Page images

The Jewish rabbies observe that there never was known an instance of one of these goats having been heard of after, the ceremony of the tranfer, and the conducting it by the hands of a fit person into the wilderness.

But for our suffering Saviour, after he had borne our sins in his own body on the tree, he was not sent away alive; he died indeed but he was not lost in death, neither was he, during his absence from the flesh, sent into a place not inhabited; he went and preached to the spirits who were in prison, who were disobedient in the days of Noah.

This blessed, this immaculate offering for sin, was found again by many who were witnesses of his resurrection from the dead. Indeed I am inexpressibly shocked, to find the scape-goat considered as a figure of the world's Saviour.

Thus, my loved, my esteemed friend, have I given you, agreeably to your request, in a plain, familiar manner, my sentiments of the passages you have cited.

You are now in possession of my hope, and of my reasons for that hope. But my reasons are not based upon human authority. I have not produced traditionary testimonies, nor dared to offer my own ipsi dixit; I have only mentioned a few of the many explanatory passages, which were leisure mine and patience yours I might produce. May the peace of God abide with you.-Farewell.

[blocks in formation]

In all the round of my numerous correspondents, I know none more worthy of my attention, or whose letters afford me more satisfaction than yourself, and the communications I receive from you. Your obliging favour of June 15th was put into my hand last evening, immediately after my return from a journey of many hundred miles. I left home on the fourth of May. My tour has been delightful, and would have been more abundantly so, if you could have partook my pleasures. You would have witnessed the works of nature, and the works of nature's God, in a most strik. ing point of view.

As you feel pleasure in a correspondence from which you cannot receive much profit, your friendship is thus more clearly manifested ; and I regret the letter to which you advert never came to hand. Indeed, the uncertainty attendant upon this mode of conveying letters, is no small source of uneasiness. You are quite right; I was, indeed, apprehensive I should lose your love, in consequence of declaring my sentiments respecting the love of God; and you do me justice in acknowledging that I have evinced the sincerity of my own affection. Sir, I do indeed love you with very sincere and warm regard; but I will freely own, that while I acknowledge all the ardours of affection, I am sometimes checked and rendered unhappy by experience, by the experience of a life of observation.

I have lost many friends by letting them know that I had found hinh, that Jesus, of whom Moses and the prophets spake; and you will consequently yield me credit when I assure you, that the confirmation of your continued regard since the receipt of my letters, gives me inexpressible satisfaction.

Assuredly, our divine Master was greater than the greatest of · our fellow-servants; and it is much to the honour of the Apostle Paul, that he determined to know nothing but Christ crucified, and that he wished to be followed no further than he followed his Master.

We should indeed do an incalculable injury to the sacred writings if we judged of them partially; by thus judging, no doubt, there is hardly any thing which might not be proved by the word of God. “All religions," said a late noble irreligious writer, "are sought for in the Bible, and those who seek them, find them there." Yet this sarcasm should not prevent serious inquiry, serious in estigation. Search the scriptures, "said our best guide, they testify of me. deed, indeed they do; and all of them in their divine connexion seem to say, as the Baptist said unto the Jews, Behold the Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world.

In this one grand view, the scriptures of the Old and New-Testament are without a jar; they completely harmonize. Jesus is the Saviour of the world, by taking away the sin of the world. The salvation of the works of God, and the destruction of the works of


the devil, is declared by every writer in the Bible, from Moses to the book of Revelations. And it is hence that I cannot choose, but adopt the sentiment which embraces the final restitution of all men. I have for the revelation of my God the highest veneration. I regard the scriptures of the Old and New-Testament as the only infallible guide ; and when the sacred volume is silent, I dare not speak; and indeed, so strong is my attachment to, and deference for these heaven-inspired and time-honoured oracles, that where they are silent, I hardly dare think. But if at any time a thought arises in my mind, not consistent with the joint suffrages of the sacred writers, I reject it as an evil thought. I am, however, free to own, that if I could see one part of divine revelation contradicting another, it would weaken the authority of the whole. But, taking it for granted that the all-wise, the all-gracious God, purposed to give us a revelation of himself, I receive his words as he spake them, being well assured God could not assert one thing and intend another. Indeed, were the scriptures thus circumstanced, they could not be esteemed a revelation. Hence I dare not alter any part of the sacred writings; and I am bound to receive the scriptures in their fullest latitude ; they cannot mean more than the nature and will of God imply; and if they be not true as they stand, I have no reason to consider one part of revelation, as more authentic than another. I do not, I cannot see any part of revelation that limits the efficacy of Christ's death, to any particular number or description of people in the human family. I lay down my life for my sheep, is tantamount to dying for the sins of the whole world, tasting death for every man, for the scriptures speak of all mankind as sheep going astray.

I never knew any part of our Saviour's testimony so little attended to, as the seventeenth of John. Nothing can appear more clear than this chapter. Do but take your Bible and read to the end of the chapter. In the first petition offered up in this chapter, the Redeemer prays not for the world, but for the receivers and and appointed promulgators of the word, that bringeth unto all men salvation. But, secondly, He prays not for those only, but for all those who should believe on him through their word, that the world may believe that thou hast sent me, and that thou hast loved them as thou hast loved me;, and thirdly, Father I will that they also whom thou hast given me, may be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory. Here are three prayers ; the first, for the ministers of the gospel; the second, for all that should have

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

power given. unto them to believe the preached word; and the the third, For all that the Father gave the Son. But, who were given by the Father to the Son ? Behold, saith the Father, all souls are mine; and, saith the Son, all thine are mine. I will give thee, said the Father to the Son, the heathen for thine inleritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. All things, we are told, were made for him, and he is the appointed heir of all things. Yes,I repeat,I do believe there are an elect number to whom it shall be given, in this their day, to see the things that make for their peace; the election hath obtained it, and the rest are blinded ; but I say again, the day of the Lord cometh, when all that which in this their day is hidden from their eyes shall be made manifest, and then every eye shall see. What shall every eye see? Why, the things which make for their peace, to be sure ; which was that Jesus was indeed the propitiation for their sins, and that Christ is indeed the life of the world.

What our Saviour saith of the right eye, &c. &c. he saith unto us and to all, even to the elect. It would undoubtedly be better for us to enter into life with one eye, than into hell with two; for in hell the worm never dieth, in hell the fire is not quenched ; and the Pharisees who would not part with their right eye or their right hand, were not only children of hell themselves, but their converts were two-fold more the children of hell, than were those whose proselytes they were; but, blessed be God, death and hell shall deliver up the dead which are in them, and death and hell shall be cast into the lake of fire. I regret my letters have not been sufficiently explicit. Yes, truly, these shall go away into everlasting punishment; but I do not recollect that it is any where said, the sheep shall go away into everlasting punishment; again, and again I say, that I unwaveringly believe this denunciation was addressed to another nature, a nature which is reserved in chains of darkness unto the judgment of the great day, a nature which was cursed from the beginning; which nature shall then be separated from God's inheritance,and sent into the fire prepared for the devil and his angels. Yes, undoubtedly, the unbeliever at his death bids adieu to every source of consolation ; and not informed that he has redemption in the Beloved, and that God can be a just God and a Saviour, he feels ten thousand deaths in fearing one; and this misery shall continue until the people are all taught of God, until the face of the covering shall be removed, and the veil taken from all nations, and death

[ocr errors]


swallowed up of victory. Yes, I am a believer in future misery, but of its duration I know nothing, because I know not when the end of the world will be. But this is certain, that at the end of the world, the tares will be gathered out, will be separated from the seed sown; and I know nothing else that gives offence to God or misery to man. I frequently cry out with the prophet, How long, Lord, ere the wickedness of the wicked shall come to a final end; ere Babylon, the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth, shall fall to rise no more ; ere the whole earth shall be filled with that knowledge, which leadeth to everlasting peace?

No, my friend, the scriptures do not every where speak of the punishment of unbelievers as everlasting; yet, I am confident if they could be everlastingly held in unbelief, they would be everlastingly miserable. But the God of this world who blinds the minds of all unbelievers, hath but a short time to reign ; this consolatory truth is well known to all the followers of the Redeemer; and the abundant mercies of their God fill the hearts of the redeemed with joy, and give a song of thanksgiving to their lips.

Yes, there are characters, there are individuals of the human
family, who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the
presence of the Lord; but it is one thing to be punished with ever-
lasting destruction, and another to be everlastingly punished with
destruction. If your
candle were to burn to endless


you put your finger into that candle, but for a moment, you would suffer, for that moment, the pain of everlasting fire. But, saith the scripture, O, thou enemy, destructions are come to a perpetual end!

No, dear Sir, I am not an advocate for purgatory in the way it is generally understood. It is not purgatorial fire, it is the blood of Jesus Christ our Lord which cleanseth from all sin. I know nothing more necessary than for the Saviour to say to all'men, as he said to the man among the tombs, Come out of him; or as he said unto the leper, I will, be thou clean. When, as the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, he purged our sins by himself, he then finished the transgression, made an end of sin, and brought in everlasting righteousness.

Jesus Christ hath now only to make himself known to the offspring of his Father, as Joseph did to his brethren ; to make them understand that God sent him into the world to save them alive, and light and life will inevitably follow.

« PreviousContinue »