Robert Smith.

The Friend : a religious and literary journal (Volume 16) online

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was hitherto preserved from such tbinas as
are senerally accounted evils among mankind.

After this, I was put to the study of the law,
under a counsellor in the ccm^try ; thereby lo
be initiated, with a desifrn to be entered after-
wards into oce of the Inns of Court, and to
make further progress, aiid finish there. But,
being much in the country, and the family
sober and reli£ious in their way, of the most
moderate sort of the Pres'oyteriaos. I bad again
the advantage of solitude and little company,
and that innocent : so that my mind returned
to its former state, and further search after
the Truth. And though I had, at times, some
youthful airs, yet, through secret grace, I was
preserved from gross evils, and gained respect
from all the faciily.

During my abode with this counsellor, I
was several times with him at Lottdon ; where,
by tbe fear of God, I w^s preserved frijm vice
and evil company, which much abounds in
that sreat and populous city, though not with-
out temptations : and some not otherwise to
be resisted, than by the secret influence of
Grace, which supercedes them ; though it
may not always be immediately apprehended
bv such as are preserved by iu And though
I was educated in the way of the national
chureh of Eoelaixl, yet I had no aversion to
any class professins the Christian name ; but,
occasionally, beard several sorts ; and yet did
not fully approve any sect in all things, as I
came to consider them closely.

Towards tbe latter end of tbe year 1687,
we came out of the country, and bad cham-
bers in the city of Carlisle. About this lime
I went dili>:eDlly to the public worship, espe-
cially to the Cathedral, at Carlisle : where,
in time of public prayer, we used all, (male



and female) as soon as that creed, called the
Apostles' Creed, began to be said, to turn our
faces towards the East ; and, when the word
Jesus was mentioned, we all, as one, bowed
and kneeled towards the altar-table, as (hey
call it ; where stood a couple of Common
Prayer books, in folio, one at each side of the
table, and over them, painted upon the wall,
J. H. S., siffnifying Jesus, Hominum Salvator;
Jesus, the Saviour of mankind. And as I was
frequently concerned to inquire more and
moie after the truth of religion, the manner
of our worship in the cathedral often put me
in uiind of the popish relitrion and ceremonies,
and made me conclude, that the way we were
in, retained abundance of the old relics; cur
prayers, postures, songs, organs, cringings
and shows, appearing to be little else than an
abridgment of the popish mass, and the pomp
and show attending it. And then I be^an to
be very uneasy with it ; and though I went
there a little lon;'er, yet I could not comply ,
with several of the ceremonies; which being
taken notice of, in a familiar conference with
an acquaintance of the same way, I asked a
little pleasantly, VVhat is that we worship to- ;
wards tlie East ? And why towards the altar,
mjre than any other place, at the saying of
the creed ? The person replied. Sure you are
not so ignorant as you wou'd make yourself
sei-m. The Scripture sailh, "At the name '
of Jesus every knee shall bow, of things in
heaven, and things in earth, and things under I
the earth." And again, " As the lightning j
cometh out of the East, and shineth even unto
the West, so shall also the coming of the Son
of Man be."

To the one I returned : If he shotild liter-
ally come from the Eist, in an outward sense: .
which, considering the state of the earth, its j
revolutions, and relation to the sun and other .
planets, cannot ba in the nature of things, ■
(that being West to one place which is East I
to another) yet that coming would not excuse '
our superstition, if not ididalry, in the mean |
time before he so come ; though I grant, if,
he should so come, and we see him, then, and .
not till then, may we lawfully and reasonably (
worship towards the place, or imaginary place, j
of his coming.

And as to bowing at the name of Jesus, I '
understand it to be in the nature of a predic- 1
tion, that in the fulness of time all powers in |
heaven and earth shall be subjected and ;
brought under the povver of Christ, as the j
next verse imports, which is explanatory of ^
the former, viz., that every tongue shall con- '
fess, that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glorv '
of God the Father. Agreeing also with what
the Lord Jesus himself sailh, ' All power is
given unto me in heaven and in earth.' And
therefore, this bowing towards a cypher of the '
words Jesus the Saviour, painted upon a wall,
whilst the heart and spirit of a man is not
subjected to the power of his grace, is but a
mocking of Christ, a relic of poperj-, and hath
some show of idolatry in it, from which I
thought all Protestants had been thoroughly
reformed.

This a little surprised my acquaintance at
first, coming from one in whom so little of
the work of religion appeared outwardly ; but



THE FRIEND. .,,

as I remained in the diversions of fencing, school, I had acquired some things by iraita-
dancing, music, and other recreations of the lion, tending Ihat way ; but as 1 came to put
like sort, little notice was further taken for a them in practice, by word or action, 1 found
; while. something in myself, at such times, suddenly

! After this, I happened to be at a christen- surprising me with a sense of the evil, and
ing, (as we called it.) of a relation's child ; on making me ashamed when alone; iliou



Online LibraryRobert SmithThe Friend : a religious and literary journal (Volume 16) → online text (page 42 of 154)