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that melancholy event, with which you have so condescendingly indulged me. From the moment of my leaving England, until the arrival of this heart affecting intelligence, I experienced much innate satisfaction from the prospect of meeting once more, in the present state, my spiritual parent, my guide, my father, my brother, my friend. I pleased myself with the expectation of communicating to him the discoveries I had made in this new world; and I anticipated the ineffable delight we should derive from the glowing devotion of our hearts, while we talked together of these things.
But, alas! all these high-raised expectations are now blasted, forever buried in his grave; and I have only to look forward to the period when we shall' assuredly meet again, and with the additional satisfaction of knowing we shall never more be separated.
I am obliged by the account you have transmitted me respecting the last stages of my lamented friend ; I never expected any failure in his faith ; yet, although he had staggered at the promises, I have the happiness to assure you, this circumstance would have originated no doubts in my mind; for however great my opinion of, and affection for, so distinguished a member of that body, of which the Redeemer is the head, my faith was never founded on him. I should not have profited under his ministry, if I had thus rested my hope upon any mere man. But, although through the favour of heaven I am separated from that adulterous generation, which is ever asking after a sign, it nevertheless gives me pleasure, inexpressible pleasure, to hear of any of the redeemed finishing their course with joy, and triumphantly laying hold of eternal life.
Had James Relly departed under a cloud, it would, no doubt, have had a tendency to have made blind eyes blinder,and hard hearts harder; but, blessed be God, you have assured me that his views of his Redeemer and his finished righteousness, still brightened upon him, until escaping from the body; he, no doubt, attained the regions of interminable day.
Yet, how strictly true are your remarks upon the self-righteous disposition of the adulterous generation. I never saw so much of it as since
my residence in this country; but I have the pleasure to inform you, that among the many who have been called home, after having heard and received the truth as it is in Jesus, I do not know a single individual who did not make a happy exit; while no instance has occurred in which pains has not been taken
to produce an impression, that they quitted life in great dismay and fearful torment. Recantations and confessions have been fabricated for the deceased, and dispersed through the country, for the purpose of terrifying the simple and preventing them from entering into rest by believing. I could fill many sheets with the slanders that have been propagated of departing Christians, with a view to invalidate the testimony to the truth of which, with their latest breath, they have borne solemn and joyful testimony. Yet among this adulterous generation, who are ever asking after a sign, the devices of the arch-adversary will produce the intended effect.
Blessed be God my heart' has long been established in the firm belief of those salutary truths, respecting the great salvation with which your epistle abounds.
I have no doubt that God hath in Christ reconciled the world unto himself; nor have I any doubt of the end for which God was manifested in the flesh, being fully answered, viz. the reconciling the world unto himself. I am persuaded that the prophets prophesied, and the apostles preached the unbounded, immeasurable grace
of God to a ruined, lost world; and I am persuaded that the spirit of God witnesseth with the spirit of every believer, to the truth of the gospel of God our Saviour. Furthermore I conceive the scriptures which I am exhorted to search, and which I consider as the only rule given to direct me, I conceive these scriptures assure me, that in Jesus all fulness dwells; the fulness of the divine, the fulness of the human nature. In Christ Jesus the fulness of the human nature is presented to the divine nature, as an offering in a clean vessel. It is in Emmanuel that God saith unto man, I see no spot in thee; and in the self-same connexion we say unto God, “Fury is not in thee.” It is in Christ Jesus that God says, I have loved thee with an everlasting love ; and here we say “the Lord is my fortress, and my strong tower; I shall not be moyed. It is by the elucidating influence of the blessed Spirit, that we are thus enabled to read the scriptures.
In Emmanuel I am instructed to believe, was found the fulness of sin; he bear all our sins in his body on the tree. In Emmanuel is found the fulness of righteousness; in the Lord is righteousness; he is the Lord our righteousness. The righteousness of God, which is by faith of Jesus Christ, is unto all ; in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. He hath blessed us
with all spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus. The former, sin, he put away by the sacrifice of himself; he hath made an end of sin. The latter, RIGHTEOUSNESS, is everlasting; the former is blotted out; the latter shall shine as the sun in the kingdom of the Father. All this, and much more to the same purpose, with which you have been much longer, and are, no doubt, much better acquainted than myself, the scriptures do abundantly teach. Yet there is much contained in those sacred
with which I am solicitous to be better acquainted. Many scripture expressions seem to admit a doubtful interpretation. Our blessed Master says, Search the scriptures, for they testify of me. Do they all testify of Jesus, or does this expression of our Lord signify no more than that he is testified of therein? The parables in the NewTestament speak of Jesus ; but do they all, and all in every part speak of him? Our Saviour taught the disciples in parables; but were they taught by these parables ? Did he not say that he made use of these parables, that they should not understand? But of . some few, to his immediate disciples, he condescended to give an explanation. Have we any other way of understanding the residue of the parables, but by considering what those which are already explained, contain ?
I fatter myself with the prospect of hearing from you again ; and I should be exceedingly obliged to you, for your ideas upon the parable of the talents. I think I am better acquainted with what this parable does not, than what it does mean. Who is the Lord ?. Who are his servants, and what are the talents? In the fourth chapter of Mark, our Saviour teacheth many things by parables; and amongst the many, one of a sower who went out to
This parable seems as plain as any; yet it was not understood by his disciples until their : Master graciously condescended to explain it. Know ye not this parable, said the Redeemer, and how then will ye know all parables ?
Does not this authorize a supposition, that the knowledge of this parable leads to an acquaintance with all parables ? But how? The more I look into these things, the more I feel my own littleness. Alas! alas ! how little do I know! but, blessed be him who sayeth, There is nothing hidden which shall not be manifested. But to whom shall they be manifested, and when ?
Yes, I am fully of your opinion, when you tell me the scriptures testify of Jesus, through the medium of those illustrious names
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you introduce; but do not they testify of those personages as fig. ures of Jesus ? But you have said they do,
Are we not led, when reading the scriptures, to the consideration of opposite characters? And is there not danger of erring, by not rightly diyiding the words of sacred writ? May not many welldisposed persons offend, by not so understanding the scriptures as to render to Cæsar the things which are Cæsar's, and unto God the things which are God's? There is a preacher of the gospel, of some respectability in this country, who, I fear, has done much mischief in this way. Taking it for granted that Christ is all, I understand he has confounded him with the grand adversary of souls. It is thus, that our great Master is frequently wounded in the house of his friends.
The scriptures speak of our blessed Saviour as being made a curse for us.
But does not the same sacred volume speak of the arch adversary as being accursed ? Because thou hast done this thou art accursed. When searching the scriptures, I find they testify of Jesus, as the Prince of peace; and the same scriptures testify of the adversary, as the prince of the power of the air. The scriptures testify of Jesus, as the only wise God our Saviour ; and the adversary is testified of, as the god of this world. Our deliverer as the Lion of the tribe of Judah ; and our malignant adversary, who goeth about seeking to devour, as the roaring lion.
The excellence of a character, is said to be best illustrated by contrast with its opposite. The scriptures abound with such contrasts. In figure, between one man and another; in substance, Christ and Belial. Persons and things are made use of to elucidate the beauty and excellence of the one, and the deleterious nature and horrid deformity of the other.
We know of whom David was a figure, when he slew the Phillistine; but of whom was the monster slain, a figure ? Perhaps of the serpent, whose head the antitype of David was destined to bruise. We know of whom every character good and great, and good as great was a figure ; båt of whom were the other characters great indeed, but not good, figures ? To investigate this subject accurately, would be worthy the pen of my venerable, my experienced friend.
You have, no doubt, often thought of these things; and you have frequently been blest with the privilege of hearing our invaluable, heaven-taught friend, Mr. Relly, expatiate thereon. I pray you to
indulge me as often as possible, with communications upon these subjects; you shall not find me ungrateful.
In looking once more over your kind favour, I find you authorize a hope, that you will confide to me manuscripts you have already written; delay them not, I beseech you, and it shall not be my fault, if they be not made public.
I take leave to inclose you a little piece, written some time since by a member of our community. It was penned for her own family, and yielded to the press with much reluctance.
You will observe, by attending to this piece, that our views of some parts of scripture do not correspond with yours; upon one at least: The man of sin ; the son of perdition, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of his mouth, and destroy with the brightness of his coming.
One passage more of which you have expressed your sentiments in the letter before me, I do humbly and earnestly request you to reconsider. The more I think of this passage, the more difficulty I discover in ascertaining the real design of our divine Master in this parable. Who is the king? Who is his son? What is the marriage? To what period does this parable point? What do the oxen and the fatlings represent? Who were the servants first sent out? Who were the guests first invited, who were not worthy? Who were the armies as the instruments of his wrath? What was the high way? Who were the guests that attended ? Were they worthy ? Who were the good, and who were the bad? : When did the king come to meet his guests ? What is the wedding garment? Who is the individual found among those guests at this period, and the only one that had not on the wedding garment? What are we to learn by his being bound hand and foot ? Why do the servants bind him? Why is he separated from the guests; and why is he cast out into outward darkness, where is weeping and gnashing of teeth? I request your sentiments upon each of these particulars.
Could I spend one month with you and my others friends, and could we devote our hours to the contemplation of these subjects, I should indeed be most happy.
No one, I am persuaded, can fathom the depths of that humiliation, to which our suffering Saviour descended; nor can any creature, however elevated, soar even in imagination, to the height of his exaltation. But I humbly conceive in no place beside the