Page images
PDF
EPUB

truth sake, openly and publicly to bear testimony against and explode all such abominable antichristian doctrine. Therefore,

"In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, the great head of the church, by whose assistance and direction, that after the first and second admonition, we proceed to expulsion; we now reject you as a heretic, giving heed to a seducing spirit, and doctrines of Devils, and we cut you off from the privileges of this church. Knowing that it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God, who will judge every one according to his works.

"Signed in behalf of the Church, May 31st.
"The Lord Almighty have mercy upon you."

At the same time this man, whose character is unexceptionable, and who is eminent for deeds of worth, was thus excommunicated; they also excluded from their communion, an individual, black with crimes, of a most atrocious dye, and coupled them together, that they might appear in the same point of view.

The Baptist church have also sent forth their fulminations. A man of irreproachable and altogether unblemished life and manners, and universally admired, is driven from their communion, in terms of the utmost reproach. Innocence and morality, piety the most unequivocal, these are no security; if they in reality believe that the Lamb of God hath taken away the sin of the world, if they believe this testimony in its fullest extent, they have no longer a seat at the table of the Lord! What astonishing inconsistencies do human arrangements frequently exhibit!!

But these ecclesiastical fulminators declare themselves terrified, by a full persuasion that this heresy wil! so far prevail, as to bring even the saints into subjection; and what alarms them exceedingly, is that the Presbyterian congregation are supposed to be leaning toward Universalism. Mr. L. has lately taken for his text, "Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world." Mr. L. proved the doctrine contained in the text, in its fullest extent! Mr. H. also, a young clergyman, conversing with one of the deacons, respecting Mr. L. and his sermon, requested his opinion of it. The deacon replied, he could not prove it false, on the contrary it appeared, in every view, so truly consistent, that he could not for his soul refuse it credence. This gave Mr. H. courage, and he emphatically said, "Why, my good Sir, this doctrine is indeed the doctrine of revelation, and you may depend upon it, will spread over this whole continent. There is now a book written by a very

able hand, which at the conclusion of the war will be sent to England, where it will be printed and brought back to this country, most powerfully flashing conviction upon every mind, which shall attend to its contents.

This same gentleman, in company with others, visited P, and not being clad in the ministerial garb, was not recognized as a clergyman; he stopped at a tavern, the master of which was my hearer and my friend, when the young gentleman and his host fell into conversation.

Minister. You have got a very pretty meeting-house in this town, landlord.

Landlord. Yes, Sir; when we built that house we did not expect it would be so little used.

Min. Have you no minister, then?

L. No, Sir.

Min. What denomination do you pass under ?

L. It is called a Baptist meeting, Sir; but we, the people, are now called Murrayites, because the greatest part of us are very much attached to that gentleman as a preacher, and fully believe the doctrine he has preached in this place.

Min. When you say Murrayites, landlord, I presume you mean Christians; I dare say Mr. Murray would much rather hear you called by that name, than by any other.

L. O yes, Sir, no doubt, and we do indeed profess ourselves to be Christians, we see no salvation in any other name, save the name Christ Jesus; yet our enemies call us Murrayites out of derision. But we are not at all ashamed of this name. None of these things

affect us.

Min. Well, I think you are to be commended for being honest. L. Aye, Sir, I wish every body would be honest, and speak what they think, I imagine we should then have more preachers of the gospel than we have at present.

Min. Very likely, landlord.

This chance stroke, by no means aimed by the landlord, who was ignorant of the character of his guest, nevertheless put an end to the confab.

Preaching yesterday to a numerous congregation, I took for my subject the parable of the Tares of the field. This parable had

been recently made use of from the same pulpit, as a powerful engine to confirm unbelief and hardness of heart.

I observed, in the commencement of my discourse, that we were greatly favoured respecting the portion of sacred writ then under consideration. Some parts of the divine word seemed given as sealed testimonies, of which only he who could break the seals could determine the import. But our Saviour, having in this passage, in answer to the questioning disciples, himself given the explanation, the exposition was consequently as infallible as the text. Here, continued I, we are greatly indulged. Here we believe God, because we see for ourselves. Sometimes we are bound to believe God, although we may not so clearly understand.

A dweller the town, I not perfectly recollect his name, and if I did it would perhaps be as well to suppress it, who had seemed to hear with greedy attention, insomuch that he quitted his accustomed seat, and ascending the pulpit stairs, fixed his eyes full in my face; on my saying sometimes we are bound to believe God, stopped me, and vociferating like a madman, violently exclaimed, "What! what! do you not believe God always? So, Sir, you say we must believe God sometimes !" Thus he ran on, until one of the first characters in the town ordered him to hold his peace, when he went off, repeating, however, the same charge.

After his departure, addressing my audience in the fulness of my heart, I said: Permit me, my friends, on this occasion to make a small digression, which, considering my character, and circumstances, I humbly hope will be tolerated.

You have now an opportunity of forming some judgment of the nature of those reports that are in circulation, calculated to injure the reputation, both of the messenger and his message. You have seen a person intoxicated by liquor, or by the spirit of the adversary, attending for a little moment, and then catching part of a sentence, fly off, maliciously determined to publish it abroad.

Suppose you had not been present, and had met him on his departure from this place, he would have told you he had been to church, and had tarried as long as he was able; that he had heard me speak blasphemy, even to the telling my audience they were not always to believe God; that in some places they may confide; that sometimes they might believe the Deity; and he would confirm his testimony by an oath, adding that he was so provoked, he could not forbear speaking aloud in the midst of the congregation.

Thus he would go on, and prejudice would greedily receive his report. Ministers would publish it from their pulpits, and congregations would believe. Nay, it is probable this will be the case, until the slander is propagated through the country.

From this instance, however, you will observe how necessary it is to hear patiently to the end, before you make up a judgment. This circumstance induces me to repeat a little anecdote which occurred in the British House of Commons. A certain gentlemen rose to say, "That the Ministry never proposed any thing in this house for the good of the nation,"-here he was interrupted, by a person calling him to order, and vociferating against him, for abusing the Ministry.

i

"Sir, I beg I may be allowed to finish the sentence I began. I said the Ministry never proposed any thing for the good of this country, (and I should have added, if I had been permitted) to which the members in opposition did not readily accede."

Thus from a variety of considerations, my hearers will acknowledge the absolute necessity of fixing their attention to every part of our discourse. And I am persuaded they did so; nor could my friend S. forbear observing, that the adversary, in sending the interruption, had entirely defeated his own purpose.

Friend. And so you are really settled in
Murray. Yes, Sir, I am really settled there.

F. Well, I never expected you would be settled any where.
M. Why so?

F. I thought as God had sent you out to preach the gospel to every creature, you never would have confined yourself to any particular part of mankind.

?

M. ou see I have not; I should not have been here now if I had. But, my friend, you should remember that "God's works of Providence are his most holy, wise and powerful, preserving and governing all his creatures, and all their actions ;" and that it is this all-wise God, who first fixeth the bounds of our habitation, and then renders the habitation he hath chosen our deliberate choice. For me, I am satisfied with the will of heaven. The people of whom you speak believe the gospel of God our Saviour. We have taken sweet counsel together. They listen to the truth as it is in Jesus, with avidity, with rapture. Should they ever give me reason, by their non-attendance, or any diminution of those testimonies of

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

attachment, I am in the habit of receiving from them, to suppose I am becoming burdensome, or even indifferent to them, I shall ask, and I doubt not they will generously grant me leave for departure. I am interrupted.

I was engaged in writing before the sun rose this morning. This moment it makes its appearance in all its splendour, in all its beauty. Hail, thou blessed ruler of the day! Thou never yet madest us a visit, but thou wert welcome to my soul.

Thou best image of the world's great light! So may thy august Master one day shine forth, luminous and powerful, chasing by his refulgent beams the shades of mental darkness from the purchased world.

I preached twice yesterday, at different houses of worship. My congregations in this place are much larger than heretofore. No resistance is made to my entrance into any pulpit in this town. It is pleasant to observe the gradual decay of prejudice. Yet is this despot still strong in many bosoms. A clergyman in a neighbouring town has been, during my journey, indefatigable in his efforts to shut his doors against me. He devoted the labours of one Sabbath to the abuse of the messenger, and his message. "These vile heresies," said he, "were invented by two brothers in England, James and John Relly; the one a statesmen and the other a lawyer. The lawyer commenced preaching, and has written a shocking book. I once saw one of those books which was the foundation of this damnable heresy, this doctrine of Universal Salvation. This Murray, as an instrument of the Devil, is endeavouring to spread it through this country. He is expected among us, and should he come, I now caution you, in the presence of God and his holy angels, not to countenance him by your presence, lest you be partakers of his sins."

Thus he proceeded with great devotion, warning the congregation, and concluded by requesting the church to tarry, after the congregation were dismissed, when he expostulated with them still more earnestly, supplicating them to enter into covenant, that I should not preach, at least in their church; and that they would petition their magistrates to prevent me from delivering my damnable heresies among them. Thus he went on. The court-house, however, was obtained for my reception, and it was thronged by the dwellers in the town, and individuals from many parts of the adjaVOL. II.

5

« PreviousContinue »