Page images
PDF
EPUB

These considerations produced the desired effect, and I had the superlative happiness of embracing one more Christian friend.

[ocr errors]

On my arrival in this place a letter was put into my hand, from a young clergyman, complimenting me on the greatness of my talents and readiness to communicate, &c. &c. and adding that a solution to the following questions, would give ease to his troubled mind.

“ First, What propriety is there in the word grace, if the party offended requireth full satisfaction before forgiveness, seeing we call it Godlike to forgive, without satisfaction and without asking; or if the second person forgives without receiving satisfaction, why should not the first have done the same?

“ Secondly, Can material matter or substance, produce immaterial matter, or substance ?

“ Thirdly, Is the soul of man derived mediate, or immediate ? )

“ Fourthly, Can it be proved by reason, that prayer is instrumentally niore or less the cause of God's doing, or omitting to do any thing whatsoever?"

I am so much circumscribed for time, that I do not believe I shall reply to the letter. You have leisure, and if you find a free dom may furnish a solution to the above queries.

I was distressed by an observation, made by a resident in this family. I should think, Sir, your cause would be more respectable, if your professed friends and admirers were more circumspect-This is most true, these swearing and lying friends are our worst enemies.

Yet, I feel pleasure in the reflection, that I last night faithfully delivered the truth, as it is in Jesus, to an attentive audience; while I continue thus to do, I shall at least have the approbation of my own conscience, let the event be what it may; for not one of my hearers could be more culpable than I should be, were I not to make the most of my time and talents, such as they are, in the service of my Lord and Master. The following passage of sacred writ, is frequently and forcibly impressed upon my mind : “ A dispensation of the gospel is committed to me, and woe be to me if I preach not the gospel." And why should my spirits sink, when I do not see the immediate effect of my labours. Many a time in the course of my pilgrimage, have I supposed the seed of he kingdom lost, when as bread cast upon the waters, after marry

| 1 days it has been found again', and there are in this place, now

attending my labours, and with serious circumspection, those who were once greatly opposed to me, and on religious principles too; and others who were like the waves of the sea, now steadfast in faith, giving glory to God. On the whole I am informed, and from the conversation of some, and the appearance of others, I am persuaded the information is true,) that my labours in this place have been peculiarly owned and blessed. But, suppose it were not so, why should I be disquieted? Who was it that said, Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious ? I am labouring for him who sent me, it is not in me to make the seed take root downward, and bring forth much fruit upward ; nor shall I, provided I perform my duty, in any wise lose my reward; indeed my reward is with me, for

when I have faithfully held forth the word of life, to those to whom ! I am commissioned to deliver it, I am conscious of that peace of

mind and satisfaction of soul, that nothing earthly can give, nor, blessed be God, can take away. My reward therefore is with me. God, all gracious, give me sufficient firmness, still to keep my eye steadfastly fixed on the work before me, that no personal consideration may ever so far influence me, as to induce a forgetfulness, or neglect of my public work, the work which my divine Master bath given me to do.

I have reason to think, I gave offence in my last evening's discourse, to a gentleman who indulges himself in profane and indecent language; yet I do not regret it; I ought to be prepared for whatever is prepared for me, I must abide by the consequence. Led by my subject, I expressed myself nearly in the following manner : For my own part, as I pass through life, whether I am invited to the house of a Publican or Pharisee, I endeavour to follow the example of my divine Master, and enter the dwelling with gratitude to the kind host, and to that God who hath all hearts in his hand. But when I am at any time so unfortunate, as to hear any thing like profane language or indecent references, such sounds sicken my soul. I do not think upon such occasions, I have any right to call those who give themselves such unwarrantable latitude to account, or to lord it over any part of God's heritage. Nor would there be any propriety in my being offended, from the want of that respect, to which perhaps I might lay claim; for it must be confessed, that he who will make use of profape or indecent

language, in the presence of his Master, his everlasting Father and Redeemer, he who has sufficient hardihood thus to hazard offending his Creator and God, may be supposed without fear or shame, to take that liberty in the presence of his fellow creature, whatever the sex, sect or profession may be.

Yet, when I find that no religious considerations, no regard to civil institutions, no respect for themselves, nor the serious circles in which they may chance to move, no regard to honour nor decorum; when I find that none of these considerations can induce them to act consistent with the character of gentlemen or Christians, my only security in such circumstances, is an honourable retreat. I leave such society, therefore, as soon as possible, not, I confess, without heart-felt concern, that persons for whom I feel most sincere respect, should pay so little attention to themselves, and betray such total ignorance of the feelings of delicate, really susceptible and well instructed minds, as to imagine, that while they conceive it would be an offence to come into company with soiled garments, they should suppose it less offensive, to make a display of a polluted mind. In fact, were we to leave religion out of the question, lying and swearing are cowardly, ungentlemaniy vices, and in the language of a moral poet, we uniformly affirm, that

“Immodest words admit of no defence,

For want of decency, is want of sense.” There are two characters whom I should wish to serve, for whose spiritual and temporal interest I would cheerfully labour, while I could discover any probability of becoming the humble instrument of their advancement in those paths which lead to peace, which lead to virtue; I mean the self-righteous Pharisee and the thoughtless Publican : but when I learn that I cannot, by my public investigations nor private admonitions, bring the one to a conviction of the vanity of self-righteousness, and the all-sufficiency of the righteousness of God; when he refuseth to join issue with the Apostle, praying that he may be found in Christ Jesus not having on his own righteousness which is of the law, but the righteousness which is of God by faith ; when I cannot bring the other to adopt the prayer of the Publican, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner; when I cannot bestow upon him an operative sense of the unlimited mercies of his God, bestowed upon him in Christ Jesus; when sacred gratitude for the inestimable benefits he has reseived, does not constrain him to cry out, Lord, what wilt thou have

Vol. I. 49

[ocr errors]

me to do? I say, when I become assured that my efforts are thus ineffectual, nothing remains for ine, but to leave them to God and their own consciences. For, if I can render them no service, I am not necessitated to wound my own feelings, since this would promote neither their interest, nor the interest of our common Parent.

Pray, Sir, said an inquirer to me yesterday, pray, Sir, did you ever hear Mr. W-preach?

Murray. No, Sir.
Inquirer. I understand he is turned quite about.
M. Yes, Sir.
Ing. He has frequently preached in this place.
M. So I am told.
Ing. He was a very violent adversary to the truth.
M. So I have heard.

Ing. But he has out-stripped you now, for he preaches the salvavation of Devils, as well as men.

M. So I understand.

Ing. But, is there not as much danger in going beyond, as in coming short, of divine revelation ?

M, I rather think not, Sir. Truth, and nothing but truth, is, no doubt, greatly to be desired. Yet, it appears to me, there is more to be said in favour of him, who views the mercy of God as boundless, and thus, as a consequence, embraceth every intelligent being ; I say, such a person deserves more credit, than that individual, whose narrow soul, wholly unacquainted with the immensity of divine love, limits the Holy One of Israel, to a small number of the human race. Yet, Sir, I confess to you, that as the Redeemer passed by the nature of angels, and took not upon him their character, but the nature and character of humanity, I am willing to pass them by also; I conceive I am not called to preach to the fallen angels, nor do I aim at being wise above what is written.

Ing. But Mr. W— insists upon the restitution of all things ; is not the restitution of all things a scripture doctrine ? surely, what is written in scripture, is a scripture doctrine.

M. The restitution of all things is undoubtedly a scripture doctrine, and I am far from objecting to the will of God, if he should choose to make the crooked straight, as well as the rough places smooth. Yet, as I said, I do not conceive I am sent to preach to Devils. One thing, however, I know; that if God should show favour to the deceiver, there can be no doubt of his showing favour

[ocr errors]

to the deceived; and although the scriptures may not, in my view, appear to teach the doctrine of salvation, to fallen, angelic sinners, yet, another servant of my great Master, under the direction of the same spirit, may be permitted to fathom more deeply those waters of the sanctuary.

Ing. Why, I think, you must allow that all things are possible with God.

M. Surely ; and I acknowledge it to be an incontrovertible fact, that we know not the extent of his power, or of his grace; and wherever I find a person preaching Christ Jesus, as the Saviour of the world, he shall have my heart, and my hand, nor will I quarrel with him, because he thinks too highly of the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Ing. Do you know if it be true that Mr. W is a preacher of purgatory?

M. I really do not know what are his views of an intermediate state, as I have an account of this particular, only from his enemies. It is said of me, that I take a purgatory into my calculations; but my ideas are wholly confined to the baptism of Christ, where our God as a consuming fire hath purified the whole of his inheritance ; a knowledge of this fact, purgeth the conscience of the individual who receiveth it from dead works, to serve the living God; and when this knowledge is universally communicated, then shall the righteous shine forth, as the sun, in the kingdom of the Father. The views of Mr. Ware, perhaps, similar to mine ; at any rate, there are, from the same spirit, diversity of gifts : and it is proper that we should cherish toward each other a spirit of liberality.

I am not pleased with myself, but I will transcribe a faithful account of what has happened, that I may see how it appears upon paper. There entered my apartment, while I was writing, a smart young man, and seated himself by me; I laid aside my papers, because I would not appear rude.

Young Man. I hope I do not interrupt you, Sir?
Murray. No, Sir-sa long pause
Y, M. How long have you been in these parts, Sir?
M. I came here the night before last, Sir--[another long pause)

Y. M. Where may you live when you are at home, Sir, if I may be so bold?

M. In the state of Massachusetts, Sir.

« PreviousContinue »