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interest; they may exercise the most consummate ability in shielding their new acquisitions from inroad and devastation; and yet the events of a few years may shew how visionary have been their schemes! how futile their plans! how transitory the effects of all their toil! But not so the messenger of God: the fruits of his labour are imperishable ;— no power can invade ;-nor time destroy them;-His object is the salvation of the never-dying soul;-He implants within the human heart the seed of Divine truth, which springs up and bears fruit to the praise and glory of God upon earth, and through the endless ages of eternity-the deathless spirit, through his instrumentality, is plucked from the grasp of death, and the jaws of hell, and will be his joy and crown of rejoicing at the last great day. O! who can conceive the glory that awaits him, when he presents redeemed souls before the heavenly throne! He will then walk with God and see him as he is-Before he entered the celestial gates, this mysterious intercourse was often interrupted by temptations from within, and trials from without; but now his warfare is ended, his struggles are over; faith is swallowed up in sight, and hope in enjoyment; as he treads the everlasting courts of heaven, the view of the seals of his ministry heightens his bliss, and the sound of their triumphant song thrill with delight his glorified spirit. The light which streams from the throne of God encircles his head with a crown of glory, which will reflect its splendour through the endless ages of eternity."And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness, as the stars for ever and ever."" pp. 21, 22.
Mr. Cox chooses the same appropriate subject as Mr. Garbettnamely, courage, love, and a sound mind, the scriptural qualification for the Christian ministry. Mr. Cox's former publications, especially his Lives of the Fathers, his Memoir of Fletcher, and his pious and judicious Horæ Romanæ, will have already bespoken the favourable regards of our readers to the present discourse; from which we should be glad to quote somewhat largely, on account of the application which the author makes of his general principles to the peculiar features of the present times. The plan of bringing scriptural truth to bear upon the ministerial exigences and trials of the passing day, is a very important and interesting part of an appropriate visitation sermon; for as the selec
tion of topics connected with the discourse to the clergy from an orministerial office, distinguishes a dinary parochial sermon, so their judicious application to the actual circumstances of the times distinguishes it from a general dissertation on the pastoral office. We quote as copiously as our space allows from those portions of Mr. Cox's very important remarks which bear this aspect.
"A glance at the peculiar situation of the primitive Christians, and especially to that of their ministers, who were natu
rally the first objects of popular indignation, will immediately convince us of the absolute necessity of their being endowed with more than human fortitude. They had need of angel's strength for their support, and they had more than an angel's resources. We are troubled on every side,' says the Apostle, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed..... And now, behold I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there save that the Holy Ghost bonds and afflictions abide me. But none witnesseth in every city, saying, that of these things move me; neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the Gospel of the grace of God.' Venerable, and venerated men! Cheerfully were ye bound, that the word of God might not be bound! might live, and communicate its lifeGladly did ye meet death, that the truth giving influence to a dying world!
Through the good providence of God, we are not exposed to a repetition
of these tremendous scenes. The instruments of torture are destroyed, the flames of persecution are quenched, and the sword of the magistrate is unsheathed, not for the attack, but for the defence of time, with such jealousy is the least inour religious immunities. At the same fraction of them regarded by a scrutinizing public, that the most exalted prelate, were he so disposed, could not with humblest of the clergy. impunity infringe on the rights of the
"But the current, in fact, appears to be flowing in an opposite direction. The danger now to be apprehended is, lest liberty should luxuriate into licentiousness; and freedom of speech degenerate into defamation and scurrility. It has been reserved for our days to witness the conduct, the sentiments, nay, the very most eminent divines, misrepresented, motives of our highest dignitaries and vilified, and held up to open derision.
Public meetings, convened for far different objects, have been converted into theatres for the exhibition of indecent altercations, and insidious attacks upon the best of men; and journals, professedly conducted on religious principles, have given point and sanction to the unworthy calumnies.
"In the mean time, so hampered are our bishops by antiquated and expensive forms of judicature, and so checked and thwarted in their proceedings by the courts of common law, that with the exception of a strict enforcement of the technicalities of duty, their spiritual controul is little more than nominal. Even in cases of gross clerical delinquency, their power is very limited and uncertain; and in those of heretic pravity, or fantastic speculations, its actual exercise is well nigh unknown." Cox, pp. 5-7.
"The trials to which we are exposed are far from trivial. The rack, the fire, the sword, have long since ceased their ravages; but the carnal mind' still exists, and retains its enmity to God.' The minister of the Gospel is not unfrequently called upon to address those who are opposed to the reception of Divine truth. By one part of his hearers, though his heart is overflowing with benevolence, he may be regarded as an unfeeling character, taking pleasure in overwhelming the soul with dark and melancholy forbodings; by another part, though he speak the words of truth and soberness,' he may be represented as a setter forth of strange' doctrines, which deserve to be treated with undissembled levity, if not with open aversion. The voluptuary will detest his exhortations to temperance and selfdenial the proud will treat him with contempt, when he enforces the necessity of Christian humility and condescension: the licentious will be offended by the gravity and strictness which pervade his sermons and the formal will be roused to indignation by that spirit of zeal and devotion which characterize all his minis
"Nor will his trials arise merely from those who are hostile to religion, or grossly ignorant of its nature. His enemies will not unfrequently be found among those of his own household.' Some highly talented and truly conscientious ministers, I am aware, have for a time supposed, that by a judicious development of the doctrines, and a lucid exhibition of their close connexion with the various precepts of the Gospel, they would be able to convince the judgment, and conciliate the affections of the welldisposed part of their auditory. But they have at length discovered that they had not sufficiently taken into account the infirmities which are inseparable from humanity; that they had not made due allowance for that portion of bigotry, and that natural attachment to a favourite
system, which are so lamentably prevalent in numbers, of whose piety we cherish the most pleasing hopes; and, in short, that it is the privilege of comparatively few to possess that comprehensiveness of mind, which can alone enable a person to connect and harmonize the heights and depths, the lengths and breadths of our holy religion.
"Let a minister deliver what the Scriptures deliver, and be silent where they are silent. Let him take heed not to place his own reasonings on the word of God upon a level with the word of God. Let him shew that he has not the vanity to court a distinguishing appellation, or the cowardice to shrink from one; that he is not a man that will go undue lengths to defend the system of one party, or to oppose that of another. Let him thus act, and he will soon find that he has to encounter the bigots of every party. The most contradictory censures will at times be passed on the same sermon. 'He frustrates the grace of God,' says one
He disparages the works of obedience,' says another' He tediously dwells on the beggarly elements of religion,' says a third
He soars into the regions of mysticism,' will be the charge of a fourth; and perhaps the only thing in which the discordant parties eventually agree, will be to accuse him of inconsistency and selfcontradiction.
"Now, in order that a minister of Christ may steadily pursue his course like the faithful witness in heaven,' while intervening clouds apparently attempt to arrest its progress, and diminish its splendour; for him to persist through 'weariness, and painfulness, and watchings,' with the noblest aim; for him, when battled in one mode of exertion, cheerfully to adopt another, neither irritated by opposition nor discouraged by difficulties nothing less than a portion of that sacred fortitude, which nerved the minds of the primitive ministers of the Gospel, will be found sufficient." pp. 8–11.
"A volume, rather than a division of a discourse, would be requisite, to point out the constant bearings of a sound mind upon the different duties connected with the ministerial office. I shall, therefore, merely select a few particulars as illustration." p. 19.
"A sound mind is necessary for the adaptation of our instructions to the peculiar circumstances of our hearers..... It is not enough to say that a sermon is sensible, orthodox, devotional; it may confer the highest credit on the research, the piety, and the ingenuity of the preacher, and yet be altogether unsuitable for the pulpit, or at least inapplicable to the state and attainments of the persons to whom it was addressed.
"A sound mind is necessary for a due exhibition of the various doctrines of the Gospel.
Review of Visitation
Lastly, a sound mind is necessary for the regulation of our intercourse with our brethren. Christ is not divided; unhappily his ministers are. A benevolent clergyman will lament these divisions; and a sound-minded one will devise the best expedients for their removal." pp. 30, 31.
"From the same benevolent principle, a' sound mind' will induce a clergyman decidedly to reject any party-designation. The terms' Evangelical,' and Orthodox,' so currently applied in the present day, are as vague as they are offensive. In the mouth of some they imply every thing which can adorn the man, or qualify the minister for his sacred office; in that of others, they insinuate all that is base, and mean, and contemptible. Surely then it argues no little degree of arrogance for a clergyman to assume either of these expressions in its laudatory sense, as a distinctive description of himself and his partisans; and no less deficiency in charity to apply them in their sarcastic meaning, to those whose religious sentiments may in some particulars differ from his own." pp. 33, 34.
The last discourse on our list is one by a much-beloved and eminently useful clergyman, who whether pleading in behalf of the ignorant and perishing heathen, or in the discharge of the duties of the pastoral office, or as a public instructor and benefactor by means of his many valuable and popular works, (among which we take the opportunity of warmly recommending his little volume of plain, affectionate, and scriptural discourses just published,) has proved himself a faithful servant of Christ, and an eminent instrument of benefit in the hands of God to his fellow-men. There run throughout his visitation sermon an artless warmth and earnest pleading on behalf of the souls of men, which remind us rather of the writings of some of the old divines than of the ordinary discus
Charges and Sermons.
sions of the present lukewarm age. We offer to our readers the following specimens.
"What an impressive scene presents itself to the Christian minister when he meets his people in the great congregawho will be living, thousands of thousands tion! He sees gathered before him those and millions on millions of ages hence, either in endless woe or eternal bliss. and all living in one of two states,may learn how to escape that woe, and to They are gathered before him that they attain that bliss. He is God's appointed
servant, having a Divine commission, and a message full of mercy. his faith, hell with its unutterable agonies To the eye of Saviour able and willing to deliver from is before him, and he has to proclaim a those agonies. Heaven with all its tranthe name of the great King of heaven, scendent glories is in his view; and, in he has to invite all that will hear, to partake of those glories. On the acceptance of his message depends eternal life, and on its rejection depends eternal death.
presented before us every Sabbath, O my "And if this be the impressive scene brethren in the ministry, my heart fails me when I view a congregation not merely ministers of many congregations. of ordinary hearers, but of ministers, the When character and ministry may affect the salI consider how seriously our personal vation, even the eternal welfare of thoubeings, I tremble within me at the fearful sands and tens of thousands of immortal responsibility of a visitation sermon.
"If any thing could deepen such feelings, it would be the signs of the present excitement, and pregnant with momentimes. They are very peculiar; full of tous consequences." Bickersteth, pp. 1, 2.
Sabbath, and never was its holy rest more "God has ever been jealous of his been denied by clergymen of our own openly broken; its Divine authority has church the councils of our cabinet ministers have of late been generally held upon this day. The press pours forth sands. The public conveyances violate its Sunday newspapers in tens of thouits sanctity in every direction; and the day of God is extensively profaned by all classes. There is much reason to fear travelling business, and dissipation among that Popery and Socinianism and Neologianism are each, in wide spheres, full of activity, diffusing the baneful influence of their respective systems on every side.
"Is it not painful, my brethren, to obledged in the public measures and national serve how little God has been acknowproceedings of our professedly Christian state? If ever there were times when we appointed fast, surely the last year preshould as a nation have sought God in an sented such periods! The encourage
ment given to the grossest idolatry in the administration of our East India possessions, and the continuance of slavery in the West Indies, are other distressing proofs of national guilt.
"I speak not of pride and covetousness, rapacity and luxury, frauds in trade, cursing, perjuries, and the want of sympathy and kindly feeling between the different ranks of society among us--but will a single glance fail to convince us that there is a torrent of evil against which Christian ministers have to struggle in these national sins?
"Then when we enter into our parishes, we find our people almost universally engrossed in the things of this world. In those parishes where most is done, perhaps scarcely half of the people attend public worship, and not one twentieth part the Lord's Table, whilst only here and there a solitary family can be found having daily family worship, and evincing by their general conversation and conduct that they are under the just influence of the Gospel. The enemy is busy sowing tares among those who can read, and the more aged and illiterate have a dulness of intellect from neglected education, that renders their minds almost inaccessible to our instruction. The new beer-houses opened by the late act, as a fresh evil, spread still farther dissipation and intoxication among our people.
"All these however are but the symptoms of a deeper evil, infidelity-the dominant sin of the human heart, and the peculiar feature of the present times. This is openly avowed, in a way, and to an extent that it never was before, and with a confidence and boldness quite unprecedented; and it is begetting its proper effects, insubordination and disregard for all things constituted, so that no institution of man, however approved by experience, is safe. The spirit of the leading public journals is, in multiplied instances, directly opposed to the spirit of the Gospel. In them God seems to be as much as possible shut out of his own world; men despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities; they are fierce, heady, high-minded, and their influence on the public mind is immense.
Though it be to the honour, yet it is also to the fearful danger of the Church of England, that it is the great object of ceaseless attacks from all quarters; there has set against it a stream of opposition of prodigious power, to which political events seem to give increasing strength. We believe our church to be founded on Christ the Rock of ages; we view it as sealed with the blood of our martyred Reformers, and as having been for centuries the grand bulwark of the Protestant faith. God favoured us in an especial manner, by disposing our VIth Edward to be the nursing father of such a church, retaining CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 358.
the primitive order of Episcopacy, and possessing a Liturgy incomparable among human compositions for the purity and simplicity and unctional fervour of its devotions. The establishment of such a church in our country has furnished faithful ministers of Christ with peculiar advantages and efficient means for fulfilling to the utmost their ministry, and our national prosperity has for three centuries been intimately connected with its support. Yet notwithstanding all this, there are now multitudes in our land who think and avow that the greatest service that could be rendered, not only to our nation, but even to Christianity itself, would be the overthrow of this church. Its real evils are highly exaggerated; false charges are multiplied against it, and its just claims and titles are denied.
But, brethren, the occasion calls me to proceed farther still, and with the deepest sense of my own personal deficiencies to ask my own conscience, and to put it to yours-Are we in the ministry of this church sufficiently alive to the peculiarity of the present times, to the imminent dangers which threaten our country, and to our unutterably momentous responsibility as watchmen in the house of God at this critical period?" pp. 38.
What then is the primary duty of ministers at this time? What is the lever by which those moral evils that almost sink our country may be removed ?
Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season.' The Apostle gives a direction, and then shews with what fervency of spirit it should be attended to. The direction is, ' preach the word.'
"Our great duty is clearly marked out. We are not to spend our strength and trifle away our time on inferior matters. It is time for us, my brethren, even if we only wish the continuance of our establishment, to lay aside all suspicions and jealousies, reserves and distances, on account of those minor differences which Satan has studiously magnified, and which have separated ministers who love and serve the same Saviour. Where there is a real love to Christ, there is an ample ground of union; grace be with all them that love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity.' Whatever differences of judgment there may be between such, Whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.' The cordial union of faithful ministers in the church, would be a blessed token for good to our whole country." p. 10.
"The Apostle farther shews, with what fervency of spirit the direction should be attended to, Be instant in season, out of season.' Be ever importunate and urgent. Be always alive to your great work, eternity is at hand, the Judge is at the door, souls are perishing!
"This fervency of spirit should be 4 M
manifested in season.' I will consider this as embracing our usually appointed duties.
"Let zeal and fervour, holy reverence, and devotion mark our mode of conducting public worship. The people will pray if the minister really prays. Let the sacraments of the church of Christ be honoured, and their nature explained to our people: baptism being performed at stated periods and during public service, and attendance on the Lord's Supper urged as the solemn duty of sincere Christians. Let the young be carefully prepared for Confirmation; it is a most important æra of their lives. Let the offices of the church, such as Marriage, Visiting the Sick, Thanksgiving for Women after Child-birth, and the Burial of the Dead, all be administered in the spirit of our Heavenly Master, and of our Divine work.
"But especially, fervency of preaching is an eminent part of our duty. To speak of heaven and hell in a cold, tame, and indifferent manner, is to pour contempt on God's truths, and to lead to the inference that we do not believe what we preach. Everlasting life! Everlasting death! What astounding realities are these! What ardent efforts will men make to save those whose bodies are in peril! O! if we believe the soul's immortality, and its certain abode in endless misery or everlasting joy, how can we speak of them in a careless or formal manner; how can we but speak of them with corresponding seriousness and energy.
"These are duties in season, and a diligent, attentive, earnest, sympathizing, and affectionate discharge of them, will much endear us to our people.
"But there are other parts of our duty which call for fervency of spirit, which I will notice under the expression out of
"And here I place in the first scale of importance, pastoral intercourse with our people. We must live among them, and have them under constant inspection and watchful care. We should, where practicable, know all and have personal converse with all, rebuking the daring, shewing the insincere to himself, encouraging the timid and backward, and feeding the whole flock, purchased with the blood of the Son of God. Where,
from the size of parishes, this is impracticable, and indeed in smaller places, much may be done by cottage lectures, religious conferences with families, and catechetical instruction. Parochial Religious Libraries, formed of books well selected by the minister, will help to diffuse Divine knowledge in a way interesting to the people. District Visiting Societies also, are admirable institutions, through means of which the laity, where intelligent and serious, without departing
from their proper character, are brought materially to aid the clergy. I have tried District Visiting Societies, both in London and in the country, and can speak from experience of their beneficial influence. While our more pious parishioners are stirred up to think of their neighbours, they themselves obtain the best good.' pp. 19-21.
"If we only also consulted our present happiness, surely many of us can testify that of all employments, when the heart is in it, the ministry is the most blessed occupation. What tongue can utter the joys of sweet contentment of mind, and calm approbation of our own conscience, and constant inward satisfaction, on faithfully labouring in our duty. The love of those to whom our labours have been blessed, is the most touching and affect ing and heart-gladdening love that this world affords. How rich and full are the consolations in Christ, and the comfort of love, and the fellowship of the Spirit with a people among whom we are spending ourselves and being spent, when God owns and prospers our labours! And if the love of the people of Christ be a motive, how should the love of Christ himself constrain us, not to live to ourselves, but to him who died for us; and to seek with a single eye the glory of our Divine and gracious Saviour." p. 25.
And shall we despair of our beloved church, while we find on every side, north and south, east and west, in towns and villages, and high places of dignity, such doctrines and such precepts as those contained in the mass of the above extracts, and which are but a casual specimen of the preaching and labours of a large body of our clergy in every part of the country? We do not despair; but truth forbids us to say that we have no fears, especially when we consider that these doctrines are not those which resound from the majority of our pulpits, or spread their life-giving influences. over the larger number of our parishes. But that there has been a revival of scriptural piety among us, a revival far broader and deeper than the most sanguine could have hoped for five and twenty years ago, is a truth most consoling and not to be controverted. It has not however been in the storm, or the earthquake, that God has spoken among us; but in a still small voice, heard only