« 上一页继续 »
long to have you become a christian, that you may know what these pleasures are, and feel the joys of a pardoned sinner.
Infidel. But how is it that many who have been famous christians, that have been to meetings without number, almost-sung, prayed, and exhorted most vehemently, told of most extatic joys, and were swallowed up in religion for a while, now say nothing on the subject, attend meeting on the Sabbath only, and are as full of vain and idle conversation as other people, and will go two miles to some party of pleasure, some spinning or quilting, husking or apple-pairing, to join the enemies of the cross, in vanity and folly, when you could not persuade them to go as many rods to meet their chțistian brethren and sisters, in a religious conference.
Peter. There are many reasons why such things take place, though none can be assigned in justification of them : In the first place, when the Lord pours out his Spirit in any place, and sinners are brought to see themselves, and have a discovery of their lost condition, and begin to cry out “men and brethren, what shall we do?" and christians also, who have lain long dormant and inactive, begin to awake and call upon God, you will see alınost every person, more or less, excited. Among these, there will be some who are merely frightened, and weep because they see others weep, and not from any abhorrence of sin, or just sense of the evil of transgressions against a holy God. These persons, when they see others rejoicing in hope, begin to rejoice, and as they hear others exhort, they exhort, and because they see others pray, they also pray. Their feelings are all the rule they have, and their eyes take the lead of their hearts, and occupy the place, and produce the effect which the Word of Truth alone ought to do; and the moment the public excitement is a little subsided, their zeal cools, and when the time of trial comes, and temptations beset the people of God, they fall away, as Christ has predicted, “because they have no root." These never experienced the Grace of God, but have deceived themselves and perhaps others, and have, as far as their influence extends, dishonoured Jesus, and wounded His cause. In the day of retribution, their case will be a fearful one, for they, like Judas, have betrayed the Prince of Life, and had better never been born. Others, again, who are the real children of God, being possessed of very flighty feelings, and not having that knowledge of the Word of God which they ought to have, are very apt to injure the cause by following their feelings. In a time of revival they are on the wing, and are apt to soar out of sight; and as they possess little discerninent, they consider all that say “Lord, Lord,” to be real christians, and would take them into the church, and thus be the means of making trouble for themselves and their brethren. But when the rod of discipline is to be taken up, these persons shrink from their duty; their feelings never lead them under the yoke, and the post of danger and difficulty is no place for them; so they flee, and are very likely to be angry at others for doing what they themselves have no courage to perform. When the faithful brethren and sisters meet together to endeavour to reclaim those who err from the truth, or to cut off those with whom they cannot walk, the seats of these men are empty. When the preacher
is absent, and a few faithful ones meet together, to endeavour to maintain the worship of God, the seat of this man is empty. In fine, his object is not to please God, and do right, but to try to feel comfortably. When the preacher makes an address to the passions this man is sure to be pleased, but when he inculcates sound doctrine, this man pronounces it dull, dry stuff. Instability marks all his ways; his testimony is useless, and of no weight, because whatever good thing he does or says, in the heat of his zeal, he more than destroys, by his light and trifling conduct, when his feelings do not happen to be wrought up to such a pitch of fiery enthusiasm ; for men's feelings are apt to be depressed in proportion to their excitement—so when this excitement has subsided, they are destitute of support, because they have very little of that knowledge of God, of themselves, and of the word of truth, which is necessary to render men stable and firm, in times of adversity, general coldness and stupidity. Men of this stamp have but little enjoyment of the right kind. A great part of what they build is hay, wood and stubble : nevertheless they shall be saved so as by fire ; but we are not to look to these for example, but to Christ, and to his word. His examples and his doctrine are perfect, and by that standard we are to be tried. And now, as we must part, I would mention one passage of scripture to you to reflect upon : “ The fear of the wicked, it shall come upon him.” Now search your heart, and see what your fears are, and act accordingly.
Infidel. I fear every thing evil. O should all my fears come upon me, I should be wretched indeed. We must part now, but I hope to see you again ; I need instruction. I thought I knew something once, but I find I am a fool. Pray for me, that what I fear come not upon me; but that I may know the true God, and Jesus Christ his Son. Rest I cannot-sleep I cannot ; for I feel as if I was on a rock in the midst of the ocean, from which I was liable to be washed by every succeeding billow.
Here we parted; and when I see him again, you shall hear from me. But before I close my letter I would mention, that you ought, in my opinion, to request christians, to make their practice and principles go hand in hand; and to enforce their precepts by their example; and be very particular to make the word of God their constant study, and constant rule of duty; to watch and pray, and be sober, holding fast the profession of their faith without wavering ; which, may the grace of God'enable them to do, to his holy acceptance.
MISSIONARY FRUIT TREES.
ALTHOUGH the fruits of warmer latitudes may be of superior flavour to any which our gardens and orchards produce, still there is much reason for adopting the common opinion that for constant use we should be better satisfied with our own than with the fruits. of a tropical clime. It is probable that no one species of “ fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind,” exhibits so many varieties in colour and flavour as our well known apple. Who can gaze on their beauteous hues, partly concealed under a covering of green, or inhale the fragrance which they send forth when deposited for a season in the store-house, or regale his taste with those which are selected for the desert, without blessing the great Creator, by whom not only the stars were placed in the firmament, but who also caused to grow “every tree which is pleasant to the sight and good for food?"And while we are thus receiving with gratitude the bounties of providence which are still left to us from the ruins of Paradise, shall we not also remember with more thankful emotions that a way of access is opened to that loveliest tree in Eden— the tree of life? Nor should we forget that “the leaves of the tree were intended for the healing of the nations,” but cheerfully consecrate a portion of the fruits which perish, to aid in conveying the fruits of immortality to the dying heathen. For this purpose, might it not be well if some particular trees in every orchard and garden were permanently set apart as Missionary Fruit Trees? And now also, that the season of the year suitable for transplanting trees is at hand, shall not the children of each family be encouraged to transfer from the nursery to vacant places in the fields and gardens those germs, whose fruit in future years shall under their direction be appropriated to Missionary purposes ?
Let no parent fear to multiply or strengthen too far the bonds by which we are attached to the cause of benevolence. That Missionary fruit tree, just springing from the earth, will, it is feared, have oft times opened its blossoms to the vernal sun, before we shall have occasion to say, forbear, to him that casts into the treasury of the Lord. By every pleasing association then, let us endeavour to impress the wants of the heathen on the minds of the young. And surely none can be more so, than those which are furnished by trees and gardens.— Years of vicissitude had passed away when Alonzo was permitted to revisit the scenes of his childhood. A thousand objects brought fresh to his remembrance companions and joys that were departed, but not one of them spoke such a language to his soul as that tree under whose branches the fowls of the air might lodge, and which, when a seedling, he had delighted to surround with the mimic enclosure.
CONVERSATION BETWEEN AN ASSOCIATE OF THE PILGRIM
AND A TRAVELLER...[.COXTINUED.)
Traveller. You recollect our former conversation upon the subject of Universal salvation. As I was unable at that time to pursue the subject, I engaged candidly to consider your arguments, and call again. My sentiment, as then supported, I frankly acknowledge, cannot stand the test of the word of God : however, I am still a Universalist. I have only changed the process of coming to the same conclusion. This was necessary, from the fact that an eternal
punishment of sin was clearly pointed out by innumerable passages of scripture. I feel very confident that my present opinion will stand the closest scrutiny of the word of God. I believe that sinners will be saved, and that their sins will be separated from them and punished. This separation will be made by the Judge of the quick and the dead upon the last day. I suppose this to have been the opinion of the apostle Paul, when he said, “It is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.”* And this is farther confirmed by the account of the general judgment in the 25th of Matthew. In this description I understand that sinners are the “sheep" and their sins the “ goats.” The separation is then consistent with the salvation of all men. This opinion is farther confirmed by our Lord's parable of the “ tares and the wheat.”+
Associate. I am not disappointed in finding that you have changed the mode of supporting your doctrine. Thousands have trod the same path before you. I venture, even now, to predict your next and final shift, viz. that of universal restoration. The secret of the mystery is this. Your heart is unreconciled to God. Unless the cause be changed, the effect will remain the same. It is your strong desire that the wicked may “go unpunished ;" your heart rises against God; you wish to trample upon “justice and judgment, the habitation of his throne.”Ị Have you ever “ seen the plague of your own heart?” Do you feel a kindred spirit to that of Jehovah, “hating all workers of iniquity ?" Can you say with Paul, “ For I delight in the law of God, after the inward man?” In your heart, do you feel to say, “How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein p!
*. If my sentiment is correct, there is no need of answering your impertinent questions. If you can bring any argument against my present hypothesis, I should be pleased to hear it.
A. You quoted a passage from the 7th of Romans. In that chapter the apostle is speaking of his remaining depravity; and his grief in view of it, led him to exclaim, “O wretched man that I am ! who shall deliver me from the body of this death ?” There is no intimation that his sins were to be separated from him and punished. If so, his sins ought to be distressed for themselves. You have considered also, that the separation described in the 25th of Matthew, is that of sin from sinners. Well then, if your supposition be correct, you must carry the same through the sentence following. We will read the passage with this substitution of the word sins. “For I was an hungered, and ye” sins “ gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye” sins“ gave me no drink : I was a stranger, and ye” sins “ took me not in : naked, and ye” sins “clothed me not: sick and in prison, and ye” sing "visited me not.” “ Then shall they,” i. e. their sins, “answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee p»5 « Then shall he answer unto them,” their sins, “saying, Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.” “And these” (sins) “shall
* Rom. vii. 17.
* Matt. xiii. 37.
ssa. ix. 7.
S Psa. xi. 5, & v. 5,
go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
Now, on the supposition, that this construction were not absurd and ridiculous, it would seem to follow, that if the sins of the wicked are separated from them and punished, so the good deeds of the righteous ought to be separated from them and rewarded. Leaving the justice of this procedure out of question, the difficulty or entire impossibility of this process will be the same in either case.
As to our Lord's parable of the tares and the wheat, I had much rather take his own explanation of that parable than yours. He says, in explaining it to his disciples, that the “field,” in which the wheat and the tares were sown,“ is the world;" and not an individual person, as it must have been, by your explanation.
Please to give me a definite idea, how it is possible to punish sin when insulated from the disposition and affections of the soul. You may as well talk of punishing thunder and lightning, or of tormenting the breath separate from the body, as of punishing sin in this manner.
T. I wish to be excused from advancing any farther in the argument at present. Perhaps I may hereafter call upon you, and desire to renew the conversation.
A. One word more, if you please. “Wherefore, if thy hand or foot offend thee, cut it off and cast them from thee: it is better for thee,” not thy sins, “to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire." As your tender and beloved friend, I beseech you,-if you regard the authority of Jehovah, or the blood of Christ, that you decide not this question rashly, or by the influence of self-will, or without supplicating the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Remember, that your present decision may establish your soul in heaven or in hell for eternity
Lcllers on Practical Subjects, from a Clergyman of New
England to his Daughter. pp. 136. 12mo. Although it falls not within our province to review with the pen of a critic, the literary or religious publications of the day, yet we beg leave to introduce to our readers the little volume now before us, with a few brief remarks of our own, upon the various subjects of which the author treats.
The education of females, is an object to which the attention of the public has of late been much directed, and upon no subject have their views and feelings undergone a more thorough or happy change. A few years since, it was thought to be quite a sacrifice of time and expense, to place a female of the first standing in society, at a boarding school for a few months; and even this, in many instances, was little better than the most unprincipled prodigality.
Happily for the females of our country, and consequently for the community at large, these narrow views and contracted prejudices,