[blocks in formation]

A YOUNG clergyman of the Presbyterian denomination having located at the South, where religion had previously no temple and few votaries, found it difficult to discharge his duties because of the poverty of his hearers, and the currents of false principle, fashionable authority, vicious manners, conceited ignorance, wealthy infidelity and habituated irreligion, which he had violently to oppose.--His talents--and talents are the Lanes and Penates of Southern idolatry--were, in their own estimation, excellent and appropriate to his profession. His person and attainments were the objects of their enthusiastick admiration. All they-hated, were, his master and his message! Once, on a very splendid matrimonial occasion, he was called to officiate. The company convened and awaited his arrival. In the mean time the conversation turned on the character and doctrine of their clergyman. They all said, he was a good man, a smart man, an acquisition to the place-but, his doctrine, alas! how strict, how hard, how mysterious, how inflexible, how almost audaciously defended and applied ! One of the guests, a flippant and well educated young man and a practitioner of law, signalized himself to the

high satisfaction of the circle, in his erudite animadversions upon the subject : and in fine was deputed to entertain the presence, after the arrival of the clergyman and the performance of the ceremony, with a discussion, the object of which would be to refute, especially his Calvanistic sentiments. The clergyman arrived—and the time for the colloquy. The lawyer (whom we shall write L. and the other C.) adduced, very politely and tritely, his objections—especially against the doctrine of election. Č. explained, and showed that it was a fact clearly revealed—and yet never in any


way whose pride and unbelief do not present the primary and sole obstructions; that it consists of two grand divisions, the purpose and the execution—the former, as such, having no effect upon us, and the latter coinciding with and constituted by our own voluntary moral agency; that it was not the less but the more true, on account of that doctrine, that he that believeth shall be saved and he that believeth not shall be damned; that it was the glorious encourager of piety, and inimical only to its opposite; that the end was not determined than the means of salvation, and neither the end nor the means of this design more than all other eventsthan the means and the end of every other design of the universal agent, who made, sustains, and controls the sum of things; that we ought to receive it as a fact, whether we could master the philosophy of it or not ; that every way there could be no promises to the impenitent and without it no certificates to the real christian; that events in the moral world--for which the physical was made and to which it is subservient-must then be fortuitous and chance is over all blessed forever;" with other considerations calculated to convince him. The company were all atterition, and wished their champion to reply. He hesitated, and at last said, by way of terminating the friendly disputation,-“Well, after all, I am not convinced; and to tell you the truth, Rev. Sir, (and it is a solemn fact) if I believed as you do, I should necessarily infer the absurdity of doing any thing, and should never make one effort towards salvation." Rejoined C. “ Well, but believing what

any more

« VorigeDoorgaan »