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The Calvinist occupies one portion of ground, and the Arminian another; and God, in blessing their labours, answers the purpose of his grace, and displays his manifold wisdom. Each society stimulates the other to useful exertions. Thus "Christ is preached" more extensively; and whilst different communities seek the salvation of man, by increasing their own societies, God fulfils the good pleasure of his will in calling sinners to repentance and faith in Christ.
Fourthly. The erroneous societies, which degrade the Saviour by false doctrines, or corrupt practice, prove a trial to the upright Christian, excite his diligence and gratitude, and prove judicial to those who seek teachers after their own lusts. Under a spiritual dispensation, God may punish hypocrites by sentiments and practices which "try their spirits." Thus Providence, in unison with revelation, asks the question, and answers it, by the conversation and conduct of men "What THINK ye of Christ?" And "the thoughts of many hearts are revealed." One is indifferent to sentiment, and another reads, hears, inquires, prays, fears, and examines, "What is truth?”
D. Your Bible is an infringement on my liberty; and you know liberty is a tender thing.
C. True rich and poor,-the fashionable world and the vulgar, "claim the liberty of ruining themselves." They take the liberty of calling lewdness, gallantry; and support this offspring of lawless passion, by public amusements, assemblies, theatres, and masquerades. If these polite hypocrites will vindicate revenge as proper spirit, and stamp humility with the name of meanness, and censure those as fanatics, who say lust is not love; that pride and ambition do not constitute greatness of mind-let not these gentlemen and ladies call themselves Christians, that is, imitators of Christ. “Deceiving, and being deceived," they hold fast the sweet delusion, that sin is harmless, and determine to live as they hope to die: -that is to live and die without thinking.
A Deist, or infidel, laughs at the principles his parents implanted in his mind; and calls them the prejudices of education; he often professes himself to be an Infidel, before he believes his own errors to be true. He loves infidelity, because it sets him at liberty from the restraints of the Bible. In company, he stifles his convictions; but sighs and is miserable when alone. In company, his inclinations rule him; when alone, his conscience disturbs him. "At night, -in his chamber,-in the dark,-in a storm of thunder,like a child, he feels and trembles."
He boasts of his sincerity in rejecting the Bible: declares he does not believe it, and to avoid hypocrisy, he will not profess to believe it. But an infidel is not so free from hypocrisy as he may appear to be, to himself. He can avow
an attachment to the Bible to obtain a wife with a fortune -to obtain customers,-to raise himself to office and power: and when his object is attained, throw off the mask, and appear the infidel. To gain a rich relation, and obtain a legacy;-to please a minister of state, and to secure a place; or to gain his election by pleasing the voters, he can profess faith in the Bible. Are not these instances of hypocrisy? A young Deist paid his addresses to an amiable and pious young woman. She objected to his infidelity. He assured her his sentiments were changed,-attended the same place of worship for nine months, changed his company and conduct, and gained his object. After marriage, he neglected his Bible, and the house of God, and devoted the sabbath to dissipation.
A second, solicitous to enjoy a place under government,went to church, took the sacrament, obtained an office; and then disputed the truth of the Bible.
A third professed himself an infidel, after securing a minister's favour; professed himself a Christian to his successor; succeeded in his pursuit, and wrote an essay against the Bible.
A fourth, who was an apothecary, anxious to gain the credit and profit of attending a respectable family, professed to admire Dr. Doddridge's Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul; and to his brethren in infidelity, laughed at the credulity of the family he had deceived by his hypocrisy.
A fifth, assured a minister of the gospel that his preaching had opened his eyes to see the folly and danger of infidel principles; spoke highly of religion to his religious patients, and when ridiculed by his deistical companions, said, “ I am the same man; but find it profitable to save appearances."
A sixth instance of the hypocrisy of Deists appeared in a banker, who was addicted to intemperance, gaming, and unchaste conversation. These were his words: "I profess to examine the Bible, and hope to feel conviction of its truth, if it really be a revelation from God: but as I sincerely desire to be right, I am sure you will rather pity than blame me if I am wrong. If I am impartial in examining the Bible, what can I do more?" All this was said to Christians. But at the card table, he said, "I am afraid to read the Bible,
The Calvinist occupies one portion of gror a Bible for minian another; and God, in blessing the .ng that would the purpose of his grace, and displays' nk about it: and Each society stimulates the other to
me, I get off by po
"Christ is preached" more extensi m have their own way communities seek the salvation or the best. What can own societies, God fulfils the calling sinners to repentance Fourthly. The errone viour by false doctrine the upright Christiar prove judicial to
ing in public contrariety to the reject the Old Testament, and New Testament." To him I replied; stament is a superstructure on the Old lusts. Under a prophecies, and promises of the Old utilled in the New Testament.
crites by senti
ps and Prophets.
appeals to the Old for confirmation of its contents. y cannot be explained without the other. The Testament appeals to the five books of Moses-the a pleasing falsehood-a luscious lie, by which others. The restraints of revelation being removed, he inSatan deceives the unbeliever, and tempts him to deceive dulges his favourite passion:
Deism is a
"His chief, his ruling principle within,
The love of sweet security in sin."
the narrow way," should, after all, find that " it leadeth unto If the real Christian, by entering "the straight gate into life," the Deist is seeking heaven by way of hell and in contradiction to Christ, his creed reads as follows,-" straight is the gate and narrow is the way that leadeth to destruction; and nobody there is who goes in thereat. Because wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth unto life: and all they be who find it."
"All men but saints, it seems, to heaven may rise,
All roads but faith in Christ, may reach the skies?"
Deism promotes the indulgence of sin, by removing restraint it is all for present interest. A sail without compass or shore.
An old apothecary, who attended me in my illness, and who was an avowed Deist, lewd in practice and prophane in conversation, the bottle and card table his delight, used to ridicule religion. Attending me in a disorder which he deemed incurable, he assured me that twenty-four hours would determine my fate. "If ever you find yourself," doctor, said I,
similar condition, may you enjoy, as I do, the knowthe only way to God, by faith in a Mediator." He I never talk of religion to any person, and I hope no ntion it to me.'
CONVERSATION IN A STAGE COACH.
To show the ignorance of men, who profess to believe the gospel of Christ, which they do not understand, and their enmity to good men, who both understand and enjoy it, and live under its influence, I will relate part of a conversation I once had with a Clergyman of the Church of England. Riding together in the stage coach from London to Maidenhead, our conversation turned upon the slave-trade. We were ignorant of each other. The clergyman said, the abolition of it would be injurious to the slaves and to England. As I remained silent a little time, he imagined that I thought upon the subject as he did. But, sir,' said he, I do not wonder at the investigation of the subject, for it is well known that Mr. Wilberforce is a Methodist.' If he is a Methodist,' said I, there is nothing wonderful in his zeal against the slave-trade. I have often heard of the Methodists; pray, sir, what do you think of them?' think of them?' Think of them, sir,' replied the clergyman, 'O, they are a set of ignorant, wild enthusiasts; they are always pleading for faith without works; I have a number of them in my parish, and they are a very troublesome people. To this I replied, truly, sir, you have done the Methodists an honour, in saying that Mr. Wilberforce is one of them. But I cannot reconcile your assertion with facts. You say, Mr. Wilberforce is an ignorant" man. Now, if Mr. W. is destitute of good sense, what must the thousands of inhabitants of Yorkshire be, who have chosen him for their representative? And how could he compose so admirable a speech against the slave-trade-a speech admired by men of the first talents in the House of Commons? I have read the speech, and do not recollect any proof of ignorance. And as to his being a "wild enthusiast," I assure you that Mr. W. regularly attends the Church of England, where the gospel is preached-he lives in the practice of family worship-he is a very upright man in his dealings-is very kind to the distressed-and his zeal against slavery, is a strong proof that his religion has refined his humanity.'
Perhaps,' resumed he, you are a Methodist, sir!' Indeed, sir,' said I, according to your remarks, it is my honour, if I am; for if Mr. W. is a Methodist, then a Methodist is one who, believing in Jesus Christ as his Saviour from the curse, guilt and power of sin; adjusts his temper and conduct, in public and private life, by the word of God; and thus, though he expects salvation without works, his faith produces them. If this is Methodism, sir, may I live and die a Methodist! Now, sir, you say the Methodists who live in your parish, trouble you: but why should you be troubled? unless they live better than you preach. A good man, sir, is generally a trouble to a bad man; especially to a worldly clergyman-for the same reason that righteous Abel was troublesome to Cain, because Cain's works were evil and his brother's righteous. If you knew Christ and preached Christ, then Methodists, so far from troubling you would be your greatest comforters.""
Upon this, he pulled out a newspaper from his pocket and desired me to desist, or he would quit the coach. I mildly answered, that, as he had begun by a railing accusation against Mr. Wilberforce and the Methodists, I had endeavoured to convince him that he knew not the meaning of the term Methodist, and that he had borne false witness against his neighbour, and that a God of truth and justice would never be pleased by fixing a name of reproach on a good man, whose faith in Christ, led him to imitate Christ-nor would a just God accept of railing against them from a clergyman, or his blind hearers, who depised them.
"Sir,' he hastily replied, I'll leave coach.' 'Happily for you sir,' said I, 'you are not my slave. This is the land of liberty, and he who prefers to ride upon the top of a coach rather than within, may be accommodated."
"Reader-Do you think, that slander is justice to a man, because your pride and self-denial and persecution, calls him a Methodist? or can it be pleasing to the " God of truth," because it gratifies your enmity? Do not you often rail and laugh against men who fear God, when your conscience condemns you for it? And repeat things against them, the truth of which you do not believe? And "shall not God search this out, who judgeth the secrets of the heart?" You may cover your sins for a season; but the day of reckoning approaches; you must soon hear your own conscience pro