« PreviousContinue »
kindness and love as caused in me some hopes that the love and kindness they shewed and expressed in their dealings with me, had sprung from an apprehension or conviction in them that the principles of religion which I had embraced in opposition to theirs were the truth; but I soon found that I was herein mistaken; for it was not long before great offers were made me of making a purse to set me up in the world, on condition I would defist going to meetings, and return again to the church wherein I was born and baptized, and not bring such disgrace on the holy church, of which my ancestors were such noted and eminent members; and besides, that I might not ftain my family by occasioning people's faying that James Barry, who is son to a spiritual lord, and a father in the church, was turned fanatic; to which they added, the consideration of what a hopeful prospect there was before me of advance. ment to worldly greatness, in case I did not hinder myself by continuing a diffenter from the church, and what hardship and poverty I must expect to wrestle with to my own ruin, and the great disa grace of the whole family, in case I refused the offers made me, and the advice and counsel given for my own good.
To all which I was enabled with an holy magnanimity and becoming fortitude to reply, that the fight and sense I had of a future happiness with God in heaven, had blunted the edge of my ap
petite to these poor, low, and empty vanities, which I question not will prove unspeakably more vain, empty, and tormenting to me than they are in themselves, should I, for the love of them, lose my soul.
In case, said I, my friends and relations, who feem so greatly concerned for my good, can procure from Heaven an infallible certificate that my closing with the present offer on such a condition as is now laid before me, will not provoke the Holy Trinity, and prove a snare to my immortal soul, I shall readily comply; but if they cannot, it will, said I, prove your wisdom to let me alone to rejoice in the choice I have made. Had my relations felt what I have felt for finning against God, and could they taste the joy and sweet comforts of God, which have put me out of conceit and love with the present world, they would, I question not, be not only unwilling to blame and censure me for the choice I have made, but they themselves would readily and heartily make the same choice for which I am now Nighted and judged to be miserable.
My relations, finding how ineffectual their methods proved to gain me, foon turned their smiles into frowns, and their kind speeches into discouraging menaces, what severe courses should be taken with me to reclaim and reduce me to obedience.
My Lord threatened severely that he would have
me bound with ropes on a porter's back, and brought into the church in the time of divine service*.
To this I replied, that if his Lordship did not as well gag my mouth as bind my hands and feet, I would certainly roar out, and disturb all the people at their devotion ; for fear of which no force of that kind was offered me.
After some considerable time my father and Lord finding that neither fair and gentle means would allure and draw me to the liturgy in their church, and that no severity wherewith they threatened me could drive me from the pure worship of God in the meetings, I was soon attacked with greater and sharper opposition than I had met with from them before.
First, By my father, who, in the presence and hearing of at least forty of our family, took me to talk about my principles, and in regard of the small hopes he had of convincing me by the arguments he used, he openly declared his resolution never to own me for his son, unless I forsook the meetings, and came to the church and service again as formerly; and this, fir, said my father, I think fit to tell you before all these friends, to the end you may take it into serious consideration whether of the twain you judge more eligible, to forsake your fanatic opinion and schismatical companions, or
* Can this be called worshipping God in the beauty of boliness?
to be deprived of the love and affections of a father; and know it, fir, said he, that I do, by the authority of a father, command and require you to fix on whether of these two you intend to choose, and that within a week; if you resolve to hold your new opinion, I charge you to quit my Lord's house, and provide another lodging; and as for me, I charge you that you come not near my doors, or any of your brethren or fifters' doors ; r'll see, faid he, which of your holy brethren or fifters will take you in *.
Thou feeft, reader, that a bishop, or lord fpiritual, had not need only to be blameless as the steward of God, but be needs power and authority, not only to absolve all them that truly repent, but to restore them also that truly recant. Had the pious bishop fed this new-born babe with the fincere milk of the word; had he fed the flock, and took the overfight according to God; had he been ihe servant of Christ, and of the church for his fake, it is likely his son would have been the beft worshipper and stri&eft follower of all his charge. However, as a lord over God's heritage, he is determined that his Son's faith Thall stand in the wisdom of men, not in the power of God; he will offer violence to the Lamb's wife, and attempt to bind the spirit of liberty, but what he will reduce him to obedience; not to the faith of Christ, for he had got that, nor to the word and worship of God, for he loved both, nor did the bilhop mention any thing of this sort to him, but to the church of England, to the service, ceremonies, and the liturgy, he must be subject, aod subje& he shall be, or ftarve, unless Providence will interfere. It requires a deal of human wisdom to establish a religion, and a deal of the fame sort of power to keep it standing, especially when the Spirit of God comes and
To this. I was enabled to reply thus : Sir, though you resolve, according to your present declaration, to cast me out of your paternal or fatherly affections, and to disown me for your son, merely for my conscience to God, because I cannot, without greatly offending against God and wounding my conscience, conform to those inventions of men, in God's worship, for which I can see no warrant in all the scripture; I think and judge it my duty, now the providence of God calls me to be tried, to be as open, free, and plain, in declaring to you, in the presence and hearing of the same relations who have heard your's to me, these two things : First, That I hope better things of you than to see so unnaturally in letting your child perish for want of necessaries of life, and that because I dare not act against my conscience.
Secondly, That in case you do resolve to persist in this your resolution, I am as fixedly resolved in casting myself on the promise and providence of God, whatever comes of me in this world. .
And, before I will act herein against the light of
makes breaches, by rescuing the ele& from it.: As it hath not pleased the Lord to illuminate all bishops, priests, and deacons, with the true knowledge and understanding of his word, I wonder my cousin had not repeated this part of the old cry: “ From all blindness of mind, from hardness of heart, and con.. “tempt of God's word and commandment; from all fuck “envy, hatred, and malice, and from all uncharitablenefe, “ good Lord deliver us." Amen. W.H. S. S.