« PoprzedniaDalej »
Surely the Bible does not contradict itself, and the "law is not against the promises of God;" therefore the promises and threatenings are surely capable of being reconciled together, and of being all perfectly fulfilled. There are numerous promises to all mankind, and Christ hath tasted death for every creature. Surely then there are promises for me, and I have a Savior, and I ought not to despair! Truly there are also threatenings against me as a sinner, but Christ has borne the cross for me, and invited my soul to trust in and follow him, and he has promised me pardon and eternal life in heaven, by faith in his merits and death.
Here it pleased the Lord to give me great calmness and composure of mind, and he lifted on me the light of his most gracious countenance. Never before did I contemplate my glorious Creator as so great and good, and my heart embraced him as the loving Father of my immortal spirit. Never before did I see such a fulness in Christ, and my very soul took hold on him for helpand he seemed to say to me, I am thy friend and Savior, for thee have I borne sickness and death, and conquered them for thee, and I will shed a serene light around thee, even in thy dying hour. O trust in me, he said, and you shall triumph over death; you shall indeed see the glory of God, and amidst angels and the spirits of the just made perfect, enjoy forever the blessedness of heaven. Here I beheld the law fulfilled in Christ, and the promises appeared with a lustre I had never before seen, and shone as stars in the firmament of divine grace. Never till then had I tasted, yea drank, at the fountain of such pure and perfect happiness of soul. Love to my God, my Savior, and my Bible, gave me a peace of mind little short of celestial.
An inquiry now presented itself to my heart with an irresistible interest. It was this-Does God will this
happiness, which I have found, to my fellow creatures as well as to me? for I said, if all the world could see and feel as I do, how happy would it make them in life and in death, in time and in eternity. I could not but desire most earnestly that all around me might see and feel the goodness of God; that they might behold the glory of Christ, and see the fair visions of faith and hope in the gospel. The very thought of their sinking down to eternal perdition, brought over me a chill like that of death, and my soul exclaimed, O my God! art thou not infinitely good? The merits of thy Son, are they not infinite? Is any thing too great, or too hard for thee to do? In the midst of this solicitude of heart, I felt as tho God condescended to commune with me thus: O my youth, suppose ye that I who created thee, and gave my only Son from my bosom to die for the world, do not feel more love and compassion for thee, than it is possible for thee even to conceive of? Behold the fulness of salvation there is in Christ, and hearken to my promise, that "all shall know me from the least to the greatest."
I admired, believed, and saw salvation in Christ, for the world that sin and death had ruined. The terrors of death fled away, and the earth and the heavens seemed to be full of the glory of the Lord. Here my soul learnt what it was to be reconciled to God, either to live or to die, and to be immeasurably happy in the love of Christ.
My friend, if this short but faithful account of the exercises of my mind on the sick bed, should, by God's blessing, contribute in any degree to make you love and own Christ and his religion, and to make you happy in those days that try the souls of men, and the faith of Christians, I shall feel richly rewarded, and you will always have abundant cause of gratitude to God.
From the Christian Intelligencer.
LETTER TO A YOUNG UNIVERSALIST PREACHER.
My dear friend,
As you have decided to engage in the labors of the christian ministry, and have already appeared in public, in the capacity of an instructer of others in the doctrines and duties of religion, you will not be surprised, that one, whom you have from childhood considered as a friend, and who has, at least, endeavored to deserve the appellation, should feel a disposition to offer you the result of his own experience, in the exercise of the functions of the ministerial office, in which he has been employed many years. And a hope is encouraged, that your good sense and candor will attribute this communication, and those which will follow it, to the true motive; you will not consider them as the productions of a dictatorial spirit, but as the best expressions of a sincere attachment to you, and of regard to your welfare and success that the writer has the power to offer.
The work of the gospel ministry is, on many accounts, the most important, and one of the highest responsibility in which a human being can be employed. The promul gation of the gospel, with all the truths it contains, the duties it inculcates, and the sanctions under which it addresses us, presupposes the melancholy fact of a "world dead in trespasses and sins;" it sufficiently indicates the moral condition of our species as ignorant, alienated and degraded. Your own acquaintance with revealed religion will support the truth of these statements. Hence, the object of preaching is to make men wise and good. For our reason assures us, that no man can be saved, or rendered happy, while he continues ignorant of God, opposed to his authority, unreconciled to his will, and indisposed to pursue the course of duty
that his Maker has prescribed. From these views, it follows, that we can never be too deeply interested in knowing, or too earnestly engaged in endeavoring to ascertain "what the will of the Lord is ;" and if we require any other incentives to caution, effort, and prayerful attention in seeking to know "the mind of the spirit," we shall find them in the acknowledged facts, that we are liable to imbibe errors ourselves, and therefore to instil them into the minds of others, thus extending their circulation among our hearers; and that all error is liable, and may be expected to exert a dangerous influence on the morals of society.
If your mind is impressed with the truth and importance of these remarks, you will not, you cannot engage in the labors of your vocation with a light and frivolous temper; on the contrary, you will experience the deepest solemnity, in view of the magnitude and weight of the duties you have to perform. Your question will be, "who is sufficient for these things ?" You will not imagine, that you are called forth, merely to amuse your auditors with dry speculations, or to please their fancy with the discussion of metaphysical points, which, perhaps can never be satisfactorily settled. Preachers frequently speculate, when they ought to moralize. They often dwell on difficult and abstruse subjects, which do not "administer grace to the hearers," while they entirely neglect those simple and intelligible, truths, in the knowledge of which there is more real satisfaction, and from which more good results, than can be found in, or derived from all the scholastic niceties, that ever floated in the brains of Duns Scotus or Thomas Aquinas.
Neither will you please yourself with the idea, that your performances are to produce powerful effects on your hearers, and spread your fame, as a man of great eloquence or ingenious argument, giving you multitudes of
attentive auditors, or flattering encomiasts. The prejudices, that the world entertains against the simple truths of religion, will, in most cases, forbid the expectation of immediate, obvious effects resulting from evangelical preaching; and the doctrines of revelation, which describe human depravity, and mark out the course of human duty, are not apt to be greatly relished with those who possess not a disposition to discover their real situation, and exchange it for one more suited to the dignity of their natures. If the "world hated Christ, because he testified of its works, that they were evil," they will hate his doctrine and his servants, for the same reason. genuity in preaching seems to me to involve an absurdity. The gospel needs not the powers and arts of ingenious men, to recommend it to our acceptance. We are not to "come to our hearers with the enticing words of man's wisdom." Truth is always most useful in her simplest attire, and is "when unadorned, adorned the most." Eloquence, by which I mean that carefully studied manner, which is so much emulated, may charm for a time, but it soon palls upon the ear, leaving the mind little else than a sense of its own vacuity. Indeed, there is but one species of eloquence, which can at once charm the senses, engage the feelings. deeply impress the mind, and improve the heart. It is that, which the sublime truths of the christian religion inspire, and which, so far from embellishing the subject of discourse, is itself the spirit, the life and power of the words, that a feeling and faithful speaker employs to communicate the influential and saving truths that characterize the gospel of the Son of God.
When we have no pleasure in goodness, we may with certainty conclude the reason to be, that our pleasure is all derived from an opposite quarter.