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themselves.-Perdition and destruction then, as respecting the future state of the wicked,can only be taken in a qualified sense ; there may be Restoration beyond it : And that there will, has been attempted, and I hope proved, in former Letters. Let me now conclude this with observing, that though God in the dispensation of his grace in Christ Jesus, may- and doth, and will see fit, to make a difference in the objects of it, both in the first and after-fruits thereof; though he has, does, and means to distinguish mariy, at least, till the Son give up the kingdom to the Father; yet it does not appear, either from Reason or Scripture, that it is his purpose ever to extinguish any. Influenced by this belief, it becomes us to live and aet under the power of it. Be it then our great care, concern and endeavor, to gain all we can to God by Christ, now in this present life; and to pity, inourn over, and plead for those who will not let us : hoping when other and future methods have been tried with them, they may bow both the knee and the neck, and join in the universal song to God and the Lamb, withont ceasing, and without end.--In view of it, I remain, as ever, Your's
L E T T ER VII:
herein some Reasons are given why it is notiga at present, a generally-received Doctrine.
MY. DEAR FRIEND,
You tell me in your last, that from mature thought and deliberation, and the good hand of God upon you, you are now brought to believe that all intellectual beings will finally be restored, and come into favor and friendship with God again, through their great Principal and Head, Jesus Christ; and be delivered from all the sad and evil conseqences of their apostacy and rebellion. This you are now satisfied is the truth; having Humanity, Right, Reason, and Revelation on its side.
What at present engages your pen is, to know the likely reason why others do not more readily come into it. You meet with many, you say, who are so far from this, that they oppose, and even persecute you for so doing. This part of your request, I must confess, I enter upon with reluctance ; being sensible some may possibly be pained by it. But as this may prove profit. able in the end; as your satisfaction and further confirmation, and the delicacy due to Truth, seem to require it; I will freely and faithfully, and with all the tenderness I am master of,gratify you in this respect: hoping none will.be
personally offended, as none will be personally mentioned.
The Reasons and Causes then, of this blindness and aversion, appear to me to be many ;
arising not from one source only, but from sev*** eral. The Receivers, as well as the Rejecters of
this doctrine, are in some measure to blame; and both of them the occasion of this complaint. I mean to enumerate particulars, and make them the substance of this and some following Letters. But first, let me observe, you do well to be patient and forbearing towards those you converse with ; not expecting too much of them at once. This is God's way: He could, at once, subdue all things to himself, and bring every rebellious creature to his foot in an instant. But he does not he will not-it is not his plan, or his
way. No more should it be ours. He is long-suffering, gentle, and forbearing : We also should be patient towards all men.-We were the gradual subjects of this grace ourselves : Why then should we be precipitate, and suppose others must be sudden ones?
Phillip Melancthon, under his first impressions of Divine Truth, was so warm and sanguine, that he said to a friend" Give me but footing, and under God, I will convert the whole world." Aster twenty years labor and experience, his reply was as follows:-" It is true, I have had some success in the Lord's vineyard ; I have been happily instrumental in bringing a few sheep back again to the fold :but respecting the rest, and the confidence I once expressed for them, under the ardors of
my first love, I have only to say, that old Adam has been too strong for young Melancthon.”
I mean not by this to damp the fire of your philanthrophy; much less to quench the fame of your zeal, and of universal love in you. Let it burn, with all the glow and ardor it can.There is fuel enough to feed it : clross enough to be consumed by it. I only mean to hint, that corruption and depravity in the heart of man, is the cause in general, why this, and every oth. er doctrine of grace, is so hardly received by him. And having prenised this, let me now attempt an answer to your request; and mention some of those things that seem the probable reasons why so many are for partial, and so few, at present, for Universal salvation.
The grace of God, when it operates and prevails, and is not wilfully slighted and wick. edly opposed, subdues, and makes its way, and carries all, as it were, before it : and more of this is given, many times; than is cordially received and complied with. This then, must not be spoken of as any hindering cause at all in this matter.
But first, Many are not Universalists, by reason of the IGRORANCE that is in them. Unis versal Salvation has been so little known and at. tended to, that, like the doctrine of the Resura rection, when first preached by St. Paul to the Athenians, it is bringing a new and strange thing to their ears.
Some have never heard of it at all : and those who have, it was in so short, dark, and confused a way, that they were liitle on nothing the better for it. It came to them either in the mystic or scholastic stile, (which few only understand and are benefited by)-or else, it was so unscripturally stated and spoken of so contrary to Common-sense & Reason, as to be quite unintelligible to them. The doctrine, of course, lay in darkness and mystery, and they remained as ignorant of it as though it had been unrevealed; and averse to it on that account: Besides, it stands connected with other doctrines, which some have little or no acquaintance with ; as, the Return and Conversion of the Jews--the Personal Appearance and Temporal Reign of Christ upon Earth-with unfulfilled Prophecy ; the understanding must be enlightened, and the judgment informed, of these and other things, before ever we can expect a hearty falling-in with this doctrine. Iga norance then, is one reason why so few at prea sent embrace it.
Prejudice and the habit of thinking otherwise, is another. -Most people are brought up in the belief of the doctrine of Endless Misery : their cradle-faith ; their infant-creed; what they drink in with their mother's milk. As soon as they are capable of reading or hearing for themselves, they find it the doctrine of their books, and the subject of their pulpits. Preachers and writers are in this faith : and, excepting a few, who have dared to think for themselves, it has been the current opinion of all gen. erations; the received doctrine of all visible churches ; and what has the sanction both of oral and traditional Revelation. A matter then, so long and deeply impressed ; so generally