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glided calmly towards the Severn, loitering in our course, as our oars kept time with music and songs, of which the notes echoing from the rocks seemed to sweep along the current, till, at length, the moon rose in chaste and silent majesty, and pouring her silver light upon the rugged rocks and mouldering towers, showed us the ruined castle of Chepstow. We soon afterwards parted for the night; and on the following morning, having arranged with Mrs. Richards to visit her upon her return to Pheasant Grove, when I should be retracing my steps homeward, I crossed the Severn, and joining the company of Mr. Jordan, took up my abode with him for a short time in Bristol. Here, after a day or two passed in seeing the city, as we were sitting at breakfast, Mr. Jordan disclosed the object of his journey, informing me that his motives in leaving his family to visit this place originated in a desire to confer with some select friends upon matters of a religious nature; for, said he,

“ You must know that I am a Dissenter, and that the sect to which I belong is that of the Baptists, who are going to hold a conference in

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this city, at which many of my friends intend being present, and I am, therefore, come hither to meet them. I shall regret,” he added, “if the circumstance of my being of this persuasion should operate upon your mind, so as to make you think less favourably of me, than I hope and believe you at present do.”

“ My dear Sir," I replied, “ of all men I am the last to be warped by a prejudice of this kind. I am one desirous of seeing and knowing all classes of men who embrace religion upon a rational and conscientious conviction of its truth, whatever may be their particular tenets and principles. There are many, indeed, of those whose notions I cannot reconcile with my own view of the Scriptures; yet I sincerely respect all who are in earnest in their professions and practice, however, in other respects, they may differ from me. Perhaps, after what you have told me of your faith, I ought, in return, to make you acquainted with the particulars of mine, or rather explain to you the reasons why I have not yet come to any fixed determination upon this important point; for, to speak openly, having only of late years begun to reflect upon these matters, I am seeking and trying to make out which, of all the professed systems of belief, comes the nearest to what, in my estimation, the Sacred Writings themselves teach; and if I could assure myself that the one which you have adopted is the most consonant with Scripture, I would gladly join myself to your body.”

66 Then,” said he, “you shall go with me to the conference, and hear what our ministers have to advance in support of their opinions, and afterwards, upon due consideration, you can take such steps as your reason and conscience may best approve.”

To this I willingly agreed ; and in the course of the next ten days did little else than attend the meetings of these persons, public, private, devotional, and familiar. It was upon one occasion afterwards, that Mr. Jordan, having in the mean time studiously avoided touching upon the subject, asked me what I thought of the system of his religious faith, and pressed me for my candid opinion.

“ From all I have observed, and gathered and reflected upon since we have been here,” said 1, “I am obliged to confess that your tenets are not such as my judgment, or conscience, according to my interpretation of Scripture, can

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sanction; and I cannot find it in my mind to become either a particular or a general Baptist. The former, I see, are Calvinists; the latter, Arminians. To the tenets of the Calvinists I have a decided and strong objection, and as you seem, in many respects, to entertain the same feeling, I need not trouble


my opinions upon this part of the subject. With respect to your sect of Arminian Baptists, I agree with you in thinking, that the election of the Gospel appertains to all mankind who embrace and live in the faith of Christ; and that salvation is, through the merits of Christ, the reward of faith and obedience; and that eternal punishment is threatened against both wilful infidelity and obstinate unrepented sin; for as to reprobation, as far as Scripture guides me, I know nothing. more, than that if any persist in an obstinate disbelief and denial of the truth, or in the ways of ungodliness and unrighteousness, God may harden their hearts, and, withdrawing from them the influences of his Holy Spirit, ' give them over to a reprobate mind. I agree, also, in thinking, that Christ died and made atonement on the cross, for every person believing in him, and endeavouring to do his will.

But I can go no fur

ther with you: your doctrines of conversion and regeneration, in which you seem to agree with the Calvinists, appear to me to be as contrary to Scripture as to the common reason and experience of mankind; for your position is, that 'true faith cannot proceed, in any sense, from the exercise of a man's natural faculties and powers, nor from the operation of free will, because he is incapable of thinking, much less of doing, any good thing.'"

Now this seems to me to be a substitution of the sensible operation of the Spirit upon the mind, to the exclusion of all free agency; and as such, I am unable to reconcile it either with the sensible operations of my own mind and spirit (for such they appear to me), or with the general sense of Scripture. It is true you admit the necessity of good works, as a condition of salvation, but you seem to deny that man can voluntarily perform them; the consequence of which must be, that the discharge or neglect of his duty is chargeable to the Deity alone, and not to himself; and, accordingly, while

you rob the one of the freedom of his will,

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* This constitutes the third, out of the five articles of Arminianism. See Mosheim's Eccl. Hist. vol. v, p. 444,

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