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DURING the course of the past year, several in
stances occurred, of a nature so pleasing, as to excite in us, whenever we reflect on them, the most lively fenfations of gratitude and joy.
Many individuals; justly concluding that nothing would more effectually strengthen our hands, and encourage us to go forward, than a certainty of our labours having been accompanied with a divine bleffing, have favoured us with letters kindly acknowledg, ing benefits derived from the work in general, and particularly from pieces for which we ourselves are under special obligations to some of our valuable. correspondents.
The circulation of our pamphlet, though always Large from its very commencement, has been lately -increasing; a circumstance which we mention with the greatest humility and thankfulness, and which we presume, will justify a hope that the favourable opinion of the public at large is by no means diminihed.
The vacancy in the stated list of contributors, oca casioned by the voluntary secession of one, and the much-lamented death of another, has been readily and advantageously supplied by other gentlemen, in number more, in talents and character not less respectable. VOL. IV.
But in no one instance has God more evidently manifested his--approbation of our endeavours, -than in making them, in some measure, subservient to the formation of the MISSIONARY SOCIETY; an institution fatal to bigotry, but friendly to brotherly love, and pregnant, we trust, with blessings to the latest posterity,
Whatever asistance we may be able to render in future, the Society may freely command. The members which compose it we highly respect; its object we cordially approve. It is, therefore, intitled to our best wishes : And, with the same solicitude as we waited the happy moment to announce its birth, shall we survey its rising form, and mark its various steps : All its operations we will faithfully report, and exulo in every opportunity of recording its success.
A bright day will surely arrive, when the Sun of Righteousness will arise upon Jew and Gentile, every-where, with healing under his wings. Good men in every age have made it the subječt of their prayers, and anticipated the joy and gladness it must infallibly diffuse.' Blessed be God! many, still actuated by the same spirit of grace and supplication, assemble, at stated periods, to pray for the enlargement of the Redeemer's kingdom. Their example is worthy, of imitation : And we sincerely hope, before the conclusion of the present year, a plan, similar to that recommended by President Edwards, will be universally adopted by Ministers and churches of all deno. minations.
For JANUARY, 1796.
A REMARKABLE EXPERIENCE.
[In a Letter to the Rev. Mr. Newton.] MY DEAR AND Rev. Sir, I AM deep in your debt for a train of favours, for which
I have often thanked you, and still a grateful rememme brance is retained. I cannot give a greater proof of my confidence, than by committing to your trust a brief detail of my late extraordinary case and cure, This I promised to do in a former letter, saying that my main intention was by it to capacitate you still more for speaking apropos to the case of distressed, disturbed minds, as they came in your way--my motive is not altered.
I am not very anxious whether friends may judge me a believer or not previous to my furnace state : But I have no freedom myself in calling it in question. If not a believer, I was greatly mistaken indeed; surely I ate bread of which the world are ignorant --at least I think so. awakened by the testimony of Jesus---after a term of terror, was comforted by the doctrine of a Saviour. Perhaps I attained to the stature of A in Omicron ;. I am.cora tain I thought sp.
My knowledge of downright believing was exceeding scanty; my hopes were too. easily raised or sunk in proportion to the fineness or agreeableness of my in ward feel, ings on the one hand, and their dulness or disagreeablevess on the other. I was not fully instructed in the unchangeableness of the divine veracity and love. I mean no reflection against my teachers, but only against my own perception of the truths revealed and taught. I read the Bible; but my mind was not sufficiently opened, simply to receive what it taught me, without intermixing fancied trash of my own. I knew some of my cotemporary brethren were in the same
predicament, if language has an affixed meaning. Thet spoke like mne---so I suppose they felt like me. But waving this, the length 1 afterwards went, in secret dedeparture from the God of Abraham, was great! As a singular monument of the super-abounding riches of savinig, sovereign, redeeming mercy, I say what follows :
My falling away was gradual, like the declension froin noon to night. I think the decay of comfort in secret prayer was the first bad symptom which made its appearanee. This ruffled me for a while, but it soon became familiar as a companion, and caused little uneasiness. I had pleasure in attending the administration of the word for a long time after this took place ; and when this, in a great degree, abated, my profession dwindled into formality. All along I had a regard for the truly godly, associated withi none else; these were the men of my councils. For a considerable time I had little heart for attending private societies of Chris: tians, and was pleased when apparently good excuse presented for non-attendance, though, ipon the whole, I was one of the most regular attendants on the meetings of which I was a member. I am relating facts, so must not accuse myself except where guilty. At this time I knew I was doing wrong, and lazily wished I had a heart to do better, but had no resolution to prosecute my desire.
In my worst situation I had a keen desire to be useful to others; and I cannot say it was wholdy from selfish motives. I had often an opportunity of visiting the sick and the dying, but seldom possessed a proper spirit or frame for talking to them in a way consonant to their case. Though the poor creatures might seem on the frontiers of eternity; no sympathizing emotion would arise---dumbness would seize me---I could not speak.- I could not pray. I lost much of my teverence for the Sabbath---found the commandment to sanctify it, had no internal restraint upon my mind. I began to use freedoms with it---to talk about news, or some occurrence which my judgment told me tvas unsuitable coniversation for such an occasion. This did me great injury--defacing all that the word had effected, and throwing me open to a thousand temptations through the week.
I always had a value for real religion, judging those alone happy who possessed it, and would have given a world to be like-minded with thein ; but the influences of the Spirit are not to be bought with money.
For a long time I only considered myself a Cliristian under backsliding---indeed I had partial recoveries. But