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the church of Rome are well aware of the invalidity of this claim; else, why are they so fond of having recourse to that other ground of Tradition, in favour of the several corrupt tenets they contend for? If there be, in reality, a living infallible head of the church, or a real infallibility any where subsisting in it, would not this alone be absolutely decisive, with respect to every point of doctrine whatsoever? would it not, render Tradition, as well as Scripture, altogether superfluous? Why then so little respect for the Scriptures, and so much for Tradition? The reason is plain; infallibility itself wanted the assistance of some farther light; and Tradition, in this case of need, was a much more convenient resource than the authority of Christ and his apostles. These, I think, are such reflections as would naturally result even from the most calm and dispassionate view of the doctrines and scheme of Popery. Let us now proceed,
IV. To point out those methods by which its influence and prevalency may be most effectually opposed. These will naturally be collected from what has been already insisted upon, and will, I apprehend, appear in the strongest point of view, by being represented in this comparative light. Thus, for instance first, We see that Popery is founded upon a most insolent and presumptuous invasion, made upon the rights of private judgment. That right, which is in so solemn a manner confirmed and ratified by the gospel of Christ, and by the public, express, and frequently repeated declarations of his holy apostles; nothing, therefore, can be more effectual as a means for our security against Popery, than the indulging in ourselves and giving all possible encouragement to it in others, a free and personal inquiry into the truths and principles of religion. Freedom, absolute, unlimited, uncensured freedom of inquiry, as it is the natural, undoubted privilege of mankind, so it must be, under God, one of our most effectual bulwarks against a religion that is founded upon the rejection of it. However, therefore, we may differ in other respects, we ought all to join in asserting and maintaining our liberty thus to differ. This is a common cause; and if any one man may, in any one instance whatsover, be either deprived of this liberty, or censured, condemned, or in any degree made to suffer for his use of it, with equal reason may all.
We have seen, likewise, secondly, that Popery has a most direct and immediate tendency both to inspire the prince with arbitrary and tyrannic views, and at the same time to sink the subject into a spirit of tame servility. Another natural and effectual barrier, therefore, against the encroachments of Popery, must be an ardent love of civil liberty. So far as this prevails, we must necessarily, and from our hearts, detest a religion that tends to the utter extirpation of it. And in the history of our own nation especially, we have the most solemn warning given us, that Pope
ry and despotic oppressive power ought ever to be considered by British men, as mutually aiding and assisting each other.
We have seen, thirdly, that by many of the most peculiar solemnities, the stated, established rites of Popery, the worship of God is most unnaturally corrupted and debased, and his name dishonoured and blasphemed. Hence it follows, that, in proportion to that degree of manly piety, with which our own hearts are inflamed, and the desire we have of seeing such a spirit more generally diffused among mankind, must be our abhorrence of a religion in the very essential frame of it calculated to extinguish such a spirit, and to substitute, in the room of it, a low and grovelling superstition, or at best a pompous farce only, and splendid appearance of devotion.
Lastly, Popery, is a religion adapted to the encouragement of all wickedness and immorality. Notwithstanding the many arts and the perpetual efforts that were made use of by a long succession of ambitious pontiffs in the see of Rome, to give it its completion and firm establishment in the world, it could never, I believe, have come to be the religion of so great a part of Christendom, if it had not been calculated to silence the convictions and stifle the remorse of conscience, and to make men easy in their vices. How much soever, therefore, we may be inclined, on any other accounts, to favour and indulge an immoral spirit, and to throw contempt upon the sacred obligations of virtue, yet, while Popery continues to be the religion of so great a part of Europe, is it not by all of us to be looked upon with a jealous eye? And if so, every one ought for himself to remember, that nothing can have a more immediate or stronger influence towards introducing it among ourselves, than a general spirit of levity and inconsideration, of vanity and sensuality. These have a natural tendency to lead us into an indifference about all religion; and by this very indifference we are prepared the more easily to resign ourselves to that which is the most absurd.
MEMOIR OF MR. JOHN MAN, MISSIONARY IN NOVA-SCOTIA
MR. JOHN MAN, the subject of the following memoir, was born in the city of New York, in the United States of America, in the year 1743. His father died when he was young, and his mother, though pious, was too indulgent to her children, consequently he had but few restraints to curb his natural propensities,
which led him into folly and dissipation. Through the prevalence of evil example, and natural fondness for company, he gave early proof of a mind absorbed in worldly pursuits, and sinful amusements; not, however without frequent remorse and distress of soul, arising from conscious guilt, and an apprehension of danger to which his sins exposed him. Such convictions frequently returning, embittered his pleasing and profitable sins, and rendered him unhappy. About the age of 21 he married in a respectable family, and settled in business; but he did not continue long in this settled state; for being a little embarrassed in his temporal concerns, he left his family, and retired to Philadelphia. While he was in that city he was induced to go to the church, where he heard the Rev. Mr. Stringer, an Episcopal Clergyman, who, if I mistake not, was once a Methodist preacher, but had received orders in the Established Church. Under his preaching it pleased the Lord to awaken him to a sense of the awful state he was in. He immediately forsook his follies and sinful companions, and attended statedly on the means of grace. His mind at this time was filled with keen anguish, and bitter reflections on his past life, the misery he had brought upon himself, and distress upon his family and connexions. He was made to feel sensibly the plague of his own heart, and was penetrated with a consciousness of his miserable condition as a sinner before God. His convictions were deep and lasting, nor could he rest satisfied until the healing balm of a Saviour's blood was applied to his guilty conscience. Shortly after his being awakened he returned to New-York, where he commenced business again, and now, acting from better motives, and influenced by the fear of the Lord, he was diligent in business, fervent in spirit, seeking the Lord with all his heart. His mother being a member of the Moravian church, at her request he became a constant hearer of the Moravians; and so well persuaded was Mr. Gamble, their minister, of the sincerity of his repentance and reformation, that he was shortly after admitted into their society; but not always finding that spiritual food which he so earnestly sought, and frequently hearing Captain Webb, who described his case more clearly, and shewed the remedy provided for the cure of his sin-sick soul, he was induced to leave them, and unite himself with the Methodists.
About this time the first Methodist preachers, Messrs. Boardman and Pilmore, arrived in New-York, and under a sermon preached by Mr. Boardman he obtained redemption through the blood of Christ, the forgiveness of his sins; his sense of guilt was removed, his mind freed from all uneasiness and painful anguish, and he entered into the liberty of the people of God, and went on his way rejoicing. Shortly after he was appointed a class-leader, which office he held for many years, with credit
MEMOIR OF MR. JOHN MAN.
to himself and profit to the people. He grew in grace and in spiritual knowledge. ""Tis now," said he once to me and another friend conversing with him, "ten years since I experienccd a change of heart, and I never lost the witness of the Spirit from that time to this." He frequently exercised his gift in exhortation, and being approved, he was entered upon the local preachers' plan, and used frequently to spend the Sabbath either in Long Island or Bloomingdale. I frequently accompanied him in those little excursions, returning either on Sunday night or Monday morning. Nor was his labour of love in vain; some were happily awakened and brought to the knowledge of the truth. În the beginning of the unhappy revolutionary war, the preachers forsook the city of New-York, and shortly after returned to England. Mr. Man was desired by the trustees and leaders of the society to keep the chapel open at New-York, which he accordingly did for a considerable time. When Philadelphia was taken by the British troops a way was open for Mr. Spragg, a travelling preacher in the connexion, to come to New-York, into whose hands he delivered up the charge of the society. He continued, however, to preach once a week in the chapel, unless duty called him to labour in some part of the country on the Lord's day. And while he was thus engaged in administering to the necessities of his fellow-men, he was particularly attentive to his temporal concerns, and the Lord was pleased not only to give him the common necessaries of life, but all things richly to enjoy.
At the conclusion of the American war, Mr. Man thought it his duty to embark, with a considerable number of the society, for the wilds of Nova-Scotia. Shelburne was the first place of his residence, where he preached regularly every Lord's-day, and sometimes occasionally on the week days. There were about sixty in society, besides a great number of people of colour, who had taken refuge with the loyalists, and had built a town in the neighbourhood. Shelburne was at that time full of people, and business brisk, but it soon was greatly depopulated, having no country to support it, which caused the inhabitants to remove to different places. Of course there was a general stagnation to every kind of business, and Mr. Man became much straitened in his circumstances, having expended all his money in purchasing land, and building a house; so that his future prospects became dark, and his mind in consequence thereof was oppressed with care and anxiety how to procure support for a large family, dependant upon him. Poverty staring him in the face, he was advised by his friends to remove to Liverpool, a sea-port town about forty miles from Shelburne, where a little society had been previously formed; and receiving
an invitation from several friends there, and in particular from Captain Dean, he embarked with him for that town, in the fall of the year. Here he continued for some years, preaching constantly on the Lord's day, and frequently two or three times on the week evenings, and it pleased God that a considerable revival of religion soon took place, so that many were awakened and brought to experience a sense of the pardon of sin, and adoption into the family of God. But the impoverished state of the place, at that time, afforded him very little support, and receiving little or no pecuniary aid from the people among whom he laboured, his mind was frequently burdened and cast down through manifold temptations. The Lord, however, supported him in these trials, and at one time in particular, he filled his soul with inexpressible joy and peace through believing; yea, filled him with the love of God in an extraordinary degree, delivering him from the remains of the carnal mind, and causing him to drink deep into the spirit of holiness. This took place at the house of a pious friend, at Windsor, where he had appointed to preach. Having now experienced this blessed change, he lived under a constant sense of the presence of God, and, as it were, sat in heavenly places with Christ Jesus.
The year following, he embarked with his brother and Mr. Black for Philadelphia, where, with them, he was ordained by Dr. Coke and Mr. Asbury, both Deacon and Elder, and returned to Nova-Scotia, after an absence of eight weeks. But, being much straitened in his circumstances, and seeing no prospect of supporting his family in Liverpool, he, through the particular desire and assistance of P. Marchington, Esq. removed with his family to Newport, where he continued till his death. He now entered upon his labour with fresh zeal and encouragement, and gave himself up wholly to the work of the Lord, casting himself upon the providence of God for his support. It pleased the Lord to crown the labours of his servant with great success, and such a work of God broke out as is seldom seen in any place. Multitudes flocked to hear, and a society was formed, which consisted at that time of about sixty members, most of whom had experienced a happy change from nature to grace, from sin to holiness, and from bondage to liberty. It is, however, to be lamented, that a few years afterwards the work began to decline, many left the society, fell into the Antinomian delusion, and joined those termed the New Lights; while others fell even into open sin, which caused him many painful and sorrowful hours. On account of his family concerns his brethren allowed him to labour in this circuit for many years; he occasionally, however, visited other circuits for a few weeks or months, whenever he could be spared from the pressing calls of his family.