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word of God; but such exclamations are too common, with many who profess to know the gospel, when the sovereign honors of that gospel are fully asserted, and faithfully vindicated against the prevalence of pharisaical pride. However, the writer of this paper, not pretending to be in the secret of God's decrees, has no fel. lowship with those who talk of preaching the gospel to none but the elect; nor with those who declaim about the doctrines of grace in a style that encourages the hope of a dispensation from duty. But, deeply convinced, that pharisaical pride is not less the bane of the gospel than practical Antinomianism, he would call the attention of your numerous readers to this momentous truth, That the most accurate and perfeci performance of religious duties, affords no more hope of salvation than the most daring and desperate of crimes.
To those who ask, in Scripture language, “What must we do to be saved?”-in scripture language we reply, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and thou shalt be saved." Here the "experimental knowledge of the gospel salvation” must take its date. From hence the spiritual and acceptable performance of duty must take its rise. Our obedience and our happiness are commensurate with our believing: they are the inseparable companions and essential consequences of it. The true believer, therefore, does not derive his experience from his duties, but his zeal in duty from his experience. His faith in Christ, and his sense of the infinite love of Christ, keep him low at his feet, powerfully animate him in his service and unspeakably exalt him in communion with his glory. All other experience is delusion, all other zeal in the performance of duty is either hypocrisy or pharisaism. ON THE CONVERSION OF ST. PAUL. In Acts ix. 7, we are informed, That the men who jour
nied with Saul towards Damascus, “heard the voice, but saw no man;" and in chap. xxii. 9, Saul himself, relating this miraculous event says, “They that were with me saw indeed the light, but heard not the voice." How are these texts reconcileable?.
ANSWER. The semblance of contradiction in these two accounts of the miracle at the conversion of Paul, will vanish, if it be considered that it is no uncommon event to hear the sound of a speaker's voice, yet to be unable to distinguish the articulate words. This was undoubtedly the case with Saul's associates. It is also not improbable, that an awful sound, resembling thunder, preceded the words addressed to Saul, and intelligibly heard only by him. An instance very similar occurs in John xü. 28, 29, “There came a voice from heaven,” &c. “Then the multitude which stood by and heard, said, that it thundered; others said, an angel spake to him.” If these persons, who were calmly standing by, were unable to distinguish the words spoken from heaven, what a much greater suspension of faculties must have oce curred in the minds of men, who saw their leader actually struck to the ground by the terror of what they saw and heard!
The fact then was this, The companions of Saul heard a most awful sound, and beheld a divinely majestic splendor; the effect of which was such, that they were fixed speechless and insensible (évvedi) on the place. They, therefore, neither heard the words spoken, nor saw the glorious person who uttered them.
ON A CALL TO THE MINISTRY.
To the Editor. SIR, It would relieve the mind of a youth from much anxiety
respecting his call to the work of the ministry, if some of your able correspondents would lay down a few plain, scriptural evidences a person ought to possess before he enters into that solemn work. The insertion of this in your valuable Miscellany, will much oblige, Sir, yours in the best bonds,
It cannot be expected that any persons, in the present day, should receive so remarkable a call to the work of the ministry as did the apostles and first preachers of the gospel; yet, doubtless, the same Divine Spirit, by whom they were raised up and qualified, still furnishes chosen vessels, with suitable gifts; and powerfully influences them to desire this sacred office. As, however, they who are thus designated by the Spirit of God, are not usually certified of it by any extraordinary discovery of the Divine will, and may, for a time, remain in much perplexity as to their call, it becomes an interesting inquiry, How may such a call be known to the subject of it? I conceive the following to be satisfactory evidences:
1. True devotedness of heart to God; a desire to live, not for the purpose of self-gratification, but of honoring and glorifying God in every possible way.
2. A deep concern for the immortal interests of men; heartfelt grief on observing the indifference of the greater part of mankind, with respect to their eternal
interests; and an earnest desire to be instrumental in rousing them to a sense of their danger, and directing them to Christ, the Savior of sinners!
3. Great delight in reading and studying the sacred Scriptures, with a disposition to apply diligently to those pursuits which tend to qualify for the arduous engagement of instructing others.
4. A public spirit in religion; a lively concern for the advancement and prosperity of the Redeemer's kingdom in the world at large.
5. A steady, earnest desire to be engaged in the Christian ministry, in preference to every other employment, accompanied with a deep sense of unworthiness of the honor, and inability for the discharge of the duties of it, without Divine assistance.
6. A sincere endeavor to know the will of God res. pecting it, making it the matter of earnest prayer, and practising close and repeated self-examination.
7. The approbation of pious and judicious friends, who are competent judges of ministerial talents, and who encourage the person to devote himself to the work; especially the countenance of experienced ministers.
CALL TO FILL PARTICULAR SITUATIONS.
“How may we determine a call in providence to fill up any particular situation?” To which it may be briefly replied: 1st, It is necessary that the station or em. ployment called to, be in its own nature lawful: i. e. Such as may be engaged in with a good conscience, is not forbidden by the word of God, and which does not
necesssarily lead to sin: “for, as God cannot be tempted to evil; neither tempteth he any man." 2nd, To make such a call clear, there should be found a natural fitness in the subject, to whatsoever he is called. Modesty, it is true, may sometimes conceal from our view our own talents, as in the case of Moses, when called to lead Israel; yet, to the sincere inquirer, providence seldom fails to make the way straight. “The way of the slothful man is an hedge of thorns; but the way of the righteous is made plain." It may be considered rather a temptation than a call in providence, for a man to attempt what he knows, or ought to know, he is naturally unequal to.. 3rd, The advice of godly judicious friends may help to clear up our views of a special call in providence. Jealousy in one's own mind of such advice, as unfavorable to our wishes, creates a suspicion that the subject would direct, not follow, the cloud. "In the multitude of counsellors there is safety.” 4th, It sometimes throws a light upon a call, and determines it to have proceeded from the Lord, that it presents itself to us while we are walking with God in a path of duty. Gideon was threshing corn, when he was summoned by the angel to deliver Israel; and most of the apostles of Christ were at their respective occupations when called to the work of the ministry. A man who is heartily inclined to pursue his present calling, will seldom be found to quit it for aliother, until the way be made tolerably plain. 5th, We
take it to be a call of God to any situation, when the matter presenting itself appears in answer to
The call in some cases may be totally Uuea pocied, and unlouked for; yet finding us in a de