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in that day. See Ephesians, ii. 1-11. Col. i. 25, 26, 27.
Wherefore, when I consider that the apostles themselves could not for a time see those things to be revealed, which yet were most plainly, fully, and frequently told them, I cannot wonder that many great and good men now should not see the general Redemption and final Restoration of all things plainly revealed in the Scriptures, though to me scarce any subject appears more evident. It gives me now but little concern to hear many say, that they cannot see the matter plainly declared in the Bible, since I know that things have been there that wise and good men could not see; and what has happened in times past may take place now; and if I can see for myself this great truth made known, it is enough
I am not to inquire, what does this man believe? Or, what shall the other do? I must believe what the Scripture appears to me to teach, and do what I am there commanded, let others believe or do as they may. Friend. - But I have heard some say of
you, “How comes this man to know more than all the world? Have there not been many great, wise, and good men in all ages, that have never thought of these things? If this doctrine of the final Restoration of all things had been true, surely our wise, good and learned ministers would have discovered it, and proclaimed it long ago. But the doctrine of endless misery is a point in which they seem generally to agree, however they differ in other matters, and therefore it must be true, and this doctrine of the general Restora
tion, which this man holds up, almost alone, must be false."
Minister. I am very far from pretending to be wiser than any that have gone before me; and as for this doctrine of the Restoration it was not only believed and preached by the apostles, but many of the ancient fathers who lived in the first ages of Christianity, were bold witnesses for this glorious truth. It is true that when the church of Rome rose to supreme power, the Popes and Councils endeavored to extirpate the merciful doctors (as those who believed the general Restoration, were called in derision) and their adherents, but it was not until near the close of the seventh century, that they were able to silence the witnesses for this truth. This, (as well as many other precious truths) then lay hid until the reformation when it began a little to revive, and hath gradually increased ever since. Several great authors have written upon it; many hundreds and even thousands, have believed it, and found comfort and joy therein. Nay, there are many ministers who believe it now as firmly as I do, but do not choose to confess or preach it, for various reasons; and great numbers of private christians enjoy the comfort and happiness of believing it secretly. But put the case that I stood alone in this testimony, yet if upon a fair examination, the Scriptures hold forth this idea, and if all objections against it may be fully answered; why should my testimony be refused on the account of its singularity? God has an absolute right to use what means or instruments he pleases, to manifest his truth, and to fulfil' his purposes; and though I am nothing, and in his sight am less than nothing, yet he is able by the things that are not, to confound and bring to nought the things that are, that no flesh should glory in his presence. 1 Cor. i. 28, 29.
I acknowledge that the generality of the ministers in the present day profess to believe endless misery, though they disagree in other points; and indeed one reason why they fall out so much about other doctrines, is, because they receive this as a first principle, as is very obvious; for were those that believe that Christ died only for a part of mankind, once to give up the idea of endless misery, they would acknowledge the universality of the love of God, and confess that Jesus died for all in the fullest sense.
And on the other hand, if those who believe in general redemption, were not so exceedingly tenacious of the doctrine of endless misery, they would not
oppose the doctrine of election, nor hold that the will of God might be finally frustrated, and that the death of Christ shall be in vain, with respect to many, and that many objects of the divine love shall finally perish to all eternity.
These inconsistencies in their sentiments, and the contest between them & those who hold partial redemption and salvation, are therefore chiefly, if not wholly owing to both parties being agreed in this most dreadful doctrine of endless misery.
It is beautiful to observe the progress of the glorious gospel, from its opening to our first pa. rents in the garden, down to the present day. I have sometimes mentioned, in public, that the more the gospel is known and revealed, the larger and richer it
It first seemed confined to one family or nation, but later discoveries showed that all nations had a part therein, and all sorts of people were designed to share in its blessings. Now the glorious news begins to be published abroad, not only that all nations, and all sorts of people, but all persons and individuals, without exception, not only may partake of its benefits, but shall in due time enjoy great advantages thereby.
God always adapts his remedies to the evils that prevail in the world; and therefore he hath opened his counsels to men according to their different capacities, needs, and circumstances. Christianity might, formerly, have been received and sincerely practised, without being investigated at all; but when infidelity rises up and attacks it, as it does in this our age, it becomes the duty of its friends to defend it, by inquiring into its meaning; and laying all prejudices aside, to receive as truth those things which God hath revealed; and the same to vindicate before the world.
It might not formerly have been necessary to understand all the prophecies; and yet now, as the time of their fulfilment draws nigh, they may become more important, be more studied, and better understood; and for this purpose,
God may actually illuminate the minds of some to set them forth in a more rational, scriptural, consistent manner, than they have appeared in hitherto. And if it should please God to make any use of my tongue or pen for this great purpose, the glory shall be all ascribed to his name, to whom alone it is due; I shall have nothing to glory or boast of, forasmuch as I can only com
municate what I receive; and I hope none will refuse to receive the truth, however weak or unworthy the instrument by which God may please to send it. Friend. If this is the truth which
hold forth, however contrary to the commonly received opinions of the age, I see no reason why men should refuse to hear what you have to say; but I have heard many exclaim against you in the severest manner; and declare that they would not hear you, nor read your writings on any account; and others have said, that they could confute and overthrow your whole system in ten minutes, but whether they would be able to make their words good if they should enter the list with you is another matter, and cannot be determined till a fair trial.
Minister. I can assure you my friend that I should not have the least objection to their making the attempt; for though I am conscious that neither my natural nor acquired abilities, are worthy to be compared to those of many excellent characters who hold the contrary sentiments; yet the goodness of the cause in which I am enengaged, inspires me with courage to attempt its vindication, let who will enter the list with me, For when the evidence of this most glorious truth first began to appear to my mind, I was determined never believe or profess it, until I could answer every objection that could be brought from the Scriptures against it, fairly and without any torturing or twisting the words of truth; and it pleased God so to open matters to my view, as to take every objection out of my mind, and to clear up every doubt in such a