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derstood. But in the course of a few years, many
similar gregations were formed in Scotland, which still subsist, and continue greatly to increase.
In the mean time Mr. Dale's church became greatly agitated by doubtful disputations; and some of the weighty points contested were the use of the Lord's Prayer, standing to sing, and repeating Amen aloud by the congregation. Mr. Ferriar, who contended for uniformity of faith and unrelaxing discipline, separated from Mr. Dale and his friends and joined Mr. Glass, thac founder of the sect of Glassites. On the contrary, Mr. Dale pleaded for the doctrine of Christian Forbearance and Forgiveness. If on this question the New Testament is to be the criterion, it is easy to see which is right; for on whatever points that sacred book may be supposed ambiguous, it could not possibly be more decided in favour of Christians loving, forbearing, and forgiving one another ; nor more severe against all wrath, bitterness, and angry disputation.
Some of these persons pleaded also, that a minister or deacon must be but once married, because he is to be the “ husband of one wife;" which Mr. Dale understood merely as forbidding the practice of polygamy: others contended (the poorer part we inay
* The Glassites originated about 1728 ; and were denominated from the above Mr. Glass, who had been expelled by the Synod, under the charge of attempting to undermine the Scotch Establishment. The same secties England are denominated Sandemanions, from Mr. R. Sandeman, one of their elders, who about 1956, attacked Mr. Hervey, in Letters, on his Theron aud A spasio. " In these letters Mr. Sardeman attempts to prove that justifying faith is no more than a simple belief of the truth, or the divine testiniony passively received by the innderstanding; and that this divine testimony carries in itself sufficient ground of hope to every one who believes it, without any thing wrought in us, or done by us, to give it a particular direction to ourselves.
“ Some of the popular preachers' as they were called, kad taught that it was of the essence of faith to believe that Christ is ours; but Mr. Sandeman contended, that that which is believed in tre faith is the itet; and what would have been the trutli, though we had never believed it. They dealt largely in calls and invitations to repent and believe in Christ, in order to forgiveness; but he rejects the whole of them, maintaining that the gospel contained no offer but that of evidence, and that it was nierely a record or testimony to be credited. They had caught, that thongle acceptance with God, which included the forgiveness ot sins, was merely en account of the imputed righteousness of Christ; yet that none was accepted of God, or forgiven, till he repented of his sin, and received Christ as the only Saviour; but he insists, that there is acceptance with God, through Christ, for sinners while such, or before any act, exercise, or exertion of their minds whatsover;" consequently, before repentance ; and that " a passive belief of this quiers the guilty conscience, be. gets hope, and so lays the foundation for love.'.
“With respect to discipline, tlie Glassites are particularly strict, maintaining conimunion with no other sect of Christians, -poteven to przy with them and here originate the two great evils of the system. To engenders and promotes a spirit of disputation, which is always unfriendly to practical religion; and the circumstance of refusing to pray with wubelievers, anyihilates family-prayer, and very much embarrasses social wors ship.” – See Alams's Piece of all Re'igions, lay Fuller, p. 275.
suppose) for a kind of community of goods, as practised by some of the primitive Christians; but Mr. Dale maintained that it was the order of God's providence that there always should be rich and poor among his people, as well as in the world ; and that it is lawful to acquire riches by industry, avoiding all undue means of " hasting to be rich:” that Christians are to consider themselves as God's stewards in the riches they possess, and, according to their ability, to “do good to all, especially to the household of faith:" a precept of wbich Mr. Dale gave the most happy exemplification.
Notwithstanding the above separation, Mr. Dale occasionally visited the church at Edinburgh, where he formed an acquaintance with the lady to whom he was shortly married. Soon after this, Mr. Robt. Moncrief, a member of the church at Edinburgb, and a young man of very popular talents, came to Glasgow where also his labours were highly acceptable, and was chosen an elder ; but in a few months he declared against Infant Baptism, for which Mr. Dale was a zealous and conscientious advocate: but Mrs. Dale became a convert to the young preacher ; and, with a few others, left the church of which her husband was an elder.
By this series of painful events, the church at Glasgow was continually tom; and we cannot but lament, that the occasions were often inconsiderable. Yet Mr. Dale continued his ministry among them. All the doctrines he taught were the result of piature deliberation, for he was naturally thoughtful and deliberate. He searched the Scriptures daily, to know the will of God; and never shunned to declare, it to the best of his judgment, "preaching the gospel of the kingdom faithfully, and with all boldress.”
llis prosperity in the world, far from contracting the heart, as is too often the case, enabled him to adorn the doctrine of Christ by very extensive liberality to the poor ; and to display a very active and public-spirited benevolence on all occasions, bea ing constantly ready to every good work. Above all, he was interested in the propagation of the gospel throughout the world. Whenever he could approve the principles of Missionaries, he was most cordial in affording them assistance; and in every attempt to translate and publish the Holy Scriptures, his zeal was remarkable. Often would he say, that even if some of these attempts were be executed in an inferior manner, they should be encouraged ; for he had never seen a Bible in any language so mistaken as not to contain the revealed method of salvation ; and a new translation, though erroneous, would make room for another, and an improved one.
For several of his latter years he was infirm ; but was not confined till within two or three weeks of his end. The very day before his departure, which was the Sabbath, he sent for some of his brethren in the church to confer with them. He told them he fad now found time to review his principles, and had seen no reason to change them. He recommendul attending simply to the word of God, and following it with implicit obedience. He particularly begged their attention to our Lord's dying testimony: My kingdom is not of this world ;” and added, “ Never give up that.” He spoke briefly of the way of salvation by the Son of God, as what alone could satisfy the mind of a dying man. He mentioned the song of the redeemed in Heaven: To him that loved
and wasbed us from our sins,” &c.; and how distinguished a privilege it is for believers to join in it upon earth. He told them he had left nothing to the church; and wished to know their opinion. They were glad of it; because they thought the church should rely only on her exalted Head, and not on any earthly funds. These, lie said, were his sentiments; and he was happy they were theirs." The church (he added) has nothing to fear : the Lord will be with you through fire and thro' water, till he bring you to a wealthy place.” His strength tailing, they took leave; and after falling on his neck and kissing him, they left the room with mingled sensations of sorrow and of joy, easier to be conceived than described. The next day, being April 17, 1806, he departed at four o'clock in the afternoon, in his sixty-eighth year, beloved and lamented by all with whom he had been connected, or to whom he had been known. His fellowcitizens, and especially the poor, bewailed him as their father ; for on all occasions they had found him such, being applied to as well for counsel as for assistance. His manners were always modest and unassuming : his charities, though numerous and great, were never ostentatious; on the contrary, he was so careful to conceal them, that many of the individuals who were saved by him from wretchedness and want, never knew the instrument which Pravidence employed for their deliverance. Though a Dissenter, he was highly esteemed by all parties of Christians'; and by his own, affectionately beloved. In short, his memory is deeply engraven in the hearts of his friends, his fellow.christians, and his countrymen!
I AM sensible that there are many dificulties in the sacred Scriptures, some perhaps which no human skill can satisfactorily resolve ; but I am sorry to find others created by hypothesis or prejudice which have no existence but in our own conceptions. Of this kind I consider Matt. ii. 23, on which å great deal of critical sagacity has been lavished, in order to find a passage in the prophets, containing the prediction there referred to, which probably never was in writing. Without en tering into the question, Whetlrcr we have all the writings of the prophets ? - it will hardly be denied that we have but a small part of the discourses which they delivered! ; for it is generally Believed, they usually taught the people on the Sabbath-days. Now the Evangelist says, that it was spoken (Ember) by the prophets (perhaps two or three of them) “He shall be called a Nazarene:"a circumstance which we must take on the authority of the writer, to which no reasonable exception can be made.
But there is another expression in the same verse, which has I fear been equally misunderstood. It is said," Joseph came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that it might be fu lilled which is spoken by the prophets,” &c. which docs not imply that Joseph acted with any view to the fulfilment of the prophecy; but that the providence of God so over-ruled events, as thereby to accomplish its fulblment; which I believe is the general import of the expression.
Before I take leave, Mr. Editor, permit me to drop two or three practical reflections, for I think that must be a dry subject indeed that will afford none.
1. The Lord superintends all the removals of his people. “He Inath deterinince the times before appointed, and the bounds of on habitations.” So here, Joseph is directed by an angel to flee into Egypt; and by another, to take up his residence in Naza, reth: anu boll, in order to accomplish the divine decrees, as delivered by the prophets.
2. Little events often kad to others of great importance, and are essential to them. A little maid, being carried captive by the prophet, led to the recovery and conversion of the great General Naaman. So here the residence of Joseph, in an obscure village, is of itself a small concern, but stanels intimately connected with the character of the Messiah, and the fulfilment of divine prophecy,
3. God effects the falfilruent of his decrees, and consequently the divine predictions, by agents, often unconscious of the part they are performing. God has a hook in the nostrils of every“ mighty hunter before the Lord ;” and turns him (as the rivers of waters) as he pleases. Herol and Pontius Pilate, the Jews and the Romans, all fulfilled the will of Heaven, though they meant it not; and Joseph, though a good man, doubtless, had no view to fulfil the divine decrees : his object was only to avoid the present danger.
4. Reproach and ridicule were the lot of Christ himself; and his people must expect no better. If he was called the Neazarene, we must not be surprized at being called Methodists, Enthusiasts, Fanatics !
5. The world are eager to catch hold of any circļımstance wbcreon to ground their reproach. It was a poor ground to cena sure Christ, merely because he took up his residence for a time in an obscure village. “ Can any good thing come out of Naza. reth ?" say they. Yes; Christ came from thence.'
IVHICH CHRISTIANITY TAKES OF THE POOR,
CONTRASTED WITH THE CONTEMPT POURED UPON THEM BY DEISTS.
The poor constitute the most numerous class of mankind, and that which possesses the least power and influence. It is one of the features of imposture to try to recommend itself to the rich and noble, and if it can only gain these, to treat the poor with the greatest neglect. But we may view that as the true religion which suits the case of the poor, who are so needy and so numerous, and which does not exclude the affluent, but is shewn to be every way necessary and suitable for them.
Let us take a glance at Deism with this vicw. The sentiments of its advocates shew the hideous visage of imposture. For the most part, Deism was formerly confined to a few speculative men, reclining in the downy lap of case and affluence, who, that they might pursue their pleasures without alarm, wishel to discard Christianity, and free themselves from its restraints altogether. If Deists have changed their tone of late years, it is not because they have any more respect for the poor, but because such revolutions have taken place as have made them imagine they might obtain their suffrage, and be able to use them as tools to promote their designs, and establish their system.
Voltaire rejoiced in any additions which were made to the ranks of infidelity from among the great. When writing to Frederic, King of Prussia, he mentions the Emperor Joseph II, as initiated into their mysteries by Frederic, and says, “ You have also flattered me with the Emperor's being in the way
of perdition : that would be a good harvest for pliilosophy." Amidst the expectations of the success of his dark schemes, he tems to allow that Christ might still have some few worshippers among the rabble; - he seems to have no great hope of their conquest, and treats them with the utmost_contempt. Writing to D'Alembert, he says, “ Both you and Damilaville must be well pleased to see the contempt into which Christ las fallen among the better sort of people throughout Europe. They are all we wished for, or that were necessary. We never pretended to enlighten the housemaids and shoe-makers; we leave them to the apostles.” When writing to Diderot, he says, “ Christianity must be destroyed among the better sort; and left it to the rabble for whom it was made." When ho writes to Damilaville, he says, “ I can assure you that soon none but the rabble will felow the standard of our enemies; and we equally