[ocr errors]

greatest preacher you ever heard.” “I really thought So,” said Mutator, "till Eugenio came to town; but he has quite altered my opinion.” “Pray who is Eugenio?” inquired Philander. "I do not much wonder,” replied Mutator, "that you are ignorant of bim; this is the first time of his visiting the metropolis; but when he becomes known, he will eclipse every body else.” “On what ac. count?” said Philander. Why," answered Mutator, “because;” “I suppose you mean," subjoined Philander, “because he is a different person, a new face, that great gospel magnet of these wondering days." "Surely,” said Mutator, "you are not serious in talking thus; you mean, to banter me." “Not I, truly,” replied Philander; “if you could learn the impropriety of such a changeable dispo. sition, and act accordingly, it would much more adorn the profession of the truth than does a zealous, but transient attachment to a preacher; not because he is really more eminent than others, but because he is of more recent appearance.” “What, then,” exclaimed Ventosus, who had hitherto been silent, “I suppose you wish us always to hear one minister. This would be lifeless work indeed. Variety and change are essential to improvement.” “That I much question,” said Philander. "Such a practice may gratify a sickle mind, and may, in some cases, be attended with advantage; but it is not calculated to increase knowl. edge, or establish the mind. Excuse me for adverting to your case, Curioso,” continued he, it gives birth to the error with which I think you are chargeable, and, perhaps, to several others." Here Ventosus interrupted him by saying, "Really, Philander, I think you are very bigotted, . You should remember every person does not think as you do, and therefore give them the same latitude you take for

[ocr errors]


6. This I will most cheerfully do,” said Phi. lander, " and the evil will be cured at once. I embrace the liberty of the gospel, and wish to extend it to others. Thence I learn that it is a good thing for the heart to be established with grace. Now I conceive you pursue methods, which have no tendency to promote this object. You gain no benefit from a minister unless he is popular. If he declines in this respect, you imagine his preaching is dry, insipid, and perhaps legal; and concurin the censure of others, that such a person, once a favorite with the pub. lic, is not what he used to be. This clearly proves, either that he is changed, or that you are mistaken; if he is alter. ed, it must be either for the better or the worse. In the former case, you are not justified in leaving him; and even in the latter, you may be mistaken in your judgment; and if so, you carelessly, though inadvertently, leave him, under whom you once profited, and are hereby guilty of a con. tempt of one of God's messengers. I believe it seldom happens, according to the common course of things, that a minister is the worse for advancing in years. If his know. ledge and experience increase, this ought to endear him to the people; whereas, in common, his continuance with them is the ostensible reason for departing from him.”

Philander was now assailed byall his visitors and charged with making unfriendlystrictures upon their conduct. “I can only say,” replied he, with much coolness, "that what I have advanced on this subject is consistent with reason and fact. Let me appeal to your experience." stop,''said Ventosus, where comes Mnason; we will have his opinion." Upon being introduced, he apologized for his intrusion, which he said he seldom had occasion to do

* 13

66 But

[ocr errors]

on that day,in which he never paid any idle visits; but he had been to see a sick brother, and finding himself weary, had called in for some refreshment. Philander told him that apologies were needless in his circumstances, at the same time that he perceived the confusion of his other guests at this uudesigned, but poignant reproof, which had dropped from Mnason. “We have,” said Ventosus, ad. dressing himself so Moason, “for some time been con. versing on a subject, which we will now refer to you. Philander condemns the practice of many persons, in fol. lowing different popular preachers, and thinks we ought to confine ourselveschieflyto a stated ministry.” “In that," answered Mnason, "I think he is perfectly right. You sec I am now old; I have stood for many years a tree planted, I hope, by the Lord's right hand; and though not so fruitful as I could wish, yet Itrust not altogether barren. I have for many years sat under the truly venerable Judica. tor, and find more instruction, and as much satisfaction in him as ever. With him I began my Christian race, and with or shortly after him, I hope to end it.” “I am sure," said Mutator, "the case is very different with us; ve have been but a few years in the good old way,yet, aod ......."subjoined Philander,"have had as many favorites as moons." This sudden interruption quite disconcerted them; and though at first theyintended to spend the afternoon with Philander, and the evening at some lecture, they now began to prepare for a departure. When Philander perceived this, he told them that he did not judge it a breach of true hospitality, to reject sach visits as these, band, "added he, "as I never expect, so never prepare for them; but if you will take such fare as we have, you shall be welcome, and after dinner we will accompany

Mnason to hear Judicator.” Theyaccepted the offer, and amongst other things which were mentioned in conversa. tion, Mnason particularly requested them to remember, that there were relative duties between a minister and his people, which ought most conscientiouslyto be regarded. On the minister's part, by watching for the souls of his hearers; and on the people's part, by holding ap, and strengthening the hands of their minister. “These duties,” continued he, "must be neglected by a conformity to that practice for which you have been contending against Phi. lander.” There seemed a general acquiescence in this ob. servation, and the time being come to go to the place of worship, they went accordingly,and were all of them properly seated before the commencement of the service; for it was a maxim with Mnas on and Philander never to dis. turb public worship by a late attendance, which they considered both as indecent and criminal. They accompanied Judicator in his address to the Throne ofGrace; but were not a little surprizedto hear him read for his text the bene. diction of David, Blessed are they that dwell in thy house, they will be still praising thee.* From which he took oc. casion to shew the privilege they enjoyed in having public ordinances to resort to. The duty of such as have this mercy,as consisting in a constant,steadfast, and persevering regard to them. The peculiar advantage which resulted from DWELLing in the house of God; great cause

for praise, and a disposition corresponding to it. When the assembly were dismissed, they departed from the courts of God, acknowledging the benefit they had received from the discourse, and resolving, in the strength of Divine Grace, to be, in future, more steadfast, and always to abound in the work of the Lord, which shall not be in vuin.

* Psalm lxxxiv,


The Old Testament is a treasure locked up, of which Christ alone has the key; without him the Bible is like the earth without the sun; it has beauties, but they are all invisible.


Jesus, permit thy gracious name to stand,
As the first efforts of an infant's hand;
And while her fingers o'er this canvas move,
Engage her tender heart to seek thy love;
With thy dear children let her share a part,
And write thy name, thyself, upon her heart.


As late amongst the flow'ry tribes,

I stray'd with tranquil breast,
A serious monitor at length

My musing mind address'd.

A tender plant, preserved with care

Beneath a sunny shed,
Keceded from the touch I gave,

And quickly bow'd its head.*

In reason's ear it seemed to say,

“ Mortal behold in me
An emblem of the righteous Plant

Expos’d to death for thee.

“Humble and meek thy Master came

To suffer rude disdain,
And, though by thankless men revil'd,

Resisted not again.

See Hervey's Reflections on a Flower Garden.

« VorigeDoorgaan »