« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
inhabitants of the earth, then, and ever since.. It is not said some individuals of every family, but families collectively are spoken' of, which includes all the branches of each family, however since multiplied, scattered, or extinct : and the whole collection of families is comprehended in the words. It is not said, may be blessed, shall have an opportunity of enjoying blessings, thall be blessed if they do this or that, the language is positive without restrictions or limitations, swall be blessed. What is meant by the blessedness here promised we shall not now particularly enquire, but barely observe, that surely none will say that either endless misery, or total annihilation can be the thing spoken of, or that any person can be actually blessed any further than he is made happy. That fome of the families of the earth have been totally cut off in their sins, that part of all the families of the earth have died in the saine state none can deny. If such lapsed creatures never be restored, how can the promise be established in its full extent?
Fearing I may have made this letter already too long, I haften to conclude, and will study greater brevity in my next.
I am, Dear Sir,
Your's in sincerity and truth, Jan. 13, 1798.
Letter from a CLERGYMAN in the Country.
Nov. 15th, 1797.
was safely delivered of a daughter on Tuesday morning, about three o'clock. Her labour was remarkably short, and even during the time it lasted, by no means fevere—she was not really ill more than a quarter of an hour, and blessed be God hath since been, and is now in a very comfortable state. The child is also well. We bring our little ones into the world children of wrath, but cannot make them children of grace--this is the alone work of God, whose province it is to make dry bones live. All that we can do is to give them good instruction, and water that instruction with our prayers that God would render it effectual, and bless the rising branches round about our table, and make them as trees of his own planting, that they may spring up and grow as the lign aloes, or as willows
by the water-courses that our children which are his by nature, may be sons and daughters of the Lord Almighty by grace. O may his richest spiritual blellings rest on yours and mine! May the dew of heaven fall on our little hill of Gilboa, and may our children be his children by adoprion and grace—and if children, then certainly heirs of God and joint neirs with Jesus Christ.
My opinion of Mr. Winchester's sentiments remain the same. I see no argument of his sufficiently strong to overturn my former creed respecting the eternity of future punishment. What our blefled Lord said of Judas, “ that it were good for him if he had never been born," is so very
forcible, that (at present) I think he would nut have used such a strong expression was Judas to have been restored, even after millions of years, to the joys of his falvation. I shall, however (God willing) reconsider the subject, as I think it an important one, and it would rejoice iny heart to be assured Mr. W. is right. The Lectures you have kindly fent I shall read with great attention, as I have, and shall again his other book, and at the same time shall not fail to apply to the Fountain of all wisdom and knowledge, imploring him, that if I am right, to keep me from error, and if wrong, to teach me the truth. One thing, however, you agree with me in, that the belief or disbelief of Mr. W's tenets respecting futire punishments is not necellary to salvation. The truth that is saving I hope through God's mercy I have. I may truly say the Lord hath made my darkness to be light, and that he hath shined into my heart to give me the knowledge of himself in the face of Jesus Christ. It is my earnest prayer that the great Head of the Church would keep me always under his divine teachings and inake me an able minister of the New Testainent, that I may be an humble instrument in his hands of turning many from Satan unto him ; that the Lord may honour my labours in giving me souls for my hire and seals for my cure, which may be my crown of rejoicing in the great day. Many seals he hath (bleffed be his name) already given to my ininistry. The number hath much increaled since you was here, and is still increasing notwithstanding all opposition. The Lord will work and none shall hinder him. As it was said of old, “ the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church, and so I may say of this place and neighbourhood; the more opposition the more the Gospel thrives. Several have lately joined the poor despised Whitfieldites as we are called, and ainong them two of
the most inveterate enemies to the cross of Christ. I could write more but my paper is nearly filled-lo muft conclude
best love to your wife, and I am in the bonds of the Gulpel your very since friend and brother.
Quotation from the Armnian Magazine.
No, 26, Pitfield Sireet, Hoxton. MR. VIDLER, EING informed that you some time ago heard a prea
cher at the New Chapel, charge the Universalists with substituing hell torments for salvation, instead of the blood
Chrilt. Give me leave to turn the charge upon themfelves by referring you to the Arminian Magazine, for June 1784, No. 78, page 328—4. Title, Göd's, univer• fal love-the Father of Spirits-the Redeemer of man" kind he lover of souls, refuses his first graces to none;
enlightens every man that comes into the world, and pre"vents all the loft fons of Adam, by his divine inspira'tion ; but when they deliberately reject his attractions, thut
their eyes to his illuminations and relist all his internal ·motions; he withdraws the falutary operations as useless, " and proper only to harden their hearts, and auginent their
condemnation. He never abandons the creatures until they abandon him ; and because he cannot do violence to * their freedom without destroying their natures; he never acts upon lapsed intelligences by omnipotent, irresistible • decrees. For this reason it is, that he allows corrupt reprobate' minds, to follow the deliberate choice and volun. tary bent of their own hearts, till they die impenitent, • knowing that it is impossible to reclaim them, therwise than by 'infernal pains and bell torments. This is the terrible and beau
tiful system of nature and grace which the Predestinarians have turned into particular preferences, preterition, and fataliftic decrees, which render vice inevitable, and God the author of of our eternal misery.
yours, Sep. 9th. 1795.
THOUGHTS THOUGHTS ON THE TENDENCY OF DEISM.
To the Editor of the Universalist's Miscellany. SIR, By inserting the following thoughts on Deisın, if you think them worthy of a place in your Miscellany, you will much
oblige, No. 14, Little Russel Sireet, Your's, &c. Auguf 19th, 1797.
J. H. PRINCE. IT is not my intention in this little Effay, to enter into a
defence of revealed religion, nor to combat the many sophistical arguments that have been adduced by ancient and modern Deists, to overturn the whole fabric of Christianity; the many able defences already exiant, by writers poffeffed of far greates abilities than myself, having rendered such an attemp! in my opinion needless. I Mall only make some brief reflections on the nature of deifm, and the character and conduct of the 2x dern Deift: that being a subject on which the majority of those writers have but very slightly, if at all touched.
Infidelity and immorality are nearly allied together, of which we have occular deinonftration in the lives of those who have imbibed principles of this nature; though I grant there are exceptions of individuals, who can boast of their morality, and tell us (what indeed is very true,) “ that it is the fair fruit which springs from the tree of natural ligiin," and also (what is not true,)“ that revealed religion cannot produce better." When principles of this nature are diffeminated, it becomes us to fhew their fallacy and expose thein to the world, to hold them up as the objects of our abhorrence and rejection, on account of their direct influence when received, to fap the foundation of virtueto undermine true religion, and consequently to dishonour God. The man who steps forward on this arduous important talk, has reafon 10 expect, and most certainly will have, in a greater or less degree; the blessings of the Almighty: who will own such works to the restraining, if not to the total abolition or extermination of such sentiments, which we cannot expect, from the fate of the world and nature of things, since there always have been, and perhaps always will be, fome enemies 10 the most refined syftems, and some broachers of the most absurd sentiments; the former of which, perhaps, is wisely permitted by the Deity to keep in exercise the talents of his people who always have been, and I trust always will be, ready to give a reason of the hope that is within them,” and to draw forth those evidences of the authenticity of their religion, which never would have appeared had not that religion been called into question : and the latter to try the faith of the Christian, who is in great danger, if not rooted and grounded in, and well acquainted with, the evidence of religion, of being drawn away by infidelity which is permitted to exist, that the trial of their faith might be more precious than that of gold, and which, if it stands the trial, ensures to the Christian a great recompence of reward. Infidelity would soon overspread our land, and completely envelope in worse than Egyptian darkness, were it not for those publications which are of the greatest utility possible, and which under God are the means of retarding its 'progress, and at least serve as an antidote to the fatal poison of it.
If we take but a superficial view of natural and revealed religion, we shall soon discover the advantages of the latter, over the former. Natural religion does indeed lay a moral obligation upon man, and reaches him his duty to man; but what natural religion does imperfectly, revealed religion does masterly. The duties of the second table, or in other words the duties we owe to our neighbour, are all comprised in that comprehensive saying of Christ, Thou shalt l.ve thy neighbiur as thyself. So that we may say there is more to be learnt from a few words of that book, so despised by modern infidels, than from the whole b:ek of nature. This might be fufficient of itself, to shew the superiority of revelation over natural religon, for as a late elegant writer in defence of revelation oblerves, “ man has need to be taught his duty in the most direct manner poslible, for his time on carih is short, and if he must be obliged to read the great book of nature, or creation through, and understand it well in order to learn his duty to God and man, few men will ever be found to have sufficient time, abilities, or means to attain this knowledge. And if a man should spend a th:ufard ages in the study of the creation, he could find out nothing in practical religion, more than he might learn in an hour, by reading in the bible; hence the inconceivable advantage of