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But the apos
pose of turning them from darkness to light, Acts, xxvi. 17, 18, “Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, to open their eyes, “ and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sing and inheritance among them who are sanctified by faith that is in me.” Thus I ground my opinion that these evangelical preachers are the angels of the parable. He was carried by angels into, where?
19. Abra'am's bosom. What are we to understand by the bosom of Abraham ? The character of Abraham was rendered illustrious by faith, and the bosom is the proper seat of this grace. With the heart man believeth. The apostle James, ii. 21. asketh “ Was not Abraham our father justified by works." tle Paul in his Epistle to the Galatians, iii. 6, 7, 8, 9, fully explains whatever may appear problematical “even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. And the scriptures, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. So, then, they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.” From these testimonies may we not conclude that the angel's car. rying this poor man into Abraham's bosom is a striking figure of the apostles, by their administration, bringing the Gentiles inte that same irradiating faith, by which the mind of Abraham was illumined, when he confidently believed, that in his seed, which the apostle informs us is Christ, all the nations of the earth should be blessed? And was not this the view of our blessed Lord, when he told the Jews, Matthew, viii. 11,
should come from the east and the west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom should be cast out into outer darkness where should be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Blessed, forever blessed be the God of our salvation, that even this darkness, this gnashing of teeth, shall, at the winding up of the great drama, be no more: for the word of omnipotence is pledged, Matthew, xix. 30, that though this peculiar nation, once the first, hath, for wise, and paternal reasons, become the last, yet the last shall be first, and thus the individuals who make up the race of Adam being included in VOL. I.
unbelief, the head of every man will have mercy upon every member of his extensive family.
20. He is comforted-Certainly, for as a state of darkness is a state of gloom, and consequent terror, so light, the refulgent light of life, dispelleth those terrific, and heart appalling fears, which so deeply torture the reflecting mind, yea verily, there is peace and joy, light, and life, in believing. The prophet Isaiah seems to have the aggregate plan of Jehovah in view, when under the influence of holy inspiration, he says, chapter xxxii, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, “Upon the land of my people shall come up thorns and briars; yea, upon all the houses of joy in the joyous city: because the palaces shall be forsaken; the multitude of the city shall be left; the forts and towers shall be for dens forever, a joy of wild asses, a pasture of flocks.” Here the destruction of this city is explicitly foretold, until how long ? Let the evangelical prophet give the answer. “ Until the spirit be poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness be a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be a forest. Then judgment shall dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness remain in the fruitful field. And the work of righteousness shall be peace, and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance forever.” This is indeed an exhaustless source of consolation. The beatified state of this poor man, or tlie Gentiles brought into the faith of Abraham, is very beautifully described by our Lord under the metaphor of a marriage, or a wedding fcast, and in Matthew, xiii. 16, he says, “ Blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. Incalculable indeed are the blessings consequent upon hear. ing and seeing the things that make for our eternal peace. Justly then does the Patriarch observe - He is comforted." He is under the influence of, and continually taught by that spirit, who is by way of eminence, called the comforter, and this spirit is constantly taking of the things of Jesus, and exhibiting them to the believing soul. So great is the peace of the Christian man, that it floweth like a river, it is to him like a vell of water springing up unto everlasting life. Nay, so incommunicable is the felicity of those carried by angels into the bosom of Abraham that after every figure expressive of completely perfect bliss is introduced, for the purpose of evincing their unclouded, unexampled happiness, it is added, “a stranger intermeddleth not with their joy.
I could dwell with peculiar pleasure upon this last head, but I may already be considered as sufficiently prolix, yet I have but just
touched on the proposed particulars, though it must be confessed that however brief, and even obscure, these hints may be, the disciple of Jesus Christ will not fail to trace, and understand them, and were they much more explicit, and copious, upon the disciple of Moses, the veil would still be continued.
Should my views appear to consist with those holy records which you treasure as the good words of your God, you will gladly adopt them, although they may not correspond with the creeds and traditions of men. I am aware that among those who are hailed as scribes, instructed in the kingdom of Heaven, there are, who departing from the idea of metaphor, regard the parable as an historical fact, among those we, in times past, had our conversation, and we know they will raise objections to our ideas, and exposition, if for no other reason than because they are not in unison with the sentiments they have adopted. Such persons will demand “How can this parable be figurative of the Jewish, and Gentile nations, when it is notorious that many of the former are brought into the light, and many of the latter remain in darkness, after the time of shutting up the one, and emancipating the other."
To whicli we answer, that as much the greatest number of the Jews then, and all now, were, and are, enveloped in thick darkness, and as there were a greater number of the Gentiles then, and all shall be, illumined by the light of life, ere the people of Israel recover their elevated standing, ere the deliverer shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob, and all Israel shall be saved, and as God often speaketh of things that are not yet accomplished (prescience ranking among the attributes of Deity, and giving a decided knowledge of futurity) as though events had absolutely succeeded. I conceive our foundation is too deeply laid, for objections like these to demolish a superstructure, consisting in every part, and cemented by, I had almost said, numerous scripture testimonies.
I do not however assume the chair of infallibility: I but deliver my sentiments. If I can meet an exposition more agreeable to reason, and scripture, I will unhesitatingly embrace it, surrendering, without a sigh, the conjecture I have hazarded.
I am, &c. &c. &c.
TO A LADY,
Who had written to the Author, while suffering under a temporary
derangement, originaling in fearful apprehensions relative to her situation in the World of Spirits.
I have before me a collection of writings from your pen, forwarded to me by a philanthropic friend. It is unnecessary to say that I greatly lament the present state of your mind : but I rejoice in the assurance that in the Saviour's time you will be brought out of darkness, into the light of life, and be translated from the kingdom and power of Satan, our inveterate, implacable adversary, into the kingdom of our everlasting, never failing, unalterable friend, the friend of sinners, the son of the ever living God.
Yes, Madam, I do remember, that many years since I was providentially introduced to a lady, who being then under the influence of the arch-deceiver, (who was from the beginning a liar) imagined herself a devil, and that she endeavoured to persuade me to credit her wild, and irrational assertion'; but I remember too, that I had then the inexpressible pleasure of convincing her of the utter impossibility of her assertion, the devil being a spirit, and a spirit being without flesh, or boncs, both of which it was manifest she possessed. I remember, I informed her, that although my commission, as a preacher of the Gospel, did not extend to the fallen angels, having received no command to preach the gospel to devils, I was yet authorized to preach to her; she was of my own order, a fallen sinner of the race of Adam.. I granted, indeed, that this suffering lady might have been possessed by the devil, and I pointed the mourner, to one of her own sex, who was afflicted by seven of these infernal spirits, and I adverted to the man among the tombs, possessed by a legion ; but, I added, that as the Redeemer of men distinguished, in both these instances, between the tormented indi. viduals, and the beings by whom they were tormented, accepting the former, with never failing compassion, and dismissing the latter; so I was enabled to assure her, that God would do with her, and every part of his inheritance, held by this strong man armed. I do remember also, that while I preached peace by Jesus, who is Lord of all, the spirit of God took of the things of Jesus, and shewed them unto the sufferer, and that the evil spirit, not being able to continue (for light and darkness, Christ and Belial cannot dwell together) left her, and she had peace and joy in believing, and consequent upon believing, she was saved from all the misery, and torment she now endures in consequence of not believing
However, let not the enemy rejoice over her, although she be fallen, she shall arise again, although she now sits in darkness, the Lord will be a light unto her, for he who gave himself for her hath said I will never leave thee nor forsake thee. He hath said, when thou passest through the waters I will he with thee and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee : when thou walkest through the fire, thou shait not be burnt, neither shall the flame kindle upon thee, so thou shalt not be drowned by the one element, nor burned by the other.
You ask me “why I pretended to cast out Satan by the power of Satan?” But, my dear Madam, I did not pretend to cast out Satan at all, I only made mention of the power and loving kindness of our Saviour, who as a conqueror of death, and him who had the power of death, that is the devil, could by a single word, separate him from you, and every individual of the human family, and who has moreover promised that he will, in his own due time, accomplish this peace-establishing, predetermined division. But if the power of Satan could cast out Satan, then it should be remembered the kingdom would be divided aginst itself, and, of course, could not stand.
Poor, stricken sufferer, you have indeed fallen among thieves and robbers, who have cruelly mangled and plundered you, but although you may be robbed and wounded, and left half dead, the good Samaritan still lives, and is as full of compassion as ever, and what the high Priest and the Levite will not, cannot do, he is both able and willing to perform.
You desire me to read the prophecies of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel. I will, I do, and whenever I take them to read, I will remember the words of our Saviour. Search, says he, the scriptures, they testify of me. All the prophets testify of him, and what do they testify of him? What says Isaiah? Surely he hath borne our