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LECTURE I.

RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE.

PSALM Ixvi. 16.

COME AND HEAR, ALL YE THAT FEAR GOD, AND I WILL DÉCLARÉ

WHAT HE HATH DONE FOR MY SOUL.

In these words of the monarch David, there is a singular and a beautiful propriety. On matters belonging to his kingdom, he would have called for his national council. On subjects of taste or refinement, he would have invited the gifted and cultivated to his presence-chamber. But when he spoke of the dealings of God with himself, the influence and operation of the Holy Spirit upon and within his own soul, he sought the society, the sympathy, and attention, of those who feared God. Monarch though he was, he was not ashamed to own the work of God upon his soul. Surrounded by the great, and encompassed with all the splendor that ever shone upon an Eastern throne, he could so far forget his princely position, as to call upon some of the humblest in the land to come and hear what God had done for his soul. For those only who feared God, could sympathize with his anguish, appreciate the distress through which he had If

passed, or share the deliverance and rapture which God had wrought in his soul.

I have thought these words appropriate to my own case,

and to this occasion. If my soul has been transformed, and my heart renewed, God has done it.

my

feet have been taken from the way of death, - if my work is changed from leading souls to ruin, to turning them into the path of life, the glory belongs to God. And if I shall ever be of any service in the kingdom of God's dear Son, and shine at last with those who have turned many to righteousness, the Holy Ghost has been the agent, by whom it has been effected. Why, then, should I not turn and give the glory to God?

And to whom shall I speak of what God has done for my soul, if not to those who fear God? Were the theme of my discourse pleasure, vanity, or sensuality, I should call upon the lovers of pleasure more than of God, the sons and daughters of vanity, and the slaves of sensuality, to hear me ; and I should address them upon a theme, and in language, they could well understand. single purpose now is to magnify the grace of God in the salvation of my soul; to tell what God has done for me; to show you the way in which the Lord has led me, in bringing me up from death to life. Many have no faith in the saving of the soul by the Holy Ghost. Many regard the operation of God's truth upon the heart, as a work that exists only in the imagination. In respect to such a change, by such an agency, the scoffer lifts a bold, blaspheming voice. To speak to such, to ask them

But my

to come and hear what God has done for my soul, would be folly. Few would be disposed to hear what they do not understand ; and of that few, the most, having prejudged the case, would “speak evil of the things that they understood not." To those, then, who fear God, I must speak, if I would have my subject appreciated; though all may feel interest enough to bestow a respectful attention upon this lecture.

The design of the course of lectures, of which this is the first, is to present the reasons which have led me from Universalism, and induced me to leave a ministry to which I have devoted twelve years of the best part of my life. In doing this, I respond to the call of the defenders of Universalism, and perform a work which they have professed themselves earnestly desirous to have performed. They invite, nay, challenge inquiry. They are confident that Universalism is opposed because it is not understood; they complain that their expositions of Scripture are unnoticed; that their arguments in defence of Universalism are either not examined at all, or lightly passed over; that doctrines are attributed to them, which they have never received, and which they disavow; and that those who speak of the moral tendency of Universalism know not of what they affirm.

My acquaintance with Universalism enables me to speak advisedly in relation to its practical tendency. An experience of years with the system and its friends, a settlement over one of the largest congregations of Universalists in the country, and an extensive acquaintance with the preachers of the system in all parts of the country, fit me to bear an intelligent testimony as to that system, and to state what I know and have seen.

In discoursing upon Universalism, I presume to speak as one familiar with my subject. Its doctrines I learned in childhood. Its arguments I wielded while I had confidence in them; and only resigned them when I was convinced that they were unsound. Its moral tendency I know too well; its influence upon man, and the best good of man, I have repeatedly seen. And it is but just to say that its results are uniform; one tendency distinguishes it; it bears one kind of fruit; it every where is peculiar for one sort of influence; and is ever characterized by the same results. Describe its triumphs in one place, and you describe them in all. Exhibit its tendency in one case, and you have a picture of the system every where,

I feel most forcibly the peculiar circumstances under which I speak. I am expected to exhibit reasons which have led me from a defence of, and a belief in, Universalism. My doubts touching the truth of Universalism were not of my own seeking. They came unbidden, and were unwelcome. I had no desire to leave Universalism. It was bound up with my earliest associations. Nearly all my relations and acquaintances were of that faith. For it I felt the highest attachment, and my desire was to live in its defence, and die in its embrace. And I cannot describe my wretchedness when I found myself surrounded with doubts, and my system opposed by difficulties, that I could not remove. Against my

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