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many of them called home, and those who remained were dispersed, and with the places I visited I was totally unacquainted. I was a stranger, bending beneath the weight of accumulated distresses, from which I fled, without knowing whether. But God was with me; in his hands are all hearts; and he disposed you to lend a gracious ear to the brief, frank, but faithful recital I gave you of myself and my circumstances, as a member of society, a member of Christ, and a promulgator of his everlasting gospel.
Do you recollect that, as a promulgator of the gospel, I determined to know nothing but Christ Jesus, and him crucified; that, as a private Christian, I endeavoured to come up from the wilderness, leaning on the Beloved; and that, as a member of society, I was solicitous to adorn the doctrine of God, the Saviour, in all things. In each of these characters, by the grace of God, I still continue. I pass through evil and through good report; some take friendly, and some malicious notice of me: the former, actuated by that love which thinketh no evil, take pleasure in applauding me; and those who listen to them without prejudice, are willing to give me credit for many good qualities: the latter say all manner of evil of me falsely, (blessed be God that it is falsely) and many believe their slanders, through whom the way of truth is evil spoken of.
You justly observe that I am no stranger to trials in this wilder ness: indeed I am not. I have drank of that bitter cup of which you inform me you have been obliged to drink. In the world, said our Saviour, you shall have tribulation: but there is a rest which remaineth for the people of God, where, as I humbly hope, the now scattered and harassed human family will one day meet; where the wicked, from within and from without, will cease from troubling; and where, consequent thereon, our weary, way-worn spirits will find undisturbed repose.
Your way was hedged up with thorns, but the Lord hath made a way for your escape. I am happy to learn you have visited Ireland, and that you are requested to repeat your visits. I rejoice that you have been, and that you have a prospect of still being an instrument, in the hand of your great Master, to bring your guilty brethren to a knowledge of their disease in themselves, and their recovery in Christ Jesus. That you have been thus instrumental in both kingdoms is, to me, matter of great joy; and my soul's desire and prayer to God is, that you may be continually refreshed
in your own soul, while you are thus leading the thirsty to the overflowing wells of salvation.
You inform me you have been told I am a Universalist; upon Mr. W.'s plan I am not. Mr. W. preaches the restitution of devils; I am not sent to preach to devils. Mr. W. considers weak, ruined individuals as paying their own debts; yea, to the uttermost farthing. I see no strength but in Christ Jesus: be you assured, therefore, I am not of Mr. W.'s school. I receive the doctrine of the general restitution, as did the Apostle Peter, according to the word of the Lord spoken by the mouth of all God's holy prophets, ever since the world began. If your views of the great redemption be not as mine, I judge you not, I censure you not, I do not love you the less.
A Methodist preacher has just left me, after thus questioning: Do you, Sir, believe that Jesus Christ died for every man? I do indeed. Then we must differ on that head. But why differ, or rather, why not agree to differ? You believe he died for you; I believe he died for me; let us then, as the redeemed of the Lord, love one another, and converse with one another, as though we only were in existence.
You heard me in Falmouth speak the truth as it is in Jesus. I preach the same truth in America, as when on my visit to Great Britain. I am fully persuaded of the truth of the doctrines of God our Saviour: no man in the world more faithfully believes the doctrines of the cross than myself. Sir, I believe with my whole heart, the gospel preached unto Abraham. God hath given me so much of that faith, which distinguished the Patriarch, that I do not, any more than he did, stagger at the promises through unbelief; and I am as fully persuaded as was Abraham, that God is both able and willing to perform all the good words that he spake unto his servants, the patriarchs, the prophets, and the apostles. But as this faith is the gift of God, and no man can know the things of God but by the spirit of God, I am indebted to the distinguishing grace of God, for power to believe the gospel preached to Abraham. It is to the same distinguishing grace I am indebted for that light, through which I see a divine consistency in all the sacred writings, so that I can set to my seal that there is no yea and nay with God. So much do I know of my, of our Saviour, that I can trust in him at all times, not being afraid. They who know the name of God will trust in him; and to know God is life eternal. VOL. II.' 34
Hence the business of God's sent servants is to turn the children of men from darkness to light; and from the power of the god of this world, unto the living God, that they may know him, and the power of his resurrection.
But the election which obtains this knowledge, has it not in the head only, it is operative upon the heart: hence the believer hath peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. But the knowledge which only floats in the head, never yet gave peace to the heart; and as this knowledge, and every thing else which comes from God, comes freely, as it is an act of free grace; there is no room for boasting, with respect to those who are in the light, nor for rejection, nor hatred, respecting those who are in the dark; for why should we set at naught a blind brother, as though we ourselves had not received our sight, and that as the free gift of God.
The sum total of the law of God, is this, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and thy neighbour as thyself. Let us then cultivate this spirit of love. I need no exhortation on this head, with respect to you and my other English friends; and I am pleased to learn that you have so much of the spirit of your Master, as to say, although it were true that I were in sentiment with Mr. W. and that difference in opinions must result, yet we might still love one another as fellow men, as fellow sinners; and why not as fellow Christians?
I believe Mr. W. to be a very sincere man, and a very warm, hearted Christian. I think him in an error-I think his plan cannot be supported upon christian principles; but he believes it can. I have laboured to convince him of his error, well persuaded that he would abandon any principle which he could be convinced was wrong. But when I hear our divine Master upbraiding his immediate disciples, with their hardness of heart and unbelief, and yet loving them with an everlasting love; when I learn that he hath compassion on the ignorant, and upon those who are out of the way, I am ashamed of the reserves which I experience toward those who differ from me in sentiment.
I cannot be offended with those who think more highly of the Redeemer, or of the redemption which he hath wrought, than I am accustomed to think. Undoubtedly he has the most of christianity, who has the most of the love of God shed abroad in his heart. It is in this love, my brother, that I am with great sincerity attached to you. I sympathize with you, and strongly par
ticipate those afflictions which you experience on account of the death of your amiable companion, and your son.
If that Being who hath said thy Maker is thy husband, if that Being who hath said we are all his offspring, hath as much affection for your lost treasures as you, the creature, the imperfect husband, the imperfect father had, then you will most assuredly meet them again in his presence, where is fulness of joy, and uninterrupted pleasure forever more.
But, although in this distempered state, we are taught to expect tribulation, yet we have, however, some sweets mingled with our bitters; and were we obedient children, our pleasures would be augmented; for it will always be true, that virtue is its own reward. This is a checkered scene; our journey through life is alternately rough and smooth. Awhile ago your way was hedged up with thorns, since which your feet have been set in a large place.
Some time since, you were enveloped in dark clouds of suspieion, which grievously wounded your feelings; but the dark clouds of suspicion are dispersed, and the clear sun of friendship again shines forth with primeval brightness; and to crown all, that the good hand of God may be visible in your removal from Falmouth, your labours have never been crowned with more success than since you have been taken from thence.
Well, all this is as it should be; and all things shall work together for good, to those who love God and are the called according to his divine purpose.
I long to meet you at home, in our Father's house, where we shall have much to say respecting the conduct of the Captain of our salvation : but here, and in a letter, it is little we can say. If you have any thing in your heart for me, like the love I feel for you in mine, you will write often, and more copiously, to your obliged friend and brother.-Farewell.
To the Rev. Mr. M. Portsmouth, Great Britain.
I say friends; for in writing to my friend M. I beg I may be considered as writing to our mutual friends; that is, to every one of the beloved circle with whose affectionate notice I was indulged, while your highly favoured guest.
As Mr. S. has been kind enough to inform me he should sail for England in a few days, I cheerfully embrace the opportunity of sending a line by him. I have repeatedly written both to my honoured host and to yourself; but as I have never been favoured with an answer, and as I know man in his best estate is vanity, and therefore mutable, I cannot forbear admitting it possible, that what once gave you and the hospitable circle pleasure, may now be forgotten, or recollected with indifference. However, it may, blessed be God, be otherwise; and the affection which flowed from my christian friends, to whom I am writing, may have originated in the love of God; and if so, although it commenced in 1788, it will never be lost; but like the genuine juice of the grape, it will gain strength by age, and cheer our heart, not only through time, but through eternity.
MY EVER DEAR FRIENDS,
I shall soon be made acquainted with the nature of your feelings toward me; and if those feelings should not correspond with my wishes, I shall endeavour in patience to possess my soul, quietly taking persons and things as I find them. I shall recollect, with gratitude to my divinely gracious Master, the tender care he manifested of, and for me, when I arrived at Portsmouth, in opening at that time, when the soothings of sympathy were so necessary, the hearts of so many of his children to receive, to succour, and to cherish the stranger, the destitute stranger. True, I shall feel some painful regrets in being necessitated to recollect those friends, as friends I once had, and that I can only say, I was most happy. However, in this supposed event I ought not to complain, while still blest with so many proofs of divine favour in friends and sacred friend