Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

the blaze of day. Some stalk sullen by, and look another way; some seem to affect a resemblance of what they were, when in life; some appear as if they had never known me, dead or alive; they cannot be quite indifferent; they must be angry or pleased; but like the passing generation of this world, as one friend dies, another is born, while the sinner’s friend will never suffer me to be friendless; and soon, very soon, blessed be the name of my God, I shall be permitted to leave this bad world, where evil spirits, and wicked men, have their residence; this vexatious, changing state of things, where there are no unmixed delights, where, it is generally be. lieved, the bitter predominates; and I shall be admitted into that state, where nothing that defileth can enter. In the little space, which yet remains, very little, I humbly hope, I would court retirement.

“For in the secret silence of the mind
My God, and so my heaven, I find.”

When in the public character which my divine Master hath imposed upon me, I am constrained to come forth in the presence of the people, I would consider myself as the servant of the Redeemer; and I would fear no man. If I am treated kindly, receive this kind treatment and pass on ; if unkindly, receive the unkindness and pass on ; and taking refuge in my beloved retirement, look towards home, still walking by faith, not elated with the afflearance of friendship, nor depressed by the melancholy certainty, that, what I have misnamed friendshift was no more than affearance, always remembering that by the grace of God, much more consolation has been administered to me, than my divine Master heretofore received.

I wish you, my dear lady, and every individual of your excellent family, all that your hearts desire; that is, as far as the accomplishment of your wishes may consist with his arrangements, in whom I

ann, with grateful, and very respectful esteem, your friend, &c. &o

[ocr errors]

LETTER LXVII.

To a Preacher in JWorth-Carolina.
SIR,

Although my time is generally engrossed by a variety

of avocations, leaving me very little leisure for attempting to enlarge the circle of my correspondents; yet meeting, some time since, with a gentleman who has brought me acquainted with you and your circumstances, I immediately determined to devote a portion of my time to you. I am informed you have seen the truth as it is in Jesus; and that, from the abundance of a believing heart, your mouth speaketh thereof to the people ; that consequent thereon, some few believe, while the many mock and despitefully use you ; if so, rejoice and be exceeding glad ; for so were all God's faithful witnesses treated, even from the beginning of the world. They who hated the Saviour will hate his servants. But they who hated our Saviour were those who conceived themselves righteous, and despised others, who, believing that they abounded in good works, thanked God they were not like other men.

Such persons are the most embittered enemies of the message and messengers of that peace which was made by the blood of the cross. They do not object to the messengers of that peace made by their own sufferings and performances; nor have they any objection to acknowledge themselves indebted to God, for enabling them thus to establish peace and reconciliation between God and themselves. Frequently, therefore, they say, God I thank thee I am not like other men. These other men they can look down upon and say unto them, stand off, I am holier than thou : but we know who hath said, Every high and lofty imagination shall be brought low, every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess the truth as it is in Jesus, to the glory of the Father.

I am, Sir, happy to learn that our Saviour has been pleased to make choice of you, as a minister of the New-Testament, and that you are counted worthy to suffer for his name sake. His name is Jesus, that is, a Saviour; and he shall save his people from their sins.

Should you constantly affirm that our Saviour will act agreeably to the import of his name, that he will save all men from their sins, you must expect the consequences. Those, who believe that the greater part of God's offspring will be eternally lost in their sins, will say all manner of evil of you. I humbly hope and trust, however, that they will say this evil falsely. I trust that the same love of God which constrains you to proclaim these glad tidings to every creature, because you judge that if one died for all, then were all dead, will also constrain you, both by firecefit and examfile, to adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things. I have, my brother, been longer engaged in the ministry of reconciliation than yourself; and have therefore, perhaps, acquired more knowledge of Satan's devices. One capital device I will beg leave to mention. He will employ some of his emissaries to converse with you, under pretence of seeking after light; but those who are thus employed, by such an employer, are wolves in sheef’s clothing ; their purpose is to entangle you in your talk, that they may have whereof to accuse you. It would, upon these occasions, be well if we could attend carefully to the direction of the great Master, who hath said, Be ye wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. God's messengers are more generally the latter than the former. Artless themselves, they suspect no art; and are, therefore, frequently perplexed and embarrassed by these self-righteous, insidious characters, who act under the influence of that arch deceiver, who was from the beginning the accuser of the brethren. Another devise, to which they frequently resort, is attempting to irritate by taunting expressions; and while engaged in disputation, we are too frequently pressed by pride, lest our own reputation should suffer; and thus, while acting under the influence of the same spirit which operates upon our bigoted opponents, it is not matter of wonder, that we discover the same diabolical temper. Nothing gratifies the grand adversary more than to ensnare a disciple of the meek and lowly Jesus, by drawing him into a passionate contest. I have suffered much in this way myself, and I therefore beg leave to caution you. It is best we obtain a victory over ourselves, before we attempt to gain an advantage over another. But if any honest, inquiring individual wishes you to give a reason for the hope that is within you, give it with meekness and fear. You have, no doubt, adopted the scriptures of the Old and NewTestament, as your only safe, directing guide ; they are able to make us wise unto salvation. According to these scriptures, you will preach the gospel. You will prove from the sacred volume, that Christ Jesus died for our sins. This will indeed be glad tidings to all those who are in bondage to the fear of death; and as this fear hath torment, the belief of these glad tidings will save every tormented soul from these tormenting fears; so that ever after, they will be able to serve their merciful God, their redeeming God, without fear, in newness of life. The heart of man is, by nature, prone to discredit this divine report; and as those very scriptures, through which you prove the truth of the gospel, are made use of by unbelievers, to prove this gospel false, consequent upon the perversion of God’s word, as the gospel hath been served by Christians, precisely as the Jews served the law; as it has been made void by their traditions, your business, and the business of every servant of Christ Jesus is, to prove that the sacred records, from beginning even unto the end, are all yea, and amen, to the glory of God. Yet while we uniformly declare the freeness and fulness of the gospel, of the grace of God our Saviour, for the purpose of persuading all men to believe, first making them acquainted with the truth, which they ought to believe, we should carefully and constantly exhort all those who have believed, to maintain good works; for although those good works cannot advance the interest of an omnipotent God, they are, nevertheless, well pleasing to him, in consequence of their being profitable unto men. But on this subject, it is unnecessary to add, as the printed letter which I take the liberty to enclose, will give my sentiments in this respect. Permit me to request your serious attention to this printed letter; if your heart be as mine, it may be of some service to you and to your friends. Although of a sect that ovas, is, and will continue to be, every where shoken against, even until the times of the restitution of all things ; yet light is encreasing, and many are daily added to the church, even such as shall be saved from the evil that is in the world : and the gospel of God our Saviour will grow, it will spread far and wide, notwithstanding the rage of men, notwithstanding the rage of devils. Of its increase, there will be no end, until the whole earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord. I congratulate you on being called as a witness for God to this truth. I pray God you may prove yourself a workman that needeth not to be ashamed. May you, and the few individuals who unite with you, setting your seals to the truth of the divine testimony, let your light so shine before men, that they, seeing your good works, may be constrained to glorify our Father, who is in heaven. Beware, I conjure you, of false brethren, of men who profess themselves servants of God, but in works deny him ; such professing friends are our worst enemies.—Farewell. I am, in our dear Lord and Master, your friend and brother, &c. &c.

LETTER LXVIII.

To an Inquirer. /

SIR,

You ask an account of the ceremony I have originated, instead of infant sprinkling. On my first appearance in this country, during my residence in the State of New-Jersey, I was requested, as the phrase is, to christen the children of my hearers. I asked them what was their design in making such a proposal to me? When they replied, they only wished to do their duty. How, my friends, returned I, came you to believe infant sprinkling a duty? “Why, is it not the command of God to sprinkle infants 2" If you will, from scripture authority, produce any warrant sufficient to authorise me to baptize children, I will immediately, as in duty bound, submit thereto. Our Saviour sprinkled no infant with water: those who were baptized by his harbinger, plunged into the river Jordan, which plunging was figurative of the ablution by which we are cleansed in the blood of our Saviour—But infants are not plunged in a river. Paul declares he was not sent to baptize, and he thanks God that he had baptized 59 few : nor does it appear that among those few, there were any infants. It is not a solitary instance, to find a whole household without a babe. The Eunuch cenceived it necessary there should be much water for the performance of the rites of baptism : all this seems to preclude the idea of sprinkling and of the infant baptism : and it is said, that whole centuries passed by,

« PreviousContinue »