Page images
PDF
EPUB

erful, preserving and governing, all his creatures, and all their actions. How true it is that we believe but in part, and what a small part of what we profess to believe, do we in reality believe. Often, too often, do I perform the part proper only to the infidel, inconsistently murmuring at his ways which my faith acknowledgeth perfect; and yet for this I am not arraigned by my fellow men, nor doth reflection upon this evil fill my own bosom with so much sorrow as crimes of an inferior nature. From whence proceeds the great sin of unbelief? Is it, that the plague of the heart is epedemical, and that all mankind being more or less infidels, we instinctively hesitate at condemning what is so prevalent, not only in our own bosoms, but universally in every mind?

Assuredly infidelity of any description is more reprehensible in me, than in any individual of whom I have any knowledge. I, who have repeated proofs of the truth of sacred testimonies, and who, for the establishment of others, am so often called to dwell upon the perfect arrangements of my God, how dreadful that a doubt of his goodness, even in the midst of calamity, should ever assail my

heart. But why should I not doubt? Are any more undeserving than myself? Worse and worse, undeserving indeed! Good God, what has my deserts to do with the matter in question? What has merit to do with faith ? How dare we look to ourselves,when we talk of believing? Of believing on that Jesus, who saveth his people from their sins, who is the Saviour of sinners; in that God who says, Be it known unto you, not for your sakes do I do this, but for my own name sake? Surely, surely, there is no cause for doubting, until that name fails whereby we are called. And how great is the magnitude of that name-It is a name which is above every name; it is a name which includes every name; that at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow, whether they be things in heaven, or things on earth, or things under the earth. It is in him we live, move, and have our being. Shall I have my being in God here, and hell hereafter? Is not a being in God connected with safety? Can I have a being in God at one time, and not at another? Will not whatever is now included in himself, always be included in himself? Else, how is he the same yesterday, to-day, and forever? Let us then look to him, and not to ourselves-Did I say not to ourselves? O, yes, let us look to ourselves likewise, that we may be thus able to form some idea of the magnitude of that mercy, to which we are indebted for every good we at present

enjoy; and through which, we are encouraged to hope, in future worlds, a state of never-ending felicity. In this blissful state, I humbly trust you will meet and recognize your eyer grateful, ever affectionate, &c. &c.

LETTER LX.

To Mr. S. of N

PIY DEAR FRIEND,

and yet,

It is long since I have heard from any one in your city, even from you;

I am told you are my friend; nay, I do not doubt this information, for, verily, you must be a friend to every individual whom you suppose the Redeemer hath sent forth, to proclaim his grace to the children of men. I rejoiced much to see our friend R.; he did us the favour to preach for us; he is an honest soul, and we all love him. But so long has he dwelt among those, who are, as yet, unacquainted with God, as manifested in the flesh, that although this God, in his abundant mercy, hath at length manifested himself to his soul, he can yet hardly speak the language of heaven. If he could conceive more readily, and utter himself with less rapidity, he would be abundantly more useful. But his own soul is greatly refreshed, and whenever he can get the better of himself, in word as well as in deed, he will be better calculated to hold forth the words of life.

He informs me, you still preserve your place; but you will lose that, or something better. Ah, my friend, all the disciples of Christ are under the sentence of death, from the moment they commence his followers, and they must assuredly lose their lives, or their title: nor will they ever find that life they cannot lose, until they lose their own lives.

I have long since lost my life, and my enemies have done their worst. But, thanks be to God, I have found a better life, an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off forever. My kind regards to your family and friends. I shall always be your affectionate servant and friend. --Farewell.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

I

THANK you for the subscriptions you have procured ; they are not as many as I could wish, but they are more than I expected. To reprint the union, would assuredly give me much pleasure; but I am fearful a sufficient number of subscribers will not be obtained ; my endeavours, however, shall not be wanting.

It is very pleasing to me to learn, that I am often mentioned in such a circle, and with so much affection. I hope I shall not be disappointed respecting the pleasure I expect in visiting such worthy friends, in the course of the ensuing autumn.

You condescend to request my sentiments on a few points; I can hardly think it possible the request can proceed from your own desire of information, especially as you do me the justice to believe I am an honest man ; and you have repeatedly heard me deliver my sentiments on these very points; as a man of sense, you must have comprehended me; and your opinion of me, will not permit you to believe I should

vary

in

my testimony. However, as you have added the request of some friends, who, you say, are to be gratified by my answers given in writing, I will, according to the best of my ability, prepare myself for full, free, and unqualified obedience.

First, I believe Christ Jesus is the complete Saviour of all men; that by the grace of God, he tasted death for every man; that he gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time; that it is the will of God that all men should be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth; that God willeth not the death of 'a sinner, and that, therefore, he sent his Son to be the Saviour of the world, to be the propitiation for the sins of the whole world ; that he was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing unto them their trespasses; but when all like sheep went astray, every one to his own way, the Lord laid on Jesus the in

[ocr errors]

iquity of us all; and I believe that Jesus put away those sins by the sacrifice of himself, and that, therefore, as by the offence of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation, even so, by the righteousness of one, the free gift came upon all men to justification of life ; for as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

Secondly, You would know if I conceive of any probationary state beyond the grave ?

I know not of any knowledge or devise in the grave, nor do I see any necessity for trial, either here or hereafter. God cannot stand in need of any trial to determine our characters; all things are unveiled before him, and with him there is neither past nor future, but one enduring, never-ending, eternal now. Well doth God know the individuals of the human race; he knows that the thoughts and imaginations of our hearts are evil, and only evil continually; and they would thus continue to all eternity, if the word of God were not engaged to take away the veil, and destroy ; the face of the covering cast over all people. Isaiah xxv. 6, 7, 8.

But what the Father of spirits will do with those who go out of the body without being made acquainted with the things that make for their peace, what will be the situation of such spirits, in a state of separation, until their reunion with their bodies, is not for me to determine. I think it possible to bring individuals acquainted with the truth while absent from the body, else I could have no reasonable hope that any infant could immediately be rendered happy. God, in his most holy word hath given us assurance, that every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess, to the glory of the Father; and as the name Jesus is literally Saviour, what is it, but that all shall confess him their Saviour, to the glory of the Father ? But we do not see all men confess Jesus here, for all men have not faith, nor can they, until God shall graciously vouchsafe to bestow this blessing, for faith is the gift of God. Secret things belong to God, but things revealed, to us and our children. It is very plainly revealed, that Jesus is the Saviour of all men and that he gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. But, perhaps, it is not so clearly revealed, when this due time will be. To confess the truth, I find it sufficient for me to consider every creature in the hand of God, whether in or out of the body. I can have no idea of any one making atonement

[ocr errors]

for their own sins here or hereafter, by any thing they can do or. suffer. Jesus is a complete Saviour, or he is no Saviour at all.

Thirdly, You inquire, if I view the redemption wrought out by Christ Jesus, as extending to every creature, or only to man?

By every creature, I suppose you mean to ask, if my views of the great redemption include the fallen angels. I do not aim at being wise above what is written. The scriptures say, when Jesus came to seek and to save that which was lost, he passed by the nature of angels, and took upon him the seed of Abraham. It was the likeness of sinful flesh, which he took upon him. It was the sins of the creatures, represented by the figure of sheep, which were laid upon Jesus, and which he put away, and not the sins of the creatures, exhibited by the figure, goats. The devils, therefore, believe, but they tremble while they believe, for while they know Christ Jesus is the Saviour of all men, they do not know that he is their Saviour; on the contrary, they believe, they themselves are reserved in chains of darkness, unto the judgment of the great day; and the sacred testimony informs, as many as will hear, that they, these fallen angels, shall then be bid to depart, as cursed, into that fire, which was prepared for them.

It appears to me, "that the proper study of mankind is man.”

Thus, Sir, I have, with great freedom, answered each of your questions, nor do I avail myself of your proposed conditions. I lay no injunctions; I have no secrets in religion. Should your friends object to the language I have made use of, in answering the proposed questions, I pray you to inform them, it was purposely selected, and for two reasons; first, because there is no language I so much admire, as scripture language; and, secondly, because I can adopt no other mode of expression, which so well delineates my sentiments.

I shall always be happy to learn, you remember me with any degree of pleasure, and if it will be the smallest gratification to you, be assured, you will always bear a considerable place in my memory, and that, as long as you will permit, I shall take pleasure in regarding you as the friend of, &c. &c.

« PreviousContinue »