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judgment, and, having proposed the question for the next evening, concluded with prayer.

Upon this society I was a constant attendant, and I was frequently gratified by the indulgence of the president and the implied approbation of the society. It was on the close of one of those evenings, which were to me very precious opportunities, that the pres ident took me by the hand, and requested me to accompany him into the vestry. Sit down, my good sir; you cannot but have seen, that I have long distinguished you in this society; that I have been pleased with your observations; and I have given indisputable evidence, that both my reason and my judgment, approved your remarks.' I bowed respectfully, and endeavored to express my gratitude in a manner becoming an occasion so truly flattering.

'My object,' said he, in secking to engage you in private, is to request you would take home with you a pamphlet I have written against Relly's Union. I have long wondered that some able servant of our Master has not taken up this subject. But, as my superiors are silent, I have been urged by a sense of duty to make a stand, and I have done all in my power to prevent the pernicious tendency of this soul-destroying book.'

Although, at this period, I had never seen Relly's Union, yet my heart rejoiced, that Mason, this great and good man, had undertaken to write against it, and, from the abundance of my heart, my mouth overflowed with thankfulness.

'All that I request of you,' said Mr. Mason, 'is to take this manuscript home with you, and keep it till our next meeting. Meet me in this vestry, a little before the usual time. Read it, I entreat you, carefully, and favor me with your unbiassed sentiments.' I was elated by the honor done me, and I evinced much astonishment at the confidence reposed in me. But he was pleased to express a high opinion of my judgment, abilities, and goodness of heart, and he begged leave to avail himself of those qualities with which his fancy had invested me.

I took the manuscript home, perused it carefully, and with much pleasure, until I came to a passage at which I was constrained to pause, painfully to pause. Mr. Relly has said, speaking of the record which God gave of his Son: This life is in his Son, and he, that believeth not this record, maketh God a liar; from whence, inferred Mr. Relly, it is plain, that God hath given this eternal life in the Son to unbelievers, as fully as to believers, else the unbeliever could not, by his unbelief make God a liar. This, said Mr. Mason, punning upon the author's name, is just as clear as that this writer is an Irish Bishop. I was grieved to observe, that Mr. Mason could say no more upon a subject so momentous; nor could I forbear allowing more than I wished to allow, to the reasoning of Mr. Relly. Most devoutly did I lament, that the advantage in argument did not rest with my admired friend, Mason; and I was especially desirous that this last argument should have been completely confuted. I was positive, that God never gave eternal life to any unbeliever; and

yet I was perplexed to decide how, if God had not given life to unbelievers, they could possibly make God a liar, by believing that he had not. My mind was incessantly exercised, and greatly embarrassed upon this question. What is it to make any one a liar, but to deny the truth of what he has said? But if God had nowhere said, he had given life to unbelievers, how could the unbeliever make God a liar? The stronger this argument seemed in favor of the grace and love of God, the more distressed and unhappy 1 became ; and most earnestly did I wish that Mr. Mason's pamplilet might contain something that was more rational, more scriptural, than a mere pun; that he might be able to adduce proof positive, that the gift of God, which is everlasting life, was never given to any but believers. I was indisputably assured, that I myself was a believer; and right precious did I hold my exclusive property in the Son of God.


At the appointed time, I met Mr. Mason in the vestry. 'Well, sir, I presume you have read my manuscript?' I have, sir, and I have read it repeatedly. Well, sir, speak freely, is there any thing in the manuscript which you dislike?' Why, sir, as you are so good as to indulge me with the liberty of speaking, I will venture to point out one passage, which appears to me not sufficiently clear. Pardon me, sir, but surely argument, especially upon religious subjects, is preferable to ridicule, to punning upon the name of an author.

And where, pray, is the objectionable paragraph to which you advert?' I pointed it out; but, on looking in his face, I observed his countenance fallen; it was no longer toward me. Mr. Mason questioned my judgment, and never afterward honored me by his attention. However, I still believed Mason right, and Relly wrong; for if Relly was right, the conclusion was unavoidable, all men must finally be saved. But this was out of the question, utterly impossible; all religious denominations agreed to condemn this heresy, to consider it as a damnable doctrine, and what every religious denomination united to condemn, must be false.

Thus, although I lost the favor of Mr. Mason, and he published his pamphlet precisely as it stood, when submitted to my perusal, yet my reverential regard for him was not diminished. I wished, most cordially wished success to his book, and destruction to the author against whom it was written.

In this manner, some months rolled over my head, when, accompanying my wife on a visit to her aunt, after the usual ceremonies, I repaired, according to custom, to the book-case, and turning over many books and pamphlets, I at length opened one that had been robbed of its title page; but in running it over, I came to the very argument which had excited so much anxiety in my bosom. It was the first moment I had ever seen a line of Mr. Relly's writing, except in Mr. Mason's pamphlet. I was much astonished, and turning to Mrs. Murray, I informed her, I held Mr. Relly's Union in my hand. I asked our uncle, if I might put it in my pocket? Sure. ly,' said he, and keep it there, if you please, I never read books of divinity; I know not what the pamphlet is, nor do I wish to know.'


As I put it into my pocket, my mind became alarmed and perturbed. It was dangerous, it was tampering with poison, it was like taking fire into my bosoin; I had better throw it into the flames, or restore it to the book-case; such was the conflict in my bosom. However, in the full assurance, that the elect were safe; and that, although they took any deadly thing, it should not hurt them, I decided to read the Union; and having thus made my mind, I experienced a degree of impatience, until I reached home, when, addressing the dear companion of my youth, I said: I have, my dear, judged and condemned, before I have heard; but I have now an opportunity given me for deliberate investigation. But,' returned Mrs. Murray, are we sufficient of ourselves?' No, my love, certainly we are not; but God, all-gracious, hath said, If any lack wisdom, let them ask of God, who giveth liberally, and upbraideth not. My heart is exercised by fearful apprehensions; this moment I dread to read, the next I am anxious to hear what the author can say. We will therefore, lay this book before our God. There is, my love, a God who is not far from every one of us; we are directed to make our requests known unto Him for all things, by supplication and prayer. God hath never yet said to any, Seek ye my face in vain; we will then pray for his direction and counsel; and we may rest in the assurance of obtaining both. Accordingly, we entered our closet, and both of us, for we were both equally interested, prostrated ourselves before God, with prayers and tears, beseeching Him the God of mercy, to look with pity on us; we were on the point of attending to doctrines of which we were not, we could not be judges, and we earnestly supplicated Him to lead us into all truth. If the volume before us contained truth, we entreated him to show it to us, and to increase our faith; if, on the other hand, it contained falsehood, we beseeched God to make it manifest, that we might not be deceived. No poor criminal ever prayed for life, when under sentence of death, with greater fervor of devotion, than did my laboring soul upon this Occasion supplicate for the light of life to direct my erring steps.

After thus weeping, and thus supplicating, we opened the bible, and began to read this book, looking into the bible for the passages to which the writer referred. We were astonished and delighted at the beauty of the scriptures, thus exhibited: it seemed as if every sentence was an apple of gold in a picture of silver; and still, as we proceeded, the wonder was that so inuch divine truth should be spoken by so heinous a transgressor; and this consideration seemed suggested as a reason why I should not continue reading. Can anything good proceed from such a character? Would not truth have been revealed to men eminent for virtue? How is it possible discoveries, so important, should never, until now, have been made, and now only by this man? Yet I considered, God's ways were in the great deep; he would send by whom he would send; choosing the weak and base things to confound the mighty and the strong, that no flesh should glory in his presence. And, as my lovely wife justly observed, I was not sure all I heard of Mr. Relly was true;

that our Saviour had said to his disciples, They shall say all manner of evil of you falsely; and the present instance may be a case in point. You have no personal acquaintance with Mr. Relly,' said she; 'nor do you know that any of those from whom you have received his character, are better informed than yourself. I think it doth not become us to speak or believe evil of any man without the strongest possible proof! All this was rational; I felt its full force, and blushed for my own credulity. I proceeded to read. The Union introduced me to many passages of scripture which had before escaped my observation. A student, as I had been of the scriptures, from the first dawn of iny reason, I could not but wonder at myself: I turned to Mr. Mason's book, and I discovered want of candor, and a kind of duplicity, which had not before met my view, and which perhaps would never have caught my attention had I not read the Union. I saw the grand object untouched, while Relly had clearly pointed out the doctrines of the gospel. Yet there were many passages that I could not understand, and 1 felt myself distressingly embarrassed. One moment I wished from my soul I had never seen the Union; and the next my heart was enlarged, and lifted up by considerations which swelled my bosom to ecstacy. This was the situation of my mind during many succeeding months, and a large proportion of my time was passed in reading and studying the scriptures, and in prayer? My understanding was pressing on to new attainments, and the prospect brightened before me. I was greatly attached to my minister, Mr. Hitchins: he was eminent in his line, and a most pleasing preacher. Mrs. Murray was in the habit of taking down his sermons in short hand. We were delighted with the man, and accustomed to consider him a genuine gospel preacher. It happened that Mr. Hitchins took a journey into the country, and was absent on the sabbath day Come, my dear, said our minister is out of town, let us avail ourselves of the opportunity, and hear the writer of the Union; this is a privilege, which few, who read books, can have; as authors are generally numbered with the dead before their labors are submitted to the public eye.' Her consent was yielded to my solicitations; but we were terrified as we passed along, in the fear of meeting some of our religious brethren: happily, however, we reached the meeting-house without encountering any one to whom we were known.

Mr. Relly had changed his place of worship, and we were astonished to observe a striking proof of the falsehood of those reports which had reached us; no coaches thronged the street, nor surrounded the door of this meeting-house; there was no vestige of grandeur, either within or without. The house had formerly been occupied by Quakers; there were no seats, save a few benches; and the pulpit was framed of a few rough boards, over which no plane had ever passed. The audience corresponded with the house. They did not appear very religious; that is, they were not melancholy; and I therefore suspected they had not much pięty.

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I attended to everything; the hymn was good, the prayer excellent, and I was astonished to witness, in so bad a man, so much apparent devotion; for still, I must confess, the prejudices I had received from my religious friends, were prevalent in my mind. Mr. Relly gave out his text. 'Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or the tree corrupt and the fruit corrupt; for every tree is known by its fruit; a good tree cannot bring forth corrupt fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. I was immeasurably surprised. What, thought 1, has this man to do with a passage so calculated to condemn himself? But, as he proceeded, every faculty of my soul was powerfully seized and captivated, and I was perfectly amazed, while he explained who we were to understand by the good, and who by the bad trees. He proved, beyond contradiction, that a good tree could not bring forth any corrupt fruit, but there was no man, who lived and sinned not; all mankind had corrupted themselves; there were none therefore good; no, not one.

No mere man, since the fall, has been able to keep the commandments of God; but daily doth break them, in thought, in word, and in deed. There was, however, one good tree, JESUS; He indeed stands, as the apple-tree, among the trees of the wood; He is that good tree, which cannot bring forth corrupt fruit; under his shadow the believer reposeth; the fruit of this tree is sweet to his taste; and the matter of his theme constantly is, Whom have I in heaven but thee, and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.' I was constrained to believe, that I had never, until this moment, heard the Redeemer preached; and, as I said, I attended with my whole soul. I was humbled, I was confounded; I saw clearly, that I had been all my life expecting good fruit from corrupt trees, grapes on thorns, and figs on thistles. I suspected myself; I had lost my standing; I was unsettled, perturbed, and wretched. A few individuals whom I had known at Mr. Whitefield's tabernacle, were among Mr. Relly's audience, and I heard them say, as they passed out of the aisle of the church, I wonder how the Pharisees would like our preacher? I wished to hear Mrs. Murray speak upon the subject; but we passed on wrapped in contemplation. At length I broke silence: Well, my dear, what are your sentiments? Nay, my dear, what is your opinion?' I never heard truth, unadulterated truth, before; so sure as there is a God in heaven, if the scriptures be the word of God, the testimony this day delivered, is the truth of God. It is the first consistent sermon 1 have ever heard. I reached home full of this sermon; took up the Union, read it with new pleasure; attended again and again, upon Mr. Kelly, and was more and more astonished. Mr. Hitchins returned home, but, as I conceived, very much changed, more inconsistent than ever. No, my dear,' said my wife, it is you, who are changed; he preaches, as 1 can prove by my notes, precisely the same; yet it is truly surprising, that his multiplied contradictions have, until now, passed without our observation.' Well, said I, what are we to do? Can we, in future, bear such inconsistencies, now that we are better in


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