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forma of original articles, which have been sent, uninvited, for insertion. They have appeared anonymously, it is true, but they were not without a name to the Editor ; and he is bound to assure the Young Minister, and all his readers, that the writers of those papers are not men “ to hide themselves in the dark," or to see with satisfaction “the pain which they inflict on others." They are the warm and able advocates of a collegiate education for our ministers, but they feel strongly that a Christian preacher must seek a glory that exceeds "all Greek, all Roman fame;" and should be prepared to say with the apostle of the Gentiles, “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ."
It is not exactly true, that the writers in question“ are in the high places." They do not “ conduct our periodicals," nor“ manage our Unions," nor“ fill our largest spheres of pastoral labour;" but they do occupy posts of observation, and are very competent to report what they hear and know in our churches; and it is the firm conviction of the Editor, a conviction which facts brought from all parts of the kingdom will justify, that these writers were not broaching a novel and slanderous opinion, but only giving public expression to that which is well known, often spoken of, and greatly deplored in our denominational circles.
The Editor does not suppose it necessary for him to adduce the painful instances on which he rests his judgment, as he only wishes to vindicate himself from the imputation of injudiciousness in the course he has taken.
He has a firm conviction of public duty on this subject, and great faith in the utility of such discussions; and therefore, no considerations, terminating on this side of the grave, will induce him to abstain from giving publicity to papers that may be written in a wise and kind manner on a question so vital and momentous.
A century ago, when insidious error was creeping into the churches, Watts and Doddridge, Neal and Guyse, published their free and serious remonstrances on the decay of religion amongst them; and the language they employed, the Editor regards as but too appropriate to our own times. Dr. Doddridge, in his “Thoughts on the Means of Reviving the Dissenting Interest,” makes the following remarks, which are affectionately commended to serious consideration :
“If any of my younger brethren were to inquire, how another popularity of a far more honourable kind, is to be pursued and secured, I answer, that their own converse and observation on the world, must furnish them with the most valuable instructions on this head. And though some of their particular remarks may differ, according to the various places and circumstances in which they are made, yet I apprehend there are many things of considerable importance, in which they will all agree. As, for instance: they will quickly see that the generality of the Dissentas, who appear to be persons of serious piety, have been deeply impressed with the peculiarities of the Gospel scheme. They have felt the Divine energy of those important doctrines, to awaken, and revive, and enlarge the soul; and, therefore, they will have a peculiar relish for discourses upon them. So that, if a man should generally confine himself to subjects of natural religion, and moral virtue, and seldom fix on the doctrines of Christ, and the Spirit, and then, perbaps, treat them with such caution, that he might seem rather to be making concessions to an adrer. sary, than giving vent to the fulness of his heart on his darling subject, he would soon find, that all the penetration and eloquence of an angel could not make him universally agreeable to our assemblies.
“The greater part of most dissenting congregations, consisting, as we before observed, of plain people, who have not enjoyed the advantages of a learned education, nor had leisure for improvement by after study, it is apparently necessary, that a man should speak plainly to them, if he desire they should understand and approve what he says. And as for those that are truly religious, they attend on public
worship, not that they may be amused with a form or sound, nor entertained with some new and curious speculation ; but that their hearts may be enlarged as in the presence of God, that they may be powerfully affected with those great things of religion, which they already know and believe ; and so their conduct may be suitably influenced by them. And to this purpose they desire that their ministers may speak as if they were in earnest, in a lively and pathetic, as well as a clear and intelligible manner."
The Doctor, towards the conclusion of his pamphlet, addressing the gentlemen to whom it was inscribed, adds
"If what I have writ appear reasonable to you, sir, I cannot but wish that you and other gentlemen of the laity, who are heartily concerned for our interest, would endeavour to cultivate such sentiments as these in the minds of young ministers of your acquaintance. We are naturally very desirous of being known to you, and singled out as the object of your regard. Whereas we early begin to look with a comparative contempt upon the meaner sort of people, as an ignoble herd Fruges consumere nati. Whilst engaged in our preparatory studies, we are indeed so generous, as to give up one another to the vulgar : but we have each of us the penetration to discover, that there is something uncommon in our dear selves, by which nature seems to have intended us to be, as we absurdly enough express it, orators for the polite. These arrogant and pernicious sentiments we sometimes carry along with us from the academy to the pulpit; where, perhaps, we make our first appear. ance infinitely solicitous about every trifling circumstance of a discourse, yet negligent of that which should be the soul of it. And if the people are not as much charmed with it as ourselves, we have then an evident demonstration of their incorrigible stupidity; and so resentment concurs with pride and ambition, to set us at the remotest distance from those who ought to be the objects of our tenderest regards. If an elder minister have so much compassion and generosity as to deal freely with us upon those heads, and give such advice as circumstances require, it is great odds but we find some excuse for neglecting what he says : ‘He is ignorant or unpolite ; or perhaps, intoxicated with his own popularity, and means his counsels to us as encomiums upon himself;' or, if neither of these will do, some other artifice must be found out, to fix the blame any where rather than at home. And if, in the midst of a thousand mortifications we can but find out one gentleman of fortune, sense, and learning, that admires us, we are happy. A single diamond is worth more than a whole load of pebbles; and we, perhaps, adopt with vast satisfaction, the celebrated words of Arbuscula in Horace: Men' moveat cimex Pantilius, &c., without considering that what was highly proper in the mouth of a player and a poet, would be extremely absurd in a heathen, and much more in a Christian, orator."
This was the first pamphlet Doddridge published, and when he was only in his twenty-eighth year.
Dr. Isaac Watts, in his Preface to J. Jennings's Two Discourses, thus expressed himself :
" It must be confessed, without controversy, that there are some things wherein several of the preachers of the present time have the advantage of our learned and pious fathers; but there are other excellences in the sermons of the Puritanical age, which I would rejoice to find more studiously revived and cultivated in our day. Among these I know none of more eminent necessity, glory, and usefulness, than those two which are the subjects of this little book; I mean the evangelical turn of thought that should run through our ministry, and the experimental way of discourse on practical subjects.
“ It hath been justly observed, that where a great and universal neglect of prea ching Christ hath prevailed in a Christian nation, it hath given a fatal occasion to the growth of deism and infidelity; for when persons have heard the sermons of their clergy, for many years together, and find little of Christ in them, they have taken it into their heads, that men may be very good men and go safe to heaven witbout Christianity; and therefore, though they dwell in a land where the Gospel is professed, they imagine there is no need they should be Christians. But what a blot and reproach would it be to our ministry, if infidels and heathens should multiply among us, through such a woeful neglect of preaching the pecuñar doctrines of Christ!
“ Besides, let us consider how little hath been our success in comparison of the multitudes converted by our fathers in the day of their ministry. Hath not this been matter of sore complaint these many years past? Now it is worth our inquiry, whether it may not be ascribed to the absence of Christ in our sermons ? And what reason, indeed, can we have to expect the presence and influence of the Spirit of Christ, if we leave his person, his offices, his grace, and his Gospel, out of our discourses, or give but a slight and casual hint at these glorious subjects, which ought to be our daily theme?
“ And, perhaps, another cause of our want of success hath been this, that we bare too much left off the way of our fathers, in distinguishing the characters of our hearers, and dividing the word aright to saints and sinners, to the stupid and the profane, the awakened and convinced, the mournful and penitent, the presumptuous and obstinate, the deserted and despairing.
“ This method appears eminently in the lahours of the former age. Those two great and good men, Mr. Flavell and Mr. Baxter, might be divided in their sentiments on other subjects, but you find this conduct runs through all their practical writings.
“ Have we not been too often tempted to follow the modish way, and speak to our hearers in general terms as though they were all converted already, and sufficiently made Christians by a national profession? Have not some of us spent our labour to build them up in the practice of duties, without teaching them to search whether the foundation has been laid in an entire change and renovation of heart? Do we lead them constantly to inquire into the inward state of their souls, their special tempers and circumstances of their spirits, their peculiar difficulties, dangers, and temptations, and give them peculiar assistance in all this variety of the Christian life?
“ With how much more efficacy does the word of God impress the conscience, when every hearer finds himself described without the preacher's personal knowledge of him! when his own spiritual state is painted to the life, and, as it were, set before his eyes in the language of the preacher! when a word of conviction, advice, or comfort, is spoken so pertinently to his own case, that he takes it as directed to himself! How much more powerful and more penetrating will our sermons be, when those who come into our assemblies shall be convinced and judged, and have the secrets of their hearts made manifest, and confess that God is in the midst of us of a truth!"
Unhappily these wise and faithful counsels were despised by the young Nonconformist ministers of the beginning of the eighteenth century, till at length the Rev. J. Barker, of Salter's Hall, writing, just a century ago, to his beloved Doddridge, thus gave utter. ance to the bitterness of his soul:—“ The Dissenting interest is not like itself. I hardly know it. It used to be famous for faith, holiness, and love. I know the time, when I had no doubt, into whatever place of worship I went among Dissenters, but that my heart would be warmed and comforted, and my edification promoted. Now I hear prayers and sermons which I neither relish nor understand. Evangelical truth and duty are quite old-fashioned things: many pulpits are not so much as chaste : one's ears are so dunned with reason, the great law of reason,' and 'the eternal law of reason,' that it is enough to put one out of conceit with the chief excellency of our nature, because it is idolised and even deified. How prone are men to extremes! What a pity it is, when people emerge out of an ancient mistake they seldom know when to stop! O! for the true purity of our fountains; the wisdom and diligence of our tutors; the humility, piety, and tractableness of our youth !" In another letter he adds :-"The defection of our younger ministers I greatly lament; and if the people departed from the doctrines of the Reformation as much as the ministers, I should begin to think whether ours were an interest worth serving." And the people thought so too, and therefore forsook the old meeting-houses of their fathers for the tabernacles of the Calvinistic Methodists. Thus Methodism saved Nonconformity. “ The Fathers and Founders" of the London Missionary Society were men of the true Methodistical spirit; and they were the men that raised the Independent churches to their present position. George Burder, at Coventry; David Bogue, at Gosport; Edward Parsons, at Leeds; Robert Simpson, at Bolton; William Roby, at Manchester; George Lambert, at Hull; James Boden, at Sheffield; William Kingsbury, at Southampton; John Griffin, at Portsea ; Joseph Slatterie, at Chatham; Jehoiada Brewer, at Birmingham; these, and such as these, gathered and sustained our most flourishing and useful churches, not by dealing in the prettinesses of style or the subtleties of the schools, but by preaching a full-toned Gospel, such as men who are seeking for salvation desire and love.
Most sincerely attached to the service of the Congregational churches, the Editor is only conscious of one object in these labours, their preservation and progress in truth and holiness. He feels that if he can stir up the pure minds of his younger brethren to remember the habitual importance of preaching with unction and power the great and peculiar truths of Christianity, that he is doing a good work, the influence of which will be felt by as many congregations as there are ministers 80 impressed. If, however, in his solicitude for this vital object, he or his cor. respondents have written more strongly than the occasion warrants, none would regret it more than himself, for he knows no greater joy than to witness the prosperity of evangelical religion throughout our colleges and churches.
DEATH'S VICTORY LOST.-AN ALLEGORY.
AFTER THE MANNER OF SPENSER.
Was populous with blastes, a Pilgrim strayd.
Hid by her haire--the cloudes, with which stormes playd,
Covering that crown with gloomy-tangled shade;
As oft in his calm eyne the tempest scouled ;
Without the storm-windes rored their songs and houled ;
Farre off rolled thunderous sownds that grew and grouled.
In that wood's shadowe lurkd the robber Death
A robber since time was-ever in wayte For light of mortall eyne and mortall breath,
Glad lookes are bright and mock his dark estate;
And breath is life, and therefor moves his hate ;-
A giver to the poore of reste they sought,
A feare to more whose earthly hope had wrought
To such successe that they could wish for nought,
And on the slaughterous thundering avalanche,
Which the next moment feares thereon to launch,
A hov'rer o'er red fields where he will stanch
Deadly to those whose pleasures with them dye ;
The frown of winter that must be past by
Before our endlesse summer smyles on hye,-
A robber from the weepers of their dying,
A giver to the graveyards of their dead,
A robber of the food whereon Love fed,
To cheare him through the beating miseries
Taking the counsel of dark-whispering trees,
He hydes among their trunks, this wealth to seize ;-
Backward he reels, and falls down dizzily;
Wolf-like on him that panting there doth lye,
“ Thy treasure-foole !” he shouts with hollow cry :To those pale lippes but one more breath was givenSmyling at Death, they cryed, “ The treasure is in Heaven !"