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portions of your property to your children you think right. If you recover, you can alter it; and if you do not, your mind will be more easy; your life will not be shortened by it, and your relatives will be more satisfied.
Farmer. I have not much to leave.
Mr. C. If you die without a will, your heir will have the greatest portion; the family may not agree in dividing the rest; it may alienate them from each other and occasion lawsuits, which will render it still less.
Farmer. Well, I will consider of it, and see you another day. Mr. C. Your disease is threatning, and the longer you delay, the more painful the task. Indeed, disease, the power of medicine, or sudden death, may prevent your making any will.
Farmer. I will wait a little longer; for I do not believe that I am in danger, as the doctors say. If I could but get rid of this fever, I should recover in spite of all.
Mr. C. Your duty to God-your relations and yourself, urges you to "set your house in order;" but as you resolve to defer it, I must leave it with God and your conscience.
After exhorting him to turn his attention to the word of God, his own heart,-the Saviour, and another world, and commending him to the mercy of God, in solemn prayer, Mr. C. left him.
The second Conversation.
Mr. C. Well, sir, how do I find you this morning?
Farmer. A great deal better; and in a day or two I will settle what we talked of. You shall write my will for me. Mr. C. That I will most readily do, and take it to a respectable attorney.
Farmer. I don't like lawyers: what would it cost?
Mr. C. The cost will not affect you, and I am sure Mr. Solicitor, I shall employ, is a very honourable man. You have employed him to write your conveyance and make your leases; why not to make your will?
Farmer. I cannot endure lawyers nor doctors.
Mr. C. You might as well say you hate Farmers; for there are some of them, as covetous, as dishonest and oppressive, as either lawyers or doctors.
Farmer. I believe so; but I would never trust them.
Mr. C. I do not wish you to trust rogues, liars, or oppressors; but I can find an honourable attorney, and if you object to paying him for the will, your relations will do it.
Farmer. Well, I am exhausted; call the day after to
Mr. C. left him; and after calling several times, he excused himself, as being very ill and drowsy.
The third Conversation.
Mr. C. How have you been since I saw you?
Farmer. Very ill indeed; I once thought I should have died, but I am better.
Mr. C. I am come to see you now as a friend to your soul. Your disease has gained strength. Let us talk of your best interest, the salvation of your soul. You are a guilty creature, and need forgiveness; a depraved creature, and in need of holiness; a weak creature, and without spiritual strength; a lost sinner, and need a Saviour.
Farmer. I have been as honest a man as lives on the earth. Mr. C. But you have been a profane swearer; you have neglected your soul, the sabbath, and your salvation.
Farmer. [A long silence, a deep sigh, and an attempt to compose himself to sleep.]
Mr. C., [taking him by the hand, said,] Sir, "the Son of Man is coming!"
Farmer. Do you think I am in danger?
Mr. C. Yes, sir; "in such an hour as you think not, the Son of Man cometh."
Farmer. I am obliged to you; but your thinking death near does not make it so.
Mr. C. True, sir; and your contrary opinion will not prevent death's approach.
Farmer. Then I must prepare myself for it.
Mr. C. You cannot prepare yourself. You must look to God, who can "take away your stony heart, and give you a heart of flesh." God alone can create in you a clean heart, and renew a right spirit within you. This, sir, is a great change, for "a man to be born again when he is old." And it is a necessary change, for the Saviour hath said, "except a man be born again, be born of the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God." Without this change of heart, there is no repentance, no faith in Christ, no" holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord."
Farmer. I cannot do any thing now.
Mr. C. You have been an awful blasphemer. I know a respectable tradesman, who heard you pour forth such horrid
blasphemies, that, after ordering his liquor, he left the room of the inn and his liquor, and never more entered it, saying, it seemed the borders of hell.
[The farmer feigned himself asleep.]
Mr. C. I have told you what God declares the one thing needful: what do you think? You have risen early, and been very industrious to get money and keep it. This has been your "one thing needful." What do you now think of it? To what does all your toil amount?
Farmer. Ask those boys in the field before the house, who have been all day flying their kites. They rose and came down. The boys were amused, and went home tired. Thus it has been with me: I have been flying a kite all my life!— Call again.
Mr. C. One thing is needful-to prepare you for death and heaven :-let us pray for it. After again commending him to the sovereign mercy of God, Mr. C. left him.
The fourth Conversation.
Mr. C., hearing at ten in the evening that the farmer was much worse, paid him another visit that evening.
Mr. C. You are gently convulsed; this is something like "the coming of the Son of Man.”
Farmer. Yes, it is: and, with a faultering voice, said, I must do as well as I can.
His lips moved for two or three minutes, as if repeating a short prayer. His convulsions increased, and he died next morning.
It is the opinion of some persons, whose lives are the fruit of unbelief, that if, at last, they can but repeat the Lord's Prayer, all will be well. I fear this was the farmer's thought.
How awful and pitiable such characters! How fatal is the influence of the love of money, and the love of the world! It blinds the understanding, hardens the heart, absorbs the attention, and chains the mind to perishing objects. The mind is amused, engrossed, enslaved, and affords a striking illustration of the Apostle's description of a fallen soul, under "the power of darkness!" What force does such an instance give to the Apostle's exhortation-"Take heed, lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of your sin !"
ON THE DEATH OF WILLIAM HUNTINGDON.
The newspaper informs me that William Huntingdon is
"Some say he was a good man; others, nay, but he deceived the people." It is difficult to form an impartial opinion of this extraordinary man.
Ignorance and prejudice decide against him, from mere report. The proud scholar envied his popularity, and spake evil of him. Those whose society he avoided, despised him, as conceited. Many were offended with his decisions on their characters. His blunt address gave offence to numbers. The moderate Calvinist and the Arminian called him an Antinomian. Some, who once worshipped him as God, now say, "he hath a devil; why hear ye him?"
He has said to me, "I choose to be as a sparrow on the house-top;" familiarity breeds contempt; I will never visit more than fifty of my people; the less I visit them, the more they respect me.
This was another secret cause of the aversion of many.
But his sentiments of ministers, as unconverted, legal, lazy, borrowing each other's discourses, aping the fashions, cautioning their hearers against him, contributed most to multiply enemies. Besides this, he confessed to me, that when he preached in any place, his aim was to form a contrast to the minister in his preaching. If the minister was practical, he was doctrinal: if the minister was a doctrinal preacher, he was practical. This I have observed in his preaching, and his advice to preachers, in his "Arminian Skeleton," agrees with his practice. This occasioned, in many, a preference to him, which excited jealousy and divisions. If ministers had endeavoured to excel him in his own way for a time, instead of railing against him as a minister (I know one who always did so), no division would have followed. But when the hearers observed the jealousy of their minister, they were confirmed in their opinion of his pre eminence, in proportion as it was attempted to prove him a man without any excellence.
He had many faults, and was not without his excel-, lences. He was, perhaps, vain of his low origin, his popularity, and the numbers that owned themselves his converts,
especially when he compared himself with many ministers of education, who had small congregations and little success.
Perhaps, too, he made himself the centre of divine operations, as if God was principally engaged in punishing his enemies and favouring his friends. If he was in want, something like a miracle was wrought to supply him. If he was opposed, divine vengeance was sure to overtake his enemies, "God's bow was made quite naked," to strike them. If he preached, six or ten "were laid at his feet" as converts; or many who were in bondage were, for the first time, brought into the liberty of the Gospel. If he foretold the destiny of a froward man, "his words never fell to the ground."
In his own opinion, he was a standard preacher. If the people he esteemed approved any other preacher, he then affirmed, that preacher "followed his rays;" in his light they saw light. This I have heard from his lips.
His natural temper was rough, and he always claimed the. right of speaking his mind, which often gave offence. His language was harsh, and his words bitter towards those who differed from him; and when those who lent him money without interest, requested payment, he has abused them, and withdrawn his friendship from them.
He indulged his opposition to particular persons in the pulpit, and used spiritual weapons against them in his own spirit. The same spirit perverted the meaning of authors in their writings, and led him to pass sentence against the innocent, and impute errors to his opponents which they abhorred.
By this conduct he sowed discord among brethren, occasioned divisions in churches, and removed ministers from their flocks by creating prejudice against them. In explaining scripture, he often substituted sound for sense; forced a text to speak his mind, rather than the mind of God; and was positive in cases extremely doubtful. His sermons and writings abound in self-contradiction, and all delivered and written with an air of infallibility. "Now I'll give you the mind of the Holy Ghost, the very bowels of the text," were his expressions. And although he exclaimed against commentators, he read them; and I have heard him detail good
He was vain-glorious in conversation, in his sermons, and books. All related to his experience, his success, the confusion of his enemies, and the favour of God to him. Providence seemed chiefly concerned in all he did and said. Nor was he less vain of his singular experience as a standard.