Page images

convey the knowledge of it to the soul, this will give the most abandoned wretch immediate hope, without paying any regard to, nay, setting at nought all his former endeavours, striving, and serious exertions. What was it that relieved and rejoiced the three thousand the same day in which Peter spoke to them; some of whom, it is probable, if not all, had concurred in the crucifixion of the Lord of glory? How was the jailer set at liberty the same hour in which he believed? Does not that which he believed, that which Paul and Silas spake to him concerning the Lord Jesus Christ, bear as friendly a direction, as joyous an aspect, to you and me as it did to him? Would not the same views of a crucified Saviour produce in our minds, or in the mind of the vilest sinner upon the face of the earth, the same dependence upon, and the same confidence in him, as they produced in the malefactor on the cross? Is the declaration of the divine forgiveness in the gospel, through the perfect work of Christ, by which justice is compensated, the law honoured, and matchless goodness gloriously displayed, is this only for humble, penitent, and well disposed sinners ? Then, dear Sir, this would sap the fountain of my hope, cut the sinews of iny Christian worship and holiness, and put me on a most perplexing enquiry, whether I could see something in my heart and character that raiseth me nearer to God than the rest of my fellow sinners, before I could find any good news for my guilty soul in the New Testament.

What are all the sorrows, penitence, serious endeavours, and mortifying humiliation of a man, prior to his being set at liberty by the gospel, but an attempt to make some advances towards his offended God by his own doings, in order to obtain forgiveness and a title to heaven? Is he not evermore acting on this principle, that the atonement or redemption by Christ is not sufficiently of itself, known and believed as set forth in the apostolic testimony, to ease his conscience, give him hope, and introduce him to the divine favour? Can a man ever see so much of the evil of sin, and have his heart so effectually guarded against it for the future as when he beholds the holiness of the Deity taking vengeance on it in the sufferings of his most dear and holy son ? Are not those who are to be saved to be sanctified as well as forgiven, only through the truth? Can the one blessing be enjoyed without the other?

Impressed with a strong apprehension how distressing your situation must be to a gentleman of your tender feelings, and cordially sympathizing with you, without attempting to lessen your offences against the just laws of your country, I have presumed to lay these thoughts before you in tenderness and love, knowing, froin my own experience, that if you see them in the same light I do, they will be as a sheet-anchor to your troubled and tossed mind, and cause you, with cheerfulness and fortitude, to acquiesce in whatever providence inay determine concerning you: and nothing, in my apprehension, will more effectually secure the heart against all kinds of iniquity respecting God and man, than such free grace as this reigning through righteousness.

I ain,

Your sincere and sympathizing friend, though unknown.





DEAR SIR, IN perusing the last number of this valuable Miscellany I found tw

letters from the world of spirits, with an introduction by you, in which I was informed you had personified a deceased person ; id consequence of which, I naturally conclude the sentiments contained is the above letters are your own, and not that of a departed spirit. My reason for addressing you in this manner is the love I have for truth, and a firm persuasion that you, as well as myself, are a diligent enquirer after that valuable treasure.

The sentiment I am about to controvert, pervades both your letters, and is as follows That mankind when they depart this life are permitted to grovel in our atinosphere to take cognizance of the conduct of the inhabitants of this earth. This appears to me to be a fanciful notion, and-by no means warranted by the art hority of revelation. This idea is first hinted at in Letter I. p. 347, where you observe, “ It is a very mistaken idea which some mortals entertain, viz. that the disembodied spirits are quite regardless of what happens in our world."

How ver, Solomon militates against such an hypothesis when he says, Eccl. ix.

5. “ The living know that they shall die, but the dead know not any thing," i. e. none of the transactions of this world, as will appear by reading the context. So also our Saviour, in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, represents the former as petitioning Abraham to send Lazarus 10 bis brethren, which was not permitted.

Again, when our Saviour was expiring on the cross, he promised the dying thief that he should be in paradise that day; from which it appears plain, there is a receptacle for both good and bad spirits, in which they are reserved till the resurrection of the dead. Bui it appears to me from your second Letter, p. 349, that


take the idea from what the apostle says Heb. i. 14. Are not angels ministering spirits, sent.forth to mmister or atteud' to the heirs of salvation? But it appears from chap. ii. ver. 2. that the apostle was alluding to the appearances of those heavenly messengers to the patriarchs and prophets of old. And he is shewing how much superior the mission of Christ would be to that which the angels brought, and how inuch greater, therefore, would their condemnation be who neglect it, than those who neglected, the message of the angels. But it is not said we shall convey messages from God to men, for let us recollect, angels are different to men in naiwe, and of course in employment, and we cannot understand either the one or the other fully. It is said, Mark xii. 25. that departed spirits shall be like the angels in heaven ; which passage you have quoted in

connection with the former. But from Luke, XX. 35, 36. it appears to have nothing to do with the subject, for our Saviour is answering a question of the Sadducees respecting the resurrection, in which he declares the likeness to consist in immortality; for he says, departed spirits cannot die any more, being equal to the angels in heaven. 'Thus, Sir, I trust I have proved it is you who make the mistake, and

may not take charge of, surround, and protect our friends in ike body." However, should you have any thing further to offer upon this subjeet, I shall be very ready to answer you, as it is truth I wish to obtain and not victory. . Yours, in the bonds of peace,


that we




SIR, WHEN a man is on the enquiry after truth, I should suppose it to be

very natural to make such enquiry by asking questions; which method I have frequently taken among iny religious neighbours, and háve sometimes been answered with, “ Any fool may ask questions that a wise man cannot answer." This may be a genteel way of getting rid of the question, but I think no way calculated to make the fool the wiser : but if a fool is capable of asking a wise question, does it not behove the wise man to endeavour, at least, to answer the same? When I as a fool have asked a question, it has been to have explained and proved from Scripture soine sentiment or sentiments embraced by wise men as truth, under an idea' that every such wise man could certainly give some satisfactory proof or evidence of the truth of such sentiment; but in this I have found inyself mistaken, : nevertheless, I meani to go on asking till I am sufficientig informed, if information can be got; and who can blame me? I therefore hope, Sir, that you and your correspondents will bear with me in my folly, and permit me to ask a question or two through the channel of your Miscellany.

It is my lot to sit under preachers who tell me that one makes three and that three makes but one; and also that Christ, by his death, sufferings, &c. has given satisfaction to the justice of God for the sins of the elect, and thereby appeased his wrathful indignation on their behalf, and for the non-elećt no satisfaction is given, and consequently they - inust go into a state of endless misery: and they also tell me I should teceive nothing as true but what I have a “ thus saith the Lord" for; and to the law and to the testimony, if a man speak not according to this law and testimony, it is because there is no light in tim. I therefore thought thảt I ought to examine this law and testimony to satisfy myself if there was a “ Thus saith the Lord" for such propositions, and upon examination f do not find the word satisfattion in all the New Testament,

and but twice in the Old, and there I cannot perceive any reference to a satisfaction given by Christ to the Father. I then looked for the word atonement, thinking that might help me out; and I found that this word occurred but once in the New Testament, which is in Rom. v. 11, and there is no mention of its being received by the Father, but by us, i. e. the elect; it is true it occurs about forty times in the Old Testament, but if either of those passages had any reference to the subject, is it not strange that the writers of the New Testament (who knew the mind and will of God more perfectly than the Old Testament saints) should be so silent upon the subject?

I then went in search of the word reconciliation, and I found that it occurred about eleven or twelve times in the New Testament; but in no passage is there a word of God's being reconciled to us, but of our reconciliation to God, &c., unless Heb. ii. 17. can be so construed.

May I not then ask, is the doctrine of a divine satisfaction given by Christ to the Father, a scriptural doctrine, or are we to class it anong the inventions of men? If, Sir, any of your correspondents will answer the above question, I as a fool, perhaps, may be made wiser; but if it passes unnoticed, I shall conclude that a fool has asked a question which wise men cannot answer.

I am, &c.



SIR, BEFORE I can fall in with so important a point as the principle or

leading sentiment of your Miscellany seems to be, I must well digest it, and see it through its difficulties. As you seem now confirmed in your belief of the final restoration of all men, and have been a long time contending for it (in opposition to those who object to it as not satisfied it is a safe or Scripture doctrine) and are candid enough to admit objections that are candidly and sincerely proposed, I wish to mention one which I do not remember to have seen made to it yet by any of

your various readers or opponents, and yet would seem to make against the doctrine, at least against preaching it, and contending for it so publicly as you do, if it cannot be got over; it is

If all men are to be saved at last, (or restored, as you think more accurate) and none but the subjects of the first resurrection « will escape the damnation of hell," whether such as these who are rendered thus miserable should not be prayed for, and supplications and petitions put up for them continually, that they may, in due tine, be released; and, as prisoners of hope, be set free from the misery they are in? If final restoration is a true faith, is not this a true, ajust, a right praétise, arising from it, if it is more than a mere speculative point? And should it not 'be engaged in, and be made as public a duty as the doctrine is publicly preached? But is this scriptural, apostolical, or the custom and pradice

of yours, or any other church, that maintains the doctrine of universal restoration ? If it is not, I cannot see the consistency, nor the use of being so strenuous for a faith, that has not this practice annexed to it. To say it savours too much of popery, will not be satisfactory, nor agreeable to that open and ingenuous spirit you have hitherto shewn in your Miscellany, but is it sound and consistent? A practice no way derogatory to the doctrine you think scriptural, but a fair and rational inference from it, and what such believers ought to be found in? A full, open, and candid reply to this will oblige,

Yours, &c.



W. B. says

SIR, ONE might suppose, from the manner in which your correspondent

W. B. has replied to the query of 2. Y. that he is á youth, warm from the manufactory, where he has been used to one set of tools only, and thinks no one ought to make use of any other.

2. Y. would much rather have heard than said any thing on the subject of his query; but as his reasons for proposing it were very different from what W. B. illiberally charges him with, he is under a itecessity of saying something, and to inforin W. B. he has no doubts respecting the passage; and as he does not think it necessary to contend for the divinity of all that is contained between the pasteboards any more than for that of the sheep-skin which covers it, he will not shrink from W. B.'s challenge, and instead of doubts he will produce evidence, which he thinks quite' sufficient to shew the passage to be an interpolation.

" the passage may be proved canonical, because contained in the common translation, vulgar Latin, and in all the copies of the Greek Testament I ever saw."

That it is contained in most,' if not all the copies, of the national translation must be allowed; but did W. B. 'never see the common translation of the New Testament in English where this verse is not, but in supplements? There is one which was printed in the year 1549, in the beginning of which the translators say in a note, «. We have printed in a different letter those passages which dre' not to be found in any Greek copies but of dubious duthority." This whole 7th verse they have printed in the Roman letter ; that of the text being the old black letter, -- which plainly shews their opinion.

Pool in his Syn. Crit. says, “ Hunc versiculuin non legunt.Syrus, nec vetus Latinus interpres, nec multi Codices æci, nec multi veterum non Naz. Athản. Didym. Chrys. Cyril. Hilar. Aug. & Beda ; qui cum Arionas scriberent, hunc locum neutiquam omissent, si genuinum VOL. IV.

3 с

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »