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things were not quite desperate, he continued labouring to do good, and to heal the breaches that were made, with a constant mind. Difficulties did not daunt him, nor vexatious scenes of wrathful contention and disputation make him impatient. The observation of Solomon was admirably exemplified in him: A wise man is firong, and a man of knowledge increajetb strength.
He constantly laboured against any breach, either of ministerial or christian communion, on account of the present controversies. With this view, when jealousy and discord were grown to a very great height, and a rupture was threatned, he wrote a paper intitled ; seasonable advice to -the contending parties in the north, which was published with a preface, by the reverend Messieurs Weld, Boyse, and Chappin, of Dublin. The intention it pursues from beginning to end, is to prove, that there oue;ht to be no breach of communion amongst the protestant dissenters in the north, on account of the late different sentiments and practices relating to subscription to the Westminster confession. This paper was anonymous; for Mr. Abernethy .«.. , ©2 imagined" imagined it might be more useful that it' was not known to come from him, who was net looked upon by all, as very zealous, and the principal advocate for liberty. The paper was sometime after answered by the reverend Mr. Maflerton. His answer was pretty large. Mr. Abernethy replied jn a book, to which he prefixed his name, acknowledging himself the author of - the seasonable advice. To this reply there was a postscript by the above-named ministers of Dublin, answering what related to them. I shall say nothing concerning these performances, the world must judge:. With this the controversy between Mr. Abernethy and Mr. Maflerton ended y but the state of things grew worse and worse people in many places were separating from the Non-subscribing ministers, and some of 'these ministers were very much reproached, as utterly unsound in their religious principles, of which Mr. Abernethy bore a large share; but nothing could put him so out of humour, as to divert him from studying by 'all means to prevent a scandalous breach of communion.
Some of his reflections upon that melancholy state of affairs, and his own particular concernment in it, are as follow:.' <( Of myJoul wait on the Lord, and be of ** good courage, and he shallstrengthen thine ** heart. It pleases God to exercise me with ".a variety of trials; but, tbo' I am troubled "almost on every side, 1 am not dijlrej'ed, <c I am perplexed, but not in despair. When "I reflect on the times which are past, <* the troubles and temptations which have ** environed me, together with the divine **. vouchfafements in that state, I am com"sorted} for in faithfulness God has as"flicted me, and has never forsaken me. "I have been made to rejoice in tribula"tions, for they have work'd some in"crease of patience, experience and hope j •k* therefore let me account it all joy, when *' 1 fall into divers temptations: And what "have I now to be sollicitous about? For^ "after all, that which produces inquietude <* and carelesness of mind, attended with "confusion and pain, is an excessive re"gard to some present interest j for de"bates in my mind merely about duty, if "nothing else be mixed with them, are c 3 "calm
"calm and dispassionate; it is still something "selfish which produces perturbation. I "find myself, in my present circumstances, "too deeply concerned for my reputation, "which many are inclined ^fiercely to run "upon, because another reputation, to which "they are attached, seems to be affronted "by the resistance now made. This is a ** worldly interest, which I am called to resign "and commit to God without anxiety j all "that I am to study, is, that I may be ". approved of God, leaving to his kind and "faithful providence all that concerns me: "These things I must seek after; firfl, "that the free exercise and composure of "my mind may be preserved; for when t* either anger or fear, worldly sorrow Or "carnal affection prevail, this is destroyed, "and even my sincerity hurt, zdly, That "the more I am tempted, the greater ad.vantages I may obtain, I mean especially, ".an increase of patience, and all the other "peaceable fruits of righteousness, ^dly, "That my services to the church, and ,f the precious interests of religion, may "abound more and more. My ministry "is the main business of my life; and "therefore, to be more diligent, faith
-.;'; « M4 ** sul and successul in jt,-Js the point I *Sought to aim at, as a proper improv^e"ment of all my afflictions."
Again, "an important subject of my' "serious consideration, is, the discord a"mong ministers, and people of our de** nomination, which, if not timely remex* died, may have very dismal effects. The "peace of the church is to be desired by all, who love our Lord Jesus Christ, and by all lawful means to be pursued; but a departure from the gospel foundations of *c peace, can never be justified. To make '*« professions against the light of my own "conscience, seems to me a most heinous impiety j in. the mean time., -there is not ** any thing I am more in danger .of, than ** the secret influence of corrupt motives, "especially an undue love of reputation, '." fear, of reproach, and the disesteem of "men, who, I am se nsible, act [from "an intemperate and ill informed zeal "for what they think truth : This puts "on the. disguise of prudent caution "and care to preserve my usefulness M in the ministry but let me always "remember, that my usefulness, and the e 4 "reputation?