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the vice of swearing to be bad, in every view, and, he added a fervent wish, that he could be sufficiently on his guard to abstain upon all occasions from oaths, and from cursing.
We passed some time with Mr. A. the clergyman of whom you have thought so highly. He did not introduce religion until after we had dined, when, in a manner bordering upon the ludicrous he thus questioned:
Mr. A. How is Mr. N. Sir?
Murray. Well, I thank you, Sir.
Mr. A. I wonder if he has got through the prophecies yet? Of all the men I ever saw, this Mr. N. knows the most of the Bible, and discovers, in speaking of it, the greatest fertility of invention.
M. I never thought Mr. N. remarkable for invention, Sir. It is true he is well acquainted with the scriptures, but I do not call this invention.
Mr. A. But I do: for example. He was conversing in this house, and speaking of visiting the sins of the fathers on the children, unto the third and fourth generation. Heaven help us! he turned over from one place to another-mercy on me, I thought he never would have done; but I admired the invention of the man, in the way he made it out.
M. Perhaps, Sir, there was more of industry than invention in the discoveries he made. Suppose, Sir, I were in Mr. N.'s place, and took the Bible, determining to learn from the Bible what we were to understand by visiting the sins of the fathers unto the third and fourth generation. Now I should not imagine there was any great invention in finding out, that visiting sins from father to son, to the fourth generation, was putting a period to the visitation for sins, at the fourth generation.
It would then be very natural to inquire, when this transfer of guilt, and consequent punishment, had a period? By consulting the prophet Daniel I learn that when Messiah was cut off, he should finish the transgression, and make an end of sin. I should next inquire, whose sin and punishment were thus finished? and Isaiah would inform me, that when all we like sheep had gone astray, every one to his own way, the Lord laid on him, Jesus the Messiah, the iniquities of us all. The apostle Peter would confirm this testimony, for he saith, that he, Jesus, bare all our sins in his own body on the tree; while the apostle Paul would affirm, he had put them away by the sacrifice of himself. But still I could not possibly invent how all this was visiting the sins of the fathers upon the children
unto the third and fourth generation. In this dilemma I should search in the concordance for the word generation, and see if that word was any where applicable to Christ Jesus, in consequence of which research, I should find the psalmist in the 22d Psalm, and 30th verse, thus declaring:
"A seed shall serve him, and it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation." I then naturally inquire who this seed is, that should, according to the psalmist, be accounted to the Lord for a generation? and in looking over the word seed, I find it thus written: "And in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed." The apostle to the Galatians assures me, this seed was Christ; and listening to the testimony of my Redeemer, I hear him affirm, Luke xi. 51. when speaking of all the evil," From the blood of Abel, unto the blood of Zacharias, which perished between the altar and the temple: verily I say unto you, It shall be required of this generation."
From thus searching the scriptures, I learn that Jesus is the seed, that this seed is accounted to the Lord for a generation, and that the sins of father and son, which the blood of bulls and of goats could not take away, had been transferred from one to the other, until the coming of Christ Jesus, and were then laid upon him, and being found upon him, were visited with that divine vengeance, which was denounced thereon; and that after the sins of father and son were thus visited on this destined and comprehensive generation, and put away by the sacrifice of himself, he appeared the second time without sin unto salvation. But should I be solicitous to know, why the sins of the fathers, are said to be visited upon the children, unto the fourth generation? I again take my Bible, where I discover, that a thousand years is in the sight of God but as one day, (second Epistle of Peter iii. 8.) "But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." On referring to the Mosaic account of the Creation, it is decided, that as the sun in the firmament made its appearance on the fourth day of creation, so the sun of righteousness diffused its irradiating beams in the fourth thousand year of the world, that is, agreeably to the calculation of omnipotence, in the fourth day of the world; thus, from various passages of holy writ, fairly compared, these blessed declarations are disencumbered of all obscurity, or ambiguity.
Yet, my dear Sir, in all this there is no invention, there is nothing more than a discovery.
Mr. A. Well, Sir, what you call a discovery I call an invention, that is all the difference.
M. But, Sir, invention attaches, inseparably attaches, the idea of some thing of our own, not the testimony of Jesus. But when he says, "Search the scriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal life, and they are they which testify of me," should I after obeying his voice, and diligently searching, find what I sought, surely it cannot be called an invention; but if he were not there, and we pretended to point him out, then indeed it might be termed an inventien, as when leaving the true God, the people sought out to themselves many inventions. Suppose, Sir, on being told there was a pot of money hid in your field, I should search there very diligently, until I had found it, would it be quite right to say, I had invented a pot of money? or a new coinage of money? Certainly not, yet I should rejoice exceedingly, that I had made so very valuable a discovery.
Thus then I consider our friend, not as an inventor; he has invented nothing, but he has found much, and he is very rich in the discovery.
Mr. A. Well, Sir, a discovery let it be ; but be it what it will, he has gone farther in that part of the Bible, called the Old Testament, than almost any man I know.
M. Yes, Sir, he is mighty in that part of the Bible, and it should always be remembered, that only the Old Testament was written, when our Saviour directed his disciples, saying, John v. 39. "Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me."
This ended the conversation.
Our landlord is a great talker, and in his own apprehension at least, a very wise and a very good man. He is full of the praises of his spiritual guide, who he pronounces the greatest man in the world; for he has written a book upon infant baptism. The poor landlord is like a good parrot, he chatters of our inability, and of our wretchedness, if we do not perform, although we can do nothing without the assistance of God, but his assistance will never be wanting, though it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy; thus he retails this Babel jargon, in and out, backward and forward. But for a long time he knew nothing of me, nor did I intend he should; I had requested my
companion not to mention my name; but as the landlord knew my companion, he said, "They tell me, Sir, you have got one Murray among you at who preaches a fine easy way of going to heaven." Yes, said I, for B. was dumb, yes, said I, such a man does occasionally preach in, and I think he does preach a very easy way of going to heaven. For he says, we shall obtain entrance into heaven, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, and not by works of righteousness as done by us.- -"Well, to be sure, that is true, but I hear, that he preaches up that all shall be saved, and that there shall nobody be lost." Yes, he preaches up that Jesus is the Saviour of all men. "Well, that I say too." B. good honest soul, then observed; that no man ought to judge before they hear. "Aye, very true, I do not pretend to judge the man, not I. It is true I have heard much of him, but that signifies nothing." I remarked there were very few able to form a right judgment when they did hear; much less could they form a judgment without hearing. He said a great deal in his own way, which for want of his way I will not repeat; until B. going to the window and not recollecting my caution, said, "I am afraid, Mr. Murray, we shall have no weather for travelling this day."
This was enough. The landlord started from his seat-" Gracious, pity me, is this the man himself?" B. was confounded, and I was seized with a violent fit of laughter-I find, B. there is no such thing as travelling with you incog. The landlord immediately commenced an attack, but I stopped him, by telling him I had letters to write.
A benevolent divine met me on my road to this place, and humanely urged me and my friend to take lodgings under his roof, notwithstanding, he added, I am not there, but you will find the same heart; this was tantamount to assuring me it was a good heart. "My family," he continued, "is not in a very good state; I have had much affliction. I have a son, a man grown, who is an idiot, a daughter very much afflicted, and my wife not well. However, you will find good beds for yourselves, and a very good pasture for your horses. I shall exceedingly regret it if you do not make my house your home. Had I known you were coming along, I should have put off my journey until I had seen you." Thus we parted mutually regretting our disappointed expectations and after travelling over an extreme bad road, reached his habitation.
There was no detaining B. in the tavern, where we had taken refuge from the storm; and I confess I was the more resigned to leave it, the continuance of wet weather notwithstanding, on account of the growing curiosity of the people. The landlord having stumbled upon, in his own apprehension, an important discovery, and meeting with a repulse, went forth, and informed his neighbours, who he had at his house. One old disciple accompanied him home, and entering my apartment sat down, remaining silent for a few moments, eying me from head to foot; at last, without directing himself particularly to me, he said,
"Is there any necessity to be under concern and distress?"
I was just finishing my writing, and took no notice of the ques tion, and my friend B. and the landlord, supposing it addressed to me, of course made no reply; so that we had for a considerable space a silent meeting, when the good man once more repeated, "I hope I give no offence?"-Having finished my letter I replied, Not to me, my friend.
"I asked if there were any necessity for being under distress or concern?"
Murray. Did you ask me, my friend?
"Yes, if you please."
M. Then I will ask you, if you please, whether you have ever been under any concern and distress?
"Y-e-s, as much as any, I believe." M. Well, and did it do you any good?
"Yes, I am sure it did."
M. Then, my friend, the question is answered, you see there was a necessity for it, as it was of so much advantage to you.
"Well, you have really brought me to answer my own question." M. I would always do so if I could, as I am persuaded people in general are fonder of their own ideas, than of any one's else.
"I am a poor miserable creature, my heart is full of hypocrisy, I see nobody worse than myself.”
M. May be so, you ought to know best; I do not doubt you are quite as bad as you suppose.
"Do not you think a man may deceive himself, and think worse of himself than he really is?"
M. I think, Sir, men very rarely deceive themselves in this respect; they generally think more highly of themselves than they ought, and should you ever deceive yourself, I think it will be by undue exaltation.