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is attended with contradictions and absurdities, no doubt is entertained of its truth. Now the doctrine that all mankind will ultimately be restored to purity and happiness, is this perfect theory, with regard to the Divine dispensations, and the scriptural terms by which their nature is expressed. It accords with every expression that is used in Scripture, concerning the state of mankind in the world to come, and it is confirmed by all our best sentiments of the attributes, the providence, and the government, of the Supreme Being. But the notions of Endless Misery, and of the total and eternal extinction of intelligence and life, neither accord with all the expressions of Scripture relative to a future state, nor with our purest and most exalted sentiments of the attributes and proceedings of the Universal Parent. According to the strictest rules of philosophizing, therefore, the first must be regarded as the true hypothesis.
The passages of Scripture which favor the opinion that the whole human race will finally be restored to purity and happiness, may be divided into those which imply its truth, and into those which appear precisely and positively to affirm it.
The passages which imply it, are those which contain certain declarations, which must be false, if this opinion be denied, but which are full of
truth and beauty, if it be admitted : the passages which appear positively to affirm it, are those to the language of which it seems impossible to affix any other meaning.
OF THE PASSAGES OF SCRIPTURE WHICH IMPLY
THAT ALL MANKIND WILL BE ULTIMATELY RESTORED TO PURITY AND HAPPINESS.
Under the passages which imply the ultimate restoration of the whole human race to virtue and happiness, may be arranged,
1. All those which speak of God as the kind and benevolent Father of mankind.
Psalm ciji. 13, 14: “ Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him; for he knoweth our frame, he remembereth that we are dust.” Mal. ii. 10: “Have we not all one Father? Hath not one God created us?" Ephes. iv. 6 : “ There is one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in all." We are likewise instructed by our Lord, Matt. vi. 9, to address the Supreme Being in prayer as our Father.
The Scriptures delight to exhibit the Deity to his human offspring in the character of a father. It is the most natural as well as the most endearing manner in which we can conceive of
him. He is our Father in a much more strict and intimate sense than any creature is the parent of another. He constructed the curious and delicate fabric in which our consciousness and intelligence reside. He formed those wonderful organs which are continually at work within us, and which minister equally to life and to enjoyment. He endowed us with those noble faculties by which we are capable of pursuits and pleasures of the same nature with those that constitute his own happiness, the operation of which affords us continual gratification, but of which we know nothing except that they are wonderful and glorious. It is he who has so exquisitely adapted our nature to the objects which surround us, that we can scarcely move without experiencing pleasure, and that so many things which interest and delight us, con tinually crowd upon our senses. It is he who has made us what we are, and his constant energy is necessary to continue us in existence: in the strictest sense it is true, that “in him we live, move, and have our being.”
And as he is so much more intimately and truly our Father than our human parents, so he must be as much more perfectly so in respect to the disposition with which he regards, and the manner in which he treats us. All that is tender and endearing in the most affectionate and excellent of human parents can afford us but
a faint image of what he is to his whole family of mankind.
Does any good father punish with revenge? Does any tender mother harbour implacable resentment against her child? Would she, if she were able, punish it with endless misery, or inflict upon it intolerable anguish for a very protracted period, and then blot it out of existence ?
If a human parent wbo acted in such a manner would be regarded with universal execration, who can believe an hypothesis which attributes such conduct to the benevolent Father of men ? We may be mistaken in the meaning of a word or the accuracy of a criticism, but we cannot err in rejecting opinions which give such an exhibition of the character of God. But in this manner, both the doctrines of Endless Misery, and of absolute, irrevocable Destruction, represent our heavenly Father as treating the greater nuinber of his children ; while that of Universal Restoration teaches that his conduct towards every individual of his large family is infinitely more excellent than that of the most wise and benevolent parent. The latter opinion, therefore, is true; the others are false.
2. The ultimate Restoration of the whole human race to purity and happiness is favored by all those passages which represent God as good.