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my soul in patience, or that I could at least stand my ground and continue unmoved; this should be my privilege, to this I ought to aspire; and although I may not always succeed, yet I may in some good measure attain my purpose, and an object so truly desirable is surely worth the most persevering efforts. Yet I know it is much easier to preach, than to practise. God, enable me, in this respect, to preach by practice, thus making my example a comment upon my page; for it will always be true, that example is abundantly more persuasive than the brightest precepts.
I have been pleased with a circumstance which took place this morning—A grey headed man, a rustic, entered my apartment.
Rustic. Will Mr. Murray admit an old man? I hope no offence. M. Set down, Sir.
Rustic. I am an old man, and Mr. Murray knows better than such a poor weak creature, as, God help me, I am become; indeed I never was very smart, but howsome-ever, I should like to mentio:) a matter that is very near my heart, but belike you are going to be busy?
M. No, Sir, I am at leisure to attend to you.
Rustic. Well, Sir, I am told as how, that D. A. intends to speak against you in his meeting-house.
M. Well, Sir, if he should choose it, there is no act of assembly to prevent himn.
Rustic. But, qur neighbours have signified to me, that you will not answer him! Now I knows that I am a poor old simpleton, and that it will be a hard matter to speak to such a man as D. A.-much harder ihan to hold an argument with a man of higher parts. But, under favour, though Mr. Murray knows much better than I, yet I am bold to say, whatever D. A. may be himself, there are a great many hearers of yours, looking out with all their eyes, and for certain, they are very much accustomed to hear matters and things held up,
for all the world as D. A. will hold them up; and if you should speak never a word, all the snarlers in the village, will endeavour to persuade us, as how that D A. has let fall something that has not only staggered, but fairly tripped up your heels, and the simpleton himself, may strut off as proud as a peacock. Now I thinks, as how that our Saviour, always replied to them there sort of folks, who were for all the world like D. A; that is, as a body may say, until he came to suffer, and then we know he must be dumb and open not his mouth, that the scriptures might be
fulfilled. Now, I should be mighty glad, if this man should have courage enough to speak to you, if you would answer him. All of us knows you can give him as good as he sends; but if you do not reply, we shall all of us be non-plussed like.
M. Make yourself quite easy, my honest friend, I will do as well as I can.
Rustic. Well, if you will not be affronted like, but mayhap I shall go too far?
M. Speak freely, Sir.
Rustic. Why, then if you does not take it amiss, as I should be mighty glad that the gospel God sent you to preach, should spread all over the world, and the like of that, I will just say one word more, but for certain you will thinks I am an impudent old fellow.
M. O! no, not at all, Sir; speak out, I am not easily offended where offence is not designed.
Rustic. Why, we are told, as how that Elijah was a man of like passions with us; every man can be stirred up to wrath, and so on. D. A. belike will be very rough, and he may some how work you up to wrath, but all our folks are looking up to you, and they say as how that they expects more from you, than from any body else; because, for certain, you knows more than any body else. The thing that I means, is this : No good comes by quarrelling, and that sort of thing; and the precious Bible tells us, as how that a soft answer turneth away wrath Moses, as Mr. Murray very well knows, spoke unadvisedly with his lips, and as you observed in your sermon the other evening, when folks are in any little fault, other folks will make it worse like, and will say in a high kind of a manner, “There, there, so would we have it." 0! I shall never forget your last precious sermon. But
will be so good as to have a care, and the like of that, Sir.
M. I hope, Sir, I shall at all times be enabled to act in a manner consistent with
character. Rustic. Look ye there, now. But, I hope as how you be not affronted, I hope you will overlook the freedom I takes.' What I feels, I always speaks, and although I knows Mr. Murray knows all this better than I : yet I am such an old fool, that I cannot help talking about these here matters.
M. Make no apologies, my good friend; what you have said does not stand in need of excuse : your observations are friendly and just, and shall have their due weight.
Vol. I. 27
Thus far our honest rustic; yet I do not like these disputations, they seem too much like contending for a victory, and rarely serve the cause of true religion. Well, so it must be; I will leave it entirely with Him who careth for us. Time, time, when will it be swallowed up in eternity! when shall we get home; when shall we reach our Father's house; when shall we get beyond these hopes and fears, these thorns, which so plentifully infest our paths? O! this wretched life, when will it have an end? I am indeed impatient to quit this abode of sorrow, to leap the gulf, and find myself in eternity. I have been thrown into this train of reflection, by a consideration of the bitter spirit of acrimony, which is, I had almost said, momently gaining strength in this country. The terms whig and tory, seem the watch word, on which is suspended every malevolent, every bad passion. The most bitter enmity, wrath and indignation is absolutely cherished between political opponents, who are children of the same parents. I have dined in a circle of friends, who call themselves Christians—For my soul, I cannot view that man as a consistent Christian, who is either a high whig, or a high tory, or who kindles into rage, and the most wrathful indignation upon any question, either of a civil or religious nature. I had the temerity to make an observation of this description, in this circle. An individual delivered bimself with unwarrantable severity, of all who sustained the tory character. I could not forbear taking a part in the conversation, not on political principles, but from a heart deeply and sensibly affected by the principles inculcated by that Monarch, of whom I am an ambassador; and among other remarks drawn forth by the occasion, I affirmed, that if any one said they loved God whom they had not seen, and haled their brother whom they had seen, they were liars. I was asked, if I knew any man who was not a liar? and I replied, I knew no one wholly free from offence, but there were individuals who could speak without lying; and I added, I have the happiness to be acquainted with Christians, a few Christians who really believe themselves disciples of a Prince, whose kingdom is not of this world, and who are persuaded in their own souls, that every human being is of their own flesh; that every son and daughter of Adam is with them a member of the mystical body of the second Adam, in consequence of which, tliey distinguish between the precious and the vile, just as they would discriminate were they placed by the couch of the son of their father and their mother, and beheld their suffering brother
in a strong, and most offensive delirium. They, would on such an occasion, regard their brother with sympathy and strong commiseration; They would view the disease with horror, but they would experience no sentiments but kindness and affection for the sufferer. These Christians do not believe the world contains sufficient treasure to purchase the soul of one of the most obnoxious of those tories, whom you take so much delight in anathematizing, and it is a fundamental article of their creed, that in the fulness of God's own time, every man, let his character now be what it will, whether whig or tory, shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord, and consequently retain no disposition to hurt or offend their associates. Nay, they are fully persuaded, even in the present moment, that the all-wise God our Saviour, maketh use of these instruments as in his sight seemeth good, but that the bodies and souls of every man is equally dear to him, who fashioned them and breathed into them the breath of life. Thus these Christians believe, and their hearts are influenced by their faith, and it is such characters, and such characters only, which appear to me consistent Christians.
Nature assumes this morning her most delightful aspect. The God of Nature has been bestowing upon us a new instance of indulgence; he has prevented the dawn by his loving kindness. Sometime before day we were favoured by a most delightful shower, of which the parched earth stood in great need, and the dew-bespangled lawn is glittering before me. How forcibly does the present scene call to my memory the beautiful song of Moses: you will find it Deuteronomy, chapter 32.
“ Give ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak; and hear, 0 earth, the words of my mouth.
“ My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew; as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass."
I bless God that his doctrine takes not the character of the storm, but of the small rain, upon the tender herb. That God is not in the flame nor in the whirlwind, but in the small still voice, when he addresseth by the word of his mouth, this animated earth in which we are tenanted, O! earth, earth, hear ye the word of the Lord. It cannot, I think, be supposed that the clod on which we tread is here called upon. No, assuredly, it is the children of men, while continuing of the earth, earthy.
The people in this city go on with abundance of stoicism. None
of these things move them; confident in their own righteousness, they speak peace to themselves, where no peace can be found. But may the God of peace and love give them peace, and preserve them from every evil for his own name sake, for doubtless they are his people in his, although not in their own way.
The last subject we have considered in this place is recorded in the 45th chapter of Isaiah, 20th verse :
“ Assemble yourselves and coine ; draw near together, ye that are escaped of the nations: they have no knowledge that set up the wood of their graven image, and pray unto a God that cannot save."
I read the remaining verses of this chapter, intending to consider them in course, designing this 20th verse as an introduction to the succeeding verses, and I proceeded to consider :
First, what we were to understand by the divine admonition, Assemble yourselves.
Secondly, And come.
Fourthly, The propriety of the argument made use of in the close, They have no knowledge that set up the wood of their graven image, and pray unto a God that cannot save.
First, Assemble yourselves. Nothing is more manifest than that man is made social ; of this we have ten thousand proofs, and if any have fondly imagined that felicity existed far from the social haunts of men, and under this delusion have sequestered themselves amid the recesses of the wilderness, they have generally acknowledged their error, confessing that whatever were the miseries of society, they were abundantly more supportable, than a dereliction of communicable good, and all those joys which sometimes distinguish the domestic circle.
We evidently see, in this fact, the good hand of our God; for how would his gracious purposes be answered in the world, if the interests of mankind did not effectually draw them together?
But, I am far from supposing, however striking this consideration may be, that it is pointed out in the words of our text. It does not ask a divine admonition to persuade men to assemble, for reciprocal acts of kindness or rather self-interest, and domestic consolation. The first law of nature is self-preservation, and this alone is sufficient for the purpose of collecting and embodying communitics for associating human beings.