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MEMOIR OF THE AUTHOR .
Rev. ELHANAN WINCHESTER, was born at | Neck. A revival followed; Mrs. W. was Brookline, Mass., in 1751. He early evinced among the number converted, and soon after a contemplative mind, and, being of an awk-sickened and died. Mr. W. was also brought ward appearance, shunned the society pecu- to the side of the grave by sickness, but reliar to youth, and devoted his leisure moments covered. In 1778 he was married to Sally to the acquirement of useful knowledge. At Luke, his third wife, for whom he cherished the age of five he was considered a good read- a great affection. er; and his taste for reading, together with His attention was called to the subject of the rapidity with which he prosecuted his Universalism in this year, by reading Paul studies, was soon observed by his associates Seigvolk's works, entitled “ The Everlasting and friends. Books of all kinds which fell Gospel,” but was not fully converted. The in his way were read with avidity; but arguments which he there saw, would occathe Bible was his chief favourite. With its sionally arrest his attention, and disposed him pages he was so familiar, that he was looked to propose them to others, which, to his surupon as a prodigy, for his knowledge of the prise, they could not answer. On mentioning Scriptures, and strength of memory. the subject to another clergyman, he was in.
When in his nineteenth year, he underwent formed that the doctrine had been controverted what is called by the new lights and orthodox, in Virginia, but that the daring individual who * conviction and conversion,” and soon after had preached it was suddenly "cut off commenced preaching, without being received from the earth." into the church after the usual form. On
During this year he was made to drink hearing of a revival in Canterbury, Con., he deeply of the cup of sorrow, of which he had immediately visited that place, and was bap- twice before partook. His third wife died. tized by Elder Ebenezer Lyon, and admitted He was now more zealously engaged than into the Free Will Baptist Church, of which ever, in preaching, and laboured among the Elder Lyon was pastor. In 1771 he removed slaves with great success, and very soon outto Rehoboth, Mass., and spent the year in its grew his Calvinistic principles, and preached vicinity. His youth, memory, eloquence, a free salvation. In 1779 he visited New and zeal, together with his singular dress and England, preaching on his way in many of appearance, drew multitudes to his meetings. the towns through which he passed, half inA revival followed, and a church was soon clined to Universalism, though considering gathered, over which he was ordained by El- himself its enemy. On the 7th of October, der Lyon. In the course of a short season, he of this year, he arrived in Philadelphia, and renounced his Arminian sentiments, embraced commenced preaching to the Baptist church the system of divinity advocated by Dr. Gill, in that city, by their particular request. So and became one of the most thorough Calvin- great was the excitement produced by his ists in the country.
labours, that the house could not contain the In 1772, at the request of his friends, he people ;—therefore the largest house in the removed to Grafton, where he preached city was procured, and was immediately filled through the summer. In 1773 he removed to to overflowing—the clergy of all denominaHall, nine miles east of Boston. In the Au- tions comprising a part of his congregations. tumn of 1774, he started on a journey to the Though all appeared satisfied with his Southern States. On arriving in Charleston, labours, his own mind was not at rest. The S.C., he soon received an invitation to settle subject of Universal Salvation continued to with the Baptist Church at Welsh Neck, on agitate his thoughts ; and he found no quiethe Great Pee Dee River, sixty miles from tude, until, by a candid and prayerful examiGeorgetown, which he accepted, and returned nation of the Bible, he became fully satisfied, to Grafton, Mass., for his family. In October that “God will have all men to be saved," of the next year, he returned with his family and that "he doeth according to his will, in as far as Fairfax county, Va., where he was heaven and earth.” obliged to leave Mrs. W. on account of her ill His change of opinion was soon noised health. He, however, proceeded on to the abroad, and produced a great disaffection in place of destination, where he spent the win- many of his former friends. One minister, ter. In the Spring he returned for his lady, in particular, met him in the street and parted whom he had left in the charge of a friend, with him in these words: “If you enabrace and learned on his anival, that she was in her this sentiment, I shall no longer own you for grave.
a brother.” And he was true to his word. Instead of returning to the South, as he had In 1781,“ on the first Sunday of April, Mr. designed, he came to Boston, and supplied Winchester was to preach at Germantown, for Dr. Stillman, at the first Baptist church, about eight miles from Philadelphia, among during the summer. Soon after this he was the German Baptists, who hold 'the doctrio married to Miss Sarah Peck, of Rehoboth, of Universal Restoration. As he was !:
Quinodo ha found that
of eminent ministers had just arrived from the cated his new sentiments. After preaching country, on the private request of some of his four years in this place, a hall was obtained, opposers, to hold a public dispute with him. where he afterwards preached, located on the Giving them the liberty of his pulpit for the spot now covered by the Lombard Street next day, he departed for the place of his ap- Church; and subsequently the house now im. pointment. During his absence, a report was proved by the First Uuiversalist Society, was industriously circulated, that he had fled to erected. avoid an interview ; and on Monday, when At Philadelphia, he resided in the house be returned, the delay occasioned by a funeral owned by his fourth wife, to whom he was that he was called to attend, encouraged his married in 1781, and whom he buried in less opposers, till they began to deceive them than two years afterwards, “making him, at selves with that falsehood they had imposed the age of thirty-two, four times a widower." on others. The multitude was assembled in In 1784 he visited South Carolina, and was the meeting-house, impatiently waiting for the married to his fifth wife, “ a desperate fury, dispute ; his opposers were reproaching his whom he loved with a doting fondness." In friends with his flight, and clamourously vaunt- 1787 he visited England, very much to the suring over them, when Winchester entered with prise, and against the will of his New England a serene countenance, and took his seat. A friends, and there remained, preaching in sudden change came over the assembly ; his various places for the space of six years and friends were relieved from their anxiety, and a half. While there he wrote and published they who had boasted so much in his absence, his “ Dialogues on the Universal Restorafeared to encounter him when present. His tion,” his Lectures on the Prophecies," and astonishing memory, which had already trea- - Five Letters in Reply to Rev. Daniel sured up much of the Scriptures, was well Taylor's Sermon on Endless Misery." known, and his talents as a public speaker In July, 1794, he again arrived in America. undoubted. The vote of the assembly was During this and the succeeding year, he travelthen read, by which the Rev. Mr. Boggs had led in almost all parts of the country, labourbeen selected to dispute with Mr. Winchester. ing under a broken constitution, and an Mr. Boggs then arose, and thus addressed the increasing asthma, which foretold a fatal people: "I am not prepared to dispute with termination. Mr. Winchester. I have heard that he says In October, 1796, he made his first appear. it would take six weeks to canvass all the ance in Hartford, Con.; at the grave of a
guments on both sides; and I sup- young man. The people were assembled pose that he has been studying on the subject around the grave, when they were surprised for a week or more, and I have not studied at at the voice of a stranger, who, unasked, had all.” Discovering that there was to be no taken the freedom to address them on the ocdebate, Mr. Winchester then begged the pri- casion. His language and manner were very vilege of explaining and defending his own affecting, and excited a general wish to hear sentiments, for two hours, and finally for only him again. Accordingly, he gave one or two one hour; but, as might have been anticipated, lectures during the week, and preached the they who dared not meet him on equal ground, next Sunday in the theatre. A respectable dared not allow him to exhibit his strength; congregation was soon gathered, among which his request was wholly refused. They felt, were some gentlemen of influence. however, the necessity of providing some Thus he continued preaching, till about the business worthy of the great preparations that 1st of April, 1797, when he delivered a serhad been made; and accordingly, when one mon, under a strong impression that it was his of the ministers rose and said that their busi- last, from St. Paul's farewell address to the ness was not to debate with Mr. Winchester, elders of the Ephesian Church. but to ask him whether he believed that bad entered his desk again. His death was fast men and angels would finally be restored; approaching, and he contemplated it with serethe rest immediately agreed, and insisted that nity and joy. On the morning of his decease, he the question should be put to him. “Do you requested two or three young ladies, who were believe in Universal Restoration ?" Mr. sitting by him, to join in singing a hymn, obser. Winchester's friends objected to his answer- ving at the same time, that he might expire ing the question, unless he had leave to vin- before it should be finished. He began with dicate his sentiments; but he rose, and them, but his voice soon faltered, and the observing that he feared no use which could torpor of death fell upon him. They were be made of his words, told them plainly, that disconcerted and paused; but he reviving, he did believe the doctrine of Universal Res- encouraged them to proceed, and joined in toration, and was willing to defend it. After the first line of each stanza, till he breathed some conversation, the ministers advised the no more. This was on the 18th of April, church to obtain another pastor; and the 1797, in the 47th year of his age. matter was so managed, that though Mr. His fiineral was attended on the 21st, by a Winchester's adherents were at firsta majority numerous concourse of afflicted friends and of the society, the scale was soon turned sympathizing spectators. The Rev. Dr. Strong against them, and they excluded him from the preached the sermon from Heb. ix. 27, in meeting house.
which, though an opposer of his sentiments, On the 22nd of April, he delivered a sermon he gave Mr. Winchester anexcellent character, in the hall of the Pennsylvania University, and bore a frank testimony !o his final con
BETWEEN A MINISTER AND HIS FRIEND.
CONTENTS OF DIALOGUE I.
OBJECTION.—That the words everlasting, eternal, &c., are applied to the punishment of the wicked.
ANSWER. - These words are but seldom applied to the misery of the wicked; being connected
applied to future misery, unless they intend endless duration ? And does not the limiting these words
ANSWER.—T'he Hebrew word rendered everlasting properly intends a hidden duration, or period,
a fixed habit in them, from which it would seem as impossible to reclaim them, as to draw off the
ANSWER.- This reasoning is founded upon the old pagan system of good and evil being two eter.
OBJECTION.-But does not the word all frequently intend a part only?
ANSWERED.-By giving certain never failing rules, whereby it may be known when the word all
OBJECTION.-That perhaps by all things being put under Christ, nothing farther may be meant than their being brought into a siate of forced subjection, or made subject to his control.
Answer.-'l'hey are now put under him in this respect, but they are not yet put under him in the sense that they shall be, which implies a state of willing subjection. The word many frequently means all. All things were created by Christ; all rebellious beings shall be subdued by him, and all without exception shall be reconciled by him, and through him, to God.
Friend. I have taken the freedom to call, the presence of the Lord, and from the glory upon you, to have a little discourse with you of his power.” concerning the doctrine of the Restoration of Jude 6, 7. " And the Angels which kept all Things, which it is said you believe; and not their first estate, but left their own habitato propose some objections.
tion, he hath reserved in everlasting chains unMinister.- am happy to see you, and am der darkness, unto the judgment of the great willing to discourse, as well as I am able, up-day: even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the on any subject that may be agreeable; but I cities about them in like manner, giving themhave always made it a rule never to press the selves over unto fornication, and going after belief of my sentiments upon my friends; and strange flesh, are set forth for an example, sufI can safely say, that, though such great fering the vengeance of eternal fire." pains have been taken by my adversaries, to These texts, together, form such an objecprejudice people against me, I have never tion to the doctrine of the Restoration, that I gone about from house to house to propagate can by no means believe it, unless this can be iny opinions; and I make it a universal rule fairly answered, and proofs brought from the not to introduce the subject in conversation, Scriptures to shew, that the words everlasting unless desired; but yet I never have refused and eternal, (which are translations of the to own my sentiments, when asked, respecting same word and synonymous) being connected the matter; and am ready, in the fear of God, with the punishment of the wicked, and their to answer any objections that can be made, to future misery, do not necessarily imply the a doctrine which I believe is plainly revealed continuance of the same while God exisis. in the Scriptures of truth, and appears to me Minister.I am glad that you have so fairly worthy of God.
and fully stated the matter; and I highly comFriend. I shall first of all bring to view mend your resolution, not to believe the unithat grand objection, which is formed from the versal doctrine, unless this can be answered word eternal or everlasting, being applied to a fully, without any torturing or twisting the future state of punishment; as in the follow. Scriptures; and if I am not able with God's ing passages: Isaiah xxxiii. 14. " The sin-assistance, to remove this difficulty, I will ners in Zion are afraid, fearfulness hath sur- publicly recant my sentiments. prised the hypocrites. Who among us shall But, before I come to give a direct answer, dwell with the devouring fire? Who among I would beg leave to remark how very seldom us shall dwell with everlasting burnings." this word is used to express the duration of
Dan. xii. 2. • And many of them that sleep punishment. We should think, by some serin the dust of the earth shall awake, some to mons we hear, that everlasting is applied to everlasting life, and some to shame and ever- misery in every book of the New Testament, lasting contempt.”
if not in every chapter. A friend of mine told St. Matt. xviii. 8. “Where if thine me, that he was once preaching in Maryland, hand or thy foot offend thee (or cause thee to and after sermon a man came and asked him offend) cut them off, and cast them from thee; of what denomination he was. To which he it is better for thee to enter into life halt or answered, a Baptist. I think, says the man, maimed, rather than having two hands, or two that you do not preach up so much everlasting feet, to be cast into everlasting fire."
damnation as the Baptists and Methodists St. Matt. xxv. 41. " Then shall he say also among us do. To which my friend replied, unto them on the left hand, depart from me, ye cverlasting damnation is found in the Scripcursed, into everlasting fire prepared for the ture. True, answered the man; but some devil and his angels.' Verse 46. “ These preachers give us more of it in one sermon shall go away into everlasting punishment, ihan is to be found in the whole Bible. The but the righteous into life eternal or everlast- truth of this remark will appear, if we consiing.". The same word in the original being der that St. Luke never uses the word nionion used for both, though varied by the translators. or everlasting, as connected with the misery St. Mark. iii. 29. * But he that shall blas- of the wicked, in his gospel; nor St. Mark pheme against the Holy Ghost, hath never but once, and then in a particular case only. forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal dain- In the gospel of St. John, it is not to be found nation.
at all in that connexion, nor in any of his epis2 Thess. i. 7, 8, 9. “The Lord Jesus shall tles: in the account of the preaching of the be revealed from heaven with his mighty an- apostles through the world, in the first age of gels, in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them Christianity, we do not find it mentioned, in that know not God, and that obey not the gos- that light, so much as once: no, not in all the pel of our Lord Jesus Christ; who shall be sermons, and parts of sermons, which St. Luke panished with everlasting destruction from has preserved in the book of the Acts; thougla
the doctrine of ererlasting damnation is the there is, of necessity a change also of the law. substance of many modern discourses. St. for he of whom these things are spoken perPaul never mentions everlasting deslruclion taineth to another tribe, of whom no man gave but once, though his writings forin a conside- attendance at the altar: for it is evident that rable part of the New Testament. Neither our Lord sprang ont of Judah ; of which tribe are such words found in the Epistle of St. Moses spale nothing concerning priesthood. James, or in those of St. Peter, and but three And it is yet far more evident, for that, after times in the Gospel of St. Matthew:
and on the similiiude of Melchisedek, there ariseth ly twice in all the Old Testament. But was another priest, who is made not after the law the word aionion applied to misery but orice of a carnal commandment, but after the power in the whole Bible, it would deserve a serious of an endless life: for he testifieth that, thou consideration; and unless the force of it can art a priest forever, after the order of Melchibe removed by the authority of the Scriptures, sedek: for there is verily a disannulling of the it must remain an unanswerable objection. commandment going before for the weakness But I shall proceed to answer it, by bringing and unprofitableness thereof." Heb. vii. 12, an equal number of passages where the word 18. The whole sum of the apostle's argucrerlasting is applied to things and times, that ment, in this episile, tends to prove that the have had, or must have, an end. As in the everlasting ordinance is now no more ; and the following passages: Gen. xvii. 7, 8. “And I everlasting priesthood of Aaron and his sons is will establish my covenant between me and now abolished. thee, and thy seed after thee, in their genera Another passage where the word everlasting tions, for an everlasting covenant; to be a God is evidently used in a limited sense, is Numb. unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. And I xxv. 11, 12, 13, where we read thus: “ Phinewill give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, has, the son of Eleazer, the son of Aaron the the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the priest, hath turned my wrath away from the land of Canaan, for an ecerlasting possession; children of Israel white he was zealous for my and I will be their God.” Verse 13. “He sake among them, that I consumed not the that is born in thy house, and bought with thy children of Israel in my jealousy. Wherefore money, must needs be circumcised : and my say, behold, I give unto him my covenant of covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasi- peace: and he shall have it, and his seed after ing covenant."
him, even the covenant of an everlasting priestHere note that the land of Canaan is called hood : because he was zealous for his God, an everlasting possession; and the covenant and made an atonement for the children of of circumcision in the flesh, an everlasting co- Israel." venant, though it is certain that the land of If the word everlasting intends endless duraCanaan, as well as the other parts of the earth tion, how shall we be able to reconcile this must be dissolved or melted, in the general promise with the total cessation of the Leviticonfiagration; and circumcision is now de. cal Priesthood? As for the family of Phineclared null aud void by the Holy Ghost; and has, with whom this covenant of an everlasting the ceremony cannot endure to endless ages. priesthood was made, it was entirely deprived
Of the same kind are the following pas- of the benefit of the same, within the space of sages: Gen. xlviii. 3, 4. “And Jacob said four hundred years; for when the sons of Eli unto Joseph, God almighty appeared to me at transgressed the covenant, by profaning it, Luz, in the land of Canaan, and blessed me: God sent him word, that as they had broken and said unto ine, behold, I will make thee it on their parts, it was entirely, and to all infruitful, and multiply thee, and will make of tents and purposes, dissolved. Read 1 Sam. thee a multitude of people; and will give this ii. from the beginning of the 12th verse to the land to thy seed after thee, for an everlasting end of the 17th, and from the 27th to the end possession.". And in the blessing of Joseph of the chapter: and also, chap. iii. 11, 12, 13, he says, “The blessings of thy father have 14. prevailed above the blessings of my progeni I will transcribe verse 30, of the second lors, into the utmost hound of the ererlasting chapter in proof of my point. “Wherefore hills." By which, I suppose, the hills of the Jehovah, God of Israel, saith, I said indeed, land of Canaan were meant.
that thy house, and the house of thy father God saith to Moses, Exod. xl. 15. “ And should walk before me for crer: but now thou shalt anoint them (Aaron's sons) as thou Jehovah saith, be it far from me, for them didst anoint their father, that they may min- that honor me, I will honor; and they that ister unto me in the priest's office; for their despise me, shall be lightly esteemed." Hoanointing shall surely be an everlasting priest- phini, and Phinehas, were soon after slain in hood, throughout their generations." Lev. one day; and Saul the King of Israel, sent xvi. 81. “ And this shall be an everlasting sta- Doag the Edomite, who fell upon the priests tote onto you, to make an atonement for the and slew fourscore and five persons, who children of Israel for all their sins, once a year; wore a linen ephod, in one day.” “ And Nob, and he did as JEHOVAH commanded Moses." the city of the priests, smote he with the edge
The apostle declares, that these everlasting of the sword; both men, and women, and ordinances were only till the time of Reforma- children, and sucklings, and oxen, and asses, fion, Heb. ix. 10, and this everlasting priest- and sheep, with the edge of the sword.”. 1 hond of Aaron's son, had ceased long ago: Sam. xxii. 19. The whole house of Phine" For the priesthood being changed (by Christ) has seems to have been destroyed at this time