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was determined not to believe it. I told him, it would satisfy me for him to give it a candid reading
"When we met again, I began to inquire what he thought of the book. He paused a little, and then freely acknowledged the effect that it had had upon him--He frankly declared that his resolution was just the same, as though he had resolved to look up to the Heavens when the sun shone at noon, and not to be lieve that it shone. I have secretly engaged several and find when they are sensible, candid men, they fall in with your sentiments at once.
"I am acquainted with about half a score of Ministers, who firmly believe and heartily embrace the doctrine; besides many private christians of different denominations. Most of us Ministers, who fall in with your sentiments, are afraid of confessing them public ly, for this reason, our people would thrust us out of the synagogues, and we and our families might suffer thereby. For my own part, I am determined to stand by this truth, whether I can continue my place among the people where I am or not. Rather than give up this (through grace) I would give up life,
"have so much zeal in my heart for the confirmation and establishment of this truth, that I would, were it in my power, gladly proselyte all men to embrace and enjoy the benefit of it.
"I hope you will muster up all your resolution, and stand forth boldly again in vindication of the cause of truth, and the most glorions and most neglected part of that truth that all men ought to embrace, I fear lest the enemy shall cause a shout of triumph if you refuse again to engage, and do not come forth to the help of the Lord against the mighty. Please to inform me if you want any help where you are ;- I have some little fortune, and would engage in promoting the work of God, without being wholly dependent on any people.
"Direct to J. P at Mr. John Brown's Bookseller, Pocklington Yorkshire.
"Sincerely praying for the success of your labors, and your welfare of body and mind,
"I am in truth, your affectionate friend, And servant in CHRIST JESUS."
"AYLESBURY, September 22, 1790. "Rev. and dear Sir,
AN anxious desire of a more intimate ácquaintance with you induces me to take this liberty of writing to you, hoping you will excuse my freedom; undoubtedly it will appear strange, that one you never saw nor heard of, should take such liberty. But as a foe to flattery, I just give you this short account of my first knowledge of you; which was only by hearing of the ear.
"Something more than a year ago, I was told that there was a preacher just come to London, an American by birth, who had undertaken to preach an Universal Restoration to lost souls. As it was new to me, I was much surprised at this strange account, and I thought and said, (though with some degree of candor) that I looked upon it to be some one that could not dig, and was ashamed to beg, so to procure a living he had written this book. Here I rested for some time, thinking that much hurt would be done thereby; till the last time I saw Mr. Atkins, (who I understand is now in connexion with you) he gave me some further account of you and your doctrine. But I could not understand it from his account; yet he persisted I should believe it, if I was to read your Dialogues. I told him I would give them a fair reading, if I could see them. Still I entertained the same strange idea as before. The next account I had was from a young man of Berkhampstead, who came to see me. and in our discourse, I said, "Some of your peoplę have imbibed a new doctrine, I hear." He said
Yes, and I verily believe it a truth." I was now
more supprised than before; but he said, if I was to see it he had no doubt but I should believe it also. "Well," said I," if I could see the book I would lay prejudice aside, and give it a fair reading, let it be what it may." He very kindly told me, that as soon as he could get it home, (for he had lent it to a friend) he would send it to me. I thanked him, and promised to read it impartially, knowing that where party spirit reigns, blindness takes place.
"According to promise, he sent the book; and as I had done before, I now laid the matter before the Lord, with this petition, that he would not suffer me to be misled, or wander out of the way, as I knew that he knew my desire and intention. I was delivered from fear, and with candor and confidence I began to read my new book, and to my great astonishment, yet to my greater joy, I found what I had many times wished for secretly in my heart, namely, the possibility of a release for those poor sufferers, and not only so, but likewise the certainty of it; for as I read on, I could not but see, that it was the determination of JEHOVAH to make ali men, as his creatures, happy in himself. O with what eyes did I now view the Deity, and what ideas did 1 entertain of him to what I had ever done before! (though I was on the general plan,) O how my soul was filled with love! what gratitude did I feel to that God, who I now saw so loved all his creatures, as to give his only Son to die, with a pure design to glorify himself in the salvation of every soul! I now saw him a God of love indeed, but it is out of my power to tell fully the happy ef fect it had, and has now upon my mind, but it is something, what I experienced, when the Lord first set my soul at liberty; as I was then swallowed up, as in the vision of God. But the bigness of this sheet is not sufficient to tell you all I could wish, but I trust I shall see you in person, as I should esteem it a privilege indeed to hear you preach, and to converse with you, and I fully intended coming to London about last May, on purpose, but as I had already a large family,
which, through the blessing of God, I maintain with my labor; finding it likely to increase, I could not well spare time to come, or I had been with you at that season, as I had nothing else in my way to hinder. Mr. John Holder, of Tring, an acquaintance of mine, has lent me a few little tracts of yours, which I am now reading with pleasure and profit, and he has kindly offered himself to accompany me at any time that I shall appoint to come and see you, but the same difficulty is now in the way as before. If ever Providence should open a way, I shall gladly embrace the opportunity. Though I have no doubt of the doctrine of the Restoration, as to myself, I have never spoke of it in public as yet, not knowing whether that may be the way to make this glorious salvation known; but I have spoke to several of the people in private, those whom I judged to have the best understanding, and the most candor; and most of these seem to be glad at the news, and my own wife in particular receives it with all thankfulness, and joins with me in love to you and yours. (Though very ill at this time.) If it will not be attended with too much trouble, please to send me your Dialogues, bound, by the Aylesbury stage coach. I have given the coachman an order to pay the expense. As I stand like yourself (in this respect) unconnected with any party, (though I was with Mr. Wesley's people twelve years) I am now free, I trust from bigotry and prejudice, open to conviction, and willing for instruction. A few lines from you will be gratefully acknowledged, and thankfully received, by your affectionate, though most unworthy, may I say, brother in Christ,
P. S. "I pray God of his mercy to give you all the wisdom that you need, to make this great salvation more fully known, as I believe he hath raised you up for this purpose, and that a double portion of his Spirit may rest upon you, and that your labors may be crowned with more abundant success, till the Sun of
righteousness is seen in his full strength, and with all his ability to save.
"Direct to Thomas Higgins, Aylesbury Bucks."
I take the liberty of publishing these Letters, with the names and places of abode of the writers, as a kind of beginning of that general acquaintance, which I should wish to see take place among all the friends of this doctrine in these kingdoms. I know several other Ministers in England, who believe and preach the Universal Restoration, and I trust their numbers will increase. In America, where I once stood almost in these views alone, (among those who speak the English tongue) there are now many who testify this Gospel of the free universal grace of God, and they have formed a connexion of societies on this plan, who meet by their Representatives in convention yearly, at Philadelphia, and I could wish a plan of the same nature might be adopted in this country. If any thing that I have spoken or written may be of use to my fellow creatures, and may tend to promote the glory of God, and the interest of the dear Redeemer in the world, I shall have the satisfaction to reflect, that I have not wholly lived in vain.
LONDON, April 2, 1792.