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Madam S. Brought forth every argument. She was even elo quent against the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and I endeavoured to answer her in the language of reason and revelation.
Her son, a fine young man, whose mind seems deeply impressed by the great truths of our religion, sat by her side, an attentive hearer. The tear of transport glistened in his eye, and from the abundance of his heart he frequently exclaimed, “ Yes indeed, it is, it is true. I steadfastly believe it, and my soul rejoiceth in these divine manifestations."
His mother, I believe, was rather silenced than convinced.
What a strange variety in human nature ! Were I writing for the public, while making the tour of these rising States, and had skill to note the different shades of character which present, my volume might be rendered sufficiently entertaining.
Stopping, by invitation, at the house of a Dr. C. who is a neighbour, and a hearer of the Rev. Mr. Y. a writer as well as a preacher, I was informed by the good Doctor that Mr. Y. had enjoined it upon him, to give him the earliest notice of my arrival, as he was very solicitous to see and converse with me.
I cannot tarry one hour, Sir; it will therefore be useless. Mr. Y. however had seen my carriage pass his door, and was in the house almost as soon as myself. Mr. Y. had been described to me, and the singularity of his appearance both for dress and address, announced the man. Rarely have I seen such a combination. Yet it became manifest, from one hour's conversation, that he is precisely as he is characterized, equal in his disposition, void of malice, rich in knowledge, possessing native talents, and free from bigotry.
I observed to the Doctor in presence of Mr. Y. that he, Mr. Y. reminded me of Mr. Delane's advice to his sons :
“Let men find in you more than they expect,
Sackcloth with satin, speaks the noble mind." The countenance of Mr. Y. brightened upon this quotation, and could I have tarried, our conversation would no doubt have been ordered by candour. My departure however was a matter of necessity. But I did not take my leave without earnest solicitations both from the Doctor and his minister, that I would visit them, when
I should be at leisure to continue with them through many days. Our good B. is charmed with Mr. Y.
I have met my fellow men this day, in their house of worship, preaching to them by the pressing invitation of the principal characters in the town. You know Dr. F. of this place ; he visited me after church, and led me to speak until I was weary, and I am persuaded to no purpose. The enmity of the unbelieving heart against the truth, is indeed strong. I have no pleasure in contending with those who are under its dominion. He observed, at the close of our conversation, that he wished much to hear Mr. K. and myself converse upon these matters, as he did not conceive himself a match for me. I told him he should have that opportunity as soon as he found Mr. K. disposed to oppose the truths I had delivered in the presence of witnesses, I was always ready to attempt a defence of the truth as it is in Jesus. So away went the Doctor, determining to do all in his power to bring this champion to put me to silence. I hardly think he will gain his point.
Merciful God! save me from old age. Yet not my will, but thine, O Lord, be done. I have passed the morning with an old friend, whose appearance originated such a depression of spirit as I have rarely experienced ; stretched on a bed, full of pain, and bloated by dropsy. It is not death from which my soul recoils. Death is to me no king of terrors, but my coward heart shrinks from these appendages of dissolution. This poor sufferer, aged seventy-seven, is not able to move in his bed ; how deeply am I affected by his situation! yet, at least, the felicity of reflecting upon death with pleasure, is possessed by him, in no common sort; and although he cannot himself attend a preached gospel, he is delighted to learn that many persons were at church.
While addressing me, as if forgetful of every complaint, his countenance brightening as he proceeded, he affectingly said, “I have to tell you, Sir, for your consolation, that your labours in this place have not been thrown away. A considerable number who steadfastly believe the doctrine of God our Saviour, are associated, who, as I trust, will do honour to their profession. For me, I shall shortly enter upon the bliss you so well know to describe. I have continued to live in the faithful expectation of this bliss, from the moment the sound of the gospel reached my ears.
Is it wonderful that I
long to take possession of the mansion prepared for me?" Then, after a pause,
“ Mr. N. came last evening to visit me. He tells me Mr. W. has embraced a very different plan from yours, that he openly preaches a purgatory, and boldly affirms, that every one shall suffer, just as much as his transgression deserves. But these things cannot break my peace. I know in whom I have believed, and I shall appear before my God, in the robe of my Redeemer's right . eousness.
Religious people are proceeding with a very high hand in this place. They have cut off and excommunicated several of their most respectable members, merely for confiding in the word which bringeth salvation. I have obtained a copy of what may be termed an ecclesiastical anathema. Blessed be God, it doth not possess the
power of a popish edict. I transcribe it verbatim : “ The church of Christ in to our brother A. B. Brother, after our labour of love with you, and our admonition sent you, and our wasting a long time to see, if possible, you may be reclaimed from error and delusion, and from final destruction, which we fear will be your unavoidable fate, without repentance ; instead of which, you appear unto us to be more hardened, and blinded in the mys, tery of iniquity, with all deceivableness, as the apostle expresses it.
For this cause God shall send them strong delusions that they may believe a lie, that they all may be damned, who believe not the truth. Christ came into the world to bear witness unto the truth, which is, he that believeth shall be saved, and he that believeth not shall be damned. Ye shall seek me, and shall die in your sins, and whither I
go, ye cannot come. Hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation. Them who are in their graves shall hear his • voice, and come forth, they who have done evil unto the resurrec,
tion of damination. These shall go away into everlasting punishment. Ye serpents, ye' generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell. These are words of truth, which our Lord hath borne witness unto, and hath added, because I tell you the truth ye believe me not. Heaven and earth shall pass away,
word shall not pass away.' And yet you continue to be so daringly bold, in contradiction to our Lord's express words, to profess, to believe, and hope, that all mankind will be eternally saved, for which damnable heresy, as the apostle calls it, we are bound in duty and faithfulness unto God, and in love to our blessed Lord Jesus Christ, and for his
truth sake, openly and publicly to bear testimony against and explode all such abominable antichristian doctrine. Therefore,
“ In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, the great head of the church, by whose assistance and direction, that after the first and second admonition, we proceed to expulsion; we now reject you as a heretic, giving heed to a seducing spirit, and doctrines of Devils, and we cut you off from the privileges of this church. Knowing that it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God, who will judge every one according to his works. “Signed in behalf of the Church, May 31st. “ The Lord Almighty have mercy upon you."
At the same time this man, whose character is unexceptionable, and who is eminent for deeds of worth, was thus excommunicated; they also excluded from their communion, an individual, black with crimes, of a most atrocious dye, and coupled them together, that they might appear in the same point of view.
The Baptist church have also sent forth their fulminations. A man of irreproachable and altogether unblemished life and manners, and universally admired, is driven from their communion, in terms of the utmost reproach. Innocence and morality, piety the most unequivocal, these are no security ; if they in reality believe that the Lamb of God hath taken away the sin of the world, if they believe this testimony in its fullest extent, they have no longer a seat at the table of the Lord! What astonishing inconsistencies do human arrangements frequently exhibit !!
But these ecclesiastical fulminators declare themselves terrified, by a full persuasien that this heresy will so far prevail, as to bring even the saints into subjection; and what alarms them exceedingly, is that the Presbyterian congregation are supposed to be leaning toward Universalism. Mr. L. has lately taken for his text, “Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world.” Nr. L: proved the doctrine contained in the text, in its fullest extent ! Mr. H. also, a young clergyman, conversing with one of the deacons, respecting Mr. L. and his sermon, requested his opinion of it. The deacon replied, he could not prove it false, on the contrary it appeared, in every view, so truly consistent, that he could not for his soul refuse it credence. This gave Mr. H. courage, and he emphatically said, “ Why, my good Sir, this doctrine is indeed the doctrine of revelation, and you may depend upon it, will spread over this whole continent, There is now a book written by a very
able hand, which at the conclusion of the war will be sent to England, where it will be printed and brought back to this country, most powerfully flashing conviction upon every mind, which shall attend to its contents.
This same gentleman, in company with others, visited Pand not being clad in the ministerial garb, was not recognized as a clergyman; he stopped at a tavern, the master of which was my hearer and my friend, when the young gentleman and his host fell into conversation.
Minister. You have got a very pretty meeting-house in this town, landlord.
Landlord. Yes, Sir ; when we built that house we did not expect it would be so little used.
Min. Have you no minister, then?
L. It is called a Baptist meeting, Sir; but we, the people, are now called Murrayites, because the greatest part of us are very much attached to that gentleman as a preacher, and fully believe the doctrine he has preached in this place.
Min. When you say Murrayites, landlord, I presume you mean Christians; I dare say Mr. Murray would much rather hear you called by that name, than by any other.
L. O yes, Sir, no doubt, and we do indeed profess ourselves to be Christians, we see no salvation in any other name, save the name Christ Jesus; yet our enemies call us Murrayites out of derision. But we are not at all ashamed of this name. None of these things affect us.
Min. Well, I think you are to be commended for being honest.
L. Aye, Sir, I wish every body would be honest, and speak what they think, I imagine we should then have more preachers of the gospel than we have at present.
Min. Very likely, 'landlord.
This chance stroke, by no means aimed by the landlord, who was ignorant of the character of his guest, nevertheless put an end to the confab.
Preaching yesterday to a numerous congregation, I took for my subject the parable of the Tares of the field. This parable had