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Friend. Good day to you, Sir, I was just passing by, and if you have a little time to spare, I should be happy to have some further discourse with you, respecting your sentiments; for although I cannot fall in with your views, yet I am convinced, that your mind is upright in the matter, and that you do not disagree with your brethren for the sake of differing, but for what you believe to be truth.
Minister. I have this to say, (and I can with truth declare it) that I never should have dissented from my brethren, had they only given me the liberty of enjoying that natural right of freely thinking for myself in matters of religion. I sincerely wish to live and die in unity with all that love God and keep his commandments; and I should never have troubled the world with my sentiments, had not great pains been taken to represent me as a heretic, and my sentiments dangerous to mankind: this was done to prevent people from hearing what I had to say in other matters.--I was therefore, in a sort, compelled to sit down and answer all the objections that were brought against the truth I believed; which answers drawn (as I trust) fairly from the Scriptures, have satisfied many who have read what I then wrote upon the subject.
Friend. I never saw your answers to objections in print; but in our last conversation, you gave such answers to many questions, as seem
ed to convince me that much more might be said in favor of the general Restoration than I formerly imagined: but I have a number of objections remaining, which appear to me unanswerable; and which I beg leave to state in the plainest manner.
Minister. Do, my dear friend; you will give me pleasure by being free and open upon this subject; propose all your objections in the strongest manner possible, and I will give you such answers as have satisfied me in the matter; and I beg leave to assure you, that no light, trifling, or forced answer, far less a manifest evasion, would satisfy my mind upon this awful and interesting subject; and if what I believe is not capable of a scriptural defence, I shall endeavor to quit the ground as speedily as possible.
Friend. The words of our Saviour, recorded by St. Mark, ix. 43--49, form a very serious, and to me an unanswerable objection against the Universal Restoration.
"And if thy hand offend thee (or cause thee to offend) cut it off; it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands, to go into hell; into the fire that never shall be quenched (or that is unquenchable;) where their worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched. And if thy foot offend thee (or cause thee to offend) cut it of; it is better for thee to enter halt into life,
than having two feet to be cast into hell, into * the fire that never shall be quenched (or that is unquenchable); where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thine eye
offend thee, (or cause thee to offend) pluck it out; it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire; where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt."
Here our Lord repeats five times, that “the fire is not, or never shall be quenched, or is unquenchable;" words of near similar meaning: three times he speaks of hell, as a place where "their worm dieth not;' and, to show the propriety of the sufferings of the miserable, he says, “For every one shall be salted with fire;” i. e. preserved by the fire, as salt preserves meat. These are the objections from this passage, briefly stated: are you able to answer them fairly, without any evasion, from the authority of scripture.
Minister. This is certainly a most terrible passage, and deserves to be considered particularly.
There is no doubt but Jesus Christ had his eye upon
that passage in Isaiah lxvi. 24.-"And they shall go forth, and look
the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me; for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.”
It will be of use to us to understand when this prophecy shall be fulfilled: It shall be when the children of Israel shall return, and be set. tled in their own land; and their enemies shall come against them, and shall be destroyed, and their carcases shall fall upon the mountains of Israel, and shall be a prey to the fowls of heaven, and their flesh shall be devoured by worms,
which shall not die, till they have eaten and entirely destroyed their bodies.
“Thou shalt fall upon the mountains of Israel, thou and all thy bands, and the people that is with thee; I will give thee to the ravenous birds of every sort, and to the beasts of the field, to be devoured. Thou shalt fall upon the open field; for I have spoken it, saith Adonia Jeno
And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will give unto Gog a place there of graves in Israel, the valley of the passengers on the east of the sea, and it shall stop the noses of the passengers; and there shall they bury Gog, and all his multitude, and they shall call it, the valley of Hammon Gog. And seven months shall the House of Israel be burying of them, that they may cleanse the land.”—(See Ezek. xxxix. 4, 5, 11, 12.) “And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem, shall even go up, from year to year, to worship the King, Jehovah, of Hosts and to keep the feasts of tabernacles.” Zech. xiv. 16. “And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith Jehovan.” Isaiah, lxvi. 21. And they that shall come up to Jerusalem, to worship the Lord, during the time that these bodies shall lie in the open field, shall go forth, and behold them in a state of putrefaction, a prey to worms; and all the nations of the earth shall see God's judgements executed upon those who dare rebel against him, by making war against the Lamb, and against his army.--Rev. xvii. 14. xix. 19.
It is also intimated by Ezekiel, that a fire shall be kindled, to burn their weapons of war, &c. which shall last for some time. Hear his words: “And they that dwell in the cities of Israel shall go-forth, and shall set on fire and burn the weapons, both the shields and the bucklers, the bows and the arrows, and the handstaves and the spears; and they shall burn them with fire seven years; so that they shall take no wood out of the field, neither cut down any out of the forests; for they shall burn the weapons
with fire." See Ezek. xxxix. 9, 10.
Thus have I endeavored to give the plain sense of the text to which our Lord alluded; and I have not the smallest doubt of its being hereafter literally fulfilled.
I will now endeavor to give what appears to * me the meaning of the text before us: -Christ threatened that those who would not deny themselves, and cut off those things that led them into sin, should hereafter suffer infinitely greater inconveniences, by being cast into hell fire. And, oh! who can conceive how dreadful a portion is threatened to some transgressors! that they “shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture, into the cup of his indignation! and shall be tormented with fire and brimstone, in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:-And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up ages of ages; and they have no rest day nor night.” Rev. xiv. 10. 11.
Thus, as the enemies of God, who shall be destroyed near Jerusalem, shall have their car