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knees and beg for mercy than swear at your wife.' Simple as this thought was, it might be said to have the effect of the discharge of a cannon through his soul ; it stilled the mental storm in a moment, and he received his wife on her second return with perfect calmness, at least as to any thing partaking of the emotions of resentinent. From this single thought, thus to appearance accidentally introduced, and which can be attributed to po assignable cause but our Lord's principle in his conversation with Nicodemus, “ The wind bloweth where it Jisteth ; and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh or whither it goeth, so is every one who is born of the Spirit ;'
-- from this single, but mysteriously prolific thought, sprung up a totally new set of ideas, motives, tempers, habits, and practices, and in due tiine there appeared an entirely new creature.'
• Old things passed away; behold, all things became new.' But to return to the narrative :As may be supposed, this mental shock which he had received was followed by heart-breaking agitations; he began to have the most horrible views of the guilt of his life, and the deep deprayity and wretchedness of his heart, and having no religious connections whatever, went from one place of worship to another, in hopes of hearing a sermon upon • the wickedness of the heart.' Amongst other places, he came to ours; and it so happened that the subject that day turned upon that point, by means of which he found his views instructed and enlarged, and, in a degree, his mind relieved. Most happily, in those circumstances and at that time, he was noticed (with surprise indeed, that he should be in a place of worship) by a wise and serious friend, admirably qualified to converse with a person in his state of mind, who for years was one of the brightest ornaments of our church, who might he said to be always
on the watch for souls ;' and has been an instructor and helper unto many. This friend secing him interested and affected, took an early opportunity of falling into his company; and, in the most judicious and affectionate way, directed him to fly for refuge to the Great Hope set before him in the gospel :' at the same sime pressing ypon him the new cessity of a divine renewal of the spirit of his wind, and a correspondentholiness of life and character;' and it appears from the sequel of the case, that the instructions which he received, both in public and private, were followed with most manifest and efficacious blessing from on high.
We know too well that there is such a thing as what the Scripture de. nominates “ a goodness like the morning cloud, and the early dew which soon passeth away;' and though strong convictions, produced either by ordinary or extraordinary means, promise fair for a time, yet they trequently die away, and a man becomes as stupid and vicious as ever: perhaps more so. What, therefore, renders this case the more wonderful is, that an impression commencing in so simple an origin, should terminate in one of the most satisfactory conversions that shall come within one's knowledge, and not only approving its reality, but rising to an uncommon eminence in every branch of the Christian spirit and character, so that he shall be as distinguished for the exercise of all the Christian graces as he was once infamous for the tyranny of those vices over him which are the exact opposites to them. Let me mention a few particulars :
There was an uncommon ardour in his pięty, blended with unaffected simplicity; his whole heart seemed wrapt in devotion when addressing the diving Being himself, or joining with others in social prayer: there was a fixed and settled attention about hiin in hearing the word, that to a stranger might have the appearance of an affected sanctity, but which those who knew him were sure to be reality : -- an attitude greatly tending to animate a serious minister, especially in contrast with the drowsy eyes or careless countenances of some others. In connection with this, the amiableness of the Christian spirit was conspicuous in him. While bis whole soul rested • on the foundation which God has laid in Zion,' nost earnestly would be breathe and plead to be partaker of the iwind
which was in Christ,' and in conversation as well as prayer, dwell with holy delight on the charminġ excellencies of the Redeemer's spirit, longing to
transcribe and make tliem all his own ; and in very deed, to a wonderful degree, did he attain them. The law of kindness was in his heart, and dwelt upon his tongue.' For years, 1 believe, he has never been seen unduly moved with anger, or heard to speak uñadvisedly with his lips.' His house, bis heart, his sympathy, his prayers, and his pursé might be said to be an asylum to many of the humble and afflicted poor, whether distressed in body or in mind, and, according to his circumstances (being what is vulgarly called a little tradesinan) no man was more ‘ ready to distribute, willing to communicate, or stood more fully prepared to assist in any good word or work. No harsh eensure or unjust reproach ever escaped him ; but there was a mildness and candour in bis disposition to his fellow - creatures, and a patience and resignation under the chastisements of his God, which was truly exemplary *. In short, the gospel seemed to have searched to the centre of his soul, and to carry its salutary influence through all the branches of his character. Though his abilities were not great, or his range of speculative knowledge wide, yet he had the most just ideas of the exient of the Christian character ; and it might be said, that while he went through with every thing in religion, religion went through every thing with him.
He was an example likewise iv civil society, and in the transactions of secular life. Allowing for his situation, not a man in the town was more highly respected on this account, or more cheerfully trusted ; perfectly fair, honourable, and upright in his dealings, seeking not his own thing's only, but the interest ofothers, his great aim was to make the golden rule his standard; and in this view he had a good report among all men. One who knew him well, said of him in reference to this part of his character, • Fie is valued most where best known;' and he found godliness profitable in temporals as well as spirituals ; for his circumstances greatly improved after he became a Christian. All these qualities were crowned with profound unaffected humility: Deeply would he lament over bis former self, hitterly deplore the remains of sinful habits, and almost envy (if that word may be used in an innocent sense) the piety of early converts. If ever there was a man who felt his need of a Redeemer, or carried with him a constant sense of his obligations to him, this was he. I have often remarked (though I believe that he was not sensible of it) that he seldom applied the usual simple titles to the Saviour; it was always, with some epithet,“the Great Redeemer,' or the Blessed Jesus ;' carrying in his case, I doubt not, both of his necessity and obligation an habitual sense. In a word, he was a striking instance of the consistent happy junction of faith and holiness, grace and duty, dependence and practice.
As life drew on towards a close, he was frequently under considerable dejection of spirit, his hopes low, and little sensible enjoyinent of the consolations of the gospel. This I account for on the following principles:- His disease being of a lingering kind, and partly consisting of an affection of the nerves, his natural spirits would almost necessarily be in a degree depressed ; as we are so much corporeal beings, the body must be expected to have a mechanical influence on the mind to a certain extent. Another reason was, that he never could get over the recollection of bis former self: though he had every evidence of divine forgiveness, yet he could not forgive himself; and sometimes evil thoughts and musings would remain, and the result of bis evil days would hang heavy on his heart ;—but perhaps the principal reason of dejection was an apprehension of low attainments in the divine life : the fact was, a little religion would not satisfy him. Some professors trust in Christ, go through their religious duties, and are regular in their conduct, and thus content themselves with their character and hope; but his views entered deeply both into the heart and into the gospel; he aimed at high attainments in purity
* For several years, a beloved wife was subject to mental derangement.
of motives and spirituality of habitual temper; saw what à Christian should be, and what the gospel was calculated to make him: to him imperfections, and what some would call lesser deficiencies in duty, seemed great sins; and it might be truly said, tható forgetting the things which were behind, and reaching towards those before, lie pressed towards the mark. Once, when I was reminding him of the greatness of the change he experienced as a source of comfort, • Yes (said he) a great external change; but the more I know myself, the more I feel my need of a further internal one.'
However, as I hoped and expected, when death drew very near, the cloud of fear dispersed, and the evening time was light. He spent his last hours entirely in praise, the frame of his mind subsided into perfect composure, and he sunk to everlasting rest in the exercise of a will compleiely lost in the will of God. Even the aspiration, Come Lord Jesus, come quickly,' was checked with the pious thought, Why should I say quickly, when he knows best when it is best to come ?
From this whole case 1 infer, Ist, The reality of conversion :- there is such a thing It may be misunderstood, misrepresented, ridiculed, counterfeited, but still there is such a thing. Here is the case of a man who weni all lengths in the indulgence of his vices; but from some unseen, yet powerful cause, he abandons all his wretched habits, and becomes another man ; quite as eminent for his graces as he had been infamous for his crimes; and this change attested by the trial of twenty years ; during which he appears as a member of a Christian church, without a blot upon his character. Whoever disgraces religion, apostatizes from it, or brings his individual piety into suspicion by inconsistencies,—yet here is a stand
ing instance sufficient to silence a thousand sueering clamours, as to the reality of the thing itself: if only one such case could be produced in a century, it would be sufficient to prove that point.
I inter, 2dly, The sovereignty of the divine conduct in the operations of his grace. Scripture gives innumerable encouragements to the use of religious means, pronounces a blessing or watching at Wisdom's gates, promises that he who seeks shall find,' and connects acceptance and success with waiting on the Lord ;' and these promises shall be fulfilled in every case to which they apply : — but the Almighty is confined to no known and revealed rules, even of his own appointment, in the distribution of his favours. In perfect consistency with all these encouragements, he exercises a mysterious sovereignty in his influence on the sinner's heart, either with or without means, either as a fulfilment of his promise, or independent of any direct promise at all; and hence may be justly said to have mercy on whom he will have mercy.?
1 infer, 3dly, That despair is groundless on this side eternity. If one so far from righteousness has been plucked as a brand from the burning, and raised to eminence in holiness, let not the vilest character, though wallowing in vice and covered with crimes, say there is no hope ;°1 will, therefore,' walk in the imagination of my heart.' Let not the recurrence of a serious thought be despised or resisted. Who can tell how great a matter a little fire may kindle ?
4thly, Let the subjects of early piety be humbled and animated. There are instances among us of piety of many years growth, springing, under God, from the best of educations, and almost every spiritnal advantage; yet there is no such person amongst us but has something to learn from this man ; and, surely, it ought to be humbling to be outstript in Christian excellence (notwithstanding early privileges, superior knowledge, and probably stronger mental powers) by one who, a few years since, rose from the dregs of depravity and wretchedness; and yet perhaps has left us far behind in these qualities which constitute the Christian.
5thly, Let young people learn the value of early piety. It was the want of this that einbittered the latter days of this excellent man :—but for this (other things being equal, Christianity would have been heaven upon earth to him; he wanted but the recollection of this to fill up the measure of bis joy at last. Now, then, remember thy Creator.
6thly, What must heaven be to such a man? To be there at all, at any rate, is bliss. The heaven of a Samuel, a Timothy, a John, is sweet, though they had never drank so deep as many others in the wormwood and the gall of sin ; but to rise from stone-blind ignorance to perfect knowledge, -—from the brutish grossness of depravity to consummate purity;-from the vileness of the chief of sinners to the eminence of şaints in glory : :- in a word, to ascend from the gates of hell to one of the most conspicaous seats in paradise, -- this must be the heaven of heavens' to the subject of grace so rich, • To him that overcometh will I give to sit with me on my throne, as I also overcame and am seated on my Father's throne.'
OBSERVATIONS ON A PAPER IN THE LAST NUMBER.
To the Editor. You will cordially agree with me in maintaining, that the cause of Christ rejects every support but that of Truth and Righteousness. When misrepresentation is employed in the support of any causc, however good, immense injury is done to it; - prejudices against it are increased and confirmed, and the plain laws of religion violated. I cannot but feel strongly when I see the professed friends of our pure and holy gospel betraying it into the hands of its adversaries, by resorting, or even seeming to resort, to such a method of defence. I cannot help, therefore, animadverting on an article in your last Number, p. 174, signed A. 2. The writer could not have adduced it as an instance of Socinian Effrontery,' if he had considered that the Magazine referred to is avowedly open to correspondents of all religious sentiments ; that the paper in question (signed Chariclo) was written by one who could, in no fairness of construction, be called a Socinian or an Unitarian, but who seems, by the wild extravagance of his notions, to be either a disguised infidel, or to be ambitious of striking out a new scheme for himself"; -- and that his productions were strenuously opposed and ably refuted in the same work. Allow me to present a short extract from one of the replies, signed X. Y. and which. I think must convince A. Z. of the extreme injustice of his animadversions. Speaking of the writer on the Ascension of Christ, he says,— Under the specious pretence of inquiry, he is attempting to bring into ridicule, or to call in question, an important truth of the gospel. I wish that such men as these would boldly assume their true character, assert their unbelief, glory in and defend their title to the naine of Sceptic, as the Christian glories in his name: but those days are over.
Driven and defeated, as the enemies of Christianity have been, from all their posts and holds, ashamed to expose their fronts to open day, and to meet the Christian on fair and equal ground, they lie in ambush in the page of any Magazine which will publish their productions, and thence, under some assumed title, spit their feeble venom at the gospel. These men, these moral men, I observe, are no sticklers for accuracy, or what is generally called truth : they misrepresent or misquote, just as it suits their purpose. I should be glad to know what are Chariclo's real opinions ; or is he himself unable to say what they are? His bolts are shot at Christianity quite at random, and in all directions: and, if he can but succeed in weakening the faith or unsettling the mind of a Christian, his noble and praiseworthy design will be accomplished: but he labours i'n vain. The only requisites to detect and expose his absurd speculations, his palpable contradictions, and his unblushing falsehoods, plain common sense and common honesty.'
May all the friends of Evangelical Truth be equally distinguished for their integrity and fairness in representing the sentiments of their mis. taken adversaries, and for the force of scriptural argument in maintaining their own! I am dear Sir, yours, A SINCERE CALVINIST.
ON GOSSIPPING IN THE HOUSE OF GOD. There are some persons notoriously famous for volubility of speech: Dean Swift says, that their words come out like people from a church : the emptier it is, the faster they come.' Be this as it may, it is to be lamented, that inany persons lay little or no restraint on themselves, but indulge in their chit-chat, even when they professedly come to worship God. The following dialogue is given as a specimen of what is but too common in most places of Worship, and therefore I sliall not say whether it was overbeard' in London or in the country;--yet, I hope, it will not only expose, but correct an evil that is too prevalent in both London and country audiences.
Mrs. Chatterbox was first in her seat, and was singing with the congregation, when Mrs.
Emplybox came into the pow, smiling, nodding,andcourt'sying most gracefully. Mrs.C.then returning nod for nod and smile for smile, thus began : • How do you do this evening, Mrs. E. ? bave you not had a cold walk? how does Mr. E. and family do?' “ Thank ye kindly,” said Mrs. E. " I am quite pure and charming ; and so are all at home.” Well,' said Mrs. C. 'we bave got one of my favourites going to preach to-night; and I darè say we shall have a good sermon.? “I wish we may,” replied the other lady; " but I have never heard him before.” Then, as if by mutual consent, they joined the congregation in singing the concluding stanza. When prayer was concluded, Mrs. Chatterbox began again to fill Mrs. Einptybox's ear with the following strains: • There was a good prayer ! so very suitable for every body? o, he has got a fine gift!'
Yes, yes,” said Mrs. E. “ a very good prayer indeed, only rather too long : – but do you hear this highty-tighty tune! --why, nobody can join; we must all sit mum." O yeş,' said Mrs. C. •'tis horrid! How stupid it is of the clerk to set a tune that hardly any one can sing but himself: he deserves to be told of it, and threatened for his pains.' — They were soon relieved, however, by the shortness of the hymn, and the appearance of Mr. who stood ready to begin his sermon. During its delivery, they now and then nodded and smiled at one another when any thing was said which Mrs. Chatterbox thought out of the common way. When the preacher sat down, she immediately asked Mrs. E. how she liked him. • I'll tell you by and bye,” said Mrs. E. The ladies were now gratified in having a good tune ; and they sang most melodiously,--at least in their own opinion. The moment the blessing was pronounced, Mrs. Emptybox thus proceeded : “ Now, Ma'am, I'll be free and tell you, that your good man is no favourite of mine; he is too dull and heavy, and got no helleculion in his delivery, as they call it. I liked his prayer much better than his sermon; and I dare say he is a very good man in his way: but I like a lively striking preacher.” • Dear me, Mrs. E. you surprize me! To be sure, this was not one of his best times; but he is a very deep preacher, and he preaches the doctrines very clear. Indeed, he is generally reckoned as sound as a bell. But I won't dispute with you : tell when you will come to see me :~ you have not been a great while; I was at your house last, remember; and my patience is almost gone.' “ Well, my dear Madam," said Mrs. E.“ I will do myself the honour next week.” — They then left their pew, going on with their tittle- tattle ; but as the reporter soon lost them in the crowd, he can give no more of their conversation at this time. However, it would be wrong in him not to remind all these gossipping creatures, that su coeduct in the House of God is highly unbecoming and sinful; that it may not only interrupt but stumble the truly serious hearers; that if they whisper out loud, they must expect to be overheard and taken notice of; and that they ought no! to convert the House of God into the House of Gossipping.