ページの画像
PDF
ePub

furnished for Christian doctrines there were many. In these wriand moral duties, they call for tings of Moses and the prophets, more ; and they would do the almost every thing was foretold same, if an angel were to come literally which related to the birth, from heaven, and in their hear- life, miracles, doctrines, and sufing confirm the words of divine ferings of Christ. His family, the revelation.

place of his birth, the history of The question with the chief his life, and his griefs as well as priests and scribes was, whether his glory were written aforeor not Jesus Christ was a pro-hand, by those prophets whom phet sent from God; for if this they accounted true. It was de were allowed, they inust ac- clared that he should be poor knowledge the truth of the doc- and despicable in the eyes of trines he taught, and that all his mankind ; that he should be injunctions to duty ought to be denied and rejected ; that he obeyed. Their demand was for should be smitten for our iniquimore evidence" Let him now ties; that the chastisement of descend from the cross that we our peace should be upon him ; may see and believe." Let us that he should go to his sufferenquire what evidence these per- ings, as a sheep that is dumb sons had, who still required before the shearers ; and that more ; and if we find it was suf, he should die for the sins of the ficient to satisfy reasonable and people. All these things were honest men, we must ascribe foretold, not only typically, but their infidelity to an evil heart of expressly ; so that the

very unbelief, which blinded their un- sufferings which they beheld, derstanding, because they hated and his hanging on the cross, the truth which reproved them. which they upbraided, were a And if we attend only to a sum principal part of the evidence mary of the evidence set before that he was the Christ of God. them, we shall be surprised, that Or if they looked to his mothey could demand, “ Let him ral conduct, how pure ! how descend now from the cross; that chaste ! how humble ! how temwe may see and believe.” perate! how benevolent! how

They were in possession of disposed to instruet men in the Moses and the prophets, whom most important duties ! how filthey professed to believe, and it led with reverence of God, and is probable they did believe them, love of his law! In all things so far as sinful men can receive how divine !-Neither were his the pure oracles of God. In doctrines or manner of teaching these were the promises made less evidential of his mission as to the fathers, of a prophet who a prophet, a priest, and king should be the Saviour of men. come from the Lord to bless a On these promises they relied, guilty and miserable world. In and the expectation of the peo- his doctrines he taught the beple that the Messiah would corne ing, the infinite perfections, the about this time, was so highly law, the providence, the governraised, that although they reject- ment of God, who was the Faed Christ, they encouraged eve- ther and Lord of all men by ry seditious person and pretend- ation, and his own Father in the er to divine authority, of which / highest sense, as he claimed to VOL. VI. NO. 3.

N

be one with him, and proved er descended from the cross, his claim by his works.

which he was abundantly able to He taught the nature of moral do, is there any probability that virtue, as it was never taught by these sinners would have believa mere man; the depravity of ed? On a brief review of the human nature; the necessity of evidence they before had resist. a new heart and a new life, both ed,, we shall doubtless agree for our duty and our happiness; there is no probability, this would the grace of God in forgiving have softened their obdurate sin, together with the terms of hearts. It was not want of eviacceptance, faith, repentance and dence, but a sinful heart, which new obedience ; and this obedi- held them in unbelief. They ence he enforced by the solemn disliked the doctrines of Christ, consideration of a judgment to and the duties he required; they come, and a state of eternal re- could not bear his just reproof, wards. While he held himself and therefore determined to reup as the Saviour of men, these sist the highest evidence, that were the doctrines which he he was a teacher sent from God taught and enforced with all au- and the Saviour of the world. thority ; doctrines which encou- And the case is the same with rage virtue, reprove sin, and at those, who at the present day, the same time place the well pretend to doubt of the essential being of man on the sovereign doctrines, duties and institutions grace of God, and his attention of religion. Either through a to his own daty.--To all this ev- dislike of the truth, they will not idence, he added that of such examine the evidence; or they mighty and miraculous works wilsally determine to reject itz as no other ever wrought. He and call for other evidence, gave sight to the blind, hearing which is impracticable in the nato the deaf, speech to the dumb, ture of things, or which would and life to the dead. While one give no additional light if it were hour he fed an immense multi- granted. They say, we wish tude with a basket of loaves and for stronger evidence, and that fishes, the next he commanded the truth might be made still the evil spirits and they obeyed plainer ; little considering, that him. The winds and seas hear- the darkness is in themselves, in ed his voice, and by directing their own sinful hearts, in their the laws of nature in their course, opposition to the holy doctrines he proved himself to be the God of God, in their dislike of duty, of nature ; and all these things and their reluctance to part with he did in his own name. the pleasures of iniquity. It

This is but a summary of the was the sinfulness of the chief heads of evidence which those priests and scribes, which made persons had, that he was a pro- them overlook all the miracles phet from the Lord and spiritual which Christ had wrought in king of Israel ; still they said, the sight of their whole nation, Let him descend now from the and call for a new miracle ; so cross that we may see and be- it is the sinfulness of modern lieve. If this presumptuous de- disbelievers and immoral permand had been granted, and the sons, which makes them overSon of God had by his own pow- ! look a system of past evidence,

which is as perfect as infinite the completion of the sacred cawisdom could form it, and call non, may now be more distinctfor new light, new evidence to ly understood than it possibly make things still plainer. If could have been at the time of new evidence could be granted, Christ's death ; both the harand God were pleased to give it, mony and the usefulness of the with the hearts which they now Christian doctrines are more ap. have, something further would parent ; the mighty working of be demanded. The difficulty is providence in favorofthe church not from a deficiency of evi- and the power of the Spirit in dence, but from a heart unwil- converting sinners from the evil ling to receive and obey the of their ways, and supporting his truth. Although a sinful heart people under their troubles ; the of unbelief is no excuse for a fulfilment of the Christian prosinner, it will always make di- phecies in every age, and in none vine things appear obscure to more remarkably than the preshim by hiding their beauty. ent ; together with the preser

So long as men endeavor to vation and gradual increase of disbelieve, and quiet their con- the church in opposition to all sciences in disobedience to the the power and art of its oppogospel, they will continue to say, sers, are a volume of evidence we need some clearer evidence ; | for the truth, which hath been and they will mistake the blind- increasing from the time of ness of an evil heart, for a de-Christ to the present day ; and fect in the light that is set be- it will continue to increase by fore their understanding ; still the mighty working of divine this will not excuse them before providence, until the glory of an impartial Judge. When we the Lord, and his church shall consider the evidence offered to fill the earth. How inexcusathe Jews, we are ready to con- ble are those, who, through a demn them for requiring that distaste to the truth and their he should come down from the own duty, neglect to search whecross as authority for them to ther these things be so ! or who, believe. This was demanding to quiet themselves in unbelief, an unreasonable sign, and done say, we wish for clearer eriin a cruel manner.

dence that we may know our Those, who now disbelieve, duty. should consider the additional It is acknowledged that doubts evidence, which hath since aris-on particular subjects may honen for the system of Christianestly arise ; also, that all truths truth and duty, and that as they are not of equal importance ; sin against greater light, they but when we see persons who must finally appear more guilty have been educated in the midst in the sight of the Judge, for of a Christian land, with the crucifying Jesus Christ afresh, fairest advantages for instruction, and putting him and his doc- questioning the whole scheme trines to open shame before the of revelation; we may justly world. The method of salva- impute their doubts to unbolition through a divine Redeemer ness of heart. They dislike the by the merits of his blood, and restraints, they do not love the the sanctification of the Spirit, by I'duties of religion. When any

M.

nds doubts arising in his render this display of his marvel, mina, concerning the doctrines lous grace beneficial to others. and duties of religion, let him I was born on Lord's day carefully examine, whether they morning, July 14, 1754, and on do not proceed from a disaffec- the ensuing Lord's day publicly tion of heart to the truth ; and dedicated by my parents to the if he finds this to be in any de- holy Trinity in baptism. gree the cause, let him be assu- I have very little remembrance red they will not mitigate his of what passed in the earlier sin in the sight of the glorious part of my childhood, but am inJudge before whom all must formed, I was the subject of soon appear:

much sickness and bodily distress. When about four years of age was brought nigh unto death, but through divine mercy,

was restored to a tolerable state To the Editors of the Connecticut of health. At nine years of age Evangelical Magazine. I left my parents and went to

live with a relation, at the disGENTLEMEN,

tance of seventy miles, with

whom I continued near twelve THE following narrative

years.

While I remained with was handed me, some time since,

my parents I received frequent at my request, for publication, good instructions from my moif it should be thought proper. iher, who, I trust, was a pious I have abbreviated it in some

woman, and believe my mind at parts, and made some small al- that time had a serious turn. teration in the language. It is But after leaving my parent submitted to your perusal ; and I had very little religious instrucif you judge it may be useful, tion. When about 18 years of you will please to give it a place age, through much solicitation, in your entertaining and instruc

my kinsman took me to sea with tive miscellany. I have made him. Having for years past been enquiry concerning the subject, allured by what I thought the and do not learv bụt that he con- charms of a sea-faring life, all slucts agreeable to the character my thoughts were now employof a new creature.

ed in becoming a complete sea

I even looked down on all RESPECTED AND DEAR SIR,

other characters with indiffer

ence. Through the influence of quest, I send you some sketch- bad company on a heart naturales of God's merciful dealingsly clepraved, I now thought of with one of the chief of sinners. little else but how to fulfil the I have looked up to the Father of desires of the flesh, following lights, that he would enable me the example of those who were to give a faithful narrative and older in the school of vice than write what may be for his de- myself. I was guilty of casting clarative glory. In this way I off all fear and restraint, of living would humbly acknowledge the without God in the world, in a infinite debt I owe to divine mer continual abuse of his mercies, cy, and pray that God would I and despising his gracious offers

man.

[ocr errors]

of life and salvation through his call to the rocks and mountains Son. So totally was I sunk in to fall on them, to hide them ignorance, deadness and infideli- from the face of Him who sitteth ty as to be wholly regardless of on the throne, and from the his distinguishing goodness and wrath of the Lamb,” were very kind providential care of me, forcibly impressed on my mind. which had been displayed in A little after sunset I retired multiplied instances of sickness, to rest under the most distressing distress and danger. Such was apprehensions that I should nevthe state of my mind till it pleas- er see another morning—believe ed God to open my eyes to see I slept very little, but was the my baseness and ingratitude, whole night under distracting which covered my face with fears, lest the just vengeance of such shame and confusion that the Almighty should fall upon it seemed to me I never should me. I got up in the morning be permitted to look up again. ashamed to see the light, or any It seemed that my eyes would human being. I seemed to mybe everlastingly fixed in that self more vile than the beasts gulf of misery, so justly fitted to that perish, and even envied a the demerits of those who des- dog, whose situation appeared to pise the mercies of God. This me preferable to mine. was by a light from heaven, This day and the following which surely was above the days, the Spirit of the Lord conbrightness of the sun, shining vinced me of particular sins, into the deepest recesses of my causing me to look back on my heart, and discovering to my past life, showing me that the view its exceeding sinfulness. whole had been one continued

This was on the 23d of June, object of God's goodness and 1789. Having been for near care ; and that one continued three years laboring under se- series of transgressions, iniquivere bodily sickness, and for ties, and sins had been the only some weeks past given over by returns I had made. From this my physician, my disorder baf- view of things I considered myfiing the

power of medicine ad- self justly condemned by God's ministered by the hand of man; holy law, and by my own conit pleased God on this day to science, which was now awakenopen my eyes, to see myself in ed to witness against me. . So all my blood and sins, in all the long had I abused mercy that it depravity of my nature, in all seemed impossible it should ever the horrors of poverty, wretch-be extended to me. I was inedness, misery, blindness, and deed on the borders of despair. nakedness! Finding myself in In this situation of horror and this situation, I would if possible distress, I continued near ten have got away from myself. But days. Much of the time I was the more I strove to get rid of exceedingly hungry, but afraid these distressing feelings the to ask for food, and when I had stronger they grew, and I found it before me, was sometimes myself holden by the cords of afraid to eat; for I saw that eve.

I then began to think ry thing came from the hand of the bible was indeed the word of God and that I was utterly unGod. These words “ They shall I worthy the smallest favor. AR

my sins.

« 前へ次へ »