« السابقةمتابعة »
the fulness and freeness of his grace in Christ. My heart acquiesced in this glorious method of salvation, and was drawn out in love to the holy and blessed Jesus. Never before did I know any thing of true joy; but,notwithstanding all I have felt, I am often jealous of my heart, and examine my exercises with careful attention, comparing them with the word of God, and religious experiences recorded in other books; and, if I am not greatly deceived, I can freely renounce all that is most dear to me in the world for Christ and his religion.
It is sometimes suggested to my mind that the whole may be a delusion; but, glory to God! If it should even be so, it is an incomparably sweet one. "Not mighty men that share the spoil, have joys compared to mine.”
O how delightful to contemplate the character of the great Jehovah, and his infinite love to sinners, through his dear Son! May God enable me to persevere! I desire to thank him; I have been enabled today, at court,to silence near a dozen of my old deistical companions. My case graded all their objections; and they appeared to be struck with solemnity and alarm, their leader having fallen.
THE WISER CHRISTIAN.
A PERSON meets another returning, after having heard a popular preacher, and says to him, "Well, I hope you have been highly gratified." "Indeed I have," replied the other. "I wish I could have prevailed on you to hear him; I am sure you would never have relished any other preacher afterwards." "Then," returned the wiser Christian, "I am determined I never will hear him; for I wish to hear such a preacher as will give me so high a
relish and esteem for the word of God, that I shall receive it with greater eagerness and delight whenever it is delivered.
THE MISERABLE INFIDEL.
[Taken from the Connecticut Evangelical Magazine.]
TO THE EDITOR.
SIR, It has often been observed, that the greatest degree of error and stupidity concerning moral obligation and duty, and a state of retribution in the world to come, is found in certain persons who have been the subjects of serious impressions, and by long resisting their own consciences, and the striving of God's Spirit, have provoked him to leave them to their own blindness and lust. As a warning to others, I have transmitted you the following instance:
A MAN who possesses reason and sagacity above the common proportion, and about the age of thirty, fell into such a state of debility as rendered him incapable of much attention to business. Before this, he had discovered an inordinate attachment to property, and omitted neither diligence, nor art, nor parsimony, to obtain it. His state was called hypochondriac by his neighbors; for a certain reclaseness of temper prevented his communicating to them the distracting feelings of his mind. When he was in this state, I accidentally passed a day in his company. After a short conversation, I discovered marks of a wounded conscience, and told him my suspicion, that his whole disorder proceeded from anxiety on spiritual accounts. Finding I had detected his feelings, he made a frank acknowledgment it was the case; but solicited that it might remain a secret with me. He told me of sundry times, in his past life, when, for short seasons, his conscience had continually accused him. He had seen himVOL. I.
self to be a sinner, if there were any truth in the scriptures; and he dreaded an appearance before God, as the most awful of all events; still he could not bear to think of another kind of life, and of parting with those worldly designs which had governed his past conduct. He said he had been many months in this situation; and something continually sounded in his ears that he was a sinner, that he must die and come to judgment, and without another state of heart, must be miserable; but, added he, "I can. not part with my worldly schemes. I must again be a man of business; I have just laid a foundation for success; and if I give way to these apprehensions, there is an end of my prospects. This I own to be the cause of all my gloom, and if I could put another world and my own preparations for it out of sight, I should again be a happy man."
I immediately perceived, that although he felt some conviction of truth, he was contending with one who will prevail. I set before him the danger of resisting such impressions; the folly of preferring an avaricious life of gain to the immortal interest of his soul; and the superior wisdom of subordinating all our worldly labors, views, and hopes, to our eternal well being. I endeav. ored to shew him his true state, his need of another heart, the danger of his being left to a most ruinous blindness, and to eternal misery. After much solemn conversation, we parted.
Nearly a year from this time, we had another opportunity for free discourse. It was sought by himself, with an evident design to confront and reproach me, for the exhortation I had given him with the most friendly intention, I instantly saw that his seriousness was departed, and his
conscience seared. By his own account, he continued several months longer in that state of apprehension and resistance to the truth, which has been described; when he came to the rash opinion, that the whole of his past feelings were but an hypochondriac gloom; and supported himself by the following argument; "You know that hypochondriacism is a false imagination of the mind; and within one week after I detected my folly in being so anxious for another world, I became well and happy, and have so continued." He further added, I now think that all the notions I have had concerning the holiness of God, and the rewards of another world, are false. As to sin, it is evident there can be no such thing; nor shall I any more exist after this body dies, than those trees before us will exist hereafter, and be happy or miserable." "But," replied I, "is it not a gloomy thought, that your existence will cease when your body dies?" "As for that," he answered, "I cannot help it; and we must make the most of what we have." I perceived him determined not to think, lest it should make him unhappy; and on my solicitously urging him to review the momentous subject, he became peevish, and said I was trying to give myself importance in the world, by all I said concerning religion.
His life, for several years after this, was such as might be expected from his principles. Riches were his idol. His parsimony preserved him from licentious excess. Honest men detested the principles by which they saw him to be governed. His unprincipled associates were afraid of falling under his power. There was something in his countenance indescribable, that marked him for another Cain; and while many, through necessity, resorted to him for assistance, there was not a man on earth
that loved him. Passing over several parts of his conduct, which evidently proceeded from an endeavor to erase from his mind a sense of moral obligation, of sin,and a state where impenitent sinners shall receive a reward according to their deeds, I shall now come to his deathbed. A just Providence forbade him a long state of decay, as a season of admonition and preparation for eternity. He had his call before, and it was rejected. An awful accident in a moment placed him in a hopeless state, This and withia two days of his exit from this world. accident, though fatal, did not immediately affect his head; and the powers of reason were in full strength. Now, behold, the man who exploded moral obligation, denied the existence of sin, determined there was no future life, and consequently no punishment for him; and all this for the sake of gaining and enjoying this world without the molestations of his own conscience. True it is, that, in this awful moment, he was left to a great degree of judicial blindness concerning another world, the nature of hopeful preparation for death, and the just and eternal reward of sin; but misery and dismay rose upon him from a quarter he did not expect. His beloved scheme of ceasing to exist at death, became his terror. "And have I now," said he, "done with existence? Shall I presently cease to think, to see, to feel? Am I to exist but a few moments filled with pain, and then lie down to be nothing for ever? I am pained for the fruits of my labor; I have labored for nothing; I cannot bid farewell to the earnings of so many years."
On being told, by one who had not known his previous opinions, that he certainly should exist; and that the future being of men was indicated by nature, and made