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THE HONOURABLE AND PIOUS
OF A TRUE PENITENT; EXEMPLIFIED IN THE CASE OF MRS. ELIZABETH JACKSON. BEFORE THE CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH, IN WILLIAMSTOWN, VERMONT ; AND THE BAP. TIST CHURCH, IN SAID TOWN-June 3, 1805.
By request of fome of my pious friends, who are cordially engaged for the promotion of religious truth, I state the following facts refpecting Mrs. JACKSON ; and attest the truth of her Letter, including her confession, which she sent to the Elder and Baptist Church, where she received her baptism by immersion.
Mrs. JACKSON, with her husband, are persons of decent abilities, and approved piety ; they were both received into the Congregational Church, in Petersham, in Massachusetts; they, a few years ago, removed to Williamstown, in the state of Vermont, where they have since lived ; and have supported a good and regular christian character. They have constantly attended divine worship, with their congregational brethren, when favoured with preaching ; but at other times, especially upon week days, have attended the ministration of the Baptifts. In the latter part of the past winter, and in the spring following, the people's attention was much excited in religious concerns, and preaching and conferences, were frequent-especially among the baptists. Mrs. JACKSON's mind became unusually affected and folemn. At their meeting for examinations and for baptisms, she gave evidence of great anxiety of mind, by sighs and tears. Upon being asked the cause of her great distress, she replied, “ I am troubled about baptism.” — It is to be noted, that she had been, more than a year be. fore this, by the conversation of a baptist, much confused in her mind, and almost persuaded to give up her infant baptism. The question was then put unto her, whether she did not feel it her privilege to go into the water, and be baptized ? Her reply was, that she did not, then. But by the expressions of zeal and affection, or through the multiplicity of words, with which she was surrounded, fhe not only consented to the ordinance, but received it then, and was received in fellowship with the baptist brethren.
AFTER being sensible she had taken a wrong step, she requested a conference with them ; that the path of her duty might be made clear, and fearing left she should make bad worse, and thereby increase the injury she had done the cause of Christ. But, in conversation with them, she became more established, that duty called her to appear in the congregation of God's people, and exhibit her feelings and views of the nature of her pait conduct. She freely presented to me the confession, and desired me to read it in public ; which was done upon the first sabbath of June, 1805.
If I can judge, in such cases, she gave good ev. idence of godly sincerity and brokenness of heart, whenever I had opportunity of conversation with her upon the subject. She is a person of an amiable mind, as to her natural temper ; and has a good understanding in the great truths of the gospel; and is far from any enthufiasm or constitu. tional unsteadiness of mind--but appears, in general, to deliberate well on whatever she does.
LATHROP THOMPSON. .
Williamstown, June 3, 1805. REVEREND AND BELOVED,
LIZABETH JACKSON, take this early opportunity to let you, my brethren and life ters of the baptist denomination, usually meeting on the East hill, (so called) know what I have done, and my reasons for thus doing.
AFTER I had received baptisin, in your way, and on seeing my infant child, and calling to mind my covenant vows, in giving up myself to God, and to his Congregational Church in Petersham, and in giving up my children in baptifin; by each and ev. ery of these transactions, I put my own hand (in faith, I trust to the holy feal of Baptism, which my parents first put upon me, in my infancy; and made that baptism my own, by the act of faith which I hope, God, by his gracious Spirit, gave me, a poor, undone finner, before I visibly covenanted with my God, and his holy people. I
I SAY, reflecting upon what I had done when among you, my dear christian friends, I had no rest
nor comfort, night nor day 'till I was brought to confess my finful folly ; and loathe myself for my shameful departure from my God, and for the violation of his holy covenant, which I had trified with and trampled upon.
When I had sorrowed and wept, with broken. ness of heart, in secret; and had confessed my wicked departure from my God, by breaking his holy covenant before his people, among whom I love to worship, I found a fweet peace return to my soul, which had been a stranger to my breast, for weeks.
THE Confeffion I' made public yesterday, I will now transcribe to you ; and wish it may be read publicly among you. I ask your forgiveness. Oh! beloved, pray for me! who am less than the least of all God's mercies.
My Confeffion now follows: “In my infancy I was dedicated to God, in baptifm, by my parents : and when I had arrived to adult years, (as I humbly hope) I was brought to embrace that righteoufnefs of faith in Christ Jesus, of which water baptism is an outward feal; and professing, publicly, this niy faith, and entering into covenant with God's people, I think I undere standingly took my infant baptism, and made it my own act; and thus acknowledged the same faith which my parents did, and of which the baptism I had already received, and in my personal dedication renewed, was an outward feal.
“ But, afterwards, having some suggestions of. fered, as though what my parents had done could not answer my duty for myself; I was, for a time, considerably tried upon the subject.