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son to the righteous, and then, ending forever ; or misery and positive pain to the wicked, for a time, and then falling into non-existence or an.. nihilation.
These are too sable and gloomy ideas for the gospel ; and such as will not suit, and come up to the many glorious declarations, it makes in many parts, of God's love and good will to all his creatures; and his tender mercies towards all the works of his hands. But this positive and niore extensive part of the subject I must defer, till I can write again ; and am not only in the ties of friendship, but in the bonds also of, that gospel which bringeth salvation to all men, very cordially,
L E T T E R II,
MY DEAR FRIEND,
So, they have cast you cut ; and that without he form and process they used of old, who excommunicated the blind man. They reasoned ind argued the matter with him first; but your Sanbedrim has been despotic, and observed no uch rule and order. Well: Jesus knows of his, and will be your stay and support. as alreadly honored you, in giving you i
ly to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake. Continue to believe in, and worship him ; and you will more clearly and fully see into this and all truth. In the mean time, you wish for my further thoughts upon this point in particular ; and I have no objection, simply to declare them.
My last concluded negatively on the subject ; shewing, wherein I apprehended Universal Salvation did not consist ; viz. “ Not in a mere act of mercy in God, or in non-existence, and annihilation, with the wicked, after some time of suffering." This will more positively show what it is I do mean, by Universal Salvation, or Restoration. I mean then, that all fal-, len and intellectual creatures, shall, by the one offering of Christ, once offered, (with other means God may use to this purpose) be one day be brought back from their sad fall and apostacy, to the love, favor and friendship of God, from whom they have revolted. They shall be brought to such a sense of their sin and gailt, and to such a deep and heart-felt! conviction of their wretchedness and danger, as most heartily to repent; cordially and willingly to believe in Cbrist; and to a new and second birth in the Spirit. Freely, and of their own accord, they shall drop all that natural and ae. quired enmity, they lived and dieel in ; shall
knowledge themselves worthless, helpless. serable creatures ; having nothing to say in eir own defence, why sentence of ENDLESS cath should not take place, and pass upor ihen From that strange aversion, and aliena
tion of heart and mind to God and godliness, to his cause and ways, and to all that belongs to him, they shall be recoveredi; and instead of that froward heart and self-will, which now rules and reigns in them, and keeps them enemies, and up in arms; they shall be brought io submission; to the temper and spirit of obedient children and loyal subjects ; and the disposition of dependent, new creatures in Christ. From serving divers lusts and pleasures, and joining in league with the devil and his
agents, and the enemies of the cross of Christ; they shall hereby themselves, be crucified to all this; and from enemies and rebels, shall become friends, and yield all clue and willing obedience, and allegiance to Christ, their Sovereign King. They shall no longer dispute his commands, nor set up their own will in opposition to his ; but, with all cheerfulness and readiness of mind, shall come forth for him, and do him all free and wil. ling service. They shall admire, worship, and adore him: They shall bless and praise him, and tell of the wonders of his love. They shall esteem it the highest honor to be ever sitting at his feet ; and their greatest glory to be employ. ed and engaged for him, and his cause. And they shall see Christ so much in all this change of character, and that, by the grace of God, they are what they are, as not to have one vain or rising thought of themselves. They shall be so satisfied, that it was through the blood and spirit. Jesus, that they are thus restored, and brou God; that they shall have no inclina
sacrifice to their own net, or burn incense to their own drag.
Fine, airy scheme! say you; and wonderful Utopian plan! But, where is your Scriptureauthority ? and what ground from thence do you
go upon ?
The Old Testament has it more obscurely revealed to us; and the New, with greater brightness. The following single, as well as more enlarged passages, have convinced me; and let them have fair and full weight with you. Read them, as though you had never read them before. Let nothing but love and affection for the truth prepossess the mind; and suppose, at least, they may have the seal of the Spirit to them. Be single-eyed, and simple-hearted,and earcless who is for or against it. If they carry no weight at one time, read them at another, and be open to conviction. Make allowance for prejudice of education; the long babit of thinking otherwise, you have been in ; and for. mer impressions. Let not the reasoning spirit prevail against Revelation ; and beware of Phi. losophy in interpreting Scripture. Admit Reason, in her proper place; but Revelation must dictate, and take the throne. God must speak to us; and we, all attention to Him. Rightly stated and understood, Reason will approve this doctrine; but I would ground it on the Word of God. Corrupt Reason only, misunderstands and abuses it.
Thus prefaced, I particularize the following Scriptures, which, at your leisure, I hope you
will turn to ; they being too long, and too many, to transcribe in a letter:
Isaiah xlv. 22-25. compared with Phil. i. 10, 11. and Rev. v. 13. Acts iii. 21. Rorn. xi. 32. 2 Cor. v. 19. Eph. i. 10.Col. i. 20. 1 Tim. ii. 17. iy. 10. Heb. i. 8, 9. Psalm xxii. 22. to the end. Psalm lxxii. from beginning to end. Psalm lxxxiii. 13. to the end. Psalm Ixvi, 1-10, Isaiah xlix. 5-13. Psalm cxlv. 9, 10, 13. and the latter clause of 21.
These passages, to mention no more at present, are, to me, abundant proofs of Universal Restoration, that it is a Scripture-doctrine : and they, doubtless, will confirm and establish you in this faith. In some future letters, I mean to enlarge upon the subject--dilute what may seem to want it--and throw in any thing that may help to promote the digestion of it more easily. I am sensible many objections will start up, and many difficulties meet every sincere enquirer into this point ; and you will probably have several questions to ask, which you have not yet proposel. As I am able, I will endeavor to reply to them. The doctrine must have come with some force and evidence to your mind already, to have come out for it so nobly as you have done. I can easily conceive it must have cost you something. But, as it is natural to wish to defend a truth we have recei. ved, and to answer others who may ask us the reasons of our faith ; I will comply with some further requests you make in your last, and tell you more of my mind on the subject, from time