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relied on what they said, or hoped the accomplishment of the things spoken of; so declared what they believed not, and predicted what they did not expect should come to pass.
'But what is it mercenaries will not attempt against those who read not the scriptures for themselves?
'If the faculties of the soul cease in heaven, all is a blank; there is neither speech, or hearing, or aught to be understood; and if the faculties of faith and hope cease, they cannot even believe their own existence, or expect the continuance of it, or credit what they see, or hope the continuance of what they have, or rely on what they hear, or expect the accomplishment of what is promised?
'They cannot believe the truth of what is said, or hope the stability of their state, or the immutability of God? They cannot hope the continuance of God's love to them in glory, but must be as the fallen angels, if destitute of faith and hope in glory.
But God forbid we should once admit that glorified spirits are destitute of faith and hope, the want of which would fill them with darkness and horror, not joy and bliss.
'But because the apostle says, "Now abideth faith, hope, and charity, these three," shall we believe that two of them fail, and that faith and hope cease, and charity abides alone? which would
be strange indeed. The apostle's meaning is clear, that they all three abide; yet of the three charity is the greater, being the root of the other two.
But the Spirit's work cannot destroy the faculties of faith and hope in the soul, which never ceases or fails, but is strengthened in heaven; for the more I love, the more firmly I believe, and ardently I hope in God.
Does the possession of a thing destroy the faculties of faith and hope? No. Nor does possession of heaven destroy the faculties of faith and hope in our souls. We looked for heaven; when in possession of it, we look at it, and rejoice in it.
'Your seeing a thing, becoming possessed of it, does not destroy the faculty of sight in you; no, that remains.
'We believe and hope for God when possessed of him. The faculties of the soul are not destroyed by that possession. Forgive this long trial of your patience,' and believe I remain, with great sincerity and love for the truth's sake,
'N. B. The un-Christ-like, unapostolic practice of chopping the Scriptures into scraps called. texts, and preaching from them, has laid the foundation of such disputations and errors as these, and many more.'
In this letter Onesimus is exposing one of my
errors, and cuts at what he knows I have often insisted upon. But this sword of his is so far from having two edges, that it has no edge at all; for he does not understand one passage that he has quoted, but has ignorantly perverted them all; and I insist upon it that he has given divine inspiration the lie in more than ten portions of holy writ.
One passage that he has quoted is this, "Now abideth faith, hope, and charity, these three;" and then he goes on, and says, 'Now abideth these three, says the apostle. Mind, now abideth. 'If all these three abide, how is it that two of them are to fail? If they are all to abide, none ' of them can fail'
Onesimus is the first man that ever I read who has asserted these things. There never was a prophet, priest, apostle, evangelist, or teacher, in this world, inspired and sent by the Holy Ghost, that ever ascribed or attributed faith and hope to Christ, to angels, or to glorified saints in heaven, to be exercised there; so that, if I have erred, I have all the inspired penmen to countenance and support me. Nor is there one text in all the holy scriptures that asserts any such thing; if there is, let him point it out. He has produced three, but knows not the meaning of one of them; therefore I shall remove these, and then all his imaginary fabric will fall about his ears.
The first is, "Now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three." I wish this learned author would read Dr. Ash upon grammar, and consider the Doctor upon tenses; for he would teach him to distinguish between the words, now, and, then. Now, cannot be accommodated to any thing future, neither to the day of death, or day of judgment; much less to eternity. Would not every man in this world, who is endued with common sense, conclude that the word, now, means this present time? It lies with him therefore to prove that this present time signifies eternity, where time is no more; and if he cannot do this, the text is mine, not his, and supports me when it buries him in his own folly,
2. The second passage he has produced to support his eternal hope is, " And they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful." This text affords him no more support than the other, for these persons were not in heaven, but on earth; not in glory, but in grace; not in the triumphant church, but in the church militant; not at rest in heaven, but at war in this world; and so it is written: "And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet, but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast. These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them; for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with
him are called, and chosen, and faithful," Rev. xvii. 12-14. These chosen ones were in the field of action, and not in winter quarters; much less enjoying their eternal pension. I must once more recommend Dr. Ash. It doth not say that the Lamb has overcome them, and crowned his subjects with glory and victory, but the words are spoken in the future tense, "These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them." This text gives no countenance to this prophet of the air, unless he can prove that the future tense always signifies the past.
3. The third passage quoted I shall put down in his own words: Do not the souls under the
altar, in hope, cry, mighty, holy, just,
How long, Lord God Aland true? Is there nothing like hope in this cry of theirs?' Surely these groans, prayers, and bitter cries, can never come from heaven, or be the employ of souls that are in a glorified and immortal state; for, when souls come to glory, "God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying; neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away," Rev. xxi. 4. When itching ears turn men from the truth they are turned to fables, says Paul: and this is true in this Onesimus. He has found out souls, that are in the agonies of death, praying, hoping, and crying, in heaven. Sure I am that my God contradicts all this: "But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, be