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Leave for the present, critics and commentators unread. The time will soon come, when you will study them with advantage. The painter must first learn to sketch, before he begins to use colors; and he must be able to apply the ordinary colors, before he decides for or against the use of the more delicate shadings. On the subject of writing, I have already spoken to you. Avoid the indiscriminate reading, even of the ancient writers; there are very many poor ones among them also. Æolus suffered only the single wind to blow, which was to bear Ulysses to his destination; the others, let loose and rushing tumultuously together, involved him in endless wanderings.
History study with a two-fold view; with reference to individuals, and with reference to states; make for yourself frequent synchronistic tables.
The instructions which I give to you, I should address to every one who might be in your situation. The censure I should have to apply to very many. Think not, by any means, that I am not aware of this, and that I do not acknowledge your industry with pleasure and as it deserves.
The study which I require of you is very unpretending, proceeds slowly; and it will perhaps dishearten you to see a long succession of studious years still before you. But, my
more effectually, than if he read it in a dictionary, or in the dialogues at the end of a gram. mar. Hence it is, that a person learns an unknown language by speaking it, and by residence in the country where it is native, more rapidly than by reading and instruction.
"The reason of this is easily conceived. We retain the names of things, according to the law of association. If, with the Latin word, equus, we have seen the animal itself, which bears this name, sound, being retained, will, in future, awaken at once the idea of this animal; but the association includes an intermediate step, and takes place less actively, if I have learned from memory to say equus, the horse; for now, when I hear equus, nothing is immediately suggested to me by it, except the English sound, horse, and this, for the first time, calls up the idea of a horse. Still more tedious is it, if I have learned to say iллоs, equus; for, instead of being reminded immediately by iллoç, of a horse, it leads me to think of the word equus, then of the word horse; and this finally presents to my mind the object which bears the name. (It will be recollected, that formerly, Greek was studied almost universally through the medium of the Latin; a practice, which, although now discarded, and, on the whole, with reason. perhaps, had yet some very important advantages in its favor.) This is the true reason why many, who are familiar with the single terms in a Greek or Latin discourse, are unable to understand the discourse itself, when it is rapidly delivered; for, in the moment, when the vernacular word reaches us, the speaker has already uttered a new foreign one, which throws us into confusion. It happens to us, as to a hearer in an echoing church; he complains that he cannot understand the preacher, especially if he speaks quickly; for he hears at the same time the first word, through the echo, and the second, from the preacher himself." Michaelis Ver. Schriften, pp. 39-40. The practical inference from the above is, that the student should endeavor to bring the new word which he would learn, into immediate connection with the idea or object which it designates, and make himself as independent as possible of definitions in his own language. The observance of this rule is indispensable, when the object is to acquire a language in order to speak and write it with facility; and, the nearer we can approach to it, even when we are to be conversant with a language for purposes of reading merely, the more perfect will be our mastery of it, and the greater our power to appreciate and enjoy its literature. TR.
dear friend, truly to learn, and to be always adding to the stores of our knowledge is, theoretically the true good of life; and our life-time is not so short, but, whatever its length, our task is to be ever learning; God be praised, that it is so.
And now may God bless your labors, and give you the right spirit, that you may pursue them to the promotion of your own advantage and happiness, and to the joy of your parents, and of us all, to whose hearts your character for virtue, and your reputation are so dear.
THE DUTY OF MINISTERS TO EACH OTHER.
WHEN men unite, for the accomplishment of any given object, the first step usually is, to investigate the relations subsisting between them, and to define the duties which they owe to each other. Unless these relations, with their corresponding duties, are distinctly understood by the associated members, their peace may be disturbed, their influence impaired, and the fraternity itself broken up, without attaining the object for which they banded together. As men are continually, in this way, coming together, we have a little volume published, containing rules, by which they may regulate their conduct.
The ministry is a fraternity by itself. It is distinct from all secular organizations, and distinct from the Christian church. Their work is to awaken men from the slumbers of sin, and to call them to repentance, and to guide them along the strait and narrow path, which leads to eternal life. The oneness and the importance of their object should bring them shoulder to shoulder; should make them of one mind and one heart. We proceed to notice some of the duties which they owe each other. A very prominent one is sympathy. When we speak of sympathy, we mean all that is implied in that word. We mean, that when one is enjoying either prosperity or adversity, his brethren should, as far as possible, feel with him. And should he make his way to their dwell
ings, and recount to them his difficulties and his discouragements, they should, to a certain extent, make his case their own. This, no man needs more than he who stands as a watchman upon the walls of Zion. His is no common task. A voice from on high has assigned him his post, and whatever may be his trials, he dares not leave it. The language of his commission says, "Be faithful even unto death.” And the language which describes the fidelity of these soldiers of the cross is, "They loved not their lives unto the death." Even in his brightest days, the minister of Christ is often weighed down and overcome with incessant anxiety. Who can describe his feelings for weeks, and, perhaps, for months, previous to a general awakening among his people? Now, his faith gains a little strength, and he is encouraged by the hope that God is about to bless his labors, to the salvation of his hearers; then, his faith falters and dies within him. When in the latter state, follow him to his study-listen to his agonizing supplications. As one, and another, and whole classes of his hearers rush upon his mind, he sinks under the mighty burden laid upon him by the Spirit of God, and yet the everlasting arm raises him up again. In the pulpit, also, he beholds the transgressor, and is grieved. Rivers of waters run down his eyes, because men keep not God's law. While thus engaged in a conflict with the powers of darkness, while thus travailing in birth for souls, how strengthening, how encouraging the warm and tender sympathy of some Christian brother! The word which goes forth from his lips is attended with unwonted power; and many, who, a little while previous, would be reached by no argument, and melted by no appeal, now crowd around his person, and, with penitent hearts, gladly receive the cup of consolation from his hands. At such seasons, when the church has to lengthen her cords, and strengthen her stakes, he is happy. These are bright pages in his history. "Thanks be unto God," he exclaims, "which always causes us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savor of his knowledge by us in every place."
But the ambassador of Heaven passes through other scenes. He is with the church, and stands before the world, when the heavens are brass over his head, and the earth iron under his feet. He repeats his testimony in private and in public, improves every opportunity to stand as a witness for God, changes his mode of address, varies the burden of his message,
VOL. VII.-NO. XXVIII.
presents the word of God with every conceivable attraction, and yet without any apparent effect. Those that are asleep, sleep on, and the dead remain dead. Throughout the whole valley, though he come daily and prophesy, not a bone moves. He repeats the invitation of mercy the hundredth time, and yet not one accepts it. The patience of few men, in other kinds of effort, would endure such a trial.
But while tempted to discouragement from this cause, a difficulty springs up in the midst of the church. In spite of his most strenuous exertions, parties are formed, feelings are enlisted, and the hearts of brethren are put asunder. All efforts to reconcile the parties, and heal the wound thus made, are ineffectual. For a time destruction appears inevitable. Those, among the impenitent, who were once serious and thoughtful, now seem careless and unconcerned. The wicked grow bold in sin, and rejoice that the witnesses for God are slain. In this state of things, what shall the minister of Christ do? He is tempted to leave the flock, of which he has been made an overseer, and seek one less wayward and unruly, where his labors may be more successful, because less encumbered. He drops upon his knees to ask for direction, and is met with this portion of divine truth, "The good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth." Leave them, under these circumstances, he - cannot, without incurring the displeasure of God. He must remain at his post like a faithful sentinel. He must meet the worst, with a firm nerve and a steady eye. In his study and in his closet he may recruit his exhausted strength, and from thence he may return to the conflict with new energy and zeal. But he may betake himself to his place of retirement, to his own injury, and to the injury of the cause of religion. There is an hour when sympathy is as necessary as prayer. Without it, whatever else he may possess, the minister of the cross is weak. He sinks beneath the weight of his anxieties. Under ordinary circumstances, he may obtain the needed measure of this from the warm hearts of his lay brethren. But there are trials which he is called to endure, with which they are unacquainted, and in which they can, from the nature of the case, afford him but little sympathy. Who has not felt a relief, in unbosoming his difficulties and discourage
ments to some kind-hearted brother in the ministry? Who has not returned, after a conversation of an hour or two with such a brother, to his field of toil with new spirit? The sympathy which we there received, strengthened our hands and nerved our hearts; and we grappled anew with our difficulties, persevered in our efforts, and soon knew, from personal experience, the faithfulness of the promise: "He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him."
Ministers are sometimes kept, not from giving, but from asking sympathy of their brethren, through pride. It wears the appearance of weakness. To us, the great apostle to the Gentiles never appears more lovely, than when acknowledging, with an overflowing heart, the favor which the Philippian church had sent him by the hand of Epaphroditus; or, when he uses the following language, in reference to one who had remembered him in his afflictions, and visited him, in the spirit of evangelical sympathy-"The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus: for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain. But when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently and found me."
Another duty which ministers mutually owe, is to advise and counsel one another. We do not mean that they shall do this only when they are called, with delegates from churches, and are formally organized for this purpose. But we now refer to their private intercourse with each other. They should be willing to give or receive advice, as the case may be. Every relation between man and man involves the idea of dependence. No man can acquire so great wisdom or wealth, as to be entirely and absolutely independent of his fellow-men. And he, whose pride and conceit urge him to disown this dependence, and to move forward in the duties of life without asking advice of any one, will soon find himself involved in a thousand difficulties, and laboring under a thousand embarrassments, from which he will find it impossible to escape, with honor to his own judgment.
The clergy of any denomination constitute an extensive brotherhood. In this, as in all fraternities gathered from among men, there is a vast variety of mental endowments. There is the aged man, who has labored upwards of half a century in the vineyard of his Lord; and there is also the stripling, whose public addresses have lost, in part, the char