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AN ADDRESS TO THE PARISHIONERS OF
ST. ALKMOND'S, SHREWSBURY. MY DEAR FRIENDS,
cation is, to warn you of this poAFTER the very favourable man- pular and dangerous error; which ner in which my last attempt to re- is the less likely to excite your call to your recollection things of apprehensions, on account of the unutterable moment was received, vast multitudes who stand forward I am encouraged to renew the
in its support. pleasing task, animated by the Pharisaism and Antinomianism, hope, that what has been delivered as they are both palpably opposed in public, by being thus brought to the interests of genuine morality, home to you as individuals, may should be watched against with become the true concern of many unceasing vigilance. These are as hearts. Contentment in the merely remote from the spirit and practice formal discharge of the outward of vital Christianity, as they are duties of the sanctuary, while the removed from the plainest dictates piety of the heart, of the closet, of the inspired pages, the invariand of the family, is neglected, is able tendency of which is, to seá state so really alarming, as to cure glory to God in the highest, justify the use of every measure by leading convinced sinners to a which the tenderest compassion simple dependence on the merits of can employ for its correction. his Son for acceptance; and to. This, with the sincerest regret is it evince the truth of this dependence named, is no uncommon state; our by the humility, holiness, spirituchurches being thronged by those, ality, and usefulness of their lives. whose religion has nothing better True justifying faith purifieth the to recommend it than an outward heart, worketh by love, and overprofession; while everything cometh the world. Real believers which goes
to constitute true Chris- in Jesus Christ are known by their, tian excellence is despised as the fruits; which appear so conspicupitiful accompaniment of misguided ously in their attention to "whatzealots, or as the offspring of weak soever things are true, whatsoever heads and unsound hearts. Every things honest, whatsoever effort to tear away the mask which things are just, whatsoever things conceals the character of such from are puré, whatsoever things are themselves, is resisted as an un- lovely, and whatsoever things are pardonable aggression; and tor- of good report," that as the Epistles rents of invective are not unfre- of Christ, they are known and read quently poured on those, whose of all men. The best preservative hand is stretched out for this truly from these and all 'similar ernoble and benevolent purpose. All rors, is to be much employed in innovation on the favourite creeds, reading the Scriptures, and in opinions, and dependencies of prayer; resolved to make the word those, who, preferring the guilty of God the rule of our actions. As quiet of an unawakened conscience all Scripture is given by inspirato the renouncing of a delusion tion of God, and is profitable for most fatal in its consequences, doctrine, for reproof, for corre dream away their lives in the ex- tion, and for instruction in rightepectation of heavenly happiness on ousness, take your religion immethe very verge of eternal ruin, is diately from it. Human systems guarded against with the utmost might" mislead you, as they have caution. One especial intention, done others; but the records of my dear friends, of this communi- eternal truth, if you search them
with a child-like temper of mind, no time in fleeing to the Saviour of and in humble dependence on the sinners, in whose blood there is a teachings of the Holy Spirit, never medicine capable of healing all can; God having promised, that your diseases; in whose merits the meek he will guide in judge- there is a righteousness sufficient ment, and the meek he will teach to cover all your transgressions ;
in whose grace there is power to As it is the uniform practice of subdue all your iniquities; and in the Scriptures to exalt the Saviour whose love there is all that can of mankind, be careful, I beseech tranquillize, satisfy, and delight
do not detract from your souls. “ He is head over all the dignity of his person, or de- things to the church, which is his preciate his redeeming work. Who body, the fullness of him that fillis worthy, let me ask, to wear the eth all in all.” crown of salvation, but that bless- In this advice, whatsoever may ed Jesus who died the just for the be objected to it by pride, prejuunjust, to bring them to God? dice, long-established custom, or Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, popular opinion, there is nothing is the song of the redeemed in novel, nothing unscriptural, noheaven; and this doubtless should thing which does not go most efbe the song of the redeemed on fectually to secure the observance earth. Not the least portion of of moral obligations, and nothing merit have we to plead in his pré- which has not received the countesence, who chargeth angels with nance of some of the most enlightfolly, and the heavens with being ened characters for learning and unclean before him. Naturally for piety, which this nation or any guilty and depraved, alienated from other could ever boast. I feel hapthe life of God, and enemies to him pily persuaded also, that there is in our minds by wicked works, nothing in it but what is in accordwhat have we to urge as deserving ance with the sentiments of some of of his favour, in extenuation of our you, who having been convinced sins, or as a reason why judge- of sin "have come to Christ, and ment should not be executed to the found in hiin every thing to suit utmost? While, then, in the ex- your indigent circumstances; to ercise of every repentant feeling, warrant your unshaken confidence; we draw nigh to the Almighty, to call forth your warmest affectaking as our due, shame and con- tion; to excite your highest expec. fusion of face to ourselves ; let us tations; and to impart the most direct the eye of our faith to Jesus solid and substantial enjoyments to Christ, who, having expiated our your minds. Knowing in whom guilt by his death, has entered in- you have believed, and having to heaven, with bis own blood committed yourselves, and all your having obtained eternal redemption interests both for time and eternity for us. Reflect on this bleeding into his hands, it is your delight to sacrifice, till the tears of genuine follow him in his kingdom of regecontrition start from your eyes, and neration; his presence being your your souls rise into holy indigna- companion; his promises your contion against sin; till you have solation and support; his revealed comfortable assurance of your of- will the rule of your actions; his fences being pardoned, and of dispensations welcomed as trials of your reconciliation to that gracious your faith and patience; and the Being whose anger you have been heaven of his eternal rest the obso industrious to provoke. Let me ject of your longing desire, in this solemnly entreat you, as you would the house of your pilgrimage. I escape the wrath' to come, to lose. know that you have many enemies to
contend with; discouragements to any emotion, and read of his overcome; corruptions to mortify; dying love without any concern. temptations to withstand; infirmi- Yours is a state so truly perilous, ties to be lamented; and sins to be that it calls for the deepest comconfessed, deplored, and forsaken; miseration. May you be brought and to whom can I direct you for to a proper sense of it; and then, grace to maintain a befitting car- I am sure, you will be glad to flee riage under your numerous and di- to the Redeemer for the blessings versified exercises, but to that Je- of his grace: and it is your mercy sus, who is the rock whence to know, that though you have so cometh your strength ? His ten- long slighted his goodness, he still derness and compassion, blessed waits to be gracious, to receive you be God, are as great as his power; to the arms of his compassion, and and he has assured you, that he to make you eterpally happy. Reloves you too well, either to resign pair to him without delay, and he you to the will of your enemies, or will reveal to you his great salvato leave unfinished the work which tion, fill you with joy and peace in he has begun in your hearts. Be- believing, and give you to abound ware then, my dearly beloved in in hope through the power of the the Lord, that you do not faint by Holy Ghost. reason of the difficulties of the way, That a tender solicitude for your which, how formidable soever, spiritual prosperity and comfort shall not prevent your arrival at should influence the breast of him the promised land. Go forward, who is set over you in the Lord, is then, and every impediment to no more than might be expected; your progress shall be removed; and as his prayers are constantly believe, and you shall see the sal- offered up at the throne of grace vation of God; exercise patience a for you, O let yours never be disJittle longer, and the enemies whom continued for him! May mutual you see to-day you shall see no love continue, and
our constant more for ever. The covenant of endeavour be to keep the unity of grace, like the bow in the heavens, the spirit in the bond of peace! that pledge of the world's preserva- Our lives have been graciously tion from a second deluge, assures spared, · while many around us you of the removal of God's wrath, have been summoned into the of the perpetuity of his love, and eternal world. Their destinies are of the heavenly inheritance being fixed for ever; they can never be yours. With joy then lift up your reversed. Awful consideration! heads, for the day of your redemp- May it so affect our minds, as to tion draweth nigh.
lead us to prepare to meet our God! Though it is acknowledged by Some of you to whom I am now those who have come to Christ, writing, will, perhaps before this that there is every thing in him to time next year, have been called to make them happy; there are others the house appointed for all living. who, continuing at a distance from Neglect pot then your present ophim, have no perception of his ex- portunities of spiritual improvecellencies; and to whom he is with-ment, but fight the good fight of out form or comeliness, or any faith, and so lay bold on eternal life. thing that they should desire him: And that every blessing of the coand I fear this is the case with yenant of grace may be yours, is some of you to whom this Address the sincere prayer of, my dear will come. The person, offices, friends, and work of Christ are to you
Your affectionate subjects of no interest. You can
Servant in the Lord, hear of his incarnation without. 1824.
THE HERMIT OF DUMPTON CAVE. There are few duties more dif- cellent observations, relates the ficult for the Christian to practise following fact. than that which is enjoined in the
“ About a year
and a half ago a following portion of sacred writ: neighbour, of whose religious cha“ Be not overcome of evil, but racter and that of his whole family overcome evil with good.” The he thought with grief and dread, patiently bearing of injuries, and was seized with a dangerous illthe returning of good for evil, are ness, which soon afterwards proved graces of no easy attainment; but fatal. The hermit as soon as he they shone amongst the brightest heard of it went unsolicited, and features in the character of our walked into the chamber of the blessed Redeemer, when he con- dying man; but his presence was descended to wear our flesh, and unacceptable to him and his to sojourn with us. He was meek sons, that the latter, with a degree and lowly in heart; He was de- of violence, which respect at least spised and rejected of men; He for his age and blameless manners, was oppressed and afflicted, buf- if not for his motives, ought to feted, spit upon, and cruelly mur- have restrained, not only turned dered; He made intercession for him out of the room but actually the transgressors.
threw him down the stairs. He. How rarely do we see, in this was considerably bruised by this day of high profession, instances most unjustifiable outrage; but of these amiable graces ; how soon happily received no permanent inare our exertions damped, and our jury. The next day he went to the ardour chilled, when we find that house again, and the door was our endeavours for the spiritual shut in his face and locked. Не. welfare of our fellow-mortals, or went yet again the third day, when rather fellow-immortals, are un- his importunity prevailed; and he welcome; how does the world's had the satisfaction not only of dread sheer appal us ; how ready doing all in his power to enlighten are we, when we meet with an un- and soothe the dying man, but also courteous rebuff, to shelter our- of seeing the whole surviving faselves under this or some similar mily become his devoted friends, passage; “ Cast not your pearls and perfectly changed characters; before swine, lest they turn again always solicitous of his visits, and and rend you."
eager to listen to his religious inI was lately much struck, 'structions." pleased, and at the same time May the example of the poor old shamed, on reading an interesting hermit, in his eightieth year, be a memoir of a pious old man, well lesson to all Christians, and teach known in the Isle of Thanet by them the value and importance of the appellation of the Hermit of steady perseverance in the path of Dumpton Vale*. He is no misan- duty, and excite them to pursue thropist or cynical recluse. The the spiritual welfare of those who author, in the course of the narra- are within the sphere of their tive, which is enriched with many tions with unabated ardour, whatbeautiful illustrations of the ami. ever resistance they may find from able qualities which adorn the sub- those whose eternal interests they ject of his work, and various ex- are desirous to promote: Let us
not be weary in well doing, for in * The Hermit of Dumpton Cave was
we shall reap if we published in 1823.
H. LISSON. NOV. 1824.
LETTERS ON DISSENT ;
IN REPLY TO A CHALLENGE TO DISCUSS THE PRINCIPAL POINTS IN CONTROVERSY BETWEEN THE CHURCH AND ITS OPPONENTS.
I may, however, be told that , I felt a kind of satisfaction in this is not the sense intended to be penning my last epistle, from the conveyed by these words, but that consciousness of having something they mean merely, “ that no one a little resembling an argument to has a right to impose any grapple with. We now return, I obligation on the consciences of am sorry to say, to the region of others, which the word of God has shadow and indistinctness; for the not previously sanctioned.” But third reason of our Author is con- if this be the real drift of these exveyed in the following terms, which pressions, it is certain that they I have vainly endeavoured to un- are contradicted by common sense derstand.
and every day experience. Al“ That no man, whether magis- though all human laws ought to be trate or priest, king or bishop, can founded entirely upon the princihave any rightful authority over ples laid dowă in holy writ, still the consciences of men.”
they cannot reasonably be confined This language conveys no dis- to the mere letter of Scripture. tinct idea to my mind, and it is Much of the detail of these regulatherefore difficult to discover its tions has been left to those to meaning. I have searched Cruden, whose duty it has fallen to legislate whose definitions are generally ad- for different countries, different mired, for the meaning of the word ages, and under dissimilar circum“ Conscience:", and he tells me, stances. And the statutes against that it is:“ the testimony and se- smuggling, or those which levy cret judgment of the soul, which rates for the erection of a church or gives its approbation to actions a bridge, are fully obligatory on that it thinks good, or reproaches the conscience of every man who is itself with those which it believes able to understand the apostolic into be evil.” Now it is perfectly junction, “ Obey them which have obvious, that if this description be the rule over you, &c." accurate, the “ reason" we are ... But if we follow this writer in his considering is a simple truism. For explanation of this “third reason," no man has “ authority over” his we shall find room to doubt wheown conscience. He cannot si- ther either of these, the only natulence its reproach or gain its ap- ral constructions, is really the meanplause by any other method than ing intended to be conveyed by submission to its dictates, and sub- these obscure expressions; for he mission belongs not to one exerci- proceeds to tell us, that "religion sing authority. It will neither act lies between God and the soul,” nor be quiescent, approve or con- and then brings forward five or six demn, at his dictum. And if not texts to prove the right of private at his own, how should it defer to judgment. Who denies the right of the dictation of others? How should private judgment? But how does any man “ have authority over it?” the right of private judgment prove To assert its independence, there- the reasonableness of dissept? All fore, in this point of view, is, as I this is a mere repetition of the falsaid before, to assert a simple lacy with which we were treated truism. But what has all this to in the “ first reason. Because do with the question of Dissent? he was at liberty to dissent, there