Elhanan Winchester.

The universal restoration. Exhibited in four dialogues between a minister and his friend ... chiefly designed fully to state, and fairly to answer the most common objections that are brought against it, from the Scriptures online

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is its sting, shall be no more in existence; and
tears shall be all wiped away from all faces.

But, though I have acknowledged that I should
not dare to dispute the doctrine of endless dam-
nation., unless God had given intimaiions, and
even promises to the contrary ; since I find sev-
eral dreadful threatenings in the Scripture, in
which the word aionion, or everlastings is joined
with the punishment of the wicked; yet a very
little attention will shew us, that the felicity of
the righteous is promised in much stronger lan-
guage, than the misery of the wicked is threat-
ened in the Scriptures.

I remark in the first place, that the word aion-^
iouy rendered everlasting, or eternal^ is used much



80 , DIALOGUES ON THK

oftener in St. John's gospel alone, to express the
continuance of the lite, or well being, of ths
righteous, than it is used in the whole Bible, to
express the misery of the wicked; and this re-
mark is strengthened by observing that he never
once uses the word in his whole gospel^ nor in
his epistles, to set forth the duration of punish-
ment. ,See St. John, iii. 15, 16, 36. iv. 14. v.
24. vi. 27, 40, 47, 54, 68. x. 28. xii. 25, 50. xvii.
2, 3, in all which passages, the word aionion is
used to express the continuance of the well be-
ing of the righteous.

But not to insist on this: I observe, that there
are many stronger expressions (even in our
translation) to set forth the well being of the
righteous, than any that are used as connected
with the misery of the wicked. Isaiah xlv. 17.
we read, " Israel shall be saved in Jehovah
with an everlasting salvation; ye shall not be
ashamed, nor confounded, world ivithout endy
But where do we read, that the misery of the
wicked shall have no endl The word endless, or
world ivithout end, is never once used by our
translators, to express the eternity of punish-
ment, in the whole Bible.

We read, in 1 Pet. i. 4. of "an inheritance.
Incorruptible, and undefiled; and that fadeth not
oioai/, reserved in heaven:" and in Chap. v. 4.
of "a crown of glory, that Jadeth not mvay;''^
and, Heb. xii, 23 of a "kingdom, which cannot
be moved:" and our blessed Saviour's words
are remarkably strong upon this subject, in many
places; as, in St. Luke's gospel, Chap. xx. 35,
36, where he says, " But they who shall be ac-
counted worthy to obtain that world, and the



UNIVERSAL RESTORATION.* 81

(^ first) resurrection from the dead, neither marry,
nor are given in marriage; neither can they die^
anymore; for they are equal unto the angels;
and are the children of God, being the children
of the resurrection:" and in St. John, x. 27, 28,
29, we read thus: "my sheep hear my voice,
and I know them, and they follow me: and I
give unto them eternal life; and they shall never
perish^ neither shall any pluck them out of my
hand. My Father, who gave them me, is great-
er than all; and none is able to pluck them out of
my Father's hand." In Chap. xi. 25, 26,
Christ says, " I am the resurrection and the life;
he that believeth in me, though he were dead,
yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and be-
lieveth in me, shall never diey And in chap,
vi. 50, he says, " This is the bread that cometh
down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof,
and not die," And he expresses the perpetuity
of the heavenly bliss, and of our enjoyment of
the same, by advisifig us, saying, " Lay up for
yourselves treasures in heaven ; where neitlier
moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves
do not break through nor steal. Fear not little
flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to
give you the kingdom. Sell that ye have, and
give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax
not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth
not; where no thief approacheth, neither moth
corrupteth," St. Matth. vi. 20. and St. Luke, xii.
32, 33. This is that which St. Paul calleth " a
better and an enduring substance," Heb. xii. 34.
But what shall I say of the apostle's words,
2 Cor. iv. 1} "For our light affliction which is
but for a moment, worketh for us, kath hyperho-



82 '^ DIALOGUES ON THE

len eis hijperboleii aionion baros doxes katergazetai
emin: a glory exceeding aionion^ or eternal, to an
excess.''^ Here is an hyperbole upon hyperbole;
beyond eternal; a far more exceeding eternal
weight of glory.

But it is not so much by the different wordg
made use of to denote the permanency of the
felicity of the righteous, from those which are
used to express the duration of the misery of
the wicked, that I judge of the continuance of the
one beyond the other; so much as from the dit-
ferent sources from whence they How, and of
their different natures.

The happiness of those who are reconciled
to God arises from their union to Clirist; in
which if they continue grounded and settled
during this present life^whereinthey pass through
so many sore trials, the union will become so
permanent, as that it will be impossible to dis-
solve it; and the very nature of things shews,
that if we abide firm, to the end,1through all diffi-
culties, and overcome all those things that would
seek to separate us from Christ, when we come "
into that state where we shall meet with no more
temptations, nor any thing that has the least ten-
dency to draw our minds from God, we must, of
consequence, remain attached, or united to him,
while we have an existence. This doctrine was
known to David; and therefore, he said, ''Whilo
I live, will I praise Jehovah; I will sing praises
unto my God, while I have any being." Psal.
cxlvi. 2. civ. 33. It may be proved, that the
union shall continue between Christ and his faith-
ful ones after this life, and shall become indis-
soluble; and that neither ^'tribulation, nor dis-



UNIVERSAL RESTORATION.' 83

tress, persecution nor famine, nor nakedness,
nor peril, nor sword; neither death, nor life, nor ,
angels, nor principalities, nor po>vers, northings
present,nor things to come, nor height, nor depth,
nor any other creature shall be able to separate
us (who abide in him) from the love of God which
is in Christ Jesus our Lord." See Rom. viii.
35-39. See also St. John, xv. 4, 5, 7, 9, 10.
1 John, ii. 24, 28.

The never ending continuance of the life, or
state of well being of the righteous, may be
cyertainly inferred, with the greatest ease, froih
the continuance of the life of Christ; who ia
made an high priest, ''not after the law of a
carnal commandment, but after the power of an
endless life," Heb. vii. 16. And he hath ex-
pressly declared, " Because I live, ye shall live
also," St. John xiv. 19. Thus as long as the
cause remains, the effect must continue; but the
cause, even the life of Christ, must undoubtedly
continue to endless periods; therefore also, the
effect, or the life of those who are joined to him
in an indissoluble union, shall continue. The
apostle Paul understood logic as well as any in
our days; and he thus reasons upon this glori-
ous truth; ''The spirit itself beareth witness
with our spirits, that we (who are led by the
Spirit of God, and have received the spirit of
adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father) are
the children of God: and if children, then heirs;
heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ; if so
be that we suffer with him», that we may be also
glorified together." Rom. viii. 16, 17.

Now, as Christ, the principal heir, cannot be
disinherited; so, neither can those who are joint
heirs wfth him. The Holy Spirit is given us as



84 DIALOGUES ON THE

the earnest of our inheritance, and to seal us to
the day of redemption, 2 Cor. v. 5. Ephes. i.
13, 14, and iv. 20. — Christ is the head, and the
overcomers through the blood of the Lamb, are
the members of his body, and shall inherit all
things; he will be their God, and they shall be
his children; he is their life, and he " will make
them pillars in the temple of God, and they shall
go no more out," Rev. iii. 12. St. Paul says,
" When Christy who is our Hfe, shall appear,
then shall ye also appear with him in glory,"
Col. iii. 4. — And St. John says, " Behold whst
manner of love theFather hath bestowed upon us,
that we should be called the sons of God; there-
fore the world knoweth us not, because it knew
him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God,
and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but
we know, that when he shall appear, we shall be
like him; for we shall see him as he is," 1 John
iii. 1, 2. Thus, we are sure, from the Scrip-
tures, and from the nature of things, that those
who are drawn by the Father, united to the Son,
sealed by the Holy Ghost, willingly choose the
Lord for their portion, and constantly adhere to
him to the end, shall never be separated from
him in the future ages; for he himself saith, "As
the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the
Father; so he that eateth me, even he shall live
by me," St. John vi. 51. And as Christ is the
great attracting loadstone, that shall finally draw
all things to him; it is evident, that he will pre-
serve for ever, those whom he hath thoroughly
drawn to himself, and who have adhered to him
through the time of trial. Thus is the life eter-
nal of the righteous, or their endless state of



UNIVERSAL RESTORATION. 35

well being, expressed in much stronger language
than the misery of the wicked; and moreover,
has its foundation in the union between Christ
and his church, and in the nature of things.

Friend. But if the Spirit of God dwelling in
us, and thereby causing us to adhere to Christ,
and to follow him through all trials, makes our
union to him so perfect, that nothing shall be a-
ble to separate us from him to all eternity; since
we are confirmed in habits of goodness by free
choice, and by oft repeated exercises; why, by
the same rules, shall not the misery of the wick-
ed be endless, seeing that they have chosen and
adhered to evil through hfe, and by constant
practice are confirmed therein ? Evil is grown
up to a body in them; and it appears to me as
difficult to reform and bring them off from their
vicious habits, as it would be to draw the saints
in light from their adherence to virtue and good-
ness.

Minister. Your reasoning would be conclu-
sive, upon the supposition that there are two eter-
nal principles, viz. good and evil; if it can be
proved, that evil is coexistent with goodness,
that it hath always been; then, the absolute eter-
nity of sin and misery may be easily inferred.
This is the true foundation ofendless misery, and
it came from the Pagan theology. The Heath-
ens believed in two eterncd princijyles , ever war-
ring against each other, and neither fully prevail-
ing; that men had the liberty of enlisting under
which they pleased; and that those who in life
choose virtue should enjoy endless felicity; while
those who chose and adhered to vice, would eter-
nally remain under its dominion, an^ of conse-



8e DIALOGUES ON THE

quence be always miserable. Thus, the infer-
nal deities being judged by the poor Pagans to
be as eternal as the good gods, and more power-
ful; they sacrificed more to the evil principle
than to the good, out of fear, and to appease the
anger of those abhorred, malevolent agents;
hence, the frequency of human sacrifices.

Now, when the Christian Religion triumphed
over Paganism in the Roman empire, many of I
the philosophers embraced and professed it, but
withal, retained many of their Pagan notions;
among which was the eternity of these two oppo-
site principles; hence arose the ancient sect of
the Manichees, who believe not only the eternal
existence of two contrary eternal Gods, one
good and the other evil; but also, that all visible
things are created by the devil; and upon this
principle, they might argue the universality of:
damnation, with as much ease and certainty, as
we, upon the contrary, may argue the certainty
of the Universal Restoration, according to that
glofious promise of God, Isaiah Ivii. 16, 17, lu,
i9, ^'for I will not contend forever, neither will!
I always be wroth; for the Spirit should fail be-
fore me, and the souls v/hich I have made. For
the iniquity of his covetousness was I wroth, and;
smote him: I hid me and was wroth; and he
went on frowardly, in the way of his heart. 1
have seen his ways and will heal him: I will
lead him also, and restore comforts unto him,
and to his mourners. I create the fruit of the
lips; peace, peace to him that is far off, and to
him that is near, saith Jehovah; and I will heal
him.*'



UNIVERSAL RESTORATION. 87

Those who venture to contradict their Maker,
l^nd say, that he will contend for ever, and be
always ivroih; ought to give as good a reason, at
least, why he will, as he hath given why he will
not; and, consequently, must prove him not to
be the Father of all spirits, and the Creator of
all souis. If, therefore, it can be demonstrated,
that Satan is an eternal, self-existent, immutable,
evil being, and that he hath created all, or a part
of mankind, (as some asserted formerly, and as
1 myself have heard lately) or that he hath drawn
come of God's creatures into such a union with
himself, that they cannot be separated from him;
and that he will maintain his crown, throne and
kingdom, in opposition to God, to ail endless du-
ration; then, and not till then, may the etermty
of sin and misery, be concluded from the nature
of things, with equal ease and certainly, as the
perfection and happiness of the saints.

But if the kingdom of evil, and all the works
of sin, Satan and darkness, shall be totally des-
troyed by Christ, and all things shall be reheaded
in him, who is the head of all principality and
povver, as well as of every man: See Ephes. i. 10.
Col ii. 10. 1 Cor. xi. 3. If every knee shall bow,
&. tongue shall swear, and all things, whether in
heaven or in earth, or under the ^arth, shall con-
fess that he is Lord; and alt things whether in
heaven or in earth, shall be reconciled to him.
See Isaiah xlv. 23. Phil. ii. 10. Col. i. 20.
And all kinsfdoms (not excepting that of the
prince of the power of the air) shall be broken
and destroyed by the kingdom of Christ, which
shall itself be yielded up into the kingdom of
boundless love, where judgment shall be no



8S DIALOGUES ON THE

more. What shall we say of that doctrine, that
teaches us the endless duration of evil? So far
is the endless sin and misery of the wicked from
being inferred from the endless holiness and fe-
licity of the righteous, in the kingdom of the
Father, that every proof and demonstration of
the latter, concludes equally against the for-
mer.

One of the first arguments that ever began to
take hold of my mind, and to bring me to think
seriously of the system of the Restoration, was,
what I read in a httle book upon' the subject,
called The Ei-erlasiing Gospel^ &c. and is there
thus expressed.

" It is as impossible that there should be two
endless contrary things, as that there should be
two real contrary Deities, a good God and a bad
one, or two sorts of contrary creatures, both of
truly divine original, some being made good by
God, and others bad. For an absolute and
merely infinite duration, which has neither be-
ginning nor end, is, according to the confessions
of all divines, yea, of every reasonable man, a
property peculiar to the uncreated Being only.
But such an infinite duration, which, although
it has a beginning, yet shall have no end, can
only be the property of those creatures that are
of divine original. For as these, according to
the language of the scripture, are of divine or-
igin, and therefore are rooted in God, or in his
almighty creating p©wer, which has no begin-
ning, they can also be everlasting, their exist-
ence or duration can also be without end in
God. But whatsoever has not its eternal root
in God, or in his eternal creating power, but is



UNIVERSAL RESTORATION. 89

sprung up in the creature in this world, by its vol-
untary turning away from God,& against his holy
will, and consequently is an admonition and dis-
pleasure to the Most High, and is only suffered
by him, such as sin, and the punishment depend-
ing thereon, these things cannot possibly be of
an absolute endless existence and duration, or
remain so long as God shall exist; but must of
necessity once cease and be annihilated. For
as God is a Being to those creatures which he
created good, and which exists through his will,
wherein they may subsist and be preserved with-
out end; so he on the contrary, to iniquity and
sin, (which against his will, is sprung up in and
sticks to the creatures) is a consuming fire,
whereby all sin and perverseness in the creatures
must be at last consumed, annihilated, and sepa-
rated from them in the highest degree, in order to
restore them to their primitive purity; in the
same manner as the fire doth not consume and
destroy the gold, but only the dross, and that
which is impure."

We will now state some of the arguments in
favor of the endless continuance of the happiness
of the saints, in the kingdom of their Father:^ and
those which prove that the state of misery shall
come to an end.

Christ hath promised, that the happiness of the
saints shall have no end; because his life shall
have no end, and he is their life.

The misery of the wicked shall end, because
the kingdom of evil shall end.

The power of God stands engaged to pre-
serve and keep those who commit themselves to

8*



90 DIALOGUES ON THE

him; and thus, their union with him shall always
continue.

The same is engaged to destroy that coven-
ant with death, and the agreement with hell,
whereby sinners are held in subjection to Sa-
tan, and thus to take the prey from the mighty,
and the captives from the terrible.

The subjects of Christ are his natural sub-
jects; he is their rightful sovereign: but Satan's
subjects are slaves led captive by him at his
will; he is an usurper, and all that are in bondage
to him belong to Christ, who will finally draw
them all to himself.

Those that are in bliss shall be eternally at-
tracted by him, and shall always choose that
which is good; but when evil is broken, its in-
fluence shall no more prevail over those that
are captivated by it; and they shall feel the conse-
quences of sin in such a manner as to loathe it;
and they shall heartily return, and swear alleg-
iance to their rightful King.

There shall be no influence to draw the saints
in bliss from Christ, and thereby dissolve his
kingdom; but all the influence of God and good-
ness, shall tend to dissolve the kingdom of dark-
ness, and to put an end to the thraldom and mis-
ery of its unhappy slaves.

Thus, I might go on with a long train of ar-
guments upon this subject; but these may suf-
fice.

Friend. Your arguments would seem very
conclusive, for the entire subjection of all things,
if you could prove that the word all, intends
literally and mathematically, the whole, without
exception; but this I doubt, will be difficult for



UNIVERSAL RESTORATION, 9i

you to do, as you must know that it is very fre-
quently used in common language for a part; and
sometimes for only a small part of mankind.

Minister. I acknowledge this is the case in
common conversation, and in such parts of the
sacred history where we are in no danger of be-
ing misled by it, being well informed by the con-
text, or some other passages, or from the nature,
or from the circumstances of the facts, that we
must take it in a limited sense; but I do not rec-
ollect any passage, where any point of doctrine
is spoken of,in which the word all is used in that
uncertain and undeterminate manner; and it is*
necessary that it should not be used in that way,
in matters of importance; because we might be
led into confusion and great uncertainty thereby;
not knowing whether to understand it universal-
ly, or partially. — Wherefore I lay down this
plain rule, viz. v/hen the word all is used in
any passage of Scripture, and we are not neces-
sarily obliged, either by the context or some oth-
er text, or the nature and circumstances of the
case, to understand it partially; and especially
where any important point of doctrine is spoken
of, we are always to understand it universally,
without exception.

Friend. But can you prove from the writings
of the apostles, that they used the word all in
this large and universal sense?

Minister. Yes, my friend, very easily, and in
the most unexceptionable manner. Hear what
the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews says
upon this matter: " Thou hast put all things in
subjection under his feet; for in that he put all



92 DIAL0C4UES ON THE

in subjection under him; he left nothing that is
not put under him." Heb. ii. 8.

It is evident, that the apostle's reasoning would
be very inaccurate, if not entirely false, upon the
supposition that all things did not intend all,
in the largest sense; for how would this conclu-
sion naturally and necessarily follow, " For in
that he put all in subjection under him, he left
nothing that is not put under him;" unless it bo
premised, that all is used in the universal sense
of the word.

Friend. But hath not the same apostle made
an exception, when he used the word all, in
some other of his writings?

Minister. Yes, truly; but it is such an ex-
ception as justifies this sense of the word, more
than a thousand arguments: " For he hath put
all things under his feet; but when he saith,
ALL things are put under him, it is manifest, that
he is excepted which did put all ihivgs under
him.'^^ 1 Cor. xv. S7. Here God the Father
being alone excepted, proves all other beings to
be included in the words all things; and that in
so convincing a manner, that I am astonished
that I did not perceive it long before I did.

Friend. It is true, that nothing can be plain-
er, than that all things in these places, must
mean ALL beings except God; but then, per-
haps, St. Paul only meant, that they should be
subject to his control, and not brought willing-
ly to obey. If yqu can prove this point as clear-
ly as you have the other, and from the same au-
thority, it will seem to put the matter with me
beyond dispute.



UNIVERSAL RESTORATION. 93

Minister. This is very easily done; for it is
universally acknowledged by all Christians, that
all things are nov/, and have ever been subject
to his control; for when he was upon earth, in
his lowest state of humiliation, even the unclean
spirits, the most rebellious of beings obeyed his
word; which made those who saw his miracles
cry with amazement, ''What thing is this?
What new doctrine is this? For with authority
commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and
they obey him," St. Mark, i. :27. The devils'
obeyed him universally in v/hatever he comand-
ed them; and could not enter into the swine
without his permission; and how disagreeable
soever his words were to them, they were forced
to comlpy, without daring to complain; yea, they
frequently seemed like humble suppliants; and
once we read, they went so far as to adjure
our blessed Lord not to torment them: See St.
Mark, v. 7. The winds, waves, fishes, all obey
him; all diseases, and even death itself, heard
his voice, and departed at his bidding; and to
his disciples he said, " All power is given unto
me, in heaven and in earth," Matth. xxviii, 18.
And certainly now, he is at " the right hand of
God, angels, and authorities, and pov/ers, are
made subject unto him," 1 Pet. iii. 22. — God
hath exalted him far above all principality, and
power, and might, and dominion; and every
name that is named; not only in this age (for so
I render the word aioni) but also in that which
is to come; and put all things under his feet, and
gave him to be the head over all things to the
church," Ephes. i. 21, 22. But as though the
apostle had known that the sense would be dis-



94 DIALOGUES ON THS

putedj he hath said, '' But now we see not yd all
ihi7igs put under him, ^^ Heb. ii. 8. All things
,were subject to his controlj even on earth; and
they cannot be less so, now he is exalted to
heaven, to the glory which he had with the Fath-
er before the world was; and yet many years
after his ascension, the apostle says^ "But now
we see not yet all things put under him;" by
which he must certainly mean their being ivill-
ingly subject unio him '^ for, in ail other senses,
all things are 7Z0U' pot under him, in the most
unlimited manner, as we have seen already.
But the apostle goes on to tell how far the im-
portant work is accomplished, and that a sure
foundation is laid for its entire completion; say-
ing, " But we see Jesus, ^vho was made a little
lower than the angels, for the suffering of death^ -


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Online LibraryElhanan WinchesterThe universal restoration. Exhibited in four dialogues between a minister and his friend ... chiefly designed fully to state, and fairly to answer the most common objections that are brought against it, from the Scriptures → online text (page 6 of 20)