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which, through the blessing of God, I maintain with my labor ; finding it likely to increase, I could not well spare time to come, or I had been with you at that season, as I had nothing else in my way to hinder. Mr. John Holder, of Tring, an acquaintance of mine, has lent me a few little tracts of yours,
which I am now reading with pleasure and profit, and he has kindly offered himself to accompany me at any time that I shall appoint to come and see you, but the same difficulty is now in the way as before. If ever Providence should open a way, I shall gladly embrace the opportunity. Though I have no doubt of the doctrine of the Restoration, as to myself, I have never spoke of it in public as yet, not knowing whether that may be the way to make this glorious salvation known; but I have spoke to several of the people in private, those whom I judged to have the best understanding, and the most candor ; and most of these seem to be glad at the news, and my own wife in particular receives it with all thankfulness, and joins with me in love to you and yours. (Though very ill at this time.) If it will not be attended with too much trouble, please to send me your Diulogues, bound, by the Aylesbury stage coach. I have given the coachman an order to pay the expense. As I stand like yourself in this respect) unconnected with any party, (though I was with Mr. Wesley's people twelve years) I am now free, I trust from bigotry and prejudice, open to conviction, and willing for instruction. A few lines from you will be gratefully acknowledged, and thankfully received, by your affectionate, though most unworthy, may I say, brother in Christ,
66 THOMAS HIGGINS."
P. S. “I pray God of his mercy to give you all the wisdom that you need to make this great salvation more fully known, as I believe he hath raised you up for this purpose, and that a double portion of his Spirit may rest upon you, and that your labors may be crowned with more abundant success, till the Sun of
righteousness is seen in his full strength, and with all his ability to save.
" Direct to Thomas Higgins, Aylesbury Bucks."
I take the liberty of publishing these Letters, with the names and places of abode of the writers, as a kind of beginning of that generał acquaintance, which I should wish to see take place among all the friends of this doctrine in these kingdoms. I know several other Ministers in England, who believe and preach the Universal Restoration, and I trust their numbers will increase. In America, where I once stood almost in these views alone, (among those who speak the Eng. lish tongue) there are now many who testify this Gospel of the free universal grace of God, and they have formed a connexion of societies on this plan, who meet by their Representatives in convention yearly, at Philadelphia, and I could wish a plan of the same nature might be adopted in this country. thing that I kave spoken or written may be of use to my fellow creatures, and rnay tend to promote the glory of God, and the interest of the dear Redeemer in the world, I shall have the satisfaction to reflech, that I have not wholly lived in vain.
LONDON, April 2, 1792.
CONTENTS OF THE DIALOGUES,
OBJECTION.—That the words everlasting, eternal, sc are appled to the punishment of the wicked.
ANSWER.--These words are but seldom applied to the misery of the wicked; being connected there with only twice in the Old Testament, and but six times in the new; and are full as often connected with things and times that certainly have had, or will have an end as they are with the misery of the wicked, &c.
OBJECTION. But the words forever and ever, are applied to the misery of the wicked, &c.
ANSWER. This is a very strong phrase, and would ke judged unauswerable, but for certain considerations.
1. If the phrase forever and ever intends any period or periods, longer than the word forever, then there must be a proportion, &c.
2. This phrase as applied to future misery cannot intend endless duration. 3. It is more than probable that the lake of fire, in which the wicked will be punished with the second death, will be the earth dissolved by the general conflagration, &c.
OBJECTION.- Forever when applied to things of this life and world may end, but being applied to things of another state must mean endless.
ANSWER.-- The word forrver applied to spiritual things, and circumstances of another state must not be always understood to mean endless.
OBJECTION.But does not the phrase forever and ever, in the New Testament always intend endless ?
ANSWER.-It doth not. An undeniable instance brought in proof, to which several more might havn been added.
OBJECTION.-But is not the Scripture chargeable with a design to mislead men in these words when applied to future misery, unless they intend endless du. ration ? And does the limiting these words accuse Christ of duplicity and deceit in his threatnings?
The Hebrew word rendered everlasting properly intends a hidden duration, or period, but not endless.
OBJECTION.-The same word everlasting or eternal is in the very same verse applied both to the misery of the wicked and to the happiness of the righteous.
ANSWER.---The very same word is in other places applied to very different things, whose natures and durations are intirely dissimilar.
OBJECTION.-But upon the supposition that the doctrine of endiess damnation was true, in what manner might one expect it to be expressed in the Bible ?
ANSWER.---If it was true, there could be no promises, intimations, or even distant hints to the contrary. And it is therefore shewn to be false by a number of positive proofs. If there were not promises and intimations of the General Restoration in the Scripture, the doctrine of endless damnation might be then concluded to be true, however dark; but the endless happiness of the righteous is set forth in much stronger language, and with more abundant force of expression.
Thę endless happiness of the righteous stands upon such foundations that can never be overthrown or destroyed ; such as their indissoluble union with the original source of life and happiness; their being heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ, and the promise that they shall live because he lives ; and his life is truly endless.
OBJECTION.That since the wicked have chosen evil, persevered in it through life, it is become a fixed habit in them, from which it would seem as impossible to reclaim them, as to draw off the just from their attachment to God and goodness.
ANSWER. —This reasoning is founded upon the old pagan system of good and evil being two eternal cocxisting principles.
All men are God's creatures, and therefore he will not contend forever, nor be always wroth with the souls that he hath made.
Satan's kingdom and all evil shall be destroyed, and therefore endless misery cannot bave the same perma. nent foundation as endless happiness.
Two things diametrically opposite to each other cannot both exist together to all eternity,
OBJEOTION.—B:1t 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 means strictly all, or the whole universally without any exception; confirmed by plain instances out of St. Paul's writings.
OBJECTION.--That perhaps by all things being put under Christ, nothing farther may be meant than their being brought into a state of forced subjection, or made subject to bis controul.
ANSWER.—They are now put under bim 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.
OBJECTION --Of the worm that dieth not, and the unquenchable fire, five times threatened by our Lord Jesus Christ in one passage.
ANSWERED.--By reference to the words in the prophesy of Isa to which our Lord probably alluded.
Passages from the prophets brought to shew a literal accomplishment of the original words.
The dreadful threatenings of future misery to the wicked, implied in those words of our Savior: Thev