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young companions by mimicking him ; for he used to cndeavour to preach, at which indeed he made rather miserable work; and besides, he was perhaps as far removed from natural beauty, as almost any man living. He was however of good character, and esteemed by the people as a pious Christian. Notwithstanding his natural uncouthness of manners and his forbidding aspect as it respected natural amiableness, yet when he addressed me, I thought if there was a being on earth more beautiful than the rest, he was the creature. O the ravishing amiableness which I beheld in his countenance. Some conversation passed, which I do not recollect, until his brother uttered these words : “ there is no worthiness in us—the worthiness is all in Christ” —when at that instant I had such a glorious view or representation to my mind of the Lord Jesus crucified for sinners, as I cannot describe; at the same time having views of my own sinfulness, unworthiness and vileness. My heart went freely and willingly out to my Saviour, and I felt united to him by a love unutterable, and beheld an allsufficiency in him to save my soul. O how willing I felt to trust myself in his arms, and how free his love and mercy appeared to flow to a ruined world.
How delicious were the words of the saints of God around me--some one of them mentioned the “good old apostles," and it seemed to me as if those words were sweeter to me “than the honey or honey comb." My mind in a moment was carried away to the Apostles, and I felt a love to them, although I had scarcely ever thought of them before, which was stronger than death. Every being whom I considered as bearing the moral image of God, appeared to me transcendantly beautiful. I saw an inexpressible beauty in holiness, which ravished my very soul. All the natural world seemed to declare the glory of God, and praise his holy name. One of the professors who stood by me made a remark that he would not exchange his hope in Christ for ten thousand worlds ; and notwithstanding I was as consummately ignorant,
as I have before described, respecting the new birth, the plan of salvation through Christ the mediatorthe interest in the covenant of grace, which those possess who truly believe in the Saviour ; yet I felt to bear him witness, for it seemed impressed on my mind that I had obtained something more valuable than all perishable worlds, but knew not that I had then experienced the renovating influence of the Holy Spirit, creating me anew in Christ Jesus, for I was not looking for any such thing, nor did the thought enter my heart that it was a doctrine of the gospel. I parted from my agreeable company and made my way towards home, and felt almost like flying on the wings of faith over the pleasant plain to my father's house. I remember one thought very distinctly that occurred to my mind on my way. It appeared to me that I could make all my giddy, careless young companions, see things as I saw, and could persuade them to forsake their sins and turn to God. It appeared to me they would all believe my testimony. I felt a love to all mankind, and wanted to do them good. There grew in the way which I travelled home, an apple tree, which produced very early fruit, and which was then ripe, and as I felt a strong desire to do good, and felt as if I wanted to give something to my young companions who were deriding me for my seriousness, I filled my pockets with some of the apples, for that purpose, for I had no money. I felt a benevolent spirit and feeling towards mankind, that I had been hitherto an utter stranger to, and this towards my enemies too, if I had any. short time after this I begged of my mother some cake and wine, and visited the poor house in our town, where I passed a considerable part of the day with those who were lingering out their lives in poverty and distress. In short there seemed to be a radical change, wrought in me, my trouble of mind was gone. I felt at peace with God, and a glorious peace within, the wind had blown but I knew not from whence it came nor whither it liad gone! Forever blessed be
the name of God, who was found of one who sought
Reflections on the foregoing,
How is it possible for any Christian to say understandingiy, that his experience teaches him * Arminianisu. It now looks to me passing strange that I should ever have been entangled as I have been with this unscriptural system, when my own experience proves it to be false. Indeed I never should have been, if the true system of salvation, by grace alone, had not been misrepresented to me, as I shall show in the sequel, together with the fact, that the remains of selfishness and pride in my heart grew and were nourished by being fed by this doctrine. Now let me ask the read. er if it would not have been perfectly just in God to have cut me off in my sins long before I was converted, and sent me down to hell. How long I continued in sin and rebelled against the government of heaven! llow many vows I had broken-how many serious impressions I had grieved away. Now if God hac suffered me to have perished in my sins, must I not have acknowledged my condemnation just ! If not, how would there be any grace in saving me? For surely, if justice did not condemn me, it must save me; and if the justice of God saves me, my salvation cannot be of grace. This I think is clear. Well, admitting God might have justly and consistently with his moral perfections and attributes, cut me down as a cumberer of the ground, and poured out his awful wrath and indignation on me forever, for those sins which I freely and voluntarily committed against him, would it have altered the state of my case, and rendered my condemnation unjust, if he had for infinitely wise and holy purposes, and to answer some valuable end in the government of the moral world, through grace saved
* I wish the reader to read the preface, and learn my reasonas for using the terins Arminianism, Arminians, &c.
another sinner as vile and guilty as myself? Let this be weighed in the reader's mind.
Would this, I say, have taken away my guilt, or rendered my condemnation unjust ? I beg to know how. Would it not still have remained true that I had sinned freely and of my own accord, for a long time against God? And not only that, but despised and refused, month after month and year after year, offered mercy. Now I humbly beg of the reader not to suffer prejudice or anger, (for people are frequently angry at the truth) to prevent his attention to this subject until he can give a satisfactory answer in his own mind. Suppose there are two criminal murderers—both guilty, vile transgressors, and deserve to die—the government executes one, but to answer a valuable purpose or end to the government, (and not out of partiality, or a selfish respect of persons to the criminal) the other is pardoned. Would such a proceedure prove that the one who suffered, suffered unjustly ? Would it take away his sins ? Would it be thus made to appear that he had not murdered ? Every person of common sense knows better. And are there not such cases frequently transpiring ? But when we tell Arminians that all
are guilty before God and justly deserve eternal damnation, on account of sins which they have freely and voluntarily committed, (which by the way they own to be the truth thus far) and not only that, but that they all with one consent, when left to themselves, (see Luke xiv.) wickedly reject the mercy of God offered to them in the gospel, and affirm also that God will have a seed to serve him—that he will give unto his Son souls for his hire, and as a reward for his sufferings; that he shall see the travel of his soul and be satisfied in the salvation of many sinners, while others are left to suffer what they justly deserve, (and they cannot deny it) they say we represent God as a partial being, horribly unjust, a wicked respecter of persons, &c. I say this comes near to horrible blasphemy. If we represented that all the motive God had in view in saving sinners, was the sinner's own
personal benefit or good, there would seem to be rather more colour of candour in their assertions. Indeed many appear to talk and write as if there could be nothing more in view, in the Divine mind, in saving them, ihan their own individual happiness and exaltation. Reader, art thou of this description ? I beg of thee for a moment to consider what thou art. We are worms-vile worms too-specks in creation. Consider also the character of Him who inhabits eternity; perfect in holiness, fearful in praises, a God doing worders- the great omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent God. And do you think that this Being will lose sight of the glory of his own great name, and the general good of his intellectual beings, to subserve the individual ends of our little sinful selves? No. If he saves us, it will be for the glory of his own great name, and for the greatest general good of the universe : And if he condemns us, it will be because we have sinned against him, and justly deserve it. And herein his justice will also be glorified. We ought to beware how we call this unjust and wickedly partial.
When I review my own experience and that of others, and ask myself questions like the following, it proves to me, as I before observed, Arminianism to be false (for they say the creature turns the point of his salvation*) and I do believe if all Christians would do the same, candidly; the result would be the same with them also. Why did I not obtain religion one year or one month before I did obtain it ? Was it because I did not need it then ? No. Was it because it was not offered to me freely! No. Was it because I could not have obtained it before, if I would ? No such thing. Did I grow any better by waiting, or rather continuing to rebel awfully against a good and holy God, so that when I did obtain it, I was better prepared, (by nursing and cherishing the good thing in me) to accept salvation ? If so, then continuing in sin made me more
* See Fletcher, Whitby and others.