Page images
PDF
EPUB

know that God is about to call me to endure afflictions and trials for his name's sake, but I trust he will enable me to hold out. I once thought that I would like to leave this country; but upon more mature reflection, I am convinced that it is my duty to remain, and suffer all the will of God. He now rose up to take his leave, saying, that he was afraid his father was informed of his apostasy before this time, and that it was impressed upon his mind something would happen him in the course of the week. He was scarcely away two hours, when he returned with a parcel of books, saying, that his father was told that he had become a Christian, and in the presence of the Persian Consul conjured him to tell the truth.* He confessed it, and denied it not; when his father in a great passion, sent him back to me with all the. Books and Tracts which he had received at our Depository, and charged him never more to enter our threshold again; or, if he intended to become an infidel, never to see his face more. He endeavoured to reason with his father, but he would not hearken to him; so when he saw nothing else would pacify him he said, *Well, you are my father, it is my duty to obey you, therefore Í shall carry back the books again.' exhorted him not to fear, but to hold fast the beginning of his confidence steadfast unto the end. O,' said he, “I am not able of myself to stand before my father: : now is the time to pray for me! I entreat you to pray for me.'-0 that God may enable him to witness a good confession, and make him faithful unto death, that he may receive a crown of life.

“April 22d.- The Lord has been better to me than all my foreboding fears. MAHOMED ALI made his appearance to-day at the usual hour. On inquiring how he spent the night, and in what state he left his father, he replied, “By the blessing of God, divine grace shall be imparted to him also. When I went home last night he was very much displeased with me, and begged that

* It may be worth while to mention, that at this Conference Mirza ABDOOL (the Consul) began to dissuade Mahomed Ali from his purpose, by telling him that the Gospel was false, &c. But MAHOMED ALI was enabled to argue the matter with him in such a manner as to put him to silence. Where is the true Gospel?” said he. 'It was taken away by SAHIBI Zeman,' replied Mirza ABDOOL, * But according to the Koran, rejoined MaHOMED ALI, 'there were several Christians living some hundred years after the death of CHRIST, and before MoHAMMED, and who were so pious, that God wrought a miracle for their preservation from sufferings; these persons then must have had the true Gospel.- But it is not too much to suppose, that at that time there were at least a million of Christians in the world, and that they had among them twenty thousand copies of the Gospel. Now, how is it possible that the Sabibi ZEMAN could collect all these, scattered as they were throughout so many different countries ? or how could be carry such a number away with him at once?' The Mirza gave no answer, looked earnestly into his face for a few moments, and then went away. MAHOMED ALI afterwards mentioned, that he was astonished that he was able to speak so freely to the Consul, who is a great man among the Persians here; and ascribed it entirely to the strength which he received from God, in answer to the prayers which we had offered up for him, VOL. VII.

44

your

I might not disgrace him by becoming an infidel. Well, father," said MAHOMED Ali, 'I shall never become an infidel, if you can prove to me the truth of Islamism.' 'O, son, son, you have Prophet, your religion, and your Koran.'- But I believe that they are false, and the Holy Books (viz. the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments) are the only true revelation. But,' said the father, “how is it possible that Jesus Christ can be God? 'I cannot tell,' said the son, it is an incomprehensible mystery ; but there is no more difficulty in believing it than in believing the omnipresence of God. We know that God is present every where, but how he can be all present here, and all present at another place, at the same time, is more than we can understand.' True,' said the father, but how do you prove that God is a Spirit ? (The Mohammedans have such views of God, that they think it wrong to aver positively what he is, but confine their definitions of him to his attributes and doings; and therefore, to say he is a Spirit, is considered by them as wrong, and as limiting and defining to a certain extent, what is illimitable and undefinable.) Has he length, breadth, or depth, or is he immeasurable ?' 'í learn,' answered the son, from the Law, that God is a Spirit; but, (continued he,) father, can you define to me the nature of a Spirit? Is it divisible or indivisible ?' 'I cannot tell,' said the father. Well, replied MAHOMED All, what inconsistency is there in believing that God is a Spirit?' But the father stil retorted, “The Law of Moses which you read is not the true one.' That appears very strange to me,' said his son, 'for you acknowledge that the quotations taken from it in the Koran are the word of God. Now, I cannot reconcile how these quotations should be the real word of God, and all the rest of it be false.' At this stage of the argument his father felt unable to maintain his ground any longer, and concluded by seriously advising bim not to become an infidel, and to trouble his head no inore about such questions. After this, his father sent for one of his Persian friends, and requested him to take his son aside, and give him some salutary counsel. In consequence of this, MAHOMED Ali accompanied the Persian Gentleman to his lodgings, where the following conversation ensued :-Persian Gentleman. So you intend to become a Christian ? M. A. Yes, I do.-P. G. Are you not satisfied with the Koran and with your own religion ? M. A. No. Can you prove to me that the Koran is a revelation from heaven? P. G. MOHAMMED the Prophet declares it to be so. M. A. Then, forsooth, because MOHAMMED says the Koran is a revelation from heaven, and the Koran says MOHAMMED is a Prophet, I am bound to believe it? P. Ġ. Come, come, tell me how much money the English Mallas have given you for becoming a Christian ? Have they given you five tomans (fifty roubles ?) or did they put any thing in the calean to bewitch you? M. A:

Read the Gospels, and reflect seriously on them, and at the end of three days you will not ask me that question. P. G. Remember your father, your honour, your reputation are all at stake, it will be for your advantage in this world not to change your religion. M. A. What will that avail me, if I must suffer the wrath of God in hell for ever? P. G. You will be persecuted. M. A. The Gospel saith, And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek, offer also the other.' On hearing this reply, the Persian gentleman was confounded, and said, "Why do you not tell your father these things ?! By the blessing of God s intend to inform him,' was his reply. He slept none during the course of the night, but was engaged in constant prayer both for himself and his father. To his great astonishment, notwithstanding the prohibition the night before, about eight o'clock in the morning his father said to him, “ Arise, go to the Englishmen, but do not become an infidel.' 'I think,' added Mahomed Ali, 'that my father thought much during the night, and that his heart smote him. May the Lord have mercy upon him, and convince him also of the truth. I inquired how his soul prospered. He said, the Lord had strengthened him, and enabled him with firmness to bear testimony to the truth, and hoped the hour was at no great distance when God would speak peace to his soul."

(To be continued.)

ANECDOTE OF AN INDIAN PREACHER.

(From PRESIDENT Dwight's Travels in New-Engiand and New-York.”) WHILE MR. KIRKLAND was a Missionary to the Oneidas, being unwell, he was unable to preach on the afternoon of a certain Sabbath, and told good Peter, one of the head men of the Oneidas, that he must address the congregation. Peter modestly and reluctantly consented. After a few words of introduction, he began a discourse on the character of the SAVIOUR. “What, my Brethren,” said he, “ are the views which you form of the character of Jesus? You will answer, perhaps, that he was a man of singular benevolence. You will tell me, that he proved this to be his character by the nature of the miracles which he wrought. All these, you will say, were kind in the extreme. He created bread to feed thousands who were ready to perish. He raised to life the son of a poor woman who was a widow, and to whom his labours were necessary for her support in old age. Are these, then, your only views of the Saviour? I tell you, they are lame. When Jesus came into our world, he threw his blanket around him, but THE GOD was within." ' This I had from MR. KIRKLAND himself.

ADDRESS OF THE GENERAL CONFERENCE OF THE METHODIST

EPISCOPAL CHURCH, Held in Baltimore, May, 1824, to the British Conference. TO THE BRITISH CONFERENCE OF WESLEYAN METHODISTS, TO

BE HELD AT LEEDS IN ENGLAND, JULY, 1824. Dear Fathers and Brethren,

In reciprocating the kind and affectionate sentiments contained in your communication to us, sent by the hands of those whom you had chosen to be the messengers of the churches, we feel an indescribable pleasure. Many are the associations that press upon us, and the emotions that affect us, in this pleasant interchange of affectionate regards. We look to England as the birth-place of that man, who, under the guidance of Heaven, was the founder of a great and flourishing church. It was there that the infant societies were nourished, and it was thence that the word of God was sent forth, even unto us. After we had flourished for some time under your fostering care, a mysterious chain of providences led to a separation of our societies in this country, from the mother church. But the scion that was planted here has been watered and blessed of God; and though probably still inferior in solidity and strength, yet in the number and extent of its branches, and the abundance of its fruits, it vies with the parent stock. In this we rejoice, and are grateful to the Great Head of the Church, to whom alone the praise belongs. But it greatly increases our joy to know, that our British brethren rejoice with us, and that the parent church, with which we hope ever to be identified by the same holy doctrines and the same salutary discipline, is still flourishing, increasing, and abounding in every good work.

For this our increase of consolation we have been greatly indebted to our justly esteemed brother and father in the church, the Rev. RICHARD REECE, and to his associated companion, the Rev. John HANNAH, whom you have sent to declare your state unto us, and the interest you feel in our prosperity. We received them as your messengers, and as brethren beloved. Their presence with us has drawn the cords of brotherly love still closer, bas seemed to introduce you more immediately before us, and in all our intercourse with them, both social and public, we have been made to feel more sensibly than ever, that in doctrine and discipline, in experience and practice, and in the great object of evangelizing the world, the British and American Methodists are ONE. And we devoutly pray that they may ever so remain.

We are, with you, Dear Brethren, endeavouring to maintain the purity of our doctrines, and are not conscious that we have suffered them in any instance to be changed, or adulterated, in our hands.

As they are the doctrines which have proved to so maný, both in Europe and America, the power of God unto salvation, we deem them to be the gospel of God our Saviour; and while He owns them we will never give them up. With you too, we prize and practically vindicate the general rules of our Church, and the pristine institutions and usages of Methodism. We are also following you, though at a humble distance, in your Missionary exertions. But such is the extent, and increasing extent, of our work here, that we cannot find means, or men, for foreign missions. The increase of our population is perhaps unparalleled ; and it is widely scattered over an extensive continent. To keep pace with it, under such circumstances, requires much labour, and much privation. In addition to this, the Lord, as you have heard, has opened for us a great and effectual door among the Aborigines of our country. These we dare not neglect. They are our neighbours, and we must minister unto them; they have been injured, and we must make them reparation ; they are savages, and must be civilized; heathens, and must be converted. All this shall be done if God permit. We have the work much at heart, and hope and pray

for success. In addition to this, we have entailed upon us in several of our states, a degraded and enslaved population, whose situation is making, if possible, a still stronger claim upon our Christian philanthropy. "And finally, the way seems to be opening for Missionary exertions in Mexico and South-America.

With these fields of labour in the midst of us, and round about us, you cannot expect us to join you in the great and good work in which you are engaged in the East. Still we hope the time is not far distant when we shall join hands on the Asiatick shores of the Pacifick ocean. We are constantly advancing in our labours towards the West, and you are extending in the East, not only on the continent, but over the islands of the sea. Is it chimerical then to suppose, that at some future day, we shall have encompassed this earth, and girded it round with glorious bands of gospel truth? O no, faith says it shall be done. And this faith is not without works; certainly not on your part, for we hear from you, that you are labouring assiduously in this great cause; imitating the illustrious example of enterprize and diligence which so eminently marked the great founder of Methodism. You aim at great things, and you accomplish them. We admire the exertions of your ministers, and the liberality of your people. In our labours as ministers, we hope we are not far behind you ; but as a people we do not yet equal you in active Christian benevolence. In this respect, however, we are improving. Our people are becoming more alive to the importance of greater, and more systematick exertions in the cause of the church. And while we are enlarging our work, and multiplying our numbers, We trust we have not forgotten that the great desigu of Methodism,

« PreviousContinue »