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CONTENTS OF VOL. XII.
4 Letter to an Irish Clergyman
EARNEST APPE AL
TO MEN OF
REASON AND RELIGION.
Doth our Law judge any Man before it hear him, and know what he
doth? John vii. 51.
ALTHOUGH it is with us a “ very small thing to be judged of you, or of man's judgment,” seeing we know God will “make our Innocency as clear as the light, and our Just Dealing as the noon-day;" yet are we ready to give any that are willing to hear, a plain account both of our principles and actions : " as having renounced the hidden things of shame," and desiring nothing more, “than by manifestation of the truth to commend ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.”
2. We see (and who does not?) the numberless follies and miseries of our fellow-creatures. We see on every side, either men of no religion at all, or men of a lifeless, formal religion. We are grieved at the sight, and should greatly rejoice, if by any means we might convince some, that there is a better religion to be attained, a religion worthy of God that gave it. And this we conceive to be no other than love ; the love of God and of all mankind, the loving God with all our heart, and soul, and strength, as having first loved us, as the Fountain of all the good we have received, and of all we ever hope to enjoy; and the loving every VOL. XII.
soul which God hath made, every man on earth, as our
3. This love we believe to be the medicine of life, the never-failing remedy, for all the evils of a disordered world, for all the miseries and vices of men. Wherever this is, there are virtue and happiness, going hand in hand. There is humbleness of mind, gentleness, long-suffering, the whole image of God, and at the same time a peace that passeth all understanding, and joy unspeakable and full of glory. “ Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind;
Each prayer accepted, and each wish resign'd:
Tears that delight, and sighs that waft to heaven.” 4. This religion we long to see established in the world, a religion of love, and joy, and peace, having its seat in the heart, in the inmost soul, but ever shewing itself, by its fruits, continually springing forth not only in all innocence, (for love worketh no ill to his neighbour,) but likewise in every kind of beneficence, spreading virtue and happiness all around it.
5. This religion have we been following after for many years, as many know, if they would testify : but all this time, seeking wisdom we found it not; we were spending our strength in vain. And being now under full conviction of this, we declare it to all mankind : for we desire not that others should wander out of the way, as we have done before them; but rather that they may profit by our loss, that they may go, (though we did not, having then no man to guide us,) the straight way to the religion of love, even by faith.
6. Now faith (supposing the Scripture to be of God) is πραγματων ελεγχε και βλεπομενων, the demonstrative evidence of things unseen, the supernatural evidence of things invisible, not perceivable by eyes of flesh, or by any of our natural senses or faculties. Faith is that divine evidence, whereby the spiritual man discerneth God and the things of God. It is with regard to the spiritual world, what sense is with regard to the natural. It is the spiritual sensation of every soul that is born of God.