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without the comfortable light and enjoyment of it. It is not a doctrine that will commend it. self to the lazy reader of Scripture : those only who seek and search for it, will satisfactorily find it. But so few are willing to do this, that it may be assigned as one reason, why so few there be that find it, The soul of the suggard de. sireth, and bath nothing ; much less such a portion as this. Who would have discovered the doctrine of the Antipodes, the Georgium Sidus, or countries before unexplored, if all men had been like minded with these?
But again ; wilfulness, and an obstinate tem. per of mind, is another sad reason some remain strangers to this extensive grace of the Gospel. They have formed their plan ; they have settled their faith, and have fixed their system ; and, right or wrong they are determinately bent to abide by it : nothing shall alter them. A poble principle this, if men were infallible ; and not liable to err, and mistake! But this being the case, it proves sometimes hurtful ; has hindered some from coming forward in the truth, and shackled many in the point we are upon, Finding it against them in some respects, and contrary to their pre-conceived views, they are obstinately set against it, and will neither hear, read, nor attend to it ; nor so much as lie open to. conviction : they have taken offence at it, and that is enough : in their occasion, who can turn them ? Let what will be said, they are at a point : they are predetermined ; nothing chall convince them. This sturdliness of mind is a great evil ; a bar to all improvement; and
what must be mentioned as excluding reason why some do not see this fulness of the Gospel salvation. These five reasons then, I send you at this time, and they are all my paper will at present allow. The rest (which are many) shall all come in their season ; but I can now only add, I am firmly, and affectionately
Yours, A. V.
L E T TER VIII:
Assigning more Reasons why it is not more gene
MY DEAR FRIEND,
I AM accounting for the backwardness of the times, and the reluctance of many in coming into that noble, generous, and heavenly doctrine of the gospel, the return of all apostate and rebellious creatures to the favor and friendship of God, in and by Jesus Christ.
I have already mentioned some reasons of it; this will multiply them. A perverse and obsrinate temper, was the last I had occasion to speak of; I will now go on and say, Pride seems another. There are some things in the doctrine of Universal Restoration, which, at first hearing, very ill suits us. Like some other doctrines, i
has something in it we do not so well approve of--something opposite to our wishes-and something that puzzles and perplexes us. In stead of meekly submitting here, and becoming teachable as a little child, the heart is apt to rise and swell; a caviling, contradictory spirit is indulged ; which issues sometimes in anger, and proud wrath : and this blinds the mind and hardens the heart, and the doctrine itself is shut
“ Yield to a thing I cannot fully see and comprehend! who can do it? Sufferings ! God's method of restoring us ! Indeterminate sufferings, part of his plan! It is purgatory ; popish purgatory : believe it who can." Reason, common sense, and Scripture, all forbid it, as derog. atory to the undertaking of Christ, and so such turn away in a rage. Besides, persons of mean and low capacities, receive and come into it. And is it to be thought such as these would be preferred to their superiors ? What is to be found in them, that should make such a doctrine as this more acceptable and welcome than to us? or induce the Lord to shew it them, when others, far more worthy, are without the knowledge and discovery ? Supposing it true, it is not likely that persons of low birth and extraction, and mean abilities, should have it; when Geniuses, and the Literati, know nothing about it. We must, further, change our voice -use orber words and phrasesand alter in our mode of expression_if Universal Salvation be true. We must roundly speak out Shibboleth, } and no longer say only Sibboleth. We must say he lived and died for ALL men--for every
one for all mankind ; and no longer, for his people—for the elect--or for his body the church only. We must have done with these contractions, and all this lisping of speech, in declaring the salvation of God, and in speaking of his denunciations and threatenings, and the future miseries of the wicked ; we must no longer pronounce them unceasing, or without end : for the countless ages of eternity, as long as God exists, without hope of redemption; or, where hope shall never come :
all this we must have done with. Thèse and such-like expressions, we must lay aside, and utterly cast away, as inconsistent with the belief of that doctrine. And how mortifying would this be'! We cannot, must not, will not do it: it is too bumilia. ting a thing. And thus, through pride, this doctrine is hid from some : for with the lowly only is wisdom. Nearly allied to these, are the THE LOVERS of worldly FAME and AMBITION ;who might otherwise see and believe it; but this hinders. It is no popular doctrine-it is not fashionable--it fills neither coffers nor churches. With these, the kingdom of God must come with grandeur, shew and observation, or it is no kingdom for them. Popularity is starved by it; and eminency of gifts and abilities, have but little applause in such a cause. Who, of any consequence, would come forth for a truth that has not honor and reputation attending it? Greatness and a name, are so much the life and spirit of some, that rather than be without them, they will sacrifice Truth itself---be įpm, rant where they might be knowine, che full bent,
where they might speak, and be communicative. It was the fear of being a petty prince, that caused Pharaoh to harden his heart, & refuse to let Israel go. This people made up great part of his kingdom ; and if he should lose them, he would be a less man than he was; and this he could not stoop to.
He understood not the art of sinking: so is it in this case. With some, it would lessen their character with men, to let go a long-received opinion (thongh it appears, upon examination, to be false) and take up with a sentiment the many do not espouse. The praise of men is so ruling a principle in most hearts, that they are wholly governed by it, even where God and his truth are concerned; and so believe notm" Oh ! they say, they would not look into it for the world.” The reason is plain : If it should prove true, they would decrease, and others would increase ; and this they cannot submit to. If universal Salaation had but universal Approbation, it would be more universally acknowledged than it is. But it must have the general voice, to gain the confession of some ; and they must be less selfish and ambitious. This, however, is not the case with all : They would confess it, and even be valiant for this truth, were it not for a philosophical and reasoning spirit.
They must have more evidence for it than it is capable of, at first-matbematical, instead of moral demon. stration and the proof of it at once, and not by degrees : Unbelief is the bar and obstruction.
They cannot come forth as witnesses for it from say he livedi azad downright infidelity. They