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Y. M. I hear you hold all mankind will be saved, and I am come to talk with you about it.
M. I hold nothing but what you have in your Bible, Sir; I would advise you to talk with that.
Y. M. I have some questions to ask you, if you are free.
M. I believe, I have been too free, and talked a great deal to very little purpose. There are many religious speculators, who are contented with making religion a subject of conversation, without giving it a place in their hearts; it is useless to converse on such grounds.
Y. M. That is true; I differ from the standing ministry myself.
M. There is a great deal of contention, between one religious denomination and another, about modes and forms; but they all agree to make God a liar, and it appears to me, as they agree in the main point, they ought not to differ about words.
Y. M. When do they agree to make God a liar?
Y. M. How long have you been in this country, if I may be sa bold?
M. Many years, Sir.
M. I have not ; but suffer me to say, it is a pity, that young men should so frequently, solely to gratify an idle curiosity, draw upon themselves the ridicule, and even censure of strangers, by asking such a number of trising questions.
Y. M. Why, Sir, I did not ask these questions, so much for my own sake, as for others; I have often been asked about you in this way.
M. Well, my good Sir, should they ask you again, I advise you to tell them, you do not wish to concern yourself with any such matters.
Y. M. I expected to have had a great deal of talk with you ; I am very much disappointed.
M. We are frequently disappointed in our journey through life, Sir.
Y. M. I heard you were free to answer any questions that were put to you.
M. I repeat I have been too much so, Sir, and talked, I have reason to believe, to very little purpose. There are a great many people who talk about, and about religion, that they may find out, and expatiate upon the errors of others, without a single serious thought respecting the matter themselves, and I confess I do not take much pleasure in tracing ideas which float only in the head.
Y. M. Then you do believe all will be saved ?
Y. M. I thought you were free to talk, and I expected a great deal of talk with you.
M. Why, Sir, although I feel myself very much indisposed for want of rest last night
Y. M. Why, what was the matter, Sir ?
M. I was not well, Sir, yet if a person were to come to me, under dejection of mind, and say, I have heard of you as a preacher, I am agonized in the fear of future misery, I know I am a sinner, and I do not know that I have a Saviour, I shudder at the prospect of death, and I pray you to tell me, if you can give me any reason to believe, that Jesus Christ is my Redeemer? to such a person, much as I am indisposed, I would unreservedly speak, and I would labour with all the faculties of my soul, to lead him to the wells of salvation, that he might with joy draw therefrom, the refreshing waters of consolation. But in truth I am sick of treating religious matters as a subject of disputation.
Y. M. When are you to preach again, Sir?
Y. M. Well, I am greatly disappointed; I thought of a great deal to say to you as I came along, I wished to ask a great many questions, if you had been free to give me leave.
M. I have no objection to your asking any question, Sir.
Y, M. No, they are all gone; it may be, you may some time or other be in a more free disposition. I wish you well, Sir.
M. Sir, I wish you all happiness.
No sooner had this man closed my door, than I was in the condition of Sterne, after the retreat of his interesting Monk. Indeed, I felt, I cannot describe how I felt, but I felt most horridly. Why did I not listen to his questions? It was indisputably my business so to do. How did I know that he was not a serious inquirer? What right had I to decide before I examined ? I assayed to console myself, by a persuasion drawn from the nature of the questions he asked, and the manner in which he asked those questions, that he was rather a curious than a serious enquirer. But after all I can say in my own favour, I do not feel at peace in my own bosom.
I have been endeavouring to compensate for my lack of duty in the morning, by listening with patience, to an assembly of questioners this evening. I am weary, it is true, yet I felt no sense of weariness while listening to the inquiries of my tellow men. All my faculties have been engaged in pouring into the open ear, the words of life. A character of great eminence made one of my audience; he was anxious to discover truth, and through the blessing of our God he hath discovered it. 0, with what extatic delight did he listen to the voice of his Creator, speaking to his understanding in various sacred testimonies! I am confident it was the happiest evening this good man ever passed. Can there be a greater felicity than that which is derived from such manifestations. To see the spirit of God operating upon the heart, while we are addressing the understanding, to bear witness, while the opening mind receiveth the truth in the love of it. This is indeed a prelibation of heaven-May we not then say, as the Apostles once said, we are workers together with God. How delightful is that testimony to my soul, which thus proclaimeth, Those who turn many to righteousness shall shine as the stars for ever and ever!
I left a large company without being able to recollect a single word that has dropped from my lips, which I could wish unsaid : how seldom is this felicitous reflection unreservedly mine!
I have preached to day, and I think to a more solemn congregation than yesterday; my own heart was very much engaged, which made the opportunity the sweeter. After church the house filled with inquirers, all of which I endeavoured to satisfy, and I have the pleasure to reflect, that I did not meet with a single uncandid
remark. I think I have been greatly blessed in this place. One old gentleman will never forget the opportunities he has had ; his mind has been heavily oppressed of late, but, thanks be to God, his researches are blessed ; he has found the truth as it is in Jesus, and with it rest to his soul, his consolation is unspeakable. He introduced a number of his friends, that they might receive the same grace, but I know nothing of them; they may have seen the salvation of God, and to God I must leave them. / I have, through divine favour, been enabled to sow the seed of the kingdom, I can only supplicate that the blessed spirit may water it with the dew of his favour.
I am absolutely frightened; and the meagre visage of parsimony intruding upon my mind, is the spectre by which I have been appalled. I met an aged friend on his way to B-, he was on his feet-I forsooth in a sulkey—our route lay in contrary directions. He was old and poor ; 1, if not very young, yei full of health and spirits, and flushed with hope. At parting I gave him only my hand, my cheek glowed at the recollection. I did not stop to reason, but ran after him hallooing as I ran, it was in vain, the old man walks fast, and my voice was “breath against the wind blown vagabond.” My horse, loosed from the sulkey, was feeding in the stable, otherwise I could have easily overtaken him. A chaise passed in which were two young ladies. Do, dear young ladies, stop yonder man, I want to speak to him exceedingly. The sweet souls pressed forward with all the good nature imaginable. It was some time before they reached him, which, while with all possible speed they were essaying to do, the demon of parsimony was thus endeavouring to prevail upon me, not to feed this hungry member of the body of our Lord: “Pshaw! that will be too much, you may want it yourself, it is very probable you will. Besides, he may not be in any immediate want. It was nonsense to call him back, however; now you must give him something." I was happily rea lieved from this impertinent fiend, by the return of the venerable old man- I beg your pardon, dear Sir, for calling you back, but as you could not stay to dine, I thought you might need some little matter upon the road, and taking his hand, Ino matterglanced his countenance as I turned away, it expressed more than language can describe.
One instance more, to evince the officious interference of this same parsimony; I shall soon have done, my charities are very thinly scattered. An emaciated man, with a still more emaciated companion, and an helpless infant, stood by the entrance of a hovel. Fortunately for the man, my horse proceeded slowly, otherwise I should have missed the information he meant to give—“I am a poor man, Sir, with a wife and three small children, driven froin house and home by the enemy." “ Do not heed him," said the fiend—I am sorry for your misfortunes, cried I, and like an unfeeling wretch, I was passing on as hastily as possible--"God bless your honour, if you could help me to a little matter, if you please, I am on the road seeking a shelter, several gentlemen have been kind to me.”
« There, there," said the fiend, “ he cannot want your aid, he is an impudent beggar, I believe." I am glad of it, said I, you have the less need of any thing at present-cruel the poor feilow felt he had missed it, he only sought to excite my compassion by the force of example, but the mischievous turn I had given it, quite disconcerted him—and drawing up a heavy sigh, the language of which was serve you right, you fool, you must tell the gentle. man how well you had been treated, and thus convince him, as far as you were able, you did not stand in need of his assistance-very true, and the poor fellow, conscious he had no one to blame but himself-added to his sigh, “God bless you, Sir, I wish you a good journey."
I could stand it no longer, I stopped my horse, the man looked as if unable to determine what this might portend--at length he advanced—Where did you come from, friend? “ Eighty miles above Albany, Sir," and he was proceeding with a most pitiable tale which I knew would not well suit my circumstances, and therefore bestowing my mite, I made what haste I could to get off.
“God Almighty bless your honour," says the poor fellow,“ may I beg to crave your name?" It is not worth while, friend, it would not do you a farthing's worth of good Well, God bless youyour name is good man, that is certain”—No, friend, you have missed it, you must guess again.
The muttering demon assuming the form of Prudence, was all the time tormenting me, endeavouring to terrify me, by the words profusion, prodigality, extravagance, and what not. I assure you it was with difficulty I could put this fiend to silence.