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to exclude any foreigner from our shores who may choose to come here, and to become a peaceful and virtuous citizen, yet we are not forbidden to regard the Reformation, under Luther, as much more than a name, and to consider it as identified with great and noble principles of civil and religious liberty; nor are we forbidden to look upon this land as contrasted with the southern portion of this continent, and to say that this general intelligence; these colleges and schools; this bold spirit of enterprise ; these villages and towns that spring up everywhere; these churches, that fill the land, and that are full of intelligent worshippers; this broad spirit and feeling of freedom ;-all are to be traced to the influence of the Protestant religion; all are to be ascribed to that wonderful Providence of God which directed Columbus, and Cortez, and Pizarro, to another portion of our continent rather than this; which made England rest from the work of colonization for more than a hundred years after the Cabots coasted along our shores, and which overruled the establishment of the only Roman Catholic colony in our country, so that its influences harmoniously blended with those which secured the toleration of religious opinion everywhere else, and which ultimately made us independent of the rest of the world.
Nor is it less appropriate that all should recognize the overruling Providence of God in moulding all the original colonists, and all who have since come to our shores, however heterogeneous, so that they blend together in one common sentiment in favor of civil and religious liberty. There was the Puritan on the north, strongly antagonistic to the Church of Rome, to the high church Episcopalian of England, and to the Quaker; the follower of Roger Williams, deeming himself aggrieved and wronged, and driven out by the colonies of Plymouth and Salem; the Quaker, smarting with the remembrance of what he regarded as wrongs received alike from Episcopalians and Puritans in England, and from the Puritans in New England ; the colonists of Jamestown, at antipodes with those who came over in the Mayflower, and with the Baptists, and the Quakers ; the followers of George Calvert, of a denomination everywhere else believed to be antagonistic to religious liberty; and the Huguenots, crushed and sad in view of the remembered horrors of St. Bartholomew's day; and the stern disciples of John Knox-last, but by no means least,-yet all meeting here in one common sentiment in favor of liberty; of the rights of man; of freedom of conscience; and all ready in defence of these rights to pledge to each other their “lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.” What an illustration of the wonderful ways of Providence ! of the means which Infinite Wisdom can employ to carry out its sublime and glorious purposes !
Nor is it less appropriate to say, in conclusion, that these are good principles; that they are all that are necessary, with the Divine blessing, to secure the perpetuity of the Republic. The foundations were well, were rightly laid. There entered into our institutions essentially all that we want,-intelligence, virtue, love of country, toleration, the right of conscience, the privilege to worship God as we please. This was a good basis for a great people. We may improve and perfect it, perhaps, but the foundation was good, and it is our duty to adhere to these things, and to transmit them to future times. They are the inheritance which we have received to guard, to defend, and to pass on to coming generations. This discussion will not be in vain if it contributes to strengthen our attachment and the attachment of our children to these great principles, which were laid at the foundation of the Republic, and to aid us in performing our duty in defending them, and in transmitting them onward to coming ages.
THE OFFICE OF DEACON.
INEFFICIENCY is oftentimes affirmed to be a characteristic of the ministry in the present day.
There are not wanting men who, with the bitterness of an asp's poison under their lips, await every opportunity to emit some slanderous effusion into the character of those who, in the providence of God, are called to be preachers of His word and pastors of His flock. With no appreciation of the onerous nature of ministerial duties, and with hearts full of enmity against every form and demand of religion, they are ever ready, like a bird of prey which fastens itself upon forms of living innocence as well as upon corrupted masses, to seize indiscriminately upon that in the ministry which is good as well as evil, and to pounce upon the whole as worthy only of destruction. “The boar out of the wood doth waste (ministerial character], the wild beast of the field doth devour it.” To say that we have no sympathy with such infidel ravings would be saying little. We despise, in men professing more than ordinary intelligence, that ignorance, much more that lack of moral appreciation, which leads them to denounce an institution that has confessedly accomplished so much towards civilization and general morality.
Withdrawing ourselves from the unbelieving world, we meet even in Christian society, a large number of persons who seem to view the ministry with suspicion. Exorbitant in their demands upon both ministerial piety and pastoral labor, naturally faultfinding in their dispositions, possessing an eagle-eye for the detection of defects that lie beyond themselves, they are ever ready to catch at any delinquency in the ministry whether imaginary or real, and to brand the whole body with its blame. In their estimation, the ministry should be treated to a stricter oversight than are men of other professions: there should be on the part of the Church, a more rigid enforcement of ministerial duties, that these duties may be the more efficiently discharged. It seems to afford a peculiar and exquisite enjoyment to many of these individuals to hold ministers up, if not to the scorn, certainly to the mistrust of both the religious and the irreligious public. We have sometimes met with these traducers of God's messengers, who urge forward with a zest betraying too readily for their purpose the malignity of their character, every little foible in the ministry, every inconsistent circumstance in ministerial history, every unworthy suspicion of clerical honor, which a godless public, or an infidel press, or a slanderous apostate may have launched upon the waters of rumor. Sometimes these uncharitable repetitions will be accompanied by semi-sanctified deplorings that religion should so greatly suffer at the hands of its guardians, and will be whispered, in confidence forsooth! into a hundred ears, unconscious, we will suppose, that while they profess to deplore the stain which ministerial inconsistencies inflict upon religion, they are themselves guilty of the most injuriously-telling of all Christian inconsistencies, that of wielding an uncharitable tongue. We refrain from clothing in words the contempt with which we regard such unmitigated treachery towards a cause to which every Christian man has sworn an inalienable allegiance.
Leaving the circle of general Christian society, we fall upon another class who are ever ready, by both lip and pen, to descant upon the inefficiency of the ministry. Strange as it may appear, they belong to the institution whose ineffectiveness they seem to deplore. Set apart by the Church to the ministerial office, ordained in fact to the cure of souls, some of them, either from the fact of possessing no taste for the pastoral work, or from inability to cope with the difficulties, intellectual and moral, which it involves, have failed in their efforts to discharge their ministerial vows; others of them, after having spent a year or two in the pastorate, have, from various sufficient causes, withdrawn from its distinctive obligations to occupy other ministerial positions in the Church, though had they continued pastors, they would, no doubt, have proved themselves as competent and as successful as any of their brethren. Difficult must it be for either of the classes of clergymen now named, fully to sympathize with the laborious and ever-toiling pastor of a congregation. Yet these are the men who send forth, ever and anon, in editorials, from the professor's chair, in ministerial associations, and in private circles, tirades against the pastorate for its ineffectiveness. Happy souls ! whose brief experience supplies professional knowledge enough to enable them to smatter respecting the duties and the defects of pastors, but who have relieved themselves from a minister's chief responsibilities and cares. It is not that these brethren are insincere in the opinions which they express: they verily think that the Christian pastorate is imperfect and inefficient. They imagine that, were they themselves of the number, this and that pastoral obli- • gation would be discharged more effectively than it now is. They would preach more pointedly or more simply; they would visit more intently and systematically; they would exercise a closer watchfulness over the young; they would give a more special attention to Sabbath-schools and Bible-classes; the whole Church machinery, were they the engineers, should be so adjusted and tended as to work with complete success, and under their directorship, the labors of the establishment would be at once even, persistent and prosperous. These are the men of all others, whom we earnestly invite to the pastoral work. Example is more telling than precept. The sight of one such brother leaving his newspaper or college for the active pastorate, and successfully battling with its difficulties and enduring its toils, would be more effective than a hundred editorials or addresses issued ex cathedra.
Although we have thus spoken, we are far from supposing either the ministry generally, or the pastorate particularly, to be immaculate. We concede the existence among us of many personal deficiencies, both intellectual and moral. Much of the ineffectiveness of the Christian ministry lies at the door of the ministry itself. A simpler and more earnest piety would lead to a firmer reliance upon the proclamation of the truth, as God's great design for man's moral recovery; to more energetic