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for this man. Micaiah, like a man of God, now looked the very monarch in the face, and said, 'Hear the word of the Lord!' It may be thought incredible that I only should be right, and four hundred prophets in the wrong: I will relate a vision that will perfectly account for it.
I beheld the Lord, the great disposer of all events, sitting upon his throne, surrounded by the host of heaven. Fully acquainted with the whole of thy ungodly life, and viewing thee as ripe for destruction, he determined to destroy thee: and seeing that in this instance, thou hast preferred flattery to truth, he has determined to destroy thee by means of flattery. Know then, Ahab! that hell and all its agents, delusion and all its instruments, are under his controul: they go and come at his bidding. That spirit to whom thou hast sold thyself to work wickedness in the sight of the Lord, now desires thee for his prey. He that has seduced thee into sin, now asks permission of God to deceive thy prophets, that he may plunge thee into destruction: and God has granted him his desire. And that which Satan is doing for his own ends, God will do for his. There is as much of the judicial hand of God in a lying spirit having misled thy prophets, as of readiness in the evil one to entangle, and seize thee as his prey.
ON SATAN'S TEMPTATIONS,
In answer to two queries by a Correspondent.
1. "Ought we to ascribe any part of our conduct, which is not absolutely sinful, to the agency of Satan?" There appears to have been nothing "absolutely sinful," in the conduct of the Corinthians towards the incestuous
person. On the contrary, they acted agreeably to an apostolic command, and discovered a commendable zeal for the honour of God, in excluding him from their fellowship. Yet the apostle is afraid, lest their zeal should carry them too far, and lead them to act imprudently. Hence he exhorts them to forgive, and comfort' the offender, and to confirm their love towards him, lest Satan should gain an advantage' against the interest of Christ, as well as against the party: 'for,' says he, we are not ignorant of his devices.' Now, that to which they are exhorted, respects the manifestation of their love to the offender, and not merely their being of a forgiving spirit, which the apostle supposes them to possess. Consequently, it was not malice, but imprudence, against which they are warned, and of which Satan might take advantage, to the prejudicing of men's minds against the gospel, as driving persons to despair. See 2 Cor. ii. 7-11.
2. "How are we to know in all cases, whether our actions be produced by the force of Satan's temptations, operating on the depravity of our will and affections; or whether those actions be the effects of our depravity merely, without Satanic influence?"
I freely confess, that I am unable to speak to this point in any case. Neither do I know what to ascribe to the Holy Spirit, or to holy angels, as being conscious of the influence of either. It is only the effect produced, of which I am conscious. I am taught in the scriptures to ascribe whatever is good, to the Holy Spirit. I am also taught in the scriptures, especially in the prophecies of Daniel, that holy angels have great influence on the minds even of princes; and consequently, on the great events of the world. But no one, I suppose, is conscious of any thing of the kind. We all know that the minds of men are influenced by thousands of causes without themselves. Man is a leaf shaken by every wind; the least accident may so affect him, as to give a turn to the most important concerns of his life. We also know, that no influence
from without us destroys our agency, or accountableness. If we were to take away a man's life, in order to obtain his property, we should not think of excusing ourselves by alleging, that we were influenced to do so by some person having told us that he was very rich.
I apprehend we are not so much to consider Satan as working immediately, as mediately. He is the god of this world;' the riches, pleasures, and honours of it, together with the examples of the wicked, are the means by which he ordinarily works upon the souls of men. The bird need not fear the fowler, if it avoids the snare; nor the fish the fisherman, if it do but shun the bait.
Respecting the occasion of the question, I beg leave to say, that the extraordinary exertions of the late excellent minister referred to, have in my judgment been noticed by some persons with undue severity. Had they properly attended to the account which Mr. PEARCE himself has given of this matter, every unfavourable idea would have vanished; and pity, blended with love and admiration, would have superseded every complaint. In the Memoirs of this dear man, p. 197, when writing, to an intimate friend, he thus expresses himself:-" Should my life be spared, I and my family, and all my connections, will stand indebted, under God, to you. Unsuspecting of danger myself, I believe I should have gone on with my exertions, till the grave had received me. Your attention sent the apothecary to me, and then first I learned, what I have since been encreasingly convinced of that I was rapidly destroying the vital principle. And the kind interest you have taken in my welfare ever since, has often drawn the grateful tear from my eye. May the God of heaven and earth reward your kindness to his unworthy servant, and save you from all the evils from which your distinguished friendship would have saved me."-To another of his friends he also declared very seriously, that "if ever he incurred guilt of this kind, it was through error of judgment, respecting the strength of his constitution, and that he adopted a system of precaution as soon as he apprehended danger."
It has also been insinuated by some, that his persuasion that he ought to be a missionary, must have been a delusion, as appeared from the result; for he did not go. But if this be just reasoning, it was delusion also in Mr. Grant; for he was taken away almost immediately after his arrival at the scene of action. The desire likewise of David to build a house for God, must have been altogether delusion; though we are assured it was taken well of Him, by whom actions are weighed. The truth is, there are but few men who are proper judges of such a character. We are most of us at so great a distance from his spirit, as to be in danger of thinking such extraordinary zeal to be a species of extravagance.
CONVERSATION IN HEAVEN.
Mr. PEARCE and Mr. GRANT.
[Pearce to himself.] What a world have I left-what a world have I found! There my poor debilitated frame long confined my spirit in a state of imprisonment: but now I am free. As the dissolution of my frail tabernacle approached, looking as through interstices, I caught some transient glimpses of heavenly glory. I saw enough to make me long to be there, and to be where Jesus is but oh, how small a portion did I know of him! Nay, how small a portion do I yet know of the heights, and depths, and breadths, and lengths of his love: it passeth knowledge! But this shall be my theme. It is enough that I am with him, and that he will feed me, and lead me to living fountains of water; and that God hath already
wiped away all tears from my eyes heaven? . . And am I here?
And is this
It was a true report that I heard of thee in the other world but the half was not told me. Happy are thy people; happy are these thy servants, that stand continually before thee! . .
While the blessed man was thus recounting what he had seen and heard, he was interrupted by a convoy of angels, introducing an inhabitant of the earth; and report said, that he came from the eastern part of it, a quarter from whence but few of late ages had arrived at these blessed abodes. They were observed to present their charge to Him who had the keys of hell and of death, by whom they had been sent. After this he was introduced to those who were to be his everlasting companions.
Pearce. What my brother Grant ! *
Grant. And is this my brother Pearce?
Pearce. It is but how is it that I see you here? Were you drowned, or slain by an enemy ?-Where are your companions? Do they live to serve our Saviour?
Grant. We were all safely landed, and my brethren are yet alive. I was taken away by a fever soon after my arrival.
Pearce. And did you see dear CAREY, and his companions?
Grant. No: I was denied that pleasure: but I heard of their welfare, and of their gladness on account of our arrival.
Pearce. How unsearchable are His judgments, and his ways past finding out!'
Grant. Is there no light to be communicated on these subjects here?
* Mr. Grant, one of the baptist missionaries, died on his arrival in India, soon after Mr. Pearce died at Birmingham, Oct. 10th, 1799. Mr. Fuller's great affection for Mr. Pearce, who was so ardently devoted to the missionary cause, induced him to touch on this delicate subject, too mysterious and too sacred to be proposed for imitation; nor would Mr. Fuller himself have entered upon it, but for the solicitation of a friend. ED.