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into the hands of a Treasurer, what he would be obliged to pay to the parish Collector, and having thus legally made payment, let him be furnished with a certificate to produce when called upon by the Collector of parish rates. Do you say, that
you should not have many to join with you on this principle ? Better have none at all, than have them on any other principle; what advantage can you derive from associating with unprincipled men ? Why should you bear the burden of such worthless characters ? But, thus conducting, you will have none but real, honest, true believers, and one such a believer will be better than one hundred of a contrary character, and you will always find honesty the best policy; it will be advantageous to you both as members of society, and as christians. Possibly you will say, if we thus regularly pay as much as was demanded of us in the several parishes to which we have belonged, what are we to do with the money thus collected ? Perhaps you may in time accumulate as much as if put out to interest ; may enable you to support a minister without any additional charge, or you may accumulate sufficient to build a house for the worshippers of God; or you may be able to assist your suffering brethren, which is one of the first christian duties, and, I had almost said, worth all the rest. Your stock, however, will be continually increasing, and it will be the joint property of each of your members, you will by this means have none but the best men in your society ; whereas, if you do not adopt some such plan, you will very probably have some of the worst.
There are, no doubt, many generous, well disposed men among you, who would be glad to hear the gospel preached in its purity ; but as the poor have the gospel preached unto them, so the poor in general are the preachers of this gospel. They cannot go a warfare at their own expense, they must be helped on their way.
If a preacher should visit you, in your present circumstances, he must be a burden on one, or a few individuals, but this is not right, why should the few act for the many? This is not reasonable, this is not just; we should be just as well as generous ; but if you are connected in church fellowship with an increasing fund of your own, the necessary expenses attendant on a visit from a messenger of peace, could be defrayed out of the common stock. j Do you say, the ministers of Jesus Christ having freely received, should as freely give ; they should not sell the gospel, seeing they did not purchase it? your remark is just; it is a heinous sin to make merchandise either of the gospel, or the people to whom they are commanded to preach. But, although the messengers of peace have no right to sell the
gospel, they are not obliged to give their time and the bread of s their families to you; if they labour in sowing unto you spirit
ual things, it is a light thing that they reap at your hands carnal things; and, suffer me to add, if you do not consider the former more valuable than the latter, to preach to you, would, I fear, be to very little purpose.
But you say, “It is against the conscience of some individuals, to pay any thing for the support of any religion.” There may be those who are of this description, and, perhaps, they would be glad to have it in their power, to avoid giving or paying any thing on any occasion; but it is never against the consciences of persons who thus express themselves, to receive all they can obtain in every way. Indeed, the very reason, why so many are loath to part with their property, operates in favour of their getting and keeping all they have a chance of grasping. But I have as much right to expect your people to come and till my land, and sow, and reap it for me, bearing their own expenses all the time, as they have to expect labourers to come among them, to labour for their profit, at their own charge. I confess it would give me, as an individual, and, I doubt not, many others, much gratification, to be able to go through the country preaching the word of the kingdom, bearing my own expenses; but, I am inclined to think, there would be as much pride as piety in this mode of procedure. He that laboureth in the gospel, should live by the gospel; besides, there is no evidence that our labours are ben. cficial, if we do not see the hearts of the people enlarged; no one ever became a believer of the gospel, but felt his heart enlarged; and if faith does not take place in the hearts of our hearers, then have we laboured in vain.
You have expressed a wish, that I would visit you; and it would give me pleasure to gratify you. I am solicitous to know if the spirit of my divine Master, has been taking of the things of Jesus and showing them unto you. A view of your order would exceedingly refresh my heart. I want to know how you are; I hear from many, that the doctrines of God our Saviour prevaileth much throughout the Union ; but from some examples which have come under my observation, I am apprehensive, that he who was a liar from the beginning, has been practising upon the minds of the credulous, that under the name of the christian doctrines, he has imposed heresies as far from the scripture tes. timony of the everlasting gospel, as this arch deceiver can possibly fabricate. There may be as much anti-scriptural, irrational, inconsistent stuff, propagated under the name of the Universal, or, as some choose to term it, Murray's doctrine, as there can be under
other name. I have sometimes imagined, that a few dreamers have taken their ideas from our enemies; and, believe ing we defended those detestable doctrines witli which our calumniators reproach us, they undertake to support them, though, in thus doing, they do as much violence to divine revelation, as any of the advocates for a partial salvation.
The adversary being convinced, that he cannot hurt the cause of truth by his own disciples, who are our inveterate foes, has, therefore, raised up some advocates for some truths, that, through their instrumentality, he may the more effectually injure the cause of truth, and still retain the ransomed of the Lord in his kingdom.
Permit ine to point out a few of the errors, which are preached and received by some individuals who call themselves Universalists.
First, Because our Saviour bath finished the work which was given him to do for us men, and for our salvation, it is asserted that we, who are saved by the LORD with an everlasting salvation, have nothing at all to do! This is a vile, detestable error; it is contrary to reason as well as revelation. Indeed, whatever is opposed to reason, is equally opposed to revelation. It is true, we have not that to do in order to save ourselves, which was done by Jesus Christ; but, being completely saved in Jesus Christ, we have much to do. Ye are, saith the Spirit of truth, bought with a price; therefore, glorify God in your bodies and spirits, which are his. Let those who have believed, be careful to maintain good. Good what? Good words ? No, truly; good works. But, in what respect can works done by us, be good? Can they be profitable to God? No; but they can be pleasing to God, because profitable unto men. In this view, they are good works ; for, as all men are dear to, and beloved by the Lord, in doing good unto all, according to our ability, we inay be said to glorify
and please God. (But, it is said by some, “We have nothing to hope in consequence of thus doing; nor have we any thing to fear from the neglect of acknowledged duties; the doctrine of rewards and punishments is a legal, and, therefore, in this gospel day, a justly exploded doctrine; we know that Jesus, being made under the law, hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, and, therefore, hath become the end of the law for righteousness, to every one that believeth.” That Jesus was made under the law, for the purpose of redeeming them that were under the law, that he hath accomplished the work he came into the world to do, by redeeming the lost nature, that he is, indeed, the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth, are divine truths, which we are neither able nor willing to oppose. But, upon this truth of God, thus manifested, depends another truth.) If Christ Jesus hath redeemed us, then we are not our own; we have one Master, we have one Father, the Redeemer of men; if we obey not this Master, if we walk not according to the direction of this Father, he will visit our transgressions with a rod; though we are, indeed, redeemed unto God by the blood of Jesus, if we sow to the flesh, we shall of the flesh reap corruption; for, whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. Though the human family do, indeed, constitute the fulness of the Saviour's body, they are delivered from condemnation, only while they walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit; and though the faithfulness of the just God, as the Saviour, can never fail, yet he shall reward every man according to his works. That work of God which was wrought by the head of every man, will be rewarded by the eternal salvation of all men. The work of the mere creature, being, according to the nature of the creature, shall have its reward. If, therefore, the ransomed of the LORD, following the direction of their Lord and Master, act consistent with their character, shall they not be rewarded? Assuredly they shall; they shall be most amply rewarded; we have the promise of our blessed Master guaranteeing the reward. Whoso giveth even a cup of cold water to a disciple, shall have a disciple's reward. Whoso giveth unto the poor, lendeth unto the LORD; and look, what he layeth out shall be payed him again. God is not unmindful of our works of faith, and labours of love. / What, because we cannot purchase heaven by our doings, or destroy death and hell by our labours, does it follow that we have, as
dwelling in this world, nothing to hope and nothing to fear? Because Jesus died for all, are all, therefore, to live unto themselves ? Nay; but he dying for all, all who live are, therefore, bound to live, not unto themselves, but to him who died for them. Let it, indeed, be proved that Jesus did not die for them, that they are not bought with a price, then they are still their own; and if they be their own, they may still live unto themselves. But no one of the human race hath a right thus to presume to live unto himself, inasmuch as Jesus gave himself a ransom for all, and, by the grace of God, tasted death for every man. , Assuredly, my friend, the ransomed of the Lord will find it as much their interest as it is their duty, to glorify God in their bodies and their spirits, which are his; they will find it their interest, if they have much, to give abundantly; if they have little, to do their diligence, gladly to give of that little ; for, thus doing, they will lay up for themselves a great reward.
The reward to which the man Christ Jesus is entitled, in consequence of the works he wrought, is the eternal salvation of Jew and Gentile, as his inheritance. So that all the Father had, being given unto him, they may be ultimately with him, to behold his glory.
Secondly, It has been affirmed, that the day of the LORD, commonly called the last day, or the day of judgment, is past. Our Saviour having said, “ Now is the judgment of this world,” such who are ever doing the work of the adversary, in proving one part of divine revelation false by another, affirm there can be no future judgment; those who are taught of God, pursue a different method; they study to point out the consistency of divine revelation, in order to establish its authority. The scribe, instructed in the kingdom of God, rightly divides the word of truth; he clearly distinguishes between the judgment of all men, in connexion with their head, where the offended, divine Nature was the judge; and judging according to law, and eternal truth and justice, did not spare, but inflicted the threatened, deserved death, on the guilty world, so that, one dying for all, all were dead. I say, he who is taught of God, can readily distinguish between this judgment, and the judgment so frequently spoken of in divine revelation, as yet in future. In the former judgment, the whole human family were judged; but they were gathered into one. The angelic Nature is also spoken of in this judgment;