« PoprzedniaDalej »
And shall they not be relumed? Yea, verily, when the Redeemer shall come from Zion, and turn away ungodliness from Jacob.-Farewell.—I am ever your friend and brother.
To an Inquirer.
CCEPT my grateful acknowledgments for your friendly epistle. I am extremely pleased with your generous expressions of good will to me, and with the mildness and candour of your remarks, upon what you suppose to be my sentiments.
Your observations respecting purgatory are rather singular; I never heard such ideas thus denominated before. I am fully convinced that sooner or later, every sinner will be brought to a sight and sense of his transgressions, and to the knowledge of the Saviour; or in other words, being taught of God, which they shall all be from the least to the greatest, they shall know themselves, and this knowledge will be their death; but in God their Saviour, whom to know is eternal life, they will nd their resuscitation. I believe, in God's own time, the spirit of every man will be both wounded and healed; and that men will be brought home with weeping and supplication; and that they will be ashamed and confounded, for all that they have done against their faithful Creator. Thus saith the scriptures; and my full heart accepts every testimony which is found in the sacred volume.
I am persuaded what the sinner will suffer when brought home with weeping and supplication, when he is made ashamed for all that he has done against his faithful Creator, can hardly be conceived of, from any thing we are called to endure in the present state. As many as are slain by the killing letter, in the present world, in like manner as the Apostle Paul vas slain by the commandment, are made alive in the present world, and having past the first judgment, the second death can have no power over them, they have judged themselves, and having thus done, the Saviour says, They shall not be judged.
You inform me, that you cannot conceive the loving kindness of God was ever sold or bought; and you add, that I have thus taught the people! Where, my dear Sir, and upon what occasion, did I say the loving kindness of God was bought, either literally or spiritually? Bought! By whom, I pray? Not by man, surely. Alas, we are poor bankrupts! we became bankrupts in the garden of Eden, and in our individual characters we still remain insolvent debtors.
The scriptures indeed inform us, that our Saviour bought the people with his own precious blood; and the intelligence is truly glad tidings of glorious things. The Redeemer will be infinitely more careful of his purchase than we are of ours.
In fact, my admiration of the language of inspiration is daily augmenting, because I think it consistent. The sacred volume appears to me invariably to teach a doctrine, which renders glory to God in the highest, and peace and good will to men. We are induced to believe, that being bought with a price, we are not our own, that he, to whom we properly belong, has an indubitable right to our faithful and persevering obedience; and assuredly it is our interest, as well as our duty, to adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.
I believe there are but few who understand the doctrines of revelation, either among those who oppose, or those who defend these precious truths. I am apprehensive that there are not many of my hearers, who enter into the spirit of what I have laboured to make manifest. My prayer to God is, that both you and I, my dear Sir, may be so taught of God, as to be able to let our light shine before men, that they, seeing our good works, may be led to glorify our Father who is in heaven.
I have, from time to time, according to the extent of my abilities, endeavoured to make mankind acquainted with what God has done for them, well persuaded if they receive the glad tidings into their hearts, they will not only commence genuine believers, but that the same Spirit which makes them acquainted with the grace of God, will so operate upon their hearts, as to render them lovers of God, lovers of mankind, and of course, better members of society. I hope my labours have not been wholly in vain; mere opinions, as I believe, never rendered any man good or bad. An operative belief of the truth, as it is in Jesus, is a solemn, joyful, VOL. II.
and most desirable issue; and I am sure, an irreproachable life is the best method of defending truth.
I trust I shall never deport myself so unbecomingly, as to treat any person with severity for differing from me in sentiment, much less the venerable gentleman, with whom I have the honour to correspond. Were I thus to act, I should not prove myself a disciple of the meek and lowly Jesus.-I am, Sir, with great respect, your most obedient, very humble servant, &c. &c.
To a dear and much honoured Friend.
By bidding me write to you, you have conferred upon me both honour and favour; and right happy shall I be, if I can render my letter worthy your acceptation. I assure you, Madam, I know not any person among the large circle of my acquaintance, more blest and chastised than yourself; you are indeed greatly blessed, and your very chastisements are blessings, although, perhaps, in disguise. These chastisements are marks of parental love; whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth. Is there a child of man who cannot produce this evidence of his Creator's love? Often do those events, which appeared as they succeeded, heavy calamities, rank to the eye of retrospection, as the first of blessings. There is nothing more consistent with reason and with our truest interest, than to view occurrences upon the bright side; but do you say, "alas, alas, there is no bright side!" O, yes, my honoured friend, there is sunshine still, both for you and for me; and we should remember who hath said, all things shall work together for good. "Aye,to those who love God, and who are the called according to his purpose." In a strict sense, this is applicable only to Jesus, and to us in him; who is there that loves God in perfection, except the Head of every man? and we, as his members, receive this, as "every other blessing, by union with him, yea, a union as intimate
as that by which our hands and feet partake with our head. I had
May God, in great mercy, preserve the lads entrusted to your maternal care, and give them to grow up under a strong sense of the forgiving love of their redeeming God; and may they be constrained, by a principle of gratitude, to glorify their Creator; and never, O never, may they be found in the paths of the prophane and the impious; may they never so far affront the Majesty of heaven, as to swear by his most holy and reverend name.
You will, I doubt not, uniformly point your children to a future world, for the perfection of their being; you will tell them of an inheritance which they can never lose, of an house not made with hands, eternal, and in the heavens. Blessed be God, you have learned of the Father more than I can teach you. O, may you be under the influence of this divine teaching; may your fears diminish, and your hopes increase; may you live by faith upon the Son of God; may your heart be fixed, trusting in the Lord, for well do you know he is faithful, who hath promised. But, alas, how vast the difference between theory and practice! And so tremblingly alive is your susceptible heart, that it is next to impossible you should, in this changing state, enjoy tranquility. Shall I say, I pity you; what, alas, can helpless pity do? But I can pray the Lord to increase your faith. O, may you have faith and
patience! May God, in his infinite mercy, enable you to cast your care upon him, who careth for you. Are your children dear to you? Think, Madam, how much dearer they are to their heavenly Father. This is really a consoling consideration, that is, when it consoles; but except the God of mercy is pleased to bring his consolations home to the soul, they will never be effectual to the removing any of those maladies to which the mind is subject. To him then let us look. May God be gracious to your soul, and lift up the light of his countenance upon you. May you be preserved from pain, or have patience to bear it. My fervent prayers are frequently offered up to God in your behalf, not that I believe the everlasting Father of your spirit is less mindful of you than I am, or that he will do that for you, on account of my supplications, that he would not perform, if I were silent; for well do I know he will parcel out every pain and every pleasure, to you, to me, in number, weight, and measure-of all this I am well convinced; yet I pray, and if you ask, wherefore? I can only answer when my mind is afflicted; I find it as natural to lift up my soul to my everlasting Father, as it is for your children, when they are hurt, to look to you for solace. Yet you feel for your children, before their supplicating eyes are raised to you; and were they unable, or even unwilling to make application to you, yet your maternal heart would hasten to their relief; and you would redress, as far as might consist with their well being, their every grievance. Thus, while I know that the divine favour does not in any sort depend upon my asking, I, nevertheless, continue to ask, and really find a sweet relief in asking. Prayer, at least, leads me to reflect upon the nature and character of the God, with whom I have to do; and a recurrence to the nature and character of my God and Father is a sovereign remedy for despondence. Say, my dear Madam, do you not frequently experience this truth? I am sure that you do; for you know in whom you have believed. Peace then to your susceptible soul. May that peace of God, which passeth our understanding, keep your heart and mind; may an abiding sense of the divine favour dwell on your spirit, leading you at all times to trust in God.
Are we not happy, supremely happy, that, in the midst of calamities, we are not tortured by the fear, that when these frail houses of clay fall to dust, the immortal inhabitant will be led in