« AnteriorContinua »
M. You must, my good Sir, pray the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his barvest.
Mr. L. But, we want to have you with us; when we attend on your investigations all seems clear, and we find no part of scripture contradicting your testimony. I do not mean to flatter, but to encourage you; I flatter no man. The truths you deliver are intelligible truths, and the enemy is confounded. We have attended on master R, but we are not so well satisfied.
M. You may hear some who will speak better English; but you will never hear any one who will deliver more glorious truths than master R
Mr. L. Well; but may we not have the privilege of hearing you constantly?
M. Yes, Sir, if you will establish yourselves in the place of my residence.
Mr. L. Would it not be easier for an individual to change his residence, than for many families to remove?
M. Were I, Sir, to leave my congregation, what would they do? They have no individual whom they can place in my stead.
Mr. L. But they are not like us feeble; we are children, just learning to walk.
M. If it be so, it must be remembered that the more people know of the truth, the better they love it; and the more unhappy they are made, by the deprivation of the blessings with which they have been indulged.
Mr. L. Then you continue to make B—your home?
M. God seems to have pointed it out as my retreat, when I am wearied with journeying abroad ; and when I can journey no more, I hope it will be my final residence. I confess my congregation in the place I call my home, are the nearest my heart of any in the world.
Mr. L. It is happy for them that it is so, and I hope they will merit the distinction; but I still hope the Almighty will enable you, at least, to visit from place to place as usual. You are, Sir, indeed you are, while thus labouring, the instrument of much good. Many an honest inquirer would be made sad, were you to give up travelling.
M. I believe, Sir, I never shall relinquish the pleasures I derive from visiting my friends, while it shall please God to give me ability; but the time is not far distant, when my journeyings must of necessity cease.
Mr. L. Well, for myself I must say, I have reason to bless God that I have seen, and that I have heard you; for you have been sent to my soul in a very surprising manner. When I have attended the General Court, I was in habits of intimacy with a person, who was very fond of
and your sentiments; he often solicited me to attend your church, but I as often refused, making a jest of your doctrine, and expressing much wonder that any sensible man could admit its possibility. Yet, in my own persuasion, I was most unhappy. I had for forty years been engaged, seriously engaged, in search of peace, but I found it not; and I now know, it was because I searched for it, where it was not to be found.
At last, being again in Boston, attending as usual on public business, my friend once more attacked me—“Come, do go with me and hear Mr. Murray.”
“No, I would rather not; I am sure the doctrine he preaches cannot be of God. It cannot, I say, be founded on the word of God.”
“ Well, but you had better hear before you judge, and so positively decide.”
“No, no; do not ask me, I shall not go.”
Sunday came. I set out with a determination to worship at the church I was accustomed to attend. I had entered the porch when my friend came along ; he stretched out his hand "I pray you, go this once with me.” I pauscd'; he urged the matter ; I consented; but when I rcached the door, the house was so full, I could obtain no entrance. I was on the point of returning whence I came, when the sound of your voice caught iny ear, addressing the young men, who choaked the passage :
“Pray, my 'young friends, have the goodness to make way for those ancient men, who find it difficult to enter. Grey hairs demand respect. It operated like a stroke of electricity, the passage was instantly cleared, and we found ample room.
I was exceedingly astonished at your text : “ There is now, therefore, no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit.” But you went on, to my still greater astonishment, but did not finish your subject. I was very anxious to hear the conclusion of the matter ; you made three discourses on the text, to all of which I was happy enough to attend, and to understand ; and from that period, although I often read what I cannot understand, I find no doctrine so clearly taught in the book of God, as the doctrine of Redemption.
My painful labours are at an end. I reflect upon my opposition with amazement ; the vision, however, was for an appointed time. I have waited for it, and through divine favour have at length obtained that, for which I had forty years laboured in vain.
You cannot conceive, my dear Sir, how much I was prejudiced against you, and your testimony, and how much felicity you have been made the instrument of communicating to my soul. Never, until I knew you, did my Bible appear a delightful study; but I now find it, like the Saviour of which it testifies, full of grace and truth.
Thus far Mr. L-, and thus am I encouraged to pursue my course in the path of the just, which shineth more and more unto the perfect day.
Many subsequent questions were asked, to all of which I endeavoured to reply.
Just as I had finished the last line a Quaker entered.
Q. I have been many years wishing for an opportunity to see thee. I have heard much of thee, and much against thee too, the greater part of which maketh in thy favour. At last I heard thou wert here, and I set off directly; but art thou free, and willing to hear me?
M. Certainly, most willing.
Q. I have for many years been convinced the doctrines advocated in that part of the world, denominated the Christian world, were antichristian. I have been very much exercised in my mind. I attended the new lights, until I had almost run distracted, and I now associate with the Friends. They have some small idea of universal redemption; but this idea is quite obliterated, when we are told we can sin away this redemption. I cannot think it is possible that we can make void what Jesus has done! but I lead a sad life, contending upon every occasion. They damn me as a heretic, and although I have never until now seen thee, yet they aver I am beyond doubt a Murrayite; so I have taken a journey to find out what
I am. I have told them I was not acquainted with thee, but that through mercy I had some acquaintance with the Bible, and I hoped thee had. But dost thou know, friend Murray, there is one gone from hence to bring West to confound thee? .
M. No, I did not. Who is West?
Q. West is an able disputant; he is called the first man in the country. They will do all they can to persuade hiin, but I believe he has more sense than to be drawn in by any body. He will boast how he could confound thee, but he will take care and not come to the trial.
I do assure you, I look upon this same Quaker, from many things he uttered, which I have not now time to transcribe, as more than a match for any opposition which can be embodied against the truih.
I preached yesterday upon the nth chapter and 4th verse of the prophet Isaiah :
“ But with righteousness shall be judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth : and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.”
A gentleman followed me from church, to say he had a request to make, with which he hoped I would comply. “I have been," says he, “to Mr. W—, who is a very worthy gentleman, to know if he will come and dispute with you. He said his family were very ill, he could not at present leave home, but he would as soon as they were better.” The gentleman then put into my hand a paper, written by this reverend gentleman, but not directed to me, which paper contained, “ Terms of agreement entered into by Mr. W— and Mr. Murray, if they should engage in a dispute.
“ Ist. A moderator shall be chosen, who shall take care to keep good order, and prevent either the one or the other from any improper behaviour, or from giving any interruption.
“ 2d. The disputants shall abide by the letter of the Divine word, and if any mystical passage is introduced, it shall be explained by the clear and explicit
“3. There shall be no jesting nor joking, nor that wrath of man which worketh not the righteousness of God. These particulars being complied with, Mr. W will meet Mr. Murray upon his giving ten days notice beforehand, for he would be very glad to oblige his friends by disputing with Mr. Murray."
As I write from memory I will not say I am perfect to a letter. I told the gentleman who showed me the paper, I thought he had conducted improperly, and really imposed on Mr. Wby giving him reason to imagine I was anxious to meet him, or any other disputant.
Mr. W must certainly imagine me a vain man, and greatly deficient in understanding, to run about the country like a gladiator, calling upon every one to engage with me in single combat.
No, Sir, I never did, nor never shall, challenge any gentleman to dispute with me, I shall always preach in publick, and in private, what appears to me the truth as it is in Jesus, and if any publick or private character, hearing me deliver my sentiments, should conceive them anti-scriptural, or anti-rational, and should be generous enough to point out from the word of God in what particular, or particulars, I am erroneous, I shall hold myself obliged to him : for I would have all men whom it may concern to know, that I abhor error; and I beg, Sir, you will do me the justice to inform Mr. W—that he has received a wrong idea of me, that I am not desirous of disputation, that I only mean to preach Jesus Christ as the Saviour of all men, and the abolisher of death, and him that had the power of death, that is the Devil ; but that when I am thus engaged, should he, or any other person, undertake to prove this doctrine false, I shall, by the authority of the Prophets and Apostles, endeavour to defend it. Thus stands the business. But it strikes me I had better address the gentleman myself. I will immediately, and forward you a copy.
Well, I have written. Here followeth a copy.
Last evening a gentleman put into my hand a paper, which he informed me was written by you ; as he did not see fit to leave it with me, I am not able to reply to it precisely in the order it was penned. I can only recollect that, it contained sundry particulars, as preliminaries to a public dispute, for which, I have reason to imagine, you have been made to believe I am solicitous.
Permit me, Sir, to assure you, nothing can be further from the truth, I never did, and I hope I never shall, challenge any gentle. man to dispute with me; I am not fond of contention, I would pursue the paths of peace. I confess it is my wish to continue, as long as God shall give me ability, preaching both in publick and in private, the truth as it is in Jesus. I shall constantly endeavour to VOL. I.