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Church, and waited on God in the use of the means of grace. Perhaps too much cannot be said with regard to her moral character; she was a faint in the eyes of the world, and gained the esteem of most, if not all, who were intimately acquainted with her.
About four years ago, the eyes of her understanding were opened, and she saw the necessity of an inward change of heart, She was convinced that her outward religion would not justify her in the fight of a holy God, or screen her from the curse of his perfect law. Being led by the hand of providence to the Methodist Chapel, she heard the Word with pleasure and profit. It was made light and life to her soul, and she soon felt the want of a Saviour. At her own request, she was admitted a member of our society, and continued Itedfast in the good way, to the time of her death. She attended her class regularly every week, unless fickness or something very extraordinary prevented. She was exceeding watchful over her whole conduet, especially her words, and was never heard to speak evil of any one. During the period between conviction and conversion, she did not ex. perience those distressing fears and terrors, common to persons in that state, but was gradually drawn by the cords of love. She fought the Lord about a year in good earnest, when one day, being very uneasy, she went into her room, and kneeling down, cried mightily to the LORD, that he would have mercy upon her, and reveal his Son in her heart. The Lord heard her sup, plication, and these words were applied with great power, “O LORD, I will praise thee I though thou waft angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortest me,” Ifa. xii. 1. She now found God's displeasure removed,, and enjoyed great peace and happiness; her heart was filled with love, and her mouth with praise ; her exemplary life evinced the mighty change.
Sometime after she had found peace with God, fome doubts occurred whether the work was real, and being of a diffident disposition, she was afraid to speak freely to others, but it was not long before the Lord manifested himself a second time, and cleared up her evidence for eternal Life, by applying the same words as before. She now went on her way rejoicing, without fear and without a cloud to hide the Sun of righteousness from her eyes, She was always made a blessing to those who met with her in class and band; they had many good seasons. About the bee ginning of last spring, it pleased the Lord to affli&t her with a fit of sickness, which the endured with calm patience, and resignation, and said, “ The LORD doth all things well; his will is þet; praise God and the Lamb for ever.” She was much blero sed in singing the praises of the LORD Jehovah, particularly while repeating i hele lines, “ My Jesus to know, and feel his Blood flow, It is Life everlasting, it is Heaven below." She was not carried away with raptures and transports of joy, but rather melted into humble love and overwhelmed with the divine presence.
She recovered a little from her first fit of sickness, but foon reJapsed: about five weeks ago the disorder returned, which ended in Death. She still retained the fame unshaken confidence as be. fore; the Lord often visited her with tokens of his Love and Fae vour which enabled her to bear all afflictions without a murmur. ing or complaining thought; particularly in the night season she was favoured with such comfortable and reviving views of the love of Christ and her own acceptance with God, thro' him, as made her long to be diffolved and to be with him in the Paradise above. While Mr. Rhodes was adminiftering the Lord's Supper to her, She was so overpowered with a sense of the Lord's presence, that the felt no pain of body, and it seemed as if she was in Heaven. Her leader asked, the night before she died, whether she was afraid of Death ? She answered, “No, no. If the Lord will
be with me in that hour, as he has been with me hitherto, I * fhall be more than conqueror.” In the night she was exceeding happy, and desired those who were present to read several hymns, with which she was much delighted. For about an hour before her departure she lay in sweet silence, and then quietly gave up her spirit into the Hands of her gracious Redeemer, Sept. 15, 1795, in the 45th year of her age.
On the Authority for believing the Bible to be the Word of God:
1 “Whether there is sufficient authority for believing the Bible to be the Word of God, or whether there is not ?"_You determine this question in the negative, upon what you are pleased to call moral evidence. You hold ii impossible'that the Bible can be the Word of God, because it is therein said, that the Israelites destroyed the Canaanites by the express command of God: and to believe the Bible to be true, we muft, you affirm, unbelieve all our belief of the moral justice of God; for where in, you ask, could crying or smiling infants offend P-I am astonished that so acute a reasoner should attempt to disparage the Bible, by bringing forward this exploded and frequently refuted objection of Morgan, Tindal, and Bolingbroke. You profess yourself to be a deilt, and to believe that there is a God, who created the universe, and established the laws of nature, by which it is sustained in existence. You profess that from the contemplation of the works of God, you derive a knowledge of his attributes; and you reject the Bible, because it ascribes to God things inconsistent (as you suppose) with the attributes which you have discovered to belong to him ; in particular, you think it repugnant to his moral justice, that he fhould doom to destruction
Vol. XIX. October, 1796.
(as you suppo him; in partiom to defruction
the crying or smiling infants of the Canaanites. Why do you not maintain it to be repugnant to his moral justice, that he should suffer crying or smiling infants to be swallowed up by an earth. quake, drowned by an inundation, consumed by a fire, starved by a famine, or destroyed by a peftilence ? The word of God is in perfect harmony with his work; crying or smiling infants are subjected to death in both. We believe that the earth, at the express command of God, opened her mouth, and swallowed up Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, with their wives, their sons, and their litile ones. This you esteem so repugnant to God's moral juflice, that you spurn, as spurious, the book in which the cir. cumstance is related. When Catania, Lima, and Lisbon, were severally destroyed by earthquakes, men with their wives, their fons, and their little ones, were swallowed up alive :-why do you not spurn, as spurious, the book of nature, in which this fact is certainly written, and from the perusal of which you infer the moral justice of God? You will, probably, reply, that the evils which the Canaanites suffered from the express command of God, were different from those which are brought on mankind by the operation of the laws of nature.---Different! in what ?... Not in the magnitude of the evil-.-pot in the subjects of suffer. ance.--not in the author of it---for my philosophy, at least, inftrués me to believe, that God not only primarily formed, but that he had through all ages executed, the laws of nature; and that he will through all eternity administer them, for the general happiness of his creatures, whether we can, on every oce cagon, discern that end or nof.
I am far from being guilty of the impiety of questioning the existence of the moral justice of God, as proved either by natu. ral or revealed religion; what I contend for is shortly this...that you have no right, in fairness of reasoning, to urge any apparent deviation from moral justice as an argument again it revealed religion, because you do not urge an equally apparent deviation from it, as an argument against natural religion: you reject the former, and admit the latter, without considering that, as to your objection, they must stand or fall together.
As to the Canaanites, it is needless to enter into any proof of the depraved state of their morals : they were a wicked people in the time of Abraham, and they, even then, were devoted to deftruction by God; but their iniquity was not then full. In the time of Moses, they were idolaters, sacrificers of their own cry. ing or smiling infants ; devourers of human flesh; addicted to unnatural lust ; immersed in the filthiness of all manner of vice. Now, I think, it will be impossible to prove, that it was a pro. ceeding contrary to God's moral justice, to exterminate so wicked a people. He made ihe Israelites the executors of his vengeance; and, in doing this, he gave such an evident and terrible proof of his abomination of vice, as could not fail to strike the surround. ing nations with astonishment and terror, and to impress on the
minds of the Ifraelites what they were to expect, if they followed the example of the nations whom he commanded them to cut off. “ Ye shall not commit any of these abominations---that the land spue not you out also, as it fpued out the nations that were before you.” How strong and descriptive this language ! the vices of the inhabitants were so abominable, that the very land was sick of them, and forced to vomit them forth, as the stomach disgorges a deadly poison.
I have often wondered what could be the reason that men, not destitute of talents, should be desirous of undermining the authority of revealed religion, and studious in exposing, with a malignant and illiberal exultation, every little difficulty aitending the scriptures, to popular animadversion and contempt. I am not willing to attribute this strange propensity to what Plato attributed the atheism of his time.--to profligacy of manners--to affectation of fingularity---to gross ignorance, assuming the semblance of deep research and superior sagacity ;---I had rather refer it to an impropriety of judgment, respecting the manners, and mental acquirements, of human kind in the first ages of the world. Most unbelievers argue as if the thought that man, in remote and rude antiquity, in the very birth and infancy of our fpecies, had the same diftinct conceptions of one, eternal, in, visible, incorporeal, infinitely wise, powerful, and good God, which they themselves have now. This I look upon as a great mistake, and a pregnant source of infidelity. Human kind, by long experience ; by the institutions of civil society ; by the cultivation of arts and sciences; by, as I believe, divine instruc. tion a&tually, given to some, and traditionally communicated to all; is in a far more diftinguished situation, as to the powers of the mind, than it was in the childhood of the world. The history of man is the history of the providence of God; who, willing the fupreme felicity of all his creatures, has adapted his government to the capacity of those, who in different ages were the subjects of it. The history of any one nation throughout all ages, and that of all nations in the same age, are but separate parts of one great plan, which God is carrying on for the moral melioration of mankind. But who can comprehend the whole of this inn. mense design ? The shortness of life, the weakness of our facul. ties, the inadequacy of our means of information, conspire to make it impossible for us, worms of the earth ! insects of an hour ! completely to understand any of its parts. No man, who well weighs the subject, ought to be surprised, that in the histories of ancient times many things should occur foreign to our man. pers, the propriety and necessity of which we cannot clearly apprehend.
It appears incredible to many, that God Almighty should have had colloquial intercourse with our first parents ; that he should have contracted a kind of friendship for the patriarchs, and entered into covenants with them; that he should have suspended 3 Y 2
the laws of nature in Egypt; should have been so apparently partial as to become the God and governor of one particular nation ; and should have so far demeaned himself as to give to that people a burdensome ritual of worlhip, statutes and ordinances, many of which seem to be beneath the dignity of his attention, unimportant and impolitic. I have conversed with many deifs, and have always found that the strangeness of these things was the only reason for their disbelief of them : nothing similar has happened in their time; they will not, therefore, admit, that these events have really taken place at any time. As well might a child, when arrived at a state of manhood, contend that he had never either food in need of or experienced the foftering care of a mother's kindness, the wearisome attention of his nurse, or the instruction and discipline of his schoolmaster. The Supreme Being selected one family from an idolatrous world; nursed it up, by various acts of his providence, into a great nation ; communicated to that nation a knowledge of his holiness, justice, mercy, power, and wisdom ; disseminated them, at various times through every part of the earth, that they might be a " leaven to leaven the whole lump," that they might assare all other nations of the existence of one supreme God, the creator and preserver of the world, the only proper object of adoration. With what reason can we expect, that what was done to one nation, not out of any partiality to them, but for the general good, should be done to all ? that the mode of instruction, which was suited to the infancy of the world, should be extended to the maturity of its manhood, or to the imbecility of its old age? I own to you, that when I consider how nearly man, in a lavage state, approaches to the brute creation, as to intellectual excellence ; and when I contemplate his miserable attainments, as to the knowledge of God, in a civilized state, when he has had no divine instruction on the subjeet, or when that instruction has been forgotten, (for all men have known something of God from tradition,) I can. not but admire the wisdom and goodness of the Supreme Being, in having let himself down to our apprehensions; in having given 10 mankind, in the earliest ages, sensible and extraordinary proofs of his existence and attributes; in having made the jewish and christian dispensations mediums to convey to all men, through all ages, that knowledge concerning himself, which he had vouch. Safed 10 give immediately to the first. I own it is ftrange, very ftrange, that he should have made an immediate manifestation of himself in the first ages of the world ; but what is there that is not strange? It is strange ihat you and I are here...that there is water, and earth, and air, and fire---that there is a fun, and moon, and stars... that there is generation, corruption, reproduction. I can account ultimately for none of these things, without recurring to Him who made every thing. I also am his workmanship, and look up to him with hope of preservation through all eternity ; I adore him for