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demnation, as in matters of faith. A walk and conversation not according to godliness cannot be suffered by them who have authority in the house of God, without censure, This their duty arises from the fact, that God has connected real godliness in the deportment of men with their belief of the principles which constitute and mature godliness.
2dly. The duty of the Church in relation to the world, is to furnish it with information, and set it a good example. With respect to the latter duty, it will be performed, if holiness of conduct and conversation be required; for then the members of the Church will adorn the doctrine of God their Saviour in all things. They will afford practical evidence of the power of the truth in their own case, making their light-so to shine before others, that they, seeing their good works, may glorify their Father who is in heaven.
The former duty is more complex, and requires more consideration. We shall not, however, enter minutely into an examination of the details belonging to this part of the subject under discussion. We shall only present to the view of our readers, the principal means of information which the Church possesses, and ought to use to fulfil her duty to the world. These are the ministry of reconciliation—the associations of Christians for promoting the diffusion of truth, and the establishment of Christ's kingdom-and religious publications. The importance of the second of these is so well understood and felt, as to need no remarks on our part to stimulate the Church to new exertions. Indeed, fears have been expressed by some, that there is danger to be apprehended from the constant, and increasing exertions of the Church in this respect, since they are not connected with corresponding exertions for growth in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. The period of the Reformation from Popery was a period of profound reflection and mature investigation in the church. The Reformers, like Elijah, left their mantles to the Elishas of the next period, to enlighten their cotemporaries, and hand down the truth to the next generation. These men, (the last of whom died between the accession of Charles II. and the revolution under
William III.) were giants in intellect, and thoroughly acquainted with the system of truth, contained in the Scriptures, both as to what they teach concerning God, and what duty God requires of man. Compared with them, if we except a few, such as Jonathan Edwards the elder, and the late Bishop Horsley, their successors appear like pigmies. The present period is emphatically that of action in the Church. The spread of the gospel throughout the world--the translation of the Scriptures in the various languages of the human familytheir circulation throughout the nations of the earth-Religious Tract Societies, and Sunday Schools, with other great and important objects, occupy the attention, and engross the affections of Christians to such a degree, as to leave but little time for study or deep reflection. We rejoice that Christians are doing so much for those who are without God, and without hope: and we fervently pray that this general movement, this universal engagedness, may still progress, and may not produce (as some apprehend will be produced) habits of inattention to growth in personal godliness, and a neglect of mental improvement.
There are two ways in which the evils that may arise from this source may be prevented, viz. by the encouragement and support of Theological Seminaries, and the circulation of religious publications.
A few remarks on each of these will close this article.
1. Theological Seminaries are all-important to the Church of God, for supplying her members with learned as well as pious ministers. One man, who is pastor of a flock, cannot do that justice to a number of students of divinity which the nature of the case requires, unless he neglects his flock. Hence arises the necessity, wherever the measure is practicable, of one or more ministers devoting themselves exclusively to the work of instructing students of this description ; but as, ordinarily, such students are not able to pay for their tuition a suficient sum to support their teachers, it becomes the duty of a denomination to establish at least one great Seminary, and endow it for the support of its officers. On this principle the
Presbyterians, Reformed Dutch, and Congregationalists of New England have acted. Towards the accomplishment of the same object, the Associate Reformed, Associate, and Reformed Presbyterian denominations are exerting themselves ; though at present their professors, either for the want of means, or of spirit in their respective bodies, are compelled to perform the duty of pastors. Besides the advantages, which such Seminaries obviously afford the students for the acquisition of theological knowledge, they, in them, becoming personally acquainted with each other, form attachments, and go out into the Church as a band of brothers. Moreover, having been educated in the same Seminary, according to the form of sound words adopted by the denomination to which they belong, they are more likely to preserve “the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace." This last consideration is of vital importance, for the prosperity of each particular denomination. For so long as such denominations do exist apart, whilst they respect the unquestionable claims of each other to the Christian name, and interchange in the kind offices of Christian fellowship, so far as they agree in those truths which are essential to the Christian name, they ought to rally round their own standards, and adhere to them most sacredly, admitting not one as a constituent member, who does not ex animo embrace the whole system of doctrinės embraced in them. Let others be received as friends visitants-brethren-partakers of the common salvation, and treated with all the rights of ecclesiastical hospitality. In the present divided state of the Church, there is no other way for preserving harmony and good order throughout all her borders. Let every denomination then cherish with care and affection their respective Seminaries, that thus their internal union may remain inviolate, and they act as a band of brethren.
2. Religious publications constitute a powerful engine in preserving purity of doctrine, and holiness of life, in the church of God. No others ought to be encouraged by her members, than those which accord with her faith and practice. Let us not be understood as interdicting the reading of every
work which is not of this description. We mean, that the Church ought not to be officially accessary to the publication and circulation of any others than those already mentioned. Let us not be understood as recommending the infliction of censure upon the author or publisher of any work which is not confessedly erroneous in essential points. We mean merely to state, that in our judgment, it is the duty of Church officers officially to inform the members wherein any work, published by one of their number, varies from her Confession, and refute the error.
Of all the various kinds of religious works, none are more extensively useful in promoting the interests of the Church than periodical publications. From their nature, they combine doctrinal, practical, and critical instruction, either in a regular series of essays, or in the desultory miscellaneous form. They contain reviews of works, informing the public of their contents, subjecting them to the rules of impartial criticism, and testing their principles by the word of God, and the forms of sound words. They furnish intelligence of what God is doing for his Church, either in her own borders, or in the world. From the regular returns of these publications, they afford opportunity between these returns, to read them, whilst we are attending to the daily callings of life. From their diversified matter, they gratisy a desire after the knowledge of truth, and a laudable curiosity after the events which are daily transpiring in the religious world. 1. Such a work we have undertaken, because we think the signs of the times in our land require the experiment. We have undertaken it, conscious of its magnitude and responsibility, in humble dependence upon divine aid for success. To Him who is the Head of the Church we commit it, confident that he will glorify himself in its results.
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF THE LATE DR. ABEEL.
AMONG the noblest emotions of man's bosom in relation to his fellow-man, are those of friendship. Few indeed are destitute of the exercise of these emotions. Scarcely one human being is so completely isolated as not to feel attachment to others of his kind. It is true, that very often caprice is the parent of a spurious attachment; which is nurtured by the reception of benefits and the expectation of profit; which languishes, when the hope of advantage is disappointed, or the capricious fervour cools; after a short and constantly precarious life, it dies; and in its stead, spring up envy, and hate, and revenge. But such attachment as this deserves not the name of friendship. That friendship to which we refer, really exists, where virtue and goodness and worth are discovered in the object; where mutual confidence is felt, where mutual intercourse is cultivated, where mutual forbearance is exercised. It really exists, where to the love of kind is superadded the influence of the love of God and the grace of the Holy Ghost; where the object is regarded as a member of a beloved Redeemer, a child of a reconciled Father. Then the Christian feels the glow of true and exalted friendship; and the emotions of his soul are honourable to the man, and bring glory to God.
Such friendship may be in a sense suspended. If nothing else, the stroke of death in a degree interrupts it, placing the dearest object in the house of silence and the survivor is left to mourn, his heart widowed, rent, and bleeding. Yet such friendship is indestructible. In the regions of glory, its exercise is to be renewed, and its gratifications are to be eternal as the communion of the saints. Here on earth, surviving friends anticipate these gratifications: they cherish recollections of the departed: they delight to trace their history, to reflect on their excellencies, to review the evidences of their attachment: and thrilling, rapturous sensations accompany the thoughts of heaven, of the reunion of friends, and their inseparable fellow