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THE HONOURABLE AND PIOUS
OF A TRUE PENITENT; EXEMPLIFIED IN THL CASE OF MRS. ELIZABETH JACKSON. BE FORE THE CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH, IN WILLIAMSTOWN, VERMONT ; AND THE BAPTIST CHURCH, IN SAID TOWN-JUNE 3, 1805.
FROM REV. MR. THOMPSON.
By request of some of my pious friends, who are cordially engaged for the promotion of religious truth, i state the following facts respecting Mrs. JACKSON ; and attest the truth of her Letter, including her confession, which she fent to the Elder and Baptist Church, where she received her baptism by immersion.
Mrs. JACKSON, with her husband, are persons of decent abilities, and approved piety ; they were both received into the Congregational Church, in Petersham, in Massachusetts ; they, a few years ago, removed to Williamstown, in the state of Vermont, where they have since lived ; and have supported a good and regular christian character. They have constantly attended divine worship, with their congregational brethren, when favoured with preaching ; but at other times, especially upon week days, have attended the ministration of the
Baptifts.--In the latter part of the past winter, and in the spring following, the people's attention was much excited in religious concerns, and preaching and corferences, were frequent—especially among the baptists. Mrs. JACKSON's mind becaine unusually affected and folemn. At their meeting for examinations and for baptisms, she gave evidence of great anxiety of mind, by sighs and tears. Upon being asked the cause of her great distress, she replied, “ I am troubled about baptism.”—It is to be noted, that she had been, more than a year before this, by the conversation of a baptist, much confufed in her mind, and almost persuaded to give up her infant baptism. The question was then put unto her, whether she did not feel it her privilege to go into the water, and be baptized ? Her reply was, that the did not, then. But by the expresfions of zeal and affection, or through the multiplicity of words, with which she was surrounded, fhe not only consented to the ordinance, but received it then, and was received in fellowship with the baptift brethren.
After being fenfible she had taken a wrong step, she requested a conference with them ; that the path of her duty might be made clear, and fearing left she should make bad worse, and thereby increase the injury the had done the cause of Christ. But, in conversation with them, she became more established, that duty called her to appear in the congregation of God's people, and exhibit her feelings and views of the nature of her past conduct. She freely presented to me the confession, and desired me to read it in public ; which was done upon the first sabbath of June, 1805.
If I can judge, in such cases, she gave good evidence of godly sincerity and brokenness of heart, whenever I had opportunity of conversation with her upon the subject. She is a person of an amiable mind, as to her natural temper ; and has a good understanding in the great truths of the gospel ; and is far from any enthusiasm or constitutional unsteadiness of mind--but appears, general, to deliberate well on whatever she does.
Williamstown, June 3, 1805.
REVEREND AND BELOVED,
I, ELIZABETH JACKSON, take this early opportunity to let you, my brethren and fifters of the baptist denomination, usually meeting on the East hill, (so called) know what I have done, and my reasons for thus doing.
AFTER I had received baptism, in your way, and on seeing my infant child, and calling to mind my covenant vows, in giving up myself to God, and to his Congregational Church in Petersham, and in giving up my children in baptism ; by each and ev. ery of these transactions, I put my own hand (in faith, I trust) to the holy feal of Baptism, which my parents first put upon me, in my infancy; and made that baptism my own, by the act of faith which I hope, God, by his gracious Spirit, gave me, a poor, undone finner, before I visibly covenanted with my God, and his holy people.
I SAY, reflecting upon what I had done when among you, my dear christian friends, I had no rest
por comfort, night nor day 'till I was brought to confess my finful folly; and loathe myself for my shameful departure from my God, and for the violation of his holy covenant, which I had trifled with and trampled upon.
When I had sorrowed and wept, with brokenness of heart, in secret; and had confessed my wicked departure from my God, by breaking his holy covenant before his people, among whom I love to worship, I found a sweet peace return to my foul, which had been a stranger to my breast, for weeks.
The Confession I' made public yesterday, I will now transcribe to you; and wish it may be read publicly among you. I ask your forgiveness. Oh! beloved, pray for me! who am less than the least of all God's mercies.
My Confeffion now follows: “ In my infancy I was dedicated to God, in baptism, by my parents : and when I had arrived to adult years, (as I humbly hope) I was brought to embrace that righteousness of faith in Christ Jesus, of which water baptisin is an outward seal; and profesling, publicly, this niy faith, and entering into covenant with God's people, I think I underftandingly took my infant baptism, and made it my own act; and thus acknowledged the same faith which
my parents did, and of which the baptism I had already received, and in my personal dedication renewed, was an outward feal.
“ But, afterwards, having some suggestions of. fered, as though what my parents had done could not answer my duty for myfelf; I was, for a time, considerably tried upon the subject.