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R. Mercy on us, what has faith to do in heaven? If they had ever so much of it here, they would have nothing to do with it there. Why, man, there is no faith in heaven. Faith, if you mean my faith, is of no value any where but in this world. There it is you always talk, you have nothing till you believe, and so there is nothing to believe. O marvellous ! should we not have some truth to believe, something that was true before we believed ? The truth that I am lo believe is one thing, and my believing it makes out another. The scriptures are true, whether I believe so or not.
E Aye, so they are.
R. Well, the scriptures say Jesus died for the sins of the whole world, and I believe it.
E. Aye, and so do I ; but then at the same time, I believe it is in every man's power to go to eternal damnation if he chooses it.
R. O marvellous ! why did not Jesus Christ know that before? he would not then have taken so much unnecessary trouble ; for certainly when he purchased them with his precious blood, he intended to have them for his pains, and God promised him he should. But how could God promise them to his Son, when it was in their power to break the bargain like?
E. But justice must take place.
R. O marvellous! again. Where do you talk? Did not justice take place, when Jesus suffered the just for the unjust, to bring us to God? And if Jesus should not have the goods after he bought them, and paid for them so desperate a price, then where is the justice to him? Must not justice take place there? Why, man, you are got into the wilderness, and you wander about having no way.
Here the elder was called out, and Mr. R followed.
How frequently am I constrained to repeat that this same 25th. chapter of Matthew seems greatly to impress the minds of the people in this country': hardly a day passes, during which I am not attacked upon this subject. And I am often induced to give sketches of the conversation it produces, for the purpose of comparing my ideas; for although my foundation must eternally remain the same, yet as different inquirers produce different modifications of questions, and answers are consequently variously fashioned, new lights may be struck, and truth still farther elucidated. I have this evening been thus questioned by a friendly visitor:
Visitor. What can you possibly do with the twenty-fith chapter of Matthew ?
Murray. Nothing more nor less than God directs.
M. No, Sir; ve are none of us goats by nature. We are all by nature sheep, and all without exception are by nature stray sheep; and we are all without exception redeemed by the blood of the great Shepherd of the sheep, who laid down his life for us ; for
every individual of the race of Adam, without exception.
Visitor. What then are the goats, who you know were placed on the left hand ?
M. There was, Sir, another fallen nature, which, when our Lord came to suffer and die for the human nature, as sheep going astray, he passed by, not taking upon him the nature of angels, who kept not their first estate-These angels are reserved unto the judgment of the great day, and pass under the denomination of goats. These two fallen natures are at present blended one with the other. The tempter and the tempted, the deceiver and the deceived. But, when the head of every man, which is Christ, shall appear in his power and great glory, he will by this Almighty power separate the one from the other, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats.
Visitor. I am astonished A, B, C, is not plainer ; but where have I been, why have I not seen this before? Well, God be thanked, and God bless you, Sir. I see you are in haste, no wonder; your time must be precious But suffer, I beseech you, one more questjon. What is your idea of the Ten Virgins ?
11. The kingdom of heaven is said to be likened unto ten virgins ; five of them were wise, and five foolish. It is a fact that God's kingdom is made up of all nations, and kindreds, and peoples, and tongues. In the present state, however, they are divided into two clssses, wise and foolish ; and the only particular in which the difference between then seems to consist, is in the oil. They all slumbered, and slept, and arose and went forth to meet the bridegroom together. They all had lamps, and vessels in their lamps, They all rose up and trimmed their lamps, but the lamps of the foolish were gone out. Now, when it is remembered, that oil is put into the lainp for no other purpose than to give light, we shall consider that the only thing in which these virgins differed, was, some of them were in the light, and some of them were in darkness. Yet, it should be remarked, that all those virgins, wise and foolish, constituted collectively the kingdom of heaven. But the foolish virgins once had light, for it is said their lamps were gone out. Sir, it should be remembered that the whole of God's kingdom, is made up of Jew and Gentile ; that under the Jewish dispensation, abundance of light was displayed which was made void, or extinguished by their corrupt traditions; and that they are finally shut up in total darkness, until the fulness of the Gentiles; whose understand. ings were to be illuminated by the light of life, were brought in. As many as have the light of the knowledge of the glorious gospel shining into their hearts are wise; they have the knowledge of those things which make for their peace, and they enter in, and find rest, and peace to their souls; and as many as have not this light are foolish, they know not the things which make for their peace, and therefore cannot enter in either to rest or peace. / But it is written, they shall be all taught of God, and that they shall all know him, from the least of them, unto the greatest of them; and these foolish virgins are even now all concluded in unbelief. For what purpose ? That God may have mercy upon all.
Visitor. It is perfect; perfect, it must be so. Surely, Sir, it is not right for you to leave us. God hath placed you as a candle in a candlestick, to give light to all who are in the house.
M. Were this indeed the case, do you not see that by confining me to this village, but a small part of the house would through me be enlightened ?
Visitor. But you will see us again ; never before were you so much wanted; the people are anxious to learn. For God's sake do not forget or neglect us.
M. It is my opinion, my friend, that a dispensation of the gospel is committed to me, however unworthy of such a trust; but we know that “God sometimes chooseth the foolish things of the world to confound the wise ; and Gud hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and things which are despised hath God chosen; yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things which are ; that no flesh should glory in his presence. Thus then a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me; yea, woe is unto me if I preach not the gospel ; and if I do this thing willingly I have a reward, but if against my will, still a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me.” But, Sir, I am not sent in, but out into the world to preach this gospel, and I must be careful that I act according to the letter of my commission.
I have been summoned to visit a young lady, who was a few months since blooming in all the pride of health and beauty. I found her perturbed, apprehensive and agonized, trembling on the verge of another world, and reduced to this situation by a gradual decay. But the name of Jesus has been an ointment poured forth, therefore this virgin has loved him.
On presenting myself at her bed-side she lifted her dying eyes, which spoke veneration and gratitude. The glimmering flame of life that for some time past seemed ready to expire, blazed with new vigour; she made an essay to speak, but her heart scemed too full for utterance. I mingled my tears with her attending friends, and by mutual and strongly expressed desire I addressed the common Father of our spirits in their behalf. A ray of the light of life seemed to dart upon the troubled spirit, and she appeared soothed, confiding and calm. May her passage through the dark valley of the shadow of death be irradiated by him, who saith, “my grace is sufficient for thee.” The valley of the shadow of death | Well, although it be but a shadow, shadows we know will frighten children as effectually as substances, if the Father be not with them, kindly assuring them they are but shadows. How precious is the gospel of God our Saviour, how every gloom vanishes at its approach; before its powerful influence unbelief and every doubt fall prostrate. It throws around the pillow of the dying, celestial splendours, and the blessed hope of a happy immortality, sings a requiem to the last parting breath.
In the present case I have had to combat with strong prejudices; bu: blessed be God, who hath in this instance appeared a very present help in time of need. The comforter, the spirit of peace hath taken of the things of Jesus, and shown them to the dying lady. The terrifying fear of death is no more; she is not afraid to trust her soul in his hands, from whom she received the breath of life; she is eager to be gone, and although sympathizing with her afflicted mother, who sets like a statue dumb with grief beside her, she yet exclaims to be with my Redeemer is far better."
Do you ask in what manner I addressed this dying person? It was not a season to hold an argument with her reason, but I selected some of the plainest and most consolatory promises of our God, and rehearsed them in her presence. I assured her, I came unto her commissioned by the Redeemer of men, to speak peace unto her spirit. It was my business to induce her to confide in my
message, and I produced many positive testimonies to corroborate the declaration, that Jesus Christ the head of every man, ha, tasted death for every man. I exhorted her to dismiss her every gloom, as unworthy a candidate for immortal bliss. I hailed her as a celestial spirit, about to return to the bosom of her Father. Her perishing frame, beauteous as it was, should not excite a thought, she was about to assume a robe incorruptible, of enduring and unfading texture. An immortal inhabitant of an earthly tenement, was about to return to God. Ought this consideration to afflict her? We in. deed might mourn for ourselves, but her gain would be incalculable. Her liberated spirit, quiiling this clod, would become an associate of saints and angels, the precious purchase of a Saviour's blood; and, moreover, she would take with her the cheering hope, that in a short period the friends so dear to her, from whom she was now separating, would trace her radiant steps, while reunited in realms of blessedness, they would part no more forever; and that her joys would still be brightening, as those now imprisoned spirits were liberated from their houses of clay. Nor, I added, dear youthful sufferer, can infelicity reach thee in worlds beyond the sky, however distant the period of thy reunion with those thou lovest, for thou wilt then measure time by eternity, and thy separation will seem but a moment. Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard what joys await us in that bright world to which we go. Departed friends will meet thee on thy way rejoicing. Attendant angels will clap their wings, filling all heaven with their melodious sounds. Myriads of spirits will with Divine beneficence welcome thy approach. But, O! how dim will seemn the beauty of even those denizens of heaven, when thy blood-bought spirit shall be directed by the enraptured throng to elevate thy gaze, where thou shalt behold highheaven and earth united; where thou shalt mark the Man, the God, the Friend of friends the dearest; and shall hear his creating, his transporting voice saying, “I am He that was dead, but am alive again, and live forevermore.” Hark, the bridegroom says, “Come, coem nearer yet, still nearer." “ Hear, O heavens! and be astonished, 0 earth!” he adds, the Redeemer adds, “Because I live, ye shall live also."
For me, my dear child, I can only envy thee; I view thee as a privileged being, so early to enter into the joy of thy Lord; and I say to my iinprisoned spirit, Why art thou pinioned still? Why stil enchained to this house of clay? Patience, dear sufferer, yet a litile