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men, to whom the happiness of heaven is promised, to have any enjoyment of that happiness themselves, if those for whom they cannot but have the strongest affection, especially their children, and other near relations and friends, be, I do not say consigned to everlasting torments,* but even annihilated, or in any other way only excluded from all possibility of attaining such a state as will make their existence a blessing to them. If David lamented as he did, the death of his rebellious son Absalom, what would he have felt in the idea of his utter destruction ! A parent myself, allow me to speak to the feelings of others who are also parents. But is not God the true parent of us all ? Are not our children as much his, as they are ours? And is an earthly parent, who is deserving of the name, incapable of wholly abandoning any of his children; and will God, “whose tender mercies are over all his works,” (Psalm cxlv. 9,) and whose love and compassion far'exceed ours, abandon any of his ? Like a true parent, he will ever correct in measure, and with mercy.
I shall conclude with a quotation from Dr.
* Yet Calvinism can steel the mind, and prepare it even for this contemplation. Thus, according to Jonathan Edwurds,“ however the saints in heaven may have loved the damned while here,” their eternal damnation will serve to increase “ a relish of their own enjoyments.”
Hartley's Observations on Man, in which the doctrine of the final happiness of all men is ably defended. It is the Conclusion of his great work.
I have now gone through with my observations on the frame, duty, and expectations of man, finishing them with the doctrine of ultimate, unlimited happiness to all. This doctrine, if it be true, ought at once to dispel all gloominess, anxiety, and sorrow, from our hearts; and raise them to the highest pitch of love, adoration, and gratitude towards God, our most bountiful Creator, and merciful Father, and the inexhaustible source of all happiness and perfection. Here self-interest, benevolence, and piety, all concur to move and exalt our affections. How happy in himself, how benevolent to others, and how thankful to God, ought that man to be, who believes both himself and others born to infinite expectation !
Since God has bid us rejoice, what can make us sorrowful? Since he has created us for happiness, what misery can we fear? If we be really intended for ultimate, unlimited happiness, it is no matter to a truly resigned person, when, or where, or how. Nay, could any of us fully conceive, and be duly influenced by this glorious expectation, this infinité balance in our favour, it would be sufficient to deprive all present evils of their sting and bitter
It would be a sufficient answer—to all our difficulties and anxieties, from the folly, vice, and misery, which we experience in ourselves, and see in others, to say, that they will all end in unbounded knowledge, virtue, and happiness; and that the progress of every individual, in his passage through an eternal life, is from imperfect to perfect, particular to general, less to greater, finite to infinite, and from the creature to the Creator.”
G. SMALLFIELD, PRINTER, HACKNEY.