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" We see," says Archbishop King, “ that our bodies
may be maimed for ever, and our limbs dislocated and “ distorted to such a degree as to become totally incapa“ ble of those functions for which nature designed them.
Why should we not have the same opinion of the mind, “ viz. that by depraved elections, passions, and affec“ tions, it may be so far diverted from the right way of " thinking, as to become equally disabled and unfit for “ governing its actions according to the dictates of right
reason, as a lame man is for a race? If, therefore, “ God do not interpose his omnipotence, the same errors, “ the same ignorance, the same habit of a perverted mind “ and obstinate propensity to evil, which here draws us “ aside from the right path, may continue with us for
ever : nor will the soul that is immersed in this kind “ of evil be capable of curing itself. For one that is in· feeted with these maladies is as unfit to help himself,
as one that bas cut off his hands and feet is unable to run or feed himself."*
That moral liberty may be lost, so as never to be regained, is proved from Heb. vi. 4–6. Here is a state of mind described which cannot be improved. It is IMPOSSIBLE to renew them again unto repentance. This state is illustrated by ver. 7, 8. After land has received the rain of heaven, and the culture of the husbandman, if it produces nothing but thorns and briers, it is rejected as a soil incapable of improvement. So men, who have been favoured with the Gospel and the labour of the spiritual husbandman in tbis life, and yet have not brought forth the fruits of the Spirit, are rejected : their end is to be burned. Can laws be given to creatures who cannot obey them?
The influence and strength of sinful habits are well described by Mr. Addison. “ Those evil spirits," says he, “who, by long custom, have contracted in the body “ habits of lust and sensuality, malice and revenge, an “ aversion to every thing that is good, just, and laudable, " are naturally prepared for pain and misery. Their
* Origin of Evil, pp. 510, 511.
“ torments have already taken root in them; they can“ not be happy when divested of the body, unless we
may suppose, that Providence will, in a manner, create "them anew, and work a miracle in the rectification of 66 their faculties. They may, indeed, taste a kind of 66 malignant pleasure in those actions to which they are « accustomed, whilst in this life ; but when they are to 66 be removed from all those objects which are here apt 6 to gratify them, they will naturally become their own “ tormentors, and cherish in themselves those painful “ habits of mind which are called, in Scripture phrase, • The worm which never dies. This notion of hell is so
very conformable to the light of nature, that it was “ discovered by several of the most exalted heathens."*
It has frequently been objected against us, that if punishment be endless, the reign of sin will be endless also. It is a sufficient answer to ask, Does thieving reign in that country where all the rogues in it are confined in prison? But if the Universalists still contend, that sin will be committed till punishment shall cease, I beg leave to inform them, that they admit a principle, which, in its consequences, overturns their system. Sin in hell deserves punishment as well as that which is committed in this world. So that if we suppose a man deserves fifty years punishment for sinning fifty years in this world, yet should he sin during those fifty years of punishment, he will merit punishment for fifty years longer to expiate those sins, and so on ad infinitum. But did it ever enter into the head of any one, that a man is violating the laws of his country, while suffering in a prison, in the stocks, or the pillory for his crimes ? On a review of the foregoing, it appears that the sinful habits of the damned are too strong to be eradicated in a way consistent with the relations which subsist betwixt God and rational creatures. They must, therefore, be miserable for ever, since, by the Divine constitution, no creature can be restored to happiness, who is not first made virtuous.
* Spectator, No: 447.
On the Destruction of the Second Death.
THERE is a famine in the land of promise on this article, otherwise, I suppose, Mr. Winchester would not have produced such passages as the following to support it: Psa. lxxxiii. 13-18. Prov. ii. 35. Jer. xx. 11. xxiii. 40. Isai. xlv. 16, 24.* If these texts favour the doctrine of the restoration, I think it may be proved from every verse in the Bible. It would be insulting the common sense of my readers to spend time in showing that these texts are irrelevant to the subject.
On Isa. XXV. 8. Hosea xiii. 14. 1 Cor. xy. 26. Mr. Winchester observes, “ The second death is infinitely “ more the enemy of man than the first, and
there. “ fore be considered as an enemy
which God will destroy.”+ Mr. W. ought to have known that the apostle does not say, or mean, every enemy of man shall be destroyed : his words are, “ He must reign till he bath put all enemies under his feet.” The obvious meaning of those words is, Jesus Christ will reign till every enemy to his government be conquered. I believe
would be as difficult to prove that the second death is an enemy to the Divine government, as that a prison, for offenders, is an enemy to human governments. It appears from Matt. xxv. 41. that the second death, which is there called everlasting fore, is prepared by the Judge for the punishment of the wicked; and it is not very probable that he would prepare an enemy to himself.
The sting of death is sin. While sin remains in " existence,” says Mr. W. in the same page,
o death " will be able to show its sting ; but the time will come " when death will bave no sting to boast of; therefore
Dialogues, p. 50. † Ib. p. 61.
" sin, and consequently death of every kind, shall be
To what wretched shifts are men reduced when they are determined to abide by a system, right or wrong! I was led to this reflection on turning to Mr. Vidler's notion of God's love, p. 18, 19. This gentleman says, “ We allow that, io the first resurrection, it (1 Cor. xv. “ 54, 55.) will have part of its fulfilment, but we are
persuaded that it reaches much farther than the first “ resurrection, or even than the general resurrection." This is a bold stroke; but Mr. V. proceeds to the proof. “ The apostle,” says he, “ introduces the doctrine of the
resurr ction on the largest possible grouod, ver. 21 -23. We understand the resurrection here in a three“ fold progression ; Christ as the first-fruits, afterward
they that are Christ's at his coming, but every man in “his proper rank. Here, then, are two ideas concerning "universality and order, to which the apostle adds ano“ ther, ver. 49. which is conformity to Christ in his “ resurrection state. Was it the righteous only who " bave borne the image of the first man, or have all
“ mankind borne it? If all mankind, then will all map“ kind bear the image of the second man in his resurrec“tion state, but in different orders (ranks) and degrees. “ Those who believe and obey the Gospel will have “their vile bodies changed into the likeness of his “glorious body, immediately on his second coming, as a " sample of that mighty power by which he is able (and
we think willing) to subdue all things upto bimself; “ but those who believe not, and obey not the Gospel, “ will pass through the second death before they can
receive their measure of conformity to Christ in his “ resurrection state."
Mr. V.'s comment on ver. 49. is far-fetched indeed. Suppose I had written to a few pious friends, and informed them, for their consolation, that as we have borne the image of Adam, we shall also bear the image of Jesus Christ : what would be thought of a commentator who should say my meaniog was, that believers, and unbelievers, and damned spirits, should all bear the image of the Lord Jesus? The apostle in chap. i. 2. informs us who are included in this pronoun we. He wrote to the church of God at Corinth, to them that were sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place called upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours.
Mr. V. contends that some will have to pass through hell before they attain to conformity to Christ, and that they will not have completed this progress till long after the general resurrection ; but the apostle says, “It " (the body) is raised in glory. When this corruptible " shall have put on incorruption--then shall be brought " to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed "up in victory." If this declaration will not be fulfilled till long after the general resurrection, this corruptible will not have put on incorruption till long after that event; but the apostle says again, “ It is RAISED in incor. ruption." We conclude, therefore, that Jesus Christ