« VorigeDoorgaan »
important, that the meeting should open with the reading of a portion of the Scriptures, and solemn prayer for the blessing of God upon its deliberations.
We have now lying before us more than a thousand questions discussed at the meetings of a society constructed very much upon the above plan, and which for many years has been found a source of great spiritual benefit to its members; and we have thought that it would not be unacceptable to our readers to insert a considerable portion of them in our pages. They will suggest many useful theses, not only for clerical meetings, but for sermons, social discussions, and private meditation. We at first intended to make a selection, omitting some of the less important, or those of local or temporary reference, or those which are nearly duplicates of others; but, upon re-consideration, we have thought it better to copy them just as they occur,-it being understood that a few which may appear peculiar had respect to some question that happened to excite inquiry at the moment, or on which some member wished for advice or information; and that the discussion, whatever the topic, was always intended to be conducive to religious edification. The occasional iteration of nearly the same question will serve to shew the importance of the topic in the practical habits of the Christian and clerical character, or the recurring phases of popular religious discussion and controversy. To prevent misconception, it may be requisite to add, that the questions do not refer to any recent matters; all of those in our present Number, for example, being of some forty years' standing, and propounded and discussed by men who have since been gathered to their fathers. Of many of them, of their writings and their lives, of their love to God and their usefulness to man, of their hallowed converse and bright example, we might say much; but we forbear. It is not for us to invade the inti
macies of a private society of friends by alluding to names, places, or events; or by stating what might justly be said, for the encouragement of similar institutions, of the spirit of love and joy and peace, the absence of controversy, display, or party-spirit, the simplicity and godly sincerity, and the mutual consolation and instruction, which by the blessing of God have characterised this Christian association; or the projects of religious benevolence and utility which have grown out of it: but many of the following questions for discussion appear to us too valuable to be lost, and we therefore feel much pleasure in presenting them to our readers.
What is the proper idea of growth in grace; and what are the best evidences, both to ourselves and others, that we really grow in grace?
How shall we best distinguish that reception of the truth which may be, and sometimes is, in them that perish, from that which God vouchsafes only to those who shall be saved ?
Were the Ten Commandments designed as a complete summary of the law of God to man; or was there not an especial regard to the state of Israel, in the law being delivered to them in that form?
How far is it the duty of a Christian minister to accommodate himself to his hearers?
What influence has natural temperament on religion?
How far is retirement from the world a Christian duty?
What is the peculiar province of reason in matters of religion?
How far is it expedient for Christians to communicate their experiences?
How shall we best distinguish the workings of human depravity from the temptations of Satan?
How far is a Christian warranted by Scripture to pray for and expect the particular and immediate guidance of Providence in the personal and ordinary concernments of life?
What is meant by knowing the world; and how far is this knowledge useful to a Christian?
How are we to form a right judgment of the particular duties incumbent on us from the situation in which the Lord has placed us, and the talents he has bestowed upon us? What is the best method of knowing what God would have us to do, when the matter is not determined in Scripture, though to us of great importance?
What special instruction may be derived from the phenomena of dreaming?
How are we affected by Adam's transgression?
How shall a minister best improve his time?
What is truth?
In what sense is the obedience of Christ imputed to believers ?
Wherein does the nature of true godliness consist?
How shall we distinguish between the exercise of gifts and grace in the work of the ministry?
Upon what evidence may a man judge himself to be in a justified state? Which is the best method of promoting religion?
How can it be proved that God's favour is gratuitous, when he does not pardon sin without full satisfaction to his vindictive justice?
How far is the natural a designed type of the moral world?
The just idea of a scrupulous conscience, and its cure.
How shall we distinguish between laudable ambition and sinful pride? How are prejudices to be discovered and removed?
What is the nature of enthusiasm, and its cure?
What is the best method of forming an able minister of the New Testament?
How is humility to be known and cultivated?
How far is wit allowable in the pulpit, or out of it?
What improvement might be made in the present methods of education?
What is true liberality of mind? What are we to understand by doing all things to the glory of God?
Wherein consists the art of being useful in conversation?
What is the nature of superstition, and its cure?
What is the best rule to be observed in almsgiving?
How are God's promises to be reconciled with his providence ?
What advantages may be derived from human authors, in theological study?
What are we to understand by judgments, individual or national ? What are the snares of prosperity and the temptations of adversity? What is it religiously to manage worldly business?
What are the advantages and disadvantages of superior talents?
What are the marks of that brotherly love which our Lord commands as a characteristic of his disciples?
What are the nature, evidences, and cure of a covetous disposition?
What is meant by the communion of saints?
What is the nature of self-denial? How shall a man know the real principle of his actions?
Are the torments of hell strictly eternal ?
Wherein lies the criminality of being so blinded by the god of this world, as not to see the glory of the Gospel?
What are the characters of truth? The evils of dogmatism and scepticism?
What are the evidences of the ministerial office in the Christian church ?
How far is the duty of fasting obligatory on Christians of the present day?
What are the best methods of preaching?
How far may that which is agreeable to nature be made subservient to religion?
What is true politeness?
What is the nature and excellency of a broken and contrite heart?
How far is an explicit knowledge of Christ necessary to salvation?
What are the particular excellencies of the several denominations of Christians?
What proofs have we that we are surrounded by an invisible agency? What is genius, and its use in religion?
What is the boundary between the highest attainment of natural powers and the lowest effects of true grace?
What are the undeceiving characters of sincere inquiry after truth?
What is religious gossipping-its evils and cures ?
What are the uses and abuses of lay preaching?
of life; and how far such influence may consist with the freedom of the human will.
In what sense, and to what degree may our prayers be said to prevail with God to do the things we ask of him?
What are the snares to which professors of religion in the present day are particularly exposed?
What advantage to religion may be derived from history?
What are the methods to make this Society most useful ?
What are the peculiar excellencies of the Christian religion?
What is a good conscience? By what views is the mind best supported against temptation?
What are the usual causes and signs of decline in the spiritual
How to maintain a connexion be- life? tween truth and peace?
What are ministerial talents? What are the best means of planting and propagating the Gospel in Botany Bay? (1786, with reference to the inquiries of a clergyman then going out to that station.)
What use should a minister make of the doctrine of election ?
What does the Scripture express of the person, attributes, and influences of Satan?
With what reflections may we begin the new year most profitably? How may we best redeem time? What are the nature, sin, and cure of curiosity in matters of religion?
How are we to understand that Scripture, I will have mercy, and
What are the scriptural qualifications for receiving the Lord's Supper?
How far is a minister authorised to expect an attention to his preaching, as to the word of God?
What amusements are inconsistent with the Christian character? What are the use and abuse of allegorizing Scripture?
What are the nature and extent of Christian perfection?
How far Divine Providence influences men in the common concerns
How may we best choose and improve our friendships?
How may a person know when he is led by the Holy Spirit?
What improvements may be made of offences?
What is the best mode of studying the Scripture ?
What are the chief causes of the different sentiments concerning religion between those who acknowledge the same revelation?
How are we to conduct ourselves towards those who differ from us in religious sentiments?
What are the culpable causes of the little success in preaching the Gospel as to ministers?
What are the conveniences and inconveniencies of religious sys
How shall we distinguish between the actings of faith and those of a warm imagination?
What advantage to religion may be derived from philosophy?
Were the blessings of the land of Canaan intended to exhibit and lead the people to those which are spiritual and heavenly?
What are the chief dangers to which a minister is exposed from popularity, and how may they be best obviated?
What religious improvement may be derived from travelling?
What are the advantages and disadvantages of a Christian's engaging in public life?
Of what service are church establishments to the cause of Christianity?
What are the distinguishing characters of a party-spirit in religion? How are we to know when we are under the leadings of Providence?
How far is St. Paul to be understood literally when he says, 66 Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he is called ?" 1 Cor. vii. 20. How shall we best discover and rectify our own peculiar defects? The nature and obligation of conjugal duties.
The duties of parents and children. The duties of masters and servants. The duties of ministers and people. The duties of magistrates and people.
What are the best means of promoting unity of spirit? What is the true idea of magna- exercise of the ministry? nimity?
How may we best discover and improve our particular duties in the
What is the use of rhetoric in religion?
Why was the order of the OldTestament church more accurately described than the New?
What are we to understand by Gospel simplicity?
What are, and what are not, distinguishing and essential characters of a gracious operation of the Holy Spirit on the soul?
What is to be understood by the plenary inspiration of the Holy Scriptures?
How far may error be considered as innocent or criminal?
What advantages may arise from a minister's determining the character of men by marks, &c.; and which is the best method of doing it? What is the due observance of the Christian Sabbath? and are Sunday Schools likely to militate against it? (This was soon after the introduction of those invaluable institutions.)
What is the most likely method of succeeding with the Pharisees and Sadducees of the day?
How are we to use the world without abusing it?
What is the use, abuse, and cure of religious Shibboleths.
What is the most useful style and manner of public addresses?
What are the advantages and disadvantages of Religious Societies?
To what extent is a Christian bound to be zealous for God, in suppressing and reproving outward sin?
Has Jesus Christ prescribed any particular rules for the government of the New-Testament church? What are they? and how far are they binding upon us?
What are the most trying times in a believer's experience?
What doctrines of Christianity are, or are not, essential to salvation?
What are the reasons which will justify a minister in removing from his present sphere of service to another?
What cases among Christians may lawfully be determined by lot?
What rules should a minister observe in accepting gifts?
What are the advantages and disadvantages of a social disposition? The subserviency of music to devotion.
The general benefits of the Sacrament of Baptism.
How far will our protest in public excuse our silence in private?
What is the best method of introducing the Gospel ?
What are the leading characters of our Lord's preaching?
How far should a minister be explicit in reproving the particular sins of his congregation?
What is the scriptural idea of hypocrisy ?
What is the nature of pride, and wherein does the guilt of it consist?
What are the Lord's usual methods to mortify pride in his people, and especially his ministers ?
What are the causes, obligations,
engagements, and cure, of an erroneous conscience?
In what sense are we to understand the expression of God's doing all for his own glory?
What are the use and abuse of the passions in religion?
How shall we distinguish between a useful and speculative knowledge in religious matters ?
What is the proper treatment of serious, and apparently conscientious men, who have embraced doctrinal or practical errors?
What are the distinguishing characters of a vain-glorious spirit and conduct, and what the means of cure?
What is the distinction between flattery and being scripturally courteous; and what is the proper mode of rebuking the flatterer?
What use may we make of our enemies?
What is the best method of propagating the Gospel in the East Indies ?
On what ground has a sinner a right to the title of Saint?
What are the chief critical times in the experience of Christians and ministers ?
What is the Scripture idea of being "crucified to the world, and the world to us?"
What is the best method for a young minister to study divinity?
What is the best method for a minister to take in a place where there are smugglers?
How to journey profitably.
How shall we best convince a good man of his particular infatuations?
In what sense are we "to walk in wisdom towards them that are without?"
The true nature of Christian candour.
What are the causes, doctrinal and practical, of the present laxity in religious profession?
How far is it true that errors in doctrine and practice produce each other?
What are the distinguishing characteristics of a work of God?
Are there any means which ministers in this day may use to promote true religion which they do not now employ?
What is flattery?
The evil, origin, and cure, of a late attendance on public worship.
What are the causes of the diver sity of experiences in Christians? The characters of true and false zeal?
How should a minister conduct himself towards suspicious charac
What may, and must, a Christian ters? do more than others?
How far are the Scriptures re
What is the scriptural idea of ducible to a system? self-denial?
What are those worldly concerns with which a minister should not entangle himself?
What is the difference between the Moral Orthodox clergy, and the Evangelical Orthodox clergy?
What is the nature of covetousness, and wherein does the guilt of it consist?
What are the best means of preventing apostasy?
What forms the principal offences of the Gospel in this day?
What is the meetness for the inheritance of the saints in light?
What may be the good or bad consequences of being influenced by impressions ?
When is grace or sin exercised in
In what sense are we to become taking notice of other men's faults? "all things to all men?"
How shall we best oppose Antinomianism, without encouraging secret self-righteousness?
Are threatenings a part of the Gospel, and what is their particular use?
The ground, nature, and tendency, of assurance.
What are those talents which God commits to men, and how are they accountable?
What is the scriptural sense of the word "covenant?"