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relate to the destruction of Jerusalem, the dispersion of the Jews, and the great ecclesiastical and civil revoJutions that were contemporary with those events. The very introduction, or exordium, to the book, would lead one to this conclusion. Chap i. 1-3; The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to show unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass ; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John.
Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein ; for the time is at hand.'
“Besides these considerations, furnished by the exordium to the book, by the context under notice, and many other internal marks of the book having the same bearing, the popular notion supposed to be countenanced by the text, is wholly destitute of all support from reason or revelation.
If God is the creator and moral governor of mankind in this life, is he not as much so in the future? Does death dissolve the tie between the creature and Creator ? or put a period to man's moral powers, or God's capacity to improve them? Must the moral condition of all infants, idiots, Pagans, Mahometans, Jews, &c., remain precisely the same through all eternity that it is at the article of death? If so, they (especially infants and idiots) can never know much, nor, consequently, can they ever suffer or enjoy much as moral beings. But does not Paul contradict this theory (1 Cor. xv. 51), when he declares "we shall all be changed.' And again (Rom. xiv. 8, 9); For whether we live, we live unto the Lord ; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord ; whether we live, therefore, or die, we are the Lord's. For to this end Christ hath died and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living."
XCVI. “If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book; and if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” Rev. xxii. 18, 19.
Having finished the prophecies of the book of Revelation, its author was desirous to prevent them from being corrupted. For this purpose he adds, " If any man shall add. unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book [of Revelations] ; and if any mạn shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, [the roll of Christian believers,) and out of the holy city, [the Christian Church,) and from the things which are written in this book, (viz. the blessings which are promised to the true and faithful disciples.]
What are the plagues that are written in this book ? Have we not shown that they are not to be referred to the immortal state ? See these plagues spoken of, ix. 20, and compare with the preceding part of the chapter. See also, xi. 6, where it is said the two witnesses have power
"to smite the earth with all plagues.” See again, xvi. 9.
Here the plagues are spoken of once more ; and if the reader will peruse the whole chapter, particularly the first verse, he will see that these plagues were poured out ироп the earth.” Again, see xviii. 4, 8; and here we are told, that “her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine ; and she shall be utterly burned with fire ; for strong is the Lord God, who judgeth her.” Were not these plagues on the earth ?
But let us look once more. In xv. 1, we read, "And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous, seven angels having the seven last plagues ; for in them is FILLED UP the wrath of God.” Again, in versé 6, we read, that “the seven angels came out of the temple having the seven [last] plagues.” See vers.
7 and 8. In the next chapter, [xvi.]. we read of the manner in which these seven angels poured out the “last plagues ;
and a slight examination will show, that they were all poured out upon the earth. " And I heard a great voice out of the temple, saying to the seven angels, go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God UPON THE EARTH.' The first vial was poured out upon the earth, meaning the land, verse 2. The second was poured out upon the sea, verse 3.
The third was poured out upon the rivers and fountains of water, verse 4.
16 The fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun,' verses 8, 9.
The fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast,” verses 10, 11. “The sixth angel poured his vial upon the great river Euphrates,” verses 12 – 16. “And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air,” verses 17 – 21. These were the seven angels having the seven last plagues, and this was the manner in which the seven last plagues were poured out.
Now when it is said, “if any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book," - what other plagues can be referred to than those which are enumerated above ? And is it not evident, that those plagues have no reference to the immortal existence ?
In the interpretation we have given of this subject, we are confirmed by two of the best critics. Hammond paraphrases the two verses as follows :
" As for all those to whom this prophecy will come, I conjure them all, that they change not a tittle of it, and withal, that they look upon it as the last authoritative prophecy that is likely to come from heaven, to be a rule of faith to the church: What is here said, is decreed and settled immutable; no man shall be able to avert it ; and whosoever shall go about to infuse any other expectations into men than what are agreeable to these visions, God shall bring on him the judgments that are here denounced against God's greatest enemies. And so in like manner, whosoever shall derogate any
thing from the authority of this prophecy, or take out any part of it, or occasion men's not receiving the admonition of Christ here contained, in every part thereof, God shall cast him off, throw him out of the church, account him incapable of all the blessings, which are here promised to the faithful Christians.”
The learned Grotius, in his “Annotations,” speaks as follows:
66 God shall add unto him the plagues :. by the plagues are to be understood, as well those in chapter vii. ix. x. and xi., as those in chapter xvi, xvii. and xviii. ; of which one portion relates to the Jews, and the other to the Roman empire.
" And out of the holy city • he shall not be a member of the church, but shall be cast out, as one making a lie."
To conclude, let me observe, that the 20th verse shows, that the punishments denounced in the 18th and 19th verses were of speedy accomplishment. “He which testifieth these things saith, surely, I come quickly; Amen. Even so come, Lord Jesus.”
POPULAR OBJECTIONS CONSIDERED.
I. We propose to notice in this chapter, the most common objections to Universalism. A series which appeared in a highly respectable Orthodox periodical in Boston, a few years since, will be made the basis of this chapter. We prefer this method, that the objections may appear in the language of the objector, and thereby be given in their full force.
II. “Universalism is contrary to the dictates of common pru. dence. Prudence says, Always take the safe side of a question. But it is not safe to adopt Universalism; for if it be not true, - and it may not be, then, trusting to it, I shall lose my soul. Whereas, if it be true, and I adopt the contrary belief, I am nevertheless safe.”
This is the old argument, which has been answered time after time. It is to be presumed, that partialists never read the writings of Universalists ; for, in that case, they would be unwilling to bring forward an argument which has been fairly and repeatedly refuted. The argument before us, is based on the safety of believing in endless misery. The believer in endless misery, it is thought, suffers no disadvantage, and is exposed to no danger; for if Universalism is true, he is as safe as anybody else ; but if the doctrine of endless misery be true, what will become of the Universalist ? The question, then, with the partialist is not, which doctrine is best sustained by evidence, but which is it safest to believe ? We say, it is the safest to believe the truth; and the primary question, before which every other dwindles into nothing, is this, — which of these doctrines is true? We will, however, waive the primary question, and inquire which it is the safest to believe ?' But is there not something unphilosophical in this question ?. A man's belief is here represented as something he can manage at his pleasure ; it is supposed he can believe any thing or every thing; and if he thinks that it is safer to believe one thing than another, he will believe it. We see nothing here like reason or good sense. A man's belief is governed by evidence; and whether it is safe to believe a proposition, can have no influence at all on him in forming his religious opinions. The argument, then, under consideration is an unphilosophical one, that no man, in the exercise of good sense, would bring forward.
If the doctrine of endless misery should at last prove true, (God forgive the supposition, we see no reason why the believer in that doctrine would not as likely be lost, ås the sincere Universalist. It certainly cannot excite anger
in God for men to believe Him better than he really is ; and how it will recommend a man to God's favor to attribute to Him the disposition of a demon, we have no means of knowing. As to this life, the believer of Universalism has the advantage