« AnteriorContinuar »
thus reduced to a state of suffering. Articles of property are sometimes damned or condemned as useless, but it is not the props erty, but the proprietor, who is in such cases the sufferer.
I confess I am rather surprised, that a gentleman in your circumstances, yourself smarting under the lash of ignorance and prejudice, should step forward to calumniate a character, with which you have no acquaintance, and of whose person you have no knowledge.
Sir, this was not doing as you would be done by, and I am persuaded when you reflect upon the impropriety of publishing a person's name at full length, united to a falsehood, you will, if you are possessed of that spirit which your remarks would induce us to believe, endeavour to spread a refutation of this mistake as wide as the pamphlet in which it is contained ; and you will thus, as far as you are able, wipe off a false and ridiculous idea, which misrepres sentation has annexed to the principles of your, &c. &c.
To a melancholy Christian.
I am happy, my dear brother, that your health, and the health of your family, is at length established, and I have an additional satisfaction, in being told that your pecuniary circumstances are ameliorated. We are indebted to divine goodness for every mercy we enjoy; how great then our ingratitude, that while he is thus following us with kindness and tender mercies, all our days, we should yet proclaim ourselves unhappy.
Just so it was with our first parents, every evidence of divine favour was bestowed upon them ; paternal Deity was satisfied with them, and pronounced them very good, and they ought to have been satisfied with themselves, and with the condition in which infinite wisdom and goodness, had placed them. And indeed they would have been contented to live a life of gratitude and praise; they would have been happy, had not they been rendered unhappy by
the arch deciever, who, in language expressive of his characters taught them to aspire to a nearer resemblance of their Maker.
They were created, all that their wise and gracious Creator saw proper to render them, and had the infernal foe of God, and his new formed offspring, appeared in his own character, and informed these dwellers in paradise, that his design was to make them wretched, by teaching them to be dissatisfied with the situation in which they enjoyed so much, they would unquestionably have proved superior to every attack ; but when he came as a friend, assuring them that they should be as Gods, knowing good from evil, who from such a teacher, could suspect injury, from such a speaker, who could calculate upon fraud ? But they were miserably beguiled.
I believe the best service we can render to God, is the service of a grateful heart, and sure we have abundant cause for gratitude. We were created for the pleasure of him who made us, so that the chief end of our formation was, that we may glorify God, and enjoy him forever. Thus, the design of God in creation was beneficent, and who is he, or what the event, which can counteract the designs of Omnipotence ?
As a God of providence, every day's experience beareth witness to the wisdom and goodness of his arrangements ; at no time doth he deal with us according to our deserts; but for his own sake he continueth to do us good, and that not only when his benevolent purposes are apparent, but when we are exercised by severe afflictions; for he who is love and goodness, in the abstract, will not fail to educe from every seeming evil, perfect good, and, assuredly, sooner or later, every child of Adam, every individual of God's offspring, will be constrained to say, “It was good for me that I was afflicted.” But how much are all the blessings of creation and providence exceeded by the superabounding blessings of grace. He gave us in creation, a body, a soul, and a spirit. His providence supports us, but his abundant grace hath bestowed upon us his blessed Son. That is, he hath given us himself, for the word which was made flesh, and dwelt among us, was God, and continues to be the only wise God, and our Saviour. God so loved the world, as to give them this Son, this only wise God, this Saviour, and in him all spiritual blessings, according to the ever blessed gospel, which the faithful and true God preached unto Abraham, when he assured him, that in his seed, all the families of the earth should be blessed. In this seed, God hath given us life, everlasting life. The wages of sin is death,
but the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord; and hence the Holy Spirit, with strict propriety, declares the Redeemer to be the life of the world. But in this same ever blessed Saviour, God hath given us what our adversary, either by working directly in our hearts, or through the instrumentality of his deceived agents, is continually teaching us to seek for in ourselves, and if we cannot find this good, where God, and the enlightened conscience, knows they never were, we fancy we prove our humility, and our piety, by our unbelief, and ungrateful murmur ings.
The name whereby our Saviour shall be called is the Lord our righteousness, in whom, as the Lord our righteousness, we are wise, righteous, and hold For of him, that is, of our faithful Creator, are ye in Christ Jesus, who is made of God unto us, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. Were we to credit this divine report, we should not go mourning all our days.
You say, you fear you have, through life, been deceiving your-self. If you have been fancying yourself righteous, holy, just and good, you have assuredly been deceiving yourself, for there are none righteous, no, not one. No sinner can be holy. 'A holy sinner! what a solicism! It would not be more contradictory to speak of a dark sun, or a cold fire. Jesus only is holy; thou only art holy, thou only art the Lord. This Jesus is the Holy One of Israel. There is not a just man on earth, that liveth and sinneth not. Thus, if you have been all your lifetime fancying yourself possessed of these qualities, or imagining yourself capable of obtaining undeviating excellence in your individual character, either by your own will and power, or by the will and power of God, so that you may say, with the Pharisee of old, God, I 'thank thee I am not like other men. If such have been your expectations, you have indeed been egregiously deceiving yourself.
You say you often shudder at death; I wonder not at this, I am rather astonished that there are unbelievers, who do not shudder at death. You wish you could view death with as much pleasure as I do, and, upon this occasion, most sincerely do I adopt the language of the Apostle : I beseech you be as I am, for I am as you are, an offender against God, carnal, and sold under sin, so that when I would do good, evil is present with me, and, consequently, the good I would do, I do not, and the evil I would not do, that do I continually. Often am I tempted to exclaim, 0, wretched man
that I am, who shall deliver me from this body of sin and death. Thus far, I am as you are, but I thank God, who hath given me the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ. I beseech you be as I am ! a believer of God. I am persuaded our Saviour hath abolished death; the wages of sin was death, but Jesus having suffered this death, when he died for the sins of the world, when by the grace of God, he tasted death for every man, hath abolished, or entirely destroyed death. It is a firm belief of this glorious, consolatory truth, that enables me to look forward with pleasure, to a period of my present mode of existence. You assure me, if you could view death with calmness, the pains and penalties of your mortal career would set light upon you.
Here, again, you are very much deceived ; you would feel pain as sensibly as you now do, and every other trouble would be grievous; if it were not so, it would not be through much tribulation we should enter into the kingdom of heaven. We could not have much tribulation from what set lightly upon our minds.
You inform me, you read my letters with some satisfaction, as they help to confirm your mind in the belief of the scriptures, which teach us that God is love, and that, therefore, he cannot do other than view all the works of his hands with affection—But this, it seems, is not enough! You want to view the only true God as your Saviour; I wish I could know what were your ideas while penning this sentence. Did you then think that the Saviour was the only God, and did you think that he who declared himself the life of the world, the Saviour of all men, was true? And thus thinking, could you doubt of his love for you? And can you have any other idea of enjoying God as your Saviour, beside living by faith upon the Son of God, and so coming up from this wilderness, leaning upon the Beloved? But I rather suppose you wish to have your heaven in the present state, to be without sin, and consequently, without sorrow? And I really believe if it had been the design of our heavenly Father, that this world should have been our eternal home, we should even now be delivered from sin and sorrow; but this is not our rest, it is defiled.
You say, it is your firm opinion, that all will finally be saved. This is said, by some, to be going a great way and so indeed it is, considering the darkness which covers the earth, and the grass darkness which covers the people. But syet he cannot be said to be a believer of divine revelation, who does not believe that Jesus
is the Saviour of all men ; but he cannot be the Saviour of any who never will be saved.
You are at a loss to determine when this universal salvation will take place, so I believe is every created being; for the times and the seasons are not made known unto us. The day nor the hour, knoweth no man; but this we know, that when all rule, all power and authority, are brought into subjection, then shall this Son, this human nature, which hath been so prodigal of the portion of goods committed to his care, this Son himself shall be brought into subjection unto him that did put all things under him, that God may be all in all. It is written, they shall be all taught of God, when the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord, when the face of the covering shall be taken from all people, and the veil from all nations, then the kingdoms of the world shall become the kingdoms of God. The Apostle Peter hath told us, that the heavens must contain the glorified body of our risen Saviour, until the times of the restitution of all things. But this second coming shall be without observation, like a thief in the night.
Some affirm, that the sinners among mankind must suffer after the second coming of the Son of God; but such are not acquainted with the apostolic mystery. Behold, saith the Apostle, I show unto you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet;, for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed; then shall be brought to pass the saying, which is written, Death is swallowed up of victory.
The passages you have selected, are, by many, supposed to point to this last great day of the Lord. But a very slender acquaintance with the divine word of our God, will fully evince the improbability of this idea. Parables, in which language our Saviour spake, were not intelligible to the people. To them, however, who are taught of God, it is given to know what they contain. If my memory does not deceive me, the printed letter which I forwarded to you, contains some ideas upon these subjects. But as you wish me to attend to these passages, I will just observe, that in my humble opinion, they point out the state of Jew and Gentile, immediately after the resurrection of our Lord from the dead; and that, at the first coming of our Saviour, the midnight cry was made by him, who was the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord. The wise and