« ZurückWeiter »
menced writipg; although but little more than three hours sleep in twenty-four has fell to my lot for many weeks; going to bed at 9, rising at 12, and writing until 5; probably then a half hours sleep, then writing again till nine at night; these have been my regulations from day to day, since I commenced this work. And yet I am happier than I have been for many years. The nearer I come toward a close of this treatise, the more I feel convinced that I am discharging a duty enjoined on me, toward my God and my fellow
men, and the more my mind is relieved from the painful reflections of omission.
I feel it my duty to instruct and persuade, and this appears to comprehend the whole duty of an author.
Men, in general, are ignorant of God their maker, and of them. selves; of their various relations to God, and the duties arising from these relations. The author's duty is to pour upon them the light of truth, derived from the Scriptures. Men are indisposed to good, borne away by passion, and unwilling to follow the convictions of their minds. It is an author's duty to stop them in their mad career, and to entreat them by every pressing consideration to walk in the sober path of wisdom and upright
Though useless indeed may be his instructions, and unheeded as the idle wind his exhortations, unless the spirit of grace carry them home to their heart, yet this spirit is promised and when he is tempted to despond in the view of the inefficacy of his labours, the cheering voice of "Lo, I am with you, should exhilarate his mind and reanimate his exertions. As, then, the exhibition of truth is the first great. duty of an author, I think it worthy of enquiry, what truths are best calculated to make men holy, and consequently happy, and what manner of exhibition will be the most likely to impress.
For instruction on both these points we must have recourse to the law and to the testimony;" and the Apostles are examples, which should be carefully followed by all their successors. While we were yet sinners, it is written Christ died for us. “ He that believeth not on the Son of God hath not life, but the wrath of God abideth on him.” Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of Heaven." The sinful and perishing condition of men, the atonement of Christ, the necessity of believing on his name, and a change in our moral character by the Grace of God, are truths asserted in these passages, inculcated throughout the Gospel, and which were constantly proclaimed and insisted upon by our divine master and his disciples. They are, therefore, foundation stones, on which modern authors and speakers should build their goodly edifice of christian morality, The truth should now be taught as formerly, not with words of mans wisdom, but with plainness, clearness, and faithfulness.
NOTICE OF A FEW PARTICULAR FRIENDS.
I HAVE finished the work that I at the commencement thought I had to do.
Fain would I now speak of a few particular friends, but my heart is too full; the respect and attention paid me by them, has put it out my power to acknowledge my sensations of gratitude toward them; particularly my dear old friend and uncle, John Sandidge, who has treated me with such friendship that my per falters, and my heart swells as I call it to mind.
On the morning that I was about to commence this work, the only alternative that appeared to present itself to view for the accomplishment of it, was, to take my materials to an old waste house that I had formerly occupied, and commit to paper; but the old gentleman hearing of my intention sent his son to offer me a room in his house, which I gladly accepted. He accordingly furnished me with a large commodious apartment, well furnished with beds, tables, books, candles, and kept constantly burning in the same a charming fire; and furnished myself and horse, with every accommodation that could possibly be wished for. These things, now that I am about to leave him, have produced such overpowering sensations of gratitude as I have never before experienced, and disables me in performing my desire of acknowledging my thankfulness in suitable language. My old friend, and also his family, contrary to what I at the commencement apprehended, have continued to show every mark of friendship and attention to the last moment; though I was fearful at the commencement, that a kind of envy would arise in some of them; instead of which, there has been a continued increase of intimacy and friendship from the day that I made his house my home. I can add that I could not have been better fixed, I could not have been better accommodated, nor could I have been better satisfied at any place in this world, than I have been since I engaged in this work.
The old gentleman is the person spoken of in a former chap ter, who was so anxious to have a Sunday School established in our neighbourhood. His views on that subject, as well as my own, may be seen by perusing a former chapter. A few years since, he lost his companion, a year or two after, his mother departed this life at the extreme age of 106 years; her business, and her person, had been attended to by her son for forty years or upwards, with all that tender atfection, gratitude and fidelity
NOTICE OF A FEW PARTICULAR FRIENDS.
due from a child to a parent. A year or two after the death of his mother he was smitten with blindness. All whọ were acquainted with his persevering, industrious disposition, would naturally conclude these things would have produced a change in his mind; but I see but little; he yet has a surprising flow of spirits, and bears his losses, crosses, and afflictions, with a philosophic and christian-like fortitude. He has two sons with him, Dabney and John, who constitute the whole of his white family; they have treated me like brothers; every thing they could do for me, was done as soon as named. Dabney attends to the whole of the old gentleman's business and no person on earth could be more attentive than he is. John is not yet settled at any particular business. The rest of his children have left him..
I would now be glad to say something respecting the long and intimate friendship that has existed between Chas. Goalder and myself, whose house has often been my home; who in all my afflictions has come in a moment's warning, done any business I required, and always to my satisfaction, for nine years past. All who are acquainted with my disposition, will readily excuse my pen faltering in writing on this subject;- no brother on earth has shewed the same friendship towards me; and when I call to mind the tender and consoling language of his wife in times of affliction and distress of mind, I can only exclaim 0! what a woman. May God of his infinite mercy bless her, her husband, and dear children. The children have been so obedient, that they feel near and dear to me, and nothing that is in my power will ever be omitted that will increase their happiness and prosperity in this life, or instruct them in things pertaining to the life to come. Should any enquire why I have named these persons particularly and none of my other friends, I will explain it. I wish to give no offence, as I have received particular attention from almost every acquaintance, but, with these families I have at several different times lived and made their houses my home, and the respect shown me by them in all my afflictions, &c., has in a particular manner endeared them to me. I now close my work, humbly pleading with the Lord that it may prove a blessing to society.-- AMEN.
I have given in the preceding pages, the CREEDS of all the most noted sects professing Christianity; and that the work may be more complete, I have concluded to append a few of the principal tenets held by free-thinkers, under the title of
THE UNBELIEVER'S CREED."
“I believe that there is no God, but that matter is God, and God is matter; and that it is no matter, whether there is any God or no.
“I believe that the world was not made; that the world made itself; and that it had no beginning; that it will last forever, world without end.
" I believe that man is a beast; that the soul is the body, and the body the soul; and that after death there is neither body nor soul.
“I believe that there is no religion; that natural religion is the only religion, and that all religion is unnatural.
“I believe not in Moses; I believe in the First Philosophy; I believe not the Evangelists; I believe in Chubb, Collins, Toland, Tindal, Morgan, Mandeville, Hobbes, Shaftsbury; I believe in Lord Bolingbroke,"? [Hume, Voltaire, Diderot, Boulanger, Volney, and Thomas Paine;] “I believe not St. Paul.
“I believe not Revelation; I believe in tradition; I believe in the Talmud; I believe in the Koran; I believe not the Bible; I believe in Socrates; I believe in Confucius; I believe in Sanchoniathon; I believe in Mahomet; I believe not in Christ,
“Lastly, I believe all unbelief."
These are the doctrines, that are to cheer the mind of the sceptic in the awful moment when his soul is floating on the confines of the two worlds, suffering the agony of bodily torture, and the remorse of an accusing conscience. In this exigency the only consolation afforded by infidelity is, " that there is no hereafter.” When friends and relations are expressing by their agonized looks what they are afraid to utter: when medicines and pains are racking the debilitated frame: when the slumbers of conscience are for ever broken, and its awful voice raised-all--all that unbelief can present to sustain the mind in this trying hours is -the cold and comfortless doctrine of an ETERNAL SLEEP: