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W. F. WAKEMAN, AND WM. CURRY, JUN. & co. DUBLIN ;
AND SIMPKIN & MARSHALL, LONDON.
TO THE MINISTERS OF THE GOSPEL.
No Christian, and especially no Christian minister, doubts the immortality of the soul--the immortality of all human souls; at least the ministerial character implies as much. And yet, to realize this doctrine fully, faithfully, and practically, is a most rare and difficult attainment. To believe that all the human beings around us are undoubtedly and severally destined to eternal existence, and are now on their passage to a fixed and endless state,- is an overpowering conception, so vast, that it is apt to become obscure; so sublime, that it sometimes paralyzes our powers of belief. Yet to the feebleness and inadequacy of our conceptions of this unquestionable verity, may be attributed much of that ministerial inefficiency and infidelity, which the church of Christ at the present moment has to deplore.
But supposing the intelligent mind, which now passes over these pages, is fully prepared to admit, in all its bearings and consequences, the sublime proposition, that all these intelligent beings are, in the strictest sense, IMMORTAL, and will retain not only an existence after death, but a conscious, sensitive existence; and will be placed in a condition of con
summate happiness or of endless woe; the question then comes with thrilling impulse upon the heart of every Christian minister,--Am I, as one to whom the care of souls is committed, living and labouring under the light and inspiration of this great fact? Is it always present, always condensing my energy of mind to its utmost effort for their welfare; always impelling my sensibility, conscience, reason, invention, to every possible appeal, every device of wisdom and love, by which these immortal creatures may both be apprised of the universal fact, and adequately prepared for that moment in their existence, when they shall become as conscious of their own immortality, as they now are of their susceptibility of mortal pleasures and pains?
It is to be feared, that, in the hearts of some ministers of Christ, there is a very faint apprehension of this great truth, and that it does not rise upoti their view surrounded with celestial beams; and that, in consequence, the various duties of the ministry are gone through perfunctorily, but inefficiently. In others, there is an occasional impulse given to the doctrine by some awakening event, some quickening impregnation of the mind, or some gush of spiritual affections; but the impulse soon subsides, and they sink down again into a state of supineness, bordering on insensibility, in which some other, and vastly inferior sentiment gains the mastery. A few, perhaps a very few, can be said to have it powerfully, and any thing like 'permanently, before the eyes of contemplation, distancing all subordinate considerations, and bearing the mind aloft, over difficulties and discouragements, on the eagle-wings of a heavenly ambition to bring souls to God. ut sou91'.
But it is highly important, that every minister of