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For several years I suffered alone, as a speckled bird in the wilderness, but at last, by diligent application, and frequent conversation upon the things of the kingdom, about twenty of the principal characters in the town of where I reside, are willing to ex. amine for themselves, and have embraced the truth as far as they can discern it.
By these gentlemen, Sir, I am commissioned to solicit you to come to and help us.
We have heard much of you, but we wish to hear for ourselves, and we do hope you will not mortify us by a refusal. Our minister is frightened at the idea of your appearing among us, and he is making use of every effort to prejudice the minds of the people against you ; but you will, you must
Never did any people more earnestly desire to hear any sound, than we to listen to the glad tidings of the gospel ; ever since we have read Mr. Relly we have thought with rapture of hearing a man preach in the same way. Do, pray Sir, come and
M. I will consider of it, Sir. I shall pass that way next autumn, and shall probably make it convenient to tarry a few days with you.
Mr. L. Thank you, thank you, Sir. Mr. J. a religious friend, visited me not long since, and after many questions remarked, « Well, suppose Mr. Murray's principles and Mr. Relly's writings should be true, even then I shall be as happy as they or you.”Well, Sir, I have no objection to your being happy." But am I not as well off in this world as you are?”-Not except you have as much peace in believing—" But I shall ultimately have as much peace, you know.”—And I am very glad of it, Sir.-“ Yes, but suppose your principles should not prove true ; how then ? am I not then infinitely better off than you?"--In what respect, Sir? Are you infinitely more righteous than I am? Can you do better without a Saviour than I can ? Give me leave to tell you Sir, your principles are abundantly worse than mine. You say all mankind are saved or lost, before the foundation of the world. What odds then does it make, upon your plan, whether we do this, that, or the other? and we may treat those whom God reprobates as we please. But permit me to say, the believer has every way the advantage; he enters into rest and peace by believing, while the heart of the unbeliever condemns him so long as he continues in unbelief, should his infidelity extend through millions of years, so long he will be in darkness, in fear, in torment.--Upon this Mr. J. rose to leave
me, saying, “We do not worship the same God, that is certain.". Probably we do not, Sir. But the God I worship is love, and loving unto every man: now if you worship a God that loves a few, and hates the rest, if you worship any God who is not the Saviour of all men,
1, you do indeed worship a God to whom I do no homage.-So thus we parted, and have never since met.
Thus far Mr. L. and his friend J.
Mr. L. was on business of importance, and could not tarry. He is unquestionably a sincere and valuable convert to Christianity. He finally obtained a promise that I would visit him, and has returned home cheered by the idea. Instances like these are not common. Engaged in the pursuit of business, high in health, in the morning of life, and in the midst of prosperity, men seldom turn their attention to religion. Pity that this testimony is stamped by truth!
I had been in M. but one night, before I was urged to preach. I answered as usual, I know nothing about it, I have no objection ; whenever I am desired, I shall speak. When shall it be? It is not for me to direct; when I hear the bell, I shall go to church: I am always ready. Here the matter rested, and I expected every moment I should hear the bell, so did a very great number of my friends, but we were disappointed.
You know what pains I have taken to persuade this people to repair their church; at length it is effectuated, and the consequence is, a few high churchmen will not consent to my coming into it. I was waited on by their warden, who thus addressed me: “I hope, Sir, you will excuse me, while, as a warden of the church, I inform you
that you cannot be permitted to speak in that place any more ; and, at the same time, I beg you will believe me, when I assure you, this resolution does not arise from any dislike of you, or your principles ; and that if any clergyman in the State, not in connexion with us, were to propose preaching in our church, we should act precisely as we now do. Should you attempt to go in, it will be breaking our order, and acting quite contrary to the constitution of our church."
Thus far the scrupulous warden. To which I replied :
I request you, Sir, to accept my thanks for your polite declaration respecting myself, and I pray you to credit me, when I assure you, I never made the smallest effort to enter any church as a preacher. It has ever been my rule, and I think I never shall deviate thereVol. II.
from, freely to declare what I conceive to be the truth as it is in Jesus, whenever or wherever it shall please God to call me. If his providence opens a door, I always go in, asking no questions for conscience sake; and if, on the other hand, the door is shut, it shall never be opened by any effort of mine. If, therefore, I should hear your bell ring, and see your door open, I shall assuredly enter your church : if I should not, I give you my word and honour I never will.
“Well, Sir, the door will not be opened : it is quite unconstitu, tional to permit any one to speak there who is not in orders."
Give me leave, Sir, just to observe, that being born and bred a churchman, I can assure you it is not unconstitutional to speak in a church without orders. It is practised even in the cathedral of Lon. don, and in almost every country church in England. The clerk reads the lessons, which is declaring the word of God.
Again, permit me, Sir, as a stranger, just to ask, whether it would not be proper, as there are so many of your church who are anxious to hear me in that house, that you should inquire, whether, as members of your church, and the most respectable members too, they have not as much right to judge of right and wrong as you have? And if you, and your friends, should be offended at my going in, whether they may not be offended at my being kept out?
“ Why, Sir, Mr. A. desired I would call on you, to request you would not attempt preaching in our church."-You may rest assured, Sir, I shall never appear in your pulpit, unless invited thith, er, by Mr. A. and a large majority of your church.
In consequence of the step taken by the warden, Colonel W. and Captain G. waited on me before I left town, with a sheet of paper containing a petition, the purport of which was, to invite me into their pulpit, and I am told there are nine out of ten who will subscribe this petition. I expect to see the event on my return, I left M. in consequence of these proceedings, with more selfsatisfaction than I expected I should possess, and on the road I had some conversation with my honest hearted, but very rough com, panion, on the subject of swearing, and the special impropriety of its obtaining a place among the habits of a Christian man, of a disciple of him who solemnly commanded, " let your yea, be yea, and your nay, nay, for whatsoever is more than this leadeth to evil.”
He apologized for others in order to palliate the matter for himself, but ultimately gave up his attempted defence, by confessing
the vice of swearing to be bad, in every view, and, he added a fervent wish, that he could be sufficiently on his guard to abstain upan all occasions from oaths, and from cursing.
We passed some time with Mr. A. the clergyman of whom you have thought so highly. He did not introduce religion until after we had dined, when, in a manner bordering upon the ludicrous he thus questioned :
Mr. A. How is Mr. N. Sir?
Mr. A. I wonder if he has got through the prophecies yet? Of all the men I ever saw, this Mr. N. knows the most of the Bible, and discovers, in speaking of it, the greatest fertility of invention.
M. I never thought Mr. N. remarkable for invention, Sir. It
true he is well acquainted with the scriptures, but I do not call this invention
Mr. A. But I do: for example. He was conversing in this house, and speaking of visiting the sins of the fathers on the children, unto the third and fourth generation. Heaven help us! he turned over from one place to another-mercy on me, I thought he never would have done ; but I admired the invention of the man, in the way he made it out.
M. Perhaps, Sir, there was more of industry than invention in the discoveries he made. Suppose, Sir, I were in Mr. N.'s place, and took the Bible, determining to learn from the Bible what we were to understand by visiting the sins of the fathers unto the third and fourth generation. Now I should not imagine there was any great invention in finding out, that visiting sins from father to son, to the fourth generation, was putting a period to the visitation for sins, at the fourth generation.
It would then be very natural to inquire, when this transfer of guilt, and consequent punishment, had a period ? By consulting the prophet Daniel I learn that when Messiah was cut off, he should finish the transgression, and make an end of sin. I should next inquire, whose sin and punishment were thus finished ? and Isaiah would inform me, that when all we like sheep had gone astray, every one to his own way, the Lord laid on him, Jesus the Messiah, the iniquities of us all. The apostle Peter would confirm this tes. timony, for he saith, that he, Jesus, bare all our sins in his own body on the tree ; while the apostle Paul would affirm, he had put them away by the sacrifice of himself. But still I could not possibly indent how all this was visiting the sins of the fathers upon the children
unto the third and fourth generation. In this dilemma I should search in the concordance for the word generation, and see if that word was any where applicable to Christ Jesus, in consequence of which research, I should find the psalmist in the 22d Psalm, and 30th verse, thus declaring :
« A seed shall serve him, and it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation." I then naturally inquire who this sced is, that should, according to the psalmist, be accounted to the Lord for a generation ? and in looking over the word seed, I find it thus written: “ And in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed." The apostle to the Galatians assures me, this seed was Christ; and listening to the testimony of my Redeemer, I hear him affirm, Luke xi. 51. when speaking of all the evil, “ From the blood of Abel, unto the blood of Zacharias, which perished between the altar and the temple : verily I say unto you, It shall be required of this generation."
From thus searching the scriptures, I learn that Jesus is the seed, that this sced is accounted to the Lord for a generation, and that the sins of father and son, which the blood of bulls and of goats could not take
had been transferred from one to the other, until the coming of Christ Jesus, and were then laid upon him, and being found upon him, were visited with that divine vengeance, which was denounced thereon; and that after the sins of father and son were thus visited on this destined and comprehensive generation, and put away by the sacrifice of himself, he appeared the second time without sin unto salvation. But should I be solicitous to know, why the sins of the fathers, are said to be visited upon the children, unto the fourth generation ? I again take my Bible, where I discover, that a thousand years is in the sight of God but as one day, (second Epistle of Peter iii. 8.) “ But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” On referring to the Mosaic account of the Creation, it is decided, that as the sun in the firmament made its appearance on the fourth day of creation, so the sun of righteousness diffused its irradiating beams in the fourth thousand year of the world, that is, agreeably to the calculation of omnipotence, in the fourth day of the world ; thus, from various passages of holy writ, fairly compared, these blessed declarations are disencumbered of all obscurity, or ambiguity.