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return, he should resign the congregation to me again, if I required' it. But he has remained the constant Pastor ever since. I then travelled slowly through the continent, preached to the people, and conversing with my friends to whom sometimes in private I proposed some of the arguments in favor of the general Restoration, which I had read in the Everlasting Gospel, on purpose to see what answers they could give ; and this I did especially to able ministers: but to my surprise often found them quite at a stand, not knowing what to say. And some were almost overpowered with even the weak manner in wbich I was capable of holding forth the arguments in favor of the Restoration.—And oftentimes the answer that some of the greatest men gave, were such as tended to increase my doubts respecting endless misery, rather than to remove them. I remember once, that I asked the Rev. Mr.Manning, President of Rhode Island College, and who was at that time one of my dearest friends, what was the strongest argument that he could use in favor of the doctrine of endless misery? He answered, that it was the nature of God to lay the greatest possible restraint upon sin, and therefore he had threatened it with endless punishment, as the highest restraint he could possibly lay upon it. This argument is answered in the third dialogue. Thus after much seeking I could find no satisfaction in the matter; but still my doubts increased. Notwithstanding, I withstood the doctrine of the Restoration with all my might, and sometimes preached publicly against it with all the force I could muster. Yet there was something in its favor that gained grad
ually upon my mind, and sometimes brought me to be almost willing to embrace it. I plainly saw that it would reconcile almost, if not quite, all difficulties of other systems; and I thought if I should ever receive it, I should be able to preach much easier, and more freely than ever, and with far greater satisfaction, which by experience, I have since found to be true. The ideas were sometimes so transporting to me, even while I professed to oppose the sentiment, that I have been constrained to set them forth in the most sublime manner that I was able; and sometimes so as actually to bring them who heard me converse upon the subject to believe and rejoice in the Unirersal Restoration, while I thought myself an opposer of it, and only proposed the arguments in its favor to see what effect they would have on such who never heard them before. And I was often carried away before I was aware, even while I intended only to let my
friends hear what might be said.
I remember once, while I was at my father's table in the year 1780, that I mentioned the doctrine of the Restoration, and finding that none in the company had ever so much as heard of such a scheme, I began to hold it forth, produced many arguments in its favor, brought up many objections, answered them in such a manner as astonished all present, and I was amazed at myself, I spoke with so much ease and readiness as I had hardly ever experienced before on any occasion.-Nay, I was so much animated with the subject that I said, that I did not doubt but that in sixty years time, that very doctrine would universally be preached, and generally embraced in that very
country, and would certainly prevail over all opposition.
This discourse made a greater impression upon the minds of those who heard it, and upon my own also, than I intended; and though I afterwards used the best arguments I could in favor of the common opinion, yet I found them insufficient wholly to remove the effects of what I had before said.
After spending about twelve months in the most delightful manner, constantly journeying and preaching with great success, to vast multitudes of people in my native country, I set off with intention to return towards South-Carolina. On the way I tarried some time at the Rev. Mr. Samuel Waldo's, in Pawling's Precinct, State of New-York, whose kind and friendly behaviour towards me I remember with pleasure, and mention with gratitude. I had a great deal of very agreeable conversation with him upon the malter, and he did not seem to oppose the ideas hardly at all; but only gently cautioned me against receiving any thing erroneous.
He is a man of most excellent spirit, and his family was upon the whole the most delightful, agreeable and happy family that I ever knew. While I was at his house one of his children, then about twenty years of age, seemed fully convinced of the truth of the doctrine, by listening to our conversation, and was filled with great joy at the idea.-Several religious men who were on journey, lodged at the house while I was there, got a hint of the matter, and wished to hear all that I could say in desence of it; I accordingly gave them some of the principal arguments in its favor, and obviated some of the most capital objections that could be brought against it; and I afterwards overheard them wishing that they had not been so curious as to have inquired so far into the subject, for they could not resist the arguments although they seemed resolved to treat the sentiments as an error.
In this state of mind, hall a convert to the doctrine of the Restoratior, I arrived in the city of Philidelphia, on the 7th of October, 1780. I intended to have left the city in a few days, and to have gone on towards South-Carolina, but the Baptist Church being destitute of a minister, they invited me to stop and preach with them, to which I was at length persuaded, and for sometime I was much followed, and there were great additions to the church. gregations increased in such a manner, especially on Sunday evenings, that our place of worship, though large, would by no means contain them; at length leave was asked by some of my friends for me to preach in the church of St. Paul, in that city, which was granted. This was one of the largest houses of worship in Philidelphia, and equal in bigness to most of the churches in London. I think I preached there about eighteen sermons, and generally to very crowded audiences, frequently more than could possibly get into the house; most of the clergy of every denomination in the city, heard me there, and many thousands of different people. I am inclined to think, that I never preached to 80 many before nor since as I did sometimes in that house, and with almost universal approba
tion. But now the time of my trouble and casting down came on, and thus it was.
Soon after I arrived in that city I had enquired of some friend for The Everlasting Gospel, which I could not light on for some time, but they lent me Mr. Stonehouse's book upon the Restitution of all Things, which I had never seen, nor heard of before; this very learned work I read with great care, and his reasoning, arguments, and scripture proof seemed to me entirely satisfactory.
The friends who procured me the works of Mr. Stonehouse, were concerned at my having an inclination to read any thing upon the subject; nevertheless, though there were several of them with whom I conversed pretty freely upon the matter, and who knew of my reading Mr. Stonehouse's works, yet they behaved in so friendly a manner towards me, that they never mentioned a word of it to any, until by other means it came to be known and talked of.
In the house where I lodged, when I first came to the city, I had, in the freedom of conversation, and with some appearance of joy, expressed myself in general terms upon the subject, but always in the exact words of Scripture, or in such a manner as this, viz:- That I could not help hoping that God would finally bring every knee to bow and every tongue to swear; and that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth; and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess Jesus Christ to be Lord to the glory of God the Father. And that I hoped, that in the dispensation of the fulness of times, he might gather