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much as it finds fault with some ing heard by such persons, the things in your ministry. He who following consequence is, I think, knows my heart can bear me wit- very probable: viz. that from your ness, that I had at any time rather preaching many of them will form commend than censure.
Should I their ideas of that class of clergyutter, therefore, any thing that may men who stand distinguished from be unpleasant to you, do me the the rest of their profession by their justice to believe, that it was not zeal for the peculiar doctrines of without a great struggle with my- the Gospel. That such Clergymen self that I was brought to write it. are almost universally considered
It has pleased God to give you, as a distinct class of men in the my dear friend, a very extraordi- church, is beyond all doubt : but nary appointment; it being much many do not know, whether this more than having the cbarge of a distinction arise from circumstances single parish. By the resort of for which they themselves are not company from all parts of the king- accountable, (as their being faithful dom to
, you are in some to their engagements as ministers of measure the instructor of a whole the Church of England, while others country. There are few clergymen are not), or from some peculiarities, so situated. You have at different incompatible with what our Church times men of all classes and circum- requires of them : in short, whether stances before you; many of whom, they are the genuine ministers of by their rank, their office, or their the Church, or a heterodox sect talents, have it in their power to within it. By hearing you, howpromote or hinder that great cause ever, something like a settled opiin which you are engaged. For nion respecting them will be formed their own sakes, it is most ardently in the minds of many. You will be to be desired, that the design and considered as a specimen of the tendency of that Gospel you preach whole body. And from this conshould be clearly brought before clusion another effect is likely to them, disencumbered of every ad- follow : many a man who has the ventitious circumstance which the command of some door of usefulenemy of their souls might avail ness will be determined either to himself of to prejudice their minds admit or reject a minister of evanagainst it. But when it is consider- gelical principles, according to the ed that some of them have the light in which he views your nieans of acting with considerable preaching. How desirable, thereforce in the community, a fair ex- fore, is it, that if possible it should hibition of the truth to their minds approve itself to every man who becomes a matter of the highest hears it! I am aware, indeed, that consequence. In your congrega- this would be expecting too much. tion you sometimes have a bishop, After all the pains we may takes a nobleman, a member of the House numbers will disapprove: our very of Commons, a minister of
aim will be a sufficient ground of Jous parish, a magistrate, or a gen- objection with many, even thougle tleman who in his country seat is prosecuted in ever so unobjection, lord of the village. These persons able a manner. Nevertheless, there should be contemplated by you not is an apostolic rule given to us, by as solitary individuals, but as they which it is our duty to proceed, stand connected with the hundreds even with those whose approbation on whose conduct they exercise à there is scarcely a hope of obtaincommanding influence, and who ing—“ giving no offence in any may be benefited or injured by what thing, that the ministry be not they do.
blamed." Now among other things of mom I am far from intending to advise ment likely to result from your be you to be a pleaser of men. All T
and to pray
desire is, that there may be nothing is necessary to his salvation. The to object to in your ministry, but Christian Teacher should consider the purity of your doctrine, and the himself as an interpreter, when disfidelity with which you deliver it. pensing the word of God. He These, alas ! being sufficiently ob- should not content himself with jectionable to human nature, let using such terms as are understood there, if possible, be nothing else in by those who know as much as our ministry that is so,
himself'; he should endeavour to Now, my dear friend, permit me come down to the apprehensions of ho mention a few things in your those, who never heard the language serinons, which I think have a ten- of theologians, and cannot attach deacy to defeat the great intention any ideas to their terms. of them. In the first place, let me told that Mr. said you were observe, that though they contain: abstruse. And I myself think that ed many things admirably said, you must appear so to most of those and though every one I heard you gay beings who hear
: deliver gave me reason to thank many of whom, with all their acGod for your earnestnes and fide- complishments, know scarcely the dity; yet I cannot think you take first principles of Christianity. I sufficient pains in the composition would advise you to profit by the of them. They appear to me to be remark of Mr. very basty productions. Many of and strive for the attainment of that those which I heard wanted that desirable talent of accommodating orderly succession of ideas, calcu- both your subjeet and your lanlated to make a discourse more and guage to the state of those you have more convincing or impressive, as to instruct. the preacher proceeds with his sub- The sermon, the subjeet of which ject. I will refer you to the first seemed to me best adapted to the sermon I heard from you, as an bulk of your hearers, was that oninstance of the fault in question. “ consider your ways.” Like all And I beg you to review that com- the discourses I heard from you, it position, and to consider, whether was highly serious; but it had one the time spent in delivering it might quality which many of them want. Rot have been more advantageously ed-it was intelligible to all. And employed, had more pains been here I cannot but advise you to taken with it in the study. The deal much in such plain and popular sermon was on Jer. v. 24.
topics. Your congregation is to I have also thought that you were young in religious knowledge to ad not sufficiently attentive to that mit of your venturing at present far pecessáry part of the preacher's beyond such points as repentance, office-ibe endeavouring to make faith in Christ, the influence of the the great truths of the Gospel in- Spirit, holiness, the danger of sin, telligible to people who seldom the vanity of the world, Christian think or read on such subjects. tempers, prayer, vigilance, the There are certain points, in speak- frailty of life, the certainty of death, ing of which, we ought always to the security and happiness of a bear in mind the “ unlearned" in Christian life, and such obvious and the doctrine of Christ. Of these, we always necessary topics. In endeahave many in every congregation; vouring to make the ignorant un and that, not merely in the aislés, derstand, and the careless feel but also in the " chief seats.". The these subjects, you will find work man of education may be a bar- enough; and happy will you be if barian in theology; bnt he has a on these you labour with success. soul, and I should endeavour to With respect to your rich hear make him understand me, when ters, I may further observe, that it im pakine to bim of that which seems necessary to bear in mind.
not only their ignorance in religi- old,” that they may look into it, ous matters, but likewise that deli- that they may see "it is deep and cate and fastidious sensibility which large,” and take heed they fall not their education and habits of life iu. But to dwell much on hell-fire induce. They are indeed too easily in every sermon, seems not fully to wounded, and too averse to pain, to coincide with the designation of receive the full benetit of plain deal- one, whose office it is to “ preach ing. But such being their charac- peace by Jesus Christ.”. To set ter; and your business being not forth the tinal state of the angodly, merely to deliver the truth, but is undoubtedly one of the means of to procure its admission into their bringing men to God; but in occaminds, regard must be had to their sionally resorting to it, I am anxie actual condition and circumstances, ous that it should be accompanied Care must be taken, that what you with evident marks of tender feeling. enforce be not delivered in such a That no method of awakening the way, as may tend rather to shut secure may be left untried, I feel than to open the ear to instruction. myself compelled to speak of the We shall overact our part, if we as- damnation of siliners, and that not sert things which are more likely sparingly, but to dwell upon the to shock, than to convince our awful subject: but even then, when hearers. There was something said my principal aim has been to alarm on patriotism, and on literature, those who are in danger, I conceive in one of your sermons, which i it incumbent on me to shew, that felt to have this tendency. And I the awful representation has been thought at the time you made those made with a benevolent intention; observations, that you need not taking care withal so to conclude, have cohcerned yourself with such as to leave on the minds of my points. If mankind have their
hearers some considerations that judices on such subjects, we may encourage hope. well let them alone, till we have sub- It is of great importance that in a dued prejudices of a more danger- discourse on the end of the wicked, ous nature. We have in our mini- we shew nothing unfeeling, nothing sterial vocation enow of these to en- which indicates the indulgence of a counter. Let those which are least harsh or ferocious temper. “Sound hurtful be reserved for the conclu- speech” is not alone sufficient. On sion of the combat.
all subjects we should recollect, I admit that the morbid delicacy that we have two things to do; to of feeling in the affluent makes it convince, and to impress. A great very difficult to set before them the part of our business lies in endeafinal punishment of the impenitent. vouring to interest the heart
. Nor Yet, “knowing the terrors of the do I know any thing that has a Lord” ourselves, we must " per- greater tendency to produce such suade men," by setting those an effect, than an affectionate manterrors before such as are ner of conveying the truth. A zealposed to them. But surely, some ous mind, like yours, may
defeat its caution is necessary here; lest the end by a hardness of manner. To minister of the hope-inspiring Go- obviate this, there should be much spel of Jesus, look more like a de- prayer to God for a tender spirit; nunciator of judgment than a mes. a qualification which St. Paul, with senger of mercy. I make this ob- all bis energy of character, often servation with a peculiar view to discovered : yea, he could appeal your ministry; for you appeared to the Searcher of all hearts, that to me to err a little on this head, he felt it; “ God is my record," Sometimes indeed we must endea- said he to the Philippians,“ how your to lead our hearers to the edge greatly I long after you all in the of “ Tophet which is prepared of bowels of Jesus Christ.”
To produce the feelings we should tion, it should be regarded, as far endeavour to excite, I could wish, as it goes, as of great consequence that your sermons ended more with to him who desires to re-edify the kind and penetrating expostula-structure, and restore the service tions, drawn from your subject. for which it was erected. But the The application of your sermons manner in which some persons seemed likewise to want the spirit speak of good works is such, as not of invitation. There is something only to make no use of this sense of Fery attractive in a minister's con- moral obligation found in most elading with some such touch- men, but to weaken it. Egregious ing language as that which our mistake! To weaken that sense, Sariou used-Go to Him “all ye which it is the intention of all the that labour and are heavy laden, revelations God has made of His ud He will give you rest. Take will to establish, to strengthen, to His yoke mpon you: He is meek illuminate, and thereby to bring us sed lowly in heart: in Him ye shall to repentance toward God, and find rest to your souls." You will faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ! weet with some good specimens As a mere fragment only should both of expostulation and invita- this general sense of obligation be tion, in the eunclusions of Walker's regarded by the Christian teacher, Sermons on the Church Catechism. whose office it is to bring forward
Permit me to offer a few remarks the testimony of boly Scripture to o another important duty of our supply those great particulars that cathing. We should endeavour to are wanting. The inspired writers convince mankind of the utter in- will shew, what it is to be good mens sufficiency of their own works to the obligations we are under to be justify them in the sight of God. such ; the multiplied instances in But it is to be lamented, that'some which we have violated those obli. who aim at this point are charge- gations; the turpitude of those vios able with doing their business in lations; the need in which we such a manner, as defeats their de- thereby stand of mercy; the necess sign, by making it very generally sity of faith in the mediation of misunderstood. It should be our Christ for our justification, and of object to shew, that we are making the Holy Spirit's influence on our an attaek, not on the eternal obliga- hearts, to enable us to obey the tions of duty, but on the being sa law of God; a law, which being tistied with that partial and hypo. “ holy, just, and good," is of eter critical magner in which we dis- nal obligation. charge them. There is in the - Not so much as a suspicion of minds of men in general a convic- detracting from the necessity of tion, that they ought to be good obedience to the will of God, men. Now I conceive, that a Chris- should ever fall on him whose iian minister should be careful office it is to turn the “ hearts of hever to say any thing that has the the disobedient to the wisdom of least tendency to shake that funda- the just." 'But it is matter of fact, mental truth, so deeply engraven on that some, who are distinguished the human mind before the fall, as by their zeal in preaching saivation still to be found even in some of the by Jesus Christ, are not careful to most ignorant and careless. This preserve themselves from such a sentiment, a remaining trait of the suspicion. There is an unguarded Lad of God originally written on way of decrying works, and exalting the heart of man, affords something faith, which nourishes an Antinor for a minister of the Gospel to mian spirit in lax religionists, and work upon. Like the fragment of from which the minds of some ree an insoription found on a ruined flecting persons revoltas subvet temple, expressive of its designa- sive of all religion. "Let " esery CHRIST ORSRRV. No. 157.
plant which our heavenly Father it, which I have taken with respect hath not planted,” by all means be to your sermons. But of this ] plucked up: but let us remember, saw but little. I perceived, indeed, that there may be wheat among the what was very satisfactory to me, tares; and that if a heedless hand that you had no frivolous habits. be used in clearing the field, we No trifling occupations seemed to may pluck up, not only what the waste your time or divide your ato enemy hath sown, but that also tention. You appeared likewise to which the hand of God planted. stand aloof from those who, by
You will readily imagine, my their association, were more likely dear friend, that I had a reference to adulterate your character than to your ministry in this long pas- to improve their own. You seemed sage. I own it. It did not appear to have but one object, and that an to me, that you were free from the object of infinite magnitude. la charge of preaching faith in that short, I suspected but one defect : careless manner in which many iu but then it is a defect of such a nathe present day speak on that im- ture, that I cannot but impart my portant subject. With respect to suspicions. your intention, I have no doubt of
You once dropped a hint, that its being right. It is only the way you could not read or think much. in which you endeavour to accom- And indeed, before you had given plish it, that appears censurable. me this intiination, I conjectured, It is the fashion among many of the from some things in your sermons, religious of these times to say that you were not much of a stustrong things: and a young man of dent. Now if this conjecture be your intrepid mind will naturally just, I fear that your flock will not applaud such spirited effusions. have so good a common to feed But beware of copying them. For on, as they otherwise might have. though they may now seem worthy And if the herbage be scanty, the of your imitation on account of sheep must be lean. It was an their energy; they may, in a riper Apostle's injunction to a minister, period of your life, be condemned “Give thyself to reading; meditate by you, as having had an injurious on these things: give thyself wholly effect on your ministry. The writ- to them, that thy profiting may ings of two eminent men in the appear to all.” A public conduit church of God (St. Augustine and has to supply many vessels: large Mr. Baxter) shew us, that when we and frequent demands are made sit down at the end of our course, to upon it. It is necessary, of course, review our ministry, and to calcu- that every thing be done to keep late the specifie effect of every thing the conduit full. A minister of a we have said or done, that which parish is like a public conduit; and we thought highly of in youth may reading and study, accompanied be set down among the things to with prayer to God, are the means be retracted in age. Great “ High of supplying him with that stock of Priest of our profession,” take away knowledge, with which he ought the "iniquity of our holy things!” to be found always furnished, to : My remarks, you perceive, are answer the frequent demands that confined to your preaching. It may be made upon him, for the rewas the only part of your ministry futation of error, the instruction of which I had an opportunity of ob- the iguorant, the edification of the serving. Had I been perfectly ac- serious, and the comfort of the disquainted with the manner in which tressed. you fill up the interval between the I have no doubt of your admitSundays, and had I seen any thing ting the advantage of study; but I blameable, I would have used the am apprehensive of your alleging same freedom, in my remarks upon that you yourself are incapable of