Page images

it must have been for “ the Most High and Mighty Prince JAMES, by the Grace of God King of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, Defender of the Faith," &c. (according to the pompous title he bore, under whose inspection our common Bible was translated,) to introduce, if possible, such kind of faith as would keep his subjects in the greatest fear imaginable, that with the more ease he might support his Crown; i. e. by making the monarchical and ecclesiastical powers unite and combine together; I say, let these things be well considered, and neither the literal nor the mystical Babylon can easily be mistaken. Yet, rest assured, “ her plagues shall come in one day;" and none will either mourn or bewail her just judgment, although accompanied with great torments, except it be those who have made themselves rich by her merchandise, or who have “ drank of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.”-0, ye children of mystical Babylon, hearken, and be wise; “ Come out of her, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues !"

The idea that God is filled with either wrath, anger, or hatred, towards any of his creatures, which the doctrine of endless misery supposes, is as contrary and foreign from the truth, as darkness is from light. It would be as consistent to suppose that our natural sun is capable of emitting cold and darkness, as it is to suppose that God is even subject to anger; that is, to any principle which is inconsistent with,

or opposed to, his own divine nature-LOVE. To say that God now hates any thing which he once loved, supposes a change in the Deity; which is not only inconsistent, but contrary to scripture. Whatever we can suppose, as now existing in man, whether natural pollution or actual transgression, which renders him obnoxious to the wrath of the Deity, must have been foreseen by him who secth the end from the beginning, and therefore must have had the same effect in his mind, even before creation, that it has now, or ever can have; and if these things render man an object of hatred now, why did they not render him an object of hatred from the beginning? Therefore, if there be any such thing as hatred in God now, that hatred was there from eternity, and was exercised towards the same objects that it is now, the very first moment those objects had a being; and no other principle has ever been exercised towards them, from that moment to the present, (from the same source,) but a principle of hatred! To clear the scriptures of divine truth from ideas so derogatory to the character of God, and to deliver the world from a doctrine so blasphemous in its nature, and pernicious in its consequences, nothing more is necessary than barely to define the word ogyn,

which is the only word used in connexion with God, that is rendered wrath or anger. in the Greek Testament. Ogyn, animi inclinatio, an inclination of the mind or spirit; studium, an earnest endeavour after any thing, study, care, regard, concern, purpose, design, exercise, &c.

Now such being the definition of the Greek word oeun, as well as ira, anger, wrath, &c. there certainly was no necessity (and I doubt the propriety) of ever rendering the word wrath or anger, when applied to the Deity. When applied to man, it is admitted that ofyn may repre. sent the passion of anger, wrath, displeasure, &c. Why? Not because the word necessarily means so, but because man is subject to those passions : his mind may be so exercised as to be blown into a rage, or be inflamed with anger. But shall we say that God is subject to the like passions as we are? This would be contradicting other plain and positive texts of scripture. “Fury is not in me." Isa. xxvii. 4. “ I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.” Mal. iii. 6. But we should have no objection to the words wrath and anger, as applied to God, only let them be understood in a qualified sense, as in appearance only, and not representing a principle inconsistent with, and contradictory to, the nature of the Deity, which is LOVE. Therefore, when we read, “ God is angry with the wicked every day;" and also read, that “ anger resteth in the bosom of fools;" we cannot construe anger, in both passages, in the same sense ; as all would be shocked at the character such a construction gives the Almighty.

If the word ogyn had been invariably translated ardour, when applied to God, it would, I make no doubt, have come nearer the sense of the original.

Thus we may see what is meant to be understood in scripture by the wrath of God, or the anger of the Lord. It is that fervency of spirit in the Most High, which shall burn as an oven, when the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble : " and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch." Mal. iv. 1.

Rom. i. 18, “For osyn Osov, the ardour* of God, is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, των την αληθειαν εν αδικια


veritatim in injustitia detinentium, who suppress the truth by injustice." The above passage contains the best comment on the wrath, ardour, or fervency of God, which can be given. It is that energetic principle which will ultimately destroy every thing that stands opposed to his divine nature.

We might here, as it should seem, take leave of this work, believing that all, into whose hands it may fall, must be convinced of the truth of the doctrine which has been advocated--and being so convinced, see that the doctrine of endless misery is a sentiment which cannot be supported by the Bible:-But so far from believing that it will have all that good effect, which, but for the prejudices of mankind, it would seem as though it might, and ought to have; it is expected, after all, that but very few, comparatively, will even give it a candid perusal; and a much less number will suffer themselves to be convinced by it, although it should not be in their power to show wherein it is incorrect. In the first place, there are too many who, like Gallio of old, “ care for none of these things" (Acts, xviii. 17)-many others are so prepossessed in favour of the doctrine which is here proved false, that they will feel wounded that any one should undertake to write against it—others may turn over the leaves till they cast their eyes on some passage that displeases them, and, taking umbrage at this, they will throw the work aside, concluding that it is nothing but a piece of scurrilous invectives-others may be prevailed upon to read it through, and believe the author candid and sincere; yet, as this work contradicts the writings of so many of the learned clergy, the learned and reverend A. M., and the still more learned and reverend D. D., it cannot be correct. Yet such ones are willing to forget, how many opinions their learned clergy have rejected of the learned Popes, Cardinals, and Bishops of the Romish church, all of whom, also, believe in the doctrine of endless misery! But, after all these impediments, the author does not despair: but hopes this work will do some good. And, if it should be instrumental, in the hands of God, of delivering any, even a few souls, from the fear of eternal torments !--if it should pour in the balsam of comfort into the wounded spirit of an affectionate father—bind up the broken heart of a fond and tender mother-speak peace to the trembling bosom of some troubled soul, mourning over the loss of a departed relative or friend, with the awful apprehension that it has gone to endless misery, to be tormented with devils and damned spirits, even as long as God shall exist, merely because it gave no evidence of its being a partaker of renovating grace, previous to the dissolution of the body (being perhaps killed instantaneously)—if such, or any of the above effects, should be the happy consequences of these lectures, let God have all the praise—the writer has only discharged a duty which he owed to his brethren and the public.

* The learned reader, perhaps, may object to the translation of 'oggn by ardour, which signifies the heat of love and affection; not discovering how love can be

manifested against ungodliness, &c. But, to do away this objection, it only need be observed, that just in proportion as love, or the heat of affection, arises in favour of the sinner, it must also appear against the sin, or whatever, if suffered to continue, would ultimately injure the sinner.


Sold by T. Dobson & Son, No. 41, S. Second-street; M. Carey & Son, corner of Chesnut and Fourth-streets; and S. Potter & Co. No. 55, Chesnut-street, Philadelphia-where may be also had a few copies of Ballou's Treatise on Atonement, Columbian Miscellany, and other writings on the Doctrines of Universal Salvation.

« PreviousContinue »