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LETTER XVII. *
To a Preacher of the Gosfiel. MY DEAR SIR,
M R. W. leaving this town for the place of your residence, early in the morning, I take the opportunity of adding to the large . packet, written by our dear mistaken friend P. which Mr. W. will hand you. You will find in this manuscript a number of useful hints, and singular observations; and you will, as I trust, be as much disgusted with some remarks, as you will be pleased by others. I am astonished to find a person knowing so much of divine revelation, at the same moment that he knows so little. Poor gentleman; he makes our Saviour the devil and all, with a vengeance; he tells us that when we arrive at such perfection in divine knowledge, as to behold in our Saviour, the man who had not on the wedding garment, we shall be furnished with a key which will introduce us to an acquaintance with many other passages, viz: The tares and the wheat; the sheep and the goats, &c. &c. Upon this gentleman's plan or principle, Jesus is the judge ; who says unto Jesus, the goats, Depart ye cursed into everlasting fire Jesus is also the tares which the scriptures say, and we believe, were sown by the wicked one ; and which tares, we conceive, he who saveth his people from their sins, will in the end of the world command his servants to weed out, binding them in bundles and burning them. “But, no,” says Mr. P. “the tares are Jesus;” so that when the tares, Jesus, is separated from the people and burned, then shall the people shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of the Father. Shocking blasphemy I Would you not suppose this the language of a lunatic? You will be surprised at the account he gives of Jacob and Esau, and of the fowls of heaven being called to the supper of the great God. I am beyond expression amazed at the old gentleman Surely, surely, the scriptures as expressly delineate the adversary of the human family, as they do the Friend and Redeemer of mankind; they describe the fallen angels as unequivocally as they describe fallen man ; they speak of the judgment of the one as plainly
as of the judgment of the other; they expressly designate the works of God, and the works of the devil. How is it then, that these scriptuarians make such horrid blunders, throwing the whole plan of revelation into confusion. Yet, after all, as I before observed, there are many excellent remarks made by the writer, by which we may profit; and as the old gentleman has given me leave, in a letter which accompanied the manuscript, to do with it just what I please, I would, were I able, publish from this manuscript, every thing calculated to do honour to the gospel of God our Saviour.
I think I mentioned something to you of a Mr. W. who had been in Boston some time past, preaching against our Saviour; the poor soul thought he was only preaching against me. He was uncommonly zealous and very popular, and the worshippers of anti-christ boasted much of him; but they are proportionably dejected, for he is now (if I may judge of him by a letter I have recently seen written by him, to Mr. B.) a most zealous preacher of the gospel of Jesus Christ, in the very same manner, that it was preached by the
postle Paul. I will endeavour to procure you a copy of this letter,
and I will, at the same time, send you a copy of the letter I am going to send to this same Mr. W.; my name is mentioned in Mr. W.’s letter to Mr. B. not, I assure you, to my advantage. I suppose he had received from the enemy to whom he writes, a droll account of me and my sentiments, to which Mr. B. by the by, is a stranger; but I will endeavour to send you all about it; I am sure it will please you.
I could not forbear smiling at your remarks on Bacchus; yes, he has indeed drank of that wine, which produces a worse intoxication than the juice of the grape; and his disciples are more mischievous than were the Bacchanalians of old. *
I have a letter from Boston, earnestly requesting me to draw my pen in answer to this opposer, and that absurd defender of the grace that wrought out, and brought in salvation for all men. I have written to this requester, that beside my inability which is an insuperable objection, I have sufficient reasons to prevent my taking public notice of either of these writers. With respect to Bacchus, every unprejudiced person possessing only a moderate share of common sense, will readily discover that the poor man has confounded himself; and to a persons of a contrary description, a Paul or Relly would write in vain.
As for this anonymous advocate, for what he calls the salvation of all men, or salvation for all men, I pity him from my soul; I see he is endeavouring, by seasoning the gospel with a sufficient quantity of fire and brimstone, to render it quite a savory dish for the self-righteous Pharisee. He commences by sacrificing to the demon of popular prejudice, the obnoxious stranger; a good step this, toward preparing the religious world for the reception of his new-fangled gospel, or glad tidings of damnation. I think your remarks on this writer very just ; but how ignorant does this reasoner appear, of the sentiments of the holy good men whom he introduces ! No man on earth can be a greater enemy to the doctrine of the restitution of all things, than was Mr. John Westley ; yet this is one of the holy men who this writer affirms, was an advocate for Universal Salvation.
Yet, in this small pamphlet there are a great many good things. I think the author means well; he sees plainly the scriptures teach, that all men are redeemed, and that consequently, all men must finally be saved. He also perceives the difference between the followers of the Lamb in the narrow way, and the children of this world in the broad way; and that not only in the present visible state, but in the future invisible state, until the resurrection of the just, and the unjust ; that the one enters into rest by believing, dieth in the Lord, and riseth to the resurrection of life. All this he perceives, and all this is sacredly true ; but he doth not see that it is the blood of Jesus which cleanseth from all sin, and that it is not by a very long season of pain and torment, that the wretched race are finally brought to love and serve their God and Saviour. He does not view Jesus Christ as completing the destruction of the works of the adversary. Could this poor soul have seen the doctrine held forth in the parable of the tares of the field, he would not have been obliged to look beyond the end of the world, to a long season; God only knows how long, for that glorious period, when the kingdoms of the world shall become the kingdoms of God, and his Christ.
But our grand adversary is changing his ground ; if he cannot stop the progress of truth, he will assume its form, and thus transforming himself into an angel of light, he continues the archdeceiver still. Yet the power of the adversary is more manifest in our own bosoms than elsewhere, even as the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked ; it is indecd. Every individual, attentive to what passes in his own soul, would, I imagine, subscribe to the truth of this testimony. I should never be afraid of the enemy without, were I safe from his power within. If it here I groan being burdened. Tell me, my friend, how do you go on 2 Do you find your strength proportioned to your day 2 How do your hearers conduct : Do they begin to think they arc so rich that they need nothing, and do they therefore stay at home; or if they do drag themselves to church, do they begin to find you are tedious, that you make use of repetitions, that you go too much about your subject, without coming to the point, and that you say a great deal too much on one thing 2 Are they frequently ready to exclaim, Nothing but this manna. But perhaps you may have no friend, who would choose to communicate the intelligence to you, even if your hearers should thus express themselves. Yet I counsel you to prepare yourself for this, and even for worse, should you continue in your present character. God incline your heart to bear and to forbear one thing, as I trust, you will always have in your power, you will always be independent of the people to whom you preach. You are solicitous respecting our sick folks; they are better, but as the Doctor pronounces the disorder from which they have suffered, contagious, we are apprehensive for their attendants. However, for myself, I think not much of this ; every arrow, even the pestilential arrow has its commission. I should never hesitate to follow the calls of duty even to the bed of pestilence. I wish we could die without pain, or sickness; I am not afraid of death, but I shrink from its precursors. I shall soon be obliged to turn my attention to the portion of sacred writ to which you advert, and then it is possible I may be able to give you my ideas thereon. I find a vast deal of profitable pleasure in going regularly through the prophecy of Isaiah. I have reached the 9th chapter. I wish I were able to communicate to you all it pleased the Divine Being to show me as I proceeded ; but perhaps he will show it to you himself, and I believe you will have the sum and substance of the whole, at some future period, adorned with the graces of poetry, from your admired friend. She has very carefully sifted my discourses, and preserving the flower, has made them up in her own way—I mean with respect to manner, and I need not, nor can I say, how much better they will appear in consequence. But you must not give her any hint of what I have told you ; if you should, it is ten to onc but she will stand Wor... II. - 13
stock still, for you must know she has no very great opinion of her own performances, and that she thinks you are mighty wise, and that of course you will be eagle eyed to every fault. Dolet me hear particularly of Mrs. A.; is she still enveloped in thick darkness, stumbling at every stumbling stone 3 or has she by the favour of heaven, been brought into the light of life : I imagine her bewildered situation has given to the adversary and his disciples, much triumph. No doubt they greatly rejoice, exclaiming, there, there, so would we have it. Yet I hope we may say, “Rejoice not over me, O ! thou enemy, for although I be fallen, I shall rise again ; although darkness continueth for a night, joy comethin the morning.” Give my love to floor rich Mrs. M. God be good unto her. God I hope will raise her up friends. Well, all, yes, all things shall work together for good. It is indeed the creed of the christian, he gave us grace in Christ Jesus, before the world began, nor can anything which has turned up since the beginning of time, possibly deprive us of this grace. Far, very far from it; it is confirmed to us by what has since succeeded. But surely, surely, the worshippers of Anti-Christ make the word of God of none effect : “What us,” they demand 2 He gave us grace in Christ Jesus. To whom did God give grace " “ To us, that is to all who believe.” But will they abide by this They will not, we assure them we believe. Well, are they convinced we had grace in Christ Jesus before the world began They are not. Then it is to all true believers, that is to all who believe their creed. If you knew how much is said relative to your visiting this place, I think you would come, if you could tarry but a night; no carriage passes our door, that does not raise our expectations. I shall be much disappointed if I am not indulged by a visit from you, before I take my departure, and in full expectation of this favour, with love to all friends, I remain your friend and brother.