Sivut kuvina

for the plain, good, old way ; (as though this was no part of it.) So reason some : and there. fore do not, and cannot come into it. It is new to them; and they seem determined it shall al.. ways remain so.

Others would look into it, but they are temporizers, and men.pleasers. They are so leagued and connected with the world, and have so ma. ny to serve, besides their own proper Master: Friends, relatives, and enemies, are so many and strong, and their temporal interest and character are so much at stake, that they neglect the doctrine, and let it sleep ; and fall in with the times, rather than run any hazard about it. If a truth, they will sooner slight it, than run the risk of being slighted themselves :--they had rather make one sacrifice than many. This is the way of some. Others far excel them here : they search the Scriptures daily whether this thing be so : therefore they come to see and believe it. But these are too selfish, too narrow and bigotted, and too party-spirited, to become Universalists : They cannot cease from man. Our Lord would not commit himself unto mani, (even the best of men ;) for he knew what was in man.

But these have done it; and thereby so enslaved themselves one to another, as not to be able to emancipate, and get free, even when they could wish it. They must suffer loss and reproach if they do, even from their brethren ; and this they cannot think of. Those who have done it, they see are slighted and neglected, on that account : They are evil spolen of, and have lost what they call their usefulness. This intimidates them, and sets them a reasoning, in stead of examining into the grounds of this faith, and so they never come at it.-Oh! but say some—“ Were it but true, nothing of this should hinder me : I would come out for it; I would maintain it; I would break with friends and foes ; I would neither be ashamed nor afraid of the faces of men, or of their revilings : In the face of all opposition, I would stand forth as a faithful witness for it: None should make me afraid," This would be right : But I have known it said, and not done : oftener promised than made good. There was more of Peter's spirit in it than Paul's ; uttered in a fit of selfconfidence, and not from confidence in God. For after the fit was over, no pains were taken to come at the truth or falsehood of it ; no diligent or faithful enquiries were made into the grounds and reasons of it : but silence and reserve, instead of an answer, and open freedom upon the subject. Men know not themselves on this, any more than on other points of Truth, till they come to be heartily tried. Then, if it is a doctrine of the Cross at all, it is no doctrine for then : And they will many times so reason and philosophize-so declaim, barangue, and dispute-about its non-im. portance, its non-necessity co salvation, and the like ; as to make it no doctrine at all, even tho it is found in Scripture; and all through a temporizing spirit.

Others again are hindered, and are never confirmed in this faith, from a ficklericss and insta: bility of mind. They hear of it, and in their

[merged small][ocr errors]

judgments approve and commend it; but a litte matter unhinges them. Others speak against it : Outcries and clamors are made about it, and it has not yet the general consent : This weighs in some measure, with them; and being only weak in the faith, and of no strength & resolution of mind, they are easily turned about, and every contrary wind of doctrine wafts them to the other side. Like Ephraim of old, they may be compared to a cake not turned. When they hear and see the evidence for it, they are sincerely and wholly in the view ; nothing, for a while, can move them : By-and-by something is advanced that has the appearance of being true ; and they are found in the other scale.-The spirit of Reuben possesses them; and thus, being unstable as water, they never excel, in the belief of this, or any other doctrine of the gospel

I might now proceed to other obstacles; and enlarge upon some other things that are plain and evident reasons why this doctrine is not more generally received : But I must keep them in reserve, till I have the opportunity of writing again. In the mean time, the discerning may perceive, that man stands in his own light, if the whole light of Divine truth does not, at one time or other, break in upon him. We receive it in proportion as we are disposed and inclined so to do. This, primarily, is of God; man is not before hand with him, in any good inclinations he may have. But though God dispose, and thus incline the heart to all that is right and good ; man may indispose himself, and get de.

А а

nied and deprived of many blessings, he might otherwise have obtained, and rejoiced in. Be it then our highest care, to watch over the heart, with all its evil tendencies and propensities; and evermore to keep Him in view,who is both the light and life of our souls ; and in the faith and love of whom, I am, once more, Affectionately yours,

A. V,


In which some orber Reasons of the Non-recep.

tion of it will appeara


I AM still on the reply , and would now keep my word with you in transmitting you some other reasons of the partial, and as yet but slender reception of the scheme of final Restoration, The last I mentioned was a natural instability and changeableness of mind. I would now speak of some passions and evil affections of the heart, which evidently appear to be the reasons of it in

Pride and self-wili, I have already mentioned as two: but there are others. Envy and jealousy, are so strong in some, and a spirit of contradiction, that they cannot bear others should


go beyond, or out-strip them, in any matter whatever. They are peevish, fretful, and unhappy, if any are wiser, more knowing, or any way better off than themselves. Giving way to these evils, they work and grow upon them; and in time so prey and corrode, as to eat out all benevolence and philanthropy from the mind, leaving nothing but sourness and self-love be. hind.

The dog in the fable, finding no appetite himself for the hay in the stall, snarled and grew invidious, because it suited the ox to eat it, Some people are of this turn; but they cannot thrive under it, so as to grow into the knowledge of Universal Salvation ; it is this peccant humour that hinders it : and when it prevails, and domineers, it produces a brood of other evil tempers, as hateful and baneful as itse!f. It genders wrath, strife, debate, with many other evils, settling sometimes in malice and hatred : the consequence of which is, the whole soul is debased and brought low; gets pining and sickly, fractious and quarrelsome, and is carnal rather than spiritual.

The apostle had a complaint of this kind against the church at Corinth. He had planted, Apollos had watered, and God gave the increase: and when he reasonably expected to find it growing and flourishing, it was just the reverse. Envying one another, faction and division ensued and they sunk into infancy and childhood again, and their growth and spiritual health were so sadly interrupted, and impaired, that the apostle could not speak unto them as unto spir

« EdellinenJatka »