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er than conceal or deny it.. Among these, I must reckon yourself. Should your trials in. crease, for standing firm and faithful to it ; your joys will also abound, when you shall one day see all who disbelieve it, all who reason against and oppose it, all who sin upon and abuse it; every one brought to see and believe it ; to acknowledge and avow themselves the willing and happy subjects of that faith which once they so strangely destroyed. :'.
In the mean time, we will pray for them ; own them all as his offspring by creation, and many of them by adoption and grace. We will love them as brethren : pity them, as weakly in this respect ; and endeavor (as they will let us) to get that weakness removed. By this means we shall get more confirmed in that faith ourselves, in which I am, Affectionately yours,
L ET TER XI :
Shewing the reasons why the Doctrine is receired.
MY DEAR FRIEND,
THE four last posts brought you my answer to a question you put_“If Universal Salvation be the doctrine of Scripture, how comes it so
few at present fall in with this belief; and that it is not more generally received ?"
I endeavored to reply to it fully and faithfully; and I hope with all that modesty the nature of the question would admit of.
I would now offer some reasons why the cloc. trine is admitted at all, and received by any.
The first is, because it is bumane. It is so agreeable to all the feelings and workings of sim: ple nature in us,and to what constitutes us men, that the greatest opposers have hardly refused it in this view. To think, they should be instrumental in multiplying themselves, and bringing creatures into the world to be endlessly wretched, is neither a pleasing nor a satisfactory tho't. That they should be miserable at all, is painful to nature ; but to be forever so, goes against all the grain, and is only alleviated and reconcileable to us, as men, from the supposition it may one day be otherwise, and have an end. The kumanity of the doctrine, then, is one reason some have to come into it.
Others believe it, because it is both reasonable and scriptural, and agreeable to the character of God, as Love ; and as he has been pleascd to reveal himself to us, in his word and works. It is but reason, that if men will sin, they should also suffer: and this the Universal doctrine ad. mits. But whether finite crimes should have infinite sufferings ; Reason rather staggers at this,and has never yet said it without hesitation : It always faulters when asked, and obliged to nly. If Revelation has declared it, she sub
; but not else.
Now this being consulted, declares God is love and its voice is the voice of Mercy; a scheme of mercy throughout, and Justice, so far as is. consistent with this. Retributive, punitive Jus. tice is taught us both by Reason and Scripture. But vindictive Justice, and judgment without mercy, neitier by one nor the other.
Unceasing misery, creates hard thoughts of God : But let him speak in his own language, and it is justice mixed with mercy, in the future, as well as in the present state : Mercy rejoicing against Judgement, bereafter as well as bere. It is after Justice has had its course, and sen. lence has been pronounced upon the criminah that Clemency and Mercy are shewn and extended in liuman courts. In this they seem to have copied after the Court of Heaven ; that High Court, of the strictest justice and mercy too. Where is mercy (future mercy) after the Day of Judgment, if any are to be finally miserable ?: And yet this seems the last word with.God concerning his rebellious creatures. They are every one to bow, and be willingly subject unto bim--every one to swear, and confess him | their Lord and King--and every one to sing to his name ; (which who can do in torment ?) The time will come then, in which all torment shall cease. Then shall every one sing, give thanks and bless : and fall in grateful acknowl. edgement before God and his Christ, for their recovery and restoration.
and restoration. And this is the rea. son some come into the doctrine now, and cor. dially believe there will be Universal Salvation in the end,
Another reason is--That it harmonizes Scripture better, and makes it more consistent with itself.
This sometimes speaks partially on the subject, at other times more generally. In some places, of few being saved; in other parts, of Christ being the Saviour of all men. of his being a ransom for many; in another, of his yiving himself a ransom for all
, In one part, of his laying down his life for his sheep ; in another, of his giving it for the life of the world; and tasting death for every man,or everything. Sometimes it seems all, at other times only some that salvation is designed for. The Elect are said to have obtained, while the rest were blinded. -All this has looked like contradiction, and been apparently a Scripture inconsistency; a jumble and discordancy in this respect; a gospel that is both yea and nay. Those who would reconcile this by the distinction of general redemption, but partial salvation, have left a diffi. culty that would have been more clearly got over, had the one been as extensive as the other. To redeem and purchase all, and yet lose and give up some, is what seems hardly agreeable to Infinite Wisdom and Power, much less to Infinite Goodness and love ; numbers at least pause at it. But this entirely ceases, and there is no room for such a pause, if Universal Res. toration be true. This clearly solves all.. On this account, it has commended itself unto many, they perceive such a harmony in it! The weak ness, absurdity and fallaciousness, of all human systems of Divinity, have caused many to en
quire further ; and upon enquiry, they have found this generous and noble plan of God, to be more than a supplement; and so have heartily fallen in with it.
But yet again- It strikes at all despondency, and relieves the laboring mind, under all its doubts and fears respecting its own salvation, and the welfare and salvation of others also, in one period or other of their existence ; and this has recommended it to some. --The mind must. and will think, and very closely and seriously too, at times and seasons. Sometimes it is sore oppressed, at the view and remembrance of its sins ; it gets a painful sight of its great unworthiness, and an affecting sense of its pov.. erty and wretchedness. It thinks so deep sometimes, and is kept so close to the state and condition it is in by reason of sin, as to be almost at its wit's-end. In its debates with itself, it has come to a point, and with some to the point of a sword. At other times, things of less mo-ment shall affect it. From a constant train of outward troubles and disappointments, and a quick succession of external misfortunes, it shall be made to bow and stoop ; and continually brooding over these evils of life, it shall sink into a dejection, and many times into a religious: melancholy. Sometimes, it shall attend so closely to the investigation of Divine Truth, and search beyond its depth into the spring of wis-com and knowledge, as to get a wound this. way. Studying men's systems more than the oracles of God, it has seen so many dificulties and mistakes, and such darkness blended with all