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.groundless. Positive persecution is disowned on all hands: honour and dishonour, good report and evil report, may indeed await you; but surely your christian faith will support you under these fluctuations in your pilgrimage, and carry your mind into the contemplation of a crown of glory, and a future bliss that will never end.
Eugenius. The pointed force with which you direct your argument will carry conviction to any reasonable and ingenuous mind. The greatest danger is, halting between two opinions, between duty and inclination; and the true state of the question, as it now lies before me for decision, is, shall I obey God or man? Notwithstanding, however, this consession of my view of our subject, accompanied with a serious desire to acquit myself in a manner becoming my christian prosession, I sind myself, from a variety of motives (neither excusable, nor yet, I think, absolutely criminal), strongly reluctant to avow my sentiments explicitly before the world, and to second them by that conduct which they should seem to demand.
Theophilus. The present state of your mind, my dear friend, leaves your conformity to the worship of the established church, or a silent, unobserved, clandestine retreat from it, equally inexcusable. Your last declaration amounts to a formal surrender of the question; therefore, it now becomes more proper for me to leave you to your own reflections, which caninot fail to determine you to adopt that open and upright conduct which will best advance the glory of God, and can alone meet with his approbation. Every day's continuance in your present indecision, adds danger and criminality to your situation. You ,will recollect the exhortation in the book of revelation, to quit Babylon, and I know that you allow the application: come out of her, my people, thai ye be not partakers of her fins, and that you receive not of her plagues.
A mind like yours, informed by voluntary and patient inquiry (in the midst of your prudent atten* tioii to your great secular concerns), will not long remain in your present reluctant and distressing inactivity. Where duty calls, I know your heart disposes you to obey. And the same course of study which has discovered to you the truth, will have sufficiently impressed you with its importance before all other Considerations.
That knowledge which you have acquired, and tvhich has lei you out of intellectual darkness, will naturally point out that line of conduct insisted upon in the gospel, and which is made the condition of its promises. Having first convinced your understanding, it will animate your resolution to walk in that plain direct road, which turns neither to the right hand, nor to the left. Nor will your high sense of duty, or the goodness of your own heart, suffer you to rest, until you have made the last advance in this G journey journey of religious and moral integrity, by shaking off every remaining shackle of religious bondage which any prejudice, timidity, or deserence toothers, may have fastened around you. In the persect love and fear of God, in strict integrity and principle towards him, and in love and brotherly affection for all mankind, (hall we alone find that peace of mind in this world, which ' is only to be exceeded by the happiness of another.
Eugenius. Our friendly and improving conversation upon the important subject which has engaged our attention, and really interested our affection sot each other, may now be closed, since we are both become of one mind. Mutual acknowledgments os kindness have been received, and returned, between us. And the result of your victory, is liberty to the vanquished.
There requires so very little time to form a right decision of conduct, where the judgment is already convinced, and the mind is awakened to receive the force and impression of truth, that I do not hesitate a moment to acknowledge my entire satisfaction in your arguments; and to assure you that I will, from this hour, withdraw myself from a church, whose foundation is laid in exacting impositions upon the consciences of men, and whose constituent doctrine a idolatry.
There are, indeed, certain appendant circumstances in every man's situation ^with respects-'"5
prejudice?, prejudices, habits, constitution, and connections, which cause him involuntarily to demur, where he ought instantly to decide. These, however, are under command; and shall henceforth vanish and give way to superior conviction and the obligations of truth.
Let these considerations excuse the trouble I have given you, while your candid forbearance with them have greatly enhanced to me the value of your friendship, which, I trust, will be uninterrupted to the end of our lives.