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lar church, if her faith or her works should not be found perfect before God. The time shall never be, when a true church of God shall not be somewhere subsisting on the earth ; but any individual church, if she shall fall from her first love, may sink in ruins. Of this, history furnishes but too abundant proof in the examples of churches, once illustrious, planted by the Apostles, watered with the blood of the first saints and martyrs, which are now no more. Where are now the seven churches of Asia, whose praise is in the Apocalypse ? Where are those boasted seals of Paul's apostleship, the churches of Corinth and Philippi? Where are the churches of Jerusalem and Alexandria ?” « Let us not defraud ourselves of the benefit of the dreadful example, by the miserable subterfuge of a rash judgment upon others, and an invidious comparison of their deservings with our own. Let us not place a vain confidence in the purer worship, the better discipline, and the sounder faith which for two centuries and a half we have enjoyed. These things are not our merits: they are God's gifts; and the security we may derive from them will depend on the use we make of them. Let us not abate, let us rather add to, our zeal for the propagation of the Gospel in distant parts; but let us not forget, that we have duties nearer home.
Let us of the ministry give heed to ourselves and to our flocks: let us give an anxious and diligent heed to their spiritual concerns. Let us all, but let the younger clergy more especially, beware how they become secularized in the general cast and fashion of their lives. Let them not think it enough to maintain a certain frigid decency of character, abstaining from the gross scandal of open riot and criminal dissipation, but giving no farther attention to their spiritual duties than may be consistent with the pursuits and pleasures of the world." “ The time may come, sooner than we think, when it shall be said, Where is now the Church of England ? Let us betimes take warning. “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten,' said our Lord to the church of Laodicea, whose worst crime it was, that she was neither hot nor cold : · Be zealous, therefore, and repent.'"
iv. By cultivating the amiable graces of the
Christian character. An English nobleman more celebrated for wit than religion, passing a few days with the proverbially amiable Archbishop Fenelon, was so greatly delighted with the conversation and deportment of that venerable man, that he observed at parting, “ If I stay here any longer, I shall become a Christian in spite of myself.”
We may extract from this anecdote the useful moral, that few things conduce more to the increase of religion generally, or to the stability of any particular church, than the cultivation of the amiable graces of the Christian character on the part of the clergy. We have been considering the necessity of professional knowledge, sound doctrine, and spirituality of mind; but knowledge may be cold, and piety be made to wear a severe and repellent aspect; and they will thus lose much of their practical effect in exciting men either to love or to respect religion. But a kind and condescending deportment, the result not of mere natural suavity or artificial polish, but of the habitual presence of Christian principles in the mind, and of their balmy influence upon the heart, will, by the blessing of God, attract to religion many who would be repelled by that gloomy and forbidding exterior which does not really belong to her, but in which she is sometimes disguised by her professed yotaries.
A highly valued writer, whose numerous publications have done more to promote “ a spirit of devotion” than those of perhaps any other person now living-certainly of any other female author has often remarked to the writer of these pages that her first advice to her younger friends, on commencing a religious course of life,
especially under the unfavourable circumstance of misconception or opposition on the part of persons less disposed to serious reflection, is to cherish an amiable and a cheerful temper. Men, as before remarked, take their measures of Chris. tianity from its effects upon its professed disciples: and nothing tends more to discourage an incipient desire, especially in young persons, to cultivate a devotional spirit, than imagining an alliance
for certainly there is no necessary or scriptural connexion-between the qualifications which fit men for another world, and the crabbed tempers which often render them a nuisance in this. The genuine Christian, in proportion as he lives under the influence of his sacred profession, must be far removed from every unamiable and misanthropical affection. Drinking deeply at the fountain of Divine beneficence, and rejoicing in the love and favour of God, his very countenance should pourtray the holy serenity of his mind. He should evidence that though he does not “ love the world or the things of the world,” he has far brighter enjoyments and more satisfactory objects of regard. While therefore he reposes upon his Saviour as his “ sacrifice for sin,” he will also view him as his “ensample of godly life;" and, copying after such a model, will learn to be meek and lowly, gentle and unassuming. His conduct,
so far at least as it is consistent with his principles, will not be marked by pride or selfishness, by indifference or worldly policy, but will afford satisfactory evidence to all who come within the familiar range of his influence, that “ the peace of God which passeth all understanding,” reigns within his mind; that faith and hope shed their heavenly consolations around his path, and that they lead with them in choral symphony the kindred graces. of love
v. By their general zeal, charity, and knowledge.
These three virtues are essential in a clergyman; and without possessing some portion of each he cannot expect to be the instrument of promoting, in any considerable measure, the influence of religion, or of the church to which he belongs. The union of them, in connexion with the other Christian graces already mentioned, constitutes much of the perfection of the clerical character.
1. In reference to the vast importance of zeal in the clergy, the author cannot but call to mind the painful statement of Bishop Burnet, in what he calls his last testimony, or dying speech, at the close of the History of his own Times. “ Above all things,” remarks that conscientious prelate,“ raise within yourselves