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, And as the benevolence of one. part of the creation is thus an argument for the happiness of the other; so, sines benevolence is itself happiness, a tendency to learn it in any being is also an argil* ment lor his own happiness. And, upon the whole, since Qod has commanded his beloved sons, the good, to love and compassionate every being, that comes within their cognizance, by the voice of thaw natures speaking within them, we cannot suppose, that these his favorites (to speak acoording to present appearances, and our necessary conceptions, ffl&ich with this caution is justifiable) will fail of their proper reward in the gratification of this their benevolence.

Thirdly, the infinite goodness of God is an argument for the ultimate happiness of all mankind* This appears without any particular discussion of this attribute. But it may got be amiss for the reader just to review the evidences for it above exhibited, and their tendency to prove the ultimate happiness of all God's creatures.

Fourthly, The infinite happiness and perfection of God is an/argument for, and, as it were, a pledge of, the ultimate happiness and perfection of all his creatures. For these attributes, being infinite,must bear down all opposition from the quarters of misery and imperfection. And this argument will he much stronger, if we- suppose (with reverence be it spoken!) any intimate union between God and his creatures; and that, as. the happiness of the crea*-tures arises from their love and worship of God, so the happiness of God consists, shows itself, (for

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one does net know how to express this properly) in love and beneficence to the creatures. As God is present every where, knows and perceives every thing,, he may also, in a way infinitely superior to our comprehension, /eel every where for all his ereatores. Mow, according to this, it would seem to us, that alt must be brought to ultimate infinite happiness, which is, in his eye, present infinite hap? piness.

Fifthly, The impartiality of God, in respect of all his creatures, seems to argtie, that, if one be made infinitely happy upon the balance, aH will be made so. That benevolence, which is infinite, must be impartial also; must look upon all individuals, and all degrees of happiness, with an equal' eye; must stand in a relation of indifference to tbetn all. Now this is really so, if »we admit the third of the foregoing suppositions concerning the divine benevolence. If all individuals be at last infinitely happy upon the balance, they are so at present in the eye of God, i. e. he is perfectly impartial to all his creatures. And thus every intermediate finite degree of misery, how great soever, may be consistent with the impartiality of God. But to suppose, before the creatures A and B existed, that A was made by God to be eternally happy, and B made to be eternally miserable, seems as irreconcileable to God's impartiality, as to bis benevolerice. That both should be made for eternal and infinite happiness, one to enjoy it in one way, the other in another; one by passing through much pain, the other by passing through little or perhaps none; one by an acceleration in one period of his existence, the other


in another, &c. &c. is perfectly consistent with God*» impartiality; for, the happiness pf each being infinite. at present in the eye of God, his eye inwgt regard them equally. And, even in the eye of finite beings, if A's happiness seems less than B's, in one respect, because A passes through more pain, it may seem greater in another, because he arrives at greater degrees of ii in less time. But this is all appearance. Different finite beings form different judgments according to their different experiences, and ways of reasoning. Who therefore shall , b* made the standard I Not the inferior orders, certainly. And, if the superior, we shall not be able to rest, till we conclude, that all that appears to all finite beings, is false and delusive; and that the judgment of the infinite being is the only true real judgment. New I have endeavored to show; according to the method of ultimate ratios, how, allowing the third supposition concerning the divine goodness, all indrvidoais are equally happy in the eye of God. And thus the .impartiality ef God is vindicated, according to the truth and reality of thing*, in the judgment .of his own infinite understanding.

Sixthly, All the foregoing reasons seem to be sem'ewbat more short and clear upon the hypothesis of mechanism; but tt is not invalidated by that of free-wtft. For free-will ramt be considered as the production ef infinite power, and therefore as being suited to the rest of the divine attributes, his bene violence, happiness, and impartiality, and to all the methods, bj which God condaots men to beaev*»


lenoe and happiness. Or, if the hypothesis of freewill be a bar to the foregoing reasonings in their lull extent, it cannot, however, account for mmety upon the whole, mueh less for eternal misery. To suppose that God wills and desires the happiness of all his creatures, and yet that he has given them a power, by which many of them will, in fact, make themselves eternally miserable, also that he foresees this in general, and in each particular case, is eithe? to suppose God under some fatal necessity of giving such a power; or else to take awity his unlimited benevolence in reality, after that it has been allowed in words. If therefore God has given men free-will in sueh a measure, as that they may bring upon •themselves finite miseries thereby in the present state, or in any future intermediate one, we most, however, suppose it to be so restrained, as that it shall not occasion infinite and eternal misery. The cause of the eause is also the cause of the thing caused; which is jurely as evident in the application of it to the present subject, as in any ether instance, where it cannot be applied.

Seventhly, There are many obvious and undeniable arguments, taken from th^ relative attributes of God, whioh first exclude the eternal misery of his creatures; and then establish their ulthnate happiness by necessary, or, at least, by probable consequence. Thus the whole, tenor of nature represents God to us as our creator, preserver, governor, friend, and father. All ages and nations have fallen into this language; and it is verified every day by the wonderful beauty, harmony, and beneficence, manifested in the works of the creation, and particularly in the exquisite make of our bodies and minds. Shall then a Creator, who is a' friend and father, create fbr eternal infinite misery ? Can any intermediate suppositions, free-will, perverseness^ repfobateness, &c, reconcile and unite extremes so atterly discordant ? Will he preserve an existence,' which ceases to afford happiness, and can now only produce misery without end ? Will not the governor and judge of all the earth do right? In whatever manner sin be estimated, it must be finite, because it is the work of a finite mind, of finite principles and passions. To suppose therefore a sinner to be absolutely condemned to infinite irreversible misery, on account of the finite sins of this life, seems most highly injurious to the justice of God. And to say, that this infinite irreversible misery is not merely the consequence of the sins of this life, but also of those to be committed in another, is to give a power of repenting, and becoming virtuous, as well as of sinning, in another life; whence the sentence might be reversed, contrary to the supposition.

The worst man of those who go to heaven, and the best of those whd go to hell, seem to us, if we will reason upon these subjects, as we do upon others, to differ but by an infinitesimal difference, as one may say; and yet the reward of the first, being eternal, however small in each finite portion of time, must at last become infinite in magnitude; and the punishment of the last in like manner. There would therefore be a double infinite difference in the .reward and punishment, where the virtue and viot

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causing these respectively, have only an infinitely small one« To say, that, in sFuch cases, the reward? and punishments of another life may be 50 conducted, by a mixture of happiness and misery in each, as that the balance shall not become ultimately infinite in either, is to take away all hopes and fear* relating to a future state; i.e. morally and practically to take away the state itself.

Again, can it be supposed, that an infinitely merciful Father will cast off his sen utterlyand doonp him to eternal misery,. without farther trials tha? what this life affords ? We seenumberless instances of persons at present abandoned to vice, who ydt, according to all probable appearances, might be reformed by a jwoper mixture of correction, instruction, hope, and fear. And what map is neither able nor willing to. do, may and must, as should seqai, be both possible to God, and actually effected by him- He must have future discipline of a severer kind for those whom the chastisements of this life did not bring jto themselves. Yet still they will all' be fatherly chastisements, intended to amend and perfect, not to be final fend vindictive. That the bulk of sinners are not utterly incorrigible, eve» common observation shows; but the history of association makes it still .more evident; and it seems very repugnant to analogy to suppose, that any sinners, even the very worst that ever lived, should be so, should be hardened beyond the reach of all «uffering^ of all setfisliness, hope, fear, good-will, gratitude, &c. For we are all alike in kind, and do not differ greatly in degree here. Wo have each «f us passions of all sorts, and lie open to influences of all sorts; so as that the persons A and B, in whatever different proportions their intellectual affections now exist, may, by a suitable set of impressions, become hereafter alike.

These and many such like reasonings must occur to 'attentive persons upon this subject, so as to make it highly unsuitable to the benevolence of the Deity, or to the relations which he bears to us, according to * the mere light of nature, that infinite irreversible misery, to commence at death, should be the punishment of the sins of this life. And, by pursuing this mèthod of reasoning, we shall be led first to exclude misery upon the balance, and then to hope for the ultimate unlimited happiness of all mankind.

II. It is probable from the scriptures, that all mankind will be made ultimately happy. In considering the doctrine of the scriptures upon this head, it will first be requisite to show, that the texts alleged to provë the absolutely eternal and irreversible misery of the wicked in another life, may justly be interpreted in a different sense.

Now the Greek words translated eternal, everlasting, and forever, in the New Testament, do not by derivation stand for an absolute eternity, neither are they always used in this sense in the New Testament, the Septuagint, or pagan authors, The same may be said of the corresponding Hebrew words. It is true indeed, that they generally represent a long duration ; and this is sometimes limited by the context, or nature of the subject; sometimes not« 14

Now, according to this interpretation, the punish* ments of the wicked will be of great duration, suppose of one or more long ages or dispensations. But one might rather conclude, from the words of the original, if their derivation be considered, that they will end at the expiration of some such long period, than that they will be absolutely eternal.

If it be said, that the eternity of God is expressed by the same words,—I answer, that here the nature of the subject gives a sense to the words, whereof they are otherwise incapable. It may be urged in like manner, that the duration of future rewards is expressed by the same words; but then the absolute eternity of this duration is not perhaps dedfucible at all from these or any other words: We must in this entirely refer ourselves to the bounty and benevolence of our Creator, and depend upon him for all our expectations. Besides, the nature of the subject differs widely here. To suppose the misery of the wicked to be, in every respect, equal and parallel to the happiness of the good, is quite contrary to the general tenor of the scriptures, and looks like setting up the Manichean doctrine of two opposite infinite principles, a doctrine every where condemned in effect, though not in express words, both by the Old and New Testament. We may add, that the happiness of the good is also denoted in scripture by incorruption, indissolubility, &c. as well as by the words applied to the punishments of the wicked.

The words of our Saviour, where their wdrm dieik not, and their fire is not quenched, are thought by some to be a strong argument for the absolute etet-


oily of future punishment. But as,these words are taken from Isaiah, and allude to the punishment of the malefactors, whose carcasses were suffered to rot upon the ground, or burnt in the valley of Hmnom, they appear to be too popular and figurative to justify such an interpretation. And yet they seem plainly intended to declare the very long dura* tion of future punishment; and that, as the worms, which feed upon a putrefied body, or the fire, which burns it in this world, do themselves come to a certain and known period, the misery of another world, and the fire of hell, will have no definite one, but oontinue till they have consumed the sin and guilt which feed them. In ibis way of interpretation, the passage under consideration would agree with that concerning the payment of the last farthing.

Our Saviour's expression concerning Judas, viz. that U had been good for him, that he had not been born, cannot indeed be alleged for the proof of the eternity of future punishment; but it seems to oppose the supposition of the ultimate happiness of all. However, this expression may be popular and pro* verbial; or it may perhaps denote, that his last agonies, or his sufferings in another world, should outweigh all his preceding happiness, or some way admit of an interpretation consistent with the proposition under consideration; for it does not appear to be sufficiently clear and precise for an absolute disproof of it. We may add,, that as every man, who at his death falls short of the terms of salvation, whatever these be, crucifies the Son of God Mtfruh, according to the language of St. Paul; so


he will have reason, according to his then necessary conceptions, to wish with Judas, that he had never been born. O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end!

Now, as the words of the New Testament do not necessarily infer the absolute eternity of punishment; so the general tenor of reasoning there used, with numberless passages both of the Old and New Testaments, concerning the mercy of God, his readiness to forgive, &c. favor the contrary opinion, and this is a farther reason for interpreting these texts of an indefinitely long duration only; and that especially if the small .number of them* and the infinite importance of the doctrine which they are supposed to contain, be also taken into consideration.

To the same purpose we may observe, that there is nothing in all St. Paul's Epistle, from whence the absolute eternity of future punishment can be at all inferred, except the words, everlasting destruction from the presence of our Lord, 2 Thess. i. 9, though the Epistles to the Romans and Hebrews are both of them general summaries of the christian religion, and though he speaks in both of future punishment. In the Epistle to the Romans, he says, Tribulation and anguish (not eternal tribulation) shall be upon every soul of man, that doth evU; also, that the wages of sin is death, not eternal death, or eternal punishment; whereas the gift of God is eternal life. In the Epistle to the Hebrews, he asks, of how much sorer punishment than temporal death, an apostate is to be thought worthy? Which seems not likely for him

to do, bad he believed k eternal. In like manner, there k nothing of this kind in St. Luke's Gospel, or his AcU of the Apoetles, in St. John's Gospel, or his Epistles, or in the Epistles of St. James, St. Peter, or St. Jude* And yet good wen now, who believe the eternity of punishment, scarce ever fail to insist upon it most earnestly in their discourses and exhortations. For, if it be a doctrine of the christian religion, it is so essential a one, as that it could not have been omitted by any inspired writer, nor fail to have been declared in the most express terms, which certainly cannot be said of any of {he texts alleged to prove the eternity of punishment. The words translated eternal, and forever, must have been ambiguous to the Jew9, i. e. to the first Christians; and the figurative expression, their worm dieth not, &c. is far less determinate than many phrases, which our Saviour might have chosen, had it been his intention to denounce absolutely eternal misery.

To this we may add, that it does not appear from the writings of the most ancient fathers, that thçy put such a construction upon the words of the New Testament; and the omission of this doctrine in the ancient creed shows, that it was no original doctrine, or not thought essential ; which yet could not be, if it was believed; or that many eminent persons for some centuries were of a contrary opinion. And indeed the doctrine of purgatory, as now taught by the papists, seems to be a corruption of a genuine doctrine held by the ancient fathers concerning S purifying fire.

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