Page images
[ocr errors]


thus to restore to power those who had been directing against the “Protestant Religion," "heavy blows and great discouragement."

While Peter was there the question was raised,, whether prayer

should be offered for a blessing on their cause and undertaking. How far that cause and undertaking were fit to be recommended to God's blessing, was not discussed. For it was immediately discovered, that they could not trust, nor submit to, the Minister of ANY ONE sect among them, to lead the rest EVEN IN PRAYER! They had no common purpose or interest, they had not even enough one with another, to unite in prayer! But they had malice, and envy, and jealousy enough to unite them all in hostility to the “LORD'S CHURCH." A work of love placed them in a state of repulsion and disunion. A work of hatred united them. As Peter mused upon this awful disclosure of the rottenness and evil which prevailed within the “whited Sepulchre” of political dissent, he fell asleep and had the following Vision.

He seemed to be in a spacious court of Justice. The seat of the Judge was vacant. On the right hand side of it sat a beauteous, and noble Matron; in appearance neither youthful, nor aged, but in the fulness of womanhood. In her form were blended strength, grace, and dignity.. Her large bright eyes were keen and full of intelligence, and penetration; but softened with sweetness and benevolence. Her arched brows, and the general cast of her countenance denoted serenity, and inward peace. Little change took place in the repose of its features, save when from time to time they became more than usually animated by those emotions, which arose from deep feelings of devotion, and excited remembrances of gratitude. She was clad in garments of purest and dazzling white. On the hem of her garments were the words “White in the blood of the Lamb." (Rev., V11., 14.) On ber


clear, and spacious forehead was bound the golden circle of a rich, but plain, crown, surmounted with a

On the front of the crown, in letters of surpassing brilliancy, shone the word

“CHURCH." On the precious stones, of which the throne she sat upon was formed, were the names of PROPHETS, and APOSTLES. And on the chief corner stone,” (Ephes. 11., 20.) on which the foundation of the whole rested, was engraved a NAME-the great Name-the Name dear to the redeemedthe name, at which every knee should bow of things in Heaven and things in earth, and things under the earth.” (Philip., II., 10) -the Name on which all rule and all authority must restmeven the Name of JESUS. In her right hand she held a massive sceptre; on one side of which was engraved “Lo I AM WITH YOU ALWAY, EVEN UNTO THE END OF THE WORLD;” (Matt., XXVIII., 20.) on the other side “As MY FATHER HATH SENT ME, EVEN SO SEND I YOU-WHOSESOEVER SINS YE REMIT THEY ARE REMITTED UNTO THEM, AND WHOSESOEVER SINS YE RETAIN THEY ARE RETAINED." (John, XX., 21 and 23.) At her girdle hung a key of curious and antique make, on which was inscribed “ He that believeth and is BAPTIZED, shall be saved." (Mark, XVI, 16.) and “The Lord added to the CHURCH duily such as should be SAVED.” (Acts, XI, 47.)

Her left hand rested on a pile of volumes bearing evident marks of great age. On the first appeared the Words "HOLY BIBLE.” On the others were inscribed “CREEDS and APOSTOLIC CONSTITUTIONS -EARLY COUNCILS OF THE CHURCH-Ignatious, Tertullian, Clement of Rome, Polycarp, Barnabas, Eusebius, Cyprian, Chrysostom, Augustin, and many other great names of holy Fathers, whose writings record the practice and doctrines of the primitive Church. The pedestal on which these volumes rested bore this inscription, “THE CHURCH OF THE LIVING GOD, THE PILLAR AND GROUND OF THE TRUTH.” (1. Tim., 111., 15.) Behind her were seen a font and a table with bread and wine; round which were ranged venerable and grave looking men of various ages, over whom were inscribed “BISHOPS, PRIESTS, and DEACONS."

In the body of the hall were gathered together a motley and confused crowd; some shouting one thing, and some another, all teachers and no hearers. They were formed into parties bearing banners. On the Banner of one was written BROWNIST, on ano. ther BAPTIST, on another SOCINIAN, on another INDEPENDENT, on another ANABAPTIST, on ano. ther QUAKER, on another SHAKER, on another JUMPER, on another RANTER, on another South COTTIAN, on another METHODIST, on another AssoCIATION METHODIST, on another MORMONITE, on another OWENITE, on another UNKNOWN TONGUES, on another SWEDENBORGIAN, on another SANDEMANIAN, on another MUGGLETONIAN. These and innumerable other names of sect and party, the watchwords and gathering-cries of strife and division, were borne by the discordant groups, which occupied the body of the court, or continued every moment coming in and going out. They all looked upon each other with distrust, or contempt. They seemed to have no common bond of unity. One reviled another. They condemned each other unsparingly as ignorant and fanatic, as nuisances and pests of society, or as corrupters and burlesques of Christianity. They roared and scolded, sneered and scowled at each other. The Hall of Judgment seemed a second Babel.

But suddenly the scene was changed. In a moment they forgot their quarrels, and seemed all agreed and united. Though charity, and brotherly

[ocr errors]

love, could not bind them together; Envy and HATRED united them for a time. Others too were united with them in the unhallowed ties. In the midst of them, cheering and joining their polluted hands with them (but at the same time secretly sneering at their folly) were scoffing Infidels, seared Atheists, brazen agitators, artful adventurers, and desperate revolutionists. These all united their voices with them, and conspired against the holy and august matron, who sat upon the throne.

But there was a considerable and more respectable group, that stood aloof from this blaspheming and unholy league. They looked upon the fearful alliance and proceedings with disgust, and suspicion. They seemed to feel some veneration for the Matron, though they joined her not. Her works of love, her triumphs of piety and learning, were not forgotten by them. They could not take part with her ill assorted foes. These were men of serious countenances, indicating sincerity and real piety. They bore the names of different sects, but especially conspicuous amongst them the

name of “ WESLEY."

With the exception of these, the whole mob in the body of the Hall gave vent to their bitter envy and hatred of the Holy Matron who sat upon the throne. They gnashed at her with their teeth—they mocked, they reviled, they called her “impudent,” “rapacious,” heaped upon her every evil epithet they could think of. The matron sat calmly, looking with pity upon their frenzy and impotent rage. You have no right to that Crown, which bears the inscriptionCHURCH! yelled the furious allies. It is ours! Give it up to us! We call on you to declare by whose authority you wear it! By His, she solemnly replied -By His, whose GREAT NAME is on the “chief corner Stone" of


throne! This reply only the more excited their frantic rage. Loud and fierce were their threats and execrations.


They blasphemed, and stamped, and scoffed, and cast dirt at her. She remained unmoved; but, turning towards the vacant judgment seat she firmly exclaimed


Let “Common sense“ judge between us. Instantly the Judgment Seat was filled. There was seated in it a plain, vigorous, middle aged man. His limbs were firmly knit; his form large and strong; his dress and manner homely and simple. His countenance, ruddy, good humoured and open, shewed few marks of excitement or animation. His movements and his words were alike, slow and grave. There was in his manner a quiet, sedate repose, almost an occasional appearance of indolence, which required rousing. But yet there was also a something searching and penetrating in his glance, from which hypocrites, and knaves shrunk abashed; and a sly bumour and waggery, which even folly and delusion could not abide. The noisy and angry multitude of revilers tried, at his first appearance, to encourage each other in uproar and brutality, that his voice might be drowned in their clamour. But their courage and impudence quailed before his piercing eye. Though he had not even spoken their execrations


fainter and fainter, and at length sunk into complete silence.

(To be continued.)


When we begin to remove the rags, which cover, the foul sores of agitation and factious dissentwesball, no doubt, hear a great deal about our want of Chris, tian spirit.

Now we are satisfied, that to sacrifice truth, or to permit either deceivers, to boodwink the

« PreviousContinue »