Imatges de pÓgina

tive : to fix that which is ever in the act of change; to chain down, the Proteus to one form, and to catch his likeness ere he has shifted to another ;—this is certainly a work not easy to be accomplished.' Magee, p. 462. This perpetual changing is exemplified in the celebrated Dr. Joseph Priestly, one of the principal supporters of Unitarianism. He informs us, in his letters to a Philosophical Unbeliever, Part ii. p. 33——35, that he was once a Calvinist, and that of the straitest sect. Afterwards, he adds, he became an high Arian, next a low Arian, and then a Socinian, and in a little time a Socinian of the lowest kind, in which Christ is considered as a mere man, the son of Joseph and Mary, and naturally, as fallible and peccable as Moses or any other prophet; and after all this, he tells us he does not know when his creed will be fixed.' Magee, p. 108.

To mark the changes that have befallen the doctrines of the ancient Socinians ;-to point out the differences between their principles and the principles of the modern Unitarians ;--to shew the versatility and inconstancy of the most celebrated champions and philosophical advocates of those doctrines that would invalidate the Divinity and atonement of Jesus Christ, or would expunge from the Scripture "his grace, his Spirit, and his religion,' --and to prove that there can be no safety to any, nor the least security that the greatest absurdities will not be embraced, when a man has given up the doctrines of the cross, has been the design of making these extracts.

That we may have a view of the doctrines of the Unitarians of the present day, a few extracts will be made from the works of some of their most distinguished writers; but chiefly from their version of the New Testament with notes, 'published in London by a society for promoting Christian knowledge and the practice of virtue by the distribution of books, reprinted in Boston, 1809.

(To be concluded in the next.)


To the Editors of the Methodist Magazine.

Troy, March 30th, 1818. Having a convenient opportunity to send to you by a friend who is going to New-York in the morning, I have thrown aside, at a late hour, an entertaining voluine of history, to refresh

myself, and improve the few moments of relaxation, to contribute something for your interesting Magazine. The following account you are at liberty to insert if you judge it will be profitable to your readers.

Mr. P. S. in the latter part of his life, occupied a small tenement of my father's. From that time till his death, I was well acquainted with him; so that what I say of him, I relate as facts, which, for the most part, I know to be true.

When Mr. 3. came into the neighbourhood, it was understood that he was a Methodist, which was true, though, on account of his not feeling so particularly zealous as he had done, he excused himself from coming immediately forward to be recognized by the church. as a member; promising himself to do it at some future day. He assured us, however, that he had no intention to give up the cause of religion ; and in this, I really think he was sincere.

It appeared that some unpropitious change had taken place in bis circumstances, and the enemy availed himself of it, to deceive him into a notion that it was excusable in him, and might be for the glory of God, for him to avoid making an open profession of religion, till he should be placed in circumstances in which he could do more honour to the cause--suggesting, withal, that he might retain the degree of piety he then possessed, till he arrived at that more favourable period. Indeed, from what I could learn by many conversations with him, the enemy had succeeded so well in riviting these impressions in his mind, that he thought himself sincere in the indulgence of them. From this time, having placed himself in a situation, in which he was, from necessity, deprived of the privileges of a church member, he found an increasing inclination. voluntarily, to neglect those duties, of which the loss of church membership did not deprive him. Family and private prayer, with the reading of the scriptures, began to be neglected by degrees, till they were heard of no more in his house.

While this dangerous lethargy was gradually closing up his eyes, the Lord aroused him from his slumber, by taking away his wife, who, dying in the triumphs of faith, left him an impressive witness of the inestimable worth of pure religion. But, whatever impressions this afflictive occurrence made upon his mind, they lasted but a short time; he soon began to relapse into his former stupidity, which grew upon him with astonishing rapidity.

Mr. S. was well instructed in the things of religion, and could always talk on the subject with a great deal of ease, but with, apparently, no feeling. His countenance gradually acquired an aspect peculiarly offensive to Christians; though, when he was introduced as a neighbour or a citizen, there was something amiable and inviting in him; yet, as all Christians who knew him, said, when he was named in reference to religion, an involuntary horror would thrill their breasts, in spite of all they could do to suppress it.

He used frequently to attend prayer-meetings, at+which his friends especially, the most of whom were pious, would often mention his case in their prayers; but after a while they desisted from praying for him, because, they said, they could feel no liberty in doing so. And, I confess, I never felt, at any other time, such a repulsive check, which seemed to dispute my entrance upon the subject, as I always felt, when attempting to

pray for him.

Thus he continued till his death, concerning which I shall state but one particular. Just before he expired, his brother, who was a pious man, asked him if he should pray for him. * You may pray,” he said, “You may pray for my familyfor yourself and your family—and for all who have not, as I have, become outcasts from mercy—but you need not pray for me- it is too late-once I knew the Lord—but I have forsaken him-Had I died then, I should have been happy-but now I must be miserable.- In a few hours I shall be in hell-I am as sure of it as if I were there”—and so he expired.

Thus ended the life of this unhappy man, I was present in his sickness, and, for the first time in my life on a funcral occasion, preached a sermon at his burial. His appearance, after he expired, I shall never forget. I can draw no picture of it. He appeared as if he had been, in his last moments, surprised by an enemy, and, in the shock, to have threatened an attack upon, and made an exertion to escape from him, while, at the same instant, the blood chilled in his veins, and his countenance continued to pourtray the horror of his mind.

This circumstance has been an admonition to me not to neg:lect duty, under any pretext whatever; and I wish it may be to all who may see the account. I find many who can furnish themselves with plausible excuses for deferring present duties to be performed at some future time, which, they vainly hope, will be more propitious-But I never found one who calculated to come to so unhappy an end as the miserable subject of these remarks did; and, probably, no one ever calculated more to shun it than he did when he first began to neglect duty. What a disappointment ! May the Lord deliver us from falling into the snare of the devil.






Dated Columbo, May 1, 1817. The nature of our work, and the prospects which open before us, encourage and animate us to labour on.

Hence we are using, to the utmost of our power, those means which God has placed within our reach, to accomplish that great work which I have no doubt in my mind whatever, he sent us out to perform.

You would be greatly pleased to be in one of our English class-meetings, and hear the artless simplicity of those that are real members of our society, to see their zeal, and love to every branch of Methodism, and their hearty acquiescence in every part of our discipline. I am really surprised sometimes to hear the clear manner in which they speak of the things of God, and of the work of grace upon their souls; and recollect, that a short time back « These were not a people.” As many of the natives, Cingalese, and those who speak the Portuguese language,' only have begun to express a' wish to be admitted to our classmeetings, we are now beginning to establish classes in the Portuguese and Cingalese languages. The other night we had several natives in the class; but only two or three could speak English. Upon one of them being asked if he wished to be saved from sin and hell, he replied, with much fervour, “I very much like dat.” Well, have you begun to pray to God? “ I always now praying every day.” But how do you pray? He replied, putting his hand upon his breast; “I always pray now wid my heart feeling.” This unexpected, and yet most pleasing explanation of prayer produced, as you may naturally suppose, a powerful effect in our English class. It quite overcame some.

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Our Portuguese congregation, though small in its beginning, now promises well. It is in general serious ; but hearing God's word is not enough, and hence there is so little of the fear of God out of the places of worship in this country, that, however a person's mind may be affected under preaching, when he goes into an ungodly world he looses it all, and it would be next to a miracle for such a one to hold fast: then you see the necessity of classes being introduced. Our class meetings are the only means I can think of, as likely, after all, to make effectual work of it. But as this class of people have lived so long without any kind of religious instruction, every thing must be brought round in a regular way. Hence, I think, the plan we are adopting of establishing a general catechising for all such as are disposed to. come, and then finding out those who are the most in earnest for their souls, and immediately forming them into classes, is the best we can devise, at least at the present, to promote the salvation of immortal souls.

Since the opening of our chapel, I have paid more particular attention to the Portuguese language, and can now preach or converse in it with the utmost ease. My opinion, in respect to the languages of this country is, that we shall not do much in them in the way of preaching, until we do it extempore. This I see more clearly since I preached in this way in the Portuguese. But having had so much to do in English and Portuguese the last six months, it has proved a serious hindrance to me in the Cingalese.

Translating has also been another great hindrance in my way of writing sermons in the Cingalese. Long before you receive this, you will have heard of the death of W. Tolfrey, Esq. who was engaged in making a translation of the New Testament into Cingalese. I wrote to Dr. Clarke some months since, and gave him some of the melancholy intelligence of this worthy gentleman; also of the translating work having been removed to the mission-house. I am now hard at work to complete it, in conjunction with brother Armour, and Mr. Chater, the Baptist missionary. At present we are literally jaded with our own different employments on this station, and nothing could possibly induce me to devote four days in the week to close attention to this work, but the idea of its vast importance; and I frequently please myself with the reflection, that this translation of the Word of life, when we are gone, will preach the Saviour of sinners to

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