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Have you a wish to pervert this testimony? Or can you maintain that condemnation awaits any who are in Christ? See also 1 Cor. 1 : 30. - “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus," &c. with abundance of other testimonies to the same purpose.
I think I have shown conclusively, that none who are in Christ, according to the scripture language, are in a state of condemnation; and it appears equally obvious, that the passage in question alludes to a moral or spiritual resurrection to newness of life. If the proof by which I have attempted to sustain it be conclusive, it can need no fine spun arguments in its defence. If, however, contrary to analogy, and every other passage of scripture in which the phrase in Christ is used, you still persist in referring the text to a literal resurrection of the body, and that merely, I meet you on your own ground, and challenge you to show how the subjects of the resurrection, who are as the angels of God in heaven," are also the subjects of a sentence too horrid to believe fully and constantly, without driving reason from her seat, and ending in the blackness of despair. You are challenged to show that temporal death was denounced to man in consequence of transgression.
A paragraph in your 8th letter, dwelling on the restitution of all things, closes as follows:
"The passage does not say a word respecting the salvation of all, nor any of mankind. It only asserts the completion of all the predictions contained in the ancient prophecies. But whether the restoration of all men to divine favour is one of those predictions, remains to be proved."
It is perfectly futile to remark that the passage from Acts says nothing of the salvation of ALL. We have just seen, that your word is sufficient to neutralize ten thousand texts in which the salvation of all is clearly expressed, by the same sophistry which eludes the
force of one. By telling your readers, (what you are challenged to prove) that Universalists misquote such passages, and then saying they only mean, &c. those who have not learned better, may believe you, and the most explicit language of the scriptures be no more than "sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal." But you admit that the declaration of Peter "asserts the completion of all the predictions contained in the ancient prophecies." If, then, it can be shown that the ancient prophecies refer to a time when all the intelligent creation of God shall be reclaimed from sin, and enjoy a state of holiness and happiness, your elusion will come to nothing. You ought to know that Universalists do not speak of a restoration to divine favour—we insist upon the language of scripture, which declares, that God commendeth his love to sinners, and that his love is great towards rebels, and that he is rich in mercy to those who are dead in sins. Let us now turn to the ancient prophecies, appealing to the New-Testament writers for their illustration.
In Gen. 12:2, 3, and other places, God promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, that in their seed, all the nations, families, and kindred of the earth shall be blessed. As the letter of these texts matter of notoriety, we shall endeavour to gather their import from the writers of the New Testament. Paul in his epistle to the Galatians, 3: 8, gives us the following information respecting them.
"And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed."
This, then is the gospel. To avoid the most obvi ous conclusion of this definition, we are told, that the blessing here described is temporal. Not a particle of proof is produced, nor attempted; and for the plainest reason, it cannot be found. Not a solitary
testimony of scripture can be produced, which goes to sustain the position, that the early and the latter rain, sunshine and harvest, with the vicissitudes of the seasons, are the blessing to which either of these passages alludes. To what then do they allude? See Acts 3:25, 26.
"Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. Unto you first, God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities."
Here then we learn who is that seed, of whom it is said, that in him all the families of the earth shall be blessed; and we learn also the nature of the blessing -purification from sin. This is in agreement with the declaration of the Angel " he shall save his people from their sins." Christ then is the seed to whom the promise was made, and the blessing is co-extensive with the family of man.'
The Psalms are full of the doctrine, of which Ps. 22: 27, is a passage well suited to the present occasion. "All the ends of the world shall remember, and turn unto the LORD; and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee."
In connexion with this see Isa. 35: 10.
"And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.'
Who are the ransomed of the Lord?-Christ gave himself a ransom for all-he tasted death for every man, and the prophet Isaiah says, he shall see of the travail of his soul and be satisfied.
Let us now rn to Isa. 25: 6, 7, 8.
"And in this mountain shall the Lord of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wine on
the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined. And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the vail that is spread over all nations; He will swallow up death to victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth, for the Lord hath spoken it.
Do you inquire what is the covering, this veil? See 2 Cor. 3: 14, 15, 16.
"But their minds were blinded; for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the Old Testament; which vail is done away in Christ. But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart., Nevertheless, when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away."
We now see that this covering was the vail of ignorance, the darkness of the Mosaic economy--the shadow of good things, and we see that vail is done. away in Christ. Turning to the Lord destroys this vail, and as the face of the covering is to be destroyed, tears wiped from all faces, and the rebuke taken away from off all the earth, the emancipation of the ransomed millions will be complete. Death will then be swallowed up in victory.
But perhaps we can learn from scripture something relative to the mountain, in which this covering is to be destroyed, and this feast of fat things is to be prepared. Isa. 2: 2, speaks of the mountain in these
"And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD'S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it."
Daniel speaking of this mountain ch. 2: 34, 35,
"Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing-floors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them; and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth."
And in 5: 44, explains as follows;
"And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever."
This testimony agrees with that of Isaiah, who, speaking of Christ, says--" Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end."
Jacob, prophetically describing the seed, in whom all the families of the earth are to be blessed, Gen. 49: 10, thus speaks:
"The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be."
I think no dispute will arise respecting Shiloh, the sent; Christ is evidently intended. That this may appear more fully as the spirit of the prediction, let us appeal to Eph. 1: 9, 10.
Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure, which he hath purposed in himself; that in the dispensation of the fulness of times, he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth, even in him ;"
It is thus the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ, and it is thus that as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.