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vered in Horeb, might have an opportunity of knowing it ; efpe. cially as Moses their leader was soon to be taken from them, and they were about to be settled in the midst of nations given to idolatry and sunk in vice. Now where is the wonder, that some variations, and some additions, should be made to a law, when a legislator thinks fit to republish it many years after it's first promulgation ?
With respect to the sabbath, the learned are divided in opinion concerning it's origin; some contending, that it was fan&tified from the creation of the world; that it was observed by the patri. archs before the flood; that it was neglected by the Israelites during their bondage in Egypt; revived on the falling of manna in the wilderness ; and enjoined, as a positive law, at mount Sinai. Others esteem it's inftitution to have been no older than the age of Moses; and argue, that what is said of the fan&tification of the fabbath in the book of Genesis, is said by way of anticipation. There may be cruth in both these accounts. To me it is probable, that the memory of the creation was handed down from Adam to all his posterity; and that the seventh day was, for a long time, held sacred by all nations, in commemoration of that event; but that the peculiar rigidness of it's observance was enjoined by Moses to the Israelites alone. As to there being two reasons given for it's being kept holy, --- one, that on that day God refted from the work of creation --- the other, that on that day God had given them rest from the servitude of Egypt --- I see no contradiction in the accounts. If a man, in writing the history of England, should inform his readers, that the parliament had ordered the fifth of No. vember to be kept holy, because on that day God had delivered : the nation from a bloody-intended massacre by gunpowder; and
if, in another part of his history, he should assign the deliverance of our church and nation from popery and arbitrary puwer, by the arrival of King William, as a reason for it's being kept holy; would any one. contend, that he was not justified in both these ways of expression, or that we ought from thence to conclude, that he was not the author of them both ?
You think --- " that law in Deuteronomy inhuman and brutal, which authorizes parents, the father and the mother, to bring their own children to have them stoned to death for what it is pleased to call stubbornness." - You are aware, I suppose, that paternal power, amongst the Romans, the Gauls, the Persans, and other nations, was of the most arbitrary kind ; that it extended to the taking away the life of the child. I do not know whether the Ifa raelites in the time of Moses exercised this paiernal power; it was not a custom adopted by all nations, but it was by many; and in the infancy of society, before individual families had coalefced into communities, it was probably very general. Now Moses, by this law, which you esteem brutal and inbuman, hindered such an extravagant power from being either introduced or exercised anjongst the Israelites. This law is so far from countenancing the arbitrary power of a father over the life of his child, that it
takes from him the power of accusing the child before a magistrate --- the father and the mother of the child must agree in bringing the child to judgment --- and it is not by their united will that the child was to be condemned to death; the elders of the city were to judge whether the accusation was true; and the accusation was to be not merely, as you insinuate, that the child was stubborn, but that be was “ stubborn and rebellious, a glutton and a drunkard.” Con&dered in this light, you must allow the law to have been an humane restriction of a power improper to be lodged with any parent.
That you may abuse the priests, you abandon your subject “ Priests, you say, preach up Deuteronomy, for Deuteronomy preaches up tythes."... I do not know that priests preach up Deu. teronomy, more than they preach up other books of scripture ; but I do know that tythes are not preached up in Deuterono. my, more than in Leviticus, in Numbers, in Chronicles, in Ma. lachi, in the law, the history, and the prophets of the jewish nation. --. You go on ..." It is from this book, chap. xxv. ver. 4. they have taken the phrase, and applied it to tything, “ Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn;" and that this might not escape observation, they have noted it in the table of contents at the head of the chapter, though it is only a single verse of less than two lines. O priests! priests! ye are willing to be compared to an ox for the sake of tythes!"...I can. not call this---reasoning.--and I will not pollute my page by giving it a proper appellation. Had the table of contents, instead of simply saying ... the ox is not to be muzzled -.- faid --- tythes en. joined, or priests to be maintained --- there would have been a little ground for your censure. Whoever noted this phrase at the head of the chapter, had better reason for doing it than you have attributed to them. They did it, because St. Paul had quoted it, when he was proving to the Corinthians, that they who preached the gospel had a right to live by the gospel : it was Paul, and not the priests, who firit applied this phrase to tything. St. Paul, indeed, did not avail himself of the right he contended for; he was not, therefore, interested in what he said. The reason, on which he grounds the right, is not merely this quotation, which you ridicule ; nor the appointment of the law of Moses, which you think fabulous ; nor the injunction of Jesus, wbich you des pise; no, it is a reason founded in the nature of things, and which .no pbilosopher, no unbeliever, no man of common sense can deny to be a solid reason: it amounts to this --- that “the labourer is worthy of his hire." Nothing is so much a man's own, as his labour and ingenuity ; and it is intirely consonant to the law of nature, that by the innocent use of these he should provide for his subsistence. Husbandmen, artists, soldiers, physicians, lawyers, all let out their labour and talents for a stipulated reward: why may not a priest do the same ? Some accounts of you have been published in England; but, conceiving them to
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have proceeded from a design to injure your character, I never read them. I know nothing of your parentage, your education, or condition in life. You may have been elevated, by your birth, above the necessiry of acquiring the means of futaining life by the labour either of hand or head : if this be the case, you ought not to despise those who have come into the world in less favourable circumstances. If your origin has been less fortunate, you must have supported yourself, either by manual labour, or the exercife of your genius. Why should you think that conduct disreputable in priests, which you probably consider as laudable in yourfelf? I know not whether you have not as great a diflike of kings as of priests : but that you may be induced to think more favourably of men of my profession, I will just mention to you that the payment of tythes is no new inftitution, but that they were paid in the most ancient times, not to priests only, but to kings.' I could give you an hundred instances of this : two may be sufficient. Abraham paid tythes to the king of Salem, four hundred years before the law of Moses was given. The king of Salem 'was priest also of the most high God. Priests, you fee, existed in the world, and were held in high estimation, for kings were priests, long before the impoftures, as you esteem them, of the jewish and christian dispensations were heard of. But as this instance is taken from a book which you call “a book of contradictions and lies'' .-- the Bible ; --- I will give you another, from a book, to the authority of which, as it is written by a profane author, you probably will not object. Diogenes Læertius, in his life of Solon, cites a letter of Pififtratus to that lawgiver, in which he says ...“I Pififtratus, the tyrant, am contented with the sti. pends which were paid to those who reigned before me; the peo. ple of Athens fet apart a tenth of the fruits of their land, not for my private use, but to be expended in the public sacrifices, and for the general good."
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A short account of the Life and Death of Mr. JOHN BRETTELL:
by his Brotber, Mr. JEREMIAH. BRETTELL. JOHN BRETTELL was born at Stourbridge in Worcestershire,
in the year 1742. His parents were Members of the Church of England, and having the form of religion, they taught their children early to remember the Sabbath, to pray in private, and conscientiouily to regard the daily discharge of that duty. As my broiher grew up, he was frequently troubled for such parts of his condu&t as he thought wrong, and was sensible that he wanted something in religion which he had not. He frequently repeated the Ten Commandments, and made many resolutions to be good : .but bis rising passions and growing inclinations to folly, -led him as often to break them. He then endeavoured to satisfy himself, by hoping for a future day, when he should better perform bis purposes. About this time, one of his Cougns with whom be
was intimate, often read and spoke much about religion, and frequently made useful and solemn remarks on Death and Judgment; this generally left a sensible impresion upon my brother's mind; and tho'he too often ftifled these convictions, yet he was inclined seriously to enquire into the way of salvation.
When he was near twenty years of age, a person asked him one morning, to hear a Methodist Preacher of the name of Bretrell, (a Local Preacher.) My brother consented to go the follow. ing sabbath ; when it pleased God that he was deeply awakened to a sense of his lost state. The following lines in one of our Hymns, were deeply impressed upon his heart :
• Where shall my wondering soul begin ?
How shall I all to heaven aspire ?
A brand pluck'd from eternal fire !"
My brother had an uncle living in Birmingham, of a very mo. ral character; who requested that his kinsman might be sent to him for a while, in hopes of reclaiming him entirely from follow
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in the brother hade diligently. 14
ing the Methodists. My brother being removed to Birmingham, prevailed upon his uncle to hear the Methodists, on condition, that if he could prove from Scripture, that they did not preach the Truth, he would immediately withdraw from them. His uncle accepted the challenge, not doubting but he should soon change the conduct of his nephew: But it pleased God, that he himself was convinced of the truth, and embraced it with his whole heart; and about two years ago died, as he had long lived, in the peaceful enjoyment of it.
My brother had now more opportunities of attending the means of grace which he diligently improved, and obtained a sense of the pardoning love of God. Ii' was in a class-meeting that the Lord spoke peace to his foul, and gave him a comfortable evidence of his favour, which enabled him long to walk in the light of God's countenance. Here also, he had the happiness to be known by Mr. Mather, whose attention to him, and care over him, to. gether with the suitable advice he gave, both as it respected his temporal and spiritual estate, was of lasting service to him, and for which he ever retained the sincerest gratitude.
After residing in Birmingham about a year, he returned home, and was better received, and more kindly treated by his friends than before. He was the eldest of three brothers, and four sisters, and was foon made the means, under God, of the conversion of two of his brothers, and also of two of his sisters. To these he became, both in example and advice, a spiritual father. These two fifters have since died in the faith of Christ.
About three years after his return home he began to preach, and was made very useful to many of his own kindred and neighbours. When he had laboured as a local preacher about four years,'his sphere was enlarged, and he began to officiate as an itinerant preacher. He has travelled about twenty-six years, with the thort intermission of about three years, occasioned chiefly by a state of illness. As I travelled with him four years, I had the opportunity of seeing his usefulness to some, and the affection of many towards him. His plainness and fimplicity, and I might add, his sincerity and uprightness, all, I believe, that have known him, have been witness to.
His illness, which has now terminated in death, began about three months before, and was a slow nervous fever, attended with entire loss of appetite. He was then in the Otley Circuit, and tho' not able to preach from the time he was first taken ill, yet, he often rode out; but no means were any way effeftual to his recovery. The medical men to whom he applied, seemed unacquainted with his disease, and, like inany others, conceived little or nothing was the maiter with him till he died.
When he was first taken ill, he thought he should die ; and was remarkably happy in God. After which he funk low, with de. preffing views of his own unworthiness and ingratitude: But the