« السابقةمتابعة »
DURING the courfe of the past year, feveral inftances occurred, of a nature fo pleafing, as to excite in us, whenever we reflect on them, the most lively fenfations of gratitude and joy.
Many individuals, juftly concluding that nothing would more effectually ftrengthen our hands, and encourage us to go forward, than a certainty of our labours having been accompanied with a divine bleffing, have favoured us with letters kindly acknowledging benefits derived from the work in general, and particularly from pieces for which we ourfelves are under fpecial obligations to fome of our valuable. correfpondents.
The circulation of our pamphlet, though always large from its very commencement, has been lately increafing; a circumstance which we mention with the greatest humility and thankfulness, and which we prefume, will justify a hope that the favourable opinion of the public at large is by no means diminished.
The vacancy in the ftated lift of contributors, oc cafioned by the voluntary feceffion of one, and the much-lamented death of another, has been readily and advantageously fupplied by other gentlemen, in number more, in talents and character not lefs refpectable.
But in no one inftance has God more evidently manifefted his approbation of our endeavours, than in making them, in fome measure, fubfervient to the formation of the MISSIONARY SOCIETY; an institution fatal to bigotry, but friendly to brotherly love, and pregnant, we truft, with bleflings to the latest posterity,
Whatever affiftance we may be able to render in future, the Society may freely command. The members which compofe it we highly refpect; its object we cordially approve. It is, therefore, intitled to our best wishes: And, with the fame folicitude as we waited the happy moment to announce its birth, fhall we furvey its rifing form, and mark its various fteps: All its operations we will faithfully report, and exult in every opportunity of recording its fuccefs.
A bright day will furely arrive, when the Sun of Righteoufnefs will arife upon Jew and Gentile, every-where, with healing under his wings. Good men in every age have made it the fubject of their prayers, and anticipated the joy and gladness it muft infallibly diffufe. Bleffed be God! many, ftill a&tuated by the fame fpirit of grace and fupplication, affemble, at ftated periods, to pray for the enlargement of the Redeemer's kingdom. Their example is worthy of imitation: And we fincerely hope, before the conclufion of the present year, a plan, fimilar to that recommended by Prefident Edwards, will be univerfally adopted by Minifters and churches of all deno.
FOR JANUARY, 1796.
A REMARKABLE EXPERIENCE.
MY DEAR AND REV. SIR,
AM deep in your debt for a train of favours, for which I have often thanked you, and still a grateful remembrance is retained. I cannot give a greater proof of my confidence, than by committing to your trust a brief detail of my late extraordinary case and cure, This I promised to do in a former letter, saying that my main intention was by it to capacitate you still more for speaking apropos to the case of distressed, disturbed minds, as, they came in your way--my motive is not altered.
I am not very anxious whether friends may judge me a believer or not previous to my furnace state: But I have no freedom myself in calling it in question. If not a believer, I was greatly mistaken, indeed; surely I ate bread of which the world are ignorant --at least I think so. I was awakened by the testimony of Jesus---after a term of terror, was comforted by the doctrine of a Saviour. Perhaps I attained to the stature of A in Ómicron; I am:certain I thought so. !
My knowledge of downright believing was exceeding scanty; my hopes were too easily raised or sunk in proportion to the fineness or agreeableness of my inward feelings on the one hand, and their dulness or disagreeableness on the other. I was not fully instructed in the unchangeableness of the divine veracity and love. I mean no reflection against my teachers, but only against my own perception of the truths revealed and taught. I read the Bible; but my mind was not sufficiently opened, simply to receive what it taught me, without intermixing fancied trash of my own. I knew some of my cotemporary brethren were in the same
predicament, if language has an affixed meaning. They spoke like me--- so I suppose they felt like me. But waving this, the length I afterwards went, in secret dedeparture from the God of Abraham, was great! As a singular monument of the super-abounding riches of saving, sovereign, redeeming mercy, I say what follows:
My falling away was gradual, like the declension from noon to night. I think the decay of comfort in secret prayer was the first bad symptom which made its appearance. This ruffled me for a while, but it soon became familiar as a companion, and caused little uneasiness. I had pleasure in attending the administration of the word for a long time after this took place; and when this, in a great degree,. abated, my profession dwindled into formality. All along I had a regard for the truly godly, associated with none else; these were the men of my councils. For a considerable time I had little heart for attending private societies of Christians, and was pleased when apparently good excuse presented for non-attendance, though, upon the whole, I was one of the most regular attendants on the meetings of which I was a member. I am relating facts, so must not accuse myself except where guilty. At this time I knew I was doing wrong, and lazily wished I had a heart to do better, but had no resolution to prosecute my desire.
In my worst situation I had a keen desire to be useful to others; and I cannot say it was wholly from selfish I had often an opportunity of visiting the sick and the dying, but seldom possessed a proper spirit or frame for talking to them in a way consonant to their case. Though the poor creatures might seem on the frontiers of eternity; no sympathizing emotion would arise--dumbness would seize me---I could not speak---I could not pray. I lost much of my reverence for the Sabbath---found the commandment to sanctify it, had no internal restraint upon my mind. I began to use freedoms with it---to talk about news, or some occurrence which my judgment told me was unsuitable con versation for such an occasion. This did me great injury--defacing all that the word had effected, and throwing me open to a thousand temptations through the week.
I always had a value for real religion, judging those alone happy who possessed it, and would have given a world to be like-minded with them; but the influences of the Spirit are not to be bought with money.
For a long time I only considered myself a Christian under backsliding-indeed I had partial recoveries. But