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perhaps might not have so well answered the purpose. I should have wished that you would have waited for the charges that they may think proper to exhibit against you, and, thus called upon to make your defence, I think you would have found the sword, the weapons of the spirit, mighty through God, to the pulling down strong holds. If, however, the few hints thrown out in this letter should prove advantageous, I shall be very happy.
You will let me hear from you as soon as possible; you will have frequent opportunities by captain I. but, by all means, forward me the result of the meeting between Dr. P. and Parson A.
I think your reasons for not visiting us at present are just, and of course I am necessitated to acquiesce. Remember me to Mrs. and to each of our friends, and believe me ever, most faithfully, your friend and brother.
To the Rev. A. B. of South Carolina.
ALAS! my brother, the friend to whom you have written has long since departed out of time. He hath left this bad world, in which he found much tribulation, and entering into that blessed world, where nothing that defiles can enter, he finds undisturbed repose. Mr. W. died in Hartford, in the State of Connecticut, I think about six years since. Your letter, my dear Sir, being directed to the minister of the Universal Church in Boston, I received and read it.
And now, my brother, permit me to make a few observations upon some paragraphs in your letter. Consequent upon your receiving the truth as it is in Jesus, and believing it in your heart, and from the abundance of your heart proclaiming it abroad, you have, it seems, experienced ill treatment from those who were formerly religious friends. I should have conceived it exceeding strange if you had not. As long as the world continues in its present state, the worshippers of antichrist will be extremely in
veterate in their opposition to the worshippers of the true Christ; nor should this excite surprise in any one of our Lord's disciples, inasmuch as he has told them, that they should be hated of all men for his name sake. There is no denomination in this world that do not agree in hating Christian Universalists. I said Christian Universalists; there are many who are called Universalists, and who call themselves Universalists, who are not Christians. Some are negative Universalists; they believe all will be saved from future misery, for they deny a future state of existence! these are Materialists.
. Some are Universalists, in consequence of believing that God is too good, too benevolent to punish his creatures hereafter, let the scriptures say what they will. Such are deists.
Some Universalists believe in a future state, and that the law of God, which is holy, just and good, and which declared that the soul that sinned should die, will be fulfilled by the death of the offender in his own person, and that when he has paid his debts to the uttermost farthing, he shall come forth from his prison, and of course be saved.
Other Universalists believe, that in consequence of Jesus Christ being made under the law, whatsoever the law said, it said unto him; that he fulfilled every precept, suffered every penalty, made reconciliation for iniquity, and brought in everlasting righteousness; and that in this seed promised unto Abraham, all the families of the earth are blessed; but that no one of those families will ever be happy in themselves until they believe this truth, and that none ever did, or ever will believe this truth, until the spirit of God shall witness with the spirit of the individual, to its excellency, and to its truth.
These Universalists believe, too, that multitudes of their brethren, bought with a price, all price beyond, redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ, and reconciled unto God by that blood, leave this state of things, unacquainted with the things that make for their peace; and that they will continue unbelievers until that glorious illumination which will take place, in consequence of the fulfilment of that which was written, They shall be all taught of God. At this elucidating period, these Universalists unwaveringly believe, that every eye shall see, and every tongue confess to the glory of the Father. VOL. II.
With Universalists of these various descriptions I have frequent opportunities of conversing. But to the law, and to the testimony if any man speak not according thereto, it is a proof there is no light in him.
You say you are persecuted because you preach to the world, "that the Father so loved the world as to give it his Son; that he sent his Son to die for this world, and that in dying for it, he redeemed it; and that having died for the world, and having redeemed the world from the death merited by transgression, in his resurrection he sends forth his word and spirit to convince all men of their deplorable state."
That living in sin is living in misery, experience abundantly proves. But if Jesus suffered for these sins, in order to bring us to God; if the blood of Jesus cleanseth from all sin; if God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing unto them their trespassess; if he hath blessed them with all spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus; if the gospel preached to every creature be true; I cannot see with what propriety God can send his spirit to convince all men of the deplorable state they are in.
If, indeed, Jesus had not died for their sins; if he had not been raised for their justification; if he had not redeemed them from the curse of the law; if God had not given the lost world redemption in the Beloved; if he did impute unto the world their trespasses and sins, and had not reconciled the world nnto himself; if he did not, as the Lamb of God, take away the sin of the world; if he had not reconciled Jew and Gentile in one body on the cross, so making peace; if he had not consequently blotted out their iniquities as a cloud, and their transgressions as a thick cloud, declaring he would no more remember their sins; if he had not given life in the second Adam to as many as died in the first; and if this second Adam was not the bread of God, giving life unto the world; nay, if he were not himself the life of the world; I say, in this case, the spirit of God may set his seal to the truth of your declaration, the world would indeed be in a very deplorable state. For as without shedding of blood there is no remission of sins, and the Saviour having once died, dieth no more; the world, the lost world are truly wretched; universal damnation must be the certain consequence.
But God never sent his spirit to give the lie to his own testimony; no, Sir, whenever God sends his spirit, it is to convince the
world of sin, because they believe not in him. He declared himself to be the Saviour, the life of the world, but the world believed not his declaration; so far from it, they, in the style of those calumniators who are embodied against you, declare a sin, a damning sin, to believe this good report. But when God sends his spirit, he shall convince the world that it was a sin not to believe the testimony which the Redeemer had given of himself. But this same spirit, which the Saviour will send, shall convince the world of righteousness. What, shall the Holy Spirit convince the world they are righteous in themselves? No, no; but he shall convince the world of righteousness, says Jesus, "because I go unto the Father." But how will the Holy Spirit convince the world of righteousness, because Jesus goeth to the Father? Because he was made under the law, not to break, but to fulfil the law; he was sent to seek and to save that which was lost; now, saith the Lord, "the word is gone forth out of my mouth; it shall not return unto me void; but it shall accomplish' that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it." Isaiah Iv. 11. Now when God sends his spirit, he shall convince the world of righteousness because Jesus goeth to the Father, which he never could have done, had he not finished the transgression, and brought in everlasting righteousness. Thus the Prophet Daniel, ix. 24. "Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people, and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy."
Thus the Saviour, as the Lamb of God, bearing the sins of the world, in his death, put away their sins; he therefore finished the transgression, precisely at the period, when he cried out with a strong voice, It is finished, and gave up the ghost. Thus sin, when finished, brought forth death, which the law denounced upon every soul, yea, upon every soul that sinned.
But the spirit was also to convince the world of judgment. What, that there will be a day of judgment? No. For those who have not the teaching of the spirit are convinced there will be a day of judgment. But the spirit the Saviour will send shall convince the world of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. He was judged in Paradise as the doer of the deed which brought ruin on the race of Adam. The righteous Judge then
said, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed. This sentence is confirmed in the last day, when the judge shall say to the nature represented under the figure of goats, Depart ye cursed into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.
Thus, my brother, it is plain, that in all this work of the spirit, there is nothing but glad tidings of good things calculated to confirm, but not to weaken the faith of the believer.
The spirit is emphatically called the comforter, and he comforts, by taking of the things of Jesus, (he who saveth the people from their sins,) and showing them to the soul. Thus saith John the Evangelist, xv. 26. "But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me." Depend upon it, the spirit of God will never represent any part of human nature in a deplorable state, in consequence of their being sinners. Whenever the spirit of God teaches the children of men, he will assure them, that while they were yet sinners, Christ died for them, and that if while sinners they were reconciled by his death, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. Romans v. 10.
You say, Jesus will come again to reward the wicked, as well as the just. There are in the Bible but two characters denominated wicked; the fallen angels, and fallen men. Nothing renders fallen men wicked, but sin or wickedness. But Jesus was manifested to destroy sin, and we have before seen, He is the Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world.
There are but two ways in the which the sin of the world can' be taken away; first, by Jesus Christ putting it away by the sacrifice of himself, and thus representing the human nature in himself as an offering in a clean vessel, without spot, and blameless in love; or, secondly, by his changing these vile bodies, that they may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to his mighty working, whereby he is able to subdue all things unto himself. But in each of these views, the reward is a gracious reward.
The chaff, it is written, will be thrown into the fire; but not a single grain of the wheat, that grew in the chaff; chaff can never be made wheat, nor wheat chaff. Tares never were good seed, nor never can be. Human nature was good when sown in the earth, but the enemy came and sowed his tares, and they will both grow together until the harvest; but no longer. The harvest is