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necessary to promote the cure of moral evil. Man is at present in the infancy of his being, placed in a state of discipline, and aiflictions seem to be a necessary part of that discipline. Have you not observed that the powers of man are frequently roused to great exertions, the energies of his soul called forth, exalted virtues generated, and great characters formed, in the school of adversity? Men appear to be more or less placed in this school, in the present stage of their existence, that their ininds may be formed, and they qualified for their future situations in another state. Hence the existence of evil, in no sense, appears incompatible with the world's being under the government of infinite wisdom, power, and goodness. Your objections to God and his government seem to rise from a narrow view of things. If, instead of confining your views to the contemplation of things as they are at present, you were to connect with the existence and government of the Deity his future dispensations, of which he hath given information in the Scriptures, and were to look forward to that period when universal reconciliation shall take place among creatures, when there shall be no more pain, sorrow, or death, when all intelligences shall be united in one harmonious body, and the whole creation be made pure and happy, your objections would vanish like darkness before the rising sun.
If there be a God, his dominion must extend over you, and you must be accountable to hiin, think then how dreadful must be the consequences of your renouncing all subjection to him, and even denying his existence and government. Impressed with this, and feeling a deep concern for your welfare, I most earnestly solicit your attention to the preceding address.
SIR, THE following letter was sent to Dr. Dodd, while under sentence of *; death; and as it holds out to that dying man, the sufficiency of the gospel to save the vilest of the vile, without any other prerequisite but that of feeling their own wretchedness; and as a contrary doctrine is too much propagated in the religious world, which is the cause of many a sincere soul being disquieted, while the gospel is intended and calculated to make him happy, I hope you will have no objection to give it a place in your Miscellany, which will oblige,
? A CONSTANT READER.
TT may appear impertinent, at first sight, for a stranger-an entire
stranger-to intrude upon your now truly serious and important moments: however, as he does it not to upbraid but to sympathize-not Mai
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'10 dictate, but to enquire, he hopes his enquiries will be attended to as the language of disinterested benevolence, which feels most inexpressibly for a fellow-sinner in distress. Here he cannot help wishing for your truly easy and striking diction, to convey his ideas in the pleasing and 'attractive manner, with which he has sometimes heard you utter your
sentinents from the pulpit; yet he would wish to look higher than the manner, even to that invisible and sovereign influence, which can command truth to appear before the troubled conscience, in all its native and divine charins, though it be dressed in language not equal to its enchanting forin.
Believe me, Sir, though I never did any thing of an atrocious nature, -which has exposed me to the just punishment of humán laws, and am persuaded that omniscience alone can accurately and without mistake, judge of the guilt in different men; 1 yet sincerely believe, considering the advantages I have enjoyed from my education, and a connection with a set of genuine Christians, that I have contracted as much guilt in the sight of my Maker as you have done. I cannot say unto you, then, Stand by, I am more fit, or better prepared for the grace of the gospel than Dr. Dodd. I myself, considered aside from the relief of the glad tidings of peace, stand condemned equally with yourself before the divine tribunal by-my.conscience, God's law, and unerring justice.
Now, Sic, notwithstanding this dreadful view of myself as a sinner, I have, zerely from the testimony of the apostles concerning the salvatica ob Christ, liope towards God. I can call him my father, I am rejoicing in the expectation of future bliss, detest sin more than ever, and am daily praying to be kept in a course of Christian piety and righteoushess to the end of life. But permit me to tell you, if what you have suggested in your late speech to the court be true, I am inistaken; my hope is a delusion, and my faith is vain. In that address 'to the recorder, you seem to think, that without much serious reflection,
great humiliation, some considerable time spent in repentance, and a great deal of pious preparation, and holy exertion, you cannot find acceptance with God, nor be introduced into the mansions of bliss.
Mistake me not: that 'utter hatred of sin, that deep humiliation, that evangelical repentance, that change of principle, heart, and character, genuine piety, heavenly devotion, and steady virtue which are essential to the Christian character, I consider as streams naturally fowing from this fountain-right views of God's forgiving goodness; 'which fountain is opened in the free declarations of the gospel that are pointed to the most vile, wretched, and hell deserving rebels, as well as to all other sinners. Yea, I apprehend these qualifications never can be obtained without faith; 'this is the cause they are the natural and necessary effects. And as the Cliristian faith, or gospel, is that alone by which God saves guilty polluted men, this, .when brought to the soul by the sovereign doctrine of hcaven, finds every one destitute of all meritorious prerequisites and distinguishing excellencies, which could give them a claim to it before others. .
. . me Give me leave then, Docter, to ask you, is there no grace in the gospel? If the spirit of God by any means of information be pleased to
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 himn? 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 inalefactor 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 tnis only for humble, penitent, and well disposed sinners ?
Then, dear Sir, this would sap the fountain of my hope, cut the sinews of my 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 mari, 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 obiain forgiveness and a title to heaven? Is he not everinore acting on this principle, that the atonement or redeinption 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 sarićtified as well as forgiven, only through the truth? Care 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 atteinpting 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, from 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 may determine concerning you : and nothing, in my apprehension, will more effeétually secure the heart against all kinds of iniquity respecting God and man, than such free grace as this reigning through righteousness.
Your sincere and sympathizing friend, though unknown.
LETTERS FROM THE WORLD OF SPIRITS.
TO S. W. AT BATE.
DEAR SIR, IN perusing the last number of this valuable Miscellany I found two
letters from the world of spirits, with an introduction by you, in which I was informed you had personified a deceased person; in consequence of which, I naturally conclude the sentiments contained in 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. . T'he sentiment I am about to controvert, pervades both your letters, and is as followsThat mankind when they depart this life are permitted to grovel in our atmosphere to take cognizance of the conduct of the inhabitants of this earth. This appears to me to be a sanciful notion, and by no means warranted by the authority of revelation. This idea is first hinted at in Letter I. p. 347, where you ol serve, “ It is a very mistaken idea which some mortals entertain, viz. that the disembodied spirits are quite regardless of what happens in our world."
However, Solomon militaies 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 iransactions of individuals in this guorld, as will appear hy 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 to his 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.
But it appears to me from your second Letter, p. 349, that you take the idea from what the apostle says tleb.1.14. Are not angels ministering spirits, sent forth to minister or attend 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 ihe angels brought, and how inuch greater, therefore, would their conciemnation 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 meri, for let us recollect, angels are different to men in nature, 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 ir
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 that we “ may not take charge of, surround, and protect our friends in the body." However, should you have any thing further to offer upon this subject, 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,
SIR, W HEN 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 my religious neighbours, and have 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 some sentin:ent or sentiments embraced by wise men as truth, under an idea that every such wise inan could certainly give some satisfactory proof or evidence of the truth of such sentiment; but in this I have found myself mistaken, : nevertheless, I mean to go on asking till I am sufficiently inforined, if information can be got; and who can blame me? I therefore hope, Sir, that you and your correspondents will bear with me in any 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 inakes 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-elect no satisfaction is given, and consequently they must go into a state of endless anisery: and they also tell me I should receive nothing as true hut what I have a “ thus saith the Lord" for; and to the law and to the testimony, if a man speak not according 10 this law and testimony, it is because there is no light in himn. I therefore thought that 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 I do not find the word satisfa&tion in all the New Testainent,