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these momentary obstructions served merely to increase its force. “ There is a river, the streams "whereof shall make glad the city of God.” Psalm xlvi. 4. No human power can stop its course. Many who are yet hostile to this undertaking will shortly join in it. We beliere that the strength of the nation will soon be with it: and that all hope of resisting it, entertained by unbelieving men, will be disappointed. For the prophecy hath gone forth, “He that sitteth in “ the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall have " thein in derision. I will declare the DECREE : “Thou art my Son, I shall give thee the - heathen for thine INHERITANCE, and the utter
most parts of the earth for thy POSSESSION.” Psalm ii. 8.
It is of vast consequence to the purity and perpetuity of our Church that those Students who are preparing to enter it, should have just views on this subject. There is one fact which ought frequently to be illustrated to them, as being the foundation, on which they are to form a judgement on this and other parts of the divine dispensation. It is the following:
It is an undeniable truth, constantly asserted by scripture, and demonstrated by experience, that there have ever been two descriptions of persons in the Church, They are denominated
by our Saviour, “ the children of light and the "children of this world;" and again, “the child. ren of the wicked one, and the children of the kingdom.” Matt. xiii. 38. These different terms originate entirely from our receiving or not receiving that illumination of understanding which God, who cannot lie, hath promised to give to them that ask him. For if a man supplicate the Father of Lights for his “ good and perfect Gift," with a humble and believing spirit, he will soon be sensible of the effect in his own mind. He will begin to behold many things in a view
very different from what he did before ; he will devote himself to the duties of his
profession with alacrity and zeal, as to “a labour of "love;" and his moral conduct will be exemplary and
pure, adorning that Gospel which he is now desirous to preach. Another consequence will be this. He will learn, for the first time, what is meant by the reproach of the world. For men in general will not approve of the piety and purity of his life; and they will distinguish it by some term of disparagement or contempt.
I am aware that many who have supplicated the Father of Lights for “ the good and perfect “ gift,” and who see, by the light that is in them, “ a world lying in wickedness,” (1 John v. 19.) are yet induced to conceal their senti
ments in religion, or at least, are prevented from assuming a decided character in the profession of it, from the dread of REPROACH. But they ought to remember that a term of reproach has become now so general, and attaches to so slight a degree, not only of religious zeal, but of moral propriety, that no man who desires to maintain a pure character in his holy office needs to be ashamed of it.
* It is worthy of remark, that the names of reproach which men of the world have given to religious men, have been generally derived from something highly virtuous or laudable.
Believers were first called Christians, as a term of reproach, after the name of Christ. They have been since called Pietists, from their PIETY, Puritans from their PURITY, and Saints from their HOLINESS. In the present day, their ministers are called EVANGELICAL, from their desire to “ do the work of an Evangelist." See 2 Tim. iv. 5. Thus, the evil spirit in the damsel who followed Paul, cried out, by an impulse which he could not resist, “ These men are the servants of the most bigh God, " which shew unto us the way of salvation.” Acts xvi. 17. The most opprobrious epithet which the Jews thought they could give our Saviour, was to call him a Samaritan.
« Thou s art a Samaritan, and hast a devil.” John viii. 48. But our Saviour has given a permanent honour to the name, by his parable of “ the Good Samaritan.”
The usual name of religious reproach at this day is MgTHODIST ; a term first used at Oxford, and derived from the METHOD, which some religious Students observed in the employment of their TIME. So far it is an honourable appellation, But there is another consideration for those who are ordained to be ministers of Christ, viz, that this reproach seems to be ordained as a necessary evidence in an evil world that their doctrine is true. For the offence of the Cross will never cease. The Apostle Paul was accused of being “ beside himself;" but his only answer was this; “Whether we be beside ourselves, it is “ to God; or whether we be sober, it is for your “cause.” (2 Cor. v. 13.) And let this be your answer also. If the minister of Christ give no offence to “ the children of this world,” he has reason to suspect the purity either of his doctrine or of his practice.
On the other hand, a corrupt theology has no offence and no reproach. You have heard of a two-fold darkness in the East. There is also a
It is now applied to any man of pure and unaffected piety, and is, in short, another term for a Christian. Of the Methodists Paley says, in his Evidences of Christianity, that in regard to piety to God, and purity of life, they may be compared to " the
primitive Christians." The name Methodist in England was for a time, as disreputable as Royalist in France. And indeed there is an analogy in the character ; for Methodism implies Loyalty to “ the King of kings." And I am happy to add, (in regard to that numerous body of our fellow-subjects who are called by that name) that it also implies, after an experience of half a century, PURE LOYALTY to an EARTHLY SOVEREIGN
two-fold darkness in the West. There is the darkness of Infidelity, and the darkness of a corrupt Theology. Infidelity has slain its thousands: but a corrupt Theology has slain its ten thousands.
Let every student of Theology inquire whether the religion he professes bear the true character. Instead of shunning the reproach of Christ, his anxiety ought to be, how he may prepare himself for that high and sacred office which he is about to enter, Let him examine himself whether his views correspond, in any degree, with the character of the ministers of Christ, as recorded in the New Testament. “Woe is unto me, if I
preach not the Gospel.” i Cor. ix. 16. Even the Old Testament arrests the progress of the unqualified and worldly-minded teacher. It is recorded that when Dathan and Abiram invaded the priest's office, with a secular spirit, “ earth opened her mouth and swallowed thein
up, ,” in the presence of Israel. This was writ“ ten for our admonition," that no man should attempt to minister in holy things until he has cleansed his heart from the impurities of life; and is able to publish the glad tidings of salvation with unpolluted lips.
If the Student desire that God would honour his future ministry, and make him an instrument