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so able, so sufficient of himself, without the aids of grace, that he can believe, or believe not, just when he pleases; he is at his option, and own will, altogether. Or, they have been masters of the subject, but not of themselves : All which has had so unhappy an effect upon some, that the truth itself has been hindered by it, and not had that full and free course it otherwise would have had. There are yet other reasons of this defect of faith in some; which in another Letter I will give you.
I would now only further say to those who may hear or read this Letter : take heed to your spirit; and to all evil-workings of corrupt nature. These, if quartered and indulged, will prove so inany bolts and bars to the entrance of divine truth into the mind and understanding. God indeed, lets in ; but man may put out the light. It is he enlightens the world, with all the habitations of it ; but men may, and do exclude that light, by shutting their windows and doors against it. The soul has this excluding power, and too often uses it. The rays of the sun of righteousness may be darkened and eclipsed, aswell as the beams of the natural sun. It becomes us to take heed that we do not wilfully do this. Sin has darkness in the very nature of it; and wherever it is entertained, it emits and spreads around its sad and baneful influence. Beware tien of sin, in all its latent as well as more overt operations, and the Light of life will shine in upon you, with all its excellency and fulness, In him I now again subscribe myself,
Sincerely and affectionately yours, A. V.
L E T T E R X:
Wherein three more Reasons are given," why,
(comparatively speaking,) this doctrine is received, or at least confessed, but by few, yet.
MY DEAR FRIEND,
I HAVE already given you sixteen reasons, why Universal Restoration is so little received, Three or four inore remain, and I finish this
part of the subject.
Some, then, blind their eyes, and harden their hearts, aaginst this, and many other precious truths of the gospel, through sensuality and voluptuousness. They give themselves up to eating, drinking, dressing, and sleeping to excess, and indulge those selfish lusts which war against the soul : this blinds their judgments, so that they cannst see the present way of life, much less afar off, or, the future designs of God. What. ever natural ideas they may have of these things, or however scientifically defend them; they cannot judge of them aright, or spiritually discern them: and that, because they are natural, or animal, men, as it might be rendered. Into a malicious, (or wicked) soul, wisdom shall not en. ter ; nor dwell in the body that is subject to sin. This sensualizes, and unfits a person for communion with God; and except be teach, all other knowledge puffeth up, and only fills us
with pride and conceit. The wisdom that is from above, is first pure ; then peaceable, gen. tle, and easy to be entreated'; full of mercy, and good fruits ; without partiality, without hypocrisy. What though the wicked know this, or any other truth, in the theory ! if they still do wickedly, it cannot profit them. wicked, and such as be void of a lively faith, although they do carnally and visibly press with their teeth the sacrament of the body and blood of Christ, yet in no wise are they partakers of Christ; but rather to their condemnation, do eat and drink the sign, or sacrament, of so great a thing," says the 29th Art. of the Church of England. Even so is it here. The wicked may hold, maintain, and, in the letter and outward manner, receive and plead for the doctrine of Universal Salvation ; but going on still in forbidden ways, they receive it not in the love, power, and spirit of it; and so are they worse, and not the better for it. The vicious heart is the cause. This is not right in the sight of God but they are in the gall of bitterness,and bond of iniquity ; having eyes full of adultery, (or some other evil) that cannot cease from sin ; sen, sual, not having the Spirit,
When the Lord let the prophet Daniel into the full and secret counsels of his will, and told him things that should be hereafter; many would hear, and believe, and be the better for it. Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried, it is said ; but the wicked are not in this list. These, it is said, shall, or will do wickedly ; and the consequence immediately this way
follows: None of the wicked shall understand; but the wise sball understand. If men will indulge themselves in sin, and do that which is forbidden them; by this very means, they darken their minds, and harden their hearts, and in. dispose themselves from being more divinely taught. Sampson lost his eyes, and his strength,
Women and wine, and new wine, take away the heart, says the prophet Hosea.Nay, if these or any other vices, are persisted in, they so enervate and weaken both body and mind, as to bring on callousness and a seared conscience ; pitch darkness, and a train of the most deadly evils. The light of the body is the eye, says our Lord : if therefore, thine
be single, thy whole body shall be full of light; but if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness : and if the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness - Sensuality, and the voluptuous life, therefore, are great and prevailing reasons Universal Salvation is so little relished and understood. This seems strange to some, who think and say
Voluptuaries, and the ungodly multitude would be the first to receive and defend it: it is a doctrine suited to their carnal appetites and passions ; what soothes, and bolsters them up in their sins, and rivets on their chains : how can they be averse to it? It must be pleasing, and acceptable to them.” They are not averse to the sound of it, nor to the thing itself, if they might have it their own way: nor are they blind to it, as a doctrine. But, when a change of beart is annexed to it; and an alteration of spir.
it, way, and life, is to be an essential part of that salvation ; and no coming at it, but through sufferings, pain, and death, even the second
death, (remaining as they are,) they have no more discernment in, or liking to it, than others. Oh! say some, so long as they shall be saved at last, they will run the hazard of all this : and so long as it is not endless death, and endless misery, they will not care for any thing short of this. This is answering for others, without first speaking to them; and knowing how God will check, and rebuke, and controul them, if they dare be so hardy and presumptuous : it is taking for granted limited punishments will have no restraining weight and effect, when it is known to have the most: it is making the benevolence and goodwill of God, with his patience, long-suffering and forbearance, all motives to sin; and the sinner void even of love to himself, and of common sense.
In short, it is random talk altogether, and not the clear, sober, and well-diges. ted reasoning of a good understanding and of a sound mind: If there be such an one to be found, who can argue and reason in this man. ner, it is easy to see he feedeth on ashes : a deceived heart hath turned him aside, that he cannot deliver his soul; nor say, is there not a lie in my right hand ?
Notwithstanding then, all the windings and turnings ; all the shuflings and pretences; all bis the colorings and false reasonings, of the wickpo ed; or the jealousy, and over-anxious concern
their friends and well-wishers seem to have for them ; it must be maintained, that if they get