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for the developement of their powers, made them arbiters of their own actions, gave them opportunity of learņing to choose good and refuse evil by the lessons of experience : whereas all compulsion offers voilence to freedom, and degrades rationality. Herein the wisdom and goodness of God are rendered wonderfully conspicuous, that all the plans of divine government, for the removal of evil, for the complete happiness of the creation, have operated, will continue to operate and be completely carried into effect in perfect unison with the liberty of the creatures. Hence the gospel is never iade effectual in any soul, whatever some personis may say, by compulsion, but by allurement; the soul being led to see the real value and excellency thereof, and on that ground to believe aud obey it. For any man to demand why infinite wisdom and goodness did not continue creatures always in a state of happiness, whether they were willing or unwilling to embrace the means of happiness, discovers ignorance of the ways of God with men, and of what constitutes the happiness of moral agents, (i. e.) love by free choice. These remarks Į submit to your serious consideration : and pray remember that as reason has been much perverted, what it fidy seem to suggest must be brought to the test of evidence, and decided by facts, To suppose the universal restoration is supported on as weak a basis as what you call the suggestion of reason, is to suppose its friends no better than mad men, or enthusiasts; but if you examine, you will find, that the well informed Universalist does not decide without the most substantial evidence.
You next express your wonder what my motives can be for desiring to promulgate this doctrine. You could not start a question which I am more desirous of discussing. If the doctrine for which I am an advocate can, upon impartial grounds, be fairly proved incapable of practical prility, let it sink into oblivion; but if it be calculated to ennoble the
soul, to raise lofty conceptions of God, to produce every thing that is ! consolatory, to influence to all holy obedience, then let it spread from one
end of God's wide domains to the other, till its divine influence be felt by every creature, and God be all in all.
1. The universal and unchanging love of God to his lapsed creatures, leads my mind to such enlarged conceptions of the being who made and governs the world, as my former ideas were incapable of producing. However,confirmed I might formerly be, that the love of God to his elect.was iminutable, prior to my present views, I really thought that his design of making all his creatures happy would be eternally frustrated, or that the folly of finites would finally prevail over the wisdom of the infinite; but now to my abundant joy I clearly see that what God doth, wills, or purposes, shall stand, without either addition or dimninution, which shews how superior his nature is to all influence, either of sin or the creature : besides, his unwillingness to alllict and grieve the children of inen, is a proof that he hath a gracious end in alficting them, or that love is at the bottom of all the chastisemenis which he inflicts. Thus, upon the ground of the universal doctrine, God appears lovely in all his works and ways,
2. The doctrine ja question harmonizes the various parts of divine revelation, relative 10 the character, work, and ways of God, and proves
the whole to be worthy of him who made and governs the world: this the advocates for indless punishment can never do, with all the reasoning they are master of, until they abandon that horrid doctrine.
3. It furnishes those who receive and are under its influence, with Such powerful arguraents against infidelity, that scourge of the Almighty, as are calculated to silence the infidel and drive him from the field.
The above doctrine presents the example of God, in his dealings with his creatures, as every way worthy of our imitation, making it fully evident that what he requires of us, in our conduct toward others, is realized in his conduct in perfection. He requires us to love unceasingly our eneinies, and demonstrate it by doing them good; if our eneinies hunger to feed them, to hless and curse not; but if that doctrine be true which supposes that God will in a future state cease to love, or seek the happiness of his rebellious creatures, how will his conduct realize his own injunctions, or be a fit example for our imitation? Would not, in that case, the divine conduct be made to resemble the conduct of a priest, I once heard of, who would tell the people that they were not to do as he did, but as he said ? But if we admit the doctrine I am contending for, no such thought can be entertained by us of the God of holiness; on the contrary, we shall see that he supports all his injunctions by his own conduct towards his creatures. He calls us to exercise love, mercy, and forgiveness, that we may resemble him, from whom love, mercy, and forgiveness flow, and will never cease to flow, while any objects continue to need the communication of them.
5. It is on the ground of the Universal dortrine, and, I conceive, upon that ground only, that a reconciliation can be effected between those two leading parties of professed Christians, the Calvinists and Arminians.
Strange it is that serious persons do not more generally discover that both are right and both wrong. I cannot see how we can consistently with the Scriptures question the truth of the leading point for which Calvinists contend, namely, the immutability of the divi..e counsel, purposes, and designs; or doubt the truth of the leading idea of Arminians, namely, that Christ died for all mankind. Though neither of these parties will admit the truth of the other's position, yet they cannot completely refute each other; both have evidence from Scripture to support them, yet they do not perceive that their leading ideas are consistent with each other ; the friendly Universalist steps in to act a mediatorial part between the contending parties, to bring together, and harmonize those, for whom hope and charity united could before do no more than leave them as they were. Ah! friendly, and godlike system, prove to the Calvinist that he may retain what is excellent, valuable and glorious, in his system, yet adinit that Christ died for all: prove to the Arminian tliat he may maintain the love of God, and the death of Christ, in all their extent, yet believe in the immutability of JEHOVAH'S counsels, purposes, and designs. (For further information on this subject see Letters on Election, in the Universalist's Miscellany.)
Finally, my friend, this doctrine is not only calculated to ennoble the soul with exalted ideas of God, to justify his ways to men, to harmonize his
sayings and dispensé tions, to unite contending parties, and produce oreness among the saints; but also to the sensible sinner it affords light in the midst of darkness, for, instead of exhibiting to his view a wrathful furious being, it places before him a loving, kind, compassionate God, replete with mercy, who does not totally forsake his creatures on account of their enmity and ingratitude to him; but who follows them with loving kindness and tender mercy, taking every step for their recovery, that infinite wisdom, power, and goodness can devise, to operate in consistency with the freedom of the human mind. Oh! how calculated is such a view of the divine goodness to melt the obdurate, to conquer the enmity of the human mind. The views which Universalists have of subjects are calculated to be of the greatest practical utility. What ardent love to the human race do they inspire! what sympathy with all who are in a state of suffering! what forbearance and kindness do they produce! what strong desire of the happiness of others! Instead of inflating the mind with pride and self complacency, prompting Christians to think highly of themselves, and look down with contempt on others, it teaches humility and love to all, it constrains those who are under its influence to take by the hand their fellow men, yea their most inveterate enemies, and pray them, in Christ's stead, to be reconciled to God. This divine truth instead of leaving the mind barren and lifeless, the soul in a state of supineness, is calculated to produce the greatest inental exertion, to. ravish the soul and assimulate it into the likeness of Christ. A system so excellent in its nature, so benevolent in its object, so happy in its consequences, must necessarily inspire the Universalist with increasing desire for its promulgation, furnish him with abundant matter for fervent prayer, in full assurance that, sooner or later, the effects of the redeemer's death shall be experienced by every soul of man, and lead himn to exult. with the poet, when he says,
That vast unfathomable sea
Shall swallow all of Adam's line,
For ever lost in love divine."
Now, my friends. I submit what I have written to your serioas: examination, and propose
deliberate consideration, the benevolence of God in as often shortening the life of man; his promise to Abram, that in him all the families of the earth should be blessed : mark the absolute nature of that promise, “ shall be blessed." "Examine the promises of restoration contained in the prophets, for God hath spoken thereof by all his prophets : in particular those which relate to the restoration of Sodom, Samaria, and Jerusalem. Although the former hath for ages remained an entire desolation, yet God will restore them. The word hath gone out of JEHOVAH's mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, or be reversed, that every knee shall bow, and every longue swear to him; which implies reconciliation and subjection : yea, shall say, that in him they have righteousness and strength. Look at the case of Nebuchadnezzar, how he was humbled, and what a confession he made of the true God: hence learn whoever walks in pride he is able to abase: and you know that the reason why sinners do not seek after God is because of the pride of their countenances. The apostle declares that Jesus is able to subdue all things to himself. These are but hints; I have not opportunity to enlarge. I remain, with the sincerest affection,
WE have attended our great philanthropist in his labour of love till his
return from his first foreign tour in 1777, when he published his State of Prisons, &c. At the conclusion of this piece he pledged himself, if the legislaiure should seriously engage in the reformation of our prisons, to take another journey through the Prussian and Austrian dominions. Accordingly in 1778, he began his promised tour, and visited the intended countries, taking also the free cities of Germany in his way: he likewise extended his journey through Italy, and revisited countries which he had seen before. He returned early in 1779, and in 1780 he republished his State of Prisons. The observations which he had made in his last tour were added, as an appendix, together with some remarks concerning the management of prisoners of war, and of the convicts in the Hulks on the Thames.
În inspecting the prisons at Florence, he was accompanied by Dr. Targioni, who had been appointed by that benevolent prince, the Grand Duke of Tuscany, inspector of the hospitals, with an order to report any beneficial improvements which Mr. Howard thought mighi be made in them. Indeed, both this prince and Sir Horace Mann, our ambassador at Florence, paid him every attention, and lent him every assistance that was due to one whose sole pursuit was the alleviation of the misery of. the most wretched part of mankind.
It was in his return from this tour that he visited Dunkirk, Calais, and Bruges, in order to alleviate the distress of his captive countrymen, and procure, redress to their grievances. At the same places he did not neglect the hospitals and prisons, nor forbear to relieve the distresses of the unhappy objects confined in them by sickness, or by the iron hand of law. His conduct, at this time, and that of the French
government also, in giving him liberty to do it, present an exhilarating instance of the triumph of Christian benevolence over the cruelties of war, the folly of religious prejudices, and the deep-rooted antipathies of rival nations.
If the example of one man had such an influence upon the government of a nation, then in actual warfare with Britain, what would be the effect, if all Christains, like Howard, were to demonstrate that real
religion consists more in doing good to men, than in strenuous contention for any mysterious dogma.
On his return to England in January 1779, we find him laying an account of his poor captive countrymen before the commissioners of the sick and wounded seamen, and soliciting their assistance in his intended visit to French prisoners of war, confined in different parts of this kingdom. From these gentlemen he readily procured letters, which threw open all the prisons to his inspection, and enabled him to procure whatever inforınation he was desirous to obtain, to ameliorate the horrors of captivity to our enemies.
Thus assisted, our philanthropist proceeded in the prosecution of his benevolent designs; and during the same year examined the prisons in Plymouth, Bristol, Winchester, Horton, Deal, Carlile, Pembroke, Chester, and Liverpool, and in several parts of Scotland, and Ireland. 'In these visits he did not confine his humanity to mere inquiry into the calamities he was endeavouring to redress: he procured the release of several persons, especially boys, who were confined, after their acquittal by law, for the fees of office. Some of the more humane he prevailed with to compound, to the more inflexible he paid their full demands. Most of these 'urihappy persons were shivering in filth and nakedness; some were ill with the small pox; others sinking into consumptions, and several had wives and children who were starving around them. The most he could do with clerks of the peace, and other officers concerned, was,' as before observed, to persuade them to compound for their demands. With some sheriffs, however, he prevailed to have these children of misery and dispair released without such inhuman demands.
Mr. IIoward was as far from being backward in bestowing the assistance of his property as of his labour and his thoughts. He seems hardly ever to have entered the walls of a prison without dispensing pecuniary relief to the objects of distress whom he found immured within its gloomy walls. When at Paris, we find him visiting the prison of the Grand Chatelet on those days when the allowance of the prisoners is most scanty; because, as he said, a small donation of wine, was, on those days, most acceptable. And when in Russia, also, he attended the horrible punishment of the gnoot, his liberality afforded all the consolation of which poor wretches, almost expiring under this cruel discipline, could be sensible.
But to return, the pious labours of the year 1779 were not yet finished by Nir. H. He had previously made much enquiry into the condition and usage of transports; but Mr. Edan's bill for restraints and punishinents in lieu of transportation, which passed in the sixteenth of his present majesty, rendered the detail of abuses and cruelties in this department unnecessary; he therefore suppressed what might have excited'indignation, without producing advantage. The wretched conviets, however, were not neglected by this pattern of humanity: he had searched into the needless oppressions and miseries of these unhappy persons, and had caused a parliamentary enquiry' and reforination to take place on their behalf in the year 1778 į and now, on his return from Ireland, in the month of November, he revisited the