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To this objection it may be replied,
MEMOIR OF CAPTAIN BENJAMIN that the premises may be correct, but the consequence does not follow. Correct philological interpre
(Continued from p. 20.) tation of God's own word is cer Captain Wickes continues his tainly the most safe, and in our narrative of the state of his mind, opinion the only safe method, of during the seventeen years that ascertaining the mind of the Spirit: he remained in the melancholy and that which best ascertains the darkness already noticed. We inind of the Spirit is the best anti- shall exhibit his statement, makclote for all error. But unless it ing but very little change in his can be shown that correct philolo language, and none at all in his gy and accurate investigations of ideas. Recurring to his gloomy mental science contradict each and distressing situation he saysother, the consequence is not cer “ Thus I went on during our revo. tain. To us it seems very plain, lutionary war. Whenever I was that philological and mental sci- at home I hastened to get away, ence are perfectly harmonious, and expecting that what I feared, about both necessary to the full and clear my dying in the inidst of my exposition of God's revelation. It friends, would take place. When should however be remembered and I got away, I was more at ease; distinctly admitted, that much of but never, for one waking hour, what is called mental science is was I free from distress, in a greatmere matter of speculation: and er or less degree. At the end of speculations not according to facts the war I was a prisoner on parol; will always mislead, and prove and had lost my all of this world's more or less injurious. We de- goods, being left without a dollar precate the practice of interpreta- for myself or my family. I howtion by theory, and we also depre- ever soon got employed, and was cate all methods of studying the successful in business for several mind, which are governed by the years. About the year 1790 I staid ory, and not pursued according to at home, to attend to the building facts.
of a new ship; and while she was It was not our design in this building, I used to go constantly to number to enter upon the investi- publick worship, for I loved to hear gation of the method to be pursued the gospel preached in truth, though in studying mental science, nor to I had no interest in it, for it alexamine its elements; these will ways condemned me; and I often constitute the subjects of future came away with fears that the street discussion. A few suggestions might open and swallow me up. preparatory to the investigation, “ Hcre it should be observed, that which might have a tendency to there was not a creature who knew promote a just valuation of the sci- any thing about my soul exercise, ence, embraced our present object. for nearly twenty years: for I kept The proper method of studying the myself hidden from the people of science will be the subject of our God; until one day, as I was renext number. In the mean time, turning from a religious service in let every theologian be careful how publick, I was overtaken by one he adopts theories of speculation. with whom I had been very intiHe who takes leave of facts can mate twenty years before. He had never anticipate the termination of seen me in the place of worship, bis course that it will not be in and when the meeting was over, he truth, is all that he can certainly followed me and spoke to me; al. know.
F. though he seemed to be in doubt
whether he was not mistaken in the now mentioned, I used to pray in person he meant to address. But secret, but not as yet in my family. I knew him well, for I had con “Leaving my family in Philadelstantly watched him for years past, phia, where they had resided for both in the house of worship and some years past, I now went a voyin the street. Now I might be said age to Europe, one to the East Into be found out, for he soon brought dies, and one to Europe again. A9 me to confession, and had compas- I had found by experience that my sion on me. Finding me wounded fears about dying, as heretofore and half dead, he poured into my mentioned, were not realized, I wounds such wine and oil as he used to think when I was returning had. But he could not healiny home, that I was not yet ripe for it wounds—they were too deep. From--something was wanting to fill up this time, however, he took great the measure of my sins. But when pains to persuade me that there returning on my last voyage, I was hope for me; and he so far thought my cup was full, - I had no succeeded, that I began to desire plea to make, and expected it would secret prayer.* One day my de. take place when I got home. In sire to pour out my heart to God this frame of mind I arrived at was so strong, that I went up stairs Philadelphia, in September, 1793, and kneeled down, and when I was in the midst of the pestilence, doing so I found myself greatly which raged in the city at that opposed by invisible beings; they time. This circumstance rivetted even hissed close by me, so as to be my fears; but in place of driving heard. I persisted, however, in me to actual despair, it stirred me my attempt, and once more raised up to duty. I set up worship in my voice in prayer; which till then my family, and was deterinined to I had not done for nearly the last persevere in duty, though I should seventeen years. Yet I have rea perish therein. son to believe that during this pe. "Thus I persevered for about two riod, many ejaculatory prayers had months, when I was brought to the reached the throne of grace from last extremity. On the 14th of my heart, when no words were November I was so miserable that spoken; for my heart was often I wished to hide myself from every crying for mercy. From the time creature; and had it not been for
the ties of my family, whom I dear• The name of the person here re- ly loved, I should have gone away ferred to is not mentioned in the narrative. But the sequel leaves no doubt, to some place where I was entirely that it was the late venerable and emi. unknown. In the evening I atnently pious Joseph Eastburn, whose tempted secret prayer, but I could biograpby has appeared in our pages. not pray-my spirit was in such The writer of this memoir thinks it pro agony that I could only prostrate narrative at the request of Mr. Eastburn, myself
, and use groanings that and by bis desire, also, forbore to mention could not be uttered. The time his name. This holy man was not only for family worship drawing nigh, I made the instrument in the hand of God, thought I should be obliged to omit of the first relief which captain Wickes it; but the friend that found me obtained from his long and oppressive melancholy, but of bis encouragement out, as already. mentioned, came in and direction afterwards. When in port and performed worship for me. at Philadelphia, the captain spent as After worship, my mind became a much of his time as he could command in little composed, and when I went Mr. Eastburn's company. He was the to bed I found myself disposed to the recurrence of his melancholic fears, meditation: and now the subject and with him he constantly corresponded returned that was wrested froin when abroad.
me so many years back, by the
darkness I have spoken of. But it me against all opposition, until I
own damnation, by unworthily par-
This was the Third Presbyterian con. read my heart, and drink up my
gregation of Philadelphia ; and its pastor
at that time, was, it is believed, the Rev. spirits!-it would force itself upon Dr. John Smith.
I was in the deepest anguish, it in which his voyage was made, and would, as it were, laugh in my face, put himself under the care of the and mock my groanings.
captain, who happily had been an “ In this state I remained for many apprentice to himself. But he bedays, until one morning about day- came composed on his way to the light, when I was awaked by the vessel, and on the night on which crying of one of my children. I he expected his final destiny to be got up to its relief, and when I re- fixed, he obtained relief by what he turned to my bed, these words describes as a most extraordinary came as if audibly spoken, 'I am kind of vision: It was in part explathe way-Christ was brought into natory, and on the whole the perfect view as the eternal God, the Alpha contrast, of one which he had had the and Omega, the beginning and the night before, and which had driven end. In him all the promises were him so near to desperation. The seen to be yea and amen, to the conclusion of his extended and parglory of God the Father. At the ticular account of this occurrence, same time, many Scriptures were is as follows. “I went early to my opened up to my mind; and with chamber, where there was a fire; such an effect on my powers, that I and here I sat down on the carpet, seemed ready to burst, so that I reading and ineditating on the first cried out, stop thy hand, O Lord, I chapter of John's gospel,* in conam but an earthen vessel. My hope nexion with the third. Suddenly was now strong, that my troubles there appeared before me, as it were chiefly over; but alas! the were, a wilderness, with a human sequel will show that they were but figure appearing in it. This I took beginning”-We shall not farther to be John the Baptist, by his raitranscribe this narrative in detail. ment of camel's hair. After some The sequel, which he says would time, I had a view of all the differshow that his troubles were but be- ent things I had lately seen, acginning, shows indeed a long series companied with a voice, sayingof spiritual conflicts; but they were all these things will I give thee, in fact
, of the very same character if thou wilt fall down and worship with those recited above, only va- me.' To which I quickly replied, ried by circumstances, and with Thou shalt worship the Lord thy more alternations of deep depres. God, and him only shalt thou serve. sion and abounding consolation, Now, although this reply seemed to the latter of much shorter duration be mine, yet I thought they were than the former, Soie letters not my words, but that Christ had which we shall insert, will suffi- spoken them in the wilderness for ciently indicate what was the ge. me; which thought was very enneral state of his mind, for several couraging at the time. As I would years in succession.
not buy these things, they were Immediately after what is stated again and again offered me as a in the latter part of the narrative as gift; and still urged, until I got quoted above, he went to the state vexed, and said it was in vain to of Georgia, to view a large tract of urge them any more, for I would land, for the purchase of which, a have none of them. merchant in Philadelphia was in tion was asked what then will treaty, and by whom he was em- you have? To which I replied · I ployed for this purpose. While at will have the portion of the poor, Savannah, his distress became so extreme, that it sensibly impaired his
• He was now at his lodgings on shore, health, and led him to expect to die had received in his vision, to consult the
and was complying with a direction he despairing and blaspheming Gou; first chapter of John, for an explanation so that he went on board the vessel of what he had seen.
Here a ques:
despised followers of Jesus, for time bad; and he is in imminent danger and eternity.' Then it was asked of folly and fanaticism, in the ex
Is this your choice?" I answer treme. That in the evil angels we ed yes, my deliberate choice.' At have enenies and tempters of the this the scene all vanished and most insidious kind, and in the from that time, when I made this good angels, friends, guardians and record, to the present that I am protectors, we have not the shadow transcribing it in this book, which of a doubt-The written word of is a space of fourteen or fifteen God assures us of this truth. But years, I have not had any of the we know not in what manner their like exercises. For two or three agency is employed; nor have we years, I had various and sore con- any reason to believe that our exAicts with a body of sin, and the ternal senses ever perceive them or powers of darkness, which I made their communications: and whatno record of. What I shall further ever may be their suggestions to mention, will be chiefly copies of our minds, those suggestions are, in letters wrote for a dear friend, I all cases, to be tried by what we are being at sea, when the exercises de- taught in the holy scriptures, which scribed, took place."
we are to follow and obey, as the Before we insert the letters only, safe and infallible guide. to which Captain Wickes refers, Neither are iwe to expect any new as containing an account of his revelation, or miraculous interposireligious state, subsequently to the tion, from God himself. The catermination of his regular nar non of revelation is complete, and rative, we think proper to give a fearful denunciation is on record, our views of some things already on those who shall pretend to add stated, and of every thing of a simi- to it, as well as on those who shall lar kind that may afterwards oc- attempt to take from it. We percur. In drawing up such a me- ceive from the late British periodimoir as the present, we hold it to cals, that both in England and Scotbe incumbent on the writer to make land, and among protestants too, known, if he can, how the subject miraculous occurrences—wonderful of it did, in fact, feel, think and cures, and even the gift of tongues reason-The writer may make his have their subjects and their advoown reflections afterwards. We cates. The Christian Observer has have accordingly pursued this come forward, in the most decided course. We have given captain manner, against all these pretenWickes' own narrative of his exer- sions, and we greatly rejoice to see cises, apprehensions and feelings; it. The pious and intelligent conand have been glad that we have ductors of that.excellent work mainbeen enabled to do it from his own tain, (and our opinion entirely coshowing. But we must now re- incides with theirs) that all these mark, that we have no belief what. strange appearances may be acever in the reality of supernatural counted for, from the known and na. appearances of any kind. We be- tural operation of second causes-of lieve that they ceased with the age the body on the mind, and the mind of miracles; and that to admit their on the body--without any interposiexistence since, is to open the door tion of a supernatural kind. In perand has sometimes actually opened sons of a very nervous temperament, it widely-to the wildest reveries, or those who are only temporarily and the most deplorable extrava- under strong nervous excitement, gances. Let a man believe that he the most extraordinary phenomena has direct and supernatural intima- do often and notoriously take place. tions from invisible beings, good or In the case of captain "Wickes, his