Imágenes de páginas

sioned by the cries of the distressed; and though I sometimes prayed to be religiously impressed, I never felt more careless and hardened in my life. On Monday evening, while I was sitting in Mr. M'Rea's tent, reflecting on the strength of my body, and the happy state of my mind, notwithstanding the fatigue and want of rest I had undergone, I was suddenly struck with an unusual sensation in the pit of my stomach, which, in a short time, pervaded my chest in general. I felt no pain; but apprehended immediate death. I endeavoured to remove the impression by walking; but in vain.

Having returned to the tent, the sensation pervaded my whole body; and convulsions and involuntary gnashing of teeth ensued. Soon, however, these ceased; and I became as one dead, being unable to move. While in this state, which I sup pose was about two hours, I experienced a dreadful gloom and confused horrors of mind. This resemblance of death was succeeded by other convulsions; andel again fell quiet, and, until near morning, experienced more dreadful horrors, which increased as my bodily strength returned. When the exercise of my bodily organs was tolerably recovered, my horrors ceased, without my being able to assign the particular cause of their removal. I first asked myself, How I could possibly become religious, and exhort, as others were doing? A plan to avoid professing religion was immediately suggested; which was, to attribute all Fed Telt to fits, and say I had been subject to them before; But this I at once detected and discarded, as a suggestion of the Devil; and resolved to love God, and profess the religion of Jesus Christ, be the consequences what they might.

I then began to enquire what could be the cause of these new and sudden resolutions; for to me, it appeared scarcely possible that 1, who had been one of the most abandoned sinners, could experience a change of heart without being more dreadfully humbled for my sins. I then, indeed, saw that they were great, and of a most aggravated kind, having been committed against much light and goodness; and though I could not feel humbled for them as I wished, and as I knew I ought to be, the glory, wisdom, justice, grace, and condescension of God, as displayed in the device of salvation through a Mediator, broke in upon my mind. My soul was filled with admiration at the fulness and freeness of his grace in Christ. My heart acquiesced in this glorious method of salvation, and was drawn out in love to the holy and blessed Jesus. Never before did I know any thing of true joy; but, notwithstanding all I have felt, I am often jealous of my heart, and examine my exercises with careful attention, comparing thein with the word of God, and religious experiences recorded in other books; and, if I am not greatly deceived, I can fiecly renounce all that is most dear to me in the world for Christ and his religion,

It is sometimes suggested to my mind that the whole may be a delusion; but, glory to God! if it should even be so, it is an incomparably sweet one. "Not mighty men that share the spoil, have joys compared to mine."

O how delightful to contemplate the character of the great Jehovah, and his infinite love to sinners, through his dear Son! -May God enable me to persevere! I desire to thank him: 1 have been enabled to day, at court, to silence near a dozen of my old Deistical companions. My case evaded all their objections; and they appeared to be struck with solemnity and alarm, their leader having fallen.



THE following passage, extracted from Howe, on " Delighting in God," I doubt not will be acceptable to your intelligent Readers, while it conveys a thought worthy the attention of every minister of the gospel of Christ; and, upon their minds, may the Holy Spirit deeply impress it!


"THERE is a manifest prejudice daily accruing to the Christian name and profession, by the unequal estimation which that part of the doctrine of Christ hath that concerns the work of his Spirit upon us, regeneration, the new creature, repentance, and a holy life, in comparison of that which concerns his performances and acquisitions for us,-expiation of sin, satisfaction of divine justice, forgiveness, and acceptance with God. How sweet, ravishing, transporting doctrines, and how pure gospel, are these latter accounted by many, who esteem the former cold, sapiess, and unpleasant notions! Hence comes the Christian Religion to look with so distorted a face and aspect, as if it suffered a convulsion, that hath altered and disguised it to that degree, that it is hardly to be known; being made to seem as if it imported only a design to rescue some persons from divine wrath and justice, without ever giving them that disposition of heart which is necessary, both to their serving God, and their blessedness in him. This is not to be imputed so much to the misrepresentation made of it by them whose business it hath been to instruct others (though of them, too many may have been very faulty in almost suppressing, or insisting less, or very little, upon doctrines of the former strain, while the stream of their discourses hath mostly run upon the other); for it must be acknowledged, that by very many in our age, the absolute necessity of the great heart-change hath been both most clearly represented, and as urgently pressed, as perhaps in most who have gone before. But the matter is



plainly to be attributed to that depravity of man's nature,
whence there is a most unequal and partial reception of the
truth of God; and that which seems (taken apart by itself) to
impart more of indulgence to sinners, is readily catched at;
that which more directly strikes at the very root of sin is let
pass, as if it had never been spoken: and so men make up to
themselves a gospel of this tenor and import, That, let the tem-
per of their spirits towards God be what it will, if they rely and
rest upon the righteousness of Christ, God will be reconciled
to them; and they think they need take no farther care. But
whatever is said in the gospel of Christ, besides the necessity of
being born of God, of partaking a divine nature, of putting off
the old man and putting on the new, &c. is looked upon as if it
had been thrown in by chance, and signified nothing: and
the other, without this, is thought to be pure gospel; as if these
were impertinent additions and falsifications.
But will not
such men understand, that the detracting of any thing from the
instrument or testament of a man, as well as adding thereto,
makes it another thing, and none of his act or deed? So that
their pure Gospel, as they call it, is another gospel; nay (be-
cause there cannot be another) no gospel. Or will they not
understand, how simply impossible it is, in the very nature of
the thing, that the end should be attained of bringing men to
blessedness (i. e. to a delightful rest in God) without their hav-
ing a new nature, an heart inclined and bent towards God,
wrought to a conformity and agreement with God's own holy
nature and will, unto which the offer and hope of forgiveness,
by the blood of Christ, is designed to win and form them? For,
can man be happy in him in whom they take no delight? or
delight in him, to whom the very temper of their spirits is ha-
bitually unsuitable and repugnant? How plain are things to
them that are not resolved not to see!"


Extracted from Mr. Cowper's Letters to his Cousin, Mrs. Cowper.
To the Editor.


The following Letters referring to a subject highly interesting to many of your readers, who cannot possibly have access to the elegant volumes of Mr. Hayley, I am persuaded you will, by their insertion, gratify many beside your constant reader,


My dear Cousin,

As in matters unattainable by reason, and unrevealed in the scripture, it is impossible to argue at all, so in matters concerning which reason can only give a probable guess, and the scripture has made no explicit discovery, it is, though not

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

impossible to argue at all, yet impossible to argue to any cer tain conclusion. This seeins to me to be the very case with the point in question. Reason is able to form many plausible conjectures concerning the possibility of our knowing each other in a future state; and the Scripture has, here and there, favoured us with an expression that looks at least like a slight intimation of it; but because a conjecture can never amount to a proof; and a slight intimation cannot be construed into a positive assertion,—therefore I think we can never come to any absolute conclusion upon the subject. We may indeed reason about the plausibility of our conjectures; and we may discuss, with great industry and shrewdness of argument, those passages in the Scripture which seem to favour the opinion; but still, no certain means having been afforded us, no certain end can be attained; and after all that can be said, it will still be doubtful, whether we shall know each other or not.

As to arguments founded upon human reason only, it would be easy to muster up a much greater number on the affirmitive side of the question, than it would be worth my while to write, or yours to read. Let us see, therefore, what the Scripture says, or seems to say, towards the proof of it: and of this kind of argument also I shall insert but a few of those which seem to be the fairest and clearest for the purpose. For, after all, a disputant, on either side of this question, is in danger of that censure of our blessed Lord's," Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God."

As to parables, I know it has been said in the dispute concerning the intermediate state, that they are not argumentative; but this having been controverted by very wise and good men, and the parable of Dives and Lazarus having been used by such, to prove an intermediate state, I see not why it may not be as fairly used for the proof of any other matter, which it seems fairly to imply. In this parable we see that Dives is represented as knowing Lazarus; and Abraham as knowing them both; and the discourse between them is entirely concerning their respective characters and circumstances upon earth. Here, therefore, our Saviour seems to countenance the notion of a mutual knowledge and recollection; and if a soul that has perished shall know the soul that is saved, surely the heirs of salvation shall know and recollect each other.

In the first Epistle to the Thessalonians, the 2d chapter and 19th verse, Saint Paul says, "What is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? For ye are our glory and out joy."

As to the hope which the Apostle has formed concerning them, he himself refers the accomplishment of it to the coming of Christ; meaning, that then be should receive the recompense of his labours in their behalf; his joy and glory he refers like

wise to the same period, both which would result from the sight of such numbers redeemed by the blessing of God upon his ministration, when he should present them before the Great Judge, and say, in the words of a greater than himself, "Lo! I, and the children whom thou hast given me." This seems to imply that the Apostle should know the Converts, and the Converts the Apostle, at least at the day of Judgment; and if then, why not afterwards?

See also the 4th Chapter of that Epistle, 13, 14, 16, which I have not room to transcribe. Here the Apostle comforts them under their affliction, for their deceased brethren, exhorting them "not to sorrow as without hope ;" and what is the hope by which he teaches them to support their spirits? Even this, "That them which sleep in Jesus, shall God bring with him." In other words, and by a fair paraphrase surely, telling them they are only taken from them for a season; and that they should receive them at the resurrection.

If you can take off the force of these texts, my dear Cousin, you will go a great way towards shaking my opinion; if not, I think they must go a great way towards shaking yours..

The reason why I did not send you my opinion of Pearsall, was, because I had not then read him; I have read him since, and like him much, especially the latter part of him; but you have whetted my curiosity to see the last letter, by your tearing it out. Unless you can give me a good reason why I should not see it, I shall enquire for the book the next time I go to Cambridge. Perhaps I may be partial to Hervey for the sake of his other writings; but I cannot give Pearsall the preference to him; for I think him one of the most Scriptural writers in the world, Yours, W. COWPER.




To the Editor.

IN a publication of very considerable repute and extensive circulation, I mean "The Encyclopædia Britannica *,"I am sorry to find a severe, and, I appichend, a very unjust censure of one of the most important doctrines of the gospel, as well as of a very respectable body of Christians who believe it.

The learned Authors say, "The enthusiast extracts doctrines from scripture which are not contained in it, and which are repugnant to its spirit. The doctrine of imputed righteousness, by which the merit of Christ is said to be imputed to us, appears to be of this number: it is certainly, in general, un

* See Vol. xvi, article Righteousness,

« AnteriorContinuar »