« PreviousContinue »
in your character, would make you keenly feel. You expressed great pleasure on seeing me at Convention. I believe you are my friend; I believe you are a friend to the family of man; and I think that I myself am attached to my species; and I am right happy whenever my Saviour gives me an opportunity of contributing to the welfare of any human being.
My purpose in meeting with the Convention was to impart unto my fellow-men some spiritual gift, such as, through the sacred oracles, I have received of the Lord. I was pleased with the attention bestowed upon me by my brethren, and yet I will confess, my pleasure was not unmixed. But from an individual, a Mr.
then received into our brotherhood and fellowship, I have since suffered much. Visiting Boston, he associated with many of my friends; some were made unhappy, and many strange reports reached my ears; he addressed me by letter, and in a manner strongly resembling insult. I sought him out, took him home with me to dinner, after which, we retired into my study, when, conversing with him as one friend converseth with another, Í informed him I had been told he believed the first Adam was Christ Jesus, with the same breath assuring him, that I did not admit the truth of the report, that I regarded it as a calumny of the same description of those with which I myself had been so frequently tortured. Certainly, my dear Sir, I added, we have only to read i Cor. xv. 46, 47, to determine this matter.
“ Howbeit, that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural, and afterwards that which is spiritual.
“ The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven."
Sir, I have affirmed this report concerning you cannot be true.
“ But I really did say, and I really do think, however it may affect
that the first Adam was Jesus Christ. I call no man master, Sir, one is my master, who is in heaven.”
I was going to give you .our conversation, but I have neither leisure nor patience. I mentioned to him the scape goat; two goats were selected, one for the Lord, and the other for the devil, or Azazel, literally translated devil. These were exhibited as types, the one of the Lord, and the other of the adversary. The goat, on which the Lord's lot fell, was made a sacrifice for sin, this is strikingly figurative of the Redeemer; but after the sacrifice, after the atonement, the sins of the people were separated from them, and
Vol. II. 41
restored to him, from whom those sins originated, to the scape goat, to Azazel or the devil, after which ceremony, this scape, goat was sent into a land of forgetfulness, into the wilderness, whence he was not to return, thus being rendered an expressive type of the adversary.
He assured me his views were totally dissimilar, that his opinions were the reverse, he did not believe there was any such being as the devil, and that, therefore, of course, all evil originating from God, this immaculate Being must assuredly be the only sinner in the universe ! ! God was the sinning Adam, and it seems he made a mistake when he said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this thou art cursed. Horrible! most horrible! what heart is not appalled at such blasphemy! this bewildered man asserted, that as I made the scape goat a figure of the devil, he should in future declare, that I supposed the devil the Saviour of the world ! ! ! I was thunderstruck; every faculty of my soul was agonized. Sir, had he taken a pistol from his pocket, threatening to blow my brains out, if I did not deliver my purse, I should not have been more surprised, more completely terrified. I censured myself for conversing with him without witnesses ; you can have no idea of the anguish of my soul upon this occasion!!
Permit me, Sir, to ask, and I entreat; I beseech you to answer me, do the associated preachers of Universalism adopt such principles as this gentleman avows? Do they really affirm there is no devil, and of course no works of the devil? What then did the Redeemer descend from the highest heavens to destroy? Doth not the sacred text declare that Christ Jesus was manifested to abolish death, and him who had the power of death, that is, the devil ? But if there be no fallen angels, then all evil, moral and natural, origin. ates from God! and there can be but one sinner in the creation, but one sinner in the universe ; or there never was any sin, any transgression! What then becomes of the Bible? My soul sickens, and my limbs tremble, while penning such impious, such profane conclusions, as are inevitably involved in such God-dishonouring principles. Once more I pray you tell me whether all your
associated preachers thus think, thus speak? or if happily there be exceptions, for the love of heaven, name them to me; I am pierced to the soul. Hasten to me your answer; hasten your presence, and accept lodgings in the house of your friend and brother. Farewell.
To Mr. M. of Pennsylvania.
MY GREATLY VALUED FRIEND,
ou have received so kindly the feeble efforts made in my last letter, that almost in the moment after perusing your rea sponses, I am seated for the purpose of replying.
I am, my much loved friend, exceedingly pleased to learn that the assurance of the affection of my whole self is so pleasing to you ; in this communication I read an assurance of your affection for us, which is to each of us a source of much satisfaction.
I hardly ever recur to my friend M. without pleasure mingled with pain. Pleasure, that we have at last met as friends, and pain, that our meeting in this character has been so long delayed. However, we will not look backward with regret, but forward with pleasing hope.
Our mutual friends in your city have given you a pleasing account of our journey, but should I ever live to see you again, you shall have a more pleasing, because a more circumstantial account, in a series of letters penned by our mutual friend to her parents, while on her journey. I am happy that the account you received was delivered with warmth of affection, both to her and to me, and that I can trace this affection to its source, the invigorating fire of divine love. This fire of divine love may be removed, but it can never be extinguished ; and it is no doubt of the same quality with that fire which shall burn as an oven, until every particle of the chaff of God's harvest shall be consumed.
Well, therefore, do you observe, that “this prepared day of the Lord is a day, in the which, all who know the Lord may with
propriety rejoice, and make melody." Yes, I am well persuaded that the day of vengeance of our God will not close, before all that mourn are comforted. Isaiah lxi. 2.
I thank you for your consoling observations on the affection of my brethren ; such reflections are worthy of the friend, and of the Christian ; they give pleasure, and they lead to peace. We ought
to have but one master, but one leader ; directed by this great Masa ter, we salute no man by the way, and it is only in following the direction of this unerring guide, that the peace of the bosom can be ensured. The experience of my whole life corresponds with this sentiment, The paths of wisdom are the only paths wherein peace can be found. O, that men were wise! O, that they were acquainted with truth! O, for that strength of mind which may enable me to persevere in the paths of wisdom !
Assuredly, my friend, the sacred writings abound with information, calculated to render us, as preachers, and as men, wise unto salvation. But we are destitute of that spirit, which in the first instance dictated these good sayings to men of God, in order to witness with our spirits, that we may understand and feel their power; and 'when, by knowing and believing, we are brought into the way of peace, what, beside the strong power of God, can keep us, through faith unto salvation? Whether we consider ourselves as public or private witnesses for God, it is hard to keep in the way
peace. As a promulgator of the gospel of the grace of God, how many plausible pretences for turning to the right hand, or to the left!
The path you point out really seems, when we look at the things which are seen, to be a right hand path. You say that sinners should be made acquainted with the truly tremendous terrors of the future world, terrors designed for abandoned, wicked and profane persons, that they should know that there shall be tribulation, anguish and sorrow, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, and in so just a proportion, that every man shall bear the punishment of his own iniquity.
But, my friend, supposing I could use the best language ever yet invented by the wisdom of man; suppose I had the tongue of the archangel, which is destined to wake the sleeping dead, and were to employ those powers in the way you point out, what in that case would become of my 'commission received from my Prince? How would this be preaching the gospel to every creature, or to any creature? What, in bearing such a testimony, must I do with the ministry of reconciliation committed unto me, to wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing unto them their trespasses? How should I dare to open the Bible, lest the prophet Isaiah should stare me in the face, telling me that when all, like sheep, had gone astray, the Lord laid on Jesus the iniquities of us all, and that he, Jesus, was wounded for our trans
gressions, and bruised for our iniquities? Or how should I feel if I should meet with the prophet Daniel, declaring in his strong energetic manner, Messiah shall be cut off, but not for himself; he shall make reconciliation for iniquity? Or what must be my feelings when I meet in the paradisical walks of the New-Testament, the honest, faithful ambassadors of this Master, of whom I called myself an ambassador, when : hear one declare, He bear all our sins in his own body on the tree, and another, he put away sin by the sacrifice of himself, and that he made peace by the blood of his
In short, go where I would, I should meet Jesus in the character of a Saviour, of the Saviour of the world. But whenever or wherever I met him, what shame and confusion of face must be my portion, if, instead of preaching glad tidings to every creature, I had, in the vain conceit of making mankind better, sought to rectify the commands of my Redeemer, and preached unto the people sad tidings of sad tidings, thus assuring every sinner that he should bear the punishment of his iniquitics?
And how, my friend, could I, were I thus to proceed, answer to the charge that would be exhibited against me, betore my gracious Master, for robbing him of the honour due unto his naṁe, who suffered for the unjust to bring them to God, and who died for the sins of the world? Shall I dare to betray my Master into the hands of his enemies by saying that after all he has done, he has left mankind precisely where they were left by Moses, exposed to all the terrors of an unfulfilled law, and unsatisfied justice?.
Shall I first tell them that Christ Jesus is the Saviour of all men, and then tell every soul of man that doeth evil (which is every man) that they are not saved, that Jesus Christ, instead of saving them, has left them to bear their own iniquities, and the just proportion of punishment due unto crimes? Were such my testimony, how should I suffer by comparison with the apostle to the Gentiles, whose doctrines were never yca and nay, but yea and amen to the glory of God the Father ?
But suppose I should preach the terrors of a future world, and so preach, that every man should really believe that he should bear in his own person, as much punishment as in justice his iniquity deserved, what would be the consequence of his thus believing? Would he love God the better? He may, indeed, be more afraid of God, but is there any fear in lore? perfect love casteth out fear.