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over and over again ; all which must be borne with, if you mean to teach and instruct them. This dullness is sometimes owing to causes that may be removed ; but not always so. There may be a natural incapacity and want of quickness : for the mind has its growth, as well as the body ; and a quicker growth in some than in others. If such as these have met with warm, hasty, and impatient advocates for this cause, who were not able to bear with them, it has hort and done them harm ; they have been stumbled, and shut up, by these Jebu-drivers of God's chariot of love ; these fiery zealots. The smoke and heat they have raised, has prevented the light of this truth from breaking in upon them; and having an opportunity of hearing it from others, and not understanding what they have read upon the subject, unless some one should teach them, they have gone without it. Slowness of mind, in the hearer, and precipitancy of temper in the speaker, have been the bindering causes. But yet again, I may venture to say, the weak and imperfect defences, made of this doctrine by some, have been the occasion, sometimes, that others have been set against it, & stopt their enquiries after it. Teach. able themselves, and desirous of all knowledge, they have been taught this doctrine, both in the letter and spirit of it. But weak in the faith at first, and like children that could just go alone, they have ventured beyond their strength; have attempted to defend it, before they had digested it; and to appear as witnesses for it, before they were well masters of it. But so poor was their
defence, that some were stumbled at it, would hear no more about it, but judged the cause was as weak as such poor defenders of it, and so turned away without it.
without it. And instead of hearing again, or attending to others who were wise and able advocates, they have either never had the opportunity; or the inclination, if the opportunity has offered ; aud so have failed, and misse ed of it. Out of the mouths of babes and suckfings, God sometimes ordaineth praise ; but for the most part, he calleth young men, and fath. ers, in defence of his cause and truth. It is good to be masters of this subject, before we are proclaimers of it; and to be well taught ourselves, before we are instructors of others.-To be always ready to give a reason of the hope that is in us, with meekness and fear, is both a duty and a command; but sometimes it has happened, the reason has been given, before the person has been reudy; and with anger and selfsufficiency, instead of meekness and fear. This has hurt a cause, even a good cause ; and pre. vented its success. This cause in particular of Universal Salvation, has sometimes suffered and been strangely thought of, for want of better pleaders and defenders of it. They have either stated it wrong, with a flaw in the drawing up, blending errors,& other things with it which did not properly belong to it; or, left something out, which should have been taken in. They have either left man so totally passive, and so necessary an agent, in his belief of this and of all truth, that he has had no concern about it; it must be forced upon him: or else, they have made hin
so able, so sufficient of himself, without the aids of grace, that he can believe, or believe not, just when he pleases; he is at his option, and own will, altogether. Or, they have been masters of the subject, but not of themselves : All which has had so unhappy an effect upon some, that
the truth itself has been hindered by it, and not i had that full and free course it otherwise would - have had. There are yet other reasons of this
defect of faith in some ; which in another Letter I will give you.
I would now only further say to those who may hear or read this Letter : take heed to your spirit; and to all evil-workings of corrupt na. ture. These, if quartered and indulged, will prove so many bolts and bars to the entrance of divine truth into the mind and understanding. God indeed, lets in ; but man may put out the light. It is he enlightens the world, with all the habitations of it ; but men may, and do exclude that light, by shutting their windows and doors against it. The soul has this excluding power, and too often uses it. The rays of the sun of righteousness may be darkened and eclipsed, as well as the beams of the natural sun. It becomes us to take heed that we do not wilfully do this. Sin has darkness' in the very nature of it ; and wherever it is entertained, it emits and spreads around its sad and baneful influence. Beware tien of sin, in all its latent as well as more overt operations, and the Light of life will shine in upon you, with all its excellency and fulness. In him I now again subscribe myself,
Sincerely and affectionately yours, A. V.
L E T T E R X:
Wherein three more Reasons are given, why,
(comparatively speaking, ) this doctrine is received, or at least confessed, but by few, yet.
MY DEAR FRIEND,
I HAVE already given you sixteen reasons, why Universal Restoration is so little received, Three or four more remain, and I finish this part of the subject.
Some, then, blind their eyes, and harden their hearts, aaginst this, and many other precious truths of the gospel, through sensuality and voluptuousness. They give themselves up to eating, drinking, dressing; and sleeping to excess, and indulge those selfish lurts which war against the soul : this blinds their judgments, so that they cannst see the present way of life, much less afar off, or, the future designs of God. Whatever natural ideas they may have of these things, or however scientifically defend them; they cannot judge of them aright, or spiritually discern them : and that, because they are natural, or animal, men, as it might be rendered. : Into a malicious, (or wicked) soul, wisdom shall not enter ; nor dwell in the body that is subject to sin. This sensualizes, and unfits 'a person for communion with God ; and except he teach, all other knowledge puffeth up, and only fills us
with pride and conceit. The wisdom that is from above, is first pure ; then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated ; full of mercy, and good fruits; without partiality, without hypocrisy. What though the wicked know this, or any other truth, in the theory ! if they still do wickedly, it cannot profit them.
6 The wicked, and such as be void of a lively faith, although they do carnally and visibly press with their teeth the sacrament of the body and blood of Christ, yet in no wise are they partakers of Christ; but rather to their condemnation, do eat and drink the sign, or sacrament, of so great a thing,” says the 29th Art. of the Church of England. Even so is it here. The wicked may hold, maintain, and, in the letter and outward manner, receive and plead for the doctrine of Univensal Salvation, but going on still in forbidden ways, they receive it not in the love, power, and spirit of it; and so are they worse, and not the better for it. The vicious heart is the cause. This is not right in the sight of God --but they are in the gall of bitterness,and bond of iniquity; having eyes full of adultery, (or some other evil) that cannot cease from sin; sensual, not having the Spirit.
When the Lord let the prophet Daniel into the full and secret coupsels of his will, and told him things that should be hereafter; many would hear, and believe, and be the better for it. Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried, it is said ; but the wicked are not in this list. These, it is said, shall, or will do wickedly ; and the consequence immediately