« PreviousContinue »
nominations ; but they are so numerous,and so well known, that I shall not trouble my readers with them ; but shall pass over the whole,by just observing, that notwithstanding they all may contain some truths, yet I believe it must be granted, and in due time will be made to appear, that any idea falls short of the whole truth, which leaves any beings, who were brought into existence by the almighty power of God, to rue their existence in endless woe and misery ! where they will continually breathe out curses and blasphemous oaths against their Creator, or else sink down in eternal despair !* Oh, surprising grace, and boundless love! which is shed abroad in Jesus CHRIST ! not to save us in our sins, but from our sins ! " If we confess and forsake our sins, he is faithful and just, to for
* I would here note, that I believed these ideas for several years before I ever made them public ; and finally I' covenanted with, and joined a Baptist Church (as there was no Universal Society near, and I saw nothing in the way, but what I could travel with them in fellowship) for I viewed it to be a privilege to be under the watchful care of some church or other. But when I began to preach, my sentiments began to be more publicly known. But they created a wound in the breasts of my brethren that I did not expect. But not to mention all the trials which I have experienced and passed thro' on this account, I finally concluded that I must only hold the doctrine as a private sentiment, of my own, and I would say but a little about it, rather than to lay a stumbling block; or do any thing whereby my brother should be offended But some of my brethren were unwilling to let me have the privilege to enjoy my own opinion (unless I could think as they did) and therefore stirred up the minds of the brethren, until they saw fit to admonish me for holding to what they cal. led, erroneous principles. I considered myself to be in such union with them, that I could not help feeling a regret ; to think it must be broken, in any way whatsoever ; but I now feel to bless. God that they dealt with me as they did ; for it has not broken the union on my part, but it has set me at perfect liberty ; and I now feel to be in union with e
every follower of CHRIST, of every denomination under heayen.
give us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” And the gospel containeth the light which will cause us to repent of our sins, and sorrow for them after a godly sorrow. Christ is the true light, “ That lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” Who can help mourning for sin, when they behold this light? By this light, we gain a knowledge of the LORD, “Whom, to know aright, is ETERNAL LIFE ! already begun in the soul.” And wherever the LORD hath begun a good work, he will surely carry it on to perfection.
« The pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.” is As I live saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked ; but that the wicked turn from his way and live."
It cannot be expected, that a finite being, while here in the flesh, will ever be able to see through the Divine Plan, so as to remove every doubt and obstacle from the mind ; and if it could be comprehended by man,language would be too feeble to set forth in full splendor, the glorious and sublime system of Divinity. It was planned in infinite wisdom, and nothing short of the Spirit of God, is able to communicate it to the understanding of man. der St. Paul (when he was in CHRIST, caught up into paradise, or the third heaven) heard un. speakable words, which was not lawful for a man to utter. How could they be uttered by man, when they were unspeakable ?
But shall we, because we cannot comprehend the whole system, and see all at once its beauty and barmony, never try to gain any spiritual
knowledge of it? No, let us search the scriptures daily, and compare spiritual things with spirit. gal, and pray to God for light and understanding, laying aside all prejudice, and traditions of mien, so that we may be enabled to obtain the plain tenor and meaning of the word of God; and in this way we shall grow in faith, and in the knowledge of the truth, and travel on from one degree of grace to another, until we arrive at the perfect man in CHRIST JESUS.
I Have thought of late, that I never should attempt to vindicate the doctrine of Universal Salvation, nor any other principle whatever ; but only to proclaim the glad news of salvation, in and thro’a glorious Mediator, and to set forth the danger of living in the paths of sin, and the blessings that were promised to those who pursued a contrary course of virtue and piety, But seeing the doctrine very much abused by many; some preaching the principle (being charmed, as it were with the pleasing sound of the name) without leading people into the true theory of it, and without teaching men the necessity of breaking off their sins by righteousness, and their iniquities by turning unto the Lord, in order to enjoy CHRIS1, as their Saviour; while others, by being prejudiced against it, have treated it with contempt, as though it was a very heinous and licentious doctrine : therefore, I feel constrained to declare the whole truth as it is in Jesus, according as I understand the scriptures.
And considering my youth and inferior abil. ities, in knowledge and grace, I knew of no
way in which I could contribute more to the good of mankind in general, than to republish the productions of those men who have been es. teemed eminent, for their religion and piety, and whose works have heretofore been attend. ed with the blessing of God, in bringing many out of nature's darkness into God's marvellous light, and turning many from sin unto holiness.
The Philadelphian Magazines fell into my hands about nine months ago.
I found them to contain many important subjects, all of which appeared to be written with that candor which becometh a christian. They were published in London, and but a very few volumes had ever been brought to this country, and it was very uncertain whether any more would ever arrive from thence : Therefore I thought it would be very advantageous to the people of the United States, to have a part of them reprinted. I have endeavored to select out the most important subjects, and have arranged them in such order as naturally to lead the mind into the truths contained therein. I SHALL now conclude what I have to write
of introduction, by setting forth, as brief. ly as possible, the present state of my mind, concerning the glorious plan of salvation. I cannot give but the outlines, and shall only give them as my opinion, without attempting to prove the same, by scripture or reason, and leave them for the reader's contemplation.
But before I enter upon the subject, let me observe, that eternal truth will stand, notwithstanding I may write or think and others believe
what they will. “ The council of God is sure,” whether I stand or fall.
1. There is one, Great and Incomprehen. sible, Omnipotent and Allwise Jehovah; who is the source of all goodness; the Author of all Creation, whether natural or spiritual, animate, or inanimate ; and who eternally was, what he eternally will exist to be, God over all, blessed for evermore.
2. It hath pleased God, for the accomplish. ment of his glorious purposes, to act in three different spheres, as, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; and as such, to fulfil the offices and capacities of each, separately and distinctly, and yet all three to agree in one God.*
3. God hath created all worlds for himself, and to make a display of his glory; all of which are fixed by his eternal decree, which so planned the great system of nature, that it will roll on the wheels of time, until all his glorious purposes are accomplished.
4. He hath endued all the animal creation with volition, and the power of action, suitable
* There have been various ideas respecting the doctrine of the Trinity, and I find that Divines are not fully agreed in it at this day. Some suppose that Christ had no pre-existence, before he existed in the womb of the Virgin Mary, conceived by the Holy Ghost, or the power of the Most High, and in that capacity he was a Child born ; which was a holy or spiritual Child. That he took to himself flesh and blood, when he entered on his public ministry; and then he was a Son given- " The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. " And the government was not placed upon his shoulders, until after his resurrection; then he was called, Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, and the Prince of Peace. And as it was said, he was a Lama slain, from the foundation of the world ; this only consisted in the mind and will of God, who spake of things that were not, as though they were ; because infinite wisdom had ordered it so to be.