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To a Christian Friend.
This is the Lord's doings, and therefore justly marvellous in our eyes. God, our God, bringeth good out of evil, and thus glory belongeth unto his name, forever and ever. Yea, verily, the Lord is good, and doeth good in the heavens above, and in the earth beneath. It is his nature and property, nor will he ever suffer any thing to turn up, either in time or eternity, that will not, in some sort, contribute to his own glory, and to the good of those creatures, whom he hath called into being. If he should thus conduct, then would he be divided against himself. If he were not able to prevent what would finally tend to his dishonour, then he would not be almighty. If he could prevent irremediable and never-ending evil, and would not, then he would not be all-gracious. But the fact is, he is all-wise, all-powerful, all-just, all-merciful, and all-gracious ; and it is therefore that he does all things well.
By the first paragraph in your kind letter, I am naturally led to these, and many similar reflections. Great and luminous is the glory, which shines forth in the passage to which you advert. Daniel ii. 34. 35.
A stone- The redeemed are called stones. This stone, which was cut out of the mountain, says, I am the life of the world. Hence, the redeemed are called living stones, for “because I live, said the first and the last, the foundation and the top stone, because I live, ye shall live also.”
But this stone was cut out of the mountain without hands. It was taken from the mountain ; one chosen out of the people, partaking of the same nature and character of the mountain, from whence he was cut, but without hands. Not of works, lest any man should boast, not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit saith the Lord.
This stone smote the image of mixt materials, and brake it in pieces. This image was the production of much labour and expense, and was worshipped with great devotion. It filled the hearts.
of that part of human earth, where it was set up. But what must become of the earth when the image is demolished ? The stone will take up its place, not there only, but it will fill the whole earth. The stone will become a mountain, and in this mountain will the hand of the Lord rest, as it did on the seventh day, when he saw the creation complete. And in this mountain will the Lord of hosts make a feast of fat things, unto all people, and in this mountain will the face of the covering be destroyed, and all nations shall flow into it, for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. Amen Hallelujah-And all people shall serve him. It was for this, that he endured the cross, and he shall have the crown, for his kingdom shall never be destroyed, nor be given unto another. Thine, O God, is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever, amen, and amen.
Yes, my friend, my Christian friend and brother, this King is made unto his kingdom wisdom, therefore his people shall not die for lack of knowledge. No, assuredly, for by his knowledge, shall the righteous servant of God, and the glorious King of all the earth, justify many; and it is therefore that in his address to the divine nature or Father, on behalf of the world, that we hear him say, The world knoweth thee not, but I know thee. Yes, the great King of this great kingdom is made of God unto them righteousness, because the unrighteous could not inherit eternal life. He is made of God unto them sanctification. Why? Because without holiness no man can see the Lord, and as the members of this kingdom had sold themselves for nought, that they may be redeemed without money, their King is made of God unto them redemption; and as God is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity, the blood of Jesus cleanseth from all sin, and that their iniquities, when sought for, may not be found ; the Lord laid upon him the iniquities of us all. And as the human family are thus saved, and with an everlasting salvation, that they may dwell forever and ever, with their immaculate Head and King, this Head and King will, in the fulness of time, burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire, and gather his wheat into his garner.
Please to present my respectful regards to your amiable lady, and to every one among your connexions, who feel a friendly attachment to, dear Sir, your much obliged and truly grateful, &c. &c.
To Mr. R. city of London, Great Britain.
Although years have elapsed since I saw you in London, and I have not, until now, recognized your name among my corresponding friends, yet I adopt an old adage, and say, it is better late than never. If I had not so high an opinion of you, I would, while the pen is in my hand, cast a retrospective eye, and retrace my steps, even from my leaving this continent until my return. Such, and so many have been the events, which have succeeded each other, and such a variety did my journey embrace, that I think, a person of your benevolent disposition, and happy turn of mind, must, of necessity, derive pleasure from the recital.
I must, however, inform you, that although I left this country, suffering from the strong hand of power, my enemies (for I have many) rejoicing that they had gained their point, and driven me hence, to return no more forever, and although my friends (for I have many) were greatly dejected by the fear of what my enemies hoped, yet, through the good will of Him, who dwelt in the bush, I returned here in peace and safety, wafted hither by the great and effectual power of a yet stronger arm, than that by which I had been made to fly; and protected by the goodness of my God, I once more landed on these late-found shores, in peace and safety.
The petition I addressed to the Legislative Body of this state, accompanied by another from my suffering brethren, produced an instantaneous effect in my favour. A gracious attention was paid to our combined petitions ; an immediate resolve of of the Legislature of this Commonwealth ensued, by which, I was in future placed beyond the power of my malignant adversaries, so that I have ever since sat under my own vine and fig tree, none daring to make me afraid. Indeed, I have been the happy instrument, of which, the God of peace and mercy has made use, to give a death wound to that hydra, parochial persecution. Persons now, under the denomination of independents, who believe, and bcar witness to the truth, as it is in Jesus, are endowed with every VOL. II.
privilege possessed by the national church or established religion, and of course, my situation, since my return, has been abundantly more eligible, than it was previous to my departure. I regret that I was not indulged with more time in England, but as long as I live, I shall remember with pleasure, that I had so much. I have seen and conversed with many members of my Father's family, of whom I had very little, if any knowledge; these opportunities were refreshing. The evidences of christian affection are of more value to me, than the wealth of worlds. My soul was, is, and ever will be grateful.
I reflect with ineffable pleasure, that the time is not far distant, when the whole of the purchased possession will meet in that blessed state, where nothing that defileth can enter, and where we shall spend an eternity in celebrating the praises of the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world.
In this divine lover of our souls; I am, my dear, generous friends with grateful affection, yours, &c. &e.
To Mr. J. H. of New-York.
I expected it as soon as I was gone ; I wish he had made his appearance before my departure, although I am persuaded he got no advantage over you. I desire no greater benefit than the privilege of determining my testimony by the records of my God, and I should consider that opponent as truly generous, who would engage to abide by the decision of scripture. The traditions of men, however, should not be of my council. Reason should set as umpire, and the commonly received sense of language should be the standard. But religious people in general seize with avidity, a text which is calculated to confirm their unbelief, and while many passages are produced, confessedly of a contrary aspect, they exclaim, with inveterate bigotry, It is the tenor of scripture by which we abide.
Thus these Scribes manage, if a text appears upon the face of the letter without being taken in its connexion, or compared with parallel passages to proclaim the partial destruction of mankind; assuredly this same passage must mean precisely as it speaks; they hesitate not in their determination. But when the spirit of truth takes of the things of Jesus, and shows them unto us, and we hold up those discoveries to them, they immediately reply, they cannot receive the passage as it is spoken! But why cannot they receive those passages as they are spoken? Because, it would then follow, that all mankind would be saved, and misery and destruction are in their paths.
We do not deny, that on the face of the letter, before we take time to investigate, the sacred volume may appear contradictory; every passage, however, can be reconciled by comparing one text with another. Two classes of people allow this fact, believers and unbelievers. The unbeliever being yet in a state of darkness, and of course, in a state of bondage and fear, having no hope but what arises from something that is seen or felt in himself, when he reads a passage that proclaims boundless mercy, and that in such a view as renders it consistent with boundless justice, essays to explain away the passage, by producing another, that speaketh of tribulation and woe.
The believer, who being taught of God, knows his name, and his Son's name, and that they both contain nothing but grace, mercy and
when he reads such passages as indicate upon the face of the letter, a denunciation of wrath brings those denunciations to those brighter passages, which delineate Christ Jesus in humiliation and exaltation, in his singular and plural characters, and thus an explanation is obtained ; and if the spirit hath not led him into all truth, and he is sometimes at a loss to determine, yet he knows, he, who styles himself the Saviour of the world, can mean nothing contrary to his nature, and his name.
I have been turning to the passages you have noted; no doubt what renders them so precious to Mr. I. is the apparently gloomy traits by which they are distinguished.
But all who are taught of God, and who speak by the spirit of the Redeemer, will know, that the words spoken by Jesus must mean the same as the words spoken by Paul. It is easy to show their consistency with other testimonies. Should it be urged that various scriptures are spoken to various characters, I answer,