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ing and religious education, that terms, with a particular reference there never may be wanting a sup- to the words “conversion and unply of fit and able men to serve conversion.” Mr. Wilks enters upGod in the church as well as the on a defence of them, and pleads state, the thanks of the public are with much force for the adoption eminently due to those members generally of scriptural language in of the University who bave con- its plain unsophisticated meaning. tributed to the recent improvement There is danger lest we shrink from of their system. If it be followed the phraseology of the Bible: there up with fidelity and spirit, it will is also danger, lest, while we use certainly be productive of great the terms of Scripture, we lower benefit to the kingdom. We have their dignity or pervert their signireason to believe, that its advan. fication. Both errors are carefully tages have already been felt; and to be avoided. Every minister of We are not without a hope that the Christ will “endeavour to preserve sister University will pay due re. the language of the Bible, from spect to an example so worthy of oblivion on the one hand, and from imitation. Whether the Essay by misrepresentation on the other." Mr. Wilks is to be attributed in p. 11. any degree to the encouragement, The evidences of conversion or which is held ont with so much, unconversion in a minister, are con.. real wisdom at Oxford, to theolo-, sidered in the Essay under two gical pursuits, we are unable to points of view; as they relate to his state. "We accept it, however, as preaching, and his conduct. the promise and indication of in- With respect to preaching, the creasing regard to religious know- author maintains, “ That those fear ledge :--and without this know-' tures which characterised the disledge, of how little service to the courses of Christian ministers in sacred profession are all other at- purer ages, will be visible also in tainments, however splendid and the discourses of Christian minisublime!
sters in modern times.” p. 20. The The occasion, on which the Essay essential doctrines of religion will was written, is stated in the title therefore be constantly inculcated; page. The subject was proposed they will be the great and proniby a Society for promoting Chris- nent topics of instruction from the tian Knowledge and Church Union, pulpit; and the preacher who omits established under the sanction of to explain and enforce them must the good Bishop of St. David's: be accounted as in a state of unand few questions can be proposed conversion. of greater importance to the Chris- But what are the doctrines, which tian ministry. The Society as-, we include under the term sumes, that some ministers of the sential ?" Mr. Wilks enumerates chureh are in a state of conversion, the following:-original sin ; justiand some of unconversion: and it fication solely and exclusively also believes that there are certain through the merits of Christ; the marks or visible signs, by which we divinity of our Saviour; the divimay form a probable judgment of nity of the Holy Ghost. These he their state. "These assumptions we mentions among the “ peculiarities” monsider as perfectly just : and, if of the Christian Revelation; and the subject be discussed in a pro- adds, that" it is by such doctrines per spirit and upon scriptural the Gospel is distinguished from grounds, the inquiry cannot fail to other systems of ethics or religion, be of inestimable service to all that and by such chiefly that the preach. minister in holy things.
ing of its true disciples differs from The Essay is preceded by an in- merely nominal Christian minitroduction on the use of technical sters.
CHRIST. OBSERY. No. 160
But the preaching of the con- plan. We shall endeavour to state verted minister will not be confined the manner in which it bas beer to doctrines : he must feel that re- completed, by leaviog Mr. Wilks to ligion is a " practical and influen-speak for himself. tial priæciple," and will esteem it Before he enters upon the maig
to describe its nature subject of the Essay, he proposes : and effects." He will iberefore few rules, by which a minister may take every opportunity to impress be enabled to judge of his own upon his hearers the absolute ne- state. He concludes in these terms; cessity of a holy life: and this he will do, not by representing holi
« Prejudice against the peculiar dos ness as the meritorious cause of thines of the Gospel is one of the most human redemption, but as the proof sion, and to this prejudice a miuister is
common obstacles in the way of conver and evidence of faith: as the ne
more exposed than a layman, since be cessary consequence of a real scrip- has not only the sources of prejudice tural belief in Cbrist, and as indi- and objection natural to the hearts of cating our meetness for heaven. all men, but some which are peculiar He will be careful to shew the true to himself. Aq unbiassed person cannature of holiness, and adopt the not easily withstand the plain statements full declarations of the word of of Scripture; but he who knows some. God with respect to its extent thing of religions controversies, may The good works which he enjoins, easily soften them down, till they bec will be founded upon evangelical by his prejudices, close every avendo
come of no value; and in this manner, principles: and all the essential to conviction. A minister thus prepos. doctrines of Christianity will be sessed, instead of admitting the Seripillustrated
truths of moral and ture doctrine of conversion, of a total practical importance.
renovation of heart, endeavours to Deus With a view to form a correct tralize every text that explains its natur judgment of a minister's state, Mr. or inculcates its necessity, Wilks next proposes to consider knowledge the necessity of this radical
" If, however, he be induced to aces the evidences of conversion or un change, it surely becomes a question of conversion, as they appear in bis paramount importance, whether or not conduct, and the general tener of it has been realized. The subject will his life.
DOW appear to him with a prominenc He mentions particularly Chris- which it never before possessed. He tian zeal, residence and a peaceful will begią anxiously to examine whethez demeanour in his parish, pastoral his religion be merely the decency of visiting, religious instruction of the professional character, or whether it be young, decorum in recreations, a
in truth the energetic influence of vital. ecclesiastical function, a devout nite guilt of sin, and the incompetency solemo regard to the dignity of the Christianity. He will inquire, if, com. manner of performing the service, of man to deserve salvation by the best ready attention to those that solicit obedience, which since the fall he is religious advice, mildness and con
able to bestow, it have proceeded to : descension to inferiors, self-denial, self-renunciation, to faith in our Lord. choice of friends, intercourse with Jesus Christ, and love to God the Fm general society, williugness to en- ther; and lastly, whether it evidence dure the reproach of Christ, In itself by a life of holiness, and a prom all these points, and others con- gressive conformity to the Divine image. pected with them, Mr. Wilks en
His thoughts, his words, his aetion's deavours to mark the distinction and, above all, his motives, will be sube between a converted and an un: pray for the Divine guidance in ascera
jects of careful investigation. Ho wilt converted minister: and it cannot taining his own character. He will be doubted, that in most cases the immediately perceive, that love to God. difference is undeniable.
and to holiness, hatred to sin, an earnest Such is the general outline of the desire to obtain salvation himself and
to be the hononted intrutebt of con. the whole seheme of Christianity, is veying it to others, are churaeteristic founded; md which being denied, Seatures of a converted minister; and Christianity and preaching become inin proportion as these are višble in bist appropriate and useless. A minister sell, he may judge favourably of his who admits these truths fully and un. Heligionis state. Agitated spirits and equivocally, ipust, in consequence, ad. inexplicable etnotions are not the evi mit the necessity of the atonenient; and dences of piety: He must look rather who, that admits its necessity, can be for a heavenly principle, active in ito unconscious of its importance? Or who, tendency, purifying the affections, exo that allows its importance, can fail to panding the soul, elevating the hopes make it a prominent topic in his paro. and desires, crucifying the corrupt in chial addresses ? clinations, fixing the heart on God, “ In addition to these points, justifica moderating self love, exciting to univer- tion, solely and exclusively through the bal benévolence, in a word, regenerating merits of Christ, has been always conthe whole man, and making him meet sidered, among men of piety, as a docfor the inheritance of the saints in light.' trine plainly revealed in Scripture, and He must expect to see the efficacy of of essential value in the system of huthis principle most conspicuous in the han redemption. They have viewed it, subjugation of those sins to which he is not as an appeudage or corollary, muck naturally most inclined, and which, an- less as an excrescence, but as the sun, der any infinence short of true religion, the substance, the life, the spirit, of the he would be desirous of retaining. He whole dispensation. On this only, their will learn to look not so much to his own hopes of pardon and acceptance real or delight in the public services of have been founded, and on this only religion, as to the sincerity of his private have they exhorted others to depend. devotions, since the former may be in Having learned from Revelation the fluenced by social feelings, while the nature of God and the extent of the latter are selđom cordial but in a reno Divine requisitions, and having at the vated mind. To these characteristics same time discovered the utter incom. may be added acquiescence in the peteucy of map, since the fall, to secure Divine will, and filial eagerness to per- to himself a place in heaven by sipless form the Divine commands; which are obedience, they have ackuowledged dispositions of mind so exclusively ap- that nothing but a revelation of gratui. propriate to a genuine Christian, that tous mercy could relieve our wants, of where they exist, or are fervently im- be worth our acceptance. On these plored, other evidences will not be accounts, the doctrine in question has sought in vain. If, in a word, to be a in every pare charch been considered true Christian, Be the pre-eminent desire of supreme importance; and, whatever of his soul, and if the sincerity of this may be the prevailing sentiment of any desire be correspondently evinced in particular age, the Gospel and its effects his kife, he already possesses an invalu- being always the same, the piety of that able evidence of the renovation of his minister is undoubtedly suspicions, nature." pp. 15–18.
whose preaching is heretical or defec
tive on this fundamental subject of Io stating the doctrines, which justification by the merits of Christ. ought to be inculcated from the
" Intimately comected with the last pulpit , he thus speaks of Original our Suriour, a doctrine which, beyond
mentioned topic is that of the dicinity of Sin, Justification, and the Divinity most others, has been ridiculed and imof Christ :
pugned; but which is so explicitly
taught in the Sacred Writings, and so * But what, it may be asked, are the necessarily implied in the whole econopeculiarities, the preaching of which is my of humon salvation, that it would be bo important a test of a minister's piety: difficult to imagine hin a converted The most obvious is, that man las de. man who denies its truth, or him a faith. parted from original righteousness, and ful minister who forgets its importance. op account of sin is justły obnoxious to The disbelief of this doctrine, virtually the Divine anger. This fact, and the implies a disbelief of Christianity (ex. consequence deduced from it, form the cept so far as it is a system of ethics), hypothesis on which the preaching of and must, therefore, be the most fatal of wery converted minister, and, indood, mistakes." Pp. 27-9,
The relation of doctrine to prac- man soul, it ceases to be a question tice, or the influence which right what manner of preaching a converted principle has upon the conduct, minister will feel it his duty to adopt. is thus stated :
pp. 30-32. « After the experience of nearly two late to Christian zeal, and to the
The quotations which follow, rethousand years, it might without danger of mistake be admitted as a demonstrat- manner in which a true minister of ed fact, that morality has always ad- the Gospel, ought to bear reproach vanced or declined, in proportion as the in the service of his Lord, Gospel has been preached in its genuine simplicity, or in a garbled form ; and, “The most conspicuousaim of a pious consequently, that nothing but the un- minister, and that to which his whole disguised doctrines of Christianity can conduct may be reduced, is an ardent accomplish even that object which the desire to save himself and those that worldling considers as the only end of hear him.' No powers of langaage can the clerical establishment. But this describe the intensity with which this object, great as it is, is far from being feeling often glows in the bosom of a the utmost that a pious minister pro- good man, Where such a feeling exists, poses to himself. His preaching is it will always be evident to others. founded on the supposition, that a man,
The natural disposition of a man, how. though outwardly moral, may fail of be- ever cold or reserved, will not be able ing a true Christian, and in consequence to overcome its influence, Some mea. fail of the rewards of Christianity. In- sure of holy zeal is absolutely insepar. terpal religion, & religion of motives able from the office and character of a and intentions, a religion corresponding pious Minister; it may vary with the to that which our Saviour taught in his different tempers of men, or with the Sermon on the Mount, he esteems ner degrees of their piety, but it will never cessary to make the most brilliant or be quite extinct. It is impossible that useful action acceptable to that Being, he who has imbibed even the smallest whom 'without faith it is impossible to portion of the Christian spirit, that spirit please,' He conceives, therefore, that which actuated Apostles, Confessors, the doctrinal parts of Christianity are and Martyrs, çan remain an unconcernessentially necessary in his preaching, ed spectator of the religious wants of Whether he argues from the practice those whose souls are intrusted to his of the inspired writers, or from the na: çare, He must of necessity bring into ture of the thing itself, he așrives at the his ministerial functions something of same conclusion, that an exhibition of that spirit which characterized the the moral precepts of the Gospel, with- primitive ages, He will be ansious to out the doctrines op which they depend, know the state of his flock; his preachis as contrary to the intention of its ing will be cordial and affectionate; his Author, as the opposite error of incul- private labours conscientious and unrecating its doctrines and forgetting its mitted; and in his whole conduct he commands. He insists, therefore, on will appear to value his bodily strength, the wecessity of faith no less than of and his mental attainments, only as they good works; the former as that which promote the cause of the Redeemer, justifies, the latter as the indispensable and the eternal interests of the human evidences of our being in a state of soul.” pp, 35, 36. grace,
“ But one of the strongest tests of a “ It has been shewn, that, even as far minister, and one which should by na as relates to outward morality, the un means be forgotten, is his willingness or sophisticated preaching of the Gospel unwillingness to bear the reproach of is necessary to effect any considerable the cross of Christ; for, even in this reform ;=but when to this circumstance, happy country, where Christianity in which, it should be observed, proves its porest form is the national religion, oply the political and moral expediency something of this reproạch still remains. of spch preaching, are added those The excellency of our political and þigher considerations wbiçlı shew its ecclesiastical regulations cannot proinfinite importance, aş connected with vent the accomplishment of that pro. the awful responsibility of the preacher, phecy, that all who live godly in and with the eternal interests of the hu: Christ Jesus, shall suffer persecutione
It is not possible for the Gospel to be sent to endure. No regularity of de professed in its unsophisticated energy portment, no consistency with the docand spirit, without exciting the opposi- trines and discipline of the Establishtion of mankind. Let us imagine that ment, vo amiableness of manners and an individual among the lower orders of disposition, nothing, in short, but an society, from a course of life overtly unholy compliance with the world, can dagitious, should become a reformed entirely prevent the reproach which and exemplary character. This changé, every minister of Christ is appointed to being imputed to merely moral causes, sustain.” pp. 60-62. or to motives of expediency, would most certainly procure him a degree of He concludes this part of the respect and encouragement which he Essay, with the following para. could not otherwise have enjoyed. It graph :is evident, therefore, that morality, simply considered, is far from being an ob
“These, then, appear to be some of ject of contempt or' persecution. But the chief evidences by which a convertif the individual under consideration ed minister may be distinguished from should openly avow that it was the de.
an unconverted one. But to delineate nonciations of the Bible against sin, the ministerial character adequately is that first excited his alarm ; that, des- impossible; for who can fully conceive pairing of salvation by his own merits, what that man ought to bé, who is sent he had learned to trust wholly and im- by the Sovereign of the Universe as his plicitly to the merits of Him who came
herald to a world in arms, with denunto take away the sins of the world; and
ciations of wrath which the tongue of that, in correspondence to his new angels might faulter to proclaim ; and nature, and as a proof of his sincerity, with tidings of love and mercy 80 inhe lad solemnly resolved to live no
effable and divine, that even imprisoned longer to himself, but to Him who had demons,
were they interested in them, bought him with the price of his own would melt with contrition, and rejoice blood; and if in future he were to make once more to employ the golden Harps it his andivided aim, to fulfil his baptis, of heaven in singing songs of glory and mal engagements, to confess the faith of praise to their beneficent Creator! Christ crucified, to fight manfully under Were a minister to walk altogether his banners, and to continue his faithful worthy of his high vocation, it would servant and soldier unto his life's end,
be impossible to mistake his character. and were to exemplify in his conduct
He would appear among men as an inthat holiness, spirituality, and self habitant of a superior world. His condenial, which such resolutions were
versation would be in heaven. Elevated calculated to inspire,--would the same
above earth, he would learn to look result take place as in the former in- down with equal eye on its honours and stance? Would he not rather be censur. its frowns, its sorrows and its enjoy ed than applauded by the world around ments. His spotless garments would him? Would not his name be often be uncontaminated with its pollutions. beard in connexion with the terms by. Employed in the same, or even a higher pocrite, enthusiast, and others of similar work than that of angels, he would parimport? In a word, would he not be one ticipate their spirit. His manners would instance among many, that the offence be celestial. Like the Redeemer him, of the cross has not ceased ; but that, self, he would appear on earth but as wherever our holy religion appears, 'in
one come to do good; and when his its genuine form, the hatred of mankind
course was finished, would quit it with is sure to be excited against it? The "a hope full of immortality and glory." sarcastic hint, the 'retorted sneer, the
p. 64. malice of the topgue, the annoying vexations of petty insult, are still employed, After the citations, which have in place of more formidable weapons,
now been presented to our readers, to oppose the Gospel, as often as it is it is almost superfluous for us to, seen in its natural energy and spirit; and the wounds inflicted by these poi say any thing by way of commendtoned arrows, though not worthy to be ation. These passages will recomcompared with the persecutions of the mend themselves: and we consider first Christians, are yet usually far more them as fair specimens of the work. than an unconverted Minister will con It will be ewident, even on the most