페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

the light it could come at, as perplexed and confounded it: and so first giving up one thing, and then another ; it came, at length, to think there was no reality at all in the gospel ; closed its enquiries, left off the means of grace and instruction, and settled in infidelity, or what is called Deism ; despairing of ever coming to 'any discovery, that should afford it solid peace and satisfaction.

Satan, all this while, has been very busy at work : He has fished in all those streams of troubled and muddy waters ; has raised these billows high, even almost to a foam ; and left no stone unturned, to overset the mind entirely.

Here has been the happy tendency of Universal Grace and Salvation. This being proclaimed, it has sunk deep into the ears and heart, and eased the troubled breast; when nothing short of it would do. When redemption by Christ for sinners only was declared, it gave a kind of a distant and doubtfub hope ; but that was all. Not finding it was for all sinners, for the whole fallen race of mankind : and so for itself, among the rest, it feared more than hoped : and this kind of hearing had little or no effect; faith did not come by it.

When Universal Redemption was held forth, but Universal Salvation not meant : this has relieved, but not removed, all the grounds of despair. But Universal Redemption and Salvation too, has struck at the very root of all this, & left the desponding scul without one grain of food to live upon. It has left indeed, (as it ought

to do) a jealousy and fear of the second death, in the case of impenitence and final unbelief, now in this life ; but nothing wanting, nothing defective, on God's part, either for the present or future welfare and salvation of all mankind. This has recommended it. And being now set free, as to itself, and finding no just cause for endless fears of its own particular salvation, it enjoys a further relief and consolation in this doctrine, respecting others also.

When it considers the World of Spirits, and how many have departed hence under the guilt and power of their sins, to be (according to the received doctrine) forever punishing, but never punished ; not only a demur arises, but a mela ancholy and a gloom also, which it would gladly 1 ged rid of. Universal Restoration is the res. torative here, and brings that relief which no other view could bring. To a liberal, generous mind, it cannot be a pleasing thought to think of any one in misery, much less in endless torment. Proportionate sufferings are reconcileable to the mind; and pain, in order to pleasure, gives it little or no disturbance. Ex. tinction or destruction, are not distracting ideas : but endless, and never-ceasing torment, commends itself to none, who have thought deeply at all upon the subject. Every sensible spirit must recoil at the very thought : Every gener: ous mind must wish it might be otherwise !

Who has not, at times attended the deathbeds of the wicked ? and there been witnesses of their dying groans and moans, and of many blasphemies, perhaps, they have uttered? These

made impression; these called forth a just re sentment, even from the noble and compassionate heart : but it never came to malice and revenge ; or,after the miserable objects were dead and gone, increased so upon them as to wish they might meet with no favor or pity, no relentings of heart, from the gracious and most mer. ciful Saviour. On the contrary, (were that his will) they could wish, when they think upon it, that they might obtain favor and life ; be one day made the monuments of his mercy and restoring goodness; and not the endless victims of his vindictive justice, and wrath. Restoration, the final Restoration of all rebellious creatures, implies this in it : for which reason some have embraced, and with all their heart come into it. But here I must conclude at present, as one among the rest ; and Your faithful and affectionate

A. V.

NOTE. I conclude that the author of these Letters designed to have given one or two more, but unhappily, the work was discontinued, and consequently several important subjects are cut short. This is the case with the Heroic Poem, called, the Process and Empire of Christ; I have seen this beautiful Poem, published in a book by itself; and I hope, sometime, it will be printed in riiis country.

To the Friends of UNIVERSAL SALVATION.

AMONG all the social affections, universal Love and Benevolence is the most enlarged, the most lovely and venerable ; since it embraces the whole human race, and is not confined within the narrow limits of a family, a neighborhood, a sect, or a nation : but it includes all, without distinction. The complacency and delight we feel when a grateful, generous, or kind action or character, is presented to our minds, is a convincing proof, that our most benevolent Creator highly regards this temper ; and which is the immediate object of those kind affections, which nothing but an universal benevolence can enjoy. But if we consult the deliberate reason of our minds, we shall soon find, that it also concurs to recommend it : for as all men are esteemed rational agents, and capable of virtue and hap: piness ; the same considerations which make the happiness of one man the object of our rational desire and pursuit, make the happiness of all to be so, and in a greater degree. If some men, as men, are the objects of our kind affections ; the same common nature and capacity for happiness, the same common wants and e

vils, render every man so ; but much more the | man who, by his generous spirit, looks upon every one as dear in the sight of God as himself; and looks upon him with a kind and generous affection, as a Christian ought to do.

Cc

For instance-Suppose I was (as I have been) reduced to want, and in great misery, and in some distant part of the globe ; I think my fellow-being, though a follower of Confucius, or an Indian Brachman; I think, it was no more than his duty to relieve me ; and I might justly condemn him, if, when able, he refused me. Nay, I myself have had that kindness shewn me, - by an African negro, upon the coast of Guinea, that could not be exceeded by a Christian : and it would be a hard matter to find such a piece of humanity in our Christian empire. I also, as his fellow-being, must see it my duty to have compassion, and, if able,' to relieve an Indian Brachman, or a follower of Confucius, when I see him reduced to distress. This is the true spirit of an Universalist : For let me tell my Reader, that for the blessings I enjoy, in being possessed of the liberty of thinking for myself, I ought to allow the same liberty to another; and my being so happy as to understand more per. fectly the will of my all-gracious Creator, should be far from making me either hate or despise his creatures, who have not yet obtained the knowledge of the truth.

How greatly do such sentiments, as these expand the human heart ! and what a constant spring of pleasure must arise in the mind, from considering the whole human race as the offspring of the same Almighty Parent.

J. W.

« 이전계속 »