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aware, that every inch of ground is liable to be disputed; and that of course this part of the subject requires careful attention. I shall therefore endeavor to proceed safely. But before I proceed directly to the main subject, it appears somewhat essential to state to facts in relation to it. One is this. Among the persons at this day, who profess to believe in most or all the doctrines under consideration, there are some, who give no practical evidence of love to them. Their faith, if such it may be called, is dead: it has no influence on their life. They seem to have a mere speculative belief in these doctrines, which though it may affect the head, does not affect the heart. The light of truth is now so clear, that they must see it; though they neither love nor practice it. Such persons greatly injure the cause of truth. They give occasion to say, that a belief in the doctrines of the Gospel is of little or no importance to any man. But this is not true of all, nor of the greater part of those, who believe the doctrines under consideration, as I shall attempt to prore.
Another fact, in relation to this subject, is this. Many who oppose these doctrines have adopted the maxim, that "it is of no consequence what a man's religious opinions may be,.provided bis conduct is correct.” Or to state the same thing in different words; "a man may be as good a Christian if he does not believe the doctrines of grace, as if he does believe them.” This is indeed a popular maxim; but it has no foundation in truth. Besides, it involves the very thing in question: and in making an appeal to facis relative to the effect of a belief in the doctrines of grace, I shall endeavor to słww, that this maxim is contradicted by fuct. To do this, and at the same time to pursue the main object before me, I find it necessary to state, that there are two very different standards of morality, or “correct conduct,” prevailing among different persons. One is the common opinion of men: the other is the plain precepts of the Bible. The first of these is at best variable; it rises or falls, with the common tone or pitch of morals in society. Still among men of the world, this is the most generally adopted standard of good conduct. It is often said, if men are honorable, and what is called honest, in their dealings; if they are not mean and vulgar, and openly immoral in their deportment; and are guilty of nodisgraceful crime; and if they are humane and liberal to the poor, they are as good Christians as can be found. But let no one be deceived. This is the opinion of the world. Agd Jesus Christ has assured us, that the world will love its own. Men of the world are willing, that this sbould constitute the essence of real religion. It apparently makes no difference with them, if these good Christians, as they call them, have no fixed religious principles, and sentiments; if they neglect prayer, public worship, and every such duty; if they disregard the holy Sabbath; if they occasionally sncer at the humble followers of Christ; and if they indulge in all the vain amusements, which the world calls innocent. They call this mere heathen morality the essence of religion. And on this ground, a man may be as good a Christian if he does not, as if he does, believe the doctrines of grace.
On this ground, he may believe any thing, or nothing, as is most congenial to luis feelings, and most in conformity to popular prejudices; for all distinction between lieathenism and Christianity is, in this way, at once confounded.
It is true, that the social and relative duties above related are required in Scripture. It is no less true, that these are not all the duties, which are there required; nor are these the main duties, by the discharge of which Christians can be fairly distinguished from the mere men of the world. For even Deists may, and in some instances have done, or have had the credit of doing, these things.
But there is another, and a far different standard of morals, or of genuine Christianity, which now merits attention. I mean the plain precepts of the Bible. This never changes; never rises above itself, nor sinks down to the low tone of morals in society: This requires men, in addition to all that has been above statoci, to love God with all the heart, and their neighbor as themselves; to be of a meek, humible, prayerful, charitable, forgiving temper; and to do to others what they could wish others to do to them. This is the standard or rule, by which I would attempt to determine who are good Christians. And although no one can be found, whose life and conversation will perfectly compare with the standard; yet there are some, who give evidence that they mean to regulate their faith and practice by this rule; and who conscientiously endeavor to live accordingly: there are some in the world, who are persons of meekness, humility, prayer, and forgiveness; and who give evidence of love, both to God and men.
Now when all due allowance is made for a few speculative believers, on whom their belief has no practical effect, where, I will appeal to facts, are these persons of meekness, humility, prayer, and forgiveness, to be found? Where do we in fact find those, wlio are most consistent and uniform in their Christian profession; who give most evidence of love to God; who are most constant and conscientiously devout in family prayer; who are most faithful in the religious, in distinction from the mere polite education of their children; who uniformly show the most sacred regard to the Sabbath, to public worship, and to the ordinances of God; and who are most cngaged in promoting vital rcligion among others? Where shall we look for the brightest examples of humility; for the most perfect patterns of patience under trials and crosses; for the most shining examples of submission to chastisement, and affliction, and for the best instances of forgiveness towards an enemy? Where shall we find those who are most ready to discountenance fashionable vice; to bear testimony against popular sinful amusements; and to abandon circles of vain jesting, evil speaking, and scoffing at religion? Who are in reality peacemakers, and who most faithfully restrain and govern their own hearts and tongues? Where are those who make the greatest sacrifices to do good, who are most ready to assist the poor and nerdy; to visit houses of mourning and distress, when those who inhabit them are indigent, obscure, and low in popular estimation; and to console the heart of the widow and the father
less? Where shall we find those, who are most inclined to abase themselves, and to exalt others; who are most deeply affected with the things of religion; who pray most for its prosperity; who do most for its extension; who live most in the fear of God; give the best evidence of real penitence and faith in Christ; and whose daily walk is most conformed to Scripture? And, finally, where are those who can meet death with the greatest composure and submission, and whose hopes of future peace and happiness appear to have the most solid foundation? Is it not a fact beyond dispute and controversy, that when all proper allowance is made, men of the above description are found, not among those who deny and oppose, but among those who cordially believe these doctrines? I present these questions to the candid reader's own conscience, requesting him to answer them according to truth. And I ask him to answer in the fear of God, whose religion he would prefer, or in whose condition he would feel most safe in the hour of death and at the judgment day? I am willing thus to make it a question with bis own conscience, what the fact is, in relation to the tendency and the effect of a full belief in these doctrines.
Look into churches, my readers, and you do find those who believe in the doctrines of grace most alive in religion; you do findin them that spirit of prayer, that watchfulness, that fellowship for each other, and those exertions to impart the knowledge of truth and the joys of salvation to others, which you cannot find in churches of an opposite character. Look also at individuals: you find among them, who believe the doctrines in question, those holy fruits of religion; that practical evidence of real godliness, which you look for in vain among others. To mention a few names: you look in vain among decided opposers of the doctrines in question, for a Wilberforce, a Buchanan, a John Newton, a Jonathan Edwards, an Isabella Graham, or a Harriet Newell. After all that has been, or that can be, said in opposition to the doctrines of grace, an appeal to facts will prove, that a full belief in these doctrines does actually produce that good practical effect, which never has been produced, where they have been understandingly denied and opposed. Facts go directly to demonstrate, that in all ages the tendency of believing them has been, and still is, favorable to practical godliness. Facts prove, that it is not a full belief, but on the contrary a disbelief of these great doctrines, that encourages men to live in sin, and toexcuse themselves in it; they prove that it is a matter of serions consequence what a man's religious sentiments or opinions are; that a man, who opposes these doctrines, is not, according to Scripture, so good a Christian, as one who cordially believes them; and that wbat was said in the former number, respecting their practical tendency, is according to truth.
Let this appeal to facts, therefore, claim the serious attention of all those, who doubt, or are inclined to disbelieve, that the tendency of these doctrines is fayorable to practical godliness; let all such persons be candid enough; let them act with honesty to themselves, and with a regard for their own eternal welfare, sufficient to examine this interesting subject with impartiality; before they join with
opposers, and allow themselves to think, and to speak, in direct opposition to what God has revealed, and what is supported by plain fact. Let them duly consider, that the tendency of divine truth, when supported by fact, is sufficiently manifest; and that herealter they will be constrained to admit what they are now disposed to
deny; when it may be forever too late, either to invalidate the force • of their convictions, or to avoid the fatal consequences of their unbelief.
LETTER FROM A SON TO HIS MOTHER.
My dear aged mother, I HAVE just received the painful intelligence of aur common heavy affliction. While I write, the cold clods of the valley, press upon his lifeless breast, who waslately an affectionate bosom companion,and a kind father. No more, in this world, shall the language of Canaan
ow from his lips, or the ejaculations of picty ascend from his heart. This affliction is trying to me;but I know it is necessary. I hear the voice of eternal truth addressing me, in connexion'with this providence; Bc still, and know that I am God. I bope my heart responds this language; (though but feebly;) The cup which my Father giveth me, shall I not drink it? If the ingredients, which he infuses into it, are sometimes bitter, they are always salutary to his children; and why should I complain? Let me then humbly and patiently meet this chastisement of God, that it may be numbered among the all things, which work together for good to his people.
I feel, b.y dear mother, that I owe you an expression of my conHolence on this occasion. I know that the death of my father falls heaviest on you. God has put this lamentation in your lips: “Lover and friend hast thou put far from me, and mine acquaintance into darkness" I would attempt to offer you support and consolation from the Scriptures; but I trust He, who comforteth them that are cast down,“ has already supported and comforted you by kis gracious presence and boly word.
'To this faithful God I still commend you, my mother. It is true Liis own hand has written you a widow; but He has styled himself atlie God of the widow in his body babitation."
You have lost an earthly husband; but I rejoice that thy Maker is still thy Nusband and thy God. I rejoice in the confidence, that you can address this prayer to your covenant God: “Thou bast taught me from my youth; and now when I am old and gray headed, O Lord, forsake me not." You doubtless feci, that you bave cause for lively gratitude, that you are not called to mourn, as those who have no hope for their deceased relatives, and are without hope themselves. You have strong confirlence that our loss is his gain; that while we drop the tear of affection over his memory, God has wiped all tears from his eyes. He came to his grave as a shock of corn fully ripe. Ilis J:cary hair's were a crown of rigliteousness. His work is done. The acute grains, which he bore with so much
Christian patience, are terminated. We trust he is entered into that rest, which remaineth for the people of God. He is only called home a few moments first, that he may welcome you to the joy of his Lord.
May God Almighty spare your useful life, my dear mother, until you have performed his whole will, and this grant you an easy death, and an abundant entrance among the saints in light. As your children, and their partners for life, have all named the name of Christ, may they all, through free grace, be so unspeakably blessed, as to be nunbered among the faithful, when the Lord makes up his jewels. This is the ardent desire of your affectionate soll,
* * *
THE CONVERTED NEGRO.
The following narrative was written by the same hand, which furnished the ascount of the
converted Algerine, pablished in our lasi uumber. CPWARDS of forty years ago, there was a meeting-house in Henrico county, Virginia, in which the Rev. Mr. Davies used to preach a part of his time, while he resided in Hanover county, and where, for a few years, I officiated after his departure. Near this incetinghouse lived a captain William Smith, one of the ruling elders of the congregation. Capt. Smith was a valuable member both of civil and religious society; of a lively active disposition, and a benevolent heart. He paid uncommon attention to the relig. jous instruction of the negroes in the neighborhood, many of whom were serious professors of Christianity. He performed this act of charity to the poor slaves, while their owners, for whom they constantly labored, seemed quite careless about their eternal interest. It was custoinary for Capt. Smith and his pious neighbors, when they had no ininister to preach to them, to asseinble at the meetinghouse on the Sabbath, and spend some part of sacred time in realing and other acts of social religious worship; of which exercises Capt. Sınith bad commonly the chief direction.
When assembled for these purposes, one Lord's day, a negro, who lived at the distance of about ten or twelve miles from the place, came to it; and, applying to Capt. Smith, requested him to teach him the way to heaven. The account he gave of himself to the captain was as follows.
“I was born on the other side of the big water. In my own country I know but very little of God, or how to serve him. At length I was brought across the big water to this country, where I have learned to be more wicked than I was before. Though I understood that the Sabbath was appointed for the service of God, yet I have not spent it in that way, but in working for myself. A few Sabbaths ago, while I was working in my patch, there was something in my heart, like some body catching me by the clothes, and pulling me back, and saying, “You knust not work to-day." I did