Page images

our own.


love in my heart. His power alone we are enabled to make, were all can subdue my stubborn will ; his

The more we contemgrace alone can impress my soul plate these things, the more we with a saving knowledge and abid- must be lost in wonder, love, and ing sense of his unbounded good- praise !

Thus, all is of grace! I Pray for me, my dearest friend, can only return to God, what he that Jesus may dwell in my heart himself bestows; for every good by faith; transform my soul into and every perfect gift is from his blessed image; and finally bring above! Oh! then, my dear friend, with my

dear family and friends how should this excite our grati- into his presence above, where tude and love! Jesus first bestows alone is the fulness of joy and his gifts upon us; then receives

pleasures for evermore. them back again from us, with Yours most affectionately, sweet complacency; and then pro

T. S. B. READE. mises to reward us, as if the returns Leeds, 30th Nov., 1812.




REMEMBER that the


thing or nothing, as God may see paration for the difficult and pain- best, provided his great name is ful work before you is to live in honoured and his Church is built constant communion with God, up upon the foundation of the keeping your own souls continually Apostles and Prophets--it is amazunder the powerful, subduing, re- ing how much a pure heart tranfining, and elevating influence of quillizes the soul, and raises it up those great evangelical truths which above all fears of man. He who is you are called to defend, so that conscious of seeking his own glory you may be enabled always to has always a disquieting presentispeak that you do know, and tes- ment of defeat, which destroys his tify that you have seen.

peace of mind. He who has the Especially endeavour to preserve glory of God for his only aim, a childlike simplicity of motive,

knows that his cause shall be sucnever seeking, in your conflict with cessful, and is therefore calm. the teachers of error, a personal Endeavour, by the grace of God, victory for yourself, but only the to extirpate from your soul all feelglory of God through the triumphings that even border on ill-will or of his truth. It is amazing how

revenge towards the



your much of the disquietude of God's adversary. Accustom yourself to servants in troublous times arises think of him and pray for him in from their efforts being leavened your closet with tender concern, with self-seeking, and from their and then, while you firmly and looking to their own standing and fearlessly resist his errors, you will influence rather than to the wel- be kept from betraying any bitterfare of Zion; and how wonderfully, ness of spirit towards him, or any on the other hand, a pure heart irritation on account of the mean that is willing to be either some

artifices and studied misrepresenOCTOBER--1845,


tation and corrupt maneuvering, At the same time, for Christ's to which he, in common with the sake and for the sake of the edifiwhole tribe of errorists will resort, cation of his flock, study the meanto undermine your influence, de- ing of our Saviour's words—“I stroy your reputation, and foment have many things to say unto you, jealousy and divisions among your


cannot bear them now;' of flock.

the apostle's declaration—“I am As a general principle, meet made all things to all men, that I error indirectly by filling the minds might by all means save some.” of your people with the truth which If, after all your efforts, some on is opposed to it. But if it be- whom you greatly relied are secomes necessary, as it occasionally duced from the truth, and from may, to meet it directly, do it being ready to pluck out their eyes boldly and thoroughly.


your behalf are made your bitter Make your people understand, enemies, while you weep over them not by words only, but by the in secret places, remember the whole tenor of your ministrations, words of the apostle" There

shall not withhold one jot must also be heresies among you ;" of the truth from apprehension of and comfort yourself with the truth the personal consequences to your.

that the foundations of God self of fidelity, or from fear of standeth sure, having this seal, offending men of reputation in the the Lord knoweth them that are congregation.


that you


(Bishop Meade.)

Thus graciously hath God dealt effected; and it need not be said, with us.

But does it not, out of how entirely different they were gratitude to God, and that we may from those by which the disgrace continue to enjoy his smiles, be- and downfall of the Church had come us to inquire by what ineans been wrought. Of the efficacy of this hath been done? how our these means, we are the more conJacob arose, when he was not vinced, from the peculiar and very only so small, but crushed to the great difficulties to be surmounted, earth, trodden under foot of man, which have, nevertheless, in a after having been betrayed by great measure been surmounted. friends, and dishonoured by the We are persuaded that, in no part very ministers of God who were of our own land were such strong appointed to defend him. In the

In the prejudices, and such violent oppocharacter, habits, views, and his- sitions to be overcome, as in Virtory of the man whom God sent ginia, in consequence of the former to us from a distance, to be our character of the Episcopal clergy, head and leader in this work, and and the long and bitter strife which in the views of those, whether from had existed between the Church our own State or elsewhere, who and those who had left its pale, entered into the service, may be which latter were never satisfied seen the religious principles and until the downfall of the former methods of action, by which, un- was accomplished. der God, the change has been Let me briefly allude to the


means used.

Bishop Moore, in often amidst ungodly festivities, his previous correspondence, and was now sought to be performed his first sermon and address, de- only in the house of God, and with clared his determination to preach pious sponsors, instead of thoughtas he had ever done, when God so less and irreligious ones. Candi, greatly blessed his ministry, the dates for confirmation, instead of glorious doctrines of grace, instead being presented because they had of a mere morality, such as many reached a certain age, and could reof the English clergy had once peat the catechism, were told what a preached, and such as had been solemn vow, promise, and profesbut too common in Virginia. The sion they were about to make, and young clergy, who engaged in the that it was none other than an imrevival of the Church of Virginia, mediate introduction with full quatook the same resolve, and made lification to the Lord's Supper. Of the great theme of their preaching course, very different views of the Jesus Christ and him crucified, on Lord's Supper, and the conduct of the ground of a total apostacy from communicants, were inculcated: God on the part of man,

which and the minister even bound, by quired such a sacrifice, as well as express canon, to converse with the renewing of the Holy Ghost, each one before admitting him for in order to meetness for the joys the first time to the Lord's Supper. of heaven. But they did not turn Thus were the whole tone and this grace of God into licentious- standard of religion changed, to ness, and think that either priest the dissatisfaction and complaint, or people might indulge in sin. it is true, of some of the old memAmong the first acts of the earlier bers of the Church, and not withconventions, it will be seen, that it out condemnation of some from was at once set forth before the abroad. world, that the revival of the In due time, the important meaChurch was to be undertaken on sure of requiring that all who enter principles entirely different from our Convention to legislate for those which had hitherto prevailed, Christians and Christian ministers, and under the influence of which should themselves be Christian religion had been so dishonoured. professors, was adopted, though It was plainly declared that there there were those at home who was need of discipline both for feared the attempt, and there were clergy and laity; and canons were those abroad who prophesied evil provided for the exercise of the in such a manner as to encourage Not merely were grosser

disaffection at home. But God vices stigmatized, but what by was with us, and has granted the some were considered the innocent most entire success. amusements of the world, and As to the manner of exciting which the clergy themselves had zeal in Christians, and awakening advocated and practised, were con

interest in those who were not, it demned as inconsistent with the was thought that no better examcharacter of a Christian professor. ple could be followed than that of

Baptism, by which we renounce the Apostles, who preached, not the pomps and vanities of the world only in the temple and synagogues, as well as the sinful lusts of the but, in some places, from house to flesh, and which had been custom- house, as occasion required, and arily celebrated in private, directly opportunity offered. As to the in opposition to the rubric, and manner of preaching, written sera


mons were generally preferred in made much use of them for good the pulpit; extemporaneous exhor- to religion? Were they not most tations were often resorted to in sincere in their fear of us, and opsmaller assemblies; and without position to us?

Did it not become slighting the excellent prayers of us rather to win them over by love, our Liturgy, there were many oc- and secure their esteem by living casions, both in private families and preaching differently from our and in social meetings, when ex- predecessors? temporaneous petitions seemed edi- Such was the conciliatory course fying both to the pastor and his pursued by our deceased Father in flock. As to the great benevolent God, and followed by those who and religious institutions of the perceived the good effects of his age, our ministers felt that they example; and most happy was the were doing well to encourage their effect of the same. people to a lively participation in And now, brethren, are there them. The Missionary and Bible any who, in view of the past, and Societies, the Colonization and of God's blessing upon the docTemperance Societies, especially, trines preached, and the measures received their most cordial support, adopted, would, for a moment, and they considered it a subject of listen to the proposal of a change? devout thankfulness to God if their More especially, when we rememcongregations took a deep interest ber, that in the course adopted by in the same.

us, we only followed closely in the To provoke each other and their footsteps of a noble host of faithful congregations to zeal in all good ministers and laymen in our Mothworks, and especially to awaken er Church, who, during the last the careless to a sense of their lost fifty years, have been so successcondition, the ministers would meet fully engaged in the work of her together occasionally, and for seve- revival. Though not so deeply ral successive days, make full trial corrupted as the Church of Virof prayer and God's word, expect- ginia, yet was the English Church ing the blessing promised to two most sadly defective, both in docor three who come together, and trine and practice. But God raised ask somewhat of God.

up the Venns, Newtons, Scotts, To these I will only add a few Cecils, Martins, Buchanans, among words as to the spirit cherished the clergy, and the Wilberforces, and the course pursued towards Thorntons, Grants, and Hannah our Christian brethren who walk

Mores, among the laity, to bear not with us in all things of Church their testimony against the jejune order and worship.

morality of the pulpit, and to conWe have seen how long and bit- demn, as well by their writings as ter the strife that subsisted between example, the worldliness both of them and our fathers; how violent clergy and people in that day. the prejudices that raged against And what a blessed change has us; and it would have been easy been effected! None pretend, for to enter on the work of revival in

a moment, to question either the the spirit of retaliation and fierce effect or the cause thereof. And opposition. But would it have yet, alas! so fickle, so fond of vabeen right, and as our Master

rious experiment is man, there are would have had us do? Had not

not a few, who, within the last our forefathers done religion and twelve years, while lavishing praises them some wrong? Had not God on those who were the chief instru. Among

ments of the happy change, have Many are the discouragements yet proposed to do more good by which meet us in our efforts to susmeans and instruments widely dif- tain some of the old, and to raise ferent from those which heaven up new congregations. has so greatly blessed for the last the most painful is the difficulty of half century. I need not tell of attaching the poor of this world to the confusion, discord, and unhap- our communion. When our Lord piness already produced by the was on earth, he gave, as one of unwise experiment, and the injury the signs of his heavenly descent, our Church is suffering thereby. the blessed fact, that “ to the poor We, my brethren of the clergy and the Gospel is preached,” and “the laity, will keep to the old ways; common people, it is written, heard assured that he, “in whom is no

him gladly;" “ the multitudes variableness, neither shadow of followed him.” Such should be turning,” will continue to bless us our constant endeavour, my breas he has done, and yet more abun- thren of the clergy; and if, from dantly, if we will only be more the causes alluded to in the past faithful in those ways.

history of our Church, one descripAnd while we have reason, at tion of the poor of Virginia have thought of our present by compar- been almost entirely alienated from ison with our past condition, to us, let us rejoice to know that there exclaim, “ What hath God done!” is another description not less acto thank him and take courage; ceptable in the sight of heaven, yet should we beware of boasting, who, if we are kind to them, and or of supposing that all is done, or will take due pains to win them that what remains will certainly over, will more easily be led to and easily be done. nsid it come under the faithful preaching as the great error of many in our

of the word. The poor servants Church throughoughout the land, will, if we persevere in our labours that we are too much given to of love towards them, and be to boasting, too apt to overrate our them what God's faithful pastors own successes, and calculate too in every age have been to the

poor, largely on far greater while under- be benefited by our ministry, and rating the present or probable fu- may, if we will, in conjunction ture successes of others. God will, with their owners, attend to them in his own way, correct us if we be betimes as we do to our own chilguilty of presumption. Our Jacob dren, become regular and pious is still small, and it becomes us members of our communion. But now, as of old, to ask, by whom whether we think of the rich, or shall he arise? Much is there yet the poor, or those of any and every to be done, and there are many condition and character amongst difficulties in the way. Though us, with the hope of converting we have a goodly number of minis- them to Christ, and attaching them ters, yet by no means enough to to the communion of our Church, carry on the work of enlargement we need not expect much success, as we could wish, and as the door without much zeal and diligence, seems opening to us.

such as was put forth in our first Although we have many churches, efforts for its resuscitation. Our

many of the congregations State is not one of those whose are small, and not rapidly increas- population is rapidly increasing, ing, being still unable to afford even in which flourishing villages are a moderate support to the ministry. springing up in every direction,

yet how

« PreviousContinue »