Page images



From the Evangelical Intelligencer. INSTRUCTION may often be In modern times, it is to be communicated with greater ad- lamented, that less is done in vantage in private than in public this way than could be wished. discourses. In the former, the After making every allowance speaker can address his hear- which candour requires on this ers with a direct relation to the subject :-admitting that young particular circumstances in preachers, for several years after which they are placed; whereas, they appear in the pulpit, ought in public preaching, his obser- to spend a considerable portion vations must of necessity be for of time in their studies, that they the most part general : besides, may prepare themselves for in the small circle of a private more extensive usefulness in after family, there is a liberty and fa- life ; that some ministers of the miliarity allowable, which cannot gospel may be so circumstanced, be admitted into the pulpit. that much of their time must be The preacher can pause, and in- employed by an attention to the quire whether he is understood; general interests of the church; and in many cases the questions that some must consume a large and observations of those whom part in making that provision for he is endeavouring to instruct, their families which their peowill suggest to him the most ple are either unwilling or unaimportant and appropriate ideas ble to make for them ; and that and sentiments.

a few may actually be qualified The Lord Jesus Christ has (as I have heard the late presleft to all his servants an instruc- ident Edwards judged that he tive example in this part of their was) to do more good by writduty. Several of his most beauti- ing for the public in his study, ful and edifying discourses were than by spending his time in delivered in private houses, and much conversation :-after makoccasioned by the peculiar cir- ing as much allowance for cumstances of those with whom these, and all other considerabe conversed.

tions of a similar kind, as truth The apostle Paul appears al- and justice require, it is feared 80 to have spent a part of his that much room will still remain time in communicating instruc- for well founded complaint on lion in this mode ; for in that this subject. most excellent and pathetic dis- Some preachers do not possess course which he delivered to the the talent of readily introducing elders of Ephesus, he speaks of religious conversation, and thereit as his practice amongst them, fure when they first make the not only to teach publicly, but attempt, it is with such a stiff from house to house.

and awkward air, that every perVol. III. No. 12.


son present is made uneasy, and any other trade.

They pursue none more so than the speaker it for the sake of a decent livelihimself. Hence, perhaps, he hood, and they will do no more too hastily forms the conclusion, than they are obliged to perform. that he is not, and never shall be, But if indeed they were to atqualified for this species of in- tempt instruction by religious struction; and therefore, after a conversation, they would be few unsuccessful attempts, re- found utterly incapable of the linquishes the object as hopeless. task. If such a preacher should Others are so occupied in the meet with a person suffering the investigation of dark and un- smart of a wounded conscience, profitable speculations in theolo- never having had any expegy, or in correcting and polish- rience of such a case, he could ing their sermons, so that they neither sympathise with nor may be brought to the highest comfort the poor, awakened sinpitch of elegance, that they have ner. Or if he should happen no time to spare for this tedious upon a child of God labouring mode of preaching : And others under perplexing doubts respectagain are so fastidious, that they ing his spiritual state, he would cannot condescend to hold free be entirely at a loss how to proand familiar conversation with ceed with such a person. Harignorant people. They are im- ing had no experience of the mediately disgusted with the hidden life of a believer, no crude conceptions and blunder- knowledge of his trials and coning expressions of many with flicts, he would judge all these whom they converse, and their things to be the fruits of a disfeelings, wound up to an exces- tempered mind. sive degree of refinement, cannot There is one thing, which, if bear the shock of a collision with duly considered, I think would vulgar minds.

have no small influence upon We might yet mention anoth- those whose office it is to teach, er class of persons, who, al- and which would go far to rethough invested with the office move all impediments out of of preachers of the gospel, con- the way, which now hinder them sider it in no other light than from using every opportunity of

leading men into the way of salDo persons of this character, vation : What I allude to is this, ever think of the condescension of the that the ministers of the gospel Saviour? Possessing intelligence and purity as far exceeding that of are accountable for the loss of any human being, as the sun exceeds every soul which perishes a ray of his own light, how kindly, through their criminal neglipatiently and familiarly, did he converse with the poor, the rude, the gence, whether that negligence ignorant and the froward ! Shall any proceed directly from sloth, one of his ministers feel an intolera. from the pretence of study, ble disgust at what their Lord and from the affectation of refine• Master performed with pleasure! ment, or from indifference and Shall dust and ashes refuse to mingle carelessness. with their kindred, when God's eter.

Every minister nal Son hath shown them such an ex. of the gospel ought to be able to ample !

say with sincerity, as Paul did in

the above mentioned discourse, but of every other person in the Wherefore I take you to record company. In such circumstanthis day that I am free from the ces, it is easy to see, that there is blood of all men.

little hope of doing good by But the obstacles, to what I preaching. If the preacher atcall Parlour Preaching, do not tempt it once, he will not be likearise wholly from the negligence ly to have a second opportunity or incompetence of the minis- of instructing the same persons. ters of the gospel, but at least So far from attempting parlour one half of the blame lies at the preaching in such circumstances door of the people.

as these, it will be the wisdom of A preacher pays a visit to a gospel ministers to keep at a diswealthy, fashionable family. As tance from companies, however a gentleman of character and ed honourable in the estimation of ucation, he is treated with polite- the world, where their sacred ness and attention. He may eat profession is disregarded. To and drink of the best ; but if he be esteemed for their wit or vishould happen to think with him- vacity in conversation, or for self, “ My constant employment their elegant and polished manshould be to promote the salva- ners, by those who despise their tion of men : These, with whom calling, is to thein no honour, but I now am, are a part of my flock, a disgrace. In what is usually for whom I must render an ac- called fashionable life, there is, count; and they need advice and alas, little room for religion. In admonition as much as any;" forming the regulations by which and, in consequence, if he should people of this condition are govintroduce a discourse upon the erned, the religion of Christ too important subject of salvation, seldom has any place in the syswhat would probably be the ef- tem ; and while persons are fect? The company would be whirled in the vortex of fashion, struck dumb with astonishment there is very little hope of their at bis rudeness ; and the snarl of salvation. disgust, the smile of contempt, But obstacles to religious inor the look of disapprobation, struction not only exist among might be expected, as the re- rich and fashionable people, but ward of his temerity.

also among those of every conIf some polished buck, howev. dition. er, should think it po insult to In many houses the whole atthe clerical character, to take his tention is given to the body ; Maker's name in vain, this per- and when such are visited by the adventure might give no offence minister, all hands are set to to the same company : But if the work to provide for his gratificlergyman should, in the most cation. Instead of one, there modest way possible, insinuate are often half a dozen Marthas, that this practice was offensive who are cumbered with much servto God and painful to himself, ing, and not one listening Mary it would probably be considered in the whole circle. such an outrage on good breed- In other places, he will have ing as to merit the high dis- religious conversation enough, pleasure, not only of the culprit, but to very little profit. Obscure


On any

and knotty questions, commonly ally, unless it comes through one incapable of a certain solution, particular channel. A single and of no consequence if one phrase, which they consider as could be given, are treasured up, belonging to a different system, in order that they may be pro- even if it be a scriptural phrase, posed to the minister. He must will shut the mind against all give his opinion, as to the mark instruction from the person who set upon Cain, the thorn in Paul's was so unfortunate as to use it. fiesh, and must tell who Mel. Some serious people are as much chisedeck was, and whom the offended at hearing the words, witch of Endor raised up for “election” and“ predestination,” Saul. But one inquires, as if they were never used in “ What must I do to be saved ? Scripture, but invented by the enOr how may I grow in grace emies of God and religion. most successfully? What are But the chief obstacle with all the best evidences of a change of classes is a want of laste for renature, or what ought a Christian ligious conversation. to do in such and such given cir- other subject they will be fluent, cumstances ?" Others have an but here they are mute. If you itch for controversy, and they feel begin conversation, you must the importance of being able to carry it on yourself. Those who maintain or dispute with the habitually neglect their salvation, minister, and perhaps of van- take no pleasure in hearing of quishing him in their own con- its importance. Especially, ceit. There are many persons most people dislike to be interwho glory in holding some opin. rogated by their minister, as to ions different from those coin- the condition of their souls, monly received. These they of though it be done in a private, ten bring forward to be discussed, personal conversation. They not that they expect instruction are conscious that all is not well, or wish to obtain new light ; for and they cannot bear to confess nothing can exceed the confi- the truth. Many therefore keep dence and pertinacity with which up an opinion that the exercises these favourite opinions are held. of the heart ought not to be spoThe holder would sooner re- ken of, that it savours of ostentanounce the whole creed, than tion, and is a mark of hypocrisy; yield one of these notions which but surely there can be no ostenhe cherishes with a fatherly tation in a man's confessing to fondness, considering them as his pastor that he is an unconthe fruit of his own invention, the verted, inexcusable sinner; or in result of his own ingenuity ; and relating the imperfection of his therefore he would as soon suffer duties, and the weakness of his you to offer him the grossest graces. personal insult, as to rob him of Young people are generally any of these'opinions.

much afraid to be interrogated Again, the spirit of party a- about the concerns of their souls, mong many people is 50 preva. and they dread the company of lent, that they will hear nothing clergymen on this very account, willingly, receive nothing cordi- fearing that they may be asked

whether they are engaged in The purchaser beginning to rethe great work of their salva- build it, discovered a door in the tion.

cellar, and going down found But ministers should never Mons. Foscue lying dead on the cease from their endeavours. ground with a candlestick near One word, seasonably and affec- him ; and on searching farther, tionately spoken, has often been they found the yast wealth which the means of saving a soul from he had amassed. The purchasdeath. Private admonition and er supposed that he went into advice have been remarkably the cave, and the door by some blessed in former times, and they accident shutting after him, he are so still where they are dili- was out of the call of any person, gently, tenderly, and prudently and perished for want of food. used.

He had ate the candle and gnawed the flesh off both his arms : and thus died this miser, this av

aricious wretch, in the midst of ANECDOTES.

his treasure, to the scandal of

himself, and to the prejudice of Mons. Foscue, one of the the state. farmers-general of the province of Languedoc, by grinding the face of the poor, within his province, had amassed an immense

DIVINITY OF CHRIST. sum of money, which, being Two gentlemen were known to the government, he disputing on the divinity of was ordered to raise a consid- Christ. One of em, who arerable sum. But not being gued against it, said, “ If it were inclined to comply with this true, it certainly would have demand, he pleaded extreme been expressed in more clear poverty. And lest the inhabit- and unequivocal terms.” “Well," ants of his province should give said the other, admitting that information to the contrary, he you believed it, were authorised · resolved to hide his treasure in to teach it, and allowed to use such a manner as to escape the your own language, how would most strict examination. He you express the doctrine to dug a kind of cave in his wine make it indubitable ?” “I would cellar, so large and deep that he say,” replied the first," that Jecould go down with a ladder; sus Christ is the true the entrance was a door with a “ You are very happy,” rejoined spring lock, which, on shutting, the other, " in the choice of would fasten of itself, Lately your words; for you have bapMons. Foscue was missing : pened to hit upon the very diligent search was made after words of inspiration. St. John, him every where, but to no pur speaking of the Son, says, “ This pose ; at last his house was sold. is the true God, and eternal life.”




« PreviousContinue »