Page images
PDF
EPUB

Believers of such a doctrine would bear no resemblance to the believers of the doctrines of God our Saviour, who, in consequence of their believing that Jesus by the grace of God tasted death for them, can now serve God without fear, not having received the spirit of bondage again to fear.

Besides, such preaching would not answer our purpose; it would not be productive of obedience in the first instance, the obedience of faith, and as to obedience of any other description whatsoever, is not of faith, is sin, for without faith it is impossible to please God. But you will say the apostles themselves have taught that God will reward every man. True, but in what portion of scripture, or indeed any where else, are rewards and punishments considered as synonimous terms? God may reward every man according to his works without doing the least injury to the Saviour. But if the iniquity of every man merited death, or whatever punishment it merited, to declare that every man should suffer this, is doing great injury to the Saviour. It is taking from him the crown which he wears as a Saviour; it is taking this crown from his sacred head and putting it on the head of the sinner, who, in consequence of suffering in his own person the punishment due unto his own sin, becomes in that case, his own Saviour. This would, indeed, be trampling under foot' the blood of the covenant, through which is preached remission of sins, and through which they are sanctified.

I am, my friend, a preacher of the gospel; a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me, and woe be to me if I preach it not ; nor dare I mix therewith the language of the law, this would be to sow the field with different seeds; this mixture would not have a tendency to espouse my hearers to Christ as chaste virgins, it would rather lead them to live in adultery. The law was a former husband, this husband, who, like Moses was a bloody husband with all his terrors, is dead and buried, and we are married unto another, which is Christ; but if we preach him and the law, also, we then insist that our hearers are to live with two husbands, and so teach them to live in adultery.

Let us not do this great evil and sin against God, that good may come of it. O! that the love of God may constrain us, because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead, and let us persuade men in consequence of Christ Jesus dying for them, not to live unto themselves, but unto him who died for them; if they do not live unto him, whose service is perfect freedom, it is they

3

who will be the losers, and not that God whom their services can never profit.

Thus much, from the impulse of the moment, I have taken the freedom to say in answer to that part of your letter in which you so soleinnly, and so affectionately exhort or admonish me; and let me add, when a friend so much revered, as is the friend to whom I am writing, so earnestly requests that in all my services wherever my lot may be cast, I may inculcate the terrors of the future world, nothing but the prior commands of my blessed Master, and the inclination I have to obey him could prevent me from comply. ing with his request. I am well persuaded it would be the only means of silencing the unbelieving world, and in fact, being then in their own spirit as an adulterous generation, they would soon learn to love their own.

I request your pardon for dwelling so long on this subject; indeed, your character is a pledge of your indulgence, and after all, I flatter myself you are one with me in spirit, although we may not speak the same dialect.

I thank you for the particular account with which you have favoured me of our christian friends, I am wholly indebted to you for all the intelligence I have received. My heart is often with them. You say the doctrine of Universal Salvation gains ground; but it seems this doctrine is accompanied with a reproach ; that is, it is unfriendly to the doctrine of future punishments, indeed, this was what rendered this doctrine odious in every age of the world; for a great part of mankind live on the fear and terrors excited by what the rest are taught to expect in futurity.

But, although I cannot preach a Universal Salvation, that differs but very little from universal damination, although I cannot plead for the continuance of the former husband, yet I can affirin, that no one in the present or future world will find life, peace, rest, or happiness, until he believes in, and puts on the Lord Jesus. But whatever they suffer here or hereafter, will be from themselves and not from the Saviour, and even this they shall be saved from in the day of the Lord, when God shall take away the stony out of their hearts, and give them hearts of flesh. Many will experience future misery, it is a consequence, and will be the coeval of darkness. God all gracious hasten the day of vision, when every eye shall see, and seeing believe, and believing enter into rest, and find that peace,

and that joy wich is the certain consequence of knowing what God hath done for our souls.

I thank you for the extract from Mr. W's letter, I love the man in my heart, and wish him the knowledge of God more perfectly. But when I come to the close of the extract, and hear him, with the rest of mankind, speaking of Jesus Christ in some future day as being brought into subjection to the Father, that God may be all in all, I am astonished! Is it possible this dear man hath written a book to prove the divinity, that is the Deity of our Saviour, of the God we worship; that there is but one God, and that Jesus Christ is the only wise God our Saviour; and yet the advocate for this doctrine tells us that Jesus shall be brought into SUBJECTION to the Father, that God may, from that time forward, be all in all? O! for the time when this Babylonish dialect will be no longer in use. Is it not easy to see, that bringing into subjection presupposes rebellion? When was Jesus Christ as an individual in rebellion ? Was not the human nature in rebellion ? Was not this the prodigal son finally to be brought into subjection? And is it not manifest that he who brought him into subjection is excepted when it is said, all things were put under him?

Your remarks on the temper of my mistaken opponents are very just. Yea, verily, verily, they who do as much as they can, would do more if they could. The principles advanced by that old gentleman is rapidly gaining ground! When the Son of man cometh shall he find faith upon the earth? O, how strong is the spirit of antichrist in this our day! he indeed sheweth himself that he is God, and even passes among his Votaries for the true Christ. May Almighty God keep both you and me from his power.

I am happy to learn my good friend G. has been with you; he is indeed a worthy man, and much am I and mine indebted to him. I am fearful you will not have patience to travel through this tedious letter: but let me not add to its length by apologies. Write to me, I pray you, without delay. I have the honour to be your obliged and truly grateful friend, &c. &c. &c.

LETTER LV.

To Mr. K.

SIR,

To be properly qualified as an objector to the doctrine of which I am an humble advocate, you should first understand it, and in order to understand it, you should hear it.

If after hearing and understanding, you should find yourself able, and willing to urge objections, it would in my opinion, be abundantly more advantageous to bring them forward in presence of the congregation to which I preach. If your objections should be found rational, we will cheerfully attend thereto, and should your arguments be sufficiently weighty and powerful to produce conviction, we will not hesitate to adopt your creed.

Should your objections prove light, and immaterial, they may probably be blown away by the breath of God's mouth.

You talk of originals, alas! you have no originals. I would travel far to see an original'; the very térm copy or translation destroys this idea. The knowledge of Hebrew, or Greek, or any other language, in which the sacred writings have been embodied, has never yet been found sufficient to communicate an acquaintance with the things of God.

I am sorry if I have hurt your feelings by suggesting the possibility of your inattention to some particular passages of scripture. I did not, I do not wish to offend. The Bible is a very large book, it is not to be supposed that any one can understand or remember the whole. No man is obliged to carry a concordance in his head. There may be room for both you and me to improve. It is my wish to receive and to communicate by every legitimate méthod. · But, as I have not much leisure, it is incumbent upon mé to make the most of my time, and it is therefore, I prefer your urging your objections to the gospel, in public rather than in private, as our conference would thus be rendered more extensively useful. To a record of the arguments which may be brought forward, I can

Vol. II. 42

have no objection. My object is to elucidate truth, and in thusdoing, I am willing to surrender every consideration which can be considered as merely personal. I am, Sir, with due respect, your most obedient,

very humble servant, &c. &c.

LETTER LVI.

To a Christian Friend.

I TOLD you I would write to you, and I set about per forming my promise. Had I not a great opinion of you, and were not my attachment to you very strong, perhaps I should not have remained so long silent. It is my desire to comprise what I would say in a small compass, and yet I have much to say. I wish to gratify you, and I am aware that nothing but plain, familiar language, will answer this purpose.

Reflecting this morning upon this subject, the resolution of the Apostle Paul occurred forcibly to my mind : I am determined to know nothing among you, save Christ Jesus and him crucified, What was his determination, when engaged in speaking to his hearers, shall be mine in writing to you. Some may suppose this subject would be soon exhausted-far, very far from it. The Apostle himself knew it but in part, nor he alone; he speaks in the plural: We know but in part. But if we make this inexhaustible theme our study, we shall grow in grace, and in the knowledge and love of God, and of his Son Jesus Christ.

In order; however, to make Jesus and him crucified, our abiding and enduring theme, we must be acquainted with him ; but his name, his person, his fulness, his words, his works, can be known only by the Spirit of God,and by those to whom that spirit makes him manifest. It is the spirit of truth alone that can take of the things of Jesus, and show them unto us ; for no man can know the things of God, but by the spirit of God.

« PreviousContinue »