« PreviousContinue »
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 friend, with grateful affection, yours, &c. &c.
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 peace, 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,
Jesus spake to his own, so did the Apostle; and the Apostle de-
However, the probability is, that all that is intended by what Peter says, may be explained in 1Corinthians iv. 15, v. 6. I know that it is said, 2 Thessalonians, first chapter and ninth verse, Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and the glory of his power. But, blessed be God, the second chapter of this same Epistle fully explains this passage, and all others of like import:
"Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition :
"Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he, as God, sitteth in the tem, ple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
"For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth, will let, until he be taken out of the way.
"And then shall that wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming."*
A certain ingenious preacher recently expatiating upon this text, "Then shall that wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth;" addressing his audience with abundance of sang froid, singularly, if not impiously, observed :
"Surely, my hearers, that could not be very great, which was destroyed with the breath of a mouth” ! ! ! ! !
The popular sophist might have added, The orb of day must be less than a rush light, since a rush light cannot be constructed without labour, and the orb of day was called into existence by a word. Genesis i. 3, “And God said, Let there be light, and there was light." Neither can the heavens, nor the heavenly host, be of any considerable magnitude, since they
Revelations, xix. 20, "And the beast was taken, and with HIM the false prophet;" What HIM? Who was the beast? Whoever he was, he, with the assistance of the false prophet, deceived the nations, Revelations xviii. 23, and xix. 20. We find them meeting their reward; for these both are cast into the lake, Revelations xx. 10, 14. Pray, my dear Sir, are you not in an error? Were not these two last passages given by you to Mr. I.? I should rather suppose they were. Is it possible he could look at these passages, and not feel confounded? I promise you he will be confounded, when he sees them fulfilled. Do but read them again; I will not utter a word by way of comment.
"And the devil that deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night, forever and ever.
"And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire; this is the second death."
But you, my friend, have the use of the Bible, as well as Mr. I.; and could you not have found as many plain passages of scripture, on the face of the letter, proclaiming salvation to a lost world, as your minister could of those, who, in his view, preached damnation ?
Sir, are you not aware, that if the point were reduced to this question, you could greatly out number those apparently opposite passages. Make, I pray you, the experiment, and commence your pursuit, where our God, consequent upon the first offence, commenced his dealings of mercy. Hear him in the garden of Eden assuring the beguiled pair, that the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head; and proceed forward through Moses, and the prophets, through the evangelists, the Acts, and epistles, unto the last verse in the Revelation to St. John the divine, make, I say, this experiment, and let me know the result.
The nations are enmity against God. Why? Because they suppose he is enmity against them. How came they to form this conclusion? They are deceived. Well, if they be deceived, they are consequently in an error. But who hath deceived them? The beast and the false prophet. Suppose the beast and the false
were commanded into being by the breath of the mouth. Psalm, xxxiii. 6, "By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth."-Edit.
prophet were destroyed, how then? They would no more deceive. Who is it undeceives any individual among the nations? The true prophet. Who is the true prophet? Jesus of Nazareth. How does this true prophet undeceive them? By his word and spirit, through the instrumentality of those whom he hath brought into the light. These chosen, elected servants of God, know what the deceived nations of the earth do not know, but what sooner or later, they must know, because he that deceiveth them shall be destroyed.
Glory be to him, who was manifested for this very purpose; when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
It is not my wish, that any thing should happen which can have a tendency to break your peace; and I trust you are so far taught of God, as to continue steadfast in the faith unto death. S. abused me in his sermon on Sunday morning-but I had my revenge; I preached Jesus in the afternoon to sinners as bad as he or me. Farewell.
To Mr. I. T.
• MY VERY GOOD FRIEND,
HIS moment your kind letter is handed me by Mr. H. for which, accept my thanks; nay, my warmest acknowledgments are your due.
When I parted with you in W, my spirit seemed to go with you; it was our bodies only which separated. How grand the idea which combines with that sentiment; distance cannot separate minds, minds which are the most, if not the only essential part of being. And is it not just; how often do friends, between whose bodies vast continents rise, and whole oceans roll, meet and mingle souls?
I rejoice that you have spoken well of the Redeemer's name; I congratulate you on your promotion; it is infinitely greater than if