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  • CHARLES SPURGEON -
    THE SWORD AND THE TROWEL - MARCH, 1865. IN A FOG


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    BY C. H. SPURGEON.

    THAT Gog and Magog are legitimate sovereigns of our great city of London we will not venture to dispute; but there is a third potentate whose reign is far more real, and whose dominion is vastly more oppressive — his name is FOG.

    The other day we rode through London at noonday; through London, we said; we meant through a mass of vapor looking almost as thick as melted butter, “with a sordid stain Of yellow, like a lion’s mane.” A stinging savor of smoke made our eyes run with tears, and a most uncomfortable clinging cobwebby dampness surrounded us like a wet blanket, and sent a cold chill to the very marrow of our bones. Light had departed, and darkness, tike a black pall, hung horribly over every street — a dense gloom which could not be cheered even by the lamps which in all the shops were burning as if night had set in. The fog sensibly affected all the organs of our body. “Vapor importunate and dense, It was at once with every sense.

    The ears escape not. All around Returns a dull unwonted sound.” Few were the passengers, and those few flitted before us like shadows, or passed shivering by us like wet sparrows looking out for shelter in a heavy rain. It was of no use to be wretched, and therefore we became thoughtful, and condensed a little of the black mist into drops of meditation. Are we not all more or less traveling in a fog through this land of cloud and gloom? What is life? ‘Tis but a vapor; and that vapor is often a thick, light-obstructing mist I Of the forms around us in God’s fair universe have we much more discernment than a fog-picture? To some extent “a formless grey confusion covers all.” where we see one trace of our glorious God, do we not fail to perceive a thousand of the divine touches of his pencil? We may not dare to say even of earthly things that “we see,” or those who have formed some guess of what true seeing means will soon declare us to be blind. As to the revelation with which our heavenly Father has so graciously favored us, how little have we gazed upon it in the clear daylight of its own glory. Our prejudices, predilections, fancies, infirmities, follies, iniquities, unbeliefs, and vanities have raised a marsh-mist through which heaven’s own stars can scarcely dart their cheering rays. There is light enough abroad if the dense fog would suffer it to reach us, but for want of the wind of heaven to chase away the obscuring vapors we walk in twilight and see but glimmerings of truth. We are proud indeed if we dream of attaining a clear view of heavenly things by our own carnal minds while we grope under moral, mental, and spiritual glooms, which have made the best of men cry, “Enlighten our darkness, good Lord.” Well did Paul say, “Here we know in part,” and “here we see through a glass darkly.” We have not yet attained to face-to-face vision: happy day shall it be when we escape from this cloud-land, and come into the true light where they need no candle, neither light of the sun. We who have believed are not of the night nor of darkness, but yet the smoke of things terrestrial dims our vision and clouds our prospect. When we think of the doctrines of grace, of the person of Christ, of the experimental work of the Spirit — when we think of these simpler matters — to say nothing of the heaven which is to be revealed, of the prophetic apocalypse, or of the glorious coming of the Son of Man, how great does our ignorance appear and how small our knowledge! Faith believes what her God has told her; but by reason of” the turbid air” in which we live, how little do we understand of what we believe! When our fellows boastingly cry, “We see,” how readily may we detect their blindness. Those men who claim to know all things, — who are incapable of further enlightenment, — whose creed is made of cast iron and can never be altered, — these are the most blind of us all, or else they dwell amidst the thickest and densest mists. Surely, we are in a fog — the best of us feel the dread shadow of the fall hovering over us. O Sun of Righteousness shine forth! Remove our darkness; in thy light let us see light; then will our glad voices ring indeed, when we shall see thee as thou art, and shall be like thee! We would not give up what little we do see of our Beloved for all the world, for though it be but a glimpse, it is, nevertheless, a vision so blessed that it enables us to wait patiently until we shall see “the king in his beauty, and the land that is very far off.”

    Being once surrounded by a dense mist on the Styhead Pass in the Lake District, we felt ourselves to be transported into a world of mystery where everything was swollen to a size and appearance more vast, more terrible than is usual on this sober planet. A little mountain tarn, scarcely larger than a farmer’s horse-pond, expanded into a great lake whose distant shores were leagues beyond the reach of out poor optics; and as we descended into the valley of Wastwater, the rocks rose on one side like the battlements of heaven, and the descent on the other hand looked like the dreadful lips of a yawning abyss; and yet when one looked back again in the morning’s clear light there was nothing very dangerous in the pathway, or terrible in the rocks. The road was a safe though sharp descent, devoid of terrors to ordinary mountain-climbers. In the distance through the fog the shepherd “stalks gigantic,” and his sheep are full-grown lions. Into such blunders do we fall in our life-pilgrimage; a little trouble in the distance is, through our mistiness, magnified into a crushing adversity. We see a lion in the way, although it is written that no ravenous beast shall go up thereon.

    A puny foe is swollen into a Goliath, and the river of death widens into a shoreless sea. Come, heavenly wind, and blow the mist away, and then the foe will be despised, and the bright shores On the other side the river will stand out clear in the light of faith! Men often mistake friends for foes because of the fog in which they walk.

    Mr. Jay tells us of one who saw a monster in the distance. He was greatly afraid, but having summoned courage enough to meet it, the monster turned out to be his own brother John. We frequently keep aloof from the best of people for want of knowing them: if we could see them as they are we should love them. The fog so marvelously magnifies faults and distorts peculiarities — we think men dragons if not devils in the distance, when a closer view assures us that they are saints and brethren. We all need to be cautioned against misjudging one another.

    If the world-fog operates upon Christians who are the children of light, it is little wonder if it has a far worse influence upon unconverted men. They wander in a day of gloom and of thick darkness, in a “darkness which may be felt.” Concerning them we may say that their mists shut out the sun. The mercy revealed in the gospel reaches not the sinner’s eyes; his doubts, his sins, his follies keep it away from him. We have full often held up Christ crucified before the sinner, but he could not see him. We have preached a full salvation to the guilty one, but he could not discern it. The beams of gospel light are obstructed by the dense mist of carnality in which the sinner lives. Alas for the ungodly! their state is one of such darkness that they lose their way. In the firm belief that they are traveling to heaven, they choose the path which leadeth to destruction. They go gaily on, dreaming that they shall reach the rest which remaineth for the people of God, but ‘they stumble to fall for ever. False teaching, sinful inclination, prejudice and predilection, east a cloud over the sinner’s reason, so that he chooses his own damnation. Even when partially convinced of sin he betakes himself to his own self-righteousness and wanders like a blind man upon a vast plain, toiling hard to reach his destination but making no progress, for there is darkness over all his paths.

    It is likely that in such a state as this the sinner may be very near the home where there is rest to be had, and yet he may not know it: in a dense fog it is no unusual thing for a person to be standing before his own door, in total ignorance of his own whereabouts. The sinner has heard the gospel preached, but he does not know it as good news for him. He has been present when the Spirit of God has been moving over the entire assembly, but he did not feet its power. When a mother’s tears fell on his forehead he did not perceive that she was God’s angel of mercy to him. When, afterwards, affliction came and he was laid on the bed of sickness to meditate, he did not know that God had designs of love towards him in bringing him low. Oh, that the Spirit of God would dispel these souldestroying clouds, and make the sinner see that the knocker of mercy’s gate is near his hand, and that if he do but knock the door will surely be opened, and he shall enter in to be housed, to be welcomed, to be feasted, to be blessed for ever!

    This darkness, if it continue always, will lure the sinner on to his own destruction. It makes him wretched now, for to walk in spiritual darkness is misery indeed. Our London fog finds its way through your clothing, your flesh, and your bones, right into your very marrow, there is hardly anything more cold and penetrating, and the sinner’s life is very like it; he tries to keep out the feeling of despondency and fear and apprehension, by a thousand inventions which the world calls pleasure, but he cannot do it. He is “without God,” and he is therefore without hope; he is without Christ, and he is consequently without rest. He is well-pictured by those poor shivering, half-clad, hungry creatures whom we see in a foggy night hurrying on to get a cold seat on the workhouse doorstep. The worst of all is, that the sinner is hastening to his own destruction. He little knows what is before him. His last step was on the firm earth, but his foot now hangs over the jaws of perdition. Beware, O man, whom we seem to see in yonder fog on the brink of a precipice! Beware! for when that fatal plunge is once taken, remonstrance’s from friends and remorse from self will be all in vain!

    To change our line of thought. Is there not a darkness which God sends on men, — not moral darkness, for “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all,” but the gloom of adversity and affliction? The believer may be in thick darkness as to his circumstances and as to his soups enjoyment of the comforts of religion. Some Christians are favored with constant sunlight, but others like nightingales, sing God’s praises best in the night. How dense is this fog just now! Well, what about it? We do not recollect ever thanking God in family prayer for the light of the sun, but we will to-night right heartily. It may be that we should never value the sun, if he did not sometimes hide himself behind a cloud. How thankful is the Christian for peace of mind, when doubts and fears are gone! How grateful to God for prosperity when adverse days are over!

    As one sees the lamps all lit, it strikes us that the darkness makes us value the means. On foggy nights every twopenny link boy is a jewel. He is of no use in the day; we drive the urchin away; but when it is very thick and foggy, we are glad to see the blaze of his torch. When we are high and lifted up, and are marching on joyously, we are apt to despise the means; but when we are troubled the throne of grace, the prayer-meeting, and the preaching of God’s Word are highly prized. Certain professors, who cannot hear anybody except their favorite minister, would be glad of consolation from any lip, if soul trouble should overtake them. The candles of the promise stand us in good stead when we walk in the shades of sorrow, and the Word becomes a lamp unto our feet, and a light unto our paths.

    When we are seeking our home in a fog, how we prize company. When you do not know where you are going, and have only half an idea that you are steering right, how cheerfully you make a friend of any poor laboring man who is going your way! If it be a rough-looking navvy, it does not matter, he is in the same distress, and you salute him. There is a close kinship in trouble. There are no gentlemen on board sinking ships: every man then is taken for what he is practically worth. When Christians are in the darkness of affliction, it is delightful to observe how “they that fear the Lord speak often one to another.” Some poor old woman who knows the things of God by experience, becomes of more value to you in your hour of grief than the dainty gentleman whose company bewitched you aforetime.

    We have harped long enough on this string, but we must strike it once more. When it is dark and misty abroad, the traveler longs the more earnestly to reach his home; and it is one of the blessings of our heavy crosses, our sicknesses, and our troubles, that they set us longing for heaven. When everything goes well with us, we exclaim, like Peter, “Lord, let us build three tabernacles, for it is good to be here.” But the mists cover Tabor’s brow, and we fear as we enter into the cloud, and long to be away where glooms can never come. After a long journey along a dismal, dreary, beclouded road, how delightful will it be when our Father shall shut to the door of his house above, and shut out every particle of darkness and sorrow for ever and ever.

    Thus far we have thought of the believer’s trials; but those who are not saved may yet be caught in a fog of trouble. We think we can see a lost one as we look into the haze around us. Yes — here is the picture. Up till lately he has always prospered. He was considered by all about him to be a knowing man; he knew “what’s what,” as the world says: he felt but little uneasiness of conscience or trouble of mind. All at once he has come into a state of doubt and distress. He is enveloped in a fog: he does not know which way to turn, he is non-plussed; he guided others, he wants a guide himself now, but dares not trust any man. All the old accustomed landmarks are gone from sight; whether to go this way or that he cannot tell.

    His health fails; he is depressed in spirits and feels broken down. A mighty one has taken the old lion by his beard, a mysterious influence has cowed the valor of the boaster. Man in the mist we salute you, and are glad that you are where you are! Do not think that we rejoice in your sorrow for its own sake, but we hail it for its after consequences. We are rejoiced that your wisdom is turned to folly, for God’s wisdom will now be displayed!

    Now you are beginning to feel uneasiness in the world we are greatly in hope that you will give it up, and seek your lasting good elsewhere. O man in the mist I you have come to a dead stop; prudence has cried, “Halt?

    While you are thus perplexed, we pray that you may prayerfully consider your ways. You have been in a bad way up till now; for that road is always bad in which God is forgotten and Jesus slighted! You have had troubles and sicknesses, these have been mercy’s fog-signals laid down on your road, and they have startled you with their explosion; but you have gone on, and on, until you dare not proceed further, for you cannot see an inch on either side. Stop, poor friend, and listen to the voice of one who careth for the sons of men, “He that believeth on the Lord Jesus Christ shall be saved, but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God.” When a ship is enveloped in fog, what can she do better than cast her anchor? But you have no anchor, for you are without hope in Christ. God give you of his grace to receive the hope most sure and steadfast, and then your vessel shall ride at anchor and fear no ill.

    MANY a man may see his portrait here! The spendthrift hacks away his estate and falls into destitution and disgrace. The drunkard cuts at his health and strength, his family comfort and household peace, and when he has finished his mad work, he drops into ruin, through his own folly. The man of low, debauched habits, is chopping, with fearful effect, at his own body and soul, and will, ere long, rue the lusts which hurl him into disease, agony, and death. There are other fools beside the man in the woodcut, who are lopping oft the branch which holds them up. It is base ingratitude when men are malicious and cruel to those who are their best friends.

    Wives and parents often have to feel sharp cuts from those whom they lovingly support and are anxious to preserve from min. Shame that it should be so!

    Self-righteous reader, you are ready to join with us in any censure which we may pass upon the madness of the sins we have just hinted at; but permit us to ask you, whether you yourself are not photographed in our picture? You are resting upon the bough of good works, and yet, every day, your faults, imperfections, and sins are rendering it less and less able to bear your weight. It never was a firm support, and if you know yourself, and are candid enough to confess your shortcomings, you will at once perceive that it has become, in the judgment of conscience, a very frail dependence, quite unworthy of your confidence. Had you never sinned, and, consequently, never made one gash in the bough, we might tolerate your trusting to it; but since you have cut at it again and again, and it is ready even now to snap beneath you, we pray you leave it for a surer resting-place. All reliance on self in any form or shape is gross folly.

    Feelings works, prayers, alms giving, religious observances, are all too feeble to support a sinful soul. “Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid — Jesus Christ the righteous.” “Whosoever believeth in him is not condemned.” “He is able also to save them to the uttermost who come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.”

    Trust Jesus and he will never fail you.

    ROWLAND HILL illustrated the folly of sinners by the story of a butcher who was followed by the swine right into the slaughterhouse. As pigs are not usually in the mind to go where they are wanted, it seemed a mystery how these animals were so eager to follow their executioner; but when it was seen that he wisely carried a bag of peas and beans with which he enticed the creatures onward, the riddle was solved at once. Unsuspicious of impending death the hogs cared only for the passing gratification of their appetites, and hastened to the slaughter — and in the same manner ungodly men follow the great enemy of souls down through the jaws of hell, merely because their depraved passions are pleased with the lusts of the flesh and the pleasures of sin which the devil gives them by handfuls on the road.

    Alas, that there should be such likeness between men and swine!

    The joys of sin are so short and so unsatisfactory, that they can never be thought of for a moment as a fitting inducement for a rational being to lose his immortal soul. Will a few hours foolery, gambling, drinking, or wantoning, compensate for eternal fire? Is the momentary indulgence of a base passion worth the endurance of flames which never can be quenched?

    To moan in vain for a drop of water! to be tormented by the never dying worm! to be shut out from hope for ever! to be eternally cursed of God! Is any sin worth all this? Can any gain make up for this? O ye who delight in the poisonous sweets of sin, remember that though pleasant in the mouth for the moment, sin will be as wormwood and gall in your bowels for ever.

    Why will ye swallow the bait when you know that the hook is there? Why will ye be lured by the Satanic fowler? Surely in vain is the net spread in the sight of any bird; but you are more foolish than the birds and fly into the snare when you know it to be there. O that ye were wise, and would consider your latter end. Let that one word Eternity ring in your ears and drive out the giddy laughter of worldlings who prefer the present joys of sense. “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life by Jesus Christ.” Jesus receiveth sinners. Go to him and he will in no wise cast you out.”

    MR. SPURGEON AND THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND IN SEVERAL of the writers who have endeavored to reply to our strictures upon the enormities of the Church of England, have, in tones of mimic sorrow worthy of the first tragedians, lamented our sad fall from our former liberal, and catholic spirit. If their griefs were not something, worse than hypocritical, we would let them open the safety-valves of their hearts, and weep over us till their paroxysm of brotherly lamentation had subsided: but they know right well, and the world knows too, that love for themselves and chagrin at the exposure of their falsehoods have far more to do with their pretended regrets than any love for us. We know the difference between real tears of sorrow and the drops which glisten in the eyes of crocodiles. Nothing would give the most of our opponents greater joy than to hear that we had been left of God to disgrace our profession: whenever they can find some little blunder they magnify it and report-it far and wide; and falsehoods they manufacture against us by the gross; and yet all the while they wet their cheeks with artificial tears and drivel out resets as if we were the dearest darling of their love. For their sakes, that they may have a good excuse for changing their tune, and attacking us from another quarter, we reproduce certain of our utterances in the “Baptist Magazine.” for the year 1861, which may possibly convince them that their tears will be better spent upon themselves than upon us; for we are not so changeable and fickle as they dream.

    We commend our words of four years ago to certain honorable men among our opponents who have through, ignorance brought the same accusation against us, and we hope that they will not all call us a “masked battery”. If we had changed, we do not see that it would be to our disgrace to have grown wiser or bolder. A man may do at one period of his life what he did not feel called upon to do at another, and yet he may not be guilty of vacillation. There is a time for gathering stones and a time for casting them abroad, a time for war and a. time for. peace. We preach the gospel as much and as earnestly as ever, and if we give. more frequent warning against the equivocations of religious. teachers, it is only because we feel more deeply than ever the need of truth in the life, as well as on the lip, of the minister.

    It has been affirmed, without the slightest foundation, that Churchmen assisted very materially in building the Tabernacle, and that we have in a manner broken faith with them. Church people may have given as others did to our public collections, but these must have been few and far between; and, although one or two conforming friends subscribed distinct sums, the amount was inconsiderable, and was given unconditionally and without pressure. Certain laymen who attend episcopalian places of worship have been, and are still, our warm friends, and rejoice greatly that we have stirred the waters of Baptismal Regeneration; but we never made, nor were expected to make, any compact with them as to what we should preach or not preach. No sane person ever subscribed a farthing to our cause under the idea that we were to be bought or bribed. We never asked help on such a condition, and should have scorned to take it. This is only one among many calumnies, and we rejoice that. we can so easily refute, it.

    Had any Christians, belonging to community, offered us assistance in our work, we should gladly have received it, and should never have dreamed that they meant thereby to fetter our future course, or to taunt us with accepting their proferred kindness. To all who helped us we are deeply grateful, whether Dissenters, or Church people; but our gratitude to men shall not make us unfaithful to God. We have labored for chapels, schools, societies, and charities belonging to all denominations, and still delight to do so, as we have it in our power; it was therefore no humiliation to us t? accept any man’s help; but, since the little received from Anglicans is making so loud a cry, it is a matter of congratulation to us that there is quite as little wool as in the case recorded in the fable. May the Lord whom we serve convince all true believers connected with the State Church of their inconsistency in remaining in it. May the godly clergy receive the gift of an awakened conscience, and then they will not be wrathful with those who rebuke them for their great sins, in remaining in the fellowship of a semi-popish Church, but will join with us in seeking to obey the commands of Jesus, as he has himself delivered them.

    The passages quoted are from our article on the “Nonconformists’ Burial Bill,” June, 1861. They show clearly that we have long felt what we have of late expressed, and that our heaviness of soul, when at last we were constrained to speak out, was no result of hasty passion or caprice. Our love to the good men in the Church is not less now than it was then, but we cannot longer spare them, for their equivocation, not to say falsehood, is ruining souls, and turning this nation to Popery and infidelity. “The political leaders of the Established Church have evidently lost their reason. Proven by the public census to be but a minority of the nation, the Episcopalian sect can only retain its favored position by the affection or the forbearance of the majority. Affection has become almost impossible. The notorious heresies within her bosom are going very far towards the ejection of the Episcopalian body from the 1st of Churches of Christ; and were it not for the noble few who maintain inviolate the holy faith of the Reformers, this fearful consummation would long ago have been reached.

    Towards the Evangelicals of the Establishment we cherish the most loving feelings; we blush for their inconsistency in remaining in communion with Papists and Infidels (these are plain names for Puseyites and Essayists), but we heartily rejoice in their vigorous protests and earnest testimonies against the errors of their denomination. In our very hearts we feel the sincerest affection for our brethren in Christ, who are the salt of Episcopacy and the lights of their dark Church. It is for their sake that many of us have handled too gently a sinful and corrupt corporation. We have feared to offend against the congregation of God’s people, and therefore we have kept back our hand from the ax, which we fear it was our duty to have laid to the root of the tree. The earnest ministry and eminent piety of many of our Episcopalian brethren have been a wall of fire around their camp; and many a Dissenting Christian has concealed his detestation of abuses lest he should provoke his brother to anger, or grieve one of the Lord’s anointed. Let not the wantonly perverse and cruel Church- fanatic Ion expect to find water in this well; the day is near when our affection for the good shall prove itself not by a womanly sparing of the evil, but by a manly declaration of war against error, its adherents, and all who give it fellowship. “As to forbearance, this, from the force of Christian charity, will endure many and serious trials; while the natural conservatism of the English people will aid their patience, until longsuffering expires under repeated injuries. This is not the age in which godly men fight for the wording of a sentence, Or dispute concerning mere forms of ecclesiastical government- We are disposed to be lenient to all; and the prestige of the dominant church ensures especial immunity for its mistakes.

    Among those who mourn over the solemn iniquities of the Establishment, there are a large number who would not see her despoiled. “She is our sister,” say they, “let us not see her shame; we, too, have our own failings, let us not be too severe.” The day of judgment shall declare how often the Dissenters of England have silently endured supercilious behavior in a clergyman when we would have resented it in another; how frequently we have winked at priestly assumption and sacerdotal impudence, because we would not seem to be uncharitable; and how constantly we have borne, in humble patience, the oppression of parish popes and priest-loving squires, rather than disturb the quiet of Christian spirits. “What other Protestant Church has been so lordly among the poor, so exclusive in her educational charities, so systematic in her denial of all ministry beside her own, so stubborn in the fast closing of her pulpits to all other believers? It is a miracle, indeed, that the grace of God has enabled her sister Churches to acknowledge her as one of the family, despite her domineering character. This high and haughty carriage is not to be excused, and it is not blindness to the sin, but love to the cause of Christ, which has constrained other Protestants to tolerate the impertinent wickedness. “To Churchmen who are not so obtusely exclusive as to have become irrationally bigoted, we would say in honest remonstrance, What right has your sect to be patronized by the State in preference to all others? Do you not perceive that the power which has made you the State-Church can unmake you, and withdraw its golden sanctions? Your Church was originally fashioned by despotic will, and elected to supremacy by an arbitrary power; but there are no despots now to whom you can look, no irresponsible conclaves on whom you can rely. The people of England are free to cast you off to-morrow if they see fit. Shake off the delusion that you are never to be moved. Monarchical institutions are endeared to Englishmen by the wise concessions which the throne has so cheerfully made; do you not perceive that your strength also must be sought, not in a haughty rejection of all our demands, but in generous conciliation’s which shall ensure our esteem? When the throne presumed upon a fancied right divine, it reeled beneath the weight of its own folly, but since it has conceded the claims of justice, it has become firm as the ancient mountains, and like some mighty vessel it rides the waves in peace, having grappled for its anchorage the heart-love of every Briton. Will you follow another course, because you imagine you are strong enough to play the despot? In the name of reason and religion, be not so foolish. For your own sakes be wise in time, and bethink you of the maxim of him whom you profess to serve, and do unto others as ye would that they should do to you. Treat your brethren as you would wish them to deal with you, if they were supreme in the State, and you were unfavored and unendowed. Remember that your position requires the free Churches to exercise great forbearance towards you; do not. increase the tax. upon their, patience by supercilious behavior. They consider that your alliance with the State is a spiritual fornication, wholly unworthy of the honorable virgins who wait in the Lord’s palace. They lament your unchastity to the only Head of the Church, but they would not cast you out of the family; they weep over your sin, and hope that you may yet repent and forsake it. It ill becomes you to boast over your poorer sisters because you are richly adorned with the jewels and rings which your earthly alliance has procured you, ornaments, let us remind you, which your sisters would scorn to wear, if offered them to-morrow, for they regard them as loathsome badges of degradation, and shameful tokens of apostacy from the simplicity of Christ.

    Do not let that unhallowed union, which is both your weakness and your shame, excite you to a proud and boastful spirit. Walk humbly with your God, and kindly towards your neighbor. Or, mark the word (for it is a true and kind heart which writes it, not in bitterness and wrath, but in full and reverent charity), if you will, as a Church, lord it over us, and make our yoke heavy, your end is near to come, and your judgment will not tarry.

    Justice may in her magnanimity endure much insult, but repeated wrongs shall awake the lion spirit, and woe unto the oppressor in that day. We have been silent, and are willing to be silent still, but do not provoke the whole body of Dissenters to rise upon you; do not compel the spiritual Nonconformist to become political; do not extort our cries; do not wring lamentation from our patient hearts, or you shall know that we can cry aloud, and spare not. You shall rue the day in which oppression unloosed our tongues. We will expose your abuses to the very children in the street; we will teach the peasant at the plough to loathe the inconsistencies of your prayer-book, and the pauper on the road shall know the history of your ferocious persecutions in days of yore. We will collect statistics of your ministers, and let our citizens know how manor or how few are Evangelicals; we will demand scriptural proof for Confirmation and for Priestly Absolution; and we will never again permit the nation to subside into the apathy so favorable to proud pretensions. We court not the struggle, but we are ready for it if you are ambitious for the combat. We know your unhealed and unmollified wounds, and our blows will tell upon your putrefying sores. Our armory is filled with arrows leathered with your follies and barbed with your backslidings. Provoke not the fray. Let other counsels sway you; be content sorrowfully to reform within your own borders, and cheerfully to make concessions wherever a Christian spirit would suggest them; so shall a true evangelical alliance cover the land, and, unmolested, your Church may increase in influence, and advance in purity, to the heart’s joy of those who are now compelled by stern duty solemnly to upbraid you.”

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