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cious to them?" How doth he condescend to assure them, and even with an oath, that he hath “no pleasure in their death ?”— How doth he reason and expostulate with them, and call on them to “turn to him and live," when he perceives them hastening to eternal destruction ? “Turn ye! turn ye!” saith he to them, “Why will ye die” for ever! Why prefer infamy to honour ! Pain to pleasure ! Poverty to wealth ! Death to life! Condemnation to salvation! And what greater testimony could the Almighty give of his regard for their redemption, than to part with the Son of his love to become a propitiation for their sins?
Affection this, that fills us with astonishment, when by us it is considered! How dignified the character of the Son of God! How great his sufferings ! And for whom did he suffer? For apostate angels ? No! For fallen men. For his friends ? Not so! But for his enemies ! And this too by us undesired; unmerited.
May our hearts be replete with gratitude for the mercies of God, through Christ. May we daily, more fervently, testify our love to our most merciful Saviour, by efforts to advance the prosperity of his kingdom of righteousness.
How much hath he done for us? How shall we be enabled to compensate for the riches of his grace towards us ? Although it will never be in our power to render any thing as an equivalent for what favours our Lord hath conferred on us, yet, in obedience to his commands, and as we were “ransomed” by him, let us, with cheerfulness, offer to him the “sacrifice of our souls and bodies, which are his;" and which oblation“ will be our reasonable,” and to ourselves, not less advantageous " service.” For my part, I can truly say, I have no greater ambition ; no higher pleasure, than to be instrumental in advancing the divine glory, and the salvation of mankind.
And I trust, dear sir, it now is your supreme delight, and ever will be so, to promote, by all the means in your power, the interests of virtue and religion. If thus, how pleasing will be the reflections on your "labours of love," through life; at death, and through eternity.
If it shall be in my power, I will do myself the honour and pleasure to wait on you at Beverwyck, humbly presuming that the same goodness, which, I hope, will induce you to pardon the freedom of this letter, will occasion you to forgive the intrusion of a visit, from,
And respectful, humble servant,
I hope this will meet yourself and Mrs. Ross, in the enjoyment of every blessing, temporal and spiritual, particularly the latter of these, as without this, every earthly enjoyment will terminate, soon terminate, not only in "vanity," but in "vexation" also, " of spirit.” Of this my worthy friend is fully sensible; and I persuade myself, therefore, that his good sense causeth him to view the things of time in their proper colours; so to behold their insufficiency to give satisfactory happiness to the soul of man, that, though he is obliged, by an active profession of life, to be much conversant with many objects of the world, his heart is disengaged from these trifles, and supremely fixed on that divine Being who alone is worthy of its love, and who only can confer on him, peace, safety, honour and happiness.
How transitory are all sublunary things ? How soon will time destroy our persons; our habitations, and even the world itself ? Shall we then be wedded, in affection, to this passing world, or to any of its fascinating, deceitful objects ? Our interest, duty and wisdom forbid it! In our estimation, how contemptible would be the traveller, who should place his affections on the furniture of an inn, that, in a few moments, he must bid adieu to, and for ever? I have only time to add that Mrs. Ogden joins in sincere regard to Mrs. Ross, with,
And very humble servant,
To Mr. Francis Asbury, Superintendent of the Methodists, in America. DEAR AND WORTHY Sır,
Last evening I was favoured with your letter of the 28th of May.
I am obliged to you for the expressions of friendship contained in your epistle, and am happy that my conduct, to your people, hath received your approbation. My deportment towards them proceeded, I humbly hope, from the love of God, which, for near thirty years, I trust, though I am not quite forty years old, hath been diffused into my heart.
Some ill-natured things have been said of me on account of the favour I have shewn to Methodists; but I can truly say that it is a very trivial circumstance, in my estimation, thus to endure the judgment of inen.
I do not mean, in any instance, to omit an opportunity of advancing the divine glory and the salvation of mankind, whatever may be the consequence of such conduct with regard to myself; and I do not repent that I have shewn friendship to your people, but rejoice in it, as I cannot but be of opinion that the countenance I have given them hath, in some measure, advanced the interests of the kingdom of the Prince of Peace. And I am happy to mention, that the clergy of our church, in this state, are disposed to be friendly to the Methodists, and, with cheerfulness, if called on, will administer to them the divine ordinances.
I cannot but applaud the unremitted diligence of yourself and those preachers of your community, who, without any worldly expectations, “ go about doing good;" regardless of danger, toil, and the reproaches of men.
But well you may thus aet, when you consider what Christ hath done for you. How ought we, indeed, to rejoice, that the merciful Saviour deigns to employ us in his service, and that we have an opportunity, to evince, in some sort, our gratitude to Him, who, in goodness ineffable, “ hath loved us, and washed us, from the pollution of iniquity, " in the fountain of his own blood, and made us kings and priests unto God, his Father for ever and ever.
Let us, my dear sir, more and more, if possible, contemplate the stupendous love of God towards us, and our own demerits ! Let us consider what it hath cost to redeem souls, and that in a short period, we must "render an account to God of our stewardship!" And, impressed with these ideas, let us endeavour to be more faithful in the discharge of the duties of our “high and holy calling.”
May we add zeal to zeal; diligence to diligence, in the performance of the offices of our vocation ; and when our “labours of love," shall cease, may we hear from the lips of our divine Master the happy plaudit, “Well done,” &c.
I need not say it would afford me great pleasure to enjoy your conversation. It will not, however, be in my power, to meet you at the Rariton. I expect to be in Newark, which is ten miles from New York, the 25th and 28th of August next; perhaps at Newark I may there be favoured with your company.
Dear and Worthy Sir,
And very humble servant,
UZAL OGDEN. (To be Continued.)
For the Methodist Magazine.
IMPORTANCE OF STUDY TO A MINISTER OF THE GOSPEL.
(Continued from Vol. V. page 457.) Having noticed that method of study suitable for collecting the external evidences of Christianity, we shall now touch upon the internal testimony.
1. There is a majesty, a simplicity, an energy, and a harmony in the scriptures themselves, which forcibly proclaim the divinity of their origin. Such is the peculiarity of their style, that all efforts at imitation have been unavailing; this causes them to be immediately recognized as coming from the mouth of God himself. Like the native dignity and beauty of truth, the sacred scriptures speak for themselves, declaring their own excellency to all who hear and understand their language. It would be an easy matter to select and to multiply passages, which, from the loftiness of their sentiments, the energy and sublimity of their language, the strength and harmony of their testimony, would carry a conviction, not only of their truth, but of their being divine truth. When God speaks, He speaks like Himself. His language is the language of wisdom, of authority, of goodness, as well as of truth. But you must make this selection for yourself, by familiarizing yourself with the whole Bible; and then, indeed, you will hardly know which to take and which to leave, such is the loftiness, the sublimity, the force and harmony of the whole.
2. The character of that Being whom the scriptures reveal as the object of our worship, as our Creator, Redeemer and Preserver, is such as must strike the mind of every attentive beholder with an awful conviction of the truth of that revelation which unfolds Him to our view. Though it be admitted that the mind of man is not adequate to form an idea of what the perfections of God should consist, yet, when those perfections are made known, we immediately perceive them to be such as are every way worthy of the Creator and Governor of the universe. Like the
of the natural Sun, which carry a conviction of the existence of that grand instrument of natural light, so the perfections of God, shining forth upon the human mind through the medium of divine revelation, convey a conviction of the existence of the Being from whom they emanate, as well as of the moral excellence of His character. The moment God proclaims Himself as He is, the mind of man bows before Him with reverence and acknowledges Him as the God over all, blessed for ever more.
3. The scriptures are an exact inirror through which we see a picture of ourselves. All that is said in them of man, tallies exactly with what our daily experience and observation prove us to be. The resemblance is so striking, that we cannot withhold our assent from the scriptural delineation of our characters. And
who but He that perfectly knows the heart of man, could thus accurately describe it?
4. The admirable adaptation of that law revealed in the sacred scriptures to the moral condition of man, its native tendency to promote individual and social happiness, is a forcible evidence of their truth. The justness of its requirements, the morality of its precepts, and the benevolent tendency of its spirit and design, evince the divinity of its origin.
5. All experience proves man to be a sinful being. The scriptures recognize him as such; and this coincidence of testimony is a strong internal evidence of their truth. But they receive additional confirmation by revealing a method of pardon and of recovery to the forfeited favour of God, every way suited to the condition of man, and every way worthy of the infinite perfections of God. This opens a wide field for the range of the human mind to notice the footsteps of Almighty power, wisdom and goodness.
This part of our subject embraces all the doctrines and precepts of Christ. And such are their excellency, that they need only to be understood in order to be believed. When considered collectively, they are to the soul of man what a complete garment is to his body—they suit every trait of his moral character. To enter into an illustration of this point, would be to write a system of divinity. It is only necessary, therefore, to refer you to those authors who have already explained and enforced the peculiar doctrines of the gospel, that you may be a perfect man of God, thoroughly furnished unto every good work.
In doing this, your chief difficulty will be, from such a vast variety as we have, to select the best; for it is a waste of time, and tends to dissipate the mind, and to prevent it from exerting its own energies, to take an indiscriminate range through books upon divinity. No man, who knows the value of time, and the importance of improving every moment to the best advantage, will read any thing and every thing that comes in his way.
Stackhouse's Complete Body of Divinity, if you can have patience to plod through it, will reward you for your labour; and bating somewhat for the peculiarities of Calvinism, and the want of clearer views of experimental divinity, Dr. Dwight's System of Theology is worthy of a serious perusal. The Christian Library, collected by Mr. Wesley, is an excellent compilation; containing the marrow of the writers on divinity of the 17th, and beginning of the 18th centuries. Leland and Paley, on the external and internal evidences of Christianity, may be read with profit; and Bogue and Bonnett are lively and conclusive in their arguments; while the Gospel its own Witness, will exhibit some of the superlative excellencies of Christianity, in proof of the divine authority of the Law and the Gospel.