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that, in some unguarded moment, he may be drawn into that which may ruin his future peace and usefulness.
Were I a stranger to such exercises, I should be but ill qualified to write upon the subject. The case of backsliders has lately been much impressed upon my mind*. Great numbers, I am persuaded, among professing christians, come under this denomination. At present, I shall only offer three or four directions to the confideration of the querift, or any other whose case they may fuit.
First, Every mean should be used that may stop the avenucs of temptation, or prevent its coming in contact with the evil propenfities of the heart.-If there be nitre in our habitations, it becomes us to beware of fire. Such was the counsel of our Lord to his disciples, in a season of peculiar danger : Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation. He had himself entered that field, and came out a conqueror : but he knew what was in man, and counselled them rather to avoid than court the conteft. In cases where the heart begins to be seduced by temptation, it will foon becoine restleis, solicitous, and importunate; it will moan after it, and be exceedingly fruitful in devices to get into the way of it; it will persuade conscience, for once at least, to be filent; it will blind the mind to the evil, and paint the desirableness of the good; and if all this will not do, it will promise to be only a looker-on, or that thus far it will go, and no farther. But if thou hast any regard to God or his cause, or to the welfare of thine own soul, CONSENT THOU NOT! Temptation leads to fin, and fin to death. Whatever company, amusement, occupation, ot connexion, has frequently caused thee to offend ; that is, the eye that requires to be plucked out, left thy soul bleed in the end, beneath the stroke of God's displeasure.
Secondly, Beware of the first stages of departure from God. All backslidings begin with the heart. Jer. ii. 19. From hence are the isues of life. Private prayer, it may be, at first becomes wearisome; no communion with God in it: it is then occasionally neglected : hence public ordinances cease to afford their wonted pleasure; christian society is dropped ; the world takes up your attention, and you have little or no time to spare for religion : fome car
* The writer of this article takes the liberty of saying, that having been forcibly struck a few months since with certain cafes of this fort, he wrote out his thoughts at the time, on the species, symptoms, and effects of backsliding from God, with the means of rfløvery; and which will probably soon appear in print.
nal acquaintance, perceiving you to be coming, draws you .on; recommends you to read some one of the liberal productions of the times, by which you are to learn that there is no need to be so rigid in religion, and no harm in frequenting the theatre, or in devoting a part at least of the Lord's Day to visiting, or amusement. These are a few of the feeds of death, from whence have sprung many a bitter harvest.
“ Beware of sin, then, crush it at the door;
BUNYAN. Thirdly, If thou hast in any degree been drawn aside, give no rest to thy soul till thy fin is crucified, and thy. conscience. reconciled by the blood of the Cross. It is too common for fin to be worn away from the memory by time and new occurrences, instead of being washed away at the gospel fountain : hut where this is the case, the stain is not removed, and its effects will sooner or later appear, perhaps in a form that may cause the ear of every one that heareth it to tingle. He that honoureth me, faith the Lord, will I honour; and he that despiseth me, mall be lightly esteemed. If we care so little for the honour of God's name, as to be unconcerned for secret faults, we may expect he will care as little for the honour of ours, and will give us up to some open vice, that shall cover us with in
Fourthly, If some extraordinary temptation, or easy-besetting fin perplex thee, bend not thy atrention so much to the subduing of that particular evil, as to the mortification of sin in general; and this not so much by directly opposing it, as by cherishing opposite principles.-We may heal an eruption in a particular part of the body, and yet the root of the disease may remain, and even be gathering strength, We may also be employed in thinking of our fins without gaining any ascendency over them: on the contrary, they may, by those very means, obtain an ascendency over us. If we go about to quench a fire by dire&ly contending with it, we shall presently be consuined by its flames; but by applying the opposite element, it is subdued before us. It is thus that the scriptures direct us : Walk in the spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lusts of the flesh. The heart cannot be reduced to a vacuum : if spiritual things do not occupy it, carnal things will. It is by walking with God, and conversing with the doctrine of the Crois, that we all become dead to other things; and this will go to the root of the cvil, while other remedies only lop off the branches
ORIGINAL LETTER OF THE REV. MR. TOMS.
Hadleigh, April 28, 1783. Rev, AND Dear Sir, T has frequently recurred to my thoughts, since peace
has been restored with New England, that about the year 1753, at a meeting of the Ministers at Sudbury, Dr. Doddridge being the preacher, after dinner the Dr. proposed to the affeinbled Ministers, perhaps fifteen or twenty (I cannot recollect exactly, but I was one of the number) that an attempt should be made to engage the Body of · Proteftant Diffenters to unite in maintaining a Miffionary in America, among the Heathen Indians, after the manner of our brethren in Scotland, who have long done it ; and not without the smiles of Heaven on the labour of love. “ I have read in print," said the Dr. “ That Mr. David Brainerd, one of their Missionaries, was prospered to the conversion of a town of savage Indians, who were brought to such faith, humility, diligence, prayerfulness, and sanctity,” says the writer, “as Turpasses all I ever read of, to be lo general.” He refers to the Life of the Rev. David Brainerd, by Jonathan Edwards, M. A.-I remember, Sir, when Dr. D-ge proposed his scheme to the Minifters at Sudbury, among other things, he said, “ It appeared a reproach, that so respectable a body of men as the Protestant Diflenters through England, did put no helping hand towards promoting and spreading of the Gospel among the Indian nations of America, and this when the Scots have an honourable Society for the Propagation of Christian Knowledge,” &c. Can you, Sir, recollect aught of the Doctor's design and plan? Can you put me into a way of being informed? Could not the Rev. Job Orton satisfy the defire? I wish to know, and having fet my hand together with the other ministers (no one difsented) would gladly spend some of the remaining sands of life speedily. The Do&or's death, soon after the ineeting abovementioned, broke off the pious, truly christian, and benevolent attempt. Idefire, Sir, to excite
this matter into ferious consideration (I am not likely to be a provoker long. Heb. x. 24.) : And you, Sir, in particular; and as Dr. Gibbons, Soc. &c. are your intimates, wish to have your thoughts concerning setting such a scheme on foot. Have wrote to enquire of the Rev. Mr. Harmer, whether he can recollect the Doctor's proposal, though am not certain he was there.
Mr. Ford and Mr. Hextal, the only persons I remember there, are gone into eternity years past. This inite, in essay, is humbly laid at the foot of Him to whom we are indebted far beyond ten thousand talents-ourselves-on all, To his protection, direction, and blessing, commending you and yours, I remain, with respects, to all friends, .
Rev. dear Sir, your affectionate ' Rev. Mr. Palmer, Hackney.
ON THE CIRCULATION OF RELIGIOUS
T the general meeting of the Religious Tract Society,
reported in your last month, which I had the pleasure of attending, the following ideas ftruck me on the ease and practicability of extending the influence and utility of the Society; and I drop these hints for the information of others who have not had the opportunity of making the fame observations.
1. I find a number of little societies are forming in the various towns and villages of many counties, (foine by the aid of small weekly subscriptions, of a penny or two pence each) to purchase cheap tracts to circulate among the ignorant or profane. Among the diffenters, many of the churches or congregations might take up this object; and there is no doubt but, like others, they would find the advantage in the encrease of their congregations, by the access of many who have never been in the habit of attending any place of worship.
2. Where even this object were thought too difficult, or in many
cases in addition to the above, little congregational or village libraries might be instituted at the small expence of half a guinea or a guinea, with a few volumes of cheap familiar tracts, for circulating among the poor who are willing to read; but unable or unwilling to purchase sur themselves.
3. Those ministers, in or out of the establishment, who are in the habit of itinerating in the unenlightened part of the kingdom, thould be furnished by their congregations with a liberal number of such tradis, for circulating in their travels,
Lastlý, Lastly, In the selection of tra&ts, the greatest care fhould he taken not to distribute any of a sectarian tendency, or with the least allusion to political subjects; and am happy to say, that their idea appears to have been kept in view in all the publications of the above Society.
ANECDOTES. A gentleman wishing to convey, together with a gentle reproof, a useful lesson to his Gardener, who had omitted from day to day to prop a valuable fruit-tree, until it was in consequence damaged by the late high wind, observed, “ You fee, Gardener, the danger of putting off from day to day the doing of any necessary work: yet in this way foolish men defer their repentance from one day to another, until in some unexpected inoment, the wind of death comes, and blow's them into eternity.”.
A Lady who once heard Mr. Romaine, expressed herselt mightily pleased with his discourse, and told hiin afterwards, that she thought she could comply with his doctrine, and give up every thing but one. And what is that, Madam?"Cards, Sir, _“You think you could not be hapry without them?" -No, Sir, I know I could not.' “Then Madam, they are your God, and they must save you.”—This pointed and just reply is said to have issued in her conversion.
SELECT SENTENCES. Affurance encourages believers in their combat; but does not deliver them from it. We may have peace with God, when we have none from the assaults of Satan, Dir. Owen.
To lhew us the worth of time, God, most liberal of all other things, is exceeding frugal in the dispensing of that; for he never gives us two moments together, nor grants us a second till he has withdrawn the firft, ftill keeping the third in his own hand, so that we are in a perfect uncertainty whether we shali have it or not. Fenelon.
The true manner of preparing for the last moment, is, to spend all the others well, and ever to expect that. Idem.
We doat upon this world, as if it were never to have an end; and we neglect the next, as if it were never to have a beginning. Fenelon.
Spiritual peace and spiritual floth will never dwell, together in the same conscience. Dr. Owen.