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did it manifest the righteousness of God, how did it comport with his justice, to punish a being, in every view innocent, in every possible view perfect?
These fabricators of new, or vampers of old systems, seem to imagine that the vast stock of merit which appertaineth to Christ Jesus is like that laid up in the church of Rome, to be disposed of, and applied to whoever may be the best purchasers. To what strange subterfuges do those fly who would avoid the doctrines of of the gospel! But so it is, and so it will be, until the mystery of iniquity shall be revealed.
This man, this Mr. J. P. has much of the pure religion of Jesus. You know him, my friend. Pure religion, and undefiled, saith God, is to visit the fatherless, and the widow. Many years since, this Mr. J. P. lost his sister's husband, who on his death bed said, “I shall leave a heavy charge upon you, Sir, my wife, my numerous, my helpless children.”—“ Make yourself easy, they are mine, I will protect them: I will take them to my house, to my arms, and do for them as well as I am able, as long as I live."—" Will you indeed?" said the dying man, the husband, the parent, "will you indeed? O! thanks be to God, thanks be to God!" and his soul leaping forth with joy he immediately gave up the ghost! and J. P. received the whole family and reared the orphans, as well as the father would have chosen to do, had his circumstances been ever so affluent. Another widowed sister, and her child, hath lived with him these six years, receiving from his hand the same beneficent kindness.
But J. P. assumes no merit from these deeds of worth. He says he is more blessed than they; yet has he a thousand times more merit, in consequence of this declaration, except, indeed, we consider the Creator as all in all. Did I not say right, is not this religion, what is called pure and undefiled before God and the Father? Would to heaven such religionists were multiplied among us; yet it is said this man, this J. P. has no religion; I grant he has no bigotry, no superstition, and it is well for the widow, and the orphan, that he hath not. But he is my friend, and my enemies of course cannot esteem him.
I have been uncommonly pleased this morning; a gentleman, a Mr. L. looked in upon me, self introduced, and thus addressed me :
Mr. L. Your name is Murray, I presume? Pardon this abrupt intrusion.
Murray. Please to take a seat, Sir.
Mr. L. I have not many moments to tarry, Sir, and shall therefore immediately proceed to inform you who, and what I am, and where I reside. My name is Francis L. I am a man, who for many years had suffered more than any mode of speech can express. Too surely I knew that I was born to die, and all behind the scenes, was, in my apprehension, comfortless despair. I lost not only my rest, but my health became the sacrifice, and although I sought diligently, peace, however, was beyond my reach.
I have not time to narrate to you, what methods I took in order to obtain in my individual self the character righteous, and with it that peace for which my soul panted, for I was convinced there was no peace to the wicked. But after labouring many years, it pleased God to bring me acquainted with the writings of Mr. James Relly, and as it is impossible to describe how much I suffered before, so it is impossible to say how great was my felicity on perusing the writings of this inspired penman, particularly his Union.
M. Where did you procure it, Sir.
Mr. L. In Norwich. I read it again, and again, until my peace flowed as a river, and I found rest to my soul. I saw in whom I was complete, in whom I was saved with an everlasting salvation. I had enough. I only wanted to arrive at my heavenly home, to see the human family complete, as they are in Christ Jesus, their blameless, their exalted head.
I could not remain silent. I wanted every individual to see and feel the truth, as it was seen and felt by me. But unexpected difficulties arose; my friends, my kindred were frightened, they combined against me, and many who delighted in me while suffering the torment and misery, consequent upon darkness and unbelief, now that they beheld me rendered happy by the knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus, hated and despised me. I was in some sort forsaken by my connexions. The church with which I was in connexion began to deal with me, and threats of excommunication were fulminated against me. I assured them that I was prepared for excommunication from their synagogue, that neither their expulsion, nor their anathemas could break my peace, or diminish those joys with which no stranger could intermeddle. I united with them while in thick darkness, but now walking in the light, they could forge no more fetters for my soul.
For several years I suffered alone, as a speckled bird in the wilderness, but at last, by diligent application, and frequent conversation upon the things of the kingdom, about twenty of the principal characters in the town of where I reside, are willing to examine for themselves, and have embraced the truth as far as they can discern it.
By these gentlemen, Sir, I am commissioned to solicit you to and help us. We have heard much of you, but we wish to hear for ourselves, and we do hope you will not mortify us by a refusal. Our minister is frightened at the idea of your appearing among us, and he is making use of every effort to prejudice the minds of the people against you; but you will, you must come. Never did any people more earnestly desire to hear any sound, than we to listen to the glad tidings of the gospel; ever since we have read Mr. Relly we have thought with rapture of hearing a man preach in the same way. Do, pray Sir, come and
M. I will consider of it, Sir. I shall pass that way next autumn, and shall probably make it convenient to tarry a few days with you. Mr. L. Thank you, thank you, Sir. Mr. J. a religious friend, visited me not long since, and after many questions remarked, "Well, suppose Mr. Murray's principles and Mr. Relly's writings should be true, even then I shall be as happy as they or you.”— Well, Sir, I have no objection to your being happy." But am I not as well off in this world as you are?"-Not except you have as much peace in believing-" But I shall ultimately have as much peace, you know."—And I am very glad of it, Sir." Yes, but suppose your principles should not prove true; how then? am I not then infinitely better off than you?"--In what respect, Sir? Are you infinitely more righteous than I am? Can you do better without a Saviour than I can? Give me leave to tell you Sir, your principles are abundantly worse than mine. You say all mankind are saved or lost, before the foundation of the world. What odds then does it make, upon your plan, whether we do this, that, or the other? and we may treat those whom God reprobates as we please. But permit me to say, the believer has every way the advantage; he enters into rest and peace by believing, while the heart of the unbeliever condemns him so long as he continues in unbelief, should his infidelity extend through millions of years, so long he will be in darkness, in fear, in torment.-Upon this Mr. J. rose to leave
me, saying, "We do not worship the same God, that is certain."Probably we do not, Sir. But the God I worship is love, and loving unto every man: now if you worship a God that loves a few, and hates the rest, if you worship any God who is not the Saviour of all men, you do indeed worship a God to whom I do no homage.-So thus we parted, and have never since met.
Thus far Mr. L. and his friend J.
Mr. L. was on business of importance, and could not tarry. He is unquestionably a sincere and valuable convert to Christianity. He finally obtained a promise that I would visit him, and has returned home cheered by the idea. Instances like these are not common. Engaged in the pursuit of business, high in health, in the morning of life, and in the midst of prosperity, men seldom turn their attention to religion. Pity that this testimony is stamped by truth!
I had been in M. but one night, before I was urged to preach. I answered as usual, I know nothing about it, I have no objection; whenever I am desired, I shall speak. When shall it be? It is not for me to direct; when I hear the bell, I shall go to church: I am always ready. Here the matter rested, and I expected every moment I should hear the bell, so did a very great number of my friends, but we were disappointed.
You know what pains I have taken to persuade this people to repair their church; at length it is effectuated, and the consequence is, a few high churchmen will not consent to my coming into it. I was waited on by their warden, who thus addressed me: "I hope, Sir, you will excuse me, while, as a warden of the church, I inform you that you cannot be permitted to speak in that place any more; and, at the same time, I beg you will believe me, when I assure you, this resolution does not arise from any dislike of you, or your principles; and that if any clergyman in the State, not in connexion with us, were to propose preaching in our church, we should act precisely as we now do. Should you attempt to go in, it will be breaking our order, and acting quite contrary to the constitution of our church." Thus far the scrupulous warden. To which I replied:
I request you, Sir, to accept my thanks for your polite declaration respecting myself, and I pray you to credit me, when I assure you, I never made the smallest effort to enter any church as a preacher. It has ever been my rule, and I think I never shall deviate thereVOL. II.
from, freely to declare what I conceive to be the truth as it is in Jesus, whenever or wherever it shall please God to call me. If his providence opens a door, I always go in, asking no questions for conscience sake; and if, on the other hand, the door is shut, it shall never be opened by any effort of mine. If, therefore, I should hear your bell ring, and see your door open, shall assuredly enter your church if I should not, I give you my word and honour I never will.
"Well, Sir, the door will not be opened: it is quite unconstitu tional to permit any one to speak there who is not in orders.”
Give me leave, Sir, just to observe, that being born and bred a churchman, I can assure you it is not unconstitutional to speak in a church without orders. It is practised even in the cathedral of London, and in almost every country church in England. The clerk reads the lessons, which is declaring the word of God.
Again, permit me, Sir, as a stranger, just to ask, whether it would not be proper, as there are so many of your church who are anxious to hear me in that house, that you should inquire, whether, as members of your church, and the most respectable members too, they have not as much right to judge of right and wrong as you have? And if you, and your friends, should be offended at my going in, whether they may not be offended at my being kept out?
"Why, Sir, Mr. A. desired I would call on you, to request you would not attempt preaching in our church."-You may rest assured, Sir, I shall never appear in your pulpit, unless invited thither, by Mr. A. and a large majority of your church.
In consequence of the step taken by the warden, Colonel WV. and Captain G. waited on me before I left town, with a sheet of paper containing a petition, the purport of which was, to invite me into their pulpit, and I am told there are nine out of ten who will subscribe this petition. I expect to see the event on my return. I left M. in consequence of these proceedings, with more selfsatisfaction than I expected I should possess, and on the road I had some conversation with my honest hearted, but very rough companion, on the subject of swearing, and the special impropriety of its obtaining a place among the habits of a Christian man, of a disciple of him who solemnly commanded, "let your yea, be yea, and your nay, nay, for whatsoever is more than this leadeth to evil.”
He apologized for others in order to palliate the matter for himself, but ultimately gave up his attempted defence, by confessing