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ly because they use the same term in a very different sense.

So far, therefore, the question, in reference at least to nearly all who hold to the doctrine of sudden conversion, seems to me to be merely verbal. The one part speak of that change of character which is the beginning of the Christian life in the individual, and call it conversion; the other part use the same word to express that gradual change in which the Christian, by the assistance of the Holy Spirit, rises above the temptations which are in the world, and becomes more and more transformed into the image of Christ; while all agree that such a change is a necessary part of the Christian charac ter. It is a question of comparatively little importance, in which sense the word is the most correctly used, provided the meaning of those who use it is distinctly understood. I may remark, however, that the author of the letter himself uses the word, in the same sense that it is used by those whose doctrine he opposes, where he speaks of the conversion of St. Paul.

But it is not "those who have lived in the practice of gross vices" only, who must undergo some change of character at the very commencement of the Christian life. On this point, I could wish that the author of the letter had been more explicit. If we believe, in the language of our articles, that "man is very far gone from original righteousness, and is of his own nature inclined to evil, so that the flesh lusteth always against the Spirit," and in that of our liturgy, that we have no health in us," and in that of scripture, that we are all gone out of the way," "there is none that doeth good, no, not one"-then, appears to me, we must believe that some degree of renovation of heart is necessary before we can be said even to have begun to be Christians. How many thousands are there, in a Christian country, who lead tolerably regular, moral lives, who attend church


constantly, and who pay a decent respect to the other external ordinances of the gospel, whose hearts are not at all affected by its holy precepts. God is not in all their thoughts. Our holy religion respects the motives of men, the temper and disposition of heart which govern them in all their actions, as well as those actions themselves. It will not, I trust, be denied by the author of the letter, that the heart of every man is originally opposed to holiness, and that whatever acts of obedience he may perform are insuffi. cient to constitute him a true Christian, until his obedience springs from a right regard to him who commands it. He has not taken one step in the Christian course, until this change is wrought in the principles and motives of his actions. As our church expresses it in the thirteenth article, "Works done before the grace of Christ, and the inspiration of his Spirit, are not pleasant to God, forasmuch as they spring not of faith in Jesus Christ;-for that they are not done as God hath willed and commanded them to be done, we doubt not but they have the nature of sin." . Now I do not see that this change is the less real in the man who has alrea dy led a correct moral life, than in him who has lived in the practice of vice, because it is less apparent in its effects. In either case it is a radical change in the disposition and motives which have governed the life and conduct. one case the change in the temper of the heart brings with it no considerable change of outward conduct, because none is requisite: but in the other, the whole life, as well as the heart, is to be brought into subjection to the obedience of Christ.

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This is a question of immense practical importance. For if persons are left to suppose themselves in the way of salvation, because they have been educated in a christian country, and have lived in the enjoyment of Christian privileges, and have not grossly neglected -the more obvious religious

duties, all exhortations to a thorough repentance will be rejected as not applicable to them. How can they be excited to pray that a new heart may be given them, and a new spirit be put within them? They will imagine that they are already running the Christian course, when they have not in fact even entered upon the path which leads to eternal life. They are attempting to build the superstructure, while the foundation is in the sand. Such a building must fall; and O, how great will be the fall thereof!

Another mistake in this letter, similar to that which I have mentioned, appears to me to be in the author's sup. posing a much greater importance to be attached to the feelings in religion, than is actually given them by the class of Christians of whom he speaks; and in opposing this opinion, he seems (for I do not believe that he intended to do it) to run into the other extreme of rejecting the influence of the feelings altogether. Although there are many who believe that they are aware of the time when, by the operations of the Holy Spirit, they are first made fully sensible of their sinfulness, and their need of a Saviour, and are led to such a confidence in the merit of his atonement, as induces them to hope that they are born of God, yet I believe there are very few who avowedly regard this state of feeling as in itself any evidence of their conversion. That a change of the feelings in reference to matters of religion, goes to form a part of the character of a Christian, can. not, I think, be doubted. Nor do I see that there is any difficulty in supposing that the person, who is the subject of such a change, may be at the time conscious that it is going on. He may be conscious that his mind is less engrossed by worldly or sinful affections; that he now takes pleasure in the performance of duties that before were disagreable or indifferent to him; that he has a dread of falling into sin

to which he was before a stranger; that he finds a new delight in drawing near to God in his worship and ordinances, which he has never before tasted. He will not indeed look upon these feelings as the proofs of his. conversion; but he will regard them as a part of that work of divine grace which is wrought in his heart.

We might, if it were necessary, farther illustrate this point, by the comparison from archbishop Sharpe, quoted in the letter. The sick man, he remarks, does not fix upon any particular moment as the time of his recovery. Neither, we may add, does he fix upon the removal of any particular symptom, as the evidence of his recovery. It is not merely because he regains his strength, or is able to perform some little labour, that he thinks himself recovering. But he finds that he relishes the food which formerly he loathed; that he now takes pleasure in objects which then were painful to him; that his spirits which were oppressed or wavering are now steady and serene. Were he to take the appetite alone as the mark of returning health, that might itself be diseased, and if trusted to and indulged, might throw him back into deeper distress; and the pleasure that he feels, or the elevation of his spirits, if regarded by themselves, may be confounded with the delusions of a delirium. But all taken together form that wonderful combination of capacities and enjoyments which constitute health.

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The fruits of the Spirit, it is to be remembered, are "love, joy, peace,' as well as "long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,meekness, temperance;" and the true Christian lives in a greater or less degree in the enjoyment of those holy affections, as well as in the performance of these duties. Did not


holy David exclaim, "O how love I thy law! It is my meditation all the day?" With what fervour does St. Paul call upon Christians to "Rejoice

in the Lord alway, and again I say rejoice." "And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Jesus Christ." It will not be supposed that I should wish to see religious feelings, however elevated they may seem to be, excited or encouraged to the neglect of a Christian life. Nor do I believe that there are Christians in our country, unless it be some few of the wildest of enthusiasts, who would avowedly do it. The feelings and the conduct each form a part of the Christian character, and neither can be made a substitute for the other; although the correctness of the feelings is always to be tested by the correctness of the


Had the author of the letter argued, that where so much is said of the necessity of a renovation of heart as the very commencement of a Christian life, and so much importance attached to the possession of right religious feelings, there is great danger of insensibly overlooking the equal necessity of persevering in the paths of holiness, and walking in all the commandments of the Lord blameless, I should have most cordially agreed with him. I do indeed believe that there is great danger of this. But I also believe, and there is much consolation in the belief, that many, at least, of those among whom it exists, are aware of the danger, and are watchful and diligent to guard against its effects.

Let us on the other hand see that we do not in our church run into the opposite errour, of placing such an exclusive reliance on the more external fruits of the spirit (if I may so express myself) as shall chill our religious affections, and enfeeble our zeal. A proper cultivation of the affections of the heart is necessary to a zealous discharge of the duties of life. He whose religious feelings are languid, and whose thoughts dwell much on the world and its plea. sures or its business, will not be ready to engage with much ardour in the



plans of Christian benevolence for which the present age is so distinguished.

While he who places a high value on spiritual blessings, who sets his affections on things above the earth, will not only be careful to maintain good works in his own person, but will be active in his endeavours to extend to others those blessings which have been the source of so much enjoyment to himself. S.

To the Editor of the Gospel Advocate.

MR. WEBSTER's discourse.

I HAVE read with very great pleasure the discourse by the honourable Daniel Webster, in commemoration of the first settlement of New England, which was pronounced by him at Plymouth, the 22d of December, 1820, and published in Boston on the same anniversary, in 1821.

Mr. Webster's views upon all subjects to which he turns his attention are so lofty and extensive, that he cannot descend either to the common place remarks, or to the narrow prejudices of meaner minds. It was of course to be expected from him that he would refrain with dignified moderation, from that intemperate and indiscriminate abuse of the church of England which has been a sort of heir-loom among the descendants of the puritans; and which is now continued, for party purposes, by those who have retained nothing of their patrimonial religion but its name and its animosities. There are, however, some expressions which occur in this discourse, on which I must request permission to offer a few observations to your readers.

"We have come to this rock," says the orator, (p. 10.) "to record here our homage for our pilgrim fathers; our sympathy in their sufferings; our gratitude for their labours; our admiration of their virtues; our veneration for their piety; and our attachment to

those principles of civil and religious liberty, which they encountered the dangers of the ocean, the storms of heaven, the violence of savages, disease, exile, and famine, to enjoy and to establish."

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off their little band from their native soil, at first to find shelter on the shores of the neighbouring continent, but ultimately to come hither; and, having surmounted all difficulties, and braved a thousand dangers, to find here a place of refuge and of rest. Thanks be to God, that this spot was honoured as the asylum of religious liberty. May its standard reared here remain for ever! May it rise up as high as heaven, till its banner shall fan the air of both continents, and wave as a glorious ensign of peace and security to the nations!"

A lively writer of our own country, speaking of the imperfections of history, has remarked, that " the same event, treated by different historians, comes white from one hand, tinged with a rosy blush from another, and from another black."* Under this last hue

Again, (p. 20.) They fled not so much from the civil government, as from the hierarchy, and the laws which enforced conformity to the church establishment. Mr. Robinson had left England as early as 1608, on account of the prosecutions for non-conformity, and had retired to Holland. He left England, from no disappointed ambition in affairs of state, from no regrets at the want of preferment in the church, nor from any motive of distinction or of gain. Uniformity in matters of religion was pressed with such extreme rigour, that a voluntary exile seemed the most eligible mode of escaping from the penalties of non-compliance. it has been so customary to represent The accession of Elizabeth had, it is true, quenched the fires of Smithfield, and put an end to the easy acquisition of the crown of martyrdom. Her long reign had established the reformation, but toleration was a virtue beyond her conception and beyond the age. She left no example of it to her successor; and he was not of a character which rendered it probable that a sentiment either so wise or so liberal should originate with him. At the present period it seems incredible, that the learned, accomplished, unassuming and inoffensive Robinson, should neither be tolerated in his own peaceable mode of worship, in his own country, nor suffered quietly to depart from it. Yet such was the fact. He left his country by stealth, that he might elsewhere enjoy those rights which ought to belong to men in all countries."

Again, (p. 24.) "This was not the flight of guilt, but of virtue. It was an humble and peaceable religion, flying from causeless oppression. It was conscience attempting to escape from the arbitrary rule of the Stuarts. It was Robinson and Brewster, leading

all the proceedings of the church of England with reference to the dissenters, that even the most intelligent and candid minds may well be pardoned for having received and entertained erroneous opinions. The story has been told so continually on one side, that the opposite has been entirely unknown. No suspicions have induced the labour of collating the representations of differing historians. The labour itself is revolting to men of genius but of little leisure. They wish to read history only as a recreation from toil. They shun the trouble of investigating subjects unconnected with their immediate occupations. And they therefore suffer themselves, especially with regard to a theme of expiring interest, and so rough and unpleasant in its own nature, to float along with the current of popular feelings and prejudices.

Yet surely the love of truth, and, I may add, a proper veneration for the character of our forefathers ought to

*Inaug. Discourse, by the honourable Gouv. Morris, before the N. York Hist. Soc. on the 206th anniversary of the discovery of New York. Sept. 4, 1816.

lead to a different result. We are far enough removed by the lapse of two centuries to contemplate with calmness the ferments of that age of revolution. And it is but a poor compliment to the memory of our puritan ancestors, if we think it necessary to support their fame upon the exaggerations which, under their circumstances, the infirmities of our nature rendered almost inevitable.

It would seem, from the extracts above given, to be Mr. Webster's opinion, that, from the beginning, there was no disposition in the rulers of the English church to tolerate the slightest deviations from established practice; that the sole object of the puritans was to obtain a full toleration for themselves; and that their religious principles and modes of worship were entirely peace-` able and inoffensive. I hope to be able to show your readers that the representations which have thus led astray even the most candid and liberal, are to be received with much extenuation. I hope to convince them that there was a disposition in the church of England to treat with tenderness the scrupulous objections of conscientious men, upon points unconnected with the great principles of doctrine; that so far from there being any desire for toleration among the puritans, they accused the church of a desire to tolerate as one of the marks of her corruption; that so far from having any idea of religious liberty in the proper sense of the term, they were opposed to religious liberty from principle; and that the hardships which they underwent are to be be attributed in the first in stance to their own seditious opposition to government.

In the year of our Lord, 1541, the celebrated Calvin established at Geneva his system of ecclesiastical government consisting of pastors, doctors or teachers, lay elders and deacons. He acknowledged that this was contrary to the practice of the ancient church, and defended it only on the plea of neces

sity, the bishop, who was also the prince of that city, having fled, and being so opposed to the reformation that he would not ordain any who supported it. Calvin himself became one of the pastors, though there is no evidence that he was ever ordained. Bayle says of him, that he had only received the tonsure, a ceremony administered to boys who were designed for the clerical office.

In England the reformation having been conducted by the authority of government, and under the direction of the archbishop and several of the bishops, there was no assignable reason for any departure from the outward order of the church. All that was to be done, was to banish doctrines contrary to God's word, to make the people acquainted with the scriptures, to give them a liturgy free from corruptions, and to remove from it all idle and unprofitable ceremonies.

During the reign of Edward, there was very little difference of opinion among the English reformers. Hooper, indeed, who had been on the continent in the reign of Henry, and who was consecrated Bishop of Gloucester in 1550, scrupled about wearing the episcopal robes, which were then of white and scarlet, because he considered them as the dress of popish bishops. He also objected to some oath which was then required to be taken. In both these particulars the king respected his scruples, and wrote to the bishops not to insist upon his conformity. The bishops, however, prevailed upon him not to depart from the usage of the church; and it does not appear that any farther difficulty was made.

When Mary succeeded her brother on the English throne in 1553, and reestablished popery, many both of the clergy and laity fled from the fury of her persecution to the continent, and English congregations were established at Emden, in West Friezland, Arrow, in Switzerland, Strasburg, Zurich, and Frankfort. At the latter place, where

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