Page images

into a better temper of mind ? But, I feel pleasure in the assurance, that the children of God, even in this imperfect state, are more benign in their dispositions. I have not the vanity to suppose the gentleman to whom we have been attending has a very great affection for your humble servant, and yet I do not believe it would add greatly to his happiness even in this present state, to see me tost by fiends, or struggling in a sea of liquid fire during the space of a single year.

But, if it be true, as our reverend preacher asserts, that the destruction of hell would be the destruction of heaven! his heaven, poor gentleman, is based on a very precarious foundation, for the God of truth hath declared in the prophecy of Isaiah, Death shall be swallowed up of victory. O, Death, saith the Lord, I will be thy plague! O Grave, or Hell, I will be thy destruction! Where, permit me to ask, is the perpetuity of this gentleman's heaven, and the heaven of the rest of the little flock, when, as in Revelations, xx. 14, « Death and hell shall be cast into the lake of fire ?" If what he who sat on the throne said, be true, viz. “ there shall be no more pain ;" then, it seems, there can be no more pleasure, for our preacher and the little flock with which he may be connected.

But, blessed be God, this consideration will not then, even to the little flock, be productive of pain ; for there shall be no more pain. Misery and destruction will not then be in their paths, they will then know the way of peace, they will then see in reality what John saw in vision: “Every creature in heaven, on earth, and under the earth, and in the sea, yea, all of them, saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth on the throne, and to the Lamb, for ever and ever.”

Surely it will be acknowledged, that more credence is due to him who sat on the throne, than to the testimony of any subordinate being.

Permit me again to ask, why is our preacher so greatly shocked by passages of scripture ? and why am I made a blasphemer, for quoting the sayings which are to be found in the word of our God? I have, I repeat, said no more than what the Apostles have said before me; I have not only given their ideas, but their language. Little did our Apostle conceive, that in after times there should arise a sect of Christians who should style him a holy Apostle, and after that pronounce what he declared to the people unto whom he preached, to be blasphemy! I really felt for a clergyman so little acquainted with holy writ, as to be able to challenge an assembly of Christians to produce a single instance from the book of God, in which Christ Jesus was said to be cursed for sinners! Who could accuse his fellow mortal of blasphemy, of horrid blasphemy, for thus asserting?

An honest disciple of our common Lord rose at the moment, to set the preacher right, but, to prevent confusion, I prevailed upon him to relinquish his purpose.

Yet, we will now take leave to set him right, that if he should in future undertake to become a champion in behalf of unbelievers, he may, previous thereto, carefully examine Paul's Epistle to the Galatians, where, in chap. iii. 13, he will find the blasphemous declaration, which sounded so horrid in his ears, He will hear the Apostle declaring the same blasphemy. Thus it is worded :

“Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us : for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on on a tree.”.

But, this gentleman seems to speak as if admitting the fulness, and freeness of the salvation preached, but pronounces us very erroneous in not recurring to the conditions ! ! Freeness and fulnes8, and yet clogged with conditions ! ! May not this be considered as a solecism in speech ? It is true that peace into which every

individual of the human family shall ultimately enter, consequent upon the perfect righteousness, finished, atonement, and complete redemption, exemplified, wrought out, and rendered in, by the head of every man, depends upon a condition. We must become believers, before we can enter into rest; until this period we are condemned or damned ; the law condemns us, our own sense of right and wrong, or in other words, our own conscience condemns us; from all which we are saved by believing: but as every believer was once an unbeliever, so every unbeliever will finally enter into the knowledge of that truth which bringeth salvation.

The good and sensible chief magistrate, who filled the governmental chair in this state, at the period adverted to, would have disdained a proclamation of the description to which we have attended. He well knew that no man by taking thought could add one cubit to his stature; he was aware that no man, by any exertion he could make, was capable of changing the colour of a single hair, and he strikingly evinced his philanthropy by his reply to the military, who solicited for some pieces of artillery, to take with them to the scene of action—I will grant them,” said he, “but on one condition, tiiat they shall not be used for the destruction of our fellow-men.” No, certainly, the then Governor would not have issued a proclamation which should have demanded impossibilities, which should have required men to have transformed themselves from black to white, or white to black, to add an inch to their height, or to change the contour of their features; and yet, a man can as easily make himself six feet high, turn his light or auburn hair to black, and new cast his nose in the Roman mould, as he can perform the conditions upon which salvation in his own right depends. Nor is this an irrational assertion ; for surely wę can more easily change the body, which is momently subjected to our observation, than the soul, which eludes our most diligent research. Indeed, we are assured by our most orthodox divines, that it is not in man to will, nor to do ; nay, could we both will and do, what would it avail, when after all, we are taught to say we are unprofitable servants ?

But, blessed be God, there never was any such condition annexed to the gospel declaration ; we are not authorized, while preaching the gospel, to propose terms to helpless man. The gospel is a proclamation of glad tidings, of good things to every sinner. If the sinner believes, his felicity is unspeakable ; if he does not, he remains in darkness, condemnation, damnation ; but the truth of God remains a truth, whether he believes it or not. It does not depend upon his belief, it is firm, and unchangeble as its omnipotent Author : and, as we have repeatedly said, a period shall arrive, when every individual taught of God shall of necessity believe. Did our ultimate felicity depend upon ourselves, we should indeed be wretched. Divines of the last century positively asserted, that if a single good thought could purchase heaven, that single good thought we could not command. When people talk of conditions, gospel conditions, I conceive they need the teachings of that spirit, which taketh of the things of Jesus and sheweth them unto the soul.

I regret the necessity there seems to be of trespassing upon the patience of this very respectable audience ; yet, circumstanced as I am, can I hear myself thus publicly denounced, without at least attempting an answer? I am styled an impostor, a deceiver; I have been assigned a place in the infernal regions, and my howlings in that abode of wretchedness has been anticipated : yet, this were a trifle, if the testimony of the world's Saviour were not traduced.

Yes, my own feelings assure me, the audience must be weary, but I trust they will not regret the forbearance they have exercised; an opportunity of this description may never again be theirs. Suffer me, therefore, although our allotted time be elapsed, to solicit indulgence, while I address a few words to the reverend gentleman on whom we have had the honour to attend.

I would recommend it to you, my good Sir, to remember, that abuse is not argument. It would be well to gain a competent knowledge, at least of the letter of divine revelation, before you

undertake a public investigstion of its testimonies. Would time and ability permit,we would expatiate upon the God-dishonouring observations, which have fell from your lips; but we leave you to him, who can purge the visual ray. You are a part of the great harvest, and when he thoroughly purges his floor, you will be gathered into his garner; mean time, we supplicate, that you may see in this your day, the things which belong to your peace-Yet, although you should not be so blessed, still, as there are things which make for your peace when every thing which is hidden shall be revealed, your day of darkness will be closed, and we shall then rejoice together; and, in the mean time, I commend you to the good shepherd of Israel, who will seek, and will assuredly gather in those lost sheep of which he came in search.

For you, my friends, who have the teaching of the divine spirit, you need not that any man should say unto you, Know the Lord; for, already taught by the Father of your spirit, your eyes have seen the great salvation. This aspiration will still be found upon your lips : let our God be true, and let every man whose testimony is contrary to his word be accounted a liar. You will always remember the goodness of your God; you will remember it with pious gratitude. He, the great Father of your spirit, hath given you his word, and a heart to understand it, and with this you are contented. It is impossible you should be unmindful of his loving kindness. You will hold fast the form of sound words ; they will be as the crown of your rejoicing. O! let no man take away your crown; beware, I entreat you, of vain imaginations-of substituting for the righteousness which is of God, your own imperfect attempts ; seek not to encompass yourselves about with the sparks of your own kindling. Isaiah, in the 11th verse of his 50th chapter, describes the fate of those who thus occupy themselves :

VOL. II. 7

“Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves with sparks : walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. 'This shall ye have of my hand, ye shall lie down in sorrow."

Follow, I entreat you, the voice of the prophet, in the 10th verse of this same chapter.

“Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God.”

Precious, precious council. Yes, indeed, the name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous flee unto it, and are in safety. Thy precepts, O my God, said the royal prophet, are a light unto my feet-Let us carefully avoid every person or thing, that would rob us of a guide so precious ; and, I conjure you to labour diligently, to make your light so shine before men, that they, seeing your good deeds, may glorify your Father who is in heaven. Yes, there is such a thing as adding to your faith virtue, and adorning the doctrine of your Saviour. But, let me not thus indulge myself at your expense-I commend you to the good keeping of the keeper of Israel.

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all-Amen, and Amen.

The reverend gentleman, as the congregation were quitting the church, attempted to speak ; but no one, I believe, could understand him.

I really felt compassion for him; I have no doubt he was as sincere as was Saul of Tarsus, and I hope he will one day be as warm an advocate for the truth he was then so bitter against, as was Paul after his journey from Jerusalem to Damascus, whither he went to bring bound to Jerusalem all who called upon the name of Jesus.

It was, my friend, necessary upon the foregoing occasion, to insist much upon the finished salvation wrought out by our Redeemer; all knowledge of the character of Jesus Christ, seemed to be lost among the greater part of the people. Other foundation can no man lay than that which is laid, which is Christ Jesus. But if gold and silver can be built thereon, I am well pleased. I would have every man, every woman's conversation to be such, as might vouch for them, they had been with Jesus. All these ornaments are delightful in their proper places ; but let them be considered only as ornamente ; let them not displace the Redeemer; let not the

« PreviousContinue »