Billeder på siden

never be extracted from them but by study to discover and industry to practise ; still, if the labourer look not to the providence of God for all his increase, he will grow hard in his impiety and his ingratitude, but in devotion and godliness he will not grow.

Therefore while you read, and light begins to dawn, praise the Lord for his goodness, and be encouraged to go forward; conceive no vain gloryings, but glory in the Spirit of the Lord; and when the voice of conscience awaketh from its long slumber, give ear to its admonitions, and praise the Lord for his goodness. And when the sense of sin overwhelms you, still, in the overflowing floods, trust in him. And when the Saviour, all-glorious in his sufficient righteousness, discloseth himself to your view, rejoice and be exceeding glad, and praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his loving-kindness unto the children of men. And when at length you come to walk after the Spirit, and to have the witness of the Spirit that you are the sons of God, and to feel your calling and election becoming sure, then give thanks to God, and wait for the revelation of his sons, and the inheritance of the saints in light.





Tuis is no common argument in which we have been engaged, and that is no common conclusion which it hath had in view. It is no controversy with the opinions of an antagonist, whose undefended sides you might lay bare, and whose weapons you might turn against himself. You have no advantages from his unskilfulness or rashness, and you have no incitement from any personal interest in the struggle. But it is a question with all the doubts and objections of the hesitating mind. We stand to the post both of impugning and defending the great thesis of JUDGMENT TO COME,--a double capacity, which requires a double exercise of fairness and justice. We have first to excite the hesitations of the mind and afterward to allay them again; so that our ingenuity is doubly tasked, and we feel often in a divided state. For it hath been our wish to deal wisely between the reason of man and the revelation of God, steering wide of the coarseness and cruelty with which dogmatical theologians ride over the head of every natural feeling and reasonable thought of doubting men-remembering the

poverty of our own understanding, and attributing whatever we possess to the free and unmerited gift of God. To occupy this ground of mediating the matter in dispute between the reasoning power of man and the revelation of Almighty God, we may have given offence to both; to the one, for not baving done its difficulties justice in the statement or the resolution; to the other, for having too daringly intermeddled and interfered with the secrecy and sacredness of its counsels. We are weak and feeble-minded like all men, and little acquainted with such high discourse, begirt also with manifold engagements, and invaded with the noise of this unresting place; and therefore we hope, from the sympathy of our fellow mortals, forgiveness for any injustice we have shown them; and we shall seek from the secret ear of our God that forgiveness for which he is to be feared, and that redemption for which he is to be sought after.

In casting our eye back over the eight preceding parts of our Argument, to review it all, we discern some passages in which we have spoken with liberty of men who still live under their Maker's good providence and within the reach of his tender mercy. Which we could easily expunge or now soften down, or make atonement for ; but we will not, we cannot_For, our zeal towards God and the common good hath been stung almost into madness by the writings of reproachable men, who give the tone to the sentimental and the political world. Their poems, their criticisms and their blasphemous pamphlets, have been like gall and wormwood to my spirit, and I have longed to summon into the field some arm of strength which might evaporate their vile and filthy speculation into the limbo of vanity, whence it came. For which office, gbein satisfied that nothing less than omnipotent truth under leading of Almighty God will suffice, I am weary of the vain infliction of pains and penalties by the ruling powers, which doth but aggravate the evil, by awakening sympathy in the bosom of all who dread that power should ever intermeddle with the free circulation of thought. Seeing that Truth, which I revere, thus wounded both by friends and foes, I could not rest, but have spoken out my feelings wherever occasion offered, at the risk of offending the workers of evil, and those who by brute power endeavour to counterwork them. I have done so,


say; not that I am equal to the task, or have executed the task, but in the hope of summoning from the host of the Lord of Hosts some one (surely I cannot be mistaken that there are some such !) able and willing to take the field in the fair conflict of truth, and cast back into these blaspheming throats their vain bravadoes against the armies of the living God. One such spirit would do us more good than all the prosecutions and suppressions which all the lawauthorities of the realm can carry into effect.But I fear the worst; that the intrigues of policy and the weight of power will in this age totally expel from the two established churches that vigour and virtue of mind from which such apolowatch over.


gies can alone proceed. And sometimes I hope the best; that, through the Spirit of God working better understanding upon those powerful men, who at present outwit religion with their policies and strangle her with their power, the noble spirit which now lieth depressed in both, and especially depressed in this establishment of England, will be extricated, and the Newtons and Scotts, who still watch over her folds, will yet have wide sees to administer and provinces to

Which renovation, alas! long lingereth, and the enemy taketh advantage of its tardi

But if it linger much longer, I hope, ere this realm, which is faint at both extremes, grows sick at the heart and threatens to lay down its heavenly spirit of religion, some of those men who in our senates do both know and seek the Lord, will lift

up their voice, and make the calamity of England's and Scotland's wasted parishes and faded provinces to be heard in the ears of those whom God hath appointed to rule them in righteousness and in holiness.-Or do they mean to wait until we fall into the condition of prostrate Ireland ? No, that can never be; for, long ere then, the generous spirit of the South and the indignant spirit of the North will have eased them of those who trouble their prosperity.

Thus again I am betrayed by my feelings into these digressions for which I meant only to explain the cogent reasons. But let them all


and þring what good or ill the Lord may please,-

2 K

« ForrigeFortsæt »