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volent exertions, and to clog the wheels and oppose the progress of popular charitable institutions, instead of assisting and sharing in the common effort. These remarks, the author can truly assert, are not intended to allude pointedly to any particular institution which may have been the occasion of controversy, but to take a general range amongst all the projects of Christian benevolence. In almost every extensive parish, there are active and welldisposed individuals, attached both to the doctrines and the discipline of the church, who wait only for the signal of their recognized spiritual director to put in execution any plans of religious utility which he may prove to be worthy of their patronage. Let a clergyman place himself at the head of such men, and make them his instruments and coadjutors. Let him not wait to be solicited; but let it be his effort to think for his parish, and to acquire that legitimate power over their minds which results, not from high-sounding assertions of official authority, but from the superior wisdom of his counsels and the pre-eminence of his benevolent zeal - in addition, of course, to true piety and professional respectability of character. If a clergyman will not move in any project of utility till he is goaded on by opposition; if, for exexample, he will not, where it is practicable,
add a second service in the church till the Methodists have driven him into the measure by establishing a third service in their meeting, or institute a National School till the ground is pre-occupied by a Lancastrian one, he must lose much, both personally and professionally, in the eyes of his parishioners. His decisions will be imputed to indolence, indifference, partyspirit, or pride ; and even where he may not be destitute of conscientious reasons for his conduct, his arguments will probably be misunderstood, and his opposition to the benevolent schemes of his more zealous neighbours imputed to sinister motives. All this, where necessary—and it often may be necessary-a clergyman must be content to bear; for he would neither consult the interests of Christianity, nor those of his own church, by countenancing measures which he cannot conscientiously approve. But even in such cases, let his motives, as far as possible, be free from suspicion. If he cannot in conscience support any particular project, let him evidence that it is not for want of zeal or. disinterested benevolence, by employing himself diligently to effect the same laudable end in other ways, and by such a uniform tenor of conduct as may divest his neutrality or opposition, where he thinks it right to be neutral or opposed, of all
semblance of selfishness, party-spirit, or indifference to the spiritual welfare of his flock. And indeed, even in cases where a clergyman might have preferred some other measure to that which the zeal of his parishioners seems inclined to adopt, it may sometimes be the part of Christian wisdom and meekness, rather than cause a fatal spirit of disunion, to take the project into his own hands, with a view, while he secures its intended benefits, to avert or mitigate its prognosticated evils.
The important place which the offices of Christian charity hold among the duties of the clergy has been strongly insisted upon by most writers on the pastoral charge. “The parson," says Herbert,“ is full of charity : it is his predominant element....... When he riseth in the morning he bethinketh himself what good deeds he can do that day, and presently doth them; counting that day lost wherein he hath not exercised his charity.” This charity in a minister of Christ will of course interest itself more immediately and chiefly for the spiritual welfare and eternal interests of his flock; but, not restricted to these, it will range widely over every other province of Christian benevolence. Much may be done by a zealous and active clergyman even for the civil and physical welfare of a parish. It is true that his
office is strictly spiritual, and that he is not to allow his mind to become secularized, or to undertake employments which would sully the bright polish of his sacred character, or diminish his religious influence. And in this respect, both the clergy and their parishioners, whatever some of the latter may think, are greatly indebted to the fixed provision which is made by the laws of the country for the maintenance of the Christian priesthood, and which exempts the clergy from the distractions and temptations that arise from mercenary employments, and enables them if they are so disposedand so disposed they ought always to be-to devote themselves wholly to the public welfare. But benevolent exertions, even those which are not altogether of a religious kind, are often so congenial to religion, and have such a powerful tendency to conciliate the minds of men, and to make way for a yet higher species of benefit, that even deducting their immediate effects, which of themselves must be sufficient to warm the heart of every minister who has imbibed the beneficent spirit of his Divine Master, they would still deserve the earnest attention of the clergy, as tending to the honour of religion, and opening favourable channels for its spiritual influence upon mankind.
3. In this connexion it is requisite to mention
the importance of the spiritual guides of the people being well informed on all useful subjects. We have already considered the duty of a clergyman's amassing an adequate stock of strictly professional knowledge ; but he will not be in the best capacity for promoting the welfare of his parish, unless he add to this as respectable a portion of varied information as he can acquire without neglecting higher duties. It was not without reason that that unrivalled delineator of clerical accomplishments, the venerable Herbert, insisted so much upon “the parson's knowledge,” “ the parson's accessary knowledges," and " the
parson's completeness.” We may smile indeed at some of the particulars in his quaint enumeration; but who but must acknowledge the truth of his general position, that a clergyman should be “ full of all knowledge;" and feel the force of the argument on which he grounds it, that“ It is an ill mason that refuseth any stone; and there is no knowledge but in a skilful hand is serviceable, either positively as it is, or else to illustrate some other knowledge ?" We must never however forget, what the same author takes care so emphatically to add, that “ the chief and top of the parson's knowledge consists in the Book of books, the storehouse and magazine of life and comfort, the holy Scriptures. There he