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Now the works of this flesh are manifest, which are adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings;" and, I may add, every evil work. When the Apostle traced in his own heart these evil propensities, being taught of God, he said, “ Henceforth it is no more I, but sin that dwelleth in me. So with my mind I serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin. This is that flesh that shall be served up at the supper of the great God.”
But who are the guests ?
The fowls that fly in the midst of heaven; the vulture is the chief of these fowls; these are the fowls that catched away the seed sown by the way side, Our Saviour likens the kingdom of heaven to a grain of mustard seed, which branching out, groweth up into a great tree, in the branches of which, the fowls of the air are lodged. . The individuals of the human family are the branches of this tree, and in these branches the fowls of the air, to the very great annoyance of the branches, are lodged. Two of these branches, or individuals, once dwelt among the tombs, and a whole legion of these inhabitants of the air, under the direction of their prince, the prince of the power of the air, were lodged in these poor, harassed, distressed branches. But, driven thence by the Prince of peace, they were permitted to take up their lodging in an herd of swine. These fowls of the air, these unclean birds, these demons, are caged in the hearts of poor
stimulating them to all manner of evil, and preventing them from doing good, and from distributing.
But there is an unclean supper provided for them, and the restitution of all things shall restore to them all the mischief, every crime which they have originated.
But who is the messenger sent forth to order those fowls which fly in the midst of heaven, to gather themselves together unto the supper of the great God?
The messenger is an angel in the sun; not an angel of darkness. Angels of darkness bring no such glad tidingsacertainly not. The grand display of the divine purposes of grace and mercy to a fallen, ruined race, are made by those who dwell in the light; and I am persuaded all those who walk in the light will see as much of the gospel of glad tidings, in the account rendered of this last supper, as in any part of sacred writ.
I have enlarged upon this subject beyond my intention ; and yet I have taken no more than a cursory view: you will no doubt pursue it.
I have been so very ill that I have not been able to speak publicly, nor hardly privately; much persecution has been embodied against me in this place. The adversary of men, not being able to do me any legal injury, hath, under the mask of religion, moved the honourable committee to summon me before them in their civil or political capacities; and after having been so long in this place, after having devoted many inclement days, in the midst of a severe winter, to the making collections for the poor, they have thought proper to consider me as an entire stranger! and in language and manner sufficiently haughty, they have demanded, where I was born; whence I came; what business I had in the country; what I did in this town; and how long I intended to tarry here.
This same committee have, it must be confessed, done all they can toward crushing me; they have assayed to murder my good name, and if they have not accomplished their iniquitous purpose, power only, and not will, has been wanting. Is it not well that the Lord reigneth, and that all power in heaven, and on earth, belongeth to him? But whither am I going? It is a volume I am writing, and not a letter. In the letters which constitute my journal, I proceed in this way; but you will suppose I have exceeded all customary bounds.
Let me know how our mutual friends are, and if you converse frequently on the best of subjects; and what success you have in preaching the gospel ? I am persuaded you still do and will continue to preach. There should be no still born children brought into the light; no dumb disciples in the school of Christ. From the abundance of the gladdened heart the mouth will speak-it will speak well of the Redeemer's name. I am, in our dear Saviour, with fervency of affection,
Yours, &c. &c. &c.
To the same.
HAVE delivered my message in the presence of a very large multitude ; what the result may be is not for me to determine. "I waited first on your friend G. who, for your sake, received me very graciously, and invited me very cordially to renew my visits ; assuring me he would treat me as well as he was able, on my own, and particularly on my Redeemer's account.
I preached on the first evening of my arrival, to a numerous assembly; selecting my text from the second chapter of the First General Epistle of John, the commencement of that chapter. I did not proceed as far as that most obnoxious passage which follows : “ And he is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but for the sins of the whole world." I knew the very mention of this text, on the then present occasion, would have kindled the rage of my hearers; but I preached this glorious truth notwithstanding, and this I must do, or be for ever silent; and proving' Jesus to be the advocate for sinners, was, you will readily acknowl. edge, as full to my purpose as possible.
I am not without hope, that my Saviour, and the Saviour of this people, sent me hither, and that my labour will not be in vain. Your friend G. acknowledges the consistency of truth, but is afraid ; Can we wonder? I have, said he, the theory of truth, but I dare
it is in my heart. I am told G. has been a hearer of Doctor S. a new light-I have before heard of this gentleman, but preach
every description are equally opposed to the truth, whether they be new or old lights.
With Doctor R. I had some interesting conversation, which closed by, my answer to a question proposed by him in the following words : “ How do you reconcile the eternal punishment of fallen angels, with your ideas of divine compassion?
I pretend not to determine their ultimate situation, Sir-I never was capable of inventing a single text. I am not wise above, or beyond what is written ; I have no knowledge but what that word contains, which, when accompanied by the spirit, which dictated it,
is so plain that he who runs may read; and the way-faring man, although a fool, shall not err therein. Sir, I am taught in that blessed word, that you, and I, and every human being, are separate grains of wheat, and have closely adhering to us a portion of chaff, which grows with our growth, and strengthens with our strength; but when we are gathered into the garner of our owner, God will separate the precious from the vile, securing the one for himself, and burning up the other with unquenchable fire,
With good Mrs. E. I dined, who I knew had been accustomed to attend to table prayers, and on my own omission, I could not forbear addressing her: When, Madam, our Saviour was visible among men, the most upright among the people narrowly watched him, to see if he conformed to the religious customs of the times; one of which was, to wash their hands previous to their meals. It was in the judgment of all holy good people, very criminal to take the good things of God, in unclean hands ; he was therefore complained of, to his disciples.
The Christian Pharisee has substituted words instead of deeds, and in the place of washing their hands as a religious ritual, they make long prayers ; either long or short, according to the prevalence of custom. I have heard it urged as a reason for this practice, that our Saviour blessed the food before it was made use of ; and we are exhorted to eat with thanksgiving, and therefore we ought always to pray for a blessing on our food. But we believe that our Saviour has blessed all things, and our consciences being sprinkled by the blood of Jesus, they are cleansed from dead works; therefore to the pure, all things are pure. Yet we take our food with thanksgiving, not only in Jesus, in whom we are blessed with all spiritual blessings, but in our own hearts also. To say, a formal grace is to be conformed to the world, as all that do so
“ Hence the grace," they say, “is only occasional.” Some will attend to this preliminary at all their stated meals, others omit a part and are satisfied if they perform this duty at dinner only; but every observer of this ceremony omits it on every other occasion, and how frequently do we make use of the provisions of our God, when not seåted at a breakfast, dinner, or supper table. Now if my conscience never wounds me for omitting this ceremony between
my stated meals, you may be certain I am only conformed to this world; I am not transformed in my
But, believing that the earth is no more cursed for man's trans gression, that a blessing from the Lord abideth on all his good creatures that are received, and righteousness, from the God of our salvation on all those who receive them, we take them with gratitude, and eat them with singleness of heart.
Thus, Madam, have I given you a reason why I do not rank this ceremony among the Christian duties.
I do not regularly observe it at my own table, but when requested either at home or abroad thus to do, I am not backward. I can never experience reluctance at addressing the throne of grace; but to turn from the chit-chat, the laugh, the frolic of the moment, and with a heart all unprepared and lips unconsecrated to rush to an act of devotion, appears to me little short of a solemn mockery; and, although our own hearts may be right with God, yet the frivolity, the smiles, the impatience, generally evinced by the table guests, make the religious appeal upon this occassion, wear the semblance of profanation. You
say, “I ought not to take thought for the morrow, that the morrow should take care for the things of itself;" but we can always say with the Apostle, “When we would do good, evil is present with us.”. You see it is we; thus it is we shelter ourselves when we are seeking justification, but for me this is not necessary; I am sure, that in me dwelleth no good thing, and with, the same Apostle I add, “ 'Tis a light thing with me to be judged by man's judgment;" and yet notwithstanding all this boasting, it would be a grievous thing to me, to be thought lightly of by you.
Yes, we must receive those who are weak in the faith, and cherish them with the utmost indulgence. Let us never forget the graff on the apple-tree : how many different sorts of fruit were there on one tree? I think several. I assure you, the discovery 'made in the orchard has rendered me great service; it has soothed and quieted my mind in its most depressed situation.
Alas, for poor D. and every son of sorrow! tuin which way we will, difficulties and distresses open upon us, but for the prospect of a new heaven and a new earth, we should be very much át a loss to know, why the present was formed: As it is, we pretend not to account for the conduct of the Supreme Being; we can only say, infinite wisdom could not err, nor infinite wisdom be counteracted in
any of his designs, nor could infinite love have any baneful designs; his thoughts from everlasting, must have been