« PreviousContinue »
tal consumption, who, on Mr. to tears, and told him her er Heywood's arrival, confessed, rand. He was much affected with agonies of conscience, his with the story, and bade her dreadful sin, in taking upon him come to him, if ever the like nethe ministry, while he knew him- cessity should return. Having self to be unconverted ; and beg- procured the necessary provisged him to pray with him, and ions, she hastened back with earnestly asked him what repen- them, when, upon her entering tance was. Mr. Heywood gave the house, the children eagerly him his best advice, and was de- exainined the basket; and the sired to come again. But be- father, hearing Martha's narrafore he could go, this young tive, siniled and said, “The clergyman died, without a saiis- Lord hath not forgotten to be factory evidence that he had ob- gracious ; his word is true from tained mercy. An awful warn- the beginning; they that seek ing for ungodly ministers! the Lord shall not want any good
Mr. Heywood, after the loss of thing." his income, was reduced to such Another anecdote is as follows: great straits, that his children be- When the spirit of persecucame impatient for want of food. tion was so hot against this good He called bis servant Martha, man, that he was obliged to leave (who would not desert the fami- his fainily, he set off on horse... ly in their distress) and said to back, one winter's morning, be: her," Martha, take a basket, fore it was light, like Abrabam, and go to Halifax; call upon not knowing whither he went, and Mr. N, the shopkeeper, and without a farthing in his pocket. desire him to lend me five sbil. Having committed himself to lings. If he is kind enough to the care of Providence, he deterdo it, buy such things as you mined, at length, to leave his know we most want. The Lord horse to go which way he would. give you good speed ; and in the Having gone all day without any mean time we will offer up our refreshment, the horse, towards requests to him, who feedeth evening, bent his course to a the young ravens when they farm-house, a little out of the cry." Martha went; but, when road. Mr. Heywood calling at she came to the house, her heart the doop, a decent woman came, failed her, and she passed by the of whom (after a suitable apolo. door again and again, without gy) he requested, that she would going in to tell her errand. Mr. give him and his horse shelter N standing at the shop door, for the night, telling her that he called her to him, and asked her, only wished for a little hay for if she was not Mr. Heywood's his beast, and liberty for himself servant ? When she told him, to sit by her fire-side. Upon she was, he said to her, “I am calling her husband, they both glad to see you, as some friends kindly invited him in. The have given me five guineas for mistress soon prepared someyour master, and I was just thing for him to eat, at which he thinking how I could send expressed his concern, as, he them." Upon this she burst in, said, he had no money to make
them a recompense ; but he us talk on some other subject." hoped God would reward them. After keeping the farmer and They assured him, that he was his wife some time in suspense, welcome, and begged him to who were uneasy at wliat he had make himself easy. After some said, he at length told them, time, the master asked him, “ that he was the poor outcast, what countryman he was. He after whom they made such answered, that, he was born in kind inquiries.” All was now Lancashire, but had now a wife surprize, joy and thankfulness, and children near Halifax." That that Providence had brought him is a town," said the farmer, under their roof. The master " where I have been, and had of the house then said to him, some acquaintance,” After in- “ I have a few neighbours who quiring about several of them, love the gospel ; if you will give he asked, “ if he knew any thing us a word of exhortation, I will of one Mr. O. Heywood, who run and acquaint them. This is had been a minister near Hali- an obscure place, and as your fax, but was now, on some ac- coming here is not known, I count, forbidden to preach.". To hope you will have no interrupwhich he replied, “ There is a tion.” Mr. Heywood consented, great deal of noise about that and a small congregation was man ; some speak well, and gathered, to whom he preached some very ill of him ; for my with that fervour, affection and own part, I can say very little in enlargement, which the singular his favour.” “I believe," said circumstances served to inspire. the farmer, “ he is of that sect, A small collection was then which is every where spoken made to help the poor traveller against ; but pray what makes on
This interview you form such an indifferent o.
providentially introduced Mr. pinion of him ?” Mr. H. answer- Heywood to a new circle of ac; ed, “ I know something of him ; quaintance, among whom he afbut, as I do not choose to propa- terward preached with great gate an ill report of any one, let success.
ON THE EVIDENCE OF DIVINE GOODNESS.
If there be evidence of the to prove important points of dogs goodness of God, aside from tripe ; and if no such argument the positive testimonies, the his. be found, if this mode of reason: tory or doctrines of the holy ing be not used in the scriptures, scriptures ; it is probable that to prove the goodness of God, this evidence is exhibited by the even this affords a presumptive scriptures themselves.
argument, that the light of naThe Bible abounds in argu- ture affords no evidence on this ments from the light of nature, point.
The scriptures no where inti- God, the clear evidence of which mate, that the doctrine of the renders the idolatrous world Trinity, or the doctrine of without excuse. But if his arAtonement by the sufferings of gument contained no evidence the Son of God are evident from of divine goodness, how were the light of nature. But the heathen deprived of all exthe Eternal Power and God
« The invisible things head are said to be clearly seen of him, from the creation of the or inferred from the work of world, are clearly seen, being creation. It is a rule to be ob- understood by the things that served, respecting all the doc- are made, even his eternal powtrines of divine truth, that if the er and godhead; 80 that they scriptures treat them as evident are without excuse." from the light of nature, they are The same mode of reasoning thus evident, whether sinful, is used by the Psalmist to prove blinded mortals can see the ev- the adorable perfection of God. idence or not. But if the scrip- “ The heavens declare the glory tures consider and treat them as of God, and the firmament shew, doctrines of mere revelation, eth his handy work.” It was then they are not evident from doubtless the design of the Holy the light of nature.
Spirit to exhibit evidence of the A question now occurs : Do same divine perfection, from the the scriptures consider the good- light of nature, in the beginning ness of God, as being evident of this Psalm, as from the law of from the light of nature ? From God, mentioned in the latter part. the light of nature, the apostle If the glory of God was declarappears to reason on this subject, ed, by the works of nature, so as in the 14th chapter of the Acts. to excite the adoration of his To the idolaters of Lycaonia, the creatures; this implies, that his apostles made known the living goodness was declared. WhethGod, 'who made heaven and er sinsul and benighted men, earth, and the sea, and all things whose understandings are darktherein ; who in times past suf- ened by the blindness of their fered all pations to walk in their hearts, can discern the evidence own ways. “Nevertheless, he left of divine goodness from the light not himself without witness, in of nature, is not the question. that he did good, and gave us rain if it were, the answer from from heaven and fruitful seasons, scripture and observation would filling our hearts with food and be in the negative. The ques, gladness." God's doing good' is tion is, Whether the scriptures here urged as a witness of his consider the light of nature as goodness.
exhibiting evidence of the good, In the same manner the apos- ness of God? It appears that tle, in the first chapter to the the Psalmist and the apostles Romans, proves the eternal pow- have reasoned from the light of er and godhead of Jehovah, from nature, to prove this divine per: the creation of the world. He fection. argues from the light of nature, We may notice further, in the to prove those perfections of 34th and subsequent chapters of Job, a long train of reasoning was acquitted of God ; and God from this topic, to prove the himself, who was Job's last regoodness of God. It is argued prover, argued with him on the from his supremacy.
same ground. From his mighty the drift of Elihu's argument. In works, which displayed, his inJob xxxiv. 10, and onwards, we finite power and godhead, be find bis argument.
“ Far be it argued the perfection of his morfrom God, that he should do al government. On this ground wickedness; and from the Al- he challenged the love and submighty, that he should commit mission of Job. Job yielded his iniquity.” The argument is,
cordial submission; and upon that God is the Almighty; there. the very ground on which it was fore will not do wickedly. He demanded. “ Then Job answerproceeds, “ Who hath given him ed the Lord and said: I know a charge over the earth ? or who that thou canst do every thing; hath disposed the whole world ?” and that no thought can be withDoes he act by a delegated pow- holden from thee. I have heard er? Is he not absolutely inde- of thee by the hearing of the pendent ? He goes on to rep- ear ; but now mine eye seeth resent it as a great absurdity, thee : wherefore I abhor myself, whether we can see the absurdi- and repent in dust and ashes." ty or not, to imagine that the Thus, from the light of nature, Almighty, the independent Cre- from the exhibitions of divine ator and Disposer of all things, power and majesty, the moral should do wickedly. “Shall perfection, or goodness of God even he, that hateth right, gov. is argued, successfully, in the ern ? and wilt thou condemn book of Job. No appeal is made him that is most just ? Is it to divine testimonies, or, to the fil to say to a king, thou art plan of redemption and grace, wicked ? and to princes, ye are or lo any thing else but the viungodly? How much less to sible displays of divine power Him that accepteth not the per. and supremacy. sons of princes, nor regardeth The scriptures certainly ar. the rich more than the poor? gue from the light of nature, lo for they are all the work of his prove the goodness of God, and hands." It is here represented they challenge the conviction of as marvellous, that those who mankind from such evidence. can discover from the works of Whether, therefore, we can see God, his absolute supremacy, this evidence or not, we have should entertain a doubų respect- the highest reason to believe that ing his goodness. He seems to it exists ; and that mankind arę take for granted, that men of not lest, by a necessity of nature, understanding, men of piety and to perish for lack of vision. If spiritual discernment, may, from mankind, in all ages, had been a view of the supremacy of God, disposed to discover the holiness have as clear a discovery of bis and goodness of God, they moral perfection, as of bis natural. would have always enjoyed the
This is the manner of the revelation of his grace. But as whole of Elihu's reasonings. they became vain in their imagi. And we may notice, that Elihy nations, their foolish heart wat
darkened, and God gave them lainous design, plotting to cirover 10 a reprobate mind, and cumvent an honest neighbour, they perish without excuse. or devising to revenge an imag
inary injury, or trifling affront? Every one sees the guilt and im
piety of bringing into a prayer LETTERS FROM A CLERGYMAN
such inclinations and intentions. TO HIS son,
The man who really means to LETTER-III.
pray will banish, or at least sus
pend all criminal purposes and Dear Frank,
deliberations, that his prayers may Is reading my two preceding not become a new provocation. letters, you have anticipated the And surely, whenhe has been with thought, which will be the sub- God in the sacred exercise of ject of this: That daily prayer devotion, he will not dare immewill be a great security against diately to recal those guilty pasdeliberate deviations from the sions, which he, just before, pall of duty.
thought it necessary to exclude. The man who daily commits There is, at least, as much impito God in prayer the works of ety in rushing from God's preso every day, cannot, with a cool, ence into works of wickedness, unreluctant mind, enter on any as in hurrying from these into works, which he knows 'will be his presence. The man, there." offensive to that Being, whose fa- fore, who makes prayer a cusvour he has implored. He sees, tomary and serious business, will he feels the inconsistency of ad- act with caution and deliberation dressing God in prayer, and dis- in his ordinary conduct. That honouring him in practice. deliberation, which accompanies
By daily prayer we set God his prayers, will attend his other before 'us; we awaken in our important transactions. The minds a sense of his presence,' man addicted to profaneness perpower, knowledge, purity and ceives the gross absurdity and goodness, we call up the recol- detestable impiety of passionate lection of our dependence and swearing immediately after a solaccountableness ; we composeemn prayer.' If he knew a or spirits, banish criminal pas- neighbour, who statedly prayed sions, and fix pious thoughts and in his family, and frequently fell resolutions; and thus prepare into violent fits of wrath and ourselves to proceed steadily and storms of impious language, as uprightly in the course of duty soon as the solemnity was closbefore us.
ed; he would condemn the palWho would venture to ad- pable inconsistency of this neighdress the Deity in prayer, while bour's conduct. He would think his heart was full of malevolence, himself a much better man ; for, avarice, revenge, envy, or any though he often swore, yet he other detestable lust or passion ? never prayed ; so that his imWho would dare to call on piety was not aggravated by beGod for his blessing, while he ing mixed with prayer.
But was contriving to execute a vil while the man feels an impres