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of any, they are not only allowed, but expressly directed, to “ make to themselves friends even of the mammon of unrighteousness;” and they are well able to explain, and to apply to their
purpose, that prophetical representation of “ the earth helping the woman,” 12th Rev. 16.
It is, however, with pleasure I have received certain information that the society, through the agency of their standing committee, so far from overlooking the missionary ground, of which I speak, have given very proper, and indeed their principal attention to it, and that, by far the greater part of their precious fund is annually expended for the propagation and support of the gospel in those quarters. This is very well. They deserve the gratitude of every class of their fellow-citizens. And, I doubt not, they will be finally and amply remunerated by their Lord, in whose most glorious cause they have so wisely and faithfully laboured. Yet, withal, I do most sincerely wish, that, in order to the augmentation of their pecuniary powers, the reverend gentlemen, who are annually appointed to address us to this purpose, would more expressly and largely expatiate on the necessitous and deplorable condition of our fellow-christians on the frontier and other settlements, as well as of those more remote brethren of humanity, who are satisfied with a hope of the country beyond the hills."
Having offered to the society these hints, imperfect as they are, may I not presume, sir, through the medium of your magazine, to ask them a question, to which it may, perhaps, be adviseable to pay a little attention? And that is, Why the other populous cities of the United States, in which there are churches connected with the general assembly, are not favoured with the privilege of being annually addressed in reference to the great missionary object, as well as the city of Philadelphia? The cause is a common christian cause. And the motive of the society, I firmly believe, is a desire of the conversion of their fellow-men to the christian religion. And though the presbyterian congregations in communion with the general assembly do annually, as such, contribute something to this purpose amongst others; yet, were such addresses appointed for the several cities above referred to, not only would other professions, as in Philadelphia, attend with the liberal view of imparting their aid, but many of those who give at the stated congregational collections, would with pleasure encourage the clesign by a generous addition on that more public and ostensible occasion.
Dr. Doddridge preached and published a sermon on the death of the Rev. James Shepherd, who died May 19, 1746, ætatis 22. In the course of the sermon the doctor terms Mr. Shepherd bis “ dear pupil, who but the very last sacrament day was at the table of the Lord, and who, but a few days before, had been speaking to the assembly in his name. He had just been unanimously chosen to preside over a numerous and important congregation, and was within a few weeks to have taken up his stated residence among them.”
He retired to rest one evening tolerably well. In the morning he was found in his bed “ speechless and senseless, continuing without perception, and in a great measure without motion, till he expired."
The following circumstance deserves to be remarked, as it serves to show how babes may perfect the praises of Jehovah, while employed in directing the views of the most eminent of his servants to the path of duty, consolation and honour.
" Let us,” says the doctor, “ lay down this as a foundation that it is the hand of Christ. He has taken away his young servant whom he raised up here, whom he called so early by his grace, whom he taught to pray when he was but a child, and to pray in such a manner that I will take the liberty publicly to tell you, that, the account I had of a prayer of his, overheard, when he little thought of it, by a dear friend, almost seventeen years ago, that is, when he was but FIVE YEARS OLD, had its influence in engaging me to come and settle in this place.”
TO THE EDITOR, The life of the Rev. William Tennent published in your magazine, has excited so much interest, that I presume the following characteristic anecdotes of him will not be unacceptable.
PHILO. He was crossing the bay from New-York to Elizabethtown, in company with two gentlemen, who had no great fondness for clergymen, and who cautiously avoided him for some time after getting on board the boat. As he usually spoke loudly, they overheard what he said, and finding him a cheerful companion, who could converse upon other subjects besides religion, they ventured a little nearer to him; and at length they and he engaged in a conversation upon politics. One of his congregation, who was a fellow-passenger, happening to overhear a remark he made, stepped up to him, and said, “ Mr. Tennent, please to spiritualize that.” “ Spiritualize that,” said Mr. T. “ you don't know what you are talking about.” “ Why, sir, there is no harm in talking religion, is there?” “ Yes,” replied Mr. T. “ there is a great deal of harm in it; and it is such good folks as you, that always lug religion in, by head and shoulders, whether it is proper or not, that hurt the cause; if you want to talk religion, you know where I live, and I know where you live, and you may call at my house, or I will call at yours, and I will talk religion with you till you are tired; but this is not the time to talk religion; we are talking politics.” This reply, and his conduct in other respects, so much ingratiated Mr. T. with the two gentlemen, as to furnish him with an opportunity for advantageously introducing conversation upon more important subjects; and the younger of the two was so much pleased, that on their arrival at Elizabethtown Point, he insisted upon Mr. T.'s taking his seat in a chair, and he walked from the Point to Elizabethtown, through a muddy road, which, to a person of Mr. Tennent's age, would have been very inconvenient, if not impracticable.
At New York, Mr, Tennent went to hear a sermon delivered by a transient clergy man, who was often and well spoken of, but whose manner was singular, and who frequently introduced odd conceits into his sermons, which tended to excite mirth, rather than to edification. Upon leaving the church, a friend asked Mr. Tennent's opinion of the sermon. He said, it made him think of a man who should take a bag, and put into it some of the very best superfine wheat flour, a greater quantity of indian meal, and some arsenick, and mix them all together: a part of the sermon was of the very best quality; more of it was coarse, but very wholesome food; and some of it rank poison.
Upon another occasion, he went with a friend to hear an illiterate carpenter preach at N.York; and it appeared to him that the man denied the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints. The next morning Mr. T.called upon his friend, and asked if it appeared so to him? Upon his friend's replying in the affirmative, Mr. T. said, “ then I must go and talk with him, and you must go along with me." His friend begged to be excused, but Mr. T. insisted upon his going, as he had heard the doctrine denied. They found the car
penter at breakfast. Mr. T. asked if he was the person who had preached last evening? he said he was. Then, said Mr. T. “ it appeared to me that you denied the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints; did I understand you rightly?” “ Yes, sir, be sure I did," said the carpenter; “ that is a doctrine which no man in his senses can believe.” “ I'll tell you,” replied Mr. T. that is the most precious doctrine in all the book of God: I will give up my life before I will give that up: I must talk with you about it.” The man alleged that he was a mechanic, who depended upon his trade for the support of his family, and could not stay to talk; he must mind his business. “ I am glad to hear that,” said Mr. T. “ I love to see men diligent in their lawful callings: it is their duty; but yours is of such a nature that you can work and talk at the same time; and I will go with you to where your business lies, so that your time shall not be wasted:” the carpenter said he did not want to talk, took his hat, and abruptly went off. Mr. T. followed him: the man walked faster: Mr. T. quickened his pace. At length the man ran; so did Mr. T. But the carpenter was too fleet for his pursuer; by his speed evaded his arguments, and remained in error.
MR. Tindall, in the year 1527, began the translation of the New Testament and of the Pentateuch into the English language. When the work was nearly completed (such mystery attends many parts of the economy of Providence), on his passage to Hamburgh he lost all his papers in a shipwreck. Unbroken in his spirits by the disaster, he again addressed himself to the work, and actually published a considerable part of the divine oracles, soon after, in England. The bishop of London, who with many of his brethren were provoked at the measure, consulted with one Packington, a merchant of the city, on the best means of suppressing the translation. Packington who was probably a secret friend to Mr. Tindall, advised that the whole impression should be bought up. The bishop furnished a large sum for the purpose. The merchant waited on Mr. Tindall, and received the whole of the work, excepting a few copies that had previously been sold. With the money furnished by the bishop, Mr. Tindall not only supported himself during a teclious exile, but, as was his object, employed the sum in part, in meeting the expenses incident on a translation of the whole bible.
While Mr. Tindall was employed in translating (I think in Germany), a number of persons accused of heresy, by Sir Thomas
More, then Lord Chancellor, were about to be led forth to execution. To one of them, whose name was George Constantine, Sir Thomas offered a pardon on condition he would disclose to him, who they were in London, who were supporting Tindall beyond the seas. As soon as the man had procured every possible assurance that his life should be spared in case of his making the discovery, he declared that Mr. Tindall's support had been drawn from the bishop of London, who had purchased his testaments at an advanced price. The confusion of Sir Thomas may be easily conceived. He however gave the confessor his life.
The recollection, that Mr. Tindall was martyred at Villefort in Flanders, “ for translating into English the New Testament “ and a part of the Old,” should teach us to value the privileges we are daily sharing, and to retain a grateful remembrance of those excellent men, who have procured them and conveyed them to us at the cost of their blood.
OF THE EFFICACY OF PRAYER.
The parents of the late Rev. Dr. Samuel Finley were eminently pious. They had seven sons, and one daughter. It was their practice, soon after the birth of each child, to set apart a day to be spent in prayer to God, and intercession on behalf of the child, that it might be a subject of divine grace, and an heir of eternal life. Their prayers appear to have ascended, like Cornelius's, as a memorial before God; and the parents had the pleasure to see their children distinguished for their piety even in their youth, and growing in grace as the number of their years increased. Most of them lived to an advanced age; were useful in their several spheres; and greatly respected and beloved on account of the eminence of their christian character.