of the hidden manna: shall have a white stone, and a new name, which no man knoweth, saving he that receiveth it shall have power over the nations, &c., even as Christ received of the Father: shall walk with him in white: shall be esteemed worthy to be companions and friends of God: shall be clothed in white: shall have their names enrolled among the followers of the Lamb, as called, chosen, and faithful: shall be confessed by the Son of God, before his Father and the holy angels: shall be made pillars in the temple of God, and shall go no more out: shall have the name of God written upon their foreheads, and the name of the holy city, New-Jerusalem, and Christ's new, heavenly name: shall sit with him upon his throne, even as he overcame, and is set down with the Father, upon his throne: shall inherit all things: shall be called the sons of God. See Rev. ii. 7, 10, 11, 17, 26, 27; iii. 4, 5, 12, 21; xvii. 14; xxi. 7. The apostle assures us, that "If (we are) children, then (we are) heirs: heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ: if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together." And then adds-" For I reckon that the sufferings of the present time, are not worthy to be compared to the glory which shall be revealed in us." Rom. viii. 17, 18. "When Christ, who is our life shall appear; then shall ye (his saints) also appear with him

in glory." Col. iii. 4. "We know, that when he shall appear, we shall be like him: for we shall see him as he is." 1 John iii. 2. But let none of those who believe themselves the heirs of this kingdom, &c., dare to indulge themselves in sin, under a notion that God can never cast them off: as some do.


Consider, first, who speaks: Jehovah. He not only speaks, but he confirms his threatening with an oath; and because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself, by his own life; "As I live, saith JEHOVAH, though Coniah, the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah," though he is of the family of David, with whom I have made an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure; and though he is anointed king over my people; I will not spare him; yea, though he were the signet upon my right hand; yet would I pluck thee thence." Signets, upon the hands of ancient Persian monarchs, were those seals with which their decrees were sealed and confirmed; so that no man could reverse them. Now, God declares, that if this man was ever so dear, and as necessary to him, as the signet on the right hand of a king is to its owner; that though he was not able to govern his kingdom without his assistance; though he had been the dearest and most useful thing he would entirely cast him off, for his trans gression. And how much more so, if it b considered, that no man is necessary to God that man cannot be profitable to him; the neither our wickedness can hurt him, nor ou righteousness benefit him; (See Job xxii, 2 3; xxxv. 6, 7, 8; Psal. xvi. 2, 3.) And h threatens to punish the only family that h had known on the earth, for all their iniqu ties. Amos iii. 2. What have not those fear, who have been placed in high station entrusted with precious treasures, great abil ties, opportunities, &c., and have abuse them! Let such read and seriously consid

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2|ed with myself, that the second death must end either in the Restoration or annihilation of those who were cast therein; for there seemed something in endless misery, that surpassed my belief, at times. But I could not satisfy myself whether the wicked would be finally restored to some degree of happiness, or totally destroyed; and was apt to think the latter, as it seemed a strange figure of speech to call destruction, Restoration.Pray, have you ever thought upon this matter?

Lake xii. 42-48; Matth. xxiv. 45-15;
Pet. ii. 20-22.

Friend.-These considerations are, on one hand glorious and sublime, beyond conception; and, on the other, terrible beyond description. But some say, that if they are only admitted into the kingdom of God, and are not cast into the lake of fire, it is the highest of their ambition; that they never aspire to be kings and priests; nor to obtain a crown, throne, sceptre, &c. And others say, that if they are ever, to all eternity, to be delivered from their misery, that it is a matter of little consequence to them whether they are followers of Christ here, or not.

Minister. These kind of reflections are frequently thrown out by the enemies of the Restoration, to cast an odium upon the doctrine. But if they were to hear a man say; "If I am just suffered to enter into this kingdom, and am not condemned as a rebel, it is all I wish; I desire neither the riches, honours, pleasures, conveniences, nor even the necessaries that many of the inhabitants enjoy; all I ask is to be exempted from the pain and shame of public punishment;" and another was to add "I can see little or no difference between being made heir apparent to the crown, possessing all the privileges, honours, dignities, &c., of a prince of the blood; and being hanged, drawn, and quartered, for high treason; since even the punishment, painful and shameful as it is, must come to an end;" I ask, would they not esteem both these men in a state of insanity, or worse; entirely devoid of all sense and reason? Yet, this unreasonable language, is not worthy to be named in the same day with that which you mentioned. The difference is 80 great I cannot find language to express it. I therefore consider all such persons as madmen, with whom it is not worth while to reason; who understand not what they say, nor whereof they affirm.

Minister. There are but three possible things that can befal those that are cast into the second death; either endless misery, total annihilation or Restoration; a fourth cannot be thought upon; and but one of these can be true. Now, where there are only three possibilities, of which only one can be true, and one must be true; there are these two ways of discovering the truth; first, if two of the propositions are proved to be absurd, the third must stand: 2dly, if one be proved true, the others must fall to the ground of consequence. I have taken the second method; and having shewed that the doctrine of the Restoration is not absurd, and therefore that it is true; consequently, the others are false. But, besides this way of arguing there are three circumstances which prove to my satisfaction, that annihilation is not a truth.

1. That at the very time that the wicked are destroyed, they are said to be tormented with fire and brimstone; and that they have no rest, day, nor night, and the continuance of this is for no short time, (as would probably be the case if the intention of God was only to destroy them out of being) but for the age of ages. Rev. xiv. 10, 11.

2. They are put to shame and perish, that they may know the Lord as I have noticed before. See Psal. xxxiv. 16, 17; lxxxiii. 1618-and the observations I have made upon these passages in the dialogues.

3. But that on which I dare venture the whole cause, is, that God hath absolutely promised to restore and bring again those whom he hath utterly destroyed.

Friend. So they appear to me. But the system you have laid down appears equally calculated to check presumption and despair, and to cure all such spiritual madness; provided that they will attend to it.-But what will you say to the doctrine of annihilation? That may not be liable to the same objections as endless damnation; and so the wicked may be punished with everlasting destruction, and destroyed, soul and body, in hell; and yet, at last, all beings that are in existence may be made happy. The Scripture seems, in many places, to favour this idea; and the works of nature seem to confirm it. For instance; many fruits and animals perish, before they arrive at perfection; and why may it not be so with the souls and bodies of men? They are no where said to be raised to corruption, or immortality; but to be destroyed, to be cast into the lake of fire, to be burnt up, root and branch; to be consumed, devoured, burnt ep as chaff, thorns, &c. I need not mention particular texts; because the general part of the threatenings in the Scriptures run in that

As they are set forth for an example in their punishment, so also in their restoration; for we may certainly argue, that if any of the human race shall be annihilated, the inhabi tants of Sodom, Gomorrah, &o., will be; as they were condemned with an overthrow, and made an example to those who should after live ungodly. 2. Pet. ii. 6. But these style. And I have sometimes of late reason-wicked nations shall have their captivity re

Friend.-Can you prove that? For if you can, it will settle the whole controversy.

Minister. I trust I can, in many instances. But I will fix upon one that is full to the purpose, and is unexceptionable; and that is the case of Sodom, and her daughters, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboim; who, "giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire." Jude 7.

turned; shall return to their former estate; ! eglaim, places that are well known to be con and shall be received by Jerusalem, as daugh- tiguous, to the Dead Sea; one of which is ters in the everlasting covenant: Jerusalem nearly at the northeast corner, the other at the and her daughters, more wicked themselves, west end of the same. 3. The marshes, and than Sodom and her daughters, shall be re- the miry places thereof, shall not be healed; stored at the same time; shall remember but shall be given to salt, as specimens of their ways and be ashamed; shall never open what the whole is at this time; which barren mouth any more to glory over the meanest of and deadly spots shall remain, as standing mankind; when the great JEHOVAH shall be evidences of the truth of Scripture, and the pacified towards Jerusalem, for all that she has exact fulfilment of prophecy.. done, and towards Sodom and Samaria, for all that they have done also, inasmuch as they shall return from their long captivity, and be given to Jerusalem for daughters. See Ezek. xvi. 53, 55, 61, 63.

Now, by Sodom and her daughters being returned from their long and dreadful captivity, we must understand one of the three things either, first, the return of their descendants; or, secondly, the restoration of the land whereon the cities stood; or, lastly, the restoration of those very persons who were destroyed.

It cannot be the first; for there are none of their descendants remaining on earth; all were destroyed by fire and brimstone; none of the inhabitants escaped, Lot and his daughters excepted; who were only sojourners, and were the descendants of Terah and relations to Abraham.

As it cannot be the first let us try the second. A very ingenious gentleman supposes, that in the time of the Millennium, the Dead Sea shall be turned into land, and shall again become a beautiful well watered plain, and be given to the posterity of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob: For he argues, and seemingly very justly, that as God promised Abraham all the land which he could see from the place where he then stood; (see Gen. xiii. 14-17) and as the plain of Sodom was in sight, it was included in the grant: and though the Dead Sea now occupies the place where those cities stood; yet God's promise cannot fail; and therefore, in the Millennium, the Dead Sea shall be swallowed up, and the place shall become a fruitful plain. But whoever will read Ezek. xlvii. 8-11, may plainly see, that the waters that shall issue out from under the threshold of the holy house, shall be brought into the Dead Sea; and shall so heal those deadly waters, that they shall become fruitful, and bring forth fish in great abundance; exceeding many; like the great sea, which is now called the Mediterranean; which fish shall be more useful for food, to the innumerable inhabitants that shall then be in that happy country, than all the vegetables that would grow there, even though the whole place was turned into a fruitful garden.

Friend. But are you certain, that by the sea, is meant the Dead Sea, or Lake of Sodom? Minister. Yes. 1. Because all the other waters in those parts, produce great plenty of excellent fish; and therefore, need not healing. 2. Because fishers shall stand upon the banks of the sea, from Engedi even unto En

Thus, as Sodom cannot be restored in her posterity, there being none remaining on earth; neither shall the Dead Sea be turned into land, in the Millennium; it follows, as the only remaining sense of the return of Sodom's captivity, that those very inhabitants, who were destroyed by fire and brimstone from heaven, shall be restored to a state of felicity. And thus, both the doctrines of annihilation and endless damnation, fall to the ground at once.

Friend.-But as it is the second death, after the day of judgment, that is to destroy the bodies and souls of the wicked in hell; perhaps, the inhabitants of Sodom, Samaria, and Jerusalem, may be restored before that period, and may not be cast into the lake of fire.

Minister. It is evident by our Saviour's words, (for we must not contradict any part of the Scriptures) that this will not be the case; for he saith, that it shall be more tolerable for the land (that is, the inhabitants) of Sodom, in the day of judgment, than for the cities where his gospel was preached, and his miracles wrought, and yet the inhabitants remained impenitent. See St. Matth. xi. 24; x. 15; St. Mark vi. 11; St. Luke x. 12. From all which passages it is evident, that the inhabitants of Sodom will be condemned in the day of judgment, and punished in the lake of fire; and though their misery will not be so great as that of the inhabitants of the cities where our Saviour preached, and performed his mighty works; yet they will be miserable in that day; and, consequently, the return of their captivity is not to be expected, till after the creation of the new earth. Therefore, it is plain, that the lake of fire is not designed to annihilate those who are cast therein: since all that are not found written in the book of life, at the day of judgment, will be cast into the lake of fire. They whose names are in the book of life, will be happy. The inhabitants of Sodom will be miserable, in some degree; therefore, will not be found written in the book of life; consequently, will be cast into the lake of fire. They will be restored; their captivity shall be returned; therefore the lake of fire shall not anihilate them. They are set forth for an example in their punishment; and consequently, in their Restoration. I need not pursue this argument farther. It appears evident to me; and till it be fairly answered, I shall add nothing more.

Friend. I lately read a sermon written by one Mr. B, in which the writer brings many strong reasons for the eternity of hell

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