« VorigeDoorgaan »
interest;—they may exercise the most tion of topics connected with the consummate ability in shielding their new
ministerial office, distinguishes acquisitions from inroad and devastation; and yet the events of a few years may discourse to the clergy from an orshew how visionary have been their dinary parochial sermon, so their schemes! how futile their plans! how judicious application to the actual transitory the effects of all their toil !
circumstances of the times distinBut not so the messenger of God: the fruits of his labour are imperishable ;- guishes it from a general dissertation no power can invade ;—nor time destroy on the pastoral office. We quote as them ;–His object is the salvation of copiously as our space allows from the never-dying soul ;– He implants those portions of Mr. Cox's very within the human heart the seed of Divine truth, which springs up and bears important remarks which bear this fruit to the praise and glory of God upon aspect. earth, and through the endless ages of eternity :—the deathless spirit, through
“ A glance at the peculiar situation of his instrumentality, is plucked from the
the primitive Christians, and especially grasp of death, and the jaws of hell, and
to that of their ministers, who were natuwill be his joy and crown of rejoicing at rally the first objects of popular indignathe last great day. O! who can conceive tion, will immediately convince us of the the glory that awaits him, when he pre
absolute necessity of their being endowed sents redeemed souls before the heavenly had need of angel's strength for their sup
with more than human fortitude. They throne! He will then walk with God and see him as he is—Before he entered port, and they had more than an angel's the celestial gates, this mysterious inter
• We are troubled on every course was often interrupted by tempta- side,' says the Apostle, “yet not distresstions from within, and trials from without; ed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; but now his warfare is ended, his struggles persecuted, but not forsaken ; cast down, are over; faith is swallowed up in sight, but not destroyed.... And now, behold I and hope in enjoyment; as he treads the go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, everlasting courts of heaven, the view of
not knowing the things that shall befall the seals of his ministry heightens his
me there : save that the Holy Ghost bliss, and the sound of their triumphant witnesseth in every city, saying, that song thrill with delight his glorified spirit. bonds and aflictions abide me. But none The light which streams from the throne
of these things move me; neither count of God encircles his head with a crown
I my life dear unto myself, so that I of glory, which will reflect its splendour might finish my course with joy, and the through the endless ages of eternity. - ministry, which I have received of the . And they that be wise shall shine as the
Lord Jesus, to testify the Gospel of the brightness of the firmament; and they grace of God. Venerable, and venethat turn many to righteousness, as the rated men ! Cheerfully were ye bound,
that the word of God might not be bound ! stars for ever and ever.'” Mr. Cox chooses the same ap- might live, and communicate its life
Gladly did ye meet death, that the truth propriate subject as Mr. Garbett
giving influence to a dying world! namely, courage, love, and a sound Through the good providence of mind, the scriptural qualification for God, we are not exposed to a repetition
of these tremendous scenes. The instruthe Christian ministry. Mr. Cox's
ments of torture are destroyed, the flames former publications, especially his of persecution are quenched, and the Lives of the Fathers, his Memoir of sword of the magistrate is unsheathed, Fletcher, and his pious and judicious not for the attack, but for the defence of Horæ Romanæ, will have already time, with such jealousy is the least in
our religious immunities. At the same bespoken the favourable regards of fraction of them regarded by a scrutiour readers to the present discourse; nizing public, that the most exalted prefrom which we should be glad to late, were he so disposed, could not with quote somewhat largely, on account humblest of the clergy,
impunity infringe on the rights of the of the application which the author
“ But the current, in fact, appears to makes of his general principles to be flowing in an opposite direction. The the peculiar features of the present danger now to be apprehended is, lest times. The plan of bringing scrip- ness; and freedom of speech degenerate
liberty should luxuriate into licentioustural truth to bear upon the minis- into defamation and scurrility. It has terial exigences and trials of the been reserved for our days to witness the passing day, is a very important and conduct, the sentiments, nay, the very interesting part of an appropriate
motives of our highest dignitaries and
most eminent divines, misrepresented, visitation sermon; for as the selec- vilified, and held up to open derision.
pp. 21, 22
Public meetings, convened for far differ- system, which are so lamentably prevaent objects, have been converted into lent in numbers, of whose piety we chetheatres for the exhibition of indecent rish the most pleasing hopes; and, in altercations, and insidious attacks upon short, that it is the privilege of comparathe best of men; and journals, profess- tively few to possess that comprehensiveedly conducted on religious principles, ness of mind, which can alone enable a have given point and sanction to the un- person to connect and harmonize the worthy calumnies.
heights and depths, the lengths and “ In the mean time, so hampered are our breadths of our holy religion. bishops by antiquated and expensive forms “ Let a minister deliver what the of judicature, and so checked and thwarted Scriptures deliver, and be silent where in their proceedings by the courts of com- they are silent. Let him take heed not mon law, that with the exception of a to place his own reasonings on the word strict enforcement of the technicalities of of God upon a level with the word of God. duty, their spiritual controul is little more Let him shew that he has not the vanity than nominal. Even in cases of gross to court a distinguishing appellation, or clerical delinquency, their power is very the cowardice to shrink from one ; that limited and uncertain ; and in those of he is not a man that will go undue lengths heretic pravity, or fantastic speculations, to defend the system of one party, or to its actual exercise is well nigh unknown.” oppose that of another. Let him thus Cox, pp. 5–7.
act, and he will soon find that he has to 66 The trials to which we are exposed encounter the bigots of every party. The are far from trivial. The rack, the fire, the most contradictory censures will at times sword, have long since ceased their ravages; be passed on the same sermon. • He but the carnal mind' still exists, and re- frustrates the grace of God,' says onetains its enmity to God.' The minister • He disparages the works of obedience,' of the Gospel is not unfrequently called says another—' He tediously dwells on the upon to address those who are opposed beggarly elements of religion,' says a third to the reception of Divine truth. By one - He soars into the regions of mystipart of his hearers, though his heart is cism,' will be the charge of a fourth ; and overflowing with benevolence, he may be perhaps the only thing in which the disregarded as an unfeeling character, taking cordant parties eventually agree, will be pleasure in overwhelming the soul with to accuse him of inconsistency and selfdark and melancholy forbodings; by ano- contradiction. ther part, though he speak the words of “ Now, in order that a minister of truth and soberness,' he may be repre- Christ may steadily pursue his course sented as a setter forth of strange 'doc- like the faithful witness in heaven,' trines, which deserve to be treated with while intervening clouds apparently atundissembled levity, if not with open tempt to arrest its progress, and diminish aversion. The voluptuary will detest its splendour; for him to persist through his exhortations to temperance and self- ' weariness, and painfulness, and watchdenial : the proud will treat him with ings,' with the noblest aim ; for him, when contempt, when he enforces the necessity batlled in one mode of exertion, cheerfully of Christian humility and condescension : to adopt another, neither irritated by opthe licentious will be offended by the position nor discouraged by difficultiesgravity and strictness which pervade his nothing less than a portion of that sacred sermons : and the formal will be roused fortitude, which nerved the minds of the to indignation by that spirit of zeal and primitive ministers of the Gospel, will be devotion which characterize all his minis- found sufficient.” pp. 8–11. trations.
“ A volume, rather than a division of “ Nor will his trials arise merely from a discourse, would be requisite, to point those who are hostile to religion, or out the constant bearings of a sound grossly ignorant of its nature.
His . ene- mind upon the different duties connected mies will not unfrequently be found with the ministerial office. I shall, thereamong • those of his own household.' fore, merely select a few particulars as Some highly talented and truly consci- illustration.” p. 19. entious ministers, I am aware, have for a “ A sound mind is necessary for the time supposed, that by a judicious deve- adaptation of our instructions to the pelopment of the doctrines, and a lucid ex- culiar circumstances of our hearers..... It hibition of their close connexion with is not enough to say that a sermon is senthe various precepts of the Gospel, they sible, orthodox, devotional; it may conwould be able to convince the judgment, fer the highest credit on the research, the and conciliate the affections of the well- piety, and the ingenuity of the preacher, disposed part of their auditory. But they and yet be altogether unsuitable for the have at length discovered that they had pulpit, or at least inapplicable to the state not sufficiently taken into account the in- and attainments of the persons to whom firmities which are inseparable from hu- it was addressed. manity; that they had not made due al- “ A sound mind is necessary for a due lowance for that portion of bigotry, and exhibition of the various doctrines of the that natural attachment to a favourite Gospel.
pp. 30, 31.
itself to the Christian minister when he “ A sound mind is requisite in the ad
meets his people in the great congregaministration of our censures.” p. 25. tion! He sees gathered before him those
“ A sound mind is necessary for the who will be living, thousands of thousands regulation of our intercourse with the and millions on millions of ages hence, world.” p. 26.
and all living in one of two states, “ Lastly, a sound mind is necessary for either in endless woe or eternal bliss. the regulation of our intercourse with our They are gathered before him that they brethren. Christ is not divided ; unhap- may learn how to escape that woe, and to pily his ministers are. A benevolent attain that bliss.
He is God's appointed clergyman will lament these divisions; servant, having a Divine commission, and and a sound-minded one will devise the a message full of mercy.
To the eye of best expedients for their removal." his faith, hell with its unutterable agonies
is before him, and he has to proclaim a “ From the same benevolent principle, Saviour able and willing to deliver from a 'sound mind' will induce a clergyman those agonies. Heaven with all its trandecidedly to reject any party-designation. scendent glories is in his view; and, in The terms · Evangelical,' and. Orthodox,' the name of the great King of heaven, so currently applied in the present day, he has to invite all that will hear, to parare as vague as they are offensive. In the take of those glories. On the acceptance mouth of some they imply every thing of his message depends eternal life, and which can adorn the man, or qualify the on its rejection depends eternal death. minister for his sacred office; in that of
“ And if this be the impressive scene others, they insinuate all that is base, and presented before us every Sabbath, O my mean, and contemptible. Surely then it brethren in the ministry, my heart fails argues no little degree of arrogance for a me when I view a congregation not merely, clergyman to assume either of these ex- of ordinary hearers, but of ministers, the pressions in its laudatory sense, as a dis- ministers of many congregations. When tinctive description of himself and his I consider how seriously our personal partisans, and no less deficiency in cha- character and ministry may affect the salrity to apply them in their sarcastic mean- vation, even the eternal welfare of thouing, to those whose religious sentiments sands and tens of thousands of immortal may in some particulars differ from his beings, I tremble within me at the fearful
responsibility of a visitation sermon.
“ If any thing could deepen such feel. The last discourse on our list is ings, it would be the signs of the present
times. They are very peculiar ; full of one by a much-beloved and emi- excitement, and pregnant with momennently useful clergyman, who whe- tous consequences.” Bickersteth, pp. 1, 2. ther pleading in behalf of the igno- Sabbath, and never was its holy rest more rant and perishing heathen, or, in openly broken
; its Divine authority has the discharge of the duties of the been denied by clergymen of our own pastoral office, or as a public instruc- church : the councils of our cabinet mitor and benefactor by means of his nisters have of late been generally held many valuable and popular works, upon, this day. The press pours forth
its Sunday newspapers in tens of thou(among which we take the oppor- sands. The public conveyances violate tunity of warmly recommending his its sanctity in every direction; and the little volume of plain, affectionate, day of God is extensively, profaned by and scriptural discourses just pub- all classes. There is much reason to fear lished,) has proved himself a faithful that Popery and Socinianism and Neoloservant of Christ, and an eminent gianism are each, in wide spheres, full of instrument of benefit in the hands activity, diffusing the baneful influence of of God to his fellow-men. There
their respective systems on every side.
“ Is it not painful, my brethren, to obrun throughout his visitation ser
serve how little God has been acknowmon an artless warmth and earnestledged in the public measures and national pleading on behalf of the souls of proceedings of our professedly Christian men, which remind us rather of state ? If ever there were times when we
should as a nation have sought God in an the writings of some of the old appointed fast, surely the last year predivines than of the ordinary discus- sented such periods! The encourage
pp. 33, 34.
ment given to the grossest idolatry in the the primitive order of Episcopacy, and administration of our East India posses- possessing a Liturgy incomparable among sions, and the continuance of slavery human compositions for the purity and in the West Indies, are other distressing simplicity and unctional fervour of its proofs of national guilt.
devotions. The establishment of such a “ I speak not of pride and covetous- church in our country has furnished faithness, rapacity and luxury, frauds in trade, ful ministers of Christ with peculiar adcursing, perjuries, and the want of sym- vantages and efficient means for fulfilling pathy and kindly feeling between the dif- to the utmost their ministry, and our naferent ranks of society among us—but tional prosperity has for three centuries will a single glance fail to convince us been intimately connected with its supthat there is a torrent of evil against port. Yet notwithstanding all this, there which Christian ministers have to strug- are now multitudes in our land who think gle in these national sins?
and avow that the greatest service that “ Then when we enter into our pa- could be rendered, not only to our nation, rishes, we find our people almost univer- but even to Christianity itself, would be sally engrossed in the things of this world. the overthrow of this church. Its real In those parishes where most is done, evils are highly exaggerated; false charges perhaps scarcely half of the people attend are multiplied against it, and its just claims public worship, and not one twentieth and titles are denied. part the Lord's Table, whilst only here But, brethren, the occasion calls me and there a solitary family can be found to proceed farther still, and with the deephaving daily family worship, and evincing est sense of my own personal deficiencies by their general conversation and conduct to ask my own conscience, and to put it that they are under the just influence of to yours-- Are we in the ministry of this the Gospel. The enemy is busy sowing church sufficiently alive to the peculiarity tares among those who can read, and the of the present times, to the imminent more aged and illiterate have a dulness dangers which threaten our country, and of intellect from neglected education, that to our unutterably momentous responsirenders their minds almost inaccessible bility as watchmen in the house of God to our instruction. The new beer-houses at this critical period ?” pp. 3_8. opened by the late act, as a fresh evil, “ What then is the primary duty of mispread still farther dissipation and intoxi- nisters at this time? What is the lever cation among our people.
by which those moral evils that almost “ All these however are but the symp- sink our country may be removed ? toms of a deeper evil, infidelity—the do- • Preach the word; be instant in season, minant sin of the human heart, and the out of season.' The Apostle gives a peculiar feature of the present times. direction, and then shews with what ferThis is openly avowed, in a way, and to vency of spirit it should be attended to. an extent that it never was before, and The direction is, ' preach the word.' with a confidence and boldness quite un- “ Our great duty is clearly marked out. precedented; and it is begetting its pro- We are not to spend our strength and per effects, insubordination and disregard trifle away our time on inferior matters. for all things constituted, so that no insti. It is time for us, my brethren, even if we tution of man, however approved by ex- only wish the continuance of our estaperience, is safe. The spirit of the lead- blishment, to lay aside all suspicions and ing public journals is, in multiplied in- jealousies, reserves and distances, on acstances, directly opposed to the spirit of count of those minor differences which the Gospel. In them God seems to be Satan has studiously magnified, and which as much as possible shut out of his own have separated ministers who love and world; men despise dominion, and speak serve the same Saviour. Where there is evil of dignities; they are fierce, heady, a real love to Christ, there is an ample high-minded, and their influence on the ground of union ; 'grace be with all them public mind is immense.
that love the Lord Jesus Christ in since“ Though it be to the honour, yet it is rity.' Whatever differences of judgment also to the fearful danger of the Church there may be between such, · Whereto we of England, that it is the great object of have already attained, let us walk by the ceaseless attacks from all quarters; there same rule, let us mind the same thing.' has set against it a stream of opposition The cordiał union of faithful ministers in of prodigious power, to which political the church, would be a blessed token for events seem to give increasing strength. good to our whole country.” p. 10. We believe our church to be founded on “ The Apostle farther shews, with Christ the Rock of ages; we view it as what fervency of spirit the direction sealed with the blood of our martyred Re- should be attended to, Be instant in seaformers, and as having been for centuries son, out of season. Be ever importunate the grand bulwark of the Protestant faith. and urgent. Be always alive to your great God favoured us in an especial manner, work, eternity is at hand, the Judge is at by disposing our VIth Edward to be the the door, souls are perishing ! nursing father of such a church, retaining • This fervency of spirit should be CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 358.
manifested in season. I will consider from their proper character, are brought this as embracing our usually appointed materially to aid the clergy. I have tried duties.
District Visiting Societies, both in Lon“ Let zeal and fervour, holy reverence, don and in the country, and can speak and devotion mark our mode of conduct- from experience of their beneficial influing public worship. The people will ence. While our more pious parishioners pray if the minister really prays. Let are stirred up to think of their neighbours, the sacraments of the church of Christ they themselves obtain the best good." be honoured, and their nature explained pp. 19–21. to our people : baptism being performed “ If we only also consulted our present at stated periods and during public ser- happiness, surely many of us can testify vice, and attendanee on the Lord's Sup- that of all employments, when the heart per urged as the solemn duty of sincere is in it, the ministry is the most blessed Christians. Let the young be carefully occupation. What tongue can utter the prepared for Confirmation; it is a most im- joys of sweet contentment of mind, and portantæra of their lives. Let the offices calm approbation of our own conscience, of the church, such as Marriage. Visiting and constant inward satisfaction, on faiththe Sick, Thanksgiving for Women after fully labouring in our duty. The love of Child-birth, and the Burial of the Dead, those to whom our labours have been all be administered in the spirit of our blessed, is the most touching and affect Heavenly Master, and of our Divine ing and heart-gladdening love that this work.
world affords. How rich and full are “ But especially, fervency of preaching the consolations in Christ, and the comis an eminent part of our duty. To speak fort of love, and the fellowship of the of heaven and hell in a cold, tame, and in- Spirit with a people among whom we are different manner, is to pour contempt on spending ourselves and being spent, when God's truths, and to lead to the inference God owns and prospers our labours ! that we do not believe what we preach. And if the love of the people of Christ Everlasting life! Everlasting death! be a motive, how should the love of Christ What astounding realities are these! himself constrain us, not to live to ourWhat ardent efforts will men make to selves, but to him who died for us; and save those whose bodies are in peril! O! to seek with a single eye the glory of our if we believe the soul's immortality, and Divine and gracious Saviour.” p. 25. its certain abode in endless misery or everlasting joy, how can we speak of And shall we despair of our bethem in a careless or formal manner ; how loved church, while we find on every can we but speak of them with corresponding seriousness and energy.
side, north and south, east and west, “ These are duties in season, and a di- in towns and villages, and high ligent, attentive, earnest, sympathizing, places of dignity, such doctrines and affectionate discharge of them, will and such precepts as those conmuch endear us to our people.
“. But there are other parts of our duty tained in the mass of the above exwhich call for fervency of spirit, which Í tracts, and which are but a casual will notice under the expression out of specimen of the preaching and laseason.'
bours of a large body of our clergy “ And here I place in the first scale of importance, pastoral intercourse in every part of the country? We with our people. . We must live among do not despair; but truth forbids us them, and have them under constant in- to say that we have no fears, espespection and watchful care. where practicable, know all "and have cially when we consider that these personal converse with all, rebuking the doctrines are not those which resound daring, shewing the insincere to himself, from the majority of our pulpits, encouraging the timid and backward, and or spread their life-giving influences feeding the whole flock, purchased with the blood of the Son of God. Where, rishes. But that there has been a
over the larger number of our pafrom tbe size of parishes, this is impracticable, and indeed in smaller places, revival of scriptural piety among us, much may be done by cottage lectures, a revival far broader and deeper than religious conferences with families, and the most sanguine could have hoped catechetical instruction. Parochial Religious Libraries, formed of books well for five and twenty years ago, is a selected by the minister, will help to dif- truth most consoling and not to be fuse Divine knowledge in a way interest- controverted. It has not however ing to the people. District Visiting So- been in the storm, or the earthquake, cieties also, are admirable institutions, through means of which the laity, where that God has spoken among us; intelligent and serious, without departing but in a still small voice, heard only