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I shall use th f farther liberty of subjoining some of the considerations which lead we to hope that there will be no need of suffering after this life , ia order to the conversion of those who died in unbelief .
We find that among the early Christians , i ih § re were inany persons who had beea guilty of the grossest
vices . Necessitarians admit that if those persons who are now distinguished for vice , had been placed finder favourable circumstances in early life , they might have been rendered wise and estimable members of society . Our Lord declared that his murderers
knew not what they did ; and the Apostle Peter has said , that , if they liad known the true character of Jesus , they would } iot have crucified him . We have many well-authenticated instances in modern times of the
efficacy of a change of circumstances m bringing old sinners to repentance . iThe character is often altered by a forcible or voluntary removal of the individual from one country to another , and from a change of condition even in the same country . For proof , I would refer to the beautiful experiment of Count Rumford upon the dissolute characters who infested
the capital of Bavaria . The dissolution of the body is , probably , a much greater change than 9 ny which can be experienced in life 5 and it may , therefore , be the means of changing the views and reforming the habits of individuals much more
effectually than the preaching of the apostles proved in their days . * It must , however , be granted , that the nature of the change effected by death , depends upon the nature of the society into which the parties shall be admitted . If this be vicious , we can have slender hopes of reformation .
As the world has been progressively advancing in knowledge and civilisation , may we not reasonably conclude that the same principle has been oper rating in the invisible world ? Jesus Christ surely has not been inactive
during the ages which have elapsed since his resurrection . Let us hop ^ that he is now ruling over myriads of human beings who hp , ve undergone the change of death . And here I would remark , that unon the princi-
ples o £ JVJajt ^^ shewp that the germ which coas | l | ii ^ s ; individuality , ( and which MW % fee ijticonceSyably minute , ) may wt ' Ji ^ e been gradually expanding and assimilating to itself what St * Paul denominates a spiritual body : and thus the resurrection , may be constantly going ;
on . This hypothesis is w % i&vuidated J > y the invisibilityg $ j | these renewedt bodies . Many substances arjei invisible , and to a blind mail all substances are so . If the universe is a
plenum , the most subtle fluids are as capable of solidity , as the most solid substances are capable of being- resolved into gas . Let us , bear in mind how large a portion of the human race die in iafancy , and we may surely indulge a , hope that these have been placed in a better school than this world would
have afforded . These thoughts it must be coa * wfessed , are thrown out with little regard to logical precision . To return to the question of evil . It does appear to me that even if imperfection be eternally inseparable from individuality , it by no means follows that individuals should be
subject to positive pam : for a greater degree of happiness in prospect , tends rather to quicken than to alloy present enjoyment . Upon the Necessitarian Scheme , there is but one will in the universe 4 and what less can b § indicated by the saying that God shall be all in all , than that the will of each individual
shall be ostensibly rendered identical with that of the Deity ? If so , each will so cordially approve of every thing which takes place , as to , create the same feeling as if every thing was effected by the will of each individual , and thus the Deity may be said to multiply himself to infinity .
It is said of each believer that he shall be heir of all things : but how can this be true of the whole , unless all shall contribute their respective produce ( every one producing some peculiar good ) to a common stock , the abundance of which shall suffice
to satisfy the most capacious desire of each ? I wish to iny heart I could see a greater disposition among Christians to try the effect of this principle of co-operation . Who knows but if a
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vol . xix . n
Monthly Repository (1806-1838) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833), Jan. 2, 1824, page 17, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/mruc/issues/vm2-ncseproduct2520/page/17/