« PreviousContinue »
bring them into the light, and make them acquainted with the things that belong to their peace; which, until they read your books, were hidden from their eyes, you would, you must feel inexpressible satisfaction: thus you do, in effect, join me in my mission, preaching to the American people, by your most excellent writings.
Often do I retrace, and with great astonishment, the time when I was filled with pious wrath against you, when I was immeasurably delighted to learn that my friend Mason had written in opposition to you. True, I had never seen your publications, but you had written them, and that was sufficient: nay, I was persuaded it would have been doing both God and man service to have killed you, and joyfully should I have held the clothes of any who had stoned you to death. How truly wonderful is the power and goodness of that God, who has made choice of such a person to spread that very testimony contained in the volumes you have written; contained in the volume of the Bible, through so many towns, cities, and provinces; and with fervency of spirit, and great devotion, to advocate that very gospel, which before he persecuted!! Truly it is the Lord's doings, and it is marvellous in my eyes.
My first stage after quitting B, will be the town of P—————; from thence to NP, where I have preached much, and where my labour hath not been in vain in the Lord. A religious character undertook to write against me, and thus helped the cause he aimed to destroy. In N- P— there are some faithful souls. I shall next proceed to N~~~, in Connecticut, where there are a great number who attend with delight, upon a preached gospel, and who are neither forgetful nor unprofitable hearers of the word. From N-, I pass to NL. I have not associ ated with any disciples of our Lord who are more sincere than those believers who have their residence in this city: they walk in the light, are invigorated by the beams of the sun of righteousness, and greatly refreshed by those doctrines which distil as the dew, as the small rain, upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass.
My next preaching stage is G, where, although I have always preached as I pass and repass, there are but few who acknowledge the force of divine truth.. From G I shall go on to F—; I have frequently almost resolved to preach no more in F-; I never laboured in this place with any visible success;
and although there be many in this town who flock to hear me, yet as I do not believe they understand what they hear, I am inclined to think I am not sent there. From thence I proceed to NR, the first stage in New-York government. In N-Rthere are some who know the truth, and the truth hath made them free the hearts of those believers rejoice whenever I make my appearance among them, for they contemplate fresh discoveries of the Redeemer's grace: there are beside these, in N▬▬▬▬▬▬ R—————, many who seem attached to me, but I declare I scarcely know for what; and although gratified whenever I am the object of attention, let the motive producing such attention be ever so remote or obscure, yet I am abundantly better pleased, to receive but a cup of cold water from a disciple, in the name of a disciple. Real disciples must undoubtedly be friends of the Saviour; and such, I am persuaded, will be abundantly more to the praise and glory of divine grace, and more steadfast in their friendship to the humble instrument of their information.
I was going to point out regularly, my several stages until I reached Philadelphia, which is from this place about four hundred miles; but in compassion to you, I will put a period to my narration. I recollect you have matters of much more consequence to engage your attention, and the recollection arrests my pen. I have lately written you very copiously, yet I have not said the one half which was in my mind to say. I have often observed to you, there is nothing I so fervently desire as to see you once more; once again to converse freely with you. I have much to say, many questions to ask, many matters to unfold, many difficulties to lay before you, which must be reserved to an interview. You are my father, my brother, my friend; I feel, sensibly feel, my own weakness, and I need your aid. My spirits are low, my constitution is weak, my evil heart is strong. True, God is the same yesterday, to-day, and forever, and he has always been better to me than my fears, but I am sometimes greatly depressed and of little faith-Blessed be God for a better faith, the faith of Christ Jesus. The asthma grows very fast upon me-but enough of complaining. Gratitude and admiration for you, is strong in my bosom. May your faith continue to shine more and more unto the perfect day.-Farewell.
To the Rev. R. R. of Falmouth, Great Britain, in answer to a letter received from that gentleman.
MY DEAR, MY VENERABLE FRIEND,
YOUR truly friendly favour by captain D. is now before me. I am grateful to our mutual friend, Mr. H. for the hint which gave birth to this epistle : I am happy that you embraced it with pleasure; and I indulge a hope that you will never fail to embrace every future opportunity of communicating your ideas freely as they present. For me, I am determined in some measure to merit, by the promptitude of my responses, your flattering attention.
It is soothing to my soul, to hear you say, "My warm attachment to you, when last in England, is not in the least abated." And were you warmly attached to me? I am happy to learn that you were, that you are. Be assured Sir, the attachment, how warm soever it may be, is mutual. I have long considered my introduction to you, as one of those happy events, which in my journey through this distempered state of being, divine Providence has been pleased to direct, as evidence of his paternal affection. But alas! this pleasure, like every other sublunary enjoyment, is productive of some pain. I may see this friend no more, I may lose this friend entirely, and only call to mind, I had a friend, and once was blest. However,
"There is a land of pure delight,
Where friends once parted shall unite;
And meeting on that blissful shore,
1 am not surprised to learn, that many things disrespectful of me and my testimony have been said, I am only astonished that more hath not been said; for the Master whom, with my full heart, I serve, hath said, They shall say all manner of evil of you falsely, for my name sake. Ignorance and malice attribute to me many sentiments, which from my soul I detest. How much do I wish, particularly on the present occasion, to converse with you; but as
I cannot be thus blest, 1 will in this way unbosom myself to you: I will give you my sentiments, and my reasons for those sentiments.
I am, my greatly valued friend, by faith, a child of Abraham ; the gospel was preached unto him, and he staggered not at the promises through unbelief, but being strong in faith, gave glory to God. The gospel preached unto Abraham, assured him, that in his seed, all the nations of the earth should be blessed. Abraham believed God, and so do I. To us, said the Apostle, is committed the ministry of reconciliation, to wit ;-God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing unto them their trespasses; certainly not, far, very far from it; for when all we like lost sheep went astray, every one to his own way, the Lord laid on Jesus Christ the iniquities of us all, that he might put them away by the sacrifice of himself.
Messiah, saith the Prophet, shall be cut off, but not for himself; he shall finish the transgression, he shall make an end of sin, and bring in everlasting righteousness;-and he cried with a loud voice, it is finished. Hence he hath borne our sins in his own body on the tree; and having put them away, by the sacrifice of himself, he appeared to his disciples, and to their God, in his resurrection, in the sinless state, and presenting his redeemed, in his own person, they were beheld without spot, and blameless in love.
Behold, then, saith the spirit, the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world. The wages of sin is death, but the gift of. God is everlasting life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. That death is every man's due, in consequence of sin, may not be disputed: and is not life in consequence of God's gift, equally the portion of every man? I think, and have boldly affirmed, authorised, as I conceived, by the word of God, that life is the portion of every man. If the human family did not receive life as the gift of God, they never could in any other way; for who can demand life as the wages of his own righteousness? Without shedding of blood, there can be no remission of sins; without remission, there can be no salvation; without salvation there can be no gospel. But if Jesus died for my sins, his death must be considered, by divine justice, as my death, and thus God is a just God, and a Saviour; and although I am myself a sinner, and of course ungodly, yet God can be just in justifying the ungodly. The gospel is a divine declaration of this consolatory truth, and is therefore glad tidings. If the Redeemer died only for a few, a few only can be saved: if he died VOL. II.
for all men, then all men will be saved. If Christ, by the grace of God, tasted death only for some men, only some men can be saved. If he, by the grace of God, tasted death for every man, then he is the Saviour of every man. The gospel preached to every creature, is a message sent by divine command, to every creature, to convey unto them this gracious assurance. To every creature, then, this word of salvation is sent. But in no instance does the truth of this message rest upon the reception it meets with, by those to whom it is delivered.
If I am a preacher of the gospel, I ought not only to be acquainted with, but a believer of the testimony I deliver; and this, by the grace of God, I am. In preaching the gospel to every creature, I testify that which I know. I can address every lost sinner with a declaration, that God hath sent me to assure him, he has given him redemption in the beloved, even the forgiveness of sins; that the God of his salvation hath blotted out his sins as a cloud, and his iniquities as a thick cloud; and that he is, therefore, invited to return unto the Lord, who hath redeemed him. As many of my hearers as believe my report, will have power given them to become sons of God; will pass from death unto life; will have peace and joy in believing. Such will never come into condemnation, will never be ashamed, worlds without end; they will receive that spirit, which will be as refreshing to their souls, as rivers of water to a thirsty land. Yes, truly, as many as believe this everlasting gospel, find it the power of God unto full salvation. He that believeth shall be saved, he that believeth not shall be damned. He that believeth not shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him; he that believeth not is condemned already; he that believeth not maketh God a liar. But is it possible that God should lie? By no means; although we believe not, he is faithful who hath promised; although we deny him, he will not deny himself.
"Engraved as in eternal brass,
Nor can the powers of darkness 'rase
But all men have not faith. True; but why have they not faith? Is not faith the gift of God? Is it not of the operation of God? Can any man know the things of God, but by the spirit of God?