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"The zeal with which the Methodist teachers diffufe their doctrine, is exemplary.* It exhibits every appearance of fincerity. Early and late, in feafon and out of season, they are ready to exert their best abilities in prayer, and in all acts of charity."

I conclude with hoping, in the language of a pious foreigner, "That the fyftem of Chriftianity, may not be a fyftem of fpeculation, a barren theory, a mere external diftinction, much less a subject of controverfy, dispute and divifion, between us and our brethren; but let it be the conftant rule of our conduct, a principle of action, our inftructor and guide."t

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To the Editor of the Evangelical Magazine.

SURVEY of the state of the heathen world, is calcu

fecting concern, at the strange notions and horrid practices, which are found among them, even in what bears the appearance of their religious fentiments and worship. And yet, fuch is the wisdom and mercy of God, who can tell but that even these circumstances may be over-ruled, that they may be a kind of intermediate fteps to prepare the Heathens for the reception of the great truths of the Gospel, which our Miffionaries may proclaim amongst them?

In perufing Charnock's excellent difcourfe on Divine Providence, I have lately met with a paffage to this purpose. Perhaps its infertion in your Mifcellany, may be acceptable to thofe of your readers, whofe thoughts are engaged on Miffionary fubjects, and will oblige Yours, &c.

Basingstoke, Sept. 5, 1798.

J. J.

"I do not much question but thofe very principles, which "the Devil had inftilled into the Gentile world, of fhed"ding human blood in facrifices for expiation of guilt; and "the Gods converfing with men in human shapes; and the

* Dr. Knox's Winter Evenings, Vol. III. ↑ Zollikofre on Piety, translated by the Rev. Mr. Manning, of Exeter, 8vo. 1796.

"imagination of the interceffion of Demons for them; the "firft out of rage against mankind, and both that and the "other to induce them to idolatry, might facilitate the en"tertainment of Chrift, as the great expiatory facrifice, and "the receiving of him, as the Son of God, though in an "human shape, and the belief of his interceffion. God over"reaches the Devil, and makes him inftrumental for good, "where he defigns hurt and mischief."

Oct. Edition, P. 226.



To the Editor.



HAVE been lately reading the memoirs of Mr. Gibbon, as I hope to my edification, and confirmation in the truth of Christianity. From the beginning to the end of his life, there is not one noble, generous fentiment expreffed. The higheft pitch of virtue, is to the following effect: "If I had got into Parliament (at a particular time) I might have been of fervice to myfelf, and my friends, and perhaps to my country." Let him have the praife of urbanity of manners, of rendering himfelf agreeable to his friends by his talents and his wit, of paying an attention to his relatives, and expreffing himself with kindness and fympathy to them in his letters. But if we pafs from thefe inferior things to the grand principles of conduct, which reafon and revelation confpire to enjoin, we then fee a man utterly deftitute of all principles of religion, and regardlefs of an hereafter; difcovering no anxiety for the happinefs of mankind; eagerly purfuing literary fame; intoxicated with learned pride; panting after the admiration of the great world, and conitantly endeavouring to fecure to himfelf as large a portion of gratification and enjoyment as he poffibly could.

In his Hiftory of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, he always fueers at Chriftianity, and endeavours to bring it into contempt. It was at that time the fashion among the literati and philofophers on the Continent, and in France efpecially, whofe praife he coveted and fecured thereby. When he faw the effects of the French Revolution and the deftruction which followed, both of Church and

State, he was dreadfully confounded; and, in one of his letters makes a kind of apology for his conduct. "Chrif tianity (fays he) at the period to which my hiftory refers, was a new religion; now it is old; and the fame motives which led me to oppofe it then, would have influenced me to defend it now." Such (for the book is not before me) are his ideas; and according to this rule, fyftems are to be judged of, not as being true or falfe, good or bad; but as being new or old. Could any thing more unprincipled be exposed to public view? In thort I never read a life where the hero was more abforbed in felf, and felt lefs concern for the happiness of his fellow creatures: reverence for God is entirely out of the queftion. Such publications as this, fhew us the hearts of infidels. They lead us into their tempers, their views and purfuits; and teach us fully what manner of men they are. The refult is glorious for the gofpel of Chrift. When we read the life of a poor difciple of Jefus, perhaps a labouring man, we fee him mourning over evil thoughts and difpofitions; aiming at greater purity of heart; conftantly defiring to pleafe God and be entirely devoted to him; praying earnestly for the happiness of the whole human race; and doing every thing in his power to promote it. When we attend his death-bed, we hear him with gratitude acknowledge the love of his heavenly Father; and praife him for the numberlefs benefits he has received in the courfe of his earthly pilgrimage; with grief lament the iniquities and unprofitableness of his paft life; with humble joy exprefs his hope of eternal bleffednefs, and his defire to depart and be with Chrift, which is far better. Let us turn from this edifying fcene, to the fplendid remains of Edward Gibbon, Efq. the infidel. The fine polish of manners, and the enchanting brilliancy of ftyle may dazzle a fuperficial obferver; but examine him by the standard of moral rectitude and goodnefs, all is low and mean, defective and rotten at the core. There is nothing to be found but a vaft affemblage of felfifhnefs, vain glory, pride, defire of admiration, contempt of the poor, and adulation of the rich; no fear of God; no regard for the welfare of the human race. He is all wrapped up in felf. old age advances upon him, he becomes more depreffed; and when death is in fight, his great confolation confifts in calculating how many years he may yet probably live. Not a pious, nay, not a benevolent, nor a dignified fentiment iffues from his lips. He leaps difmayed into the dark abyss. Juft before his death, he confeffed that "when he confidered all worldly things, they were all fleeting; when he lookVOL. I. 3 N


ed back they had been fleeting, and when he looked forward, all was dark and doubtful." Let any man of judgment and impartiality now determine whether he would prefer the life and death of a christian, or of an infidel. He will not accufe me of unfair dealing, for I have not taken a man out of the obfcure mafs of the votaries of infidelity, but have felected one of its most famous champions, and have formed my judgment of him, not from the pen of an adversary, but from his warmeft admirer-himself.

D. B.

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ten faw me

S I was walking along the town fome days fince, I met fome failors, who when they faw me coming, faid, "That's he! that's he!" But instead of meeting me on the pavement, they stepped into the road, took off their hats, made very low bows, and faid, "God blefs you Sir! God blefs you Sir!" At first I thought that, feeing me in black, they were difpofed to make me the object of a little pleafantry, and was paffing on; but being ftruck with the ferioufnefs of their countenances and the propriety of their deportment, and recollecting the face of one or two of them at my place of worship, whofe attention and tears remarkably attracted my notice at the time, I ftopped and faid, "Well, my lads, do you know me?"-" Yes Sir," faid one, and love you too."-"Love me! for what?"-"Because you love my mafter."—"Your mafter! who is he? King George?"" Yes Sir, and a very good one too; but King Jefus, I mean." "I am very happy you confider him your mafter; but how did you know me ?"-" Because several of us heard you yesterday three times, and I never had fuch a day fince I was born. About two years ago I was as wicked a fellow as any in the fhip, but when we put into -, I went to fee an aunt of mine, who talked to me about my being fuch a great finner-told me what would be the confequence if I continued fo, and gave me a bible, which I promised to read. When I went on board I read it, and foon began to feel I was a vile and a loft finner: I then read it to fome of my fhipmates, and you cannot think what views we had of our loft ftate, and of falvation by Jefus Chrift, and that without any of man's instruction.

"When we came into port, having been out near two years, we asked to spend our Sunday on fhore, and the Captain gave us leave. We came to hear you three times, and you cannot think how I wondered that you should know all I had felt, and fometimes I wonder how I fhould have felt all you faid. You was defcribing how a renewed foul pants after holinefs. O how fweet that was to me! (fmiling and weeping) I am fure I do as fincerely long to be holy as I do to be happy; do you not think it must be the Spirit of God that made me feel this?"—I replied, "I hope fo, efpecially if your conduct correfponds with this profeffion."One of them anfwered, "The Lord knows we have nothing to boast of; but bleffed be God, I believe neither our officers, nor fhipmates, have any thing to accufe us of. They would not fend us on fhore of errands for them, if they did not know we were honeft and fober."-" I am very much pleafed with your conversation. What ship do you belong to?" "The - frigate, Captain "Are there any more on board, of the fame opinion with yourselves?" "Yes, Sir; there are feveral of us, when opportunity offers, meet for reading and prayer, and we hope there are fix of us who are truly born again, who were all vile finners two years ago, but have been taught to love God by reading the Bible."What an encouragement this, to give away bibles and good books!

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AFTER I had been preaching one evening, a failor came, wishing to have fome converfation with me, faying "My heart is very heavy; I am fuch a finner, I am afraid the Devil will have me."-" But what makes you think he will have you?"—" Because he is after me every day and night."—"How do you know?" "Blefs you, because I heard him the other night, juft as I got into my hammock; I heard him againft the fhip's fides and afterwards upon deck, and you must needs think I trembled alive, Sir, for I made fure he was come for me but as God would have it, I had part of an old prayer-book with me, and I put it next to my heart, I then heard him plunge overboard, and he shook the very fhip's fide for madness. But when we came into port I was forced to leave the ship (a coafter), for I was afraid if


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