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gravate my dreadful fufferings. Sufferings of which religion — no, let me not wrong the name
of which enthusiasm, antinomianism, have been the fatal cause.
It is scarce to be conceived, and many perhaps who read this, will not believe, that rational creatures should by any means be brought to fancy themselves in the highest degree of the divine favour, while they are neglecting, nay, trampling upon, the most sacred of God's laws; that any should apprehend, they are peculiarly interested in the blessed Redeemer's blood, while they live in that fin, and contemn that holiness; the former of which his blood was shed to expiate, the latter of which it was given to promote. But forry am I to say, there are numbers; sorry I am to say, I have myself conversed with numbers, but most sorry am I to say, that their ministers of Satan, have made my wife one of that number, and taught her to despise the duties of the wife, of the mother, of the friend, of the woman, for the superlative happiness, as they esteein it, of a spiritual union with that dear Jesus, upon whom she now rolls herself, and in whom she now wraps herself, as in a garment. Pardon me, good Sir, for using these expressions; I almost shudder while I use them; but blasphemy of them will be excused me, when I declare, that they are such as are most familiar in the mouths of this deluded people. B 2
One of these enthusiasts, with her religious prating, first enveigled my wife, to attend her to the tabernacle, and she quickly caught the fatal and contagious fire. A change in my family affairs was soon discernible. When I used to return from my office to dinner, weary with writing, and expecting a little comfortable refreshment at home, disappointment generally chagrin'd me; my wife was abroad; my two poor little infants were dirty, ragged, neglected ; no preparations were making for dinner ; and I had nothing to feed upon, but discontent and uneafiness. If I remonstrated, as my poor wife was rather of a warm temper, the consequences were always unpleafing: she would tell me, “ that the care of the soul was the one thing needful : that this was more precious than all things befide ; that she must and would go, where she could hear about her sweet Saviour ; and that she wished, I was as mindful of this grand concern as fhe.” I would tell her in return, “ that I had no less a regard for my soul than herself, and was as well convinced of its superlative value : that I had an esteem and love for the ever adorable Redeemer, equal to any thing the could pretend to ; and that she was well convinced I had ever lived, as one that looked for a better world. That I conceived an attendance upon our parish church, where we had excellent ministers, twice every Sunday, was suffi
cient, especially as we took care to have family devotion in our house twice a day, and frequently read approved books of piety. I hinted, that hearing seven or eight fermons every day (which was very cominonly her case) could not, in my judginent, produce any good effect: it was overcharging the head. And I used to conclude, with telling her, that St. Paul, against whose advice she could have no objection, enjoins it upon wives and mothers, to do the duties of thofe relations."
But alas, Sir, all my remonstrances were vain : For my wife had imbibed principles, which utterly superseded all these considerations. She had deserted her first friends, at the Tabernacle, &e, as too legal for her -- though, God knows, they had set her loose enough to duty !
And was now admitted, as a member, in a congregation of Antinomians, the head of which i; as subtle and sophisticated as his doctrine is diabolical and pestiferous. Their grand principle is, that Christ, being the representative of mankind, or rather the aggregate of all mankind in his own person, took upon him all the fins, and suffered for them, as well as performed all the cbedience, necessary for all men. Insɔmuch that every man as much obeyed in him, as if he had himself personally done what Christ did. So that now no man has any thing more to do than to believe, that Christ, as his
reprerepresentative, lived, obeyed and died; and, in consequence of that, he is entitled to all he hath done. “ What should we pray for,” say they? Christ prays for us, and he is always heard? What should we obey for? Christ obeyed, and his obedience is complete. We are in him, our fins are his, done away by him ; they are no fins in us: our life is hid with him in heaven, Here below we are incumbered with flesh, it is true ; but that fleih is nothing to us. We believe, and are entered into rest.”
These, Sir, are the precious tenets my wife imbibed ; and to teach me these, she brought to my house, and dragged me to the meetings of, Ray and C-th: And these worthies applied all their jesuistical arts to convert me. I remember one day, when I told Ray, “ Sir, Christ as plainly delivers precepts, and enjoins duties, in his divine word, as the sun shines in the heavens.” “ Yes, replied he, with a smile of contempt, he does so ; but do you consider to whom he delivers them, not to you or to me, but to HIMSELF ! To his own glorious felf! He preached to himself, as our representative, and as only capable to fulfil those precepts for us, which we could never fulfil. This is a point universally mistaken.” “ In truth, said 1, well it might, and it had been good for mankind, if they had never been set right in it by such gentlemen as you." Sir, I could fill twen
ty news-papers, with their horrid doctrines and vile perversions of scripture. But I hasten to a conclusion, as a proof of the malignant tendency of their principles.
My disorder, the consequence, in some meafure, of a fedentary life, encreased upon me, which my domestic vexations, without controversy, augmented. My wife faw me lying in the greateft torments, unpitied ; and when I wanted comfort, would only preach and tell me, that it was the punishment of my sins, and especially of my hardness of heart ; that I deferved it, and much more ; and that I should die in my iniquities, unconvinced, and more callous than the nether mill-ftone. At length, by the advice of a physician, I went to a village near town, where I gained a little strength; but guess at my horror and surprize, to find, at my return, my doors locked, my goods seized, and sold ; my wife removed, and gone I knew not whither, and my helpless children exposed to distress! Few minds could support this. I have been ever since in a state of most unutterable anguish, both of body and mind : my corporal sufferings have affected my soul, and the strange religious disputes I have heard, have so disturbed my reason, that I am on the brink of the blackest despair. I have no comfort to alleviate my exceeding uneasiness ;, and though I have B 4