Графични страници
PDF файл

hiding again.' Suffer me, sir, to ask, What is it constitutes the character of the wicked man? That is nothing to the purpose.'


Again I ask, what is it constitutes the character of the wicked man? Here several individuals tremulously asked: 'Why do you not answer the question? we are all concerned in it, we are seeking information." 'Suppose I cannot; let some one else answer, and, if I like it, I will agree to it.' No answer was given, and Mr. Croswell resumed his declamation, affirming, I had said, God loved the devil's children. I denied the charge, and was again accused of hiding, when I besought the attention of the people, while I explained myself. What are we to understand by a father, and a child, but the begetter and begotten? Can you, Mr. Croswell, or can any one present, presume to say, that the bodies, or the souls of mankind, were begotten by the devil? Is not God the Father of the spirits of all flesh? Is not God the Maker of our frames? and doth not the Apostle say, we are all His offspring? If it be confessed, we all died in Adam, we were of course in Adam; and if we were in Adam, we were what Adam was. But the Evangelist Luke affirms, that Adam was the son of God. We will next inquire, Who are the children of the devil, and who are the children of God? I humbly conceive, Christ Jesus himself has put the matter beyond dispute, in the ever memorable parable of the tares of the field, and our obligation to the Redeemer, for explaining it so clearly to his disciples, is indeed immeasurable. I then repeated the parable, and the explanation: and proved from thence, that the abominations of the earth were children of the devil, because produced by him; that the iniquities of the people were the tares, sowed by the adversary; that our nature was the good seed, which Jesus sowed. A holy God could not love sin, and, of course, could love no child of the devil: but men, being his offspring, He once loved them as his own, and having loved His own, He loved them unto the end; that He had proved this to all men, in the gift of his Son; God so loved the world, that He gave them his Son. Mr. Croswell interrupted; 'Nine tenths of all you have said is nothing at all to the purpose:' and again, in terms the most violent, he renewed his accusation, that I was all the time hiding. A voice from the gallery exclaimed: 'If he be hiding, why do you not hunt him out of the bush?'

Mr. Croswell at length tauntingly said: 'Come, come, leave off hiding, and tell the people, in plain English, that God loves them all.' To which I answered: I will, sir, in as 'plain English as I can command;—and then, addressing the congregation, I thus delivered the genuine sentiments of my soul: I am commissioned to say, to every individual before me, that God loves you, and that you are not to accept this declaration upon my bare word; you have the word of a God, who cannot lie; who proclaims Himself loving unto every man ; who has given you proof positive of His love. His love has been greatly manifested in your birth; in rearing you from infancy; in guarding you through the devious paths of child

hood, and youth; and preserving you from ten thousand dangers, to which you have been exposed. His gracious providence, in so plentifully providing for you, is a proof of His love. Your civil and religious liberties are blessed proofs of the love of your God. These particulars announce the love of Deity to every individual, as a Creator, and Preserver. Yet these manifestations may be onsidered as merely temporal: but, blessed be the holy name of Jehovah! I am authorized to add, and in plain English too, that God loves the soul, which emanates from Himself, aud that He has proved this love by the gift of His Son. God so loved the world, that He gave them His Son. To us a child is born, to us a Son is given. God has evinced His love, by giving us, in this Son, Reconciliation, Regeneration, a new Head, a new Heart, a right Spirit. Here your Creator so loved you, as to give you Wisdom, Righteousness, Sanctification, and Redemption. In Christ Jesus, God has so loved you, as to bless you with all spiritual blessings. Every individual should believe this, since it is nothing more than an accomplishment of the promise, of the oath of Jehovah, which he swear unto Abraham, saying: And in thy Seed shall all the nations, all the families of the earth, be blessed. Such are the glad tidings, which the God, who loved you before the foundation of the world, hath commanded us to proclain to every one of you; such are the glad tidings, which you ought to believe. If your heart tell you, It is not so, believe it not, it is an unbelieving heart; he that trusteth such a heart, is a fool. If the devil tell you, It is not so, believe him not, he was a liar from the beginning. If your ministers tell you, You ought not to believe this good report, trust them not; they take part with the devil, and your unbelieving hearts. The devil would persuade you, not to believe the glorious truths, because, if you were delivered from his usurpation, you would henceforward serve your Creator without fear. The arch fiend is solicitous to retain you in bondage; his utmost efforts are in requisition to prevent you from believing, that God has so loved you, as to purchase you with the price of blood, of the precious blood of the Lamb of God; he would prevent you from believing that you are bought with such a price, lest, thus believing, you should render yourselves living sacrifices, holy, and acceptable to God. But, let God be true, and every man a liar. Ye are not your own, ye are bought with a price, and the love of Christ constraineth us, because we thus judge, if One died for all, then were all dead; and that He died for all, that they, who live, should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him, who died for them, and rose again.

All the time I was speaking, Mr. Croswell was kicking my legs, or pulling the skirts of my garment, ever and anon vociferating: Have done, have done; you have said enough; quite enough,' &c. &c. Sometimes he stood up close to my side, shouldering me as hard as he was able. The congregation noticed his behavior, and it did not give them pleasure. For myself, I had much cause for gratitude to my divine Master: 1st, that he was pleased to give

me words; and 2dly, that he did not suffer me to lose my selfcommand. No, not for an instant. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

My next evening lecture was uninterrupted ; but, on the succeeding Sunday evening, the throng was so prodigious, that it was with much difficulty I reached the pulpit; and when entered, I was nearly suffocated by the strong effluvia, arising from the asafoetida, with which the tools of the adversary had wet the pulpit and the pulpit cloth, plentifully sprinkling the whole house with the same noxious drug. For some moments I was so much overpowered, as to induce an apprehension, that it would be impossible I should proceed; but the God of my life was abundantly sufficient for me. The demons of confusion were, however, not quite satisfied; many stones were violently thrown into the windows; yet no one received any other injury than the alarm which was created. At length, a large rugged stone, weighing about a pound and a half, was forcibly thrown in at the window behind my back; it missed me. Had it sped, as it was aimed, it must have killed me. Lifting it up, and waving it in the view of the people I observed: This argument is solid, and weighty, but it is neither rational, nor convincing. Exclamations from various part of the house, were echoed, and re-echoed : Pray, sir, leave the pulpit, your life is at hazard. Be it so, I returned, the debt of nature must be paid, and I am as ready, and as willing, to discharge it now, as I shall be fifty years hence. Yet, for your consolation, suffer me to say, I am immortal, while He who called me into existence has any business for me to perform; and when he has executed those purposes, for which He designed me, He will graciously sign my passport to realms of blessedness. With your good leave, then, I pursue my subject, and while I have aTHUS SAITH THE LORD-for every point of doctrine which I advance, not all the stones in Boston, except they stop my breath, shall shut my mouth, or arrest my testimony. The congregation was, as I have said, astonishingly large; but order and silence were gradually restored, and I had uncommon freedom in the illustration and defence of those sacred truths, which will be ultimately triumphant. Two or three succeeding lecture evenings were unmolested, when the business of stoning me in the pulpit was again resumed my friends were in terror, and, after I had closed, forming a strong phalanx around me, they attended me home. Many religious people were violent in their opposition; they insisted that I merited the severest punishment; that the old discipline for heretics ought to be put in force, and I was thus furnished with abundant reason to bless God for the religious liberty of the country of my adoption, else racks and tortures would have been put in operation against me, nor would these holy men, moved by the spirit, have stopped short of my destruction. Yet was the charge of heresy never proved against me. I was never silenced either by reason or scripture-I had called upon men every where, clergymen, or laymen, to step forward, and convict me of error; proinising, imme

diately upon conviction, to relinquish the obnoxious tenet, whatever it might chance to be, and to adopt that better way, which would, in such an event, become luminous before me. Truth, and gratitude originates the confession, that in all circumstances, I have hitherto had reason to bless the God of my life, who hath promised He will be with me to the end of the world, and that all things shall work together for good. Amen, and amen.


Summary Record of Events, from January, 1775, to October, 1809.

Amid the haunts of memory me stray,
As duty, love, and friendship, point the way;
With hand of diligence, and humid eye,
The faithful record tearfully supply.

WOULD the beloved preacher had continued his narrative. The Editor fondly calculating upon assistance which she believed herself authorized to expect, pledged herself to continue the sketch, even to the closing scene. But, alas! disappointed in her cherished hopes, she stands alone. Her health is broken, her spirits are depressed, and she is advanced in life; yea, doubtless, she is inadequate to the performance of her promise-But she remembers that this volume is addressed only to the friends of the dear departed, and she mournfully proceeds to its completion.

Upon December 14, 1774, Mr. Murray again visited Gloucester; the numerous family of the Sargents then seated in that place embraced, in almost all its branches, the truth as it is in Jesus, and their attachment to him, whom they believed an ambassador of the Redeemer, was proportioned to their zeal. Many respectable names were added, and a little congregation was collected, who seemed to have among them but one heart, and one soul. Like the primitive Christians, they assembled daily, and they continued from bouse to house worshipping the only true God their Saviour. On recurrence to the journal of the preacher we find a memorandum, written upon his second visit to Gloucester, which is thus worded: 'Here my God grants me rest from my toils; here I have a taste of heaven. The new song is sung here, and WORTHY IS THE LAMB constantly dwells upon their tongues.' Mr. Chandler's ineetinghouse was not closed against the promulgator of glad tidings, until some time in January, 1775, upon the 20th of which month he made a second journey to Newburyport and Portsmouth. Those who had adhered to him in those towns, having ascertained that

he absolutely believed the final restitution of all things, united with the many in the most unqualified censure. But the friends he had lost, particularly in Portsmouth, were replaced by many others, among whom we find the naines of Judge, and Sheriff Parker, Atkinson, Wentworth, Austin, Warner, Sheafe, Langdon, Sewall, Brackett, Whipple, Thompson, Turner, Gardner, Massey, Jackson, &c. &c. The heaven-instructed preacher continued many years an occasional visiter in Portsmouth, where his labors were greatly blessed; and when other pulpits were closed against him in that metropolis, the doors of the Episcopal Church were open for his reception. But after he had repeatedly lectured in that church, a few persons appeared in opposition, and we have this moment under our eye, an original writing, addressed to the promulgator upon this occasion. We transcribe a verbatim copy: 'Whereas it is represented that some objections have been made by one or more persons, belonging to the Church called Queen's Chapel, against the doors thereof being opened for the admission of Mr. John Murray to preach the Gospel; Wherefore, we the subscribers, proprietors, and parishioners of the Church aforesaid, having taken the same into consideration-Do (in order to remove any difficulties that might arise in that gentleman's breast in consequence of such objections) hereby fully declare our free will and consent, that the said Church be open at ALL TIMES, whenever it may be convenient for him to perform divine service in town, more especially during his present stay; and, instead of deeming it an indulgence granted him, we shall, on the contrary acknowledge it a favor conferred on us, in his acceptance of this invitation. Portsmouth, May 24, 1781.'— Signed by twenty-four of the leading members of the Church in Portsmouth. Our preacher was also made the instrument of irradiating the mind of an exemplary philanthropist, Mr. Noah Parker, now in regions of blessedness, who was so deeply penetrated, as to present himself a servant of the living God, a voluntary preacher of the Gospel. A convenient house was raised for his use, by the brethren in Portsmouth, and he continued, until his departure out of time, a zealous and able minister of the Reconciliation.

Attached to the Gloucesterians, Mr. Murray once more believed he had found a permanent residence; yet, although he consented to consider that place as his home; he did not relinquish the persuasion that his commission obliged him to go forth a preacher of the Gospel, wherever and whenever the providence of God might seem to direct him. The inveteracy of his enemies in the town of Gloucester, was in full proportion to the attachment of his friends, and every means of annoyance was in requisition. The spirit of liberty mounted very high in Gloucester, and for the purpose of influencing the ignorant, the teacher was proclaimed a PAPIST, sent out by Lord North, to aid the purpose of an obnoxious ministry; anathemas, and sometimes stones, followed his steps as he passed the streets; a town-meeting was called, the aim of which (lest the friends of the promulgator should take the alarm) was

« ПредишнаНапред »