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wounded, and who alone can heal, very eminently manifest his presence in the midst of them, and now fully prove that he is and will be their Saviour. Oh! that you may hear his voice, amidst the bereaving providence, which He himself hath appointed, speaking to your inmost affection, in a language similar to that, which he once used to his disciples; "What I do, thou knowest not now, but thou shalt know hereafter."
Will My Lord commission me to say a word to his mourners, which Jesus will bless to their consolation? Then would it be to tell dear Mrs. Melvill, that painful as the trial is, had we as much wisdom, and as much love, as our Jesus hath, who appointed it, the very dispensation we now deplore, we ourselves would rejoice in. Jesus cannot mistake, he cannot err, neither can he cease to love, for then he would be no longer Jesus. Believe me, my dear madam, my heart is wounded in the moment I write; and if any feelings are so much alive, what must your's be? Still, my dear friend, the deeper the wound, the richer the balsam required ; the heavier the pressure, the greater the need of some mighty stay to bear up against it. And whom can I propose for either, excepting Jesus, yea, your Jesus, and his Jesus, whose remains you are weeping over, whom he is gone to see, and is now rejoicing with for having called him home, and fully and for ever confirmed that promise, "Where I am, there shall my servant be."
Figure to yourself the dear departed saint, looking down from the mansions of bliss, and beholding those he hath left behind, once so near and dear to him, now bathed in tears; while his happy spirit is in the fulness of joy: would he not say to you, as Jesus his Lord once said to his disciples, "If ye love me, ye would rejoice, because I go to my Father."
What could we propose for him of happiness here below, whose poor deceased and dying frame you so lately saw oppressed with all that burthen of sleepless nights, and sickly sorrowful days, which he then waded through, and is now happily relieved from. On his account surely not a single tear can fall. And why should selfishness induce sorrow for our own? The church hath sustained a loss, it may be said. No, not so; for the church above and the church below is but one. And what hath Jesus done in removing our dear departed friend, but only taken him from the outer court to bring him into the inner temple. He hath housed his precious soul safely in the paradise of God. Now no hissing serpent shall any more destroy his comfort. Jesus called him to himself in words like those of his to his spouse, so that he is gone " beyond the lions' dens, and the mountains of the leopards ;" he is gone to be for ever with the Lord. Hail! blessed Spirit, would I say (would it be permitted, or were it suitable, and proper to congratulate him) "it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom."
For ourselves, for you more especially, to whom this bereavement of the Lord's is particularly directed, I will not say that you have one attraction more to draw you heavenward, for none but Jesus can be the proper object of desire there: but I will say, you have one less to make the world desirable than you had before. May a gracious God in Christ, who hath loosened this cord below, raise your affections to the Lord Jesus above, ''that when Christ your life shall appear, you also, my dear friend, with your departed husband just gone, may appear with him in glory."
Farewell, my dear Mrs. M., let this afflicting dispensation call our spirits more frequently to the throne of grace. I have been with the King on your account, as well as on my own, since I heard of the event. Jesus is a prayer-hearing God; and he is looking on. It was a sweet prayer of poor Hagar's in her distress, " Thou God seest me: (for she said) have I also looked here after him that seeth, and he is looking after me."
I cannot ask a greater blessing for you and vour's, and myself also, than that leaving all creature comforts, we may be resting wholly upon Creator-fulness, and centre every hope, and every joy, where Jehovah centres all his glory, and that is in Jesus. To him I commit you; with him I leave you; and remain,
Your's in him,
Plymouth, October 29, 1811.
(For the Spiritual Mayazine.J
Though a confirmed christian, must be specially stated as such, one who knows the internal part of religion, and sealing work of the Holy Ghost on his own soul, which is not by words, but things of the highest truth, substance, and reality; yet is he not satisfied to know this by spiritual sense, until he can see the same with the furthest evidences of light also to his mind; and have no less a clear and judicious trial of this great mystery of experimental religion, for confirmation of his faith, than to be sensibly affected with the felt power thereof. And, in the first place, why this is necessarily requisite and called for, with respect to the confirmed state of a christian, may be thus considered, on some few grounds.
1. That the things of religion, which must be experienced within time, are such sublime and wonderful mysteries, as may be just matter of astonishment, and make men a wonder to themselves, to think that these present pledges of so great a hope which is to come, are no shadows, no appearances of things, but most sure and undoubted realities ; and that such there are this day in the earth, who know so near a converse with an invisible God, and the supernatural truths of his word, with the sensible feeling of the inestimable love of Christ, by this demonstration of experience; yea, who in such dismal times do assuredly know, what the joy of his presence, and an immediate fellowship with their blessed head is, upon the greatest certainty of trial; since these are so high, and marvellous things, which exceed all natural understanding, as the felt sweetness of their enjoyment should not more deeply take men up, than to see the truth and sureness of these principles whereon they build.
2. Because this testimony of the truth of experimental religion should be understood, not only as it is of highest use for christians' personal comfort and establishment, but with respect to the public interest of the church; a special duty it is to have the credit of this greatest testimony and seal demonstrably cleared, with the furthest strength of harmonious and argumentative reason, for such who look but at a distance yet thereon; which may not only awaken them to some deeper sense and impression hereof, but constrain them to see, how no natural science hath more clear and firm demonstrations than the experimental part of christianity, which is the very life and soul thereof, may have to men's reason and judgment, though they never knew it within themselves. Yea, for this end should such as have experienced the truth and virtue of the gospel, reckon themselves as witnesses, who are judicially obliged to put their seal thereunto; and is now more particularly called for, in an age when no particular truth seems more strongly impugned than the reality of experimental godliness is, and become as a public theme of derision; though men must either quit the whole revelation of the scripture, or see this to be as essential to the constitution of a christian, as vital principles are to a living man.
3. Yea, it is sure herein, that such as take religion to heart, must needs look to be put to the greatest trial of its certainty, and should most early concern themselves, to know if they can abide as firmly by their spiritual sense, as by that which is natural; and do know as surely in themselves the operations and motions of a spiritual life, as that they have being by nature; and that here be no doubtful or abstract notions, but which have had deep trial and reflection on them; that they who dare to venture their eternal state on the known certainty thereof, do reason their souls to a stedfast adherence to the truth, when they are called to sacrifice their lives thereto ; to wit, from the rare experiments and proofs they have oft had of the same in their own trial.
4. It doth more specially call for a demonstrative clearing of the credit of this testimony, as one of the services of religion, to promote the kingdom of Christ amongst men, which seems least improved of any, with respect to the general state of such who are within the church, who are so great strangers to the same; yea, should be judged one of the great wants of this day, when atheism is now at so astonishing a height, that it is not more studied to have the experimental part of religion, (which in itself lies deep and hid, and is a secret betwixt God and the christian's soul,) with such clearness, and by that manner of evidence demonstrated to the world, as might tend to beget some more awful sense and conviction hereof, when such clear and unanswerable grounds might be improved for this end, on those who look thereon, as some strange and dark riddle, so as they could no more deny, or withstand the evidences hereof, than that they have a living soul which yet they never saw ; or could ever be the object of human sense. And, how sad a prospect should this give of the greatest part of the christian world, who not only know nothing of the true glory and spiritual powers of christianity, but have not the very notion, or any sense of the reality of such a thing?
But, in the second place, it is thus, that each christian, for being solidly confirmed in the way of religion, may as clearly see, as he does sensibly feel, the truth of his own experience, and have his faith as fully established by this inward and great demonstration of the things of God, as his affections are quickened, upon such strong and demonstrative grounds of the certainty hereof, as these are,
1. By considering his present and former state; that not in a dream, but in the most deep and serious composure of spirit, he knows that once he was blind, and wholly estranged from this mystery of christian experience, which now he does see; and once had the same sentiment hereof with such who do never at all reflect on the same ; but no sooner did the truth and power of religion seize on his soul, than he found himself entered into a new world, to know the dawnings of this marvellous light, and what belongs to these enjoyments, and vital acts of christianity, that have not the least dependence on any natural cause.
2. By considering the marvellous superstructure of experimental religion, which from the inward observation of christians in all ages, is such as the world could not almost contain the books that might be written hereof; which yet is so entirely founded on one and the same foundation, and does in all the lines of this great circumference, still meet in the same centre ; yea, thus how entire and harmonious a thing religion, in all the parts thereof is within upon the soul, as well as without; so as every step in this way of the experience of the saints is no groping in the dark, but what is by line and by rule, with as sure and demonstrable a connection with the external testimony of the word, as there is in nature, betwixt the cause and the effect; which affords a more wonderful assistance to his faith, than the greatest external miracles could ever do; and though the Spirit of God does sometimes, in an extraordinary manner, reveal himself to men, (as acts of his sovereign prerogative, which make no rule) yet with the established constitutions of his word, does the continued experience of the saints most harmoniously ever Correspond.
Just published, an EXAMINATION of P^EDOBAPTISM, for the Satisfaction of Psedobaptists. By R. H. Carne, A.B.
The SPIRIT of GOD, a Sermon; intended as a Reply to Mr. Mason's Tract on the Holy Spirit. By R. H. Carne, A.B.
An ENQUIRY respecting BAPTISM ; in which the word of man is faithfully tried by the Word of God. By Sylvanus.
The Fair Balance; being three Essays, on General Redemption: Eternal Election : no Decreed Reprobation. By Thomas Jones, Rector of Crealon. Second Edition, \2mo. pp. 130. Seeley.
The first edition of these Essays was puhlished about two years since; but as that did not come to our hands, we feel ourselves called on to notice the present, the more so as it was forwarded with a request that we would give our impartial opinion of them: and as we consider the sentiments advocated by this clergyman to be in strict accordance with the general system of theology advanced and defended by most of those ministers designated evangelical, whether among the episcopalians, or among the dissenters, we shall proceed to make a few observations thereon.
The first Essay is on " General Redemption ;" and in it the writer contends for the sentiment, that the Son of God came into our world, "To open a way for reconciliation, to remove all impediments which stand in the way; that each party may meet the other in peace and love, when they approve and accept of this mediation." That those persons err, " who limit the merits of Christ to the elect only, (and) plead that he redeemed none else, because they read in one scripture that he " laid down his life for his sheep;" while there are numberless scriptures which declare plainly, that he died for the whole
world; that he is come to be the Saviour of the world ; and
that none perish under the gospel, but those that will not come unto him that they might have life." That " whatever dishonour was done to the name, laws, and government of Jehovah, by the sins of mankind, the Mediator restored that honour, hy his obedience unto death."
Mr. Jones, in describing the nature of Christ's undertaking, states, that, "It was to open the way for reconciliation between God and this fallen world—that the work which Christ undertook, was not actually to reconcile God and man, but to open a way for reconciliation: not actually to redeem individual sinners, but to pay down the
price of redemption for all In this sense he is " The Saviour
of the world," and a " Ransom for all."
These, and many other assertions, which our limits will not allow us to quote, furnish this gentleman with his pleas for the doctrine of "General Redemption," or that the redemption effected by Christ extends to every individual of the human race; hence it follows of necessity, that as Christ became incarnate about four thousand years after the creation of this our world, he must have paid down a redemption price for many whose final destinies were actually fixed, and whose immortal spirits were shut up in the pit of perdition, from
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