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quence of sin, is not a dispensation of any penal law, but of the law of necesity, in which law, as long as a cause continues, it produces its effects. Therefore, to prove a man will fuffer condemnation for sin, at thirty, forty, or fifty years of age, it would be necessary to prove that he would be a finner at that time, or those times. So, in order to prove that a man will be miserable, after this mortal life is ended, it must first be proved that he will fin in the next state of existence.

It has been argued, by many, that the doctrine of future punishment, or misery, is a necessary doctrine to dissuade men from committing fin, which furely furprises me.

To tell a person who is in love of sin, that if he does not immediately refrain, he will have to continue in fin for a long time, would be true, besure ; but would be void of force to dissuade hinn from what he is in love with. I believe, that as long as men fin, they will be miserable, be that time longer or shorter; and that as soon as they cease from sin, they begin to experience divine enjoyment.

The scripture speaks of the times of the restitution of all things, but does not inform us their number, or their dura- * tion. It also speaks of the fulness of times, but gives us no date, or duration of them.

I have not stated so many objections against the doctrine which I have labored to prove, as many of my readers may wish I had, nor so many as I should have been glad to, was it not for swelling the work to more of an expensive fize. But I have stated, and endeavored to answer the most frequent objections, and those on which my oppofers put the taost dependance ; and I should have taken great fatisfaction in communicating many more arguments, both from reason and scripture, in favor of universal holiness and happiness, than I have, was it not for the reason assigned in the other

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cafe. However, if those objections which I have taken notice of, are answered to the reader's satisfaction, other fcriptures, generally used as argument against the salvation of all men, will not be hard to be understood, as not unfavorable to the doctrine. And as for the proofs which I have deduced from fcripture and reason, I believe them entirely conclusive; but if not, more of the fame kind would not be.

The reason I have not particularly explained those parables of the New Testament which I have had occasion to notice, in this work, is, my Notes, of which, mention is made on the title page of this book, are before the public, and contain my ideas on most of the parables spoken by Christ.

A question may be asked by many, which has labored much in my mind, respecting the propriety of publishing books on divinity, when we profefs to believe in the book called the Bible, that it contains all which we mean to communi. cate as truth, in matters of religion ; on which question, I am determined for myself, that the gospel of Jesus Christ wo !d have been better understood, had the Bible been the only book ever read on the subject. And though I doubt not bụt many authors have done great justice to those subjects on which they have written, and the light of the scriptures have, by such means, been caused to shine ; yet, by others, it has been greatly obscured. And had one half. the attention been paid to the Bible which has been paid to those authors who have written upon it, it would, in my opinion, have been incomparably better for Christendom. But, on account of errors imbibed, in consequence of erroneous annotations, it may be argued, that it is now necessary to write and publish correct sentiments, by the fame parity of reasoning as we argue the necessity of those means to restore health, which are not necessary to continue it.

To the short exhortation, with which the believer in universalism will meet, in this work, he is humbly invited to pay Strict attention ; as no faith, however true it may be, can be of any real service to the believer, unless it is accompanied with the spirit and life of that truth in which it is grounded. The greater the beauty of a person, the more lamentable his death. The more divinity there is in any faith, the greater is the pity it should not be alive. “ As the body without the spirit is dead, fo faith without works is dead also.”

My brethren in the ministry will not think it affuming, that I have spoken of the necessity of our paying ftrict attention to the stewardship into which God by his grace hath put us ; as it was not written so much to instruct, as to show the brethren my faith ; that they may see the ground on which I stand; know the manner in which I contend for the faith once delivered to the saints; and feel for me the same fellowship which I feel for them. You may regret that my ideas were not more correct, in many inftances, and think the great subject on which I have written, might have obtained better justice from some more experienced writer, in which you have the same ideas with myself. But in this you may be satisfied, that I have written as I now think and believe, without leaning to the right, or to the left, to please, or displease. I have been often folicited to write and publish my general ideas on the gospel, but have commonly observed to my friends, that it might be attended with disagreeable consequences, as it is impossible to determine whether the ideas which we entertain at the present time are agreeable to those which we shall be under the neceffity of adopting after we have had more experience ; and knowing, to my satisfaction, that authors are very liable to feel such an attachment to sentiments which they have openly avowed to the world, that their prejudice frequently obstructs their further acquisitions in the knowledge of the truth ; and even in cases of conviction, their own felf-importance will keep them from acknowledging their mistakes : And having fome knowledge of my own infirmities, I felt the neceflity of precaution, which, I have no reason to believe, is, or has been injurious.

I have had, for some time, an intention to write a treatise on this subject, but thought of deferring it until more experience might enable me to perform it better, and leifure give me opportunity to be more particular. But the consideration of the uncertainty of life was one great stimulus to my undertaking it' at this time, added to a postibility of living to be informed with what fuccefs it meets in the world, and of having an opportunity to correct whatever I might, in my future studies, find incorrect, were not the smallest causes of my undertaking it.

It has often been said, by the enemics of the doctrine for which I have contended, that it would do to live by, but not to die by ; meaning that it would not give the mind satisfaction, when sensible it was about to leave a mortal, for an immortal state. As to the truth of the affertion, I cannot pofitively fay, that moinent has not yet been experienced by me ; and, as those who make the remark have never believed the doctrine, I cannot fee how they should know any better than I do. Thus much I can fay, I believe I have seen, and often heard of persons rejoicing in the doctrine, in the last hours of their lives ; but I do not build my faith on such grounds. The forrows, or the joys of perfons, in their last moments, prove nothing to me of the truth of their general belief.

A Jew, who despises the name of Christ, from the force of his education, may be filled with comfortable hopes, in his last moments, from the force of the fame education.

I have no doubt but a person may believe, or pretend to believe, in the doctrine of universal salvation, when he knows of no folid reason for his belief, but has rather rested the matter on the judgment of those in whom he has placed more confidence, than he has, in reality, on the Savior of the world ; and I think it very possible, that such Universalists may have strange and unexpected fears, when the near approach of death, or any other circumstance, should cause them to think more seriously, on so weighty a subject.

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There must be a time, with all men, whose faith and confidence are placed in any thing short of divine mercy, that will be extremely trying ; and all the education in the world cannot prevent it.

What my feelings might be, concerning the doctrine which I believe, was I called to contemplate it on a death bed, I am as unable to say, as I am what I may think of it a year hence, should I live, and be in health. But I am fatisfied, beyond a doubt, that if I live a year longer, and then find cause to give up my present belief, that I shall not feel a consciousness of having professed what I did not fincerely believe ; and was I called to leave the world, and my writings in it, and at the last hour of my life should find I had erred, yet I am satisfied that I should possess the approbation of a good conscience in all I have written.

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Therefore, though sensible of my imperfections, yet enjoying great confolation in believing the doctrine for which I have argued, in the following work, and in the enjoyment of a good conscience, I submit the following pages to a generous and candid public, praying for the blesing of the God whom I serve, on the feeble endeavors of the most unzuortly whom he hath called as a servant of all men.

THE AUTHOR.

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