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unfavourable aspect,—and there was nothing in the conduct or preaching of its Ministers to recommend or enforce its Doctrines,—the Liturgy, and the portions of the Scriptures appointed for the various Services of the Church, remained; and in simply hearing and reading these from Sunday to Sunday, and from day to day, during the period between Advent and Easter, her mind was enlightened to discern all those great, and fundamental Doctrines which she had hitherto denied, -Original Sin and Human Corruption, the necessity of a Saviour, the Atonement, the Deity of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, the Deity and Personality of the Holy Ghost,--and the personal existence of Satan. In consequence of this re. markable change in her views, she was soon after Easter baptized in the Church of England, and became a regular communicant.
Here was indeed the commencement of a blessed change : but the clear light and full consolation of many of the Doctrines of the Gospel was not yet attained. Without a faithful Pastor, or a single Christian friend, she was obliged to struggle alone through many difficulties and perplexities, which such assistance might speedily have cleared away from her path. Her mind indeed, which had been originally involved in such depths of darkness and such fatal errors, was hindered and perplexed, and her spiritual progress (more especially in regard to peace and consolation) greatly impeded by the legal
preaching which she heard-so very different from the clear light and evangelical statements of the Liturgy and the Articles.
About two years after her baptism, however, the providence of God raised up for her a truly Christian Friend, who (though born and bred a Dissenter, and still, in consequence of local circumstances, a member of a Dissenting Congregation,) has yet had, from first to last, the candour and the judgement, to en. deavour, by all means in his power, to confirm and strengthen her attachment to the Church of England, and to encourage her to persevere in attendance upon its Ordinances. This kind friend, when he discovered her state of mind, took occasion to recommend such books as were calculated to be useful; alid under such guidance and instruction as was thus brought within her reach, she made real progress in the knowledge and love of “the Truth as it is in Jesus,” and was enabled to rejoice in the abundant consolations of the Gospel.
Having been thus peculiarly situated, and totally unacquainted with Religious Society in England, she travelled on the Continent for several years; and at length visited Geneva, where she was thrown, for the first time, into truly Christian Society. Here, bowever, began her difficulties and perplexities on the subject of Dissent. The few Clergymen of the Church of England whom she found stationed abroad, too closely resembled those in her own neighbourhood at home: they seemed to be given up to the pursuits and vanities of the world all the week, and to be Clergymen only on the Sunday. The Established Churches in Switzerland had fallen away into open and avowed Socinianism, and persecuted the faithful remnant, who had come out from among them to form the Separated Churches of that country. It was in those Separated Churches that the English Christians, whom she first met with, had received their first serious impressions of Religion, after having spent their former years in mere worldliness, and a formal profession of attachment to the Church. These new friends were warm-hearted and zealous Christians, but too ready (like many others who have been placed under similar circumstances,) to draw very rash and hasty conclusions from their own very limited and short experience; and to ascribe those faults to Establishments in general, or to the Church of England in particular, which upon deeper consideration they ought rather to have charged upon themselves, and upon other individuals who, like them, had professed for years to belong to that Church, without ever applying themselves to the examination of its real principles. In consequence of much intercourse with these Christian friends, Mrs. was led by degrees to adopt their notions; and to imagine that all the evils which deform the Visible Church were to be ascribed, in the first place, to the practice of Infant Baptism, secondly, to that want of Discipline, which allowed many who were not real Believers, to spartake of the holy Sacrament; and thirdly, to the Union between Church and State. The imperfections which cleave to the Church of England (as, indeed, to every thing here below,) were exaggerated and made prominent, while its excellences were entirely overlooked ; till at length her mind was so filled with doubts and scruples, that she could no longer receive the Communion in the Church, nor bring her children to its baptismal font. Nor should it be omitted, in accounting for her difficulties, that there is too much reason to ascribe a portion of the blame to those Clergymen, and other members of the Church of England, whom she happened to meet with. These, it is to be feared, were but very partially acquainted with the princi: ples of the Church to which they professed to belong, and very ill prepared to defend them.
On her return to England she found nothing to remove her difficulties, or to satisfy her scruples; but rather every thing to confirm her in her impression of the general corruption of the Church of England; from which it seemed that the light and glory, which had shone around it at the time of the Reformation, were totally departed. The strong party feelings which existed among Churohmen and Dissenters tended still more to distress and harass her mind : she knew not where to turn for refuge and for rest: she did not find any Sect with which she could unite. At the same time the circumstances of her own conversion could not be forgotten ; nor could she entertain, without deep regret, the very thought of quitting that Church, by whose spiritual and scriptural form of worship alone it was, that she had been turned from “darkness unto light, and from the power of Satan unto God.”
It was at this critical period in her Christian history, that her acquaintance with the writer of these Letters was renewed,-when, for nearly two years, she had been so much harassed witb doubts and diffculties, that her spiritual progress had been impeded, her peace of mind seriously injured, and even her bodily health materially affected. The circumstances of old acquaintance were sufficient to assure her, that whatsoever the writer might say, in defence of the Church of England, could not arise in any measure from the prejudices of education, which had given him a directly contrary bias ; but must proceed from observation, experience, and study,-- from deep and inward conviction, the result of patient investigation. The knowledge of this fact gave, doubtless, additional weight and interest to the arguments which were adduced : and it may probably do the same with some of the readers of this volume. The Correspondence was so far blest, that the writer had the privilege of administering to his Christian Sister, when she visited London, the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, in one of our Parish Churches, in which he happened at