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to have but one master, but one leader; directed by this great Master, we salute no man by the way, and it is only in following the direction of this unerring guide, that the peace of the bosom can be ensured. The experience of my whole life corresponds with this sentiment, The paths of wisdom are the only paths wherein peace can be found. O, that men were wise! O, that they were acquainted with truth! O, for that strength of mind which may enable me to persevere in the paths of wisdom!
Assuredly, my friend, the sacred writings abound with information, calculated to render us, as preachers, and as men, wise unto salvation. But we are destitute of that spirit, which in the first instance dictated these good sayings to men of God, in order to witness with our spirits, that we may understand and feel their power; and when, by knowing and believing, we are brought into the way of peace, what, beside the strong power of God, can keep us, through faith unto salvation? Whether we consider ourselves as public or private witnesses for God, it is hard to keep in the way of peace. As a promulgator of the gospel of the grace of God, how many plausible pretences for turning to the right hand, or to the left!
The path you point out really seems, when we look at the things which are seen, to be a right hand path. You say that sinners should be made acquainted with the truly tremendous terrors of the future world, terrors designed for abandoned, wicked and profane persons, that they should know that there shall be tribulation, anguish and sorrow, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, and in so just a proportion, that every man shall bear the punishment of his own iniquity.
But, my friend, supposing I could use the best language ever yet invented by the wisdom of man; suppose I had the tongue of the archangel, which is destined to wake the sleeping dead, and were to employ those powers in the way you point out, what in that case would become of my commission received from my Prince? How would this be preaching the gospel to every creature, or to any creature? What, in bearing such a testimony, must I do with the ministry of reconciliation committed unto me, to wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing unto them their trespasses? How should I dare to open the Bible, lest the prophet Isaiah should stare me in the face, telling me that when all, like sheep, had gone astray, the Lord laid on Jesus the iniquities of us all, and that he, Jesus, was wounded for our trans
gressions, and bruised for our iniquities? Or how should I feel if I should meet with the prophet Daniel, declaring in his strong energetic manner, Messiah shall be cut off, but not for himself; he shall make reconciliation for iniquity? Or what must be my feelings when I meet in the paradisical walks of the New-Testament, the honest, faithful ambassadors of this Master, of whom I called myself an ambassador, when I hear one declare, He bear all our sius in his own body on the tree, and another, he put away sin by the sacrifice of himself, and that he made peace by the blood of his
In short, go where I would, I should meet Jesus in the character of a Saviour, of the Saviour of the world. But whenever or wherever I met him, what shame and confusion of face must be my portion, if, instead of preaching glad tidings to every creature, I had, in the vain conceit of making mankind better, sought to rectify the commands, of my Redeemer, and preached unto the people sad tidings of sad tidings, thus assuring every sinner that he should bear the punishment of his iniquities?
And how, my friend, could I, were I thus to proceed, answer to the charge that would be exhibited against me, before my gracious Master, for robbing him of the honour due unto his name, who suffered for the unjust to bring them to God, and who died for the sins of the world? Shall I dare to betray my Master into the hands of his enemies by saying that after all he has done, he has left mankind precisely where they were left by Moses, exposed to all the terrors of an unfulfilled law, and unsatisfied justice?
Shall I first tell them that Christ Jesus is the Saviour of all men, and then tell every soul of man that doeth evil (which is every man) that they are not saved, that Jesus Christ, instead of saving them, has left them to bear their own iniquities, and the just proportion of punishment due unto crimes? Were such my testimony, how should I suffer by comparison with the apostle to the Gentiles, whose doctrines were never yea and nay, but yea and amen to the glory of God the Father?
But suppose I should preach the terrors of a future world, and so preach, that every man should really believe that he should bear in his own person, as much punishment as in justice his iniquity deserved, what would be the consequence of his thus believing? Would he love God the better? He may, indeed, be more afraid of God, but is there any fear in love? perfect love casteth out fear.
Believers of such a doctrine would bear no resemblance to the be lievers of the doctrines of God our Saviour, who, in consequence of their believing that Jesus by the grace of God tasted death for them, can now serve God without fear, not having received the spirit of bondage again to fear.
Besides, such preaching would not answer our purpose; it would not be productive of obedience in the first instance, the obedience of faith, and as to obedience of any other description whatsoever, is not of faith, is sin, for without faith it is impossible to please God. But you will say the apostles themselves have taught that God will reward every man. True, but in what portion of scripture, or indeed any where else, are rewards and punishments considered as synonimous terms? God may reward every man according to his works without doing the least injury to the Saviour. But if the iniquity of every man merited death, or whatever punishment it merited, to declare that every man should suffer this, is doing great injury to the Saviour. It is taking from him the crown which he wears as a Saviour; it is taking this crown from his sacred head and putting it on the head of the sinner, who, in consequence of suffering in his own person the punishment due unto his own sin, becomes in that case, his own Saviour. This would, indeed, be trampling under foot the blood of the covenant, through which is preached remission of sins, and through which they are sanctified.
I am, my friend, a preacher of the gospel; a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me, and woe be to me if I preach it not ; nor dare I mix therewith the language of the law, this would be to sow the field with different seeds; this mixture would not have a tendency to espouse my hearers to Christ as chaste virgins, it would rather lead them to live in adultery. The law was a former husband, this husband, who, like Moses was a bloody husband with all his terrors, is dead and buried, and we are married unto another, which is Christ; but if we preach him and the law, also, we then insist that our hearers are to live with two husbands, and so teach them to live in adultery.
Let us not do this great evil and sin against God, that good may come of it. O! that the love of God may constrain us, because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead, and let us persuade men in consequence of Christ Jesus dying for them, not to live unto themselves, but unto him who died for them; if they do not live unto him, whose service is perfect freedom, it is they
who will be the losers, and not that God whom their services can never profit.
Thus much, from the impulse of the moment, I have taken the freedom to say in answer to that part of your letter in which you so solemnly, and so affectionately exhort or admonish me; and let me add, when a friend so much revered, as is the friend to whom I am writing, so earnestly requests that in all my services wherever my lot may be cast, I may inculcate the terrors of the future world, nothing but the prior commands of my blessed Master, and the inclination I have to obey him could prevent me from comply. ing with his request. I am well persuaded it would be the only means of silencing the unbelieving world, and in fact, being then in their own spirit as an adulterous generation, they would soon learn to love their own.
I request your pardon for dwelling so long on this subject; indeed, your character is a pledge of your indulgence, and after all, I flatter myself you are one with me in spirit, although we may not speak the same dialect.
I thank you for the particular account with which you have favoured me of our christian friends, I am wholly indebted to you for all the intelligence I have received. My heart is often with them. You say the doctrine of Universal Salvation gains ground; but it seems this doctrine is accompanied with a reproach; that is, it is unfriendly to the doctrine of future punishments, indeed, this was what rendered this doctrine odious in every age of the world; for a great part of mankind live on the fear and terrors excited by what the rest are taught to expect in futurity.
But, although I cannot preach a Universal Salvation, that differs but very little from universal damnation, although I cannot plead for the continuance of the former husband, yet I can affirm, that no one in the present or future world will find life, peace, rest, or hap piness, until he believes in, and puts on the Lord Jesus. But whatever they suffer here or hereafter, will be from themselves and not from the Saviour, and even this they shall be saved from in the day of the Lord, when God shall take away the stony out of their hearts, and give them hearts of flesh. Many will experience future misery, it is a consequence, and will be the coeval of darkness. God all gracious hasten the day of vision, when every eye shall see, and seeing believe, and believing enter into rest, and find that peace,
and that joy wich is the certain consequence of knowing what God hath done for our souls.
I thank you for the extract from Mr. W's letter, I love the man in my heart, and wish him the knowledge of God more perfectly. But when I come to the close of the extract, and hear him, with the rest of mankind, speaking of Jesus Christ in some future day as being brought into subjection to the Father, that God may be all in all, I am astonished! Is it possible this dear man hath written a book to prove the divinity, that is the Deity of our Saviour, of the God we worship, that there is but one God, and that Jesus Christ is the only wise God our Saviour; and yet the advocate for this doctrine tells us that Jesus shall be brought into SUBJECTION to the Father, that God may, from that time forward, be all in all? O! for the time when this Babylonish dialect will be no longer in use. Is it not easy to see, that bringing into subjection presupposes rebellion? When was Jesus Christ as an individual in rebellion? Was not the human nature in rebellion? Was not this the prodigal son finally to be brought into subjection? And is it not manifest that he who brought him into subjection is excepted when it is said, all things were put under him?
Your remarks on the temper of my mistaken opponents are very just. Yea, verily, verily, they who do as much as they can, would do more if they could. The principles advanced by that old gentleman is rapidly gaining ground! When the Son of man cometh shall he find faith upon the earth? O, how strong is the spirit of antichrist in this our day! he indeed sheweth himself that he is God, and even passes among his Votaries for the true Christ. May Almighty God keep both you and me from his power.
I am happy to learn my good friend G. has been with you; he is indeed a worthy man, and much am I and mine indebted to him. I am fearful you will not have patience to travel through this tedious letter: but let me not add to its length by apologies. Write to me, I pray you, without delay. I have the honour to be your obliged and truly grateful friend, &c. &c. &c.