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OF THE EVIDENCE IN FAVOR OF THE FINAL RESTORATION OF ALL MANKIND TO PURITY AND HAPPINESS, DISTINCT FROM THAT AFFORDED BY THE EXPRESS DECLARATIONS OF SCRIPTURE.
The evidence in favor of the doctrine of Universal Restoration distinct from that afforded by the express declarations of scripture, may be arranged under three heads; namely, that which is deducible from the perfections of God, from the nature of man, and from the nature and design of punishment.
It is proper to say, that the arguments adduced under each of these particulars, are distinct from those afforded by the express declarations of scripture ; because how much soever they may really depend upon the light of Revelation, (and for the reason already assigned they may depend upon it in a very great degree,) yet they are framed without any direct reference to it, and seem in general to be derived from the nature of things. Reasoning of this kind is peculiarly
. satisfactory ; and if the positive declarations of scripture can be shewn to coincide with it, to include it and to be founded upon it, it must produce a conviction as strong as can be effected by any thing which is not an object of sense, or which cannot be proved upon the principles of geometry.
OF THE ARGUMENT IN FAVOR OF THE DOCTRINE OF
UNIVERSAL RESTORATION, DERIVED FROM THE
OF THE GOODNESS OF GOD.
W ERE it assumed that he who gave us existence, and bestowed upon us all things richly to enjoy, is a being of infinite goodness, it would be only taking for granted what all Christians, and even all Theists allow. It
proper, however, to state briefly the evidence of the perfect benignity of the Universal Parent.
Because the phenomena of nature cannot be accounted for without the supposition of a selfexistent being, the original cause of all things, we conclude that such a being exists, and that since he is the cause of all other things and beings, he must be independent of them. Because he who could create such a world as this, must be able to do any thing which is not in itself a contradiction, we infer that his power is without limits. Because the exhibitions of
wisdom in every part of nature with which we are acquainted, surpass all assignable limits, and because we cannot but conceive that the intelli. gence which is displayed in the constitution of the world, is adequate to the performance of any thing which is in its own nature possible, we conclude also, that his wisdom is infinite. From these principles, his goodness follows as a necessary consequence.
For the original cause of all things being absolutely independent, being infinite in power and wisdom, must be good, since evil is the result of want, weakness or error. But he who is infinite in power can have no want ; neither can he have any weakness ; and he who created all things, and gave them the relations they possess, cannot but know them perfectly, and therefore must be incapable of error.
That evil can arise from no other sources than those which have been mentioned, will appear evident from considering the origin of any
form of it with which we are acquainted. Whence, for example, arise envy, malice, hatred, injustice? Envy is the malicious coveting of a good possessed by another: something is desired which cannot be attained : he then who has it in his
; power to obtain all good, must be incapable of envy. Injustice is the withholding of a good, real or supposed, from another whose right it is;
he who has it in his power to obtain all good, must therefore be incapable of injustice: and the same may be said of every description of moral evil whatever.
If an intelligent being perceive perfectly the true relation of all things to each other, so as to be incapable of mistake, and if at the same time he have the whole of possibility in his power, he must in the nature of things be incapable of evil : because he cannot commit evil through ignorance, and there can be nothing to induce him to act with an evil design. This, then, is exactly the idea which we form of the Supreme Intelligence.
If this deduction of the goodness of God, from the other essential attributes of his nature, be just, it will be confirmed by the appearances of his works. What he has done, will satisfy us that we are right in our conception of what he is.
In endeavoring to ascertain from his works whether or not the Deity be benevolent, we must conduct our investigation in the same manner as when we endeavor to discover his other perfections. Because in the objects around us we perceive so many marks of design, such various and exquisite contrivance, we conclude that their author is intelligent. In like manner, if it appear that this design is good design, that this contrivance ministers, not only to convenience
but to enjoyment, it will follow that its author is good.
Now there are two facts, of the certainty of which no one who examines the state of the animal creation can doubt, which place the goodness of the Creator beyond all question. The first is, that pleasure is imparted to animal sensations, when no cause can be assigned for it but the gratification of the animal : the second is, that there is more happiness than misery in the world.
The first, if it can be clearly proved, affords a conviction, the certainty of which cannot be exceeded by any kind of evidence whatever, not even by that which we derive from geometry or from sense.
The determination to create an animal, supposes a determination to endow it with all the faculties which are necessary to its existence. These faculties, therefore, however multiplied, beautiful or exquisite, cannot prove the goodness of the Creator, because being necessary to the existence of the animal, they must have formed a part of any design to create, whether good or malevolent. But if these fa ties be so constituted that they not only give
* Each of these positions has been stated and illustrated, with admirable force and beauty, by Paley, in his Natural Theology.