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friendly to virtue; as will be readily allowed by all who have conversed with the more ignorant sort of Methodists in England, or Seceders in Scotland.".
It happens to other subjects, as well as to religion, that the conjectural theories of speculators differ widely from matter of fact, ascertained by fair experiment.
The paragraph before me appears so rash and unwarrantable, that I hope a few strictures upon it will not be unacceptable to your readers; and, as I am neither Methodist nor Seceder, perhaps the writer of the passage in question, may be disposed to receive conviction.
It is allowed, that the doctrine of imputed righteousness has, in some instances, been abused; but so has every sentiment of the Bible. Would this gentleman have us to give it up on 'that account? The law of God has been abused: shall we then say, The law is sin? God forbid! This gentleman must know, that the good creatures of God are abused by gluttons and drunkards; but would he, on that account, deny them to be good? or cease to use them? With no more justice can the doctrine under consideration be accused of an immoral tendency, because it has been abused occasionally by wicked
It is allowed also, that this doctrine has frequently stirred up the resentment of proud moralists and superstitious priests; and, sometimes, to such a degree has their implacable rage been excited, as to punish with penalties, imprisonments, tortures, and death, the pious and sincere believers of this doctrine. Witness the reign of Queen Mary! But is the light of day to be cashiered, because it is offensive to owls and bats?
That the English Methodists, or Scotch Seceders, even the most ignorant of them, exemplify immoral effects of this doctrine, I must, from some knowledge of both, positively deny. Here then we are at issue.
There are large congregations, both in England and Scot fand, where this is the theme of almost every sermon. At Ply mouth, Portsmouth, Sheerness, Chatham, Woolwich, and Deptford, where shipwrights, and other people employed in our dock-yards attend, let the officers who superintend the labours and conduct of these men say, if they can, that these are the men whom they are obliged to hunt for in alchouses; whom they cannot confide in, or depend upon, when extraordinary exertions are wanted. At Leeds, Manchester, Sheffield, Birmingham, Glasgow, Paisley, Perth, and Edinburgh, there are vast numbers of the friends of this doctrine among our manufacturers; and are these the men by whom our jails are peopled, and hospitals thronged, to obtain relief from the effects of intemperance and lewdness? Are the wives and children of these men left at home in distressful poverty and ignorance, while their profligate relative, on whoin they de
pend, is drunk, or gambling away his last penny in the haunts of debauchery and vice? Let the gentlemen who employ them speak, and tell us where such men live, what are their names, and to what congregations they belong, that we may know and avoid them.
The writer of the censure in question, says, "This is the case. in general." Can there be a more ungenerous, or a more inju-" rious calumny? But I am happy to say, that, after conversing with English Methodists, almost in every county in England, and with many Seceders from Scotland, the very contrary is the fact. Let any man disprove it if he can, and we dare the writer to produce a single congregation, among the people he has condemned, to corroborate the charge. But I have long observed, that censures of this kind have argued either the most profound ignorance of the influence of the gospel itself, an entire unacquaintance with those who profess it, or a strange and unaccountable prejudice which no evidence whatever can remove; and although we, who profess the doctrine of imputed righteousness, have nothing to boast in ourselves, yet the God of all grace has in general so preserved the faith and conduct of his people, that general censures, like the present, at no period of the church, could be warrantably applied to them. Yet such has been the fate of this doctrine, and the people who profess it, that in every age, they have been stigmatized with the charge of licentiousness; nor could the exemplary life of St. Paul himself prevent it. "We be slanderously reported, and, as some affirm, that we say, Let us do evil, that good may come! whose damnation is just *." All licentious abuse of this doctrine, is unnatural, and contrary to the direct tendency of the truth; whereas, it has been applied for the purposes intended, the conferring of an obligation, an eternal obligation. The pardon of sin, and the acceptance of our person in the righteousness of Christ imputed, naturally and powerfully leads to the love of God, and all practical godliness."Grace reigns through righteousness unto eternal life."
I shall conclude these strictures, with the sentiments of two eminent divines. The judicious Witsius says, "The doctrine of justification spreads itself through the whole system of divinity. As this is either solidly established, or superficially touched, fully stated, or slightly dismissed, accordingly, the whole structure of religion either rises graceful and magnificent, superior,to assault, and beyond the power of decay, or else it appears disproportionate and defective, totters on its foundation, and threatens an opprobrious fall."-To the same purpose speaks the excellent Mr. James Hervey: "The libertine, who only speculates or disputes, may indeed abuse the doctrine of grace; but the believer, who feels the power of grace, will im
Rom. iii. 8.
prove it to better purposes. Where the former only fluctuates in the understanding, such detestable consequences may ensue; where the latter operates in the heart, it will always produce very different effects*" So much may suffice to prove, that this censure is founded neither on the nature of the doctrine itself, nor on matter of fact; that it is not consonant with the mind of the apostle, nor the judgment of the wisest and best of A debt due to Truth, has occasioned these observations from yours, &c. UPSILON +.
* Vide Hervey's Theron and Aspasio, Dialogue V.
They leaped upon the altar which was made.- 1 Kings xviii. 26.
BAAL, whose idolatrous worship is here referred to, was the same as Apollo, or the Sun. Callimachus has given us a remarkable instance of the universal veneration which was paid by the ancient Pagans at his altar, in the temple of Delos. Among other ceremonies, in the worship of this idol, it was customary to run round his altar, to strike it with a whip; and, with their hands or arms bound behind them, to bite the olive. For, of Delos, the poet says,
"Thee, ever honour'd isle, what vessel dares
Sail by regardless?' were in vain to plead
The maze they tread; and, backward bent their arms,
The former part of this ceremony plainly alludes to singing and dancing round the altar; the latter part seems to ac cord with what is said of Baal, in 1 Kings xviii. 26-28, where we read of the priests of Baal, who leaped upon the altar they had made which the Septuagint renders" run round; and they cried aloud, and cut themselves, after their manner, with knives and lances, till the blood gushed out upon them." This running 10 nd the altar, signified, the annual rotation of the earth round the sun;-striking with a whip the altar, cutting themselves with knives and lances, and crying aloud to their Deity, were symbolical actions, denoting their desire, that he would shew forth his power upon all nature in general, and that sacrifice in particular, then before him. Having thus surrounded the altar of Apollo; and, by these actions, declared their belief in his universal power, they used to bend their own aims behind them, and so take the sacred olive into their
mouths; thereby declaring, that not from their own arm or power, which was bound,—but from his, whose altar they surrounded, they expected to obtain that peace, whereof the olive was always a symbol *.
There are some evident allusions to these abominable idolatrous practices in the Old Testament; and the Jews are severely reprimanded by the prophets, for following such absurd and wicked ceremonies. Thus, saith the Lord, conceruing the prophets, that make my people err, that bite with their teeth, and cry, Peace +." And, respecting Ashdod, the prophet says, "I will take away his blood out of his mouth, and his abomination from between his teeth ‡.”
The value of divine revelation may, in some measure, be ascertained, by the discoveries it makes of the perfections of God; and the instructions it affords us, with regard to his worship. How deplorable is the ignorance of man in his natural state! How absolutely necessary is supernatural influence, to guide us into all truth! Let us continually pray for grace, may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear;" and while we pity the blindness which cherishes superstition and idolatry, endeavour, by every means in our power, to disseminate the knowledge of Christ crucified.
that we “
It is well known, that man is "the creature of circumstances;" and that his thoughts, his feelings, and his conversation, assume a complexion corresponding with the newest and most prevailing topic of public attention. Hence it is, that, in the present juncture, I can scarcely hear or think of any thing but the Invasion.
Ruminating, the other day, on this subject, I said to myself, What means all this effervescence? Is it indeed so, that a daring, enterprizing, and powerful enemy holds out the most inveterate threatenings? and is it, indeed, become necessary for all who love their country to stand forth in her defence? I shudder at the thought of Britain's fertile plains being deluged with blood, with the blood of my countrymen! I deprecate the curse of having the peaceful home, the domestic circle, disturbed by the din of war; of having our quiet habitations,
yea, even the retirement of our wives and daughters invaded by an unprincipled and ferocious soldiery, who, contemplating the danger of the desperate enterprize, would have turned their arms against their boastful hero, had he not promised them, in case of success, the most boundless gratification of their sensual and vindictive passions.
, Feeling, as I do, that, with all her faults, I love my country still; and, confident that nothing but distress, confusion, and desolation could arise from the smallest degree of success attending the projected expedition, I do most sincerely desire it early and utter frustration. I shall not cease to pray, that the counsels of every modern Ahitophel may be turned into foolishness; and that Jehovah may put his hook into the nose of this modern Rabshakeh, and lead him back by the way he cometh. While, in regard to my native land, I will not cease to utter the devout and patriotic language of the prophet, "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee. Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces! For my brethren, my companions sakes, I will now say, Peace be within thee; because of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek thy good *."
It has sometimes so happened, that, while others have been discoursing on the general topic of invasion, I have been meditating on the many striking instances of invasion recorded in the Holy Scriptures; in most of which it may be observed, that confusion and disaster covered the invaders.
Cherdolaomer, and other kings, confederated and invaded the people of Sodom, where Lot dwelt. They succeeded for a time; and carried away captive a multitude of unoffending and defenceless individuals; but, through the instrumentality of Abraham, the Lord delivered them wonderfully: and out of that passage of history, arises a great fund of instruction and comfort to the church of God, in regard to the person and office of Melchisedek.
In the days of that upright and pious judge Samuel, the Philistines invaded Israel; and it is said, "They were afraid of the Philistines," either because they were more numerous, or more, warlike: "And the children of Israel said to Samuel, Cease not to cry unto the Lord for us, that he will save us out of the hand of the Philistines." This was a suitable, this was a prudent line of conduct; for" the battle is the Lord's :" and, blessed be God, that even now his ear is not heavy, that it cannot hear; neither is his arm shortened, that he cannot save. Let then the inhabitants of Britain imitate the Jews, and call upon the man of prayer to cry unto the Lord for them. But all the prayers of Samuel himself could not avail, unless his advice be followed;-and what is it?" And Samuel spake unto all the
Ps. cxxii. 6—9.
Gen. xiv. with Heb. vij.