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subjects of prayer, he mentioned the pardon of sin as one of them, which he observed was a present blessing. He proved from the holy Scriptures, as well as from the service of the Church of England, that it was free for every true penitent. He expatiated largely on · He pardoneth and absolveth all them that truly repent, and unfeignedly believe his holy gospel.'
Under this discourse, I was more fully convinced of my need of pardon than before. I sought it with all my heart; ñor did I seek in vain; for I soon found · Redemption in the blood of Christ, even the forgiveness of my sins.'. I began to read my Bible, which I had long neglected, and beheld Christianity, as delineated in the New Testament, with new eyes. I viewed the Bible as a divinely inspired book, cortaining truths worthy of the great Author.
The education of my children having been shamefully Beglected, I sent them to a Sunday-school, where they were taught to read the holy Scriptures, to fear God, and honour the king.
Having contracted several debts in the time of my impiety, I began to discharge them; and in order to do this, I was diligent in my business, and fared very hard; but my scanty morsel, being sanctified by the word of God and prayer, was sweet and pleasant to me. I soon proved the truth of St. Paul's.words to Timothy, Godliness is profitable unto all things, having the promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.'
The change in my conduct was so great, that it could not long escape the observation of my neighbours. Some of them said they were glad I had seen the error of my life, and had reformed; while others persecuted me, saying, 'Much religion hath made him mad.'
I intimated a determination to make restitution to any whom I had injured. Notwithstanding I had uttered much base coin, and many forged notes, yet it was difficult to find out the injured persons ;-however, I knew a few, who, having kept the base coin in their pockets longer than was proper, were not able to pay it away. I also knew two persons who had each a forged note, which they had received from me, to whom I sent a guinea-bill, with the following letter :... 'Sir, -Inclosed, you have a bill, value 1l. ls. The only disclosure I can make at present, is just to state, that I havc injured you to that amount, and that I cannot be easy in my conscience without making you full satisfaction. For the recovery of your right you are indebted to the grace of God, which has wrought an effectual change in my heart, and made me an honest man. I am your humble and penitent servant,
About half a year after my conversion, a melancholy cire cumstance occurred, which very much affected me: -One of my old companions in iniquity (viz. the man who accosted me in returning from the execution at Washwood Heath) was apprehended for offering a forged bill. After his commitment, he wrote me a very affecting letter, begging me to come and see him ; but I thought it most proper to suspend my visit upon the issue of his trial. :: At the ensuing assizes he was found guilty; and being a no:
torious offender, was left for execution. A few days after, ! received from him the following letter :My very dear Friend,
The issue on which you suspended your visit is now determined, - I have no hope of life! Had I hearkened to, and been influenced by, your good counsel, I should not have been in this dreadful situation, -- dreadful, both with respect to body and soul! My horrible cell and galling chains are terrific! - but this is only a faint representation of eternal darkness, fire, and chains ! O wretched man! --- what shall I do? Locks, bolts, and impenetrable wails forbid my flight: I must endure my situation, and yet it is intolerable. Do, do, come and see me without delay. Let me see you at least once before death separate us for ever! The good advice you gave me on our way from Washwood Heath, recurs to my remembrance with many aggravated circumstances, - it sunk deep into my heart the same evening, after I arrived at home; but going the next day among my old companions in wickedness, I forgot it, and my mind became as callous as it had been at any former period of my life. Life is rapidly hastening away; and death, judgment, and eternity assume a terrible torin! I shall look for you with great impatience and anxiety.
: 'Yours,' &e. . Upon the receipt of this letter, I determined to fulll my promise immediately.-Our first interview was truly affecting; we were neither of us able to utter a word for a considerable time. When the excess of our grief had a little subsided, he said, ! O, my friend, you find me in an awful situation! I am ruined for ever! It is all over with me! On enquiring into the state of his mind, I found it approached nearly to desperation. I explained to him the nature of evangelical repentance; and set before him the Lord Jesus Christ, as the Saviour of sinners; in whom I exhorted him to believe for present pardon, and acceptance with God. I prayed with him several times; and when I left him, I referred him to the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world.' - He was executed shortly after ; but I have not been able to learn that there was any hope in his death.
Having suffered so much by the political and theological opinions of Thomas Paine, I cannot conclude without cautioning my readers against them. His politics laid, the foundation of that superstructure of ungodliness, which I was several years in raising.
Being dissatisfied with our form of government, I was exceedingly desirous of a change; because I thought it would put me in possession of a part of the property of my rich and industrious neighbours. I was quite fascinated with the ideas of Liberty and Equality. As the design of Paine's books was to make Infidels as well as Republicans, they completely accomplished this object in me, as well as in many others ; But did my new opinions make me more happy? Did they make me a better man, a better husband, a better parent, a better neighbour, or a better subject ? No; but infinitely worse in all these relations. Suppose the people of this country were to adopt Mr. Paine's system, i. e. to dethrone their king, abolish Christianity, and become a nation of infidels and republicans, - would the interest of the community be advanced thereby? The history of the French Revolution furmishes a pointed answer in the negative. In order that we may not be deceived by those who lie in wait to mislead us, it is well to recollect, that the generality of those who contend for liberty and equality, mean their own liberty, not the liberty of others; and by equality, they mean their own superiority. The spirit of ambition which reigns in their hearts, would not suffer them to be at rest, if only raised to a level with others. Ambition knows no bounds: its object is unlimited supremacy. It is the same both in pnblic and private life, only with this difference in the former, the objects which stimulate it are of greater magnitude, and, therefore, render it more vigorous. We have seen an ambitious petty constable as well as an ambitious prince.
Within the last six months, I have reflected much on the miserable condition of many Free-Thinkers in their last moments, with some of whom I was intimately acquainted. I will take the liberty of mentioning one, of whose death I was a witness.
On entering his room, I was struck with amazement by his ghastly and terrific countenance; which sufficiently indicated the horrors of his guilty conscience. On enquiring how he felt himself, he replied, ' Miserable and wretched in the extreme! I asked him, with a view to expose the fallacy and futility of his creed,“ But will your rational scheme of religion afford you no consolation in your present extremity?" He answered in the negative, with an emphasis which I shall not soon forget. After pausing a little, he said, Surely, I was the greatest tool in the world to become the dupe of wicked and
designing men ; I am justly consigned to that Hell, the idea of which I once laughed at !' Reminding him of the compassion of God to penitent sinners, he very abruptly interrupted me, exclaiming, Penitent sinners! I am not penitent, -- I have no compunction in my callous heart: it is the fear of eternal damnation that is awakened in my guilty soul! - and this fear is the pledge and foretaste of the torments of the damned. Eternal fire, eternal fire! Who can dwell with everlasting burning? I dare not die,' continued he,' and yet I must! O that I had another day to live! — but I cannot be indulged in my wish; and what if I could, it would answer no end! I must perish! I must endeavour to reconcile myself to the thiought: I am dying, I am dying!
After these affecting exclamations, he became a little more dispassionate; .which determined me to run home for a short account of the Death of the Earl of Rochester, which I had in my possession. On re-entering his room, one of his attendants informed me, he had been much worse in my absence than he was before : he was then, however, composed, which gave me an opportunity of reading it to him.
While I was reading, his attention seemed to be much engaged ; but I had no sooner done than he became very restless; and shrieking, cried out," See, see ! -don't you see them? They are come for me. Save me, save me! I must go to my own płace, God save me! Whither shall I go to hide my. self? I am sinking, - I am going! Damned, damned, for ever damned !- and while ultering the last word, died, with infernal horror strikingly portrayed in his countenance.
· Will infidels and sinners of other descriptions not fear and tremble, having such awful examples before their eyes ? Let them reflect on the just severity of God; and not forget that Ne is to the finally impenitent" a consuming fire.'
A CONCISE VIEW OF THE PRESENT STATE OF EVANGELICAL RELIGION
THROUGHOUT THE WORLD.
[Continued from p. 471.] :
The Calvinistic Methodists are altogether, perhaps, a body little less numerous, or less active, than their brethren ; but broken into a greater number of distinct congregations, and, not so united under any head, or general government, they commonly adopt the mode of the Independents. Their chief places of worship are under the management of Trustees, who provide a succession of ministers, and select the ablest and Most popular to fill them. These often settle over congiegita tions where they have been useful, acceptable, and become regular Independents. Of these, in part, the London Missionary Society has been formed, and the several County Unions for Itinerant Preaching.. Numerous schools are taught by them; and much of the power of religion is manifested in their several congregations, - none being admitted to their com- , munion whose exemplary conduct and Christian knowledge does not assure, as far as Charity must judge the truth of their profession, as unfeignedly faithful to the great Head of the church, Jesus Christ. These are, I believe, seldom. Dissenters by choice, or from conscientious objection to the Articles or worship of the established church, and often embrace the opportunity of hearing the gospel, and uniting in coinmunion with the evangelical ministers in their vicinity ; but as these are comparatively few, they choose a minister of their own sentiments, erect places of Worship, and multiply astonishingly. through the nation.
A great multitude, however, among us, are Dissenters on principle, imbibed from a long train of ancestors, or from conscientious objections entertained against the doctrines and dis-, cipline of the established church, from which they have withdrawn themselves; and among these is to be found much of the power of religion. A liberal government hath established it as the law of the land, that every man may worship according to the dictates of his conscience. These are divided into different denominations.
The Presbyterians were formerly the chief; and under that general name all Dissenters once were classed. The church of Scotland is of this profession; and the Assembly's Catechismi has been adopted as their common Confession of Faith ; but in England, this body once so numerous, is now much dimiIrished. Some of their principal ministers, leaning to the Arian Heresy, have greatly declined from the zeal and spirituality of their ancestors; and their congregations dwindled away, or departed to join the more lively Calvinistic ministers of the Independents. Some faithful men and congregations of spiritual worshippers, retain the faith and fidelity of their ancestors, profess the Calvinistic doctrines, and preserve the Presbyterian model of government. Descending through the various shades of Arianism to Socinianism, till they have reached the bathos of Unitarianism, a few, and these with poorly attended congregations, verge to extinction, and speak an expiring cause..
The Independents are now a far larger and more flourishing body in England than the Presbyterians. Always men of firm Calvinistic principles, and strongly attached to the congrega: tional mode of worship and discipline, these stand in the most direct opposition to the church established, -to its hierarchy, as Anti-Christian ; and to its forms, as superstitious. As a