תמונות בעמוד

Let us unite in supplicating this adorable Being, this Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world, to lighten our darkness, and to lead us into all truth. May God, the ever-present God, abide with you, giving you a large portion of his spirit, and that abundant peace and consolation, which passeth understanding.

Thus have I endeavoured to give you a sketch of this discourse. As I keep no notes, I have consequently trusted wholly to my memory. But although I may be incorrect in method, and manner, my doctrines, as I trust and believe, will, upon all occasions be the same. I do not write wholly for you. I calculate that you will read my letters to that circle of friends, who are truly precious to my soul. I am confident it would have given those lovers of our common Saviour heart-felt satisfaction could they have taken a view of the large, and very serious audience, which on this occasion attended our investigations.

Do not, my friend, I beseech you do not, through false delicacy, pass any opportunity which may present, to speak well of that sacred name by which you are called. The adversary of mankind would by all means restrain you ; but freely you have received, and freely you ought to give. Why not, as well as the first women who saw our Lord, and his salvation? It was a woman who first saw the risen Saviour, who first proclaimed him to the disciples. Indeed women did not ascend the rostrum, and proceed in a formal manner, like the high priests, and the rulers of the people ; but they spake of Christ Jesus, they testified that it was he who was spoken of by the prophets, and that he had risen from the dead, and was the author and finisher of their salvation. This was preaching, and in this manner our Apostle had some fellow labourers in the work of the ministry. It was in this way the woman that? ! our Saviour conversed with at Jacob's well, preached to her neighbours, and many believed the sayings of the woman, and became desirous of seeing and hearing for themselves, and actually saw, and believed that he was the Christ, the Saviour of the world. It was to a woman that Apollos was indebted for being taught the way of God more perfectly. In fact I could point out many instances of this sort to prove that the Redeemer has been successfully preached by faithful women.

When Paul forbids women to speak in the churches, it is manifest he refers to their interference in secular regulations. He never discouraged their speaking in the name of Jesus Christ; this is

ascertained by the gratitude with which he speaks of the assistance he had received, in the work of the ministry, from faithful women; and God before whom I stand, knoweth that I have frequently obtained both information and assistance, from your writing and your speaking on religious subjects: and I am persuaded our common Father never communicated so largely to you, barely for yourself. Tremble, my friend, tremble to hide your talent in a napkin. Be not, I beseech you, be not on any occasion backward to proclaim what God has done for you, what the Redeemer has given you to see of his salvation. Let no inferior consideration deter you from rendering that honour to the name of Emmanuel, which it indubitably merits. Remember there are no sexes in souls.

But indeed I am persuaded you will not be able to hold your peace ; you will, when you least intend it, proclaim his most worthy praise, who hath called you out of darkness, into his marvellous light; and having thus done, he hath already made you a witness of the truth, as it is in his blessed self. Go on then, and wherever, and whenever, duty points, spread abroad the savor of that name, that is as ointment poured forth, therefore will the virgins love him ; and particularly, whenever you find a wounded spirit, do not fail to apply this balm of Gilead, to recommend, ardently to recommend, this physician of value, and may the great spirit of truth and grace accompany the words you may deliver.

I have the pleasure to assure you, that your labours have not hitherto been in vain. I have seen tears in the eyes of your delighted auditory, when ycu have been preaching to them the kingdom of God, both in this city, and elsewhere. Nor can this assurance create undue elevation in your bosom; for, well you know, you have nothing but what the great Master has been graciously pleased to bestow upon you. My design is to induce you to proceed in the pious walk you have so courageously entered, in the flowery paths of peace, and I am certain your timid spirit stands in need of such support. Frequently have communications of this kind operated upon my mind as the most seasonable cordial. They have been as oil to my chariot wheels, or as travelling charges to bring me on my way. I have taken encouragement from thence to go on, finding my labours were not in vain in the Lord. May you pursue the tract of wisdom, reflecting always that the journey is short, and that we shall ultimately enter into rest and undisturbed repose.

I was yesterday summoned to visit a lady who is verging on her heavenly home; unacquainted with the things which make for her peace, she trembles on the threshold, and shrinks appalled from the cold embraces of death. She asked me if I supposed there ever was an individual who met death with pleasure ? upon which I observed, that the Divine Being had wisely implanted in the bosom of every animated being, a love of life, thus stimulating to the use of those means, which infinite goodness had provided for their preservation. That this stimulus was no doubt generally in complete operation, as long as the Creator thought proper to continue the creature in the present state of existence. But that I believed, when God was about to call any individual out of time, his usual mode of procedure, was to deaden their attachment to the world, and gradually to remove the stimulus which had hitherto prompted them to self-preservation; and, I added, that I had known many instances, when it was the will of God to call his children home, and to return their earthy tenement to the dust, receiving to his blessed self the spirit which he had given; I had known, I said, many instances, where he graciously prepared them for their departure, by removing from them all fear of death, and causing them to view the separation of soul and body as the greatest possible blessing. I introduced the story of the young lady in our neighbourhood. Many persons were present. Never did I witness more fixed attention than was delineated in every feature of the dying lady's animated countenance, especially when I related

my conversation with the sweet sufferer, to whom I adverted. Again, and again she thanked me, evincing by tears of transport, the consolation she had received.

Mr. Ris as consistent a worshipper of the Redeemer, as his attachment to forms will permit. He is fully convinced of the great truths of Christianity ; but he believes the Apostle established ecclesiastical authority, and his conscience compels him to continue in subjection to his bishop. Ever eager in the pursuit of any gocd which I would obtain, I am solicitous this same Mr. R-should be a father, almost in the moment of his beholding the spiritual light of life: as he sees the truth as it is in Jesus, I am grieved that this truth doth not make him free, that he sees any thing elsewhere, to command his obedience. However, I have no doubt he will go forward. Or, perhaps, like some of the first promulgators of the gospel, he may be ordained a minister of the circumcision,

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

Indeed, Paul seems to have been more bold than any of the Apostles; an attachment to ceremonies was prevalent among them, and they verily believed they might be used to good purpose in the Christian church. They were unquestionably under the dictates of conscience, especially as they conceived they had the example of their master to justify them. It was certainly long before they became acquainted with the complex character of the Redeemer. Many in the first establishment of Christianity, were unacquainted with the magnitude and variety of his sacred offices; they saw him not as made under the law, as subjected to ordinances, to the law of ceremonies in our stead, as fulfilling the whole, as being the end of that dispensation, the end of the law for righteousness; and although a few, attaining to the perfect knowledge of Jesus Christ, discovered that he was all in all: yet, having made the discovery, it was not in their power to persuade others, who remained precisely where they were stationed to believe their report.

What shall we say to these things? Is it necessary there should be a certain share, a due proportion of blindness in the Christian church, and that there should be as many different degrees there, as every where else? Must there be a divine economy in the church militant, and as many different degrees as in the heavenly hierarchy, in which there are thrones, dominions, principalities, and powers; cherubic and seraphic bands? I am aware we cannot precisely determine what these enumerated orders intend; yet, is it not probable, that they point out various orders, more or less exalted ? and if so, why should we expect all to rank alike in the school of Christ, instituted in this lower world? Is it not contrary to existing regulation? Let me then but know they are in the school of Christ; Let me but be convinced they are learned of the Father, that they see the righteousness of Jesus unto all, and upon all, there appearing to them no difference: In one word; let me but know that they are not worshippers of Anti-Christ, that they can distintinguish the voice of the good shepherd, from the voice of a stranger; that the love of Christ constraineth them, because they judge that if one died for all, then were all dead; if they have gone thus far, they are members of the church militant here below, and every such member is my friend and brother, my friend and sister.

There are in the church militant elevated ranks, and from those I am led to the church triumphant; to those abodes of blessedness where I can number a long catalogue of names, with whom lonce held

sweet council. Hail happy, beatified spirits transplanted into the garden of your God, there to flourish with unfading righteousness, un fading beauty. But, yet a little while, and those exotics which droop beneath a frigid atmosphere, which are nearly blighted in this inhospitable soil, will be removed to the same paradise of never ending bliss, so congenial to the growth of every virtue.

Have you a church, says an inquirer to me yesterday, where you reside?

M. Yes, Sir.

1. Aye, why they said you did not hold to any of the ordinances, and that you had no church.

M. You were misinformed, Sir; we have a church, and we have a redeeming God, and we abide by every thing which is written in the law and the prophets. We are the worshippers of the true Christ.

1. We have been told you denied baptisim, and the supper of the Lord.

M. We are Christians, and we are baptized with the baptism of Christ; and we see, and acknowledge the mystery of our Saviour's person, in the symbolic bread, and wine. In a word, we are of the truc circumcision, who worship God in the spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. We have the answer of a good conscience, by the resurrcetion of Emmanuel from the dead. This firm affiance is our support. Looking with a single eye to the Saviour of the world, our hearts condemn us not, and we experience unwavering confidence toward God. Such, Sir, is the character of the church with which I am particularly connected.

This inquirer being a bitter opponent, sighed and looked contemptuously, looked contemptuously and sighed, and so took his leave.

I have had to struggle with much mortification. Alas! for us, we must go through much tribulation to the kingdom of heaven. But, blessed be God, we must pass through the one, and into the other. The time we are passing through the one, is comparatively short; but our residence in the kingdom of heaven will not come to a period. Tribulation endureth but for a time, but heaven is! eternal. Blessed be the author of our existence, that we are momently advancing nearer and nearer to this abode of blessedness : that our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. Oh! that I could, in my journey through this howling wilderness, possess

« הקודםהמשך »