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formed? Suppose we keep our seats as usual; attending, however, one half of every Sabbath, to the preacher of Christ Jesus? On this we immediately determined, and, by this expedient, we imagined we might be gratified by hearing the truth, without running the risk of losing our reputation; for we well knew, that, as professed adherents of Mr. Relly, we could no longer preserve that spotless fame we delighted to cherish.
I now commenced the reading of the Scriptures, with augmented diligence. The Bible was indeed a new book to me; the veil was taken from my heart, and the word of my God became right precious to my soul. Many scriptures, that I had not known, forcibly pressed upon my observation; and many, that, until now, had not suffered myself to believe. Still the doctrine of election distressed me; unfortunately, I had connected this doctrine of election with the doctrine of final reprobation; not considering, that, although the first was indubitably a scripture doctrine, the last was not to be found in, nor could be supported by revelation. I determined to call upon, and converse with Mr. Hitchins, on this important subject. I found him in his study, encompassed about with the writings of great men. I wait upon you, sir, for the purpose of obtaining help. The Arminians show me many scriptures, which proclaim the universality of the Atonement. I cannot answer them. What my dear sir, shall I do? Why, sir, the doctrines of election, and reprobation, are doctrines we are bound to believe, as articles of our faith; but I can say, with the Rev. Mr. Hervey, I never wish to think of them, except upon my knees. I never heard any one undertake to explain them, who did not still further embarrass the subject. One observation is, however, conclusive, and it never fails effectually to silence the Arminian: That if, as they affirm, Christ Jesus died for all men, then assuredly all men must be saved; for no one can be eternally lost, for whom the Redeemer shed his precious blood; such an event is impossible. Now, as the Arminians will not admit a possibility, that all will finally be saved, they are thus easily confounded.' This, I thought, was very good; it was clear, as any testimony in divine revelation, that Christ Jesus, died for all, for the sins of the whole world, for every man, &c.; and even Mr. Hitchins had declared, that every one, for whom Christ died, must finally be saved. This I took home with me to my wife: she saw the truth, that we were so well prepared to embrace, manifested even by the testimony of its enemies, and we were inexpressibly anxious to hear, and to understand. We now attended public worship, not only as a duty, conceiving that we thus increased a fund of righteousness, upon which we were to draw in every exigence, but it became our pleasure, our consolation, and our highest enjoyment. We began to feed upon the truth as it is in Jesus, and every discovery we made filled us with unutterable transport. I regarded my friends with increasing affection, and I conceived, if I had an opportunity of conversing with the whole world, the whole world would be convinced. It might truly have been said, that we had a taste of heaven below.
It was soon whispered in the tabernacle, that I had frequently been seen going to, and coming from Relly's meeting! This alarmed many, and one dear friend conversed with me in private upon the subject, heard what, from the abundance of my heart, my mouth was constrained to utter, smiled, pitied me, and begged I would not be too communicative, lest the business should be brought before the society, and excommunication might follow. I thanked him for his caution; but as I had conversed only with him, I had hazarded nothing. In a short time I was cited to appear before the society, worshipping in Mr. Whitefield's tabernacle; I obeyed the summons, and found myself in the midst of a very gloomy company, all seemingly in great distress; they sighed very bitterly, and at last gave me to understand, that they had heard, I had become an attendant upon that monster, Relly, and they wished to know if their information was correct. I requested I might be told, from whom they had their intelligence? and they were evidently embarrassed by my question. Still, however, I insisted upon being confronted with my accuser, and they at length consented to summon him; but 1 was nearly petrified when I learned it was the identical friend, who had privately conversed with me, and who had privately cautioned me, that had lodged the information against me! Upon this friend I had called, in my way to the tabernacle, confiding to him my situation; he said, he had feared the event; he pitied me, and prayed with me. But he did not calculate upon being confronted with me, and his confusion was too great to suffer his attendance. It was then referred to me: Was it a fact, I had attended upon Relly?' I had. 'Did I believe what I had heard?" I answered that I did —and my trial commenced. They could not prove, I had violated those articles, to which I had subscribed. I had, in no point of view, infringed the contract, by which I was bound. But they apprehended, if I continued to approbate Relly, by my occasional attendance on his ministry, my example would become contagious; except, therefore, I would give them my word, that I would wholly abandon this pernicious practice, they must, however unwillingly, pronounce upon me the sentence of excommunication. I refused to bind myself by any promise; I assured them I would continue to hear, and to judge for myself; and that I held it my duty to receive the truth of God wherever it might be manifested. 'But Relly holds the truth in unrighteousness." I have nothing to do with his unrighteousness; my own conduct is not more reprehensible, than heretofore. They granted this; but the force of example was frequently irresistible, and, if I were permitted to follow, uncensured, my own inclination, others might claim the same indulgence, to the utter perversion of their souls. It was then conceded in my favor, that, if I would confine my sentiments to my own bosom, they would continue me a member of their communion. I refused to accede to this proposal. I would not be under an obligation to remain silent. I must, so often as opportunity might present, consider myself as called upon to advocate truth.
The question was then put-Should I be considered a member of the society upon my own terms? And it was lost by only three voices.
It was one in the morning, when I returned home to my poor disconsolate wife, who was waiting for me; and when I entered her apartment, my spirits were so sunk, that, throwing myself into a chair, I burst into tears. But the sweet soother of my every woe, hastened to communicate that consolation she was so eminently qualified to bestow. 'Now,' said she, 'for the first time, you know what it is to suffer for Christ's sake; and you must arm yourself with fortitude to bear, what the adherents of Mr. Relly must always bear. Let us offer up praise and thanksgiving, that it is no worse. Fear not those, who can only kill the body:* these, however,
* The passage of scripture here referred to, is Matt. x. 28, Luke xii. 4,5. See the passages and their contexts. The word rendered hell is Gehenna, for the sense of which see Matt. v. 22, and xxiii. 33. Its primary signification was the valley of Hinnom, near Jerusalem, which the Jews made a place of legal punishment; but the word is also used figuratively to signify the afflictions which befel the Jews at the time of the destruction of their city. These are the unquestionable, and, in my view, the only senses in which gehenna occurs; and the following is a list of the twelve places in which it may be found in the New Testament: Matt. v. 22, 29, 30; x. 28; xviii. 9; xxiii. 15, 33; Mark ix. 43, 45, 47; Luke xii. 5; James iii. 6.
To destroy soul and body in gehenna,' as we read Matt. x. 28, was utterly to destroy a person by casting him into the fire which was kept constantly burning in the valley of Hinnom. The Jews, after their subjection to the Romans, had not the power lawfully to take life. When Pilate, the Roman governor told the Jews to take Christ and punish him according to their laws, they replied, 'It is not lawful for us to put any man to death.' John xviii. 31. Here then were the two powers referred to in Matt. x. 28-the Jewish and the Roman power. The Jews could torture and scourge in their synagogues, but the Roman power alone could lawfully take life. Fear not them which torture the body.' The Greek verb cannot be rendered kill, because the act is distinguished from killing, which is immediately spoken of in the same verse. 'Fear not them which torture the body, but are not able to kill (psuche) the life,' i. e. destroy life. The Jews were not lawfully able to destroy life; but the Romans were able. The disciples therefore were warned by their Master to fear that power less which could torture without 'killing the soul,' or destroying life, than the power which could cast them into the fire of the valley of Hinnom.
It has been usual to interpret this passage as having reference to God -Fear God, who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.' But there is a very serious objection to this interpretation, viz.; Jesus told his disciples in the same conversation not to be afraid of God, for he would certainly take care of them. 'Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. FEAR YE NOT, therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.' Here they are instructed not to be afraid that God will forsake them.
have not power to kill the body; it is true, they can do more; they can murder our good name, which is rather to be chosen than life itself. But let us not fear; our God will be with us, He will preserve and protect us.' Our hearts, however, were very full, and with great devotion we wept and prayed together.
About this time, the grandfather of my Eliza sent for her to visit him, at his country seat, ten miles from London; this was highly gratifying, and abundantly more so, as I also was included in the invitation. After seeing and conversing with me, he sincerely lamented, that he had been so far duped by the artful and designing, as to put the disposition of the greater part of his property at his decease, entirely out of his own power; but what he could do, he most cheerfully did. Yet even here we were pursued by disappointment. He requested me to procure him a capable, sober domestic; and I engaged a woman, who, as I believed answered his description; but, proving an artful hussey, she gradually obtained over the mind of the old gentleman, an astonishing influence, that resulted in a marriage, which effectually prevented his family connexions from ever again visiting him! Thus were our new-born expectations, from a reconciled parent, levelled with the dust. A series of calamities succeeded; those whom I had esteemed my best and dearest friends, proved my most inveterate foes, and, finding it impossible to reclaim us, from what they conceived the paths of error, persecuted us with unceasing virulence. Presents, bestowed in the day of confidence, as tokens of affection, were claimed as legal debts; and as the law does not allow presents, I was arrested for the amount, betrayed, by my religious friends, into the hands of bailiffs, at a time when, had the promised lenity been exercised, I could have paid to the utmost farthing. Thus Heaven thought proper to keep us low; but our faith increased and we cherished that hope, which maketh not ashamed; and, even while struggling with difficulties, we enjoyed a heaven upon earth. Gradually I surmounted the greater part of my difficulties. At the house of our brother William, I had an interview with our once obdurate younger brother; he seemed penetrated with sorrow for our longcontinued estrangement; he hung upon my neck, wept bitterly, and expressed a fear, that I could never forgive him. I also shed many tears, and, extending to him the hand of amity, clasped him to my
From the above considerations, we are persuaded the following is the true sense of the passage in question: Fear that power less which can scourge and torture your bodies, but cannot destroy life, than the power which can lawfully and totally destroy you in the valley of Hinnom,' the place where judicial death was inflicted. These two powers are distinguished, Matt. x. 17, 18: 'Beware of men, for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues.' This was the Jewish power, that could not lawfully take life; and the Roman power is referred to in the next verse: And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gen tiles.' T. W.
bosom, with a most cordial embrace. This was a most pleasant circumstance to my beloved Eliza; all now seemed delightful. We had a sweet little retirement in a rural part of the city; we wanted but little, and our wants were all supplied; and perhaps we enjoyed as much as human nature can enjoy. One dear pledge of love, a son, whom my wife regarded as the image of his father, completed our felicity. But, alas! this boy was lent us no more than one short year! He expired in the arms of his agonized mother, whose health, from that fatal moment, began to decline. I was beyond expression terrified. Physicians recommended the country; but my business confined me in London, and my circumstances would not admit of my renting two houses. I took lodgings at a small distance from town, returning myself every day to London. The disorder advanced with terrific strides; my soul was tortured; every time I approached her chamber, even the sigh, which proclaimed she still lived, administered a melancholy relief. This was indeed a time of sorrow and distress, beyond what I had ever before known; I have been astonished how I existed through such scenes. Surely, in every time of trouble, God is a very present help. I was ob liged to remove the dear creature, during her reduced situation, the house in which I had taken lodgings being sold; but I obtained for her a situation about four miles from town. The scenes around her new lodgings were charming; she seemed pleased, and I was delighted. For a few days we believed her better, and again I experienced all the rapture of hope. My difficulties, however, were many; I was necessitated to pass my days in London; could I have continued with her, it would have been some relief. But as my physician gave me no hope, when I parted from her in the morning, I was frequently terrified in the dread of meeting death on my return. Often, for my sake, did this sweet angel struggle to appear relieved; but, alas! I could discern it was a struggle, and my anguish became still more poignant. To add to my distress, poverty came in like a flood. I had my house in town, a servant there; the doctor, the apothecary, the nurse, the lodgings in the country; every thing to provide; daily passing, and repassing. Truly my heart was very sore. I was friendless. My religious friends had, on my hearing and advocating the doctrines preached by all God's holy prophets, ever since the world began, become my most inveterate foes. Our grandfather was under the dominion of the woman I had introduced to him, who had barred his doors against us ; the heart of our younger brother was again closed, and, as if angry with himself for the concessions he had made, was more than ever estranged; and even our elder brother, who in every situa on had for a long season evinced himself my faithful friend, had forsaken us! I had, most indiscreetly, ventured to point out some errors in the domestic arrangements of his wife, which I believed would eventuate in his ruin, and he so far resented this freedom, as to abandon all intercourse with me. Among Mr. Relly's acquaintance, I had no intimates, indeed hardly an acquaintance; I had