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are incredulous. His word, in general, (with many particulars of it) they give credit to ; but here they are slow of heart to believe, and can, give no credence at all to this word. Though it is said, Peace is made through the blood of the cross; and that God means, by him who hung upon it, to reconcile all things to himself, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven ; yet this satisfies not. They have ways of softening and evading this, and lowering the sense and interpretation of such sayings, though they are the express words of God. He is expressly said to be the Saviour of all men—will have all men to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the Truth : yet this is explained of some only, through the reason ings of short-sighted man. Reason, here, takes place of Faith; and men are believed before God. He says, Those who die in sin, shall be miserable for ages ; they say forever, and without end. He declares proportionate punishments ; they, punishments that never cease.
. ses beyond what he threatens ; they make them equal'in duration. He says, Mercy rejoiceth, or glorieth against Judgment. They limit this to the present life ; and make Justice the triumphant attribute in every period of that which is to come. Thus does unbelief prevail, and set itself against this doctrine of the final Res. toration. They will not, and do not take ev. ery means and method they might, to know if it be so or not : If they take a look-out, and now and then give a slight attention to the point, it is all they do. They never with the full bent
of the mind, and the inclination of the whole man, enter upon it; or so much as think of this. Nay : so far from it, that some have roundly said—“They would not, for ever so much, enquire fairly and fully into it;" betraya. ing, hereby, the weakness of their faith to be many degrees feebler than it might, or need to be. Points of lesser moment they receive and fall in with, upon much less evidence than this has in its favor. Humanity and right Reason, they allow are on the side of it; and the written Word may, for any thing they know, or seem willing to know. Something or other hinders them in their enquiries : and they continue faithless and unbelieving-willfully so. This is the case with numbers.
But yet again : So few appearing in defence of it, is a reason with others against it.
6 What new thing is this !” we hear many exclaim and cry out" Our forefathers knew nothing of it -past ages make little or no mention of it "Tis a thing of yesterday ; the upstart produc. tion of some fanciful brain Who can believe it?” Thus some argue. Though proof of it is brought from the Old, as well as New Testament; and some of the ancient, as well as modern fathers, have spoken of and defended it ; it is still a defenceless doctrine with multitudes ; and therefore must be false, and laid aside. Though the scribe instructed unto the kingdom of heaven, is pronounced, by our Lord himself, to be like unto an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure, things new and old ; yet they are for nothing of the new: They are
for the plain, good, old way; (as though this was no part of it.) So reason some : and there. fore do not, and cannot come into it. It is new to them; and they seem determined it shall always remain so.
Others would look into it, but they are temporizers, and men.pleasers. They are so leagued and connected with the world, and have so many to serve, besides their own proper Master: Friends, relatives, and enemies, are so many and strong, and their temporal interest and character are so much at stake, that they neglect the doctrine, and let it sleep ; and fall in with the times, rather than run any hazard about it. If a truth, they will sooner slight it, than run the risk of being slighted themselves :--they had rather make one sacrifice than many. This is the way of some. Others far excel them here : they search the Scriptures daily whether this thing be so : therefore they come to see and believe it. But these are too selfish, too narrow and bigotted, and too party-spirited, to beeome Universalists : They cannot cease from man. Our Lord would not commit himself unto man, (even the best of men ;) for he knew what was in man.
But these have done it; and thereby so enslaved themselves one to another, as not to be able to emancipate, and get free, even when they could wish it. They must suffer loss and reproach if they do, even from their brethren ; and this they cannot think of. Those who have done it, they see are sliginted and neglected, on that account : They are evil spoken of, and have lost what they call their usefulness, This
intimidates them, and sets them a reasoning, instead of examining into the grounds of this faith, and so they never come at it.-Oh! but say some-"Were it but true, nothing of this should hinder me : I would come out for it; I would maintain it; I would break with friends and foes ; I would neither be ashamed nor afraid of the faces of men, or of their revilings : In the face of all opposition, I would stand forth as a faithful witness for it: None should make me afraid." This would be right : But I have known it said, and not done : oftener promised than made good. There was more of Peter's spirit in it than Paui's ; uttered in a fit of selfconfidence, and not from confidence in God. For after the fit was over, no pains were taken to come at the truth or falsehood of it ; no diligent or faithful enquiries were made into the grounds and reasons of it : but silence and reserve, instead of an answer, and open freedom upon the subject. Men know not themselves on this, any more than on other points of Truth, till they come to be heartily tried. Then, if it is a doctrine of the Cross at all, it is no doctrine for them : And they will many times so reason and philosophize-so declaim, harangue, and dispute-about its non-importance, its non-necessity io salvation, and the like; as to make it no doctrine at all, even tho' it is found in Scripture; and all through a temporizing spirit.
Others again are hindered, and are never con- < firmed in this faith, from a fickleness and instability of mind.
They hear of it, and in their
judgments approve and commend it; but a little matter unhinges them. Others speak against it : Outcries and clamors are made about it, and it has not yet the general consent : This weighs in some measure, with them; and being only weak in the faith, and of no strength & resolution of mind, they are easily turned about, and every contrary wind of doctrine wafts them to the other side. Like Ephraim of old, they may be compared to a cake not turned. When they hear and see the evidence for it, they are sincerely and wholly in the view; nothing, for a while, can move them : By-and-by something is advanced that has the appearance of being true ; and they are found in the other scale. The spirit of Reuben possesses them; and thus, being unstable as water, they never excel, in the belief of this, or any other doctrine of the gospel.
I might now proceed to other obstacles, and enlarge upon some other things that are plain and evident reasons why this doctrine is not more generally received : But I must keep them in reserve, till I have the opportunity of writing again. In the mean time, the discerning may perceive, that man stands 'in his own light, if the whole light of Divine truth does not, at one time or other, break in upon him. We receive it in proportion as we are disposed and inclined so to do. This, primarily, is of God; man is not before-hand with him, in any good inciinations he may have. But though God dispose, and thus incline the heart to all that is right and good; man may indispose himself, and yet!