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view to every portion of the globe we inhabit. sympathize with every being that wears a human form, and feel that we are bound to love him as ourselves. And while we drink of the river of the water of life, we will not be satisfied, till every individual of the great family to which we belong, shall taste of that soul-refreshing stream.”
We were politely favored with the above extract, by one of our brethren in the ministry, who informs us, he carefully copied it from the Report of the Conductors of the Verinont Bible Society. Nothing could be more rich. It breathes benevolence in every strain. It is 'broad as the earth; it is high as heaven; it is rich as that gospel, which angels preached, - "good tidingis of great joy which shall be to all people.” See how beautifully it compares with the Bible.
“Our Society has no local interest, and no local prejudices." *But now, in Christ Jesus, ýe who sometimes were far off, are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and broken down the middle wall of partition ; and came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.” Eph. ii. 13, 14, 17. “We act on the principle that every man is our brother.” “For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one : for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren." Heb. ii. 11. “We confine not our charities,” &c. For if ye love theni which love you, what reward have ye? Do not even the publicans the same ?" Matt. v. 46. “We extend our view to every portion of the globe we inhabit.” “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth.” Isai. xlv. 22. "We sympathize with every being," &c. "Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ,” Gal. vi. 2. “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” “Love your enemies.” Matt. V. 44. “And while we drink,” &c. Who will have all men to be saved," 1. Tim. ii. 4. "I came down fromą heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him
that sent me," John vi. 38. “He shall be SATISFIED,"? Isai. liii. 11. "How excellent is thy loving kindness, 0 God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings. They shall be aburdantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures,” Ps. xxxvi. 7, 8.
We have now to state to our readers, that we are acquainted with some of the Conductors of the Vermont Bible Society, and have found them often engaged in vindicating the doctrines of endless misery, particular election, and reprobation. They tell us, while they drink of the river of the water of life, they. will not be satisfied, till every individual of the great family to which they belong, shall taste of the soulrefreshing stream. We therefore conclude, when they preach particular election and reprobation, they are not satisfied with it; because their view is extended to every portion of the globe, and because they sympathize with every being that wears a human förm. And need they marvel that we are not satisfied with doctrines that for ever bar the door against a large portion of the human family to which they belong, and that utterly exclude them from tasting of the soul-refreshing stream? They act on the principle that every man is their brother, but if, among these, there be one who believes that every man in due time will "taste of that soul-refreshing stream," and without which they are determined never to be satisfied, they are found to be offended. Strange to relate! but we have known some such benevolent souls, who pray day and night for the salvation of aļl the heathen, and get all the money they can to support missions among them, and yet will not consent, even to read the works of that brother who believes in the salvation of all the heathen! May the Lord forgive such inconsistency, and may they live in the life of benevolence, till they believe in the salvation of every being that wears a buman form.
We admire their benevolence, and marvel at their
faith. They will not be satisfied till all come ; but they believe Jesus will be satisfied with, comparatively, a few. They would spend the widow's mite to save a heathen's soul; yet believe millions of the heathen must be eternally lost, altho he who came to save them, possesses all the rich treasures of heaven and earth. "In all these contrarieties, we can believe them very honest and sincere ; but not without the assistance of that charity, that "beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all
OF CHRIST'S PREACHING TO THE SPIRITS IN PRISON.
The passage which speaks of this preaching is found in 1 Peter ii. 18, and on, "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, (that he might bring us to God) being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: by which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison ; which some time were disobedient when once the long suffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls, were saved by water."
On the above passage, there has been much contention between commentators, whose aim, as it appears, was to accommodate the text to their respective opinions, so as to favor their general sentiments. Protestant commentators, in general, are agreed that the preaching, noticed in the text, was the preaching of Noah to the old world. It is evident, however, that the Protestants were rather driven to such a far-fetched explanation, in order to avoid an idea which they found in the papal faith, tho that idea was more consistent with some of the ancient fathers, than the one they adopted. As long as men are disposed to learn the scriptures how to talk, before they are willing to be taught by them, the scriptures will be forced to speak as many different languages as were spoken at the building of Babel, and with as much confusion.
Our duty is plain, and as easy as it is plain. It is only to let the scripture speak' its own most natural language, connecting the divine testimony, and permitting one part to explain to us, what may appear enigmatical in another. It may be proper, in the first place, to carefully examine the passage in Peter with a view to see what it says; and in the second place it may be
proper to allow that the passage says what it really means, and then illustrate the text by the assistance of other passages.
The text says, 1st, That Christ has once suffered for sins. 2d. That he, being just, suffered for the benefit of the unjust. 3d. That the benefit which was designed to result to us, as the unjust, from the sufferings of Christ, is, our being brought to God. 4th. Christ being put to death in the flesh was his suffering for sin, and his being quickened by the Spirit enables him to bring us to God. 5th. Christ having been put to death in the fiesl, and quickened by the Spirit, by which he had power to bring sinners to God, he went and preached to the spirits in prison. 6th. These spirits in prison, to whom Christ preached, were disobedient when the long suffering of God waited in the days of Noah. 7th. The preaching to those spirits in prison was performed, by Christ, after he was put to death in the flesh and quickened by the Spirit. The foregoing seven particulars are as plainly expressed in this
text, as we could reasonably expect that they might be in so few words, nor does it appear that there are any words wanting to carry those ideas with plainness to the mind. As was proposed, we will now allow that the text really means what it says, and look for an illustration of the disputed part, in other scriptures.
The opinion which modern commentators oppose to that of the ancient fathers of the church, is, that the preaching noticed in the next, was performed by the spirit of God in Noah, to the inhabitants of the earth in the days before the flood, while those to whom this preaching was sent were in the flesh.
It has been hinted before that this far-fetched explanation was a mere shift to which Protestant divines were driven ; and on a candid view of the text, it is natural to suppose that something very formidable must have attacked them, to have driven them to such an unwarrantable shift. There is nothing said in the text about the Spirit's preaching, or of Noah's preaching. To how many inhabitants of the old world is it supposable that Noah could have preached ? The number must have been very few, in comparison with the whole. And yet if he had had the power to preach to every individual of the old world, it ought not to be used to prove that Christ did not preach to their spirits, after he was put to death in the flesh and quickened by the Spirit, as stated in our text. That Jesus Christ does actually possess, as Lord of all, the dead as well as the living, St. Paul shows in Rom. xiv. 7, 8, 9, “For none of us liveth to hiinself, and no man dieth to himself. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord : whether we live, therefore, or die, we are the Lord's. For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living. St. Peter, seemingly with a design to make this subjeet as plain as possible, alluding in his fourth chapter to what he states in his third, speaking of those who should give an account to him who is ready to judge both the quick and the DEAD, says, verse 6th, “For, for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.”
By this the apostle tells us, what was preached to the spirits in prison, and what it was preached for. It was the gospel that was preached, and it was preached to those who were not in the flesh, that they might be judged as if they were in the flesh, but that they might live according to God in the Spirit; even that Spirit which quickened Christ and gave
power to bring us to God. In this subject there is not the least ambiguity, nor is there any other difficulty than that it is as plain and direct a contradiction of the commonly received opinion, i. e. that there is no