« PrécédentContinuer »
cise it in matters of faith; therefore could not discern the truth respecting how to attain the new birth. But after the lapse of many years, she united with the church, having a faint hope which grew brighter, still keeping her resolution not to look into the bible for anything but duty; yet was sometimes reproved by the exhortation of Solomon, viz: "Get wisdom, knowledge, and understanding."
After enjoying communion with an orthordox church for more than eight years, in consequence of moving, she changed her relation to another of like faith, and more than twenty years communed with that order; and for the eight last has believed in universal restoration; yet her present views have rather increased her love for them.
In the spring of the present year, she was, by duty, compelled to ask dismission-she frequently had opportunities to discuss upon doctrines; yet the interviews being short, prevented giving any of the church a complete reason, from scripture, for her present belief: her scripture reasons were all committed to memory, and she sought for convenient opportunities. but something would intervene : she was not at liberty to give a reason unless by request. On knowing that a few were desirous of hearing her proof of a restoration after death, she embraced the first convenient opportunity; some of the leaders being present, she acquainted them with her design; but soon discerned such a visible reluctance that they on perceiving it, did not wish to hear, unless privately. One requested her to write the proofs, and let her see them: accordingly she took her pen, not expecting to fill one sheet of paper; and it was the beginning of this work; for she soon passed the limits prescribed by herself, and never gave it to her friend to read; but continued to write without the least intention of having it printed, thinking it might be useful to her children to be directed where to find both the threatenings and promises.
STODDARD, N. H., July 1839.
REASONS FOR EMBRACING THE FAITH OF UNIVERSALISM, AND THE EFFECT OF THE DOCTRINE UPON MY MIND.
IN consequence of a tedious and fruitless search to learn the true character of that Being who gave me existence, I for many years satisfied myself with learning my duty, thinking it not very important whether I possessed a correct view respecting some particular doctrines, if I believed in the most essential ones belonging to the Christian religion; but on hearing our orthodox preacher represent my views on the subject, stating that many were resting on that ground, and that they had erroneous ideas, 'for it was of great importance that we should have correct views respecting doctrines,' I was soon convinced, and thought if I worshipped God in an unreal character, it would border upon idol worship. I then conscientiously betook myself to the study of the bible, with a prayerful desire to know God's true character, resolving to throw by superstition and tradition, and, with trembling steps, ventured to use a little reason; and so became a Universalist, by reading the truths contained in the word of God. I had, if not mistaken, enjoyed 2*
religion for twelve years; and was then deriving my main comfort from the religion of Jesus. I do not recollect that I had any aversion to the holy, self-denying doctrines and duties of religion. Christ's yoke, to me, was easy, and his burthen light. I enjoyed a hope that carried me above the slavish fear of hell. The sweet comforts I enjoyed in religious sevices had caused the world to loose its power to charm; and I longed for life and immortality beyond the grave.
I had such a desire to know the truth that it led me to my closet and bible for divine direction; and I well remember how fervently I prayed to God that he would teach me the truth as it was in Jesus. My present belief has increased my humility, and I think I have had a deeper sense of sin. I have prayed with greater satisfaction, having less selfishness, and more trust in God's goodness-a greater desire for his glory, and the good of my fellow creatures. I believe I am more conscientiously uniform in the duties of a Christian life, taking less care to "make clean the outside of the cup and platter."
I have realized the worth of the christian Sabbath more, have read the bible more prayerfully, and, if not mistaken, have felt a more benevolent concern for careless sinners around me, and for the millions of the heathen world; for I believe I am now possessed of a zeal of God according to knowledge; yet if I make no exertions to convince sinners that repentance and regeneration are requisite to prepare them for heaven, my faith will be but a dead one. "Even so, faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.”—James, 2: 17.
Our faith that Christ will have the Heathen for his inheritance, is not perfect until made so by works. "And by works was faith made perfect."-Verse 22.
Let us exercise our faith by sending the good news of a Savior to heathen nations. "For how can they believe except they hear?"
The greatest influence that this blessed faith had on me, is in enabling me to love and do good to enemies; and this is
the happy effect of believing our Heavenly Father loves and does good to his enemies; for love has an influential and assimilating power.
I AM Commencing an examination of the work contained in Tract 224, published by the American Tract Society, in a series of letters to a friend, wherein there are reasons given for rejecting the belief in Universal Salvation. I very much regret that I am able to devote so little of my time and attention to this work; but this condition falls to my lot, and I cannot, consistently, otherwise order the division of my time. But I will endeavor to improve the scanty opportunity allowed me to the best advantage I am able. As I cannot ascertain the author's name, I shall distinguish his reasons from my remarks by the word Limitarian; and mine from his by that of Restorationist.
Limitarian.-On the ground of prudence, where one side is doubtful and the other safe, it is the part of prudence and wisdom to take the safe side. Act according to this maxim and you cannot be a Universalist.
Restorationist.—Admitting it to be the part of wisdom to take the safe side, I must reverse the position by remarking that the faith of endless misery is not the safe side. Charity is always the safe side; and our obligation to view God's character with charity, cannot be less than it is towards the character of our fellow creatures. Charity thinketh no evil; but we do think evil of God's character when we believe that, for his pleasure, he made a part of his creatures, knowing that they must unavoidably go to an endless hell. Charity is a greater virtue than faith. "And now abideth faith, hope, charity,
these three; but the greatest of these is charity."-1 Cor. 13: 5, 13.
L. Those who believe in a future state of retributions, and prepare for it by a life of penitence and faith, will certainly be saved.
R. Granted; but it is the penitence and faith by which they are saved, not the belief of others' endless wo; for if people are penitent, and have that “ faith which works by love” they are on the safe side, admitting they do not believe in any punishment after this life.
L. Nothing but the clearest evidence that universalism cannot prove false, can justify any one in risking his eternal interests on its correctness.
R. The oath, and promises of Jehovah, are clear evidences that it cannot prove false; yet the Lord has appointed the use of means to be by us complied with preceding our receiving the great salvation. Nothing but the clearest evidence that endless punishment cannot prove false, can justify any one in giving God a more cruel character than can possibly be imputed to any other being whatever; for it cannot be said that any other being made us, or has the power to save us.
L. Can he then be in his right mind, who, by embracing universalism, puts to hazard the interests of his soul, who shuns the path which he knows will infallibly conduct him to heaven, and pursues one which, to say the least, may lead him down to hell.
R. This intimates, that there is virtue in the faith of others' endless misery that will have a tendency to conduct to heaven; but if any serve God for fear that otherwise they must go down where hope can never come, their services are similar to the services of those, who, to appease the anger of the devil, offered him more sacrifices than they did their God. On the other hand, it implies that those who believe that God will save all, are not only blame worthy, but will not be so likely to love and