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heads of those who are the most famous for human havock; and he that is the most victorious in destroying human lives, is extolled as most honourable and worthy! Oh! strange perversion of the nature of things!-sad contrariety to the design of the gospel!
But to return. As wrath begets wrath, railing, railing, and resistance, resistance; so on the other hand love begets love, forbearance, forbearance, and forgiveness, forgiveness. And thus, were all christendom true Christians, not resisting evil, but turning the other cheek, or patiently enduring threatenings, and even ravages of inveterate heathens, no doubt to me but it would the most effectually, of any conduct, soften their hearts, and beget relentings and compassion; and some among the heathen would be hereby converted to the Christian faith. Oh! glorious victory! Oh! valiant overcoming! infinitely superior to all the vain glory of an Alexander, or the shouts and triumphs of conquering commanders. What! an heathen converted to the Christian faith by thy example. A wrathful, wicked warrior turned to truth and righteousness by thy submissive chris. tian temper! Be assured, if thou perseverest to the end, and thus turnest many to righteousness, thou shalt shine as a star in the firmament of God's power forever and ever.
But, alas! alas! (my soul is grieved at the prospect,) the case is sadly otherwise. Heathens and infidels are much more likely to be hardened in their infidelity, hardness of heart, and cruelty, than to be softened into tenderness, and won to truth and righteousness, by the example of carnal and revengeful Christendom, Oh! had primitive purity remained; had love, benevolence, and forgiveness increased; how would Christians at this day have had to rejoice in the spreading of that gracious declaration, "Peace on earth and good-will to men," and in the coming of the kingdom of Jehovah on earth, as it is in heaven! How would swords and spears have been beaten into instruments of usefulness to mankind! And how might the sons of the morning have sung and shouted for joy! But though this glorious day is thus long deferred, through the unfaithfulness of Christendom, yet it must in time arrive, and blessed shall he be, who, in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, shall to the end
valiantly bear his saviour's dying cross, and hold forth a faithful testimony to the purity and peaceableness of the gospel day: he shall die in peace, and rest forever in a mansion of undisturbed tranquillity, and comfort inexpressible.
And now it is in my mind to address myself to those among all denominations who are convinced of the unlawfulness of war, and especially my brethren in an outward fellowship. Dear friends, you with myself profess to believe in the peaceable doctrines of the gospel; profess to trust your all in the mighty God of Jacob. Oh! that our example may correspond with this profession. The reformation must in great measure depend on our circumspection. If we live in those lusts and passions, and reach forth eagerly to compass those gratifications which sow the seeds of war, we must expect to be in some degree answerable for the calamities that ensue. If we indulge the love of money, and strain at wealth and grandeur; if we in food, furniture, and apparel, exceed the bounds of that narrow way that leads to life; if we in these things go beyond that degree which strictly consists with the true harmony of mankind, and example others in a wrong way of living, thereby raising desires in them to strive to advance themselves in the same way, this will tend to kindle undue anxiety and inordinate exertions, and so a wheel will move within a wheel, and in the chain and connexion of things, we shall be found promoters of war and desolation.
Therefore, let us all, who are convinced of this glorious peaceable principle, deny ourselves, and take up our cross, yea, our daily cross, to every thing that tends to retard the universal spreading of righteousness and peace over the face of the earth. Let us endeavour to avoid strengthening the bands of wickedness by word or deed; but especially it lives in my mind to urge the necessity of our dying to the love of the world, and to every desire to possess and enjoy, to taste or be gratified with this world's goods, beyond the bounds of a strict conformity to the self-denying life of Jesus. For every step beyond the necessary supply of nature's wants, I believe tends to feed a part in us that is our enemy, and ultimately to create wars and calamities; and in this sense I do believe many of us are more or less account
able for the present unhappy broils and contentions. And I further believe, and desire to express it in that love that travails for a restoration to primitive purity, that our particular society, when we all come to be content with real necessaries, and indulge no imaginary wants, will both wear a very different aspect from what it has and does; will relinquish many things, now thought necessary; and also will shine forth in ancient lustre and beauty. And this I believe the Lord is on his way to bring about, and will effectuate.
It has often dwelt on my mind, that if his calls to us immediately by his spirit, instrumentally by his servants, to narrow the path of life; if his secret influences are not attended to, and our minds given up to follow him in self-denial, he will use means that will narrow the path for us. These things I express, as I have felt them, not once or twice only, but repeatedly. Therefore, Oh! that we may be wise, and dwelling near the fountain of life, draw fresh supplies from day to day, which may enable us to live so as to hasten the reformation in the earth, and hold forth an example to the nations of pure religion, dependance on, and resignation to God; not daring when smitten, to smite again, nor to contribute in any wise to the cause of war and bloodshed; but let all nations see and bear testimony that it is not in profession only, but in life and practice, that we renounce the service of that roaring lion, whose work it is to promote revenge and slaughter. And no doubt at all, we shall by so doing, find the Lord to be our portion, protection, and exceeding great reward. We shall be enabled to sing in the midst of drums and trumpets, swords and bayonets, cannons and thunderings; and be much better preserved from harm, than by resisting force by force; and finally shall be conducted safe through the pilgrimage of this world, to an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
"Here is the faith and patience of the saints." Reader, in much good will to thy immortal soul, I put my pen to paper; so in the same I rest thy real friend,
EPISTLE OF TENDER CAUTION,
STUMBLING AT THE FAULTS OF OTHERS.
IT has been the work of the restless adversary of human happiness, in all ages of the world, to strive to keep man in darkness, or to bring him into it. Those who are in it, he strives to keep in it; and those who have been redeemed in some degree from it, he strives to captivate and beguile into it again and his design in both is, to prevent the enjoyment of the sweet flowings of the love of God, and the powerful communication of the holy ghost. For he knows that these enjoyments are only witnessed in the light. He also knows the light would shine, and even prevail to the letting the soul into the full fruition of those divine enjoyments, if he did not with all his might strive to propagate the kingdom and power of darkness in and over people's minds.
Now, the stratagems he makes use of are many and diverse; one of which, and that not the least, it has been pressingly on my mind to write a few lines upon, by way of caution to such as are desirous to land safe at last, in the mansions of undisturbed felicity. I have no desire to write one word on this occasion, but what may be of use, and tend to strengthen those desires and strivings which the Lord of hosts delights in. Therefore, I desire that all prejudice may be laid aside, and my words weighed in that balance that ever is accompanied with a just weight, and tried by that ear that trieth words, as the mouth tastes meat.
The particular snare of the adversary, that my mind is engaged to guard, caution, and encourage against, is this, stumbling at the failings of others. A potent engine, a powerful instrument
which prevails by satan's influence, to the weakening the faith of many. But, alas! alas! why will a spirit bound to eternity, stumble over the failings of flesh and blood? Why will a soul, that must finally settle accounts between God and itself, spend time, waste time, to muse and despond at the infirmities of another? The frailties of a thousand, cannot impair the unchangeable truth and righteousness of Jehovah. The hypocrisy of ten thousands cannot deprive the faithful persevering soul, of the all-sufficient assistance of the mighty God of Jacob. It is an everlasting truth, that there is a right way to serve God; and though a multitude fall on the right hand, and an host of those who have been as stars in the firmament, revolt on the left; yet the true way-faring man, though a fool, cannot err in that way which the Lord hath cast up for the ransomed to walk in. We are told that the dragon's tail drew a third part of the very stars from heaven. Was this told to stumble us? Surely nay; but still the cry is," Come up hither, and I will show thee the bride the Lamb's wife." Now, the stumbler may say, "I have strove to see the bride'; I have thought I had seen her; I have viewed her, and her beauty fades away; her brightness disappears." But, mark well! the call is, "Come up hither and I will show thee." It is not while we stand gazing at imperfections, and reasoning upon faults, that we must expect this divine prospect. No, no. But, "Come up hither, and I will show thee the bride, the Lamb's wife." This "come up hither," imports something very different from that halting, lingering behind, and, as it were, sticking in the mire, which my soul has truly mourned over and lamented.
I think I am a living witness, and can testify, that there are some, who have long ago been kindly visited, and tenderly invited by the Lord, to come and see how good he is; and who have even tasted, in a degree, of the sweetness his love, who are yet far behind-hand with their day's work, are halting, doubting, and, (may it not offend them,) are feeding on the serpent's food; which was denounced by the lip of truth to be dust, and that all the days of his life. And I also declare, under a feeling sense of divine authority, that nothing better shall be the food, to all eternity, of such as spend all the days of their VOL. II.--36