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in the interchange of nine or ten | advantage to others, than, through letters, till December the same year. my proud contentious spirit, I exThroughout I held my purpose, and perienced from them. Mine deserve he his. I made use of every en-only to be forgotten, except as they deavour to draw him into contro- are useful to me to remind me what versy, and filled my letters with I was, and to mortify my pride; as definitions, inquiries, arguments, they illustrate my friend's patience objections, and consequences, re- and candour in so long bearing with quiring explicit answers. He, on my ignorance and arrogance; and the other hand, shunned every thing notwithstanding my unteachable controversial as much as possible, quarrelsome temper, continuing his and filled his letters with the most benevolent labours for my good; useful and least offensive instruc- and especially as they remind me tions; except that now and then of the goodness of God, who, though he dropped hints concerning the he abominates and resists the proud, necessity, the true nature, and the yet knows how to bring down the efficacy of faith, and the manner in stout heart, not only by the iron which it was to be sought and ob-rod of his wrath, but by the golden tained; and concerning some other sceptre of his grace. matters, suited, as he judged, to Thus our correspondence and achelp me forward in my inquiry after quaintance, for the present, were truth. But they much offended my almost wholly broken off; for a long prejudices, afforded me matter of time we seldom met, and then only disputation, and at that time were interchanged a few words on gene

of little use to me.

ral topics of conversation. Yet he This, however, is certain, that all along persevered in telling me, through the whole of the corre- to my no small offence, that I should spondence, I disputed, with all the accede one day to his religious prinarguments I could devise, against ciples; that he had stood on my almost every thing which he ad- ground, and that I should stand on vanced, and was very much nettled his: and he constantly informed at many things that he asserted. his friends, that, though slowly, I I read a great part of his letters, was surely feeling my way to the and some books which he sent me, knowledge of the truth. So clearly with much indifference and con- could he discern the dawnings of tempt. I construed his declining grace in my soul, amidst all the controversy into an acknowledge- darkness of depraved nature and ment of weakness, and triumphed my obstinate rebellion to the will in many companies as having con- of God! futed his arguments. And, finally, when I could not obtain my end, at my instance the correspondence was dropped.

This expectation was principally grounded on my conduct in the following circumstances: Immediately after the commencement of His letters and my answers are our correspondence, in May, 1775, now by me; and on a careful pe- whilst my thoughts were much enrusal of them, compared with all I grossed by some hopes of prefercan recollect concerning this mat- ment; on Sunday, during the time ter, I give this as a faithful account of divine service, when the Psalm of the correspondence. His letters was named, I opened the Prayerwill, I hope, shortly be made pub-Book to turn to it; but (accidentally lic, being such as promise greater shall I say, or providentially?) I

opened upon the articles of religion; pondered it, the more strenuously and the eighth, respecting the au- my conscience protested against it. thority and warrant of the Athana-At length, after a violent conflict sian creed, immediately engaged between interest and conscience, I my attention. My disbelief of the made known to my patron my scrudoctrine of a Trinity of coequal per-ples and my determination not to sons in the unity of the Godhead, and subscribe: thus my views of premy pretensions to candour, had ferment were deliberately given up, both combined to excite my hatred and with an increasing family I to this creed; for which reasons I was left, as far as mere human pruhad been accustomed to speak of it dence could discern, with little other with contempt, and to neglect read-prospect than that of poverty and ing it officially. No sooner, there- distress. My objections to the fore, did I read the words, "That articles were, as I now see, groundit was to be thoroughly received, less: much self-sufficiency, undue and believed; for that it might be warmth of temper, and obstinacy, proved by most certain warrants of were betrayed in the management holy Scripture," than my mind was of this affair, for which I ought to greatly impressed and affected. The be humbled: but my adherence to matter of subscription immediately the dictates of my conscience, and occurred to my thoughts; and from holding fast my integrity in such that moment I conceived such scru- trying circumstances, I never did, ples about it, that, till my view of and I trust never shall, repent. the whole system of gospel doc- No sooner was my determination trine was entirely changed, they known, than I was severely cenremained insuperable. sured by many of my friends. They It is wisely said by the son of all, I am sensible, did it from kindSirach, My Son, if thou come to ness, and they used arguments of serve the Lord, prepare thy soul various kinds, none of which were for temptation." I had twice be- suited to produce conviction. But, fore subscribed these articles, with though I was confirmed in my resothe same religious sentiments which lution, by the reasonings used to I now entertained. But, conscience induce me to alter it, they at length being asleep, and the service of the were made instrumental in bringing Lord no part of my concern, I con- me to this important determinasidered subscription as a matter of tion:-not so to believe what any course, a necessary form, and very man said, as to take it upon his aulittle troubled myself about it. But thority; but to search the word of now, though I was greatly influ- God with this single intention, to enced by pride, ambition, and the discover whether the articles of the love of the world, yet my heart was Church of England in general, and sincerely towards the Lord, and I this creed in particular, were or were dared not to venture on a known not agreeable to the Scriptures. I sin, deliberately, for the sake of had studied them in some measure temporal interest. Subscription to before, for the sake of becoming articles which I did not believe, paid acquainted with the original lanas a price for church preferment, Iguages, and in order thence to bring began to look upon as an impious lie, detached texts to support my own a heinous guilt, that could never truly system; and I had a tolerable acbe repented of without throwing back quaintance with the historical and the wages of iniquity. The more I preceptive parts of them: but I had

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not searched this precious reposi- leavened with the pride of reasontory of divine knowledge, with the ing, to reap that benefit from this express design of discovering the truth precious text which it is capable of in controverted matters of doctrine. affording to the soul that is humbly I had very rarely been troubled willing to be taught of God, yet, with suspicions that I was or might being conscious that I was disposed be mistaken: and I now rather to risk every thing in doing what thought of becoming better quali- I thought his will, I was encouraged fied, upon Scriptural grounds, to with the assurance, that if I were defend my determination, than of under a mistake, I should somebeing led to any change of senti- time discover it.


I was further led to suspect that However, I set about the inquiry; I might possibly be wrong, because and the first passage, as I remem- I had not hitherto sought the truth ber, which made me suspect that 1 in the proper manner, by attending might be wrong, was James, i. 5. to Proverbs, iii. 5, 6. Trust in "If any one of you lack wisdom, the Lord with all thine heart, and let him ask of God, who giveth to lean not to thine own understandall men liberally, and upbraidething: in all thy ways acknowledge not, and it shall be given him." him, and he shall direct thy paths." On considering these words with I could not but know that I had some attention, I became conscious, not hitherto trusted in the Lord with that, though I had thought myself all my heart, nor acknowledged him wise, yet assuredly I had obtained in all my ways, nor depended on his none of my wisdom in this manner; directions in all my paths; but that, for I had never offered one prayer in my religious speculations, I had to that effect during the whole leaned wholly on my own undercourse of my life. I also perceived standing. that this text contained a suitable But, though these and some other direction, and an encouraging pro- passages made for the present a great mise, in my present inquiry; and impression upon me, and influenced from this time, in my poor manner, me to make it a part of my daily I began to ask God to give me this prayers, that I might be directed to promised wisdom. a right understanding of the word Shortly after, I meditated on, of God; yet my pride and addictand preached from John, vii. 16, edness to controversy had, as some My doctrine is not mine, desperate disease, infected my whole but his that sent me; if any man soul, and was not to be cured all at will do his will, he shall know of once.-I was very far indeed from the doctrine, whether it be of God, being a little child, sitting humbly or whether I speak of myself." I and simply at the Lord's feet, to was surprised that I had not before learn from him the very first rudiattended to such remarkable words. ments of divine knowledge. I had I discovered that they contained a yet no abiding suspicion, that all direction and a promise, calculated which I had heretofore accounted to serve as a clue in extricating the wisdom was foolishness, and must sincere inquirer after truth, from be unlearned and counted loss, bethat labyrinth of controversy in fore I could attain to the excellency which, at his first setting out, he of the true knowledge of Jesus is likely to be bewildered. And Christ: for though I began to allow though my mind was too much it probable that in some few mat

17. 66

ters I might have been in an error, | But one book which I read at this yet I still was confident that in the time, because mentioned with apmain my scheme of doctrine was probation by Mr. Locke, was of true. When I was pressed with singular use to me: this was Bishop objections and arguments against Burnet's " Pastoral Care." I found any of my sentiments, and when little in it that offended my prejudoubts began to arise in my mind; dices, and many things which came to put off the uneasiness occasioned home to my conscience respecting by them, my constant practice was, my ministerial obligations. I shall to recollect, as far as I could, all lay before the reader a few short the reasonings and interpretations extracts, which were most affecting of Scripture on the other side of the to my own mind. Having mentioned question; and when this failed of the question proposed to those who affording satisfaction, I had recourse are about to be ordained Deacons, to controversial writings. This drew "Do you trust that you are inwardly me aside from the pure word of God, moved by the Holy Ghost to take rendered me more remiss and for- upon you this office and ministry, mal in prayer, and furnished me to serve God for the promoting of with defensive armour against my his glory, and the edifying of his convictions, with fuel for my pas- people?" he adds, (p. 111), "Cersions, and food for my pride and tainly the answer that is made to self-sufficiency. this ought to be well considered: At this time Locke's" Reasonable- for if any one says, 'I trust so,' ness of Christianity," with his "Vin- that yet knows nothing of any such dications" of it, became my favourite motion, and can give no account of pieces of divinity. I studied this it, he lies to the Holy Ghost, and and many other of Mr. Locke's makes his first approach to the altar works with great attention and a with a lie in his mouth, and that sort of bigoted fondness; taking not to men, but to God." And him almost implicitly for my mas- again, (page 112), "Shall not he ter, adopting his conclusions, bor-(God) reckon with those who dare rowing many of his arguments, and to run without his mission, pretendimbibing a dislike to such persons ing that they trust they have it, when as would not agree with me in my perhaps they understand not the partiality for him. This was of importance of it; nay, and perhaps great disservice to me; as, instead some laugh at it, as an enthusiastiof getting forward in my inquiry cal question, who will yet go through after truth, I thence collected more with the office! They come to Christ ingenious and specious arguments, for the loaves; they hope to live by with which to defend my mistakes*. the altar and the gospel, how little soever they serve at the one, or After having spoken so freely of Mr. preach the other; therefore they Locke's divinity, which I once so highly esteemed, it seems but just to acknowledge will say any thing that is necessary the vast obligation which the whole reli- for qualifying them to this, whether

gions world is under to that great man for

his "Letters concerning Toleration," and true or false."

his answers to those who wrote against

them. The grounds of religious liberty,

Again, (page 122), having interand the reason why every one should be Woven a great part of the excellent left to his own choice, to worship God ac- office of the ordination of priests cording to his conscience, were, perhaps, never generally understood since the foun into his argument, concerning the dation of the world, till by these publica- importance and weight of the work tions Mr. Locke unanswerably made them manifest. of the ministry, he adds, "Upon

the whole matter, either this is all the counterfeiting another person.
a piece of gross and impudent page- His sins have in them all possible
antry, dressed up in grave and lofty aggravations: they are against know-
expressions, to strike upon the ledge, and against vows, and con-
weaker part of mankind, and to fur- trary to his character: they carry
nish the rest with matter to their in them a deliberate contempt of
profane and impious scorn; or it all the truths and obligations of re-
must be confessed that priests come ligion; and if he perishes, he doth
under the most formal and express not perish alone, but carries a shoal
engagements to constant and dili- down with him, either of those who
gent labour, that can be possibly have perished in ignorance through
contrived or set forth in words." his neglect, or of those who have
He concludes this subject, of the been hardened in their sins through
ordination offices, by exhorting all his ill example!"-Again, (page
candidates for orders to read them 183), having copiously discoursed
frequently and attentively, during on the studies befitting ministers,
the time of their preparation; that especially the study of the Scrip-
they may be aware beforehand of tures, he adds, "But to give all
the obligations they are about so these their full effect, a priest that
solemnly to enter into, and to peruse is much in his study, ought to em-
them at least four times in a year, ploy a great part of his time in secret
even after their ordination, to keep and fervent prayer, for the direction
in their minds a continual remem- and blessing of God in his labours,
brance of their important engage- for the constant assistance of his
ments. How necessary this counsel Holy Spirit, and for a lively sense
is, every minister, or candidate for of divine matters; that so he may
the ministry, must determine for feel the impressions of them grow
himself; for my part, I had never deep and strong upon his thoughts;
once read through the office when this, and this only, will make him
I was ordained, and was in a great go on with his work without weary-
measure a stranger to the obliga-ing, and be always rejoicing in it."
tions I was about to enter into, till But the chief benefit which ac-
the very period; nor did I ever crued to me from the perusal was
afterwards attend to it till this ad- this :-I was excited by it to an
vice put me upon it. The shameful attentive consideration of those pas-
negligence and extreme absurdity sages of Scripture, that state the
of my conduct in this respect are obligations and duties of a minister,
too glaring, not to be perceived with which hitherto I had not observed,
self-application, by every one who or to which I had very loosely at-
has been guilty of a similar omis- tended. In particular (it is yet
sion. I would therefore only just fresh in my memory), I was greatly
mention, that hearty earnest prayer affected with considering the charge
to God, for his guidance, help, and
blessing, may be suitably recom-
mended, as a proper attendant on
such a perusal of our obligations.

of precious souls committed to me, and the awful account one day to be rendered of them, in meditating on Ezekiel, xxxiii. 7-9. "So thou, Again (page 147) he thus speaks O Son of man, I have set thee a of a wicked clergyman: "His whole watchman unto the house of Israel : life has been a course of hypocrisy therefore thou shalt hear the word in the strictest sense of the word, at my mouth, and warn them from which is the acting of a part, and me. When I say unto the wicked,

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