« AnteriorContinuar »
Yes, my own feelings assure me, the audience must be
weary, but I trust they will not regret the forbearance they have exercised; an opportunity of this description may never again be theirs. Suffer me, therefore, although our allotted time be elapsed, to solicit indulgence, while I address a few words to the reverend gentle. man on whom we have had the honour to attend.
I would recommend it to you, my good Sir, to remember, that abuse is not argument. It would be well to gain a competent knowledge, at least of the letter of divine revelation, before you
undertake a public investigstion of its testimonies. Would time and ability permit,we would expatiate upon the God-dishonouring observations, which have fell from your lips; but we leave you to him, who can purge the visual ray. You are a part of the great harvest, and when he thoroughly purges his floor, you will be gathered into his garner; mean time, we supplicate, that you may see in this your day, the things which belong to your peace-Yet, although you should not be so blessed, still, as there are things which make for your preace when every thing which is hidden shall be revealed. your day of darkness will be closed, and we shall then rejoice together; and, in the mean time, I commend you to the good shepherd of Israel, who will seek, and will assuredly gather in those lost sheep of which he came in search.
For you, my friends, who have the teaching of the divine spirit, you need not that any man should say unto you, Know the Lord; for, already taught by the Father of your spirit, your eyes have seen the great salvation. This aspiration will still be found upon your lips : let our God be true, and let every man whose testimony is contrary to his word be accounted a liar. You will always remember the goodness of your God; you will remember it with pious gratitude. He, the great Father of your spirit, hath given you his word, and a heart to understand it, and with this you are 'contented. It is impossible you should be unmindful of his loving kindness. You will hold fast the form of sound words ; they will be as the crown of your rejoicing. O! let no man take away your crown; beware, I entreat you, of vain imaginations-of substituting for the righteousness which is of God, your own imperfect attempts ; seek not to encompass yourselves about with the sparks of your own kindling. Isaiah, in the 11th verse of his 50th chapter, describes the fate of those who thus occupy themselves:
Vol. II. 7
« Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves with sparks : walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of my hand, ye shall lie down in sorrow.”
Follow, I entreat you, the voice of the prophet, in the 10th verse of this same chapter.
“Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God.”
Precious, precious council. Yes, indeed, the name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous flee unto it, and are in safety. Thy precepts, O my God, said the royal prophet, are a light unto my feet-Let us carefully avoid every person or thing, that would rob us of a guide so precious; and, I conjure you to labour diligently, to make your light so shine before men, that they, seeing your good deeds, may glorify your Father who is in heaven. Yes, there is such a thing as adding to your faith virtue, and adorning the doctrine of your Saviour. But, let me not thus indulge myself at your expense-I commend you to the good keeping of the keeper of Israel. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with
all-Amen, and Amen.
The reverend gentleman, as the congregation were quitting the church, attempted to speak ; but no one, I believe, could understand him.
I really felt compassion for him; I have no doubt he was as sincere as was Saul of Tarsus, and I hope he will one day be as warm an advocate for the truth he was then so bitter against, as was Paul after his journey from Jerusalem to Damascus, whither he went to bring bound to Jerusalem all who called upon the name of Jesus.
It was, my friend, necessary upon the foregoing occasion, to insist much upon the finished salvation wrought out by our Redeemer; all knowledge of the character of Jesus Christ, seemed to be lost among the greater part of the people. Other foundation can no man lay than that which is laid, which is Christ Jesus. But if gold and silver can be built thereon, I am well pleased. I would have
every man, every woman's conversation to be such, as might vouch for them, they had been with Jesus. All these ornaments are delightful in their proper places ; but let them be considered only as ornaments ; let them not displace the Redeemer; let not the
members be considered instead of the head. I would raise a hue and cry, after every thought, word, or deed, that should rob my Saviour of his well-earned honour, and I am jealous of every effort, which would lift the crown from the head of my Redeemer.
Yes, it is a fact, that while listening to the denunciations of this zealous, and uncandid man, while placed by him in the regions of darkness, my glowing bosom exulted in the assurance, and I rejoiced exceedingly in the reflection, that all judgment was not committed to man, that God was not man, that he is the same yesterday, to day, and forever. Well is it for the erring sons of mortality, that it is so, for it is therefore that the sons of Jacob, it is therefore that the children of men are not consumed.
Believe me, it was with a degree of secret transport, that I replied to my opponent on that day, of which you have so frequently solicited an account, and the joy of my soul was derived from an assurance, that he would one day know, as he was known. I felt, I assure you, more commiseration than resentment, while under the lash of his tongue, and I trust, if this child of God is still continued in this land of the dying, in this land of darkness, and should ever cast his eye on these pages, he will yield me credence while I say, that I most sincerely wish him the highest possible felicity. May the veil be withdrawn from his heart, and may he acknowledge the glory which is due to the Most High, in consequence of the peace and good will he hath given to the children of men.
What strange, what inconsistent beings are God's offspring, in their present bewildered state. But they shall not continue thus. The chaff will be removed from the harvest of the Lord, before it will be gathered into his garner.
Blessed forever be God, our Saviour, for this most holy truth.
I hope, my friend, I have answered your expectations : after the lapse of years, memory may not have been faithful to its office; but of this I am certain, the doctrinal points are correct, the leading propositions the same. If there be variations, they must be only in the arrangement or the language.
May you be with every blessing blest. ---Farewell.
I proceed to give you a detail of my conference with a very respectable clergyman. Connecticut is celebrated for hospitality, candour, and liberality; and yet, perhaps, this state does not contain a gentleman more humanely benevolent, more mild, and less bigoted than Mr. H. of
I was on my way from Philadelphia to Boston; notice was given by my friends as I passed, and a gentleman who had rendered himself respectable as a general officer in the revolutionary army, who was conversant with me while I officiated as chaplain to the Rhode Island brigade, and who had become venerable not only in virtue, but in years, accompanied by others of his friends, met me on my way, requesting that I would abide with them for a few days. I was lodged with the veteran soldier, and not only the duties, but the utmost kindness of hospitality was in full exercise toward me.
I was earnestly solicited to preach; and although circumscribed for time, yet both gratitude to them, and duty to my great Master, irresistibly urged my compliance, and I consented on condition that we might be accommodated with a suitable place, without giving offence to any one. The meeting-house was proposed. I started, taking it for granted, that it could not be obtained with the consent of the gentleman, who statedly preached there; and being, as you know, weary of contending either with ministers or people, I said, I will not give pain to your pastor. I know that the world never produced a more respectable circle of clergymen, according to their number, than is to be found in Connecticut ; they are eminent for liberality : but I have never visited this place before, and there are occasions and circumstances, which may render it inconvenient, if not improper, to open a pulpit to a stranger.
I was, however, silenced by an assurance that their minister was the kindest, and most liberal of men; that they were positive he would not urge a single objection, and an immediate applicazion to him was proposed, which being agreed to, several gentle
men repaired without delay to the dwelling of the good and venerable divine, and speedily returned with an answer of peace. “I consent cheerfully,” said he order the bell to be rung
immediately, that the people may have notice; I will call on Mr. Murray directly; he is entitled to my respect.” Accordingly Mr. H. was with me almost immediately after the return of our committee; his countenance was benign, and his deportment gentlemanly ; he extended his hand as if in amity, assured me my coming had given him pleasure; that he felicitated himself on the prospect of hearing me preach: that report had rendered him familiar with my name and testimony, and that he had long been anxiously sqlicitous to hear, and judge for himself.
After passing some time in friendly converse, I observed that the hour was passed, on which the bell was to have rung. “No, Sir,” returned Mr. H. “I have given the sexton orders, he will be punctual, and I intend 'myself the pleasure of accompanying you to church.” Accordingly upon the ringing of the bell we sat forward together! at the door of the church we were met by a gentleman, who put into my hand a paper, containing a request that I would take for my subject the rich man and the beggar. I took it with me into the pulpit, and there gave it to Mr. H. who accompanied me thither, informing him if he wished me to select any other text, I would be guided by his preference. “No, Sir, I had rather hear you upon that passage, than any other.” And I proceeded with great freedom to deliver my sentiments upon the subject selected for me, in its connexion. Upon the close of our sermon, Mr. H. informed me in a whisper, that a lecture preparatory to the communion, had been published for the ensuing evening. “ Pray, Sir, give me leave to tell the people, that you will tarry and preach for us on that evening." Conduct so new, both gratified and astonished me, and my feelings upon the occasion impelled a compliance with his wishes. My engagements were postponed, and the lecture was published.
On the second evening our congregation was enlarged, it was respectable and attentive, and their worthy pastor discharged to me, in every view, the whole duty of a Christian, combined with that genuine politeness, which distinguishes and is so truly omamental to the gentleman. Passing from church, Mr. H. regretted the necessity I was under for so speedy a departure, and earnestly requested me before I left town, to grant him one half hour