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The first visit I made, was to a village about eight miles from my late found home. My patron accompanied me, and we were joyfully received, by a serious and respectable family, who embraced, with devout hearts, the truth, as it is in Jesus; and who were consequently saved from all those torturing fears, that had previously harrowed up their spirits, in the dread expectation of those everlasting burnings, which they believed awaited themselves and their offspring.
In this village, I one morning entered a house, and beheld a fond mother weeping over an infant, who lay sweetly sleeping in her arms. Sympathy for the sorrowing mother moistened my eye; and, supposing that her tears flowed from some domestic distress, or pecuniary embarrassment, I endeavored to console her by observing that the world was very wide, and that God was an all-sufficient Father. Alas! sir,' she replied, 'I never, in the whole course of my life, experienced a moment's anxiety from the dread of my children, or myself, suffering the want either of food, or raiment .No, sir, my fears are, that they will be sufferers through the wasteless ages of eternity, in that state of torment, from whence there is no reprieve; and that they will continually execrate their parents, as the wretched instruments of bringing them into being. I have eight children, sir; and can I be so arrogant, as to believe that all these children are elected to everlasting life?' But, my dear lady, you have reason to believe that they will be saved, whether they be elected or not, because Christ Jesus is the Saviour of all men. This did not satisfy her. I took up the Bible, which lay upon her desk, and the first scripture, which met my view, was the 127th Psalm. 1 glanced my eye upon the 3d verse of that Psalm: Lo children are the heritage of the Lord, and the fruit of the womb is his reward.' I did not recollect this passage; it was the first time it had met my particular observation; but it has ever since been right precious to my soul. I merely opened the Bible, in the expectation of finding something to soothe a sorrowing mother, and this most pertinent passage broke upon me, with unequalled splendor. I was myself astonished, and presenting the sacred passage, I remarked: There, madam, God has sent you, for your consolation, this divine discovery. You have been unhappy, because you did not know that your children were God's children, and that He loved them as well, yea, infinitely better, than you can pretend to love them. Nay, look at the passage; you see your children are the heritage of God, they are his reward; will He give His heritage to His adversary ? or will He suffer him to seize any part thereof, if He has sufficient power to prevent it? Again and again, the fond mother perused the passage; gradually her countenance changed, and the clouds dispersed; a flood of tears burst from her eyes; she brightened up, and, pressing her babe to her maternal bosom, rapturously exclaimed: Blessed, blessed God, they are not mine; they are thine, O Almighty Father; and thou wilt not be regardless of thine own!' I never saw more joy in consequence of believing, than I then be
held. Ten years afterwards, I again saw this parent, and asked her, what she thought of her children? Blessed be God, said she, they are God's children; and I have never had an unhappy moment respecting their future state, since my Redeemer has been graciously pleased to make known unto me his soul-satisfying truth. No, sir, my spirit is not now a sorrowing spirit.
Again a letter was handed me from New-York, earnestly entreating me to pay them a visit. Arrangements were made for my passage in the vessel by which I received the solicitation. To a summous so pressing, I dared not turn a deaf ear. In fact, a revolution had taken place in my mind. It appeared to me, that I was highly reprehensible in thus withdrawing myself from the tour of duty, which seemed appointed for me; and I determined never to seek, directly or indirectly, for an open door, and never again refuse entering any door which Providence should open. It is true, I never wished to receive an invitation; but I was aware, that the direction of me and my movements were in the hands of infinite wisdom; and promising my benevolent host, that I would return as soon as possible, I departed for New-York. My reception surpassed my expectations, and even my wishes. Many persons, anxious to detain me in their city, went so far, as to hand about a subscriptionpaper, for the purpose of building for me a house of public worship. It was completely filled in one day, when application was made to me to abide with them continually. 1 urged my absolute promise given, and my inclination, prompting my return to Good Luck, the name of the place where my friend Potter dwelt. They were astonished at my determination to reside in such a place, when the city of New-York was opening its arms to receive me; but on my repeating the circumstances, attendant upon my arrival there, they seemed disposed to acquiesce, and to acknowledge the good hand of God outstretched for my direction. The Baptist meeting-house was again open to me, and the congregations were very large; my friends multiplied very fast, and I became gradually attached to this city. Yet 1 ardently desired to return to the home of my choice; and after spending a few weeks in New-York, I once more hailed my providential residence; numbers of warm-hearted friends accompanying me, as before, even to the vessel's side, where they offered up to heaven their most fervent prayers in my behalf. My heart was greatly affected; I was warmly attached to many in NewYork. The family of Col. Darke, and many others now no more, were very dear to me.
1 reached home in good health, and was received with great joy; even the servants seemed to participate the benevolence of their master. In fact, having nothing in the habitation of my friend to render me uneasy, my mind became more tranquil than it had been for many years, and, at peace in my own breast, I consequently contributed to the happiness of all around nie. Thus I continued in undisturbed repose, until a Baptist minister from New Jersey, believing my sentiments precisely in unison with his own, conceiv
ed a strong affection for me. He solicited me to become a member of his church, that I might obtain a license from their association. Of course, I declined his friendly offers; for I well knew, when he discovered I really believed the gospel which I preached, uniting with his brethren, he would be as anxious to exclude me from his synagogue, as he now was to receive me. He pressed me, however, to visit him, which I did, accompanied by my patron, who, to his great mortification, was necessitated to leave me there. In this gentleman's pulpit I preached; I lodged in his house; and received from him every mark of attention, until my unbending refusal of all collections, and the partiality of his friends, visibly diminished his regard. I had calculated upon this change, and it did not therefore astonish me. He was, however, a warmhearted man, and as sincere as men in general are. In this place I was introduced to many worthy characters, who, as a part of the election, obtained a knowledge of truth, as it is in Jesus; among the rest was a justice Pangbrun, a venerable old gentleman, who had for many years been considered by his brethren, as an oracle. This gentleman heard me, and discovered that my testimony was not in unison with the teaching to which he had listened. He became sedulously intent upon detecting my errors, and he soon discovered I was wrong, and as soon, kindly endeavored to set me right; but, as there was no other way of effectuating his wishes, but by the word of God,—for I refused all other authority,—he was soon convinced, upon searching the sacred writings for proofs of my heresy, that it was he himself, who had wandered from that precious truth once delivered to the saints. Without hesitation, he renounced his former views, and continued ever after an able and zealous advocate for the truth, preached by Abraham. It was now noised abroad, that I was an erroneous teacher. The clergyman, who was so warmly attached to me, while he believed me a Calvinistic Baptist, now commenced a most inveterate adversary; and his opposition published more extensively my name, and peculiar tenets. Curiosity was excited, and I became the object of general inquiry. It is a melancholy truth, that esteem, and consequent friendship, are not generally so operative upon the human mind, as rancor and enmity: my experience is in unison with this observation. I hastened back to my calm retreat; alas! it was no longer my peaceful home,-for, although no change had taken place in the house of my friend, yet the influence of my clerical enemy pursued me. Opposition, however, begat opposition; and, while I was hated by the many, I was loved and caressed by the few. Solicitations to preach were multiplied from every quarter, and, although there was no abatement in the attachment of my patron, yet the estrangement of some individuals in our vicinity, diminished the difficulty of accepting invitations, and I was induced to visit a few warın-hearted individuals, in the neighborhood of my implacable foe. Upon my arrival there, I discovered a want, of which I had not until then been conscious: I wanted a horse. A
single hint was sufficient; a horse was immediately procured, and, so ardent was the affection of my adherents, that I could not express a wish, which they were not eager to gratify; but my wishes were very much bounded, and my wants few and simple.
An invitation from Philadelphia being frequently and earnestly repeated, 1 repaired to that city; a respectable circle of friends awaited me there. The Baptist minister invited me to his house, and his pulpit. He questioned me in private, and, in the course of our conversation, he frequently repeated: Christ, in us, the hope of glory. I ventured to ask, Pray, sir, what do you understand by Christ, in us, the hope of glory? Why, sir, in looking into my heart, I find something in it, which I had not some years ago.' Do you, sir, call this something, Christ? Undoubtedly.' But, sir, all the angels of God worship Christ; all the ends of the earth are admonished to look unto Christ and be saved; we are exhorted to trust in him at all times; and to believe, that there is no other name given under heaven, among men, whereby we can be saved. Now, my good sir, suffer me to ask, would it be safe for angels in heaver or men upon earth, to worship that something, you have in your heart, which you had not there some years ago? would it be safe for all the ends of the earth, or any of the inhabitants of the world, to look to that something for salvation? could I, or any other person, trust, at all times, to that something? Then, sir, if this be not Christ, what can the passage I have cited mean?" Certainly, sir, this cannot be the Christ Paul preached. The Christ Paul preached, was crucified; he was buried, he arose; he ascended; and the heavens must contain him, until the time of the restitution of all things. But how then is it that this Christ can be in us the hope of glory?' Why, sir, the Christian has no other hope of glory, than Jesus Christ, entered within the vail; and thi Saviour is, in his heart, the object of his trust, confidence, and affection. You have, sir, as I understand, a beloved wife in Europe; but, although the Western ocean rolls between you, yet you may say, she is ever in your heart, and no one would he at a loss to understand you; but if you were to tell them, your conjugal affection was your wife, they would stare at you; and yet it would be as proper to say, your conjugal affection was your wife, as to say your love to God, or any other good, and proper propensity, was your Christ. No, my dear sir, these are not that Christ, the things of which, the Spirit of truth taketh, and showeth them to men, as the matter of their rejoicing. The Christ, of whom you speak, can be no other than the false Christ; that is, something which is called Christ, but is not Christ. The Christ, of whom you speak, as your hope of glory, was never seen by any body, and is itself nobody. It neither suffered for your sins, nor rose for your justification; and it is therefore most unworthy to be held in reverence. This conversation, as may be supposed, made this gentleman exceeding angry; and I was not a little surprised to hear him, although he immediately broke up the conference, insist upon my coming the ensuing day (Sunday), according
to promise, to preach in his pulpit. The intelligence ran through the city, that I was to preach in the Baptist meeting-house, and numbers flocked to hear. I came, I entered the parlor of the reverend gentleman; many of the members of his church were present, and a young candidate for the ministry. The gentleman, who invited me, and who repeated his invitation on parting with me, arose, and throwing upon me a most indignant glance, took the young gentleman by the hand, and led him into the meetinghouse, which was adjoining to his dwelling, leaving me standing in his parlor. I now perceived, why he had insisted upon my coming to preach for him. But it was not wonderful; I had spoken contemptibly of his Christ, and he took rank among my inveterate foes; yet I had, among his connexions, a few friends, who, indignant at the treatment I had received, redoubled their caresses. There was at this time a small company who assembled at a place, known by the name of Bachelor's Hall; they were unacquainted with the truth I delivered; yet, willing to hear for themselves, they invited me to preach for them. Halting between two opinions, they solicited aid from a minister of another persuasion; and they requested me to hear him, to which I readily consented. The preacher selected his text. 'Behold the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world. He commenced his comment: My friends, I shall undertake to prove, that Jesus never did, nor never will take away the sin of the world.' I was astonished, and the persons, asking my attendance, were abashed. The preacher added: 'It is impossible Christ can have taken away the sin of the world, for then all the world must be saved.' This was unquestionable; I was exceedingly gratified, and the more, as this sermon, intended for my confusion, did much to establish that truth, of which, by the grace of God, I was a promulgator.
The combined efforts of the clergy in Philadelphia barred against me the door of every house of public worship in the city. Bachelor's Hall was in Kensington. But at Bachelor's Hall the people attended, and a few were enabled to believe the good word of their God. There was in the city, a minister of the Seventhday Baptist persuasion; for a season he appeared attached to me, but soon became very virulent in his opposition. He told me he passed on foot nine miles, upon the return of every Saturday, to preach. 1 asked him, how many his congregation contained? About an hundred.' How many of this hundred do you suppose are elected to everlasting life? I cannot tell.' Do you believe fifty are elected? Oh no, nor twenty.' Ten perhaps? There may be ten.' Do you think the non-elect can take any step to extricate themselves from the tremendous situation, in which the decrees of Heaven have placed them? Oh no, they might as well attempt to pull the stars from the firmament of heaven.' And do you think your preaching can assist them? 'Certainly not; every sermon they hear will sink them deeper and deeper in damnation.' And so, then, you walk nine miles every Saturday, to