« PreviousContinue »
Time's swift advance is hastening near
The moment of my spirit's flight, Soon, soon 'twill leave this darksome sphere,
And spring to distant worlds of light: There bliss is known without alloy,
And beauty blooms without decay ; All thought of grief in cloudless joy
Shall melt like morning mist away. Adieu to sin, where boundless love
Hath to himself all things subdued ; Adieu to tears that world above
Shall sorrow's faintest sigh exclude. And thou, pale tyrant of the tomb!
I soar beyond thy blighting breath : I go where fadeless glories bloom,
Adieu to sorrow, sin, and death! 'Twill there be my sublime employ
My Maker's power and love to trace Through worlds on worlds of light and joy,
Which people the unbounded space :
For ever and for evermore,
I cannot all his love explore.
And his unveil'd perfections see;
Shall in his blissful presence be:
Of beauty, glory, joy, and love,
I'll find surpass’d in worlds above.
Who gave his life to ransom me,
Shall form one great society.
Redeem'd from sin, from Hades freed,
Oh! there is bliss ! 'tis bliss indeed! E'en on this dim and distant sphere,
We join our feeble notes of praise ; Some gleams of glory reach us here,
And our glad hearts with rapture raise. All praise to thee, thou God OF LOVE!
Whose smiles are all the heaven we know ! Our deathless powers in worlds above
Their ceaseless gratitude shall show.
FURTHER PROVED FROM THE SCRIPTURES.
First. The doctrine of the ultimate salvation of all men is according to the WILL OF GOD; (1 Tim. ii. 4.) and this fact surely is of great weight in its favour; for although Arminians pretend that the human, and not the divine will, is supreme in this case, the scriptures are far from countenancing such an idea, but, on the contrary, teach that God “worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.” (Ephe. i. 11.) And even in the business of regeneration they make his will to be the sovereign
“Of his own will begat he us by the word of truth ;" (Jam. i. 18.) “which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." (John i. 3.) And yet we are charitably informed, that if we fail of being the subjects of this divine work, we shall be doomed to ceaseless perdition! Very rational! The will of God in the matter of man's salvation is negatively as well as affirmatively expressed ; and if any are finally lost, it is clear that the will of Jehovah will be frustrated.
But is this probable? Is it possible? When the will of God is formed in regard to any object, he appoints the means, and, of course, the adequate means, for bringing it about. Christ was appointed to this very end. 6 For I came down from heaven," saith he, “not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me; and this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.” (John vi. 38, 39.) If none that were given to Christ shall be so lost as not to be recovered at length, it behooves us to inquire, How many were included in that gift? Answer. “ The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hands." (John iii. 35.) 66 Whom he hath appointed heir of all things.” (Heb. i. 2.) “All things that the Father hath are mine.” (John xvi. 15.) Here, then, we have the business of Christ clearly revealed. Was Christ sufficiently empowered to fulfil this object? The following facts leave us no grounds for doubt on this point. First, The Father
delegated to him all power in heaven and in earth. (Mat. xxviii. 18.) Second, The keys of hell and of death were committed to his hands. (Rev. i. 10.) Third, He commands us to pray for this object. (Mat. vi. 10.) And we must have a better opinion of his wisdom than to suppose, that he would sanction our praying for an event which he knew would never come to pass, “ for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” (Rom. xiv. 23.) Fourth, It seems scarcely probable that Jesus would commence an undertaking without a pre-assurance of his ability to complete it, and thus offend against the moral of his own parable, concerning a man who began to build without being able to finish ; (Luke xiv. 29, 30.) for that he undertook the redemption of the world is certain. Will he fail from a neglect to count the cost? Fifth, We have positive assurance that “the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand,” that “ he shall see of the travail of his soul and shall be satisfied ;” (Isa. liii. 10, 11.) which can be conceived to mean nothing less than that he will fully accomplish the object of his mission and death. If Christ "tasted death for every man,” (Heb. ii. 9.) and yet millions shall be finally lost, will he be satisfied ? Finally, Paul assures us, that Christ “must reign till he hath put all enemies under his feet;" (1 Cor. xv. 25.) and by all enemies is clearly meant, all those things that are inimical to man's purity and allegiance to God; sin, death, the devil, hell, &c. that God may be all in all.
It may be said—“But sinners are so perverse, their wills so stubborn, so much opposed to God, that their redemption is utterly hopeless, and even impossible.” Reader, perhaps your own case may constitute a refutation of this objection. Was not your heart once thus perverse ? obstinate?? opposed to God? And if so, cannot the same grace that overcame its enmity equally overcome that of others ? To remove these barriers to our union to God was the very end of Christ's mission and death. We can scarcely sappose him to have been so short-sighted as not to foresee the obstacles to be overcome. This, indeed, would be neglecting to count the cost! My dear sir, look what your objection amounts to. Our hearts are hardened in sin; Christ came to soften them, but he fails-why? Because they are so hard! Our wills are opposed to God; Christ came to subdue them, but he fails—why? Because they are so opposed! Methinks he should
have seen the whole difficulty of the case before he undertook it; and either not have undertaken at all, or else have prepared himself in proportion to the resistance which he knew he should meet with. Reader, this will really not do; the grace of God, you believe, was sufficient for Manasseh, for the dying thief, for Saul of Tarsus, for the Philippian jailor, and think you there is any case beyond its reach? What said Christ himself concerning Mary Magdalene? That they love most to whom most is forgiven. (Luke vii. 47.) Still, however, as Paul clearly shows, (Rom. vi.) we must not “sin, that grace may abound.” The great error which perplexeth you, reader, is, that you limit the grace of God by the span of human life, and suppose this little world to be the sole theatre of its operations; whereas it is in fact commensurate with the breadth of his dominions, and as sin aboundeth, that infinite grace aboundeth much more. (Rom. v. 20.) When, therefore, we shall have measured the height, and depth, and length, and breadth, of Being, then shall we know the measure of almighty grace.
SECOND. The doctrine of Universal Salvation is according to the PURPOSE AND PLEASURE OF GOD: (Ephe. i. 9, 10.) Few are disposed to deny that the divine pleasure favours this great object, but very many doubt its ultimate accomplishment nevertheless; but how speaketh the 'scripture upon this point ? “I am the Lord, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying—My counsel shall stand, and I will do ALL my pleasure.” (Isaiah xlvi. 10.) Now the gathering “ together in one,” (or re-heading, as it may be rendered,) “ all things in Christ,” whether they be “things on earth or things in heaven,” is said in the text to be “according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself.” Professor Stewart, of Andover, who is high authority in matters of biblical criticism, affirms, that “things in earth and things in heaven," is a Hebrew periphrasis for the whole intelligent universe;" now if this be so, the pleasure and purpose of God respects the eventual uniting together of a universe of intelligences, through his Son Jesus Christ, and I think it extremely probable that Paul alludes to the same important event, when he represents “the whole creation" as groaning and travailing in pain, together with those
who were already in Christ, “waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.” Observe; not our bodies, but our body, i. e. the whole mass, or aggregated family. The idea is certainly a beautiful one, that the redemption of a part cannot be considered as complete until the redemption of the whole is so; for are we not members one of another? And if one member suffer, doth not the whole body suffer with it? Why else do angels themselves sympathise with the dwellers upon earth, and rejoice as each sinner is added to the company of the redeemed ? I pity the man whose heart is so narrow, and whose christian philosophy is so circumscribed, that he can anticipate a futurity of perfect bliss for himself, at the same time that he thinks that millions, flesh of his flesh, and bone of his bone, will scream in ceaseless fire! .
To deny that from the beginning God had a purpose regarding man's ultimate destiny, is to charge him with folly, for none but an idiot will work without a definite purpose. To say that his purpose respected the final happiness of but a part, is to charge him with cruelty. To say it respected the ultimate happiness of all, and yet that all will not be ultimately happy, is to represent him as impotent. Now the scriptures represent his purposes as eternal; (Ephe. iii. 11.) and they teach us that our salvation in a future state is to be, not in accordance with our works or merits, but according to his own purpose and grace, which were given us in Christ Jesus before the world began."..(2 Tim. i. 9.)
It will here be objected, that: “ inasmuch as God has no pleasare in sin, and yet, contrary to his approval, it exists, and has existed for centuries, what assurance have we that his pleasure will be fulfilled in a future any more than in the present state ?" I admit this to be the most formidable objection which can arise in this inquiry, and although I have more than once anticipated it in my former pages, yet, as this seems its proper place, I now again bring it in directly—the reader will at least not suspect me of wishing to keep it out of view. That God has no pleasure in sin for its own sake, is clear, for it is opposed to his nature. That he does not approve of it as an ultimate object, is also clear, for it entails misery, and infinite benevolence did not create for such an end; but that God does will its existence, for the present, and with reference to some future purpose of goodness, it were the