صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

the lives of Christians corresponding to the mag. I lenged, and sometimes confounded, with the ques nificence, if I may so say, of these expressions, tion-If such expressions of Scripture do not mean have been tempted to conclude, that the expres- this, what do they mean? To which we answer, sions themselves had no foundation in truth and Nothing: nothing, that is, to us; nothing to be nature, or in any thing but the enthusiasm of found, or sought for, in the present circumstances their authors. Others again, understand these of Christianity. phrases to signify nothing more, than that gra More examples might be produced, in which dual amendment of life and conversation, which the unwary use of Scripture language has been reason and religion sometimes produce in particu- the occasion of difficulties and mistakes—but I lar Christians: of which interpretation it is truly forbear-the present are sufficient to show, that said, that it degrades too much the proper force it behoves every one who undertakes to explain of language, to apply expressions of such energy the Scriptures, before he determine to whom or and import to an event so ordinary in its own na- what an expression is now-a-days to be applied, ture, and which is common to Christianity with to consider diligently whether it admit of any every other moral institution. Lastly; a third such application at all; or whether it is not rather sort, in order to satisfy these expressions to their to be restrained to the precise circumstances and full extent, have imagined to themselves certain occasion for which it was originally composed. perceptible impulses of the Holy Ghost, by which, I make no apology for addressing this subject in an instant, and in a manner, no doubt, suffi: to this audience; because whatever relates to the ciently extraordinary, they are "regenerate and interpretation of Scripture, relates, as I conceive, born of the Spirit;" they become

to us; for if, by any light we may cast upon these tures :" they are made the “sons of God," who ancient books, we can enable and invite the peowere before the children of wrath; they are ple to read the Bible for themselves, we discharge, “freed from sin," and “from death;" they are in my judgment, the first duty of our function; chosen, that is, and sealed, without a possibility ever bearing in mind, that we are the ministers of fall, unto final salvation. Whilst the patrons not of our own fame or fancies, but of the sincere of a more sober exposition have been often chal- | Gospel of Jesus Christ.

new crea




ON SUNDAY, JULY 29, 1781.

ADVERTISEMENT. Il is recommended to those who are preparing for holy orders, within the diocese of Carlisle, to read Collier's Sacred Interpreter, and the Four Gospels with Clark's Paraphrase ; and to candidates for Priest's orders, carefully to peruse Taylor's Paraphrase on the Romans.

Let no man despise thy youth.—1 Tim. iv. 12. The author of this Epistle, with many better, hood. These difficulties perplex not you. In qualities, possessed in a great degree what we at whatever contest with his parishioners the prin. this day call a knowledge of the world. He cipal may be engaged, the curate has neither disknew, that although age and honours, authority pute nor demand to stand between him and the of station and splendour of appearance, usually affections of his congregation. command the veneration of mankind, unless Another and a still more favourable circumcounteracted by some degrading vice, or egregious stance in your situation is this; being upon a level impropriety of behaviour; yet, that where these with the greatest part of your parishioners, you advantages are wanting, where no distinction can gain an access to their conversation and contibe claimed from rank, importance from power, or dence, which is rarely granted to the superior dignity from years; in such circumstances, and clergy, without extraordinary address and the under the inevitable depression of narrow fortunes, most insinuating advances on their parts. And to procure and preserve respect requires both care this is a valuable privilege: for it enables you to and merit. The apostle also knew, and in the inform yourselves of the moral and religious state text taught his beloved convert, that to obtain the of your flocks, of their wants and weaknesses, respect of those amongst whom he exercised his their habits and opinions, of the vices which preministry, was an object deserving the ambition of vail, and the principles from which they proceed; a Christian teacher, not indeed for his own sake, in a word, it enables you to study the distemper but for theirs, there being little reason to hope that before you apply the remedy; and not only so, any would profit by his instruction who despised but to apply the remedy in the most commodious

form, and with the best effect; by private persuaIf St. Paul thought an admonition of this sort sion and reproof, by gentle and unsuspected conworthy of a place in his Epistle to Timothy, it veyances in the intimacy of friendship and opporcannot surely be deemed either beside or beneath tunities of conversation. To this must be added the solemnity of this occasion, to deliver a few the many occasions, which the living in habits of practicable rules of life and behaviour, which may society with your parishioners affords you of rejecommend you to the esteem of the people, to conciling dissensions, healing animosities, admiwhose service and salvation you are now about to nistering advice to the young and inexperienced, dedicate your lives and labours.

and consolation to age and misery. I put you in In the first place, the stations which you are mind of this advantage, because the right use of likely, for some time at least, to occupy in the it constitutes one of the most respectable employchurch, although not capable of all the means of ments not only of our order, but of human narendering service and challenging respect, which ture; and leaves you, believe me, little to envy in fall within the power of your superiors, are free the condition of your superiors, or to regret in from many prejudices that attend upon higher your own. It is true, that this description suppreferments. Interfering interests and disputed poses you to reside so constantly, and to continue rights; or, where there is no place for dispute, the so long in the same parish, as to have formed very claim and reception of legal dues, so long as some acquaintance with the persons and characwhat is received by the minister is taken from the ters of your parishioners; and what scheme of parishioner, form oftentimes an almost insuper- doing good in your profession, or even of doing able obstruction to the best endeavours that can your duty, does not suppose this ? be used to conciliate the good will of a neighbour But whilst I recommend a just concern for our

his person.

reputation, and a proper desire of public esteem, independence, who fears the face of his creditors, I would by no means Hatter that passion for praise and who meets a creditor in every street. There and popularity, which seizes oftentimes the minds is no meanness in frugality: the meanness is in of young clergymen, especially when their first those shifts and expedients, to which extravaappearance in their profession has been received gance is sure to bring men. Profusion is a very with more than common approbation. Unfortu- equivocal proof of generosity. The proper disnate success! if it incite them to seek fame by af- tinction is not between him who spends and him fectation and hypocrisy, or lead, as vanity some who saves; for they may be equally selfish; but times does, to enthusiasm and extravagance. This between him who spends upon himself

, and him is not the taste or character I am holding out to who spends upon others. When I extol frugality, your imitation. The popular preacher courts it is not to praise that minute parsimony which fame for its own sake, or for what he can make serves for little but to vex ourselves and tease of it; the sincerely pious minister of Christ mo- those about us, but to persuade you to economy destly invites esteem, only or principally, that it upon a plan, and that plan deliberately adjusted may lend efficacy to his instruction, and weight to your circumstances and expectations. Set out to his reproofs; the one seeks to be known and with it, and it is easy; to retrieve, out of a small proclaimed abroad, the other is content with the income, is only not impossible. Frugality in this silent respect of his neighbourhood, sensible that sense, we preach not only as an article of pruthat is the theatre upon which alone his good dence, but as a lesson of virtue. Of this frugality name can assist him in the discharge of his duty. it has been truly said, that it is the parent of li

It may be necessary likewise to caution you berty, of independence, of generosity. against some awkward endeavours to lift them A second essential part of a clergyman's chaselves into importance, which young clergymen racter, is sobriety. In the scale of human vices not unfrequently fall upon; such as a conceited there may be some more criminal than drunkenway of speaking, new airs and gestures, affected ness, but none so humiliating. A clergyman manners, a mimicry of the fashions, language, cannot, without infinite confusion, produce himand diversions, or even of the follies and vices, of self in the pulpit before those who have been higher life ; a hunting after the acquaintance of witnesses to his intemperance. The folly and the great, a cold and distant behaviour towards extravagance, the rage and ribaldry, the boasts their former equals, and a contemptuous neglect and quarrels, the idiotism and brutality of that of their society. Nothing was ever gained by condition, will rise up in their imaginations in these arts, if they deserve the name of arts, but full colours. To discourse of temperance, to derision and dislike. Possibly they may not of touch in the remotest degree upon the subject, is fend against any rule of moral probity ; but if but to revive his own shame. For you will soon they disgust those with whom you are to live, and have occasion to observe, that those who are the upon whom the good you do must be done, they slowest in taking any part of a serion to themdefeat not only their own end, but, in a great selves, are surprisingly acute in applying it to the measure, the very design and use of your vocation. preacher. Having premised these few observations, I pro

Another vice, which there is the same, together ceed to describe the qualities which principally with many additional, reasons for guarding you conduce to the end we have at present in view, against, is dissoluteness. In my judgment, the the possession of a fair and respected character. crying sin and calamity of this country at present,

And the first virtue (for so I will call it) which is licentiousness in the intercourse of the sexes. appears to me of importance for this purpose, is It is a vice which hardly admits of argument or frugality. If there be a situation in the world dissuasion. It can only be encountered by the in which profusion is without excuse, it is in that censures of the good, and the discouragement it of a young clergyman who has little beside his receives from the most respected orders of the profession to depend upon for his support. It is community. What then shall we say, when folly—it is ruin.-Folly, for whether it aim at they who ought to cure the malady, propagate the luxury or show, it must fall miserably short of its contagion? Upon this subject bear away one design. In these competitions we are outdone by observation, that when you suffer yourselves to be

The provision which clergymen engaged in any unchaste connexion, you not only meet with upon their entrance into the church, is corrupt an individual by your solicitations, but adequate, in most cases, to the wants and decen- debauch a whole neighbourhood by the profligacy cies of their situation, but to nothing more. To of your example. pretend to more, is to set up our poverty, not only The habit I will next recommend as the founas the subject of constant observation, but as a dation of almost all other good ones, is retirement. laughing-stock to every observer. Profusion is Were I required to comprise my advice to young ruin; for it ends, and soon too, in debt, in injus- clergymen in one sentence, it should be in this, tice, and insolvency. 'You well know how mean- Learn to live alone. Half of your faults originate ly, in the country more especially, every man is from the want of this faculty. It is impatience thought of who cannot pay his credit; in what of solitude which carries you continually from terms he is spoken of-in what light he is viewed your parishes, your home, and your duty; makes -what a deduction this is from his good qualities you foremost in every party of pleasure and place -what an aggravation of his bad ones—what in- of diversion ; dissipates your thoughts, distracts sults he is exposed to from his creditors, what your studies, leads you into expense, keeps you contempt from all. Nor is this judgment far in distress, puts you out of humour with your amiss. Let him not speak of honesty, who is profession, causes you to place yourselves at the daily practising deceit; for every man who is not head of some low company, or 10 fasten yourpaid is deceived. Let him not talk of liberality, selves as despicable retainers to the houses and who puts it out of his power to perform one act society of the rich. Whatever may be the case of it. Let him not boast of spirit, of honour, of with those, whose fortunes and opportunities can

every rival.

command a constant succession of company; in , be assured, that for once that preferment is forsituations like ours to be able to pass our time feited by modesty, it is ten times lost by intrusion with satisfaction alone, and at home, is not only and importunity. Every one sympathises with a preservative of character, but the very secret of neglected merit, but who shall lament over rehappiness. Do what we will, we must be much pulsed impudence ? and often by ourselves ; if this be irksome, the The last expedient I shall mention, and, in main portions of life will be unhappy. Besides conjunction with the others, a very efficacious which, we are not the less qualified for society, one towards engaging respect, is seriousness in because we are able to live without it. Our com- your deportment, especially in discharging the pany will be the more welcome for being never offices of your profession. Salvation is so awful obtruded. It is with this, as with many plea- a concern, that no human being, one would think, sures: he meets with it the oftenest, and enjoys could be pleased with seeing it, or any thing beit the best, who can most easily dispense with the longing to it, treated with levity. For a moment, want of it.

in a certain state of the spirits, men may divert But what, you say, shall I do alone ? reading themselves, or affect to be diverted, by sporting is my proper occupation and my pleasure, but with their most sacred interests ; but no one in looks are out of my reach, and beyond my pur- his heart derides religion long-What are we phase. They who make this complaint are such any of us ?-religion soon will be our only care as seek nothing from books but amusement, and and friend. Seriousness, therefore, in a clergyfind amusement from none but works of narrative man, is agreeable, not only to the serious, but or imagination. This taste, I allow, cannot be to men of all tempers and descriptions. And supplied by any moderate expense or ordinary seriousness is enough; a prepossessing appearopportunities: but apply yourselves to study; ance, a melodious voice, a graceful delivery, are take in hand any branch of useful science, espe- indeed enviable accomplishments; but much, we cially of those parts of it which are subsidiary to apprehend, may be done without them. The the knowledge of religion, and a few books will great point is, to be thought in earnest. Seem suffice; for instance, a commentary upon the not then to be brought to any part of your duty New Testament, read so as to be remembered, by constraint, to perform it with reluctance, to go will employ a great deal of leisure very profita- through it in haste, or to quit it with symptoms bly. There is likewise another resource which of delight. In reading the services of the church, you have forgot, I mean the composition of ser- provided you manifest a conscientiousness of the mons. I am far from refusing you the benefit meaning and importance of what you are about, of other men's labours ; I only require that and betray no contempt of your duty, or of your they be called in not to flatter laziness, but to congregation, your manner cannot be too plain assist industry. You find yourself unable to and simple. Your common method of speaking, furnish a sermon every week; try to compose if it be not too low, or too rapid, do not alter, or one every month : depend upon it you will con- only so much as to be heard distinctly. I mensult your own satisfaction, as well as the edifica- tion this, because your elocution is more apt to tion of your hearers; and that however inferior offend by straining and stiffness, than on the side your compositions may be to those of others in of ease and familiarity. The same plainness and some respects, they will be better delivered, and simplicity which I recommend in the delivery, better received; they will compensate for many prefer also in the style and composition of your defects by a closer application to the ways and sermons. Ornaments, or even accuracy of lanmanners, the actual thoughts, reasoning, and guage, cost the writer much trouble, and produce language, the errors, doubts, prejudices, and small advantage to the hearer. Let the character vices, the habits, characters, and propensities of of your sermons be truth and information, and a your congregation, than can be expected from decent particularity. Propose one point in one borrowed discourses--at any rate, you are passing discourse, and stick to it; a hearer never carries your time virtuously and honourably.

away more than one impression-disdain not the With retirement, I connect reserve; by which old fashion of dividing your sermons into headsI mean, in the first place, some degree of delicacy in the hands of a master this may be dispensed in the choice of your company, and of refinement with ; in yours, a sermon which rejects these in your pleasures. Above all things, keep out of helps to perspicuity, will turn out a bewildered public-houses-you have no business there-your rhapsody, without aim or effect, order or conclubeing seen to go in and out of them is disgraceful sion. In a word, strive to make your discourses -your presence in these places entitles every useful, and they who profit by your preaching, man who meets you there, to affront you by coarse will soon learn, and long continue, to be pleased jests, by indecent or opprobrious topics of con- with it. versation-neither be seen at drunken feasts, I have now finished the enumeration of those boisterous sports, late hours, or barbarous diver- qualities which are required in the clerical chasions—let your amusements, like every thing racter, and which, wherever they meet, make about you, be still and quiet and unoffending. even youth venerable, and poverty respected; Carry the same reserve into your correspondence which will secure esteem under every disadvanwith your superiors Pursue preferment, if any tage of fortune, person, and situation, and notprospects of it present themselves, not only by withstanding great defects of abilities and attainhonourable means, but with moderate anxiety. ments. But I must not stop here; a good name, It is not essential to happiness, perhaps not very fragrant and precious as it is, is by us only valued conducive, were it of greater importance than it in subserviency to our duty, in subordination to is, no more successful rule could be given you, a higher reward. If we are more tender of our than to do your duty quietly and contentedly, reputation, if we are more studious of esteem than and to let things take their course. You may others, it is from a persuasion, that by first obhave been brought up with different notions, but taining the respect of our congregation, and next

by availing ourselves of that respect, to promote mit,“ be every thing unto all men, that ye may amongst them peace and virtue, useful knowledge gain some.” and benevolent dispositions, we are purchasing to The world will requite you with its esteem. ourselves a reversion and inheritance valuable The awakened sinner, the enlightened saint, the above all price, important beyond every other in- young whom you have trained to virtue, the old terest or success.

whom you have visited with the consolations of Go, then, into the vineyard of the Gospel, and Christianity, shall pursue you with prevailing may the grace of God go with you! The religion blessings and effectual prayers. You will close you preach is true. Dispense its ordinances with your lives and ministry with consciences void of seriousness, its doctrines with sincerity-urge its offence, and full of hope.—To present at the last precepts, display its hopes, produce its terrors- day even one recovered soul, reflect how grateful

be sober, be vigilant"-" have a good report” an offering it will be to Him, whose commission confirm the faith of others, testify and adorn was to save a world-infinitely, no doubt, but still your own, by the virtues of your life and the sancti- only in degree, does our office differ from histy of your reputation-be peaceable, be courteous; himself the first-born ; it was the business of his condescending to men of the lowest condition life, the merit of his death, the counsel of his “apt to teach, willing to communicate ; " so far as Father's love, the exercise and consummation the immutable laws of truth and probity will per- 1 of his own, “ to bring many brethren unto glory."

« السابقةمتابعة »