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terized this assembly. " In the served & kept a day of Thanksgiving by days of my pilgrimage, I have had all the churches upon their messengers
returne, it was accordingly kept by this occasion to be present at several
Church at Cockernith The Pastor then dissynods and meetings of ministers coursed from yt Scriptr Acts 9.31. Many and messengers of churches; but grounds of thanksgiving were y" before ye there was the most eminent pre Chuch as (1) for ye agreem' of ye messen
gers (2) for their safety (3) for ye favour sence of the Lord with those who
they had from those in authority (4) for were then assembled that ever I
the peace of the paon continued notwithknew since I had a being : the standing ye late great mutaon.” like I never saw before nor since, The committee were anxious, and I question whether I shall it appears, from the statement of see the like on this side glory. Dr. * Calamy, before the publicaIt was a kind of heaven on earth, tion of the declaration, to obtain I think, to all who were present. the concurrence of the respectable Such rare elaborate speeches my congregational ministers who were ears never heard before nor since. not present. " It was sent,” says the All along there was a most sweet Doctor to Mr. Reyner, into the harmony both of hearts and judg- country for his suffrage with this ments amongst them. Mr. Howe, intimation, that the publishing of Chaplain to Richard the Protector, it should be stayed till his answer sat with them. We had some days was received, &c. His answer of prayer and fasting, kept from was to this purpose, that he gave morning till night; when one had his free and full consent to the prayed, I have thought no one confession of faith; but that as to could outdo that person, and so the platform of order, though he in preaching, yet, ordinarily, they liked the substance of it, vet there who succeeded, did excel those were some particulars therein so who went before."
expressed, as that he was not satisOn the 12th of October, the fied.” It was, however, soon after, whole declaration was solemnly published in quarto, without any agreed to, and committed to the testimonials, but those of the comcare of the committee for publica- mittee, which are contained in a tion. The only other business of long preface, signed by the memwhich there is any record, is their bers, “but said to be written by appointment of the 10th day of Dr. Owen, in which, though some November, as a day of thanks had very unkindly attributed their giving in all the churches, for the agreement to influence, they “look spirit of union and love which had upon it as a great and special work prevailed amongst the assembly,
of the Holy Ghost, that so numeand the presentation of an address rous a company of ministers and to the Protector, Richard Crom- other principal brethren should so well, on the 15th of October. It readily, speedily, and jointly give may be presumed the assembly up themselves to such a whole then separated, as in the record of body of truths as is there colthe church at Cockermouth, is the lected.” And it is indeed a mátfollowing entry :
ter of surprise, that on nearly two « Octobr ye 22nd bereabout, The Past hundred articles of faith and order,
they should have thus united, with glad tidings to ye people of God. 1. In respect of ye Lords gracious owning of when we learn, “ that it fell out, those at ye ineeting in respect of ye union without their having held any corof their spirits & iudgemts beyond expec. respondence together, or prepared taon. 2. For ye favour given ym by ye consultation bu
consultation by which they might Lord in the eyes of those then in authority.”_" It being agreed at yt meeting at be advised of each others minds." . ye Savoy, yt Novr ye. 10th should be ob- As the doctrinal statements of
this important declaration are in ciples on which congregational general accordance with the West- church order is founded, we shall minster confession, it will not be give it in a future number, with necessary to present them to our some historical and explanatory readers, but as the platform of dis. notes. cipline contains the great prin
ORIGINAL ESSAYS, COMMUNICATIONS, &c.
wwwwww ON PERNICIOUS PRINCIPLES. brave all the consequences; but Part II.
by the simple expedient of dis
missal and delay, and the promise Religious Procrastination.
of attending to the uneasy subject “ Go thy way for this time : when I at some future time. « Go thy have a convenient season I will call for way." &c. thee.”-Acts xxiv. 25.
And, is this an extraordinary The majesty' of God's truth has occurrence, a rare and remarkable such a native power as to exercise case? Have you never known a strong influence upon many imitators of this example ? Are sinds, wþich are far from subnot you, my reader, its copyist? mitting to its authority. Claudius Much do I fear that truth replies Felix, the Roman Procurator of Yes, to both these inquiries. You Judea, was infamous for the pride bave a conviction of the exceland insolence, the licentious man lency and importance of religion : ners, and the ravenous cruelty, you do not absolutely reject its with wbich he exercised his arbi- authority: you know it to be the trary power. Yet, notwithstand- only means of safety and happiing his wickedness and hardness ness in the world to come : you of soul, and in spite of all the pre- do not intend always to disregard judices inherent in the state of it: you dread the thought of heathenism, he could not help his going into eternity without it; conscience from being sorely ter, and therefore you do intend, and rified, and his limbs from trem- even resolve, that some time or bling like those of a convicted other, you will forsake the pleacriminal, when he heard the Apos- sures of sin, you will quit your tle Paul “ reasoning,” though with bold of selfish, ambitious, and co. all the respectfulness that is due vetous principles, you will lay to rank and authority, yet with his aside your pride and worldliness, characteristic fervour and faithful- you will become serious and deness, upon those obligations of vout, you will diligently attend on common morality which Felix so the means of religion, secret as flagitiously violated, and upon that well as public, you will repent and account which the Supreme Judge believe, and do good aetions; and will require from the oppressor and you entertain an encouraging hope, the adulterer; and from sinners of that you shall etfect all this time every description. But he speedily enough to prevent the awful catasfound a way of, at least, mitigat- trophe of dying in your sins, and ing his fears--not by resolutely sinking to the pit of eternal defacing them, not by a bold deter- struction. mination to trample down every This, then, is your plan. To remonstrance of conscience, and you it appears a wise, fair, and
promising scheme. It silences and perishing profits of this dying and quiets your conscience; it world. And, () will you not arouse soothes your apprehensions; it an unspeakably more lively inteenables you to enjoy the society, rest, will you not exercise all the the engagements, and the amuse- attention and care of which you ments of the ungodly; and under are capable, in this great, this its Hattering assurances, you can never-dying, this infinite concern? “ bless yourself in your heart, and Alas! that men should be foresay, Peace and safety! I shall seeing, penetrating, prudent, and have peace' at last, though' for sagacious, in the affairs of a mothe present I do walk after the ment ;--and the very same men imagination of my own heart,' and will act the part of an infatuation am undoubtedly well aware, that the most pitiable in an affair where my heart yields as yet no obedi- the prize is eternal happiness, the ence to the grace and authority of loss eternal misery, and the perGod.” .
severance in error is fatal and . But, except you are prepared without remedy! to relinquish all pretentions to the Join with me, then, I intreat character of a reasonable being, you, in this inquiry; and give me you cannot object to an examina- your fair and impartial attention,
mercantile speculation, yea, if it sons for believing that this course were even no more than a plan of proceeding is utterly worthless, concerted to form a party for a and will prove, to all who trust pleasurable excursion, you would to it, a complete and most dreadlook at it with a good deal of at- ful delusion. tentiou; you would examine all I shall attempt to show, 1. that its parts, and see how they were upon the principle which this prolikely to hang together; you would posed plan assumes, it is so, precabe jealous of its weaknesses and rious and hazardous a scheme as to oversights; you would calculate be almost, if not altogether, imprac. the chances of failure; you would ticable. . And, II. that the princisolicit the aid of experience ; you ple thus assumed, and which alone would inquire how the same or any could give to this plan the colour similar plan had succeeded in the of reason, is totally erroneous, and hands of other persons: and, if consequently that the whole fabric you found that there was a radical built on so ruinous a foundation mistake lurking at the bottom of must fall to entire disappoint. the whole measure, that it had ment and destruction. proved uniformly disappointing I. We are to examine the course and ruinous to all who had per- in question upon its own assumed sisted in acting upon it, that the principle. few who had escaped its destruc- This principle is, that religion tive consequences, had so escaped is a state of mind and conduct to only by changing their plan in which a person may attain by his the most prompt and essential own' exertions, and at his own manner;--you would firmly relin- pleasure; a notion which we will, quish it, you would pity the insane at present, permit to pass without folly of those who still persevered contradiction, and shall examine in it, and you would bless the our subject upon the admission of friendly monitor who awakened it as true. your caution.
You propose, at some future So would every prudent person period, to renounce all your irreact, in a case which concerned higious motives, dispositions, tembut the fugitive pleasures, the poor pers, and passions, acts and habits, to turn to God, in the way of re- upon the endless crowd of hinpentance, faith, and holiness; to drances, distractions, perplexities, perform the requirements, and to objections, difficulties, sacrifices, take possession of the blessings and all manner of obstructions which belong to real religion. from within and from without,
1. Consider this intention with which are sure to arise and resist reference to the uncertainty and the accomplishment of such a improbability which belong to every purpose. The mind is even overscheme which is to be carried into whelmed by an imaginative glance effect in future, especially when at these mountains of opposition. the futurity is remote, and the O who could bear, who could surscheme proposed is large and com- mount, who could perform these plicated,
things? But I beg your attention Every person who is in the least to the single circumstance of time. given to reflection, must be sensible This vast achievement you proof the truth, that any plan of ac- pose to effect : when ? At some tion which is to be executed in a unknown, uncertain, distant pe. distant and undefined future time, riod! () madness, for which lanand which depends upon a number guage has no name! You are of concurring circumstances for calculating upon years, yet you its success, must be of necessity a have not moments! " Thou fool, very precarious and uncertain this night thy soul may be required event. Now religion is an at- of thee! For what is your life? tainment which, upon all schemes It is even a vapour which appeareth of doctrine that have the smallest for a little time, and then vanisheth pretensions to sense and reason, is away. Man knoweth not bis the greatest, the most serious, the time; as the fishes that are taken most important, that can be con- in an evil net, and as the birds that ceived as falling within the sphere are caught in the snare, so are the of human capacity; and in the sons of men snared in an evil case before us, be it remembered, time, when it falleth suddenly that the object is not the preser- upon them.” Have you made a vation and improvement of religion covenant with death ? Have you already in act and exercise, but formed a firm compact with the the production of it as a new grave? Do you trust to the flatthing, a formation of that which tering enchantress who sings to had before no existence in the you of months and years, plenty soul, and to which it is, in fact, of time, and abundance of opporan entire stranger. What a revo- tunity, for every purpose that your lution is to be effected! The sen- heart desireth, and for religion last timents and feelings, the predi- of all? Where is your obserlections and pursuits, the whole vation ? Where are your feelings set of outward acts and habits, to and your reason? While you which you have been accustomed are thus fondly, foolishly, imfrom your earliest years, are to be piously dreaming, - death, with new modelled, formed again upon « inaudible and noiseless foot” is a new and opposite principle, and stealing upon you. At the latest, dedicated to objects quite con- it is not far off. Perhaps it is altrary to those which were before ready in closest contact with you; your choice and delight. But I nestling in your bosom; working forbear to enter upon this vast its silent way into your vitals; field. To describe justly the mag. distilling the drop of sure and nitude of the work, would require deadly venom on your heart or more than all the limits of this lungs, your bowels, or your brain. paper. Neither can I enlarge Youth, beauty, riches, honour, accomplishments, vigour, strength, you then think it probable that the health itself-give net a moment's longer you continue in this temper 'assurance of safety from the secret of estrangement from God, this stroke. And is it upon such a state of enmity, ingratitude, and foundation as this that you build rebellion, you will be brought the your expectation of converting nearer to the perfectly opposite yourself from sin to God, escaping state of mind and feeling? Will the guilt, and power, and fetters of love be produced by hatred; or your long-lived rebellions, and the spirit of dutiful and affectionate working out the mighty task of obedience by the longer persever. your own salvation ? I can urge ance in hardened and contempit no more. The folly is too big tuous disobedience? You cannot for description. It is equalled be ignorant of the force of habit only by the wickedness of such a over the bodies and minds, the plan.
actions, dispositions, and charac2. I request you to ask the ters of mankind; and you must reasonable query, “If I am un- be sensible that one great part willing now to love and serye God, of the awful dominion which sin and obey the requisitions of reli- holds over you, consists in wrong gion, what probability is there that thoughts, feelings, and actions, I should be willing at a future which, by long indulgence, have. time ?”
grown up into a kind of second The will is governed by the nature, a very part of yourselves. prevailing taste, disposition, or Do you then suppose that when predilection of the mind : and in these sinful habits shall have beorder to a change in the will, there come a thousand times stronger must be a change in the object than they now are, it will be easier presented to the mind, or in the for you to break them off? In all mind's perception and affection other things you know that it is towards it. But the great ob- inexpressibly difficult, and often jects of religion, God, Christ, the absolutely impossible, to break off Holy Spirit, holiness, salvation, any habit which is long established, heaven, do not change; they and become, as it is generally and are of unalterable excellency and very properly called, inveterate; value. If, then, you should be- and in contradiction to universal come affected with love to those experience, do you expect that. blessed and holy objects to which your habits of wickedness will beyou are now so indifferent, and come more easy to be parted with even hostile, the mighty change by the inveteracy of their retenmust take place in yourself; and tion ? Sometimes, indeed, men again I ask, How is this change outgrow particular sins. The irreto be produced ? By length of gular passions of youth are often continuance in the state and prac- checked by the cares and toils, the tice of sin, are you the more likely plans and businesses of middle to be released from its infernal fas- age, and are, perhaps, extinguished cinations, and its adamantine by the infirmities of declining chains ? The farther you wander years. But these are only alterfrom God, are you getting the nearer ations of the channel, and vari. to him? You know that, at pre- ations of the current; the stream sent, your heart has no delight in of depravity is still flowing on; the contemplation of the holy and the general habit of sin, in its esrighteous Jehovah, no love to his sential characters, the same, howpure and perfect, law, no aspi- ever versatile its outward shapes, rations after communion with him, still remains, and goes on growing and entire conformity to him; do and strengthening itself under all NEW SERIES, No.21.