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he ministry, mnight never have noticed hiin, he is in the ut. most danger, not only from the want of religion, but of a proper knowledge of himself and of the world, of being betrayed iuto unseemly behaviour.
Nor is this all. Whatever may have been his previous stauion, being a minister, his duty requires him to converse with young persons of both sexes, of the lower as well as the higher orders, ou religious subjects. Such conversations, if condueted in a manner becoming the Christian ministry, are of great use ; but this also is a door, at which Temptation many enter. If he forget the sacredness of his character, - if the confidence which is placed in hiin be employed in gaining ! an improper ascendency over unsuspecting innocence, if his conversations with the other sex be private and frequent, I will not say let him beware, - but rather let them beware of him! l'amiliarities may originate in Christianity, and yet terminate in infamy: '1'imothy, though a man of God,' was cautioned to treat the younger sisters with all purity *.' It vas a rule with the great and excellent John Bunyan, to avoid s much as possible, being with one of the other sex alone, hunniog not only evil, but the appearance of evil.”
One great preservative against'evils of this kind is, a diligent application to reading and study. It was in an idle hour that David was overcome; and out of those ministers who have in his way dishonoured the name of Christ, the far greater part will be found to be idlers, or persons who have been in the habit os spending the greater part of the week in visiting -- not as the 1 spostie did, who taught from house to house,'—but sauntering 1. way their time in eating, drinking, and trifling conversation.
li may be said, “ All ministers have not a capacity for close 1 und eubstant application ;' but it so, they ought either to requish the ministry, or to fill up their timne in some useful employment.
But the greatest of all preservatives is walking with God. li we be in the fear of the Lord all the day long, le safe, and not else. This is of more account than a thousand roles.
Without this, we had better be any thing than cristers. Is there no reason to fear that many of those who have indulged in impure practices are ungodly men! Such pe know they were of old, who turned the grace of God into i civiousness. They who walked after the flesh in the lust M uncleavness,' are denominated cursed Children; and though me good men may for a time have been drawn into such pils, yet, surely, they must have been strangely lost to all at sense of religion ere they could give way to them. Open es are commonly preceded by secret departures from God;
• 1 Tim, y. 2.
whom they left behind, either the nature of the passage, or their manner of existence in the invisible state, Who can take a view of this change, or admit the thought of being launched into the eternal state, into the presence of the great God, and myriads of unembodied spirits, without dismay?
But what is it that makes the grave so frightful; that clothes the presence of God in such terrible inajesty: What is there in that state which follows death, to awaken such painful apprehensions in the minds of reflecting men: Has superstition imposed on their imaginations, and deceived them into the belief of objects that do not exist? Has it clothed these objects in an awful garb, for the purpose of maintaining its Teign over the credulous of mankind? No; the common feelings and universal fear of mankind forebode something else, and amount to conclusive proof, that there is truth in what the Scriptures reveal, and the Christian believes.
Death is an oluject of terror to man, as it is the fruit of sin, Even good men, unless they are raised above fear, by that triumphant hope which enters into that within the veil, cannot divest themselves of fear in the prospect of death, or on its near approach. A consciousness of guilt paints death in all its terrors; and in proportion as the mind is affected with 2 sense of guilt, it will be affected with a view of those awful Tealities which follow death. The sting, the bitterness of death, is sin. What nan is there whose life is so perfect as not, on the sligitest review of it, to feel the mosi painful remiorse ? - and who, without trembling and tear, can abide the thought of undergoing an impartial serntny by the Searcher of Hearts? If thou shouldst mark iniquity, who, O Lord, could stand' To have many and heinous transgressions brought to remembrance, - to feel conscience condemning for these, without any sense, or any hope, of an interest in the peace-speaking blood of Jesus, and to be in such circumstances when languishing on the bed of death, about to be launched into the eternal world, and into the presence of the great God, who is armed with power to destroy the workers of iniquity, is a condition of inind in which deaili must appear in the most frightful forin. All the anguish of mind which the idea of pain in dying may occasion, or which may arise from the reHection of leaving behind what is dearly beloved, is entirely swallowed up by that agony and fear, that horrible ay tation of mind, into which a sense of guilt must throw the awakened. sinuer on the approach of death. That he will cease to be, is an idea which, from the common feelings and desires oli human nature, he is prevented from imposing on himself, particularly at a time when he feels every power and every sense of his decaying frame making efforts to prolong its exista ence. To be miserable when he dics, is what bis conscience
forebodes. A future judgment and an eternal state, disclose awful prospects to the mind, already miserable by self-con
demnation; and those prospects become more awful when the icloud of divine wrath is seen to rest upon thein, and nothing
meeis the eye but lasting and uninterrupted misery. All that the world can bestow, - all that has been enjoyed in it, all the consolation which philosophy can afford, or the hopes which infidelity can inspire, are not able to strip Death of the horrible form in which he appears to those wiso are labouring under a sense of sin, and languishing under the most painful forebodings of future punishment. Death presents itself as a most terrible object to the conscience of an awakened sinner, as he treads on the confines of the eternal state; and, especially when he reinembers that to death man is subjected, in virtue of a divine sentence condemning to it, because of transgression.
From the fear of death, and from those evils which are supposed to attend it, there is no deliverance but through an interest in the Son of God, who, through death, destroyed hiin
ihat had the power of it, and who is rercaled to us as theResur!rection and the Life. • Acquaint now thyself with him, and
lje at peace, thereby good shall come unto thee. He that believeth on me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.'
ADVICE TO A YOUNG MINISTER.
To the Editor, The following Letter having been sent to me by a Senior Minister, 1 thought the contenis, though on a delicate subject, might be useful to others. If you think it suitable for the Evangelical Magazine, it is at jour service.
A Young MINISTER. My dear young friend,
You have lately put on the harness of the Christian ministry. Aierey and Truth be with you! Permit one that is not far from putting it off, to offer a few serious and affectionate counsels, relative to the purity of your conluct. The Damber of scandals which have taken place within the last few Pears, in different religious connections, especially those which have arisen tioun the misconduct of ministers, is truly affecting. I do not know that such things have occurred in a larger proportion among ruinisters, than among other professors or Christianity, and still less than among irreligious characters; batas inore is expected of Christians than of other men, and of ministers than of other Christians, a more than ordinary account is made of their miscarriages. It is of such things as these that our Saviour speaks in
Matt. xviii. 7, 'Wo' unto the world, because of offences! It must needs bé that offences come; but wo to that man by whom the offence cometh! If you examine this iinpressive passage, you will perceive that the term offence does not relate to any thing done by the world, but by the professed friends of Christ; and that not in the way of provoking displeasure, but of giving men occasion to stumble, or be offended with the gospel.
The word is cxardárov, and denotes a scandal brought upon Christ's name by the misconduct of his professed followers, which furnishes a handle to the world to continue in sin, and to reject the Saviour. The world is supposed to be seeking occasion to justify themselves in sin; and in the scandals among professing Christians, they find what they seek. It is thus that scandals among Christians are a woe to the world : they are so inany stumbling-blocks, over which they fall and perish!
But if there be a woe upon the world by reason of scandals, there is a heavier woe on that man by whom the scandal cometh! The reason manifestly is, thắt l:e incurs the blood of souls. The world may stumble at these things, and perish; but if our evil conduct has been the occasion of it, their blood will be required at our hands! They have only their own sins to answer for; but we, except we repent and obtain mercy through Jesus Christ, shall have both our own and theirs; or rather, theirs will so belong to us, as to be a part of our own.
Allow me, my dear young friend, to caution you against certain avenues which lead to these things, especially in the case of ministers; and to suggest a few preservatives against them. A minister must be supposed to possess the respect, esteem, and confidence of his people. Whether they be persons of interior vr superior condition, of his own or of the other sex, lie is admitted to a friendly acquaintance with them. Were it otherwise, he could have but liule hope of doing thein good; vet at this door Temptation may enter. If, instead of applying the esteem and confidence with which he is treated to their proper uses, he be filled with a notion of his OW! importance, he will soon cease to deserve them. Where self-importance prevails, there is but little, if any, religion; and it ibis be wanting, the worst of evils may be expected to follow*. There may be the greater danger of such a process, if he has been called to the ministry from the lower walks of life, so as not to have been formed at an early period to habits of delicacy, hoaour, and propriety. Being raised in the scale of society, he may be tempted to think himself an extraordinary man, or he would not bave been selected and exalted to what he is; and finding himself caressed, it may be, by persons of respectability, of both sexes, who, but for his being in
* See 2 Pet. ii. 18, 19.
he ministry, inight never have noticed him, he is in the utmost danger, not only from the want of religion, but of a proper knowledge of hiuselt' and of the world, of being betrayed into unseemly behaviour.
Nor is this all. Whatever may have been his previous stacion, being a minister, his duty requires him to converse with young persons of both sexes, of the lower as well as the higher orders, ou religious subjects. Such conversations, if condueted in a manner becoming the Christian ministry, are of great use ; but this also is a door, at which Temptation many enter. If he forget the sacredness of his character, if the confidence which is placed in him be employed in gaining, an improper ascendency over unsuspecting innocence, if his conversations with the other sex be private and frequent, I will not say let him beware, - but rather let them beware of hin! l'amiliarities may originate in Christianity, and yet terminate ia infamy. 'l'imothy, though' il man of God,' was cautioned to treat the younger sisters with all purity *' it 4.7is a rule with the great and excellent Jobn Bunyan, to avoid as much as possible, being with one of the other sex alone, shunning not only evil, but the appearance of evil.'
One great preservative against evils of this kind is, a diligent application to reading and study. It was in an idle hour that David was overcome; and out of those ministers who have in this way dishonoured the naine of Christ, the far greater part will be found to be idlers, or persons who have been in the habit of spending the greater part of the week in visiting, -not as the apostle did, who taught from house to house,'--but sauntering away their time in eating, drinking, and trifling conversation. li may be said, “ All ministers have not a capacity for close and constant application ;' but if so, they ought either to relinquish the ministry, or to fill up their time in some useful employment.
But the greatest of all preservatives is walking with God. If we be in the fear of the Lord all the day long,' be safe, and not else. This is of more account than a thousand rules. Without this, we had better be any thing than inimsters. Is there no reason to fear that many of those who have indulged in impure practices are ungodly men ? Such we know they were of old, who turned the grace of God into lasciviousness. They who walked after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness,' are denominated cursed Children; and though some good men may for a time have been drawn into such evils, yet, surely, they must have been strangely lost to all just sense of religion ere they could give way to them. Open talls are commoule preceded by secret departures from God;
• 1 Tim, y. 2.