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The following passages of Scripture have been also urged against the doctrine of endless punishment: “ It shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” (Gen. iii. 15.) “ For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.” (1 John iii. 8.) 6 For he must reign, till he hath put all his enemies under his feet.” (1 Cor. xv. 25.) It is said these Scriptures are inconsistent with the continuance of sin and misery forever, for these are among the enemies which shall be put under the feet of Christ, and are the works of the devil which he came to destroy; that Satan's head cannot be bruised effectually, and his works destroyed, if any of the human race are left in his hands, and finally destroyed in endless sin and misery.
That these declarations do not afford the least ground for such a consequence, will be very evident, by attending to the following observations:
1. The natural and common meaning of a person's having his enemies put under his feet, is his completely defeating and overcoming, and triumphing over them. This was represented by the captains of the men of war in Joshua's army putting their feet upon the necks of the kings of Canaan. (Josh. x. 2.) This does not imply that the enemies are reconciled to the conqueror, and do cordially submit, and become his friends, and applaud and rejoice in his conquests, but suppose the contrary, viz., that they continue his enemies, though completely overcome, and they are held under his feet, to answer his ends and grace his conquest and triumph.
2. The devil will be most effectually subdued, his works will be destroyed, and his head bruised in the highest sense and degree, when he shall be perfectly defeated and disappointed in all his ends and designs, and every thing he has attempted and done against Christ and his interest shall be turned against himself
, to answer those ends which he constantly sought to defeat by all his attempts, and Christ shall be more honored, and his kingdom more happy and glorious forever, than it could have been if Satan had never opposed him, or seduced and destroyed any of mankind. This does not imply that the devil shall ever become a friend to Christ, or cease to exist, or that all the human race shall be saved, but the contrary may be necessary in order to effect this to the highest degree, viz., that the devil and his angels, with all his impenitent followers in this world, be doomed to everlasting punishment, as Christ himself says they shall. And that this is necessary in order to destroy the kingdom and works of the devil most effectually, and to answer the most important ends to Christ and his eternal kingdom, will, it is hoped, be made VOL. 11.
to appear in the sequel. In this view these passages of Scripture are so far from being inconsistent with endless punishment, that this is necessarily supposed and implied in what they assert.
Another passage of Scripture, which refers to the same event, is found in Philip. ii. 10, 11. " That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” This text has been produced as inconsistent with endless punishment, and as a full proof that all men and devils will be finally saved. The whole weight of their argument, from this passage, lies in the meaning they affix to bowing the knee at the name of Christ, and confessing that Jesus Christ is Lord. They say this means a voluntary_homage paid to him, as his friends and obedient servants. But what evidence is there of this? The words are as capable of another meaning as of this, and perfectly agreeable to the design of the apostle here, which is to show how Christ is exalted and honored, and is to reign until all creatures and things in the universe shall be made subject to him, and his enemies to be put under his feet. His friends will bow the knee to him, and cheerfully give him the glory due to his name, and joyfully submit to him, and own him as their Lord and the Lord of all. His enemies also will be obliged to submit to him, and own his power and dominion, and that they are justly condemned and punished by him; and while in punishing them he will tread the wine press of the fierceness of the wrath of Almighty God, it will be to the glory of God the Father. In this sense, this same apostle quotes and uses these words in his Epistle to the Romans, xiv. 10, etc. : “ For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.
So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.” Here the apostle uses the words only to signify that all shall give an account to Christ as their Judge, and consequently receive a sentence according as their works have been, whether good or evil, which he will cause to be properly executed. And may we not, rather, must we not understand them in much the same sense, when he uses the same words in another epistle ?
The apostle Peter, speaking of Christ, says, “ Whom the heavens must receive, until the times of the restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of ah his holy prophets since the world began.” (Acts iï. 21.) Some have thought these words signify that all creatures shall be restored to holiness and happiness by Christ. That they import no such thing will be evident, if the following things be observed:
1. The restitution of all things seems to mean nothing else here but the accomplishment of all things which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets. This sense is given to the original word, in some translations, and is natural and easy, and agreeable to the following words, which have been cited.
2. All things will not be restored to their former state at Christ's second coming, and therefore this cannot be the meaning.
This earth and the visible heavens are reserved unto fire, against the day of judgment, and perdition of ungodly men, when the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat; the earth also, and the works that are therein, shall be burnt up.
3. The time of the restitution of all things, of which the apostle speaks, is the time of Christ's coming to judgment, which is elsewhere called his coming the second time; for the heavens must receive him till this time of restitution, which they will not do, any longer than to the day of judgment, for then he will “ so come in like manner as his disciples saw him go into heaven.” Therefore, they who allow there will be any punishment of men and devils after the day of judgment, as all must who will pay any regard to the Bible, cannot make this text mean the restoring all creatures to holiness or happiness, consistent with their own notion of the final restitution.
4. If the restitution of all things does not mean only the fulfilment of all the great things which the prophets have foretold, which has been observed as the most natural sense, and will certainly take place at the day of judgment, and if something more, or different, be signified by this expression, it must mean the restitution of all things from the state of disorder and confusion into which they are fallen by sin, into a state of order, at the day of judgment; when all shall be called to an account, and rebellion shall be silenced and come to a proper issue, and every one be rewarded according to his works, and all obstinate sinners, both men and devils, receive their proper doom and punishment, while the righteous are separated from them, to inherit the kingdom prepared for them, and Christ and his kingdom receive all the advantage of the rebellion that has taken place, and of the endless punishment of the wicked, so that there shall be unspeakably more glory and happiness in the kingdom of God, in consequence of sin and the endless punishment of the wicked, than could have been without it. When things shall be brought to this state and issue, which certainly they will be at the day of judgment, the restitution of all things will take place to the highest degree. Every thing will be set perfectly right, the wicked will receive their proper punishment, all the reproach cast on God's law, government, and character will be wiped off, and he shall have his full revenue of glory, by all the sin and punishment of the wicked. Christ shall receive the full reward of his work, and his kingdom have all the advantage of the whole. Who can imagine a more perfect and glorious restitution of all things than this ?*
Another text, which is produced in favor of universal sal. vation, and to oppose the doctrine of endless punishment, is Rom. v. 18. “ Therefore, as by the offence of one, judgment çame upon all men to condemnation: even so, by the righteousness of one, the free gift came upon all men, unto justification of life.”
Answer. The apostle had particularly stated the way by which men become interested in the righteousness and salvation exhibited and offered freely to all in the gospel, and proved that this is by faith, or believing in Christ, or receiving him, and the abounding grace and gift of righteousness by bim, and had abundantly insisted that there is no other possible way for men to have any share in this righteousness and justification by Christ, but by faith. He had mentioned this above twenty times, in this epistle, before he comes to these words now under consideration, keeping it constantly in view. It will suffice to cite only three or four instances now out of more than twenty. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God unto salvation, to every one that believeth." (Rom. i. 16.) “Even the righteousness of God, which is by faith of Jesus Christ, unto all, and upon all them that believe.” (Rom. iii. 22.) And this chapter begins with the following words : “ Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ.” And in the sentence immediately preceding the words we are upon the same thing is brought into view, though the word faith or believing is not used. “ For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace, and of the gift of righteousness, shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.” (Rom. v. 17.) Here the word receive is active, and expresses that particular exercise
Christ says, “ Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things." (Matt. xvii. 11.) The same word is used here as in Acts iii. 21. There it is a substantive, and here a verb, and must signify to regulate and reduce things to order. This John did by preaching repentance and reformation, and declaring that all who refused to comply should be punished in unquenchable fire. Christ will restore all things by seeing this most completely executed.
or act by which men embrace the gospel or receive Christ, and is the same thing with faith, or believing on Christ. “ But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God; even to them that believe on his name." (John i. 12.) He here limits the abundant grace and gift of righteousness, by which men reign in life, to those who receive it, or believe on Christ, for it is in and upon all them that believe. There was, therefore, no need of repeating this limitation in the words under consideration, and saying, “ Even so, by the righteousness of one, the free gift came for comes upon all men (who believe) unto justification of life. For this is naturally and even necessarily understood; and it would be doing violence to the words to leave out this idea, and make the apostle say, in direct contradiction to what he had so often asserted before and labored to prove, that justification and salvation comes alike upon
believers and unbelievers, or whether they believe or not; and this not only makes him contradict himself, but the express words of Christ and John the Baptist, “ He that believeth not is condemned already. He that believeth not shall be damned. He that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him."
The free gift does indeed come to all men, in the offer of the gospel, and it is wholly owing to the wickedness of men, disposing them to slight and reject this salvation, thus brought and coming to them, that all men, even every one of the human race, are not actually saved; but still it remains true, that they only who believe, and thankfully receive this offered grace and gift of righteousness, shall be actually justified, and reign in life by Jesus Christ; for he that believeth not, after all, shall be damned.
It has been also imagined, that the salvation of all men is asserted in the eighth chapter of this epistle, (verse 19–23.) " For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God; for the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope. Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption, into the glorious liberty of the children of God; for we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now; and not only they, but we ourselves also, which have the first fruits of the spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body."
In order to make this passage of Scripture have the least appearance of asserting universal salvation, the creature and