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had no kind of criminality, from which may enable the writer to give which we are free, and were sub- a particular and accurate view of the jected to no evil, of which we are
present state of our Congregational
churches, and hints concerning the not in danger.
best mode of effecting a reformation, Agreeably to an intimation in will be gratefully received by the last number of the Panoplist,
THE EDITOas. the writer intends, through the medium of that publication, to address the Christian community
EXTRACT OF A LETTER, on this important subject. He Dated March 5th, 1806, from a proposes to take a careful, Foreign Correspondent, to one though it must be a very imper- of the Editors of the Panoptial, fect survey of the general state of our churches, to remark on 6 In every period of the Chris. the most hurtful evils, which tian church, the first step toward prevail in them, and to suggest licentiousness and irreligion has what things are necessary in or
been the denial of some one of der to the prosperity of Zion in those peculiar doctrines of revethis part of the land.
lation, which cannot be discoverSuch a design cannot be duly ed by the light of nature. As executed without much attention
soon as these great and impor. and labour ; nor can it be of any tant barriers to human pride and general advantage, without the wickedness are removed, every practical concurrence of minis- species of scepticism is introters and churches.
duced, and mankind are left to Christian brethren, seriously believe whatever they please, and weigh this subject, and hear the are no longer confined to that exhortation of him, who reigns faith which our blessed Saviour in Zion; be zealous, therefore, and has made essential to salvation, repent ; be watchful and strengthe “ In pursuance of this plan, en the things which remain, which that illustrious and eminently are ready to die, PASTOR. peculiar doctrine of Christianity,
THE DIVINITY OF OUR BLESSED
LORD, has been the first attack, NOTE.
ed. As soon as this corner stone We are very happy to find, that a
of our holy religion is removed, subject of vast importance to the the whole beautiful fabric falls at prosperity of our churches, and the
So intimately are all the preservation among us of "pure and doctrines of Christ connected, undefiled religion," is to be discussed in the future numbers of the Pano.
that they must stand or fall toplist. We have full confidence in the gether. And what God hath jointalents of the writer who has engaged ed, who shall dare to put asunto execute this business, and earnest- der ?" ly invite the attention of our Christian readers, both of the clergy and saity, to a subject, which the aspect of the
times renders deeply interesting to THE IDEA OF AN ETERNAL SUC . all who are concerned for the wel.
CESSION OF MEN REFUTED. fare of Zion. Communications from our Christian brethren, residing in
It is an imagination that fredifferent parts of New England, and quently enters the minds of particularly in this Comraonwealth, men, especially of the young,
that this world may have been than another ; which is absurd :. eternal, and had an eternal suc- if at finite, then forty years added cession of men upon it. As this to finite makes it infinite, which supposition is inimitably refuted is as absurd as the other. And by Dr. Bently, a man who has again, the number of men that with much dexterity brushed are already dead and gone is inaway all the cobweb subterfuges finite as they say. But the of atheism, I am induced to copy number of the eyes of those a paragraph from his valuable men must necessarily be twice work, and send it for insertion as much
as that of the men in your useful Miscellany. themselves, and that of the fin
“ The opinion of those Athe- gers ten times as much, and that ists, that will have mankind and of the hairs of their heads thouother animals to have subsisted sands of times. So that we have eternally in infinite generations here one infinite number twice, already past, will be found to be ten times, and thousands of fat nonsense and contradiction times as great as another, which to itself ; and repugnant also is contradiction again. Thus we to matter of fact. First, it is see it is impossible in itself that contradiction to itself. Infinite any successive duration should generations of men (they say) be actually and positively infiare already past and gone. But nite, or have infinite successions whatsoever is now past, was once already gone and past. Neither actually present ; so that each can these difficulties be applied of those infinite generations was
to the eternal duration of God once in its turn actually present : Almighty. , For, though we therefore all except one genera- cannot comprehend eternity and tion were once future and not in infinity, yet we understand what being, which destroys the very they are not.
And something, supposition : for either that one we are sure, must have existed generation must itself have been from all eternity ; because all infinite, which is nonsense : or things could not emerge and it was the finite beginning of in- start out of nothing. So that if finite generations between itself this pre-existent eternity is not and us, that is infinitely termi- compatible with a successive du. nated at both ends, which is non- ration, as we clearly and distinctsense as before. Again, infinitely perceive that it is not ; then it past generations of men have remains, that some being, though
actually present. infinitely above our finite comThere may be some one man prehensions, must have an identisuppose then, that was at an in- cal,invariable continuance from all finite distance from us now; eternity ; which being is no oththerefore that man's son like er than God. For, as his nature wise, forty years younger sup- is perfect and immutable without pose than his father, was either the least shadow of change, so his at infinite distance from us, or at eternal duration is permanent finite. If that son too was at in- and indivisible, not measurable inite distance from us, then one by time and motion, nor to be infinite is longer by forty years computed by number of succes
sive moments: One day with Let the reader peruse the forethe Lord, is as a thousand years, going extract, and pause at each and a thousand years as one link in the chain of argument,
and if all is sound and irrefraga.
ble, let him never admit for a • Vol. I. page 27, of a collection of moment the absurd hypothesis Sermons preached at the Hon. R. of an eternal succession. Boyle's Lecture,
C. Y. A.
(From the London Evangelical Magazine.) REMARKABLE CONVERSION OF A try, trained up six sons and font FAMILY.
daughters. It became necessary ABOUT the year 1712, a worthy to provide situations for the sons; and industrious family, of the and the second of them, about name of was settled at C. the year 1730, received a propoa village nearly in the centre of sal to reside at C, a mara shire. In the parents, a
ket-town in the same county, moral character, without with a person of considerable reproach, was blended with a strict, spectability, a member and a deaand perhaps superstitious, regard con of a Dissenting church. The to the forms of devotion ; but religion of the proposed master they were totally strangers to the formed the only objection to his religion of the heart. Their con- service : this was over-ruled by fessions were destitute of peni- other advantages, and the offer tential sorrow, for they knew was accepted. At the youth's not the evil of sin ; their petitions departure to his new situation, were mingled with no ardent de his father said to him, “ Son, you sires, for they knew not the must now faithfully promise me need nor the value of divine mer- never to enter the meeting. cy; their praises were not en
: on this condition, livened by grateful love, for you go to your place." The they had never learned to son, without hesitation, accepted count all things but loss for the the condition, and made the re• excellency of the knowledge of quired engagement.
Fixed in Christ.” To be honest and so- his new residence, he soon reapber, and to keep to their church, ed, in the confidence of his mase was all the religion they knew ; ter, the just reward of his own and they were resolutely deter- diligence. The attachment was mined that they and their house mutual ; and the youth was surwould know no other : but God, prised to find in a man, whose who is rich in mercy, had deter- religion he had been taught to mined otherwise.
reprobate, virtues which comIn a few years the family be- manded his esteem. In the fam. came numerous ; and, though ily'too, domestic peace and good several died in infancy, the pa- order were sustained, and croft tents, by the fruits of their indus- ed by daily devotion : at which
He did so.
the youth was expected to be pre- he had said to his father, and he sent. He was not, however, once held his promise sacred, “ I will asked to attend at meeting ; but never enter the meeting-house regularly took his place in the at-" This engagement held parish church. At this time he him to his church ; but his dewas wholly destitute of any con- sire to attend, for once, where cern respecting his eternal safe- his master worshipped, still inty : he had no idea at all of his creased ; and he believed he native depravity : such was his could, without a breach of promspiritual blindness, that he could ise, stand in the porch of the repeat the ten commandments meeting-house.
It every Sabbath, without once sus- was a summer's day, the doors pecting that he had broken any opened, the minister of them, even in the thoughts or pleaded with earnestness, the wishes of his heart ; and, by a youth's attention was caught, necessary consequence, atone- and the
of conviction ment by the blood of the great reached the destined mark. He Sin-offering, and regeneration of said, and it was the first time he heart by the divine Spirit, appear- had made the confession, “ I am ed to him as doctrines of no val- a lost sinner ;" but he soon adue : he had, however, good nat. ded, “ To me is the word of his ural sense, and could perceive salvation sent.” The change in that the righteous is, in many his character was sudden, but de.. instances, more excellent than cisive. He had heard the voice his neighbour.”
of the good Shepherd, and could The name of Methodist was no longer be happy, whilst exthen hardly known ; and Pres- cluded from his fold. As became byterian was the general term a son, both dutiful and pious, he with which an ignorant multitude wrote to his father, saying, “I thought fit to reproach almost all faithfully regard my promise, not persons of serious godliness. to enter the meeting-house at Amongst these, the master of the -, as the condition of my youth was well known ; and he present residence ; but I cannot shared largely the scourge of the any longer remain here, unless persecutor's tongue. His ser- you remove that condition, and vant, who had often, in other in- allow me to attend where, I bestances, united in similar revil. lieve, my duty to God and my ings, was now convinced that his eternal interest direct me." master, at least, merited better the receipt of this letter, the treatment : he saw him upright, father, highly alarmed and engentle, temperate, benevolent, razed, commanded his son inand devout ; and the youth said stantly to return home ; yet he to himself, “ Surely, a bad reli- was obliged, out of regard to his gion could not make so good a
master's interest, to send, for the man." This conviction wrought present, a younger son in his so powerfully on the mind of the room ; from whom he exacted servant, that he exceedingly wish- the same promise which he had ed to know more perfectly what received from his brother. his master's religion was ; but The converted youth, with
Vol. I. No. 12. X X X
mingled joy and sorrow, now with him, agreeably allured a sought the paternal roof, and met family fond of music, and banishe an angry parent with submission, ed from their dwelling the vain and ardent prayer to God for di- and trißing village-song. This rection in liş new and trying sit change, of course, became the uation. The next Lord's day wonder and the reproach of the joorning his father, seeing the whole village. Had the family son preparing to walk, inquired become abandoned to every vice, what was his design : the son the circumstance would probably replied, “ Father, I revere your have excited little surprise or reauthority ; you know I have ever gret ; but to hear of religion an obeyed you ; and, in one in any day but Sunday, was a new stance, I fear I carried that obe- thing to these poor villagers, and dience too far, by placing your as disagreeable as it was strange; authority above that of my Heav- even the children at school enly Judge: my promise extend- learned to revile as they passed ed only to one place, and I am the door, the whole of the famigoing this morning to the meet- ly where the heavenly stranger ing-house at B-i it is the had taken up his constant abode. nearest place in which I can unite The work was of God, and with serious Christians, and hear none could hinder it. In a few the doctrine which I think nec- months the pious youth had the essary to my eternal salvation. happiness to discover a decided In this instance, I hope you will change of character in a brother, allow me to act for myself : in and in two sisters ; and they, deall others I am still ready to termining to share the reproach obey your commands.” To this of the cross, accompanied their address the enraged father re- brother to his usual place of worplied, “ If you go to any meeting, ship. Frequently, on their remy house shall be no longer your turn, they were all four of them home.” “ I hope it will,” the shut out of doors by an offended son replied, and respectfully father ; and thus would have rewithdrew. He avoided that day mained without shelter, had not to see his father again ; and the their mother (a tender parent, next day he silently resumed his and now beginning to be a pious usual occupation. But religion one) often crept silently down was now the pleasure and busi- the stairs, at dead of night, to reDess of every day to this pious admit her banished children. youth. Often he would protract The father, poor unhappy man, the evening walk with a brother would have felt far less sorrow in or a sister on bis arm, to whom following his children to the he told, with heart-felt joy, the grave, than in seeing them thus hope which glowed in his breast take their whole delightin prayer for another and a better world, and praise, and holy converse ; where He dwells who bore the though it was evident to all in. curse for guilly men. At home, partial observers, that every mor. the winter's evening was em- al virtue, and every tender atployed in religious converse ; tachment to himself, were, by and Dr. Watts' psalms and their religion, abundantly heighhymns, which he had brought tened and enlarged. How dread