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most retentive memory of any person I ever heard of, or else you are the most extraordinary conjurer the earth has ever produced. Either you must have existed in some sort of animal in the days of Adam, Noah, Isaac, and Jacob, &c., who perhaps in confidence told you their whole plan and meaning, or by the laws of transmigration you have come to be what you now are, and retain all those things still in perfect memory, or you must have made the discovery by conjuration. When a professed minister of the gospel undertakes to tell what those meant who talked almost six thousand years ago—in order to establish a certain doctrine, for which he is unable to bring any Scripture evidence,—he ought not to complain if he sees his own ridicule justly falling on his own head."
You have quoted a few texts to prove universal salvation, but have not shown their pertinency to your point. I shall not therefore attend to them. To me they do not appear to approve your doctrine any more than if you had directed us to Num. xxii., 30.
You observe that, "If universalism should still prevail, it 'would be an evidence that it is true," page 11. Sir, has not a contrary doctrine prevailed for ages, and does it not continue so to do? Would not your proposition prove too much for you? Could you prove that the doctrine always will prevail, your reasoning or text would be in point.
The poem subjoined to my sermon seems to disturb you on- account of its obscenity. I have examined every verse, line, word, and letter, and I can find nothing that tends to uncleanliness, moral impurity, or licentiousness, unless you esteem the title or subject of the hymn so. I cannot see that, in this respect, it tends to looseness and impurity any more than the doctrine in the text, "And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die." Is the poem more obscene than this? Let us compare one verse.
"Fear not to sin, till death shall close your eyes,
You say the burden of the poem is to convey an idea that universalists suppose all manner of vile characters will be received to the enjoyment of everlasting happi* ness, without being cleansed from moral defilement. Sir, the poem supposes, and I pretend to make others believe, that universalists preach, that if men lie, murder, steal, commit adultery, kill themselves, &c., yet they will finally escape hell, and be eternally happy. This I own to be the burden of the poem—and this is the burden of universalism—and the doctrine ought to be a burden, and a great burden, to all who love God and the souls of men, because it confronts every dictate of Scripture and common sense. We do not suppose you, or any other preacher, tell people they will go to-heaven in their sins—this would be so glaring that even Satan would not preach so—but to tell sinners that they shall all finally be saved from sin and misery is going contrary to Scripture, and encouraging men in transgression. You add, "I will not pretend to say that such characters as yourself may not have caused some uninformed persons to believe that universalists held to such absurdities—I do not believe you have that idea yourself, and why should you wish to deceive? you must be accountable." Sir, I would just inquire, if the character you have given-me in your epistle be a just one, why did you depart from the rule you prescribe in page 5, where you reprove me for being influenced by such as do not speak the truth? You say it is among uninformed persons that I am believed. It appears by your writing that you are not among those uninformed persons. We never had but one personal interview. I preached a short sermon before you, which the public are acquainted with. You refused to say a word to me, or answer a single question; yet your information is so great that you are able to say just what you please. How far your peculiar wisdom and skill [conjuration] may serve to exculpate you, is not for me to say, as I am ignorant of it.
Nothing can appear more evident than that the measures you have taken to vindicate the character of the old preacher indicate his cause not to be the best, and that it will need auxiliaries of a very different nature to support it, or it must fall to the ground.
You say you have published a treatise on atonement, which you think is unanswerable. An encomium from another quarter might have been a little more acceptable. I have read the piece, and have a very different idea of it. By the leave of Providence, perhaps you and the public will know my mind more fully about it before long.
See that you do not preach for filthy lucre; we are very prone to be caught in this snare. "Good advice can do you no harm."
I close with a word of advice.
Reverend sir—You tell me "in the fear of God that you are not an enemy to me or any other person;" that you wish me happiness, &c. But why need you tell me this? I have just been reading your benevolent epistle. You say, "Good advice can do me no harm." Sir, I think it has not. Perhaps you esteem me a debtor to you for your very friendly admonition, " good advice can do you no harm." Beware of challenging others to dispute with you, and boasting that they " dare not contend with you on fair and open ground" (Epistle, p. 8), and that you "want to find an antagonist" (Epistle, p. 5). Should you ever be overtaken in this matter, don't deny it. "Good advice can do you no harm." Beware of pomposity; we should carry low sails on this tempestuous sea. "Good advice can do you no harm." Learn to distinguish between benevolence and malevolence, and make no great pretence to the former unless you are pretty confident you have it and act it out. "Good advice can do you no harm."
In your next epistle, should you find nothing to employ your pen about but personal invective and matters that you know nothing about, try, according to your promise, to use a little more candour, and not be quite so unmerciful. "Good advice can do you no harm." Sir, your humble sen-ant,
"Happily to steer From grave to gay, from lively to severe."
Truth requires that this part of Mr. Haynes's peculiar character should not be suppressed. It will be evidently difficult for those who were not acquainted with this eccentric and extraordinary man, to see the consistency of his very free indulgence in wit, with a uniform and pervading piety. In the view, however, of those who were intimately acquainted with him, it did not detract either from his Christian or ministerial character. It seemed to come unbidden, and unaccompanied by levity, ,its usual companion. Though we may deprecate every attempt by others to imitate this quality of his mind, yet any view of his character which does not embrace it will be evidently incomplete. Moreover, it is thought by those who best knew the circumstances of his location, the cunning and obtrusive skepticism, the bald and blasphemous infidelity, with which the region was infested, that this talent gave him an influence which could not otherwise have been acquired, and which inspired the ranks of infidelity with alarm at his approach.
He went one evening into a store where ardent spirits were drunk as well as sold. In his pleasant manner he addressed the company, "How d'ye do ?— how do you all do here?" The merchant, willing to jest a little, replied—" Oh! not more than half drunk." "Well, well," said Mr. Haynes, "I am glad there's a reformation begun."
When a revival of religion was in progress in his parish, and Satan gave intimations of dissatisfaction ^ (as he is wont to do at such times), some of his students having been slandered for their zeal and activity, made their complaints to him of what they had suffered, and expected his sympathy and protection. After a pause, Mr. Haynes observed, "I knew all this before." "Why, then," said one, "did you not inform us?" "Because," said he, "it was not worth communicating; and I now tell you plainly, and once for all, my young friends, it is best to let the devil carry his own mail, and bear its expenses."
It is said that some time after the publication of his sermon on the text, "Thou shall not surely die," two reckless young men having agreed together to try his wit, one of them said—" Father Haynes, have you heard the good news ?"—" No," said Mr. Haynes, "what is it?"—''It is great news, indeed," said the other, "and, if true, your business is done."—" What is it?" again inquired Mr. Haynes. "Why," said the first, "the devil is dead." In a moment the old gentleman replied, lifting up both his hands and placing them on the heads of the young men, and in a tone of solemn concern, "Oh, poor fatherless children! what will become of you?"