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to bring them up again į or drink the deadly eup, because it has a mixture of sweet in it? Yet this the sinner does, if he sins because God is good, and will not forever torment him. For, though he is restored at last, he must come to repentance first ; nor can he be finally saved, till he is brought to the lowest degree of selfabasement, and has nothing to say why he should not be cast off forever. Men strangely mistake the nature of salvation, if they think it consistent with living and dying in their sins. We must be spiritually minded, or there is no life and peace, either here or hereafter. But as I made this appear in my last epistle to you-I need not enlarge upon it here. Let me only further say, that this being the true and Scrip. ture-state of the case ; it clearly and evidently appears, that none can be saved, much less all, so long as they remain rebellious, unbelieving and disobedient; and take occasion to sin, from the riches of God's goodness, forbearance, and long-suffering ; and because his tender mercies are over all his works : not knowing that such goodness of God leadeth them to repentance. That is its tendency; not to encourage and embolden them in their wickedness,in hopes of being one day justified, and saved. in the eyes of all wise and discerning men, will clear the doctrine of Universal Salvation from being a licentious doctrine; and may suffice, till I write again, in reply to this objection. As it is both the first and last that is usually made to it-it deserves, and must have, some further strictures upon it. In the mean time, let none
And this, be able to accuse our good conversation in Christ, or with justice be able to say, we have taken it up as a cloak.. But let all who behold us have reason to declare, they are holy men, and live holy lives. The eyes of all men will be upon us.
Our eyes then, must be upon Him who is able to keep us from falling, and to save us and them to the uttermost: and in whom I still remain, Your affectionate and faithful
L E T T E R IV,.
In which the Objection to its being a LICENTIOUS
doctrine, is more fully answered.
MY DEAR FRIEND,
THE last I sent you concluded with a promise--and this begins, and perhaps will end, with the fulfilment of it. I engaged more fully to reply to that question-" Is not the doctrine of the Salvation of all Men, a licentious doctrine ?" --From the nature of Salvation, I made it then, and in a former Letter, appear, that it could not, in itself, and without perversion, be of such e. vil tendency. I would now be more full upon this point. That some will abuse and sin, upon it, there is too much reason to fear. The laws of God and man, when executed and put in
orce, will redress this grievatice ; and the iniquity of such shall find them out, and meet vith a due reward. Our business, at present, is with the doctrine. Is this to blame? or, on his account, to be never spoken of, and given ap? Let it be so spoken of, and so connected with personal holiness, when it is spoken of, as to be no Scripture-doctrine without : And I may venture to say, it is a doctrine worthy of God to reveal, and of men to receive and attend to ; and in no other view would I ever wish to hear of it, or speak of it.
What doctrine of grace has ever yet been made known, that has not, by some one or other, been thought of bad tendency; and made, by some, to serve the foul cause of Sin? Even the doctrine of Repentance, has been charged with a tendency to Sin-because some have delayed it ; and others sinned on, in hopes they should, and intending, one day to repent.
There is no end of such rea. soning. Surrender the Bible at once, if the doctrine of Universal Salvation is to be reject. ed for no other reason than because men will sin upon it. What is it the evil-minded do not make a handle of? More sin upon the Bible itself, than like or love it ; and more stumble upon Christ, than live by faith upon him. Get but the evil mind changed ; and there will be no occasion to hide or reject the UNIVERSAL scbeme.
Sin ! because God is merciful, and his goodness extends to all ! The fault then, must be in the sinner- not at all in God, or his word, The goodness of God, whether bound or bound.
less, leads to him, and not from him. There is mercy with him, that he may be feared ; and universal mercy, that he may be universally served.
No believing child of God will, or can sin, because grace thus abounds, either to himself, or towards all men. He is clead to it in virtue of his second birth : and how shall he who is dead to sin, live any longer therein ? It cannot be- it is out of character. He must be lost to himself, and fallen from grace, if he sins upon this or any other gospel-doctrine : For holi. ness becometh God's house forever. He is still, indeed, in the body, surrounded with temptations, and beset with enemies : nor has he yet attained to all that is attainable by him. And this is a reason for watehfulness and prayer,and constant looking to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of his faith ; and even for a holy jealousy, that he be not deceived by any false view of U. niversal Salvation itself: but none, surc, against attending to it-none against believing it-upon the testimony of God and his word. He may be kept from the evil of this doctrine with out denying it to be a doctrine ; as Christ's disciples were kept from the evil of the world, without going out of it. It is too noble a view to give up, without getting something better in the room of it. And yet, it is too much the way of some : They will scout, oppose, and deny the salvation of all men, through fear of bad consequenses attendling it. But this is the weakness of their faith ; not the excellency of it.
If God's children break his law, they will be sure to hear of it, and feel for it too. for he will visit their offences with the rod, & their iniquity with stripes and scourges.
And should they dare to sin, because all men will be finally saved ; they would smart so severely for it, that the remembrance of the gall and wormwood would tend mightily to hinder a relapse, and prevent their return to fall. They would find it so evil and bitter a thing to have departed from the Lord, that, like burnt children; they would dread the fire. He has annexed misery to sin, and made anguish and trouble an appendaye to ungodliness--and should lesser strokes avail not, he has greater ones to inflict; and all the horrors and terrors of the second death, if the first, with all its antecedent pain and suffering, have failed of their effect. There is all this justice and severity included in the universal scheme of Salvation, as well in that which is only partial ; and judgment without mercy, for a long and lasting period, where sin, has made it needful. And this will curb and keep men from sinning, if restraint be that which is aimed at; and much more, perhaps, than that which is endless. For there is a mixture of merer in limited punishments--but none at all in those which never cease.
Pain, whose duration is endless, has despair wrapped up in the bowels of it ; and, in sonie, has had inhappy cifects. Where they have believed it, it has been as hurtful as the doctrine of Reprobation.-- They have either been " thrust hereby into desperation, or into wretchlessness of thie most unclcan