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FOR BELIEVING, WITH PAUL, THAT GOD IS THE
SAVIOUR OF ALL MEN,
(AS WELL AS)
SPECIALLY OF THOSE THAT BELIEVE,
Read 13th April, 1823, before the Society of United Christian Friends
worshipping in Duane-Street, New York, by
PRINTED AT THE OFFICE OF THE GOSPEL HERALD,
Before reading the following documents, we beg leave to exonerate Mrs. Maria Townsend from having in any way desired or expressed any wish that they should be made public in this place.
It was the act of your speaker, and he takes the whole responsibility on himself.
While he does this, he will however state, that although Mrs. Townsend is the relative and friend of a very respectable female member of this church, and lived one year the next door neighbour to your speaker, during the time this case was pending before the Session, he observed a scrupulous delicacy not to interfere in the matter. It is true she once invited your speaker to an interview, and stated her difficulties on the subject of the final happiness of all men. Was she to blame for this? She had stated to her own minister, in an interview she had with him, her difficulties on the subject of endless misery; and, above all, she had gone to the Fountain of truth, the Sacred Oracles of God, She has weighed the contending sentiments in the balance of the sanctuary, and the result is, that the terrible doctrine of endless misery is found wanting.
We will now read the documents.
New-York, January 31, 1822.
REV. DR. SPRING,
Some time has elapsed since our last meeting, which took place at your house, upon the subject of my differing in faith upon some points of doctrine from the church of which I had long been
a member. Since that period, I have searched the Scriptures with prayerful attention, I hope, with an eye single to the glory of God, and think I feel rather convinced of the truth than fallacy of the doctrine I at that time advocated. I am well aware that as I am not allied by faith, it is not proper for me to remain longer a member of the church over which you preside; and if consistent, would solicit a dismission, rather than submit to a public trial, (which I am informed is expected to take place) and hope my name may be withdrawn, without giving of-. fence, in love.
Although we now differ in some points, we are assured the time is coming, when all shall be taught of God, whom to know is life eternal ; when that glorious period arrives, we shall all confess One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism, One God and Father of all. My mind has at times been painfully exercised on the reflection of being denied fellowship, and communion with the church, at a time when my heart was more than ever filled with love and gratitude to my Creator, for the manifestation of his love to man, and anticipated much pleasure in commemorating that love, which led the Father to send his Son to be the Saviour of the world.
Although I was not personally acquainted with any of the members, still I felt an attachinent for them as Brethren; but in the midst of these trials, the Lord has graciously supported me. On opening his Word of Truth, he has enabled me to feed by faith upon the bread of life; he has pointed me to the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world ; on him I cast my care, for I know that he careth for me. I lately heard you preach a sermon on the atonement, the most of which was truly consoling. Your reasoning and proofs upon its extent and fulness, were unanswerable ; but when you endeavoured to show its limited application, I could not reconcile it with many scripture declarations such as, “ He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but for the sins of the whole world. Therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, (as well as) specially of them that believe. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. For the earøest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject
to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath 'subjected the same in hope : because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption, into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth (or every creature) and travaileth in pain together until now; and not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first-fruits of the Spirit, (believers) even we ourselves, groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body."
These, and many other declarations, I think, go far to show, that the atonement will prove efficacious to all for whom it was intended ; and that the purpose for which the Saviour came, will be accomplished.
“I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.”That he came to “ seek and to save that which was lost ;" and that he finished the work his Father gave him to do. The apostle tells us, that " while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” That “ there is no other name given under Heaven, whereby we must be saved, but the name of Jesus. Thou shalt call his name Jesus, because he shall save his people from their sins.” Are we not all his people by creation and redemption? (though not by faith.) people shall be willing in the day of my power. Thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. The heathen thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth thy possession.” The Psalmist, when exhorting all the earth to praise the Lord, says, “ We are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
He is good to all, and his tender mercies are over all his works.” Paul declares, “ We are also his offspring.” The apostle tells us, that “ by the offence of one, judgment came upon all men unto condemnation ; even so by the righteousness of one, the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. As in Adam all die, even so, in Christ shall all be made alive.” It appears from these passages, that the free gift is as extensive as the offence. We read, “The grace
of God which bringeth salvation to all men hath appeared, (but not yet to ali men) teaching us, that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world.”
The question naturally arises, Why are some brought to a knowledge of the truth, whilst others are left to their own blindness, and hardness of heart? Our Saviour was asked by his disciples, why he taught in parables; he replied, “ Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of