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him on the king's highway, he Mr. Doolittle made religion looked earnestly at him, but not his business, and was best please being certain who he was, let him ed when taken up in the exergo, and went away threatening cises of it. Scarcely any one
that he would know who that spent more time in his study, the black devil was, before he was advantages of which appeared in three days older.” Some of Mr. his own improvement, and in his Doolittle's friends were much preparations for the pulpit ; not concerned for him ; but on the satisfying himself to offer to God third day a person brought him or his people that which cost him word, that the captain was chok- nothing - In his latter years he ed at his table with a bit of bread. was more than once brought near After this he removed to Batter- the grave; but, on his people's sea, where his goods were seized fervent prayers, he was wonderand sold. In several other pla- fully restored. A life prolonged ces his house was rifled, and his beyond his usefulness he feared, person often in danger ; but as the greatest trial ; and God Providence so favoured bis es- graciously prevented it. For the cape, that he was never impris. Lord's day before his death he oned. At length the toleration preached and catechised with gave him an opportunity of re- great vigour, and was confined turning to his place and people but two days to his bed. In the in London, where he continued valley of the shadow of death he as long as he lived, preaching had such a sense of the divine twice every Lord's day. He had presence, as proved a powerful also a lecture on Wednesdays, cordial for his support. He died at which he delivered his Expo- in May, 1707, aged 77, and was sition of the Assembly's Cate- the last of the ejected ministers chism. He had great delight in in London. After his death, was catechising, and urged ministers found a solemn and very particuto it, as having a special tendency lar form of covenanting with to propagate knowledge, to es. God, which may be seen in the tablish young persons in the memoirs of his life, prefixed to truth, and to prepare them to his Body of Divinity, whence the read and hear sermons with ad- above account is extracted. vantage.
OF NEW ENGLAND
been already accomplished. For we cannot mention prevailing
disorders, without making it (Concluded from p. 412.)
manifest, in every instance, what To suggest those things which the welfare of Zion requires. are necessary to the prosperity If the want of Christian piety in of our churches, was specified as church members ; if the decline one design of this SURVEY. of gospel discipline ; if the inThis design has, in a measure, difference of churches respecto ing the character and theologic Without anticipating the argual opinions of ininisters ; if the ments, by which I design to recneglect or abuse of catechetical ommend this important mea. instruction, and the growing sure, I cannot forbear to express contempt of creeds, are all evils wonder, that any objection of alarming magnitude, and of should ever be raised against it. destructive tendency; then their To say the least, what can be removal is highly important to more unexceptionable, than for a the good of the churches. The number of gospel ministers, from welfare of Zion requires, that different associations through the the character of nominal Chris- Commonwealth, to assemble, antians, in general, be reformed, nually, for the purpose of inquir. and that more care be used for ing into the state of the churchthe future in the admission of e8; of devising means for the church members; that faithful promotion of religion ; of contriba discipline in its various branches uting to each other's improvebe revived ; that churches ex- ment, and animating each other to ercise proper vigilance respect duty ? ing the religious character and But it is my design to state sentiments of their ministers, several distinct arguments in faand be strictly attentive to the vour of a GENERAL ASSOCIATION duty of catechising; and, final. in Massachusetts. As we proly, ihat confessions of faith be ceed, the nature of the proposed restored to that use, which is association will more fully apagreeable to Christian wisdom, pear. and which experience has shown My first argument in favour to be so advantageous to the of a GENERAL ASSOCIATION will cause of truth.
be derived from the common But there is one thing, which practice of men. The disciples seems to claim a more distinct of Christ have always been disconsideration, that is, a compre- posed to form associations, for hensive plan, designed to forward the purpose of promoting the all wise and promising measures interests of religion. They have for the common interest of found from age to age that, ia Christianity, especially for the their individual, unassociated good of the churches in this state, they have not had that inConimonwealth. What I in- , fluence, which union would give tend is a a GENERAL
them. Perceiving the advantage
of combining their counsels and MINISTERS IN MASSACHUSETTS. efforts, they have at every period The nature of ministerial asso- united themselves in larger or ciations is so far understood by smaller societies, as circumthe bulk of people, that there is stances have seemed to require. no need of minute description. Thus they have secured the At present it is sufficient to ob- benefit of joint wisdom and reserve, that the object of the pro- ciprocal aid, and have doubled posed association is, by joint their power to withstand their. consultation and mutual assist- adversaries, and to defend their ance to promote the cause of own righteous cause. Time Christian truth and holiness. would fail, should I attempt to
recount the numerous associa. advocating. Bụt I shall place, tions of Christian ministers, them, as arguments on the othwhich have taken place in differ. er side. The friends of error ent ages, or the multiplied ad- would not have been so fond of vantages which have resulted forming themselves into sociefrom them. What efficacious; ties, had they not known the resistance has ever been made peculiar 'advantages of union. against the rising power of In order to execute their plans Christ's enemies, or what great more readily, and to secure those reformation has ever been set advantages, which they have forward and completed, without deemed necessary to their trisuch a measure as we now rec- umph, they have joined them. ommend.
selves together in an unnatural Notice might here be taken of league. By acting in union, they the general assembly of Presby- have vastly increased their influ. terian ministers in the United ence. The enemies of ChristianStates; of the general associa- ity have for many years seemed tion in Connecticut ; of the gen- peculiarly sensible of the imporeral convention in Vermont; tance of combination. The unand of other forms of general common boldness which they union among Episcopalians, Bap- display, and the strength and tists, Moravians, Methodists, success, which they have ob&c. who all secure their respec- tained, are in a great measure tability and perpetuate their ex- consequences of their union. istence by similar means. On Though they differ in many recareful inquiry it will appear, spects ; yea, though they have that the Congregational ministers no natural bond of amity ; yet in this Commonwealth are in a they are so wise, as to lay aside state of singular disunion. There their differences, and to combine are, indeed, smaller associations, together for the advantage of which are held in esteem in ev- their cause. Nor is there any ery part. But every argument, way, in which we can effectual. which favours these, may be ly oppose their influence, but by urged in support of a general zealous co-operation. Their association. If it be suitable, union calls for union in us. A that a small number of minis. holy confederacy among ministers in the same circle should ters and Christians would soon meet to deliberate on the great weaken their growing power. concerns of religion ; why is it If the Congregational clergy in not suitable, that a larger num- this state would form themselves ber, belonging to different cir- into a harmonious body, their cles, shouid meet for the same influence would be sensibly felt. purpose ?
Their adversaries dread the Popish councils, assemblies, light, which would shine forth consistories, &c. which have from an assembly of faithful contributed so much to the ministers convened for consultapropagation of error and the in- tion and prayer. The Christian jury of the true church, are cause has a remarkable superiormentioned as objections against ity over the cause of impiety. such associations, as we are now For whereas there necessarily No. 11. Vol. II.
exist among the wicked radical How much has Zion already disunion and perpetual interfer- suffered for want of agreement ence ; there is among Chris- among her sons ! Let, then, her: tians a real foundation for the watchmen come together, con most cordial and entire harmo- sult for her safety and prosperiný. Remove those wrong af-.I ty, and unite in action and fections, which stand in opposi- prayer, or her desolation draw.. tion to their prevailing disposi. eth nigh. tion, and persuade them to feel How do men recognise the and act as Christians, and they advantages of union in all branchwill show that they are one. As es of business. They join tofar as this union exists, and gether to promote their success takes a proper direction, the in their mercantile, mechanical, church becomes an army with and literary pursuits. In all, the banners, which its enemies can- benefits of association are incal-* not subdue.
culable. But no where can union The grand principle, on which be of such eminent advantage, niy reasoning rests, that is, the as in religion. Because no where advantage of well regulated else is there a foundation for union, is recognised in the con- such perfect agreement in the stitution of all societies. Why great object of pursuit, and in do men unite themselves togeth- the means of obtaining it. er in the social compact, except My second argument in favour for the manifest advantages of a GENERAL ASSOCIATION ariswhich arise from it? The ne- es from the circumstances of the cessity of coalescence is espe- . times. The gospel ministry in cially felt in times of danger. 'this commonwealth is unhappily When the alarm of an ap- in a very broken, dismembered proaching enemy is sounded, state. În many instances those men, how divided soever before, Christian teachers, who are unitimmediately form themselves ed in the love of divine truth, into a body, so that their power, and fervently engaged in the which in a disunited state is cause of the Redeemer, are esnothing, may be increased and tranged from each other in affecrendered invincible by union. tion, and filled with mutual preWhat could men do against a judices. Now let each party potent, bloodthirsty foe, should Hatter themselves as they please, they continue in a separate, un- this must be recorded to the formed state, and each fight at shame of the ministers of Mashis own door, and according to sachusetts, as long as the gospel his own discretion ? Withont a abides in the land. Their disbetter mode of defence than cord is productive of aggravated this, a whole nation must fall evils. It bars them from the before an inconsiderable host. comfort and advantage of mutual But when, or in what circum- intercourse and confidence. It stances is union more needed, weakens their hands, and conthan among ministers and Chris- tracts their usefulness. In their tians at the present day? How present state of separation and great the strength, how alarm- estrangement, what power have ing the success of the ungodly! they to prosecute any measure
for the general interest of people ; their office would be Christ's kingdom, or even for respected, their religion honoureach other's edification ? People ed, and their divine Master adortake notice of their variance, and ed. What a blessed contrast to not only deride them, but be the present state of things would come hardened against religion.* be presented, if a general union Their minds are unsettled res- should take place among evanpecting Christianity, by the dis- gelical ministers in this comagreement of those, who are ay- monwealth. thorized to teach it.
This argument for a general Now how desirable it is, that association will be still further the scattered fragments of the strengthened, when we attend to Congregational ministry in this the number, skill, and activity of state be collected & joined togeth- Zion's enemies. How are they er in the bonds of Christian love? multiplied, who rise up against Who that has the spirit of Christ, the truth? Was there ever a does not devoutly wish it? What time, when the foes of Christ a serious attempt for union ought were more numerous, or when the present state of the ministry 'they showed more resolution and to excite?
boldness, assumed a greater vaThe state of our churches riety of shapes, or were more will add to the strength of the elated with success? With them argument. When the whole it is a day of exploits. They numbers of professors is compar- have had famous leaders, and obatively so small, and even among tained signal victories. They them the spirit of piety is sunk seem inspired with unyielding so low ; "what can be more rea- courage and perseverance. If sonable, or promise more exten- unsuccessful in one way, they sive good, than for ministers, still repair to another, and are who have the interest of religion never weary of exertion. When at heart, to meet together in the every other method fails, they name of Christ, and deliber- know how to take adyantage of ate on measures for Zion's wel division among the servants of fare? Is it not plainly necessary, Christ. Animated by so much that something be done to ad- appearance of this at the present Fance the cause of holiness, and day, as well as by other circumto avert impending judgments ? stances which fire their zeal, And can it be expected, that God they have taken a most daring will save and prosper the church, posture, and appear resolved, by without employing the wisdom open and by secret means, to and diligence of his servants ? If make one great effort for general they were agreed among them- and final triumph. Behold the enselves, and would perform as emy thus coming in like a desolamuch as possible of God's work, ţing flood upon us. Let us throw with unanimity; they would away all prejudice and strife, possess far greater ability to do combine our influence and lift good. Their instructions would up the standard of the Lord have a sacred influence with the against them.
I argue, thirdly, from the gen. • See Baxter's Reformed Pastor. uine spirit of Christianity. This