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love in my heart. His power alone can subdue my stubborn will; his grace alone can impress my soul with a saving knowledge and abiding sense of his unbounded goodness. Thus, all is of grace! I can only return to God, what he himself bestows; for every good and every perfect gift is from above! Oh! then, my dear friend, how should this excite our gratitude and love! Jesus first bestows his gifts upon us; then receives them back again from us, with sweet complacency; and then promises to reward us, as if the returns
we are enabled to make, were all our own. The more we contemplate these things, the more we must be lost in wonder, love, and praise!
Pray for me, my dearest friend, that Jesus may dwell in my heart by faith; transform my soul into his blessed image; and finally bring me with my dear family and friends into his presence above, where alone is the fulness of joy and pleasures for evermore.
Yours most affectionately,
T. S. B. READE.
A WORD TO PASTORS
WHO ARE CALLED TO OPPOSE THE WILES OF ERRORISTS.
REMEMBER that the very best preparation for the difficult and painful work before you is to live in constant communion with God, keeping your own souls continually under the powerful, subduing, refining, and elevating influence of those great evangelical truths which you are called to defend, so that you may be enabled always to speak that you do know, and testify that you have seen.
Especially endeavour to preserve a childlike simplicity of motive, never seeking, in your conflict with the teachers of error, a personal victory for yourself, but only the glory of God through the triumph of his truth. It is amazing how much of the disquietude of God's servants in troublous times arises from their efforts being leavened with self-seeking, and from their looking to their own standing and influence rather than to the welfare of Zion; and how wonderfully, on the other hand, a pure heart that is willing to be either someOCTOBER-1845,
thing or nothing, as God may see best, provided his great name is honoured and his Church is built up upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets—it is amazing how much a pure heart tranquillizes the soul, and raises it up above all fears of man. He who is conscious of seeking his own glory has always a disquieting presentiment of defeat, which destroys his peace of mind. He who has the glory of God for his only aim, knows that his cause shall be successful, and is therefore calm.
Endeavour, by the grace of God, to extirpate from your soul all feelings that even border on ill-will or revenge towards the person of your adversary. Accustom yourself to think of him and pray for him in your closet with tender concern, and then, while you firmly and fearlessly resist his errors, you will be kept from betraying any bitterness of spirit towards him, or any irritation on account of the mean artifices and studied misrepresen
As a general principle, meet error indirectly by filling the minds of your people with the truth which is opposed to it. But if it becomes necessary, as it occasionally may, to meet it directly, do it boldly and thoroughly.
Make your people understand, not by words only, but by the whole tenor of your ministrations, that you shall not withhold one jot of the truth from apprehension of the personal consequences to your、 self of fidelity, or from fear of offending men of reputation in the congregation.
At the same time, for Christ's sake and for the sake of the edification of his flock, study the meaning of our Saviour's words-" I have many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now;" of the apostle's declaration—“I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some."
If, after all your efforts, some on whom you greatly relied are seduced from the truth, and from being ready to pluck out their eyes in your behalf are made your bitter enemies, while you weep over them in secret places, remember the words of the apostle-" There must also be heresies among you ;" and comfort yourself with the truth that "the foundations of God standeth sure, having this seal, the Lord knoweth them that are his."
REVIVAL OF THE CHURCH IN VIRGINIA. (Bishop Meade.)
THUS graciously hath God dealt with us. But does it not, out of gratitude to God, and that we may continue to enjoy his smiles, become us to inquire by what means this hath been done? how our Jacob arose, when he was only so small, but crushed to the earth, trodden under foot of man, after having been betrayed by friends, and dishonoured by the very ministers of God who were appointed to defend him. In the character, habits, views, and history of the man whom God sent to us from a distance, to be our head and leader in this work, and in the views of those, whether from our own State or elsewhere, who entered into the service, may be seen the religious principles and methods of action, by which, under God, the change has been
effected; and it need not be said, how entirely different they were from those by which the disgrace and downfall of the Church had been wrought. Of the efficacy of these means, we are the more convinced, from the peculiar and very great difficulties to be surmounted, which have, nevertheless, in a great measure been surmounted. We are persuaded that, in no part of our own land were such strong prejudices, and such violent oppositions to be overcome, as in Virginia, in consequence of the former character of the Episcopal clergy, and the long and bitter strife which had existed between the Church and those who had left its pale, which latter were never satisfied until the downfall of the former was accomplished.
Let me briefly allude to the
means used. Bishop Moore, in his previous correspondence, and his first sermon and address, declared his determination to preach as he had ever done, when God so greatly blessed his ministry, the glorious doctrines of grace, instead of a mere morality, such as many of the English clergy had once preached, and such as had been but too common in Virginia. The young clergy, who engaged in the revival of the Church of Virginia, took the same resolve, and made the great theme of their preaching Jesus Christ and him crucified, on the ground of a total apostacy from God on the part of man, which required such a sacrifice, as well as the renewing of the Holy Ghost, in order to meetness for the joys of heaven. But they did not turn this grace of God into licentiousness, and think that either priest or people might indulge in sin. Among the first acts of the earlier conventions, it will be seen, that it was at once set forth before the world, that the revival of the Church was to be undertaken on principles entirely different from those which had hitherto prevailed, and under the influence of which religion had been so dishonoured. It was plainly declared that there was need of discipline both for clergy and laity; and canons were provided for the exercise of the same. Not merely were grosser vices stigmatized, but what by some were considered the innocent amusements of the world, and which the clergy themselves had advocated and practised, were condemned as inconsistent with the character of a Christian professor. Baptism, by which we renounce the pomps and vanities of the world as well as the sinful lusts of the flesh, and which had been customarily celebrated in private, directly in opposition to the rubric, and
often amidst ungodly festivities, was now sought to be performed only in the house of God, and with pious sponsors, instead of thoughtless and irreligious ones. Candidates for confirmation, instead of being presented because they had reached a certain age, and could repeat the catechism, were told what a solemn vow, promise, and profession they were about to make, and that it was none other than an immediate introduction with full qualification to the Lord's Supper. Of course, very different views of the Lord's Supper, and the conduct of communicants, were inculcated: and the minister even bound, by express canon, to converse with each one before admitting him for the first time to the Lord's Supper. Thus were the whole tone and standard of religion changed, to the dissatisfaction and complaint, it is true, of some of the old members of the Church, and not without condemnation of some from abroad.
In due time, the important measure of requiring that all who enter our Convention to legislate for Christians and Christian ministers, should themselves be Christian professors, was adopted, though there were those at home who feared the attempt, and there were those abroad who prophesied evil in such a manner as to encourage disaffection at home. But God was with us, and has granted the most entire success.
As to the manner of exciting zeal in Christians, and awakening interest in those who were not, it was thought that no better example could be followed than that of the Apostles, who preached, not only in the temple and synagogues, but, in some places, from house to house, as occasion required, and opportunity offered. As to the manner of preaching, written ser
mons were generally preferred in the pulpit; extemporaneous exhortations were often resorted to in smaller assemblies; and without slighting the excellent prayers of our Liturgy, there were many occasions, both in private families and in social meetings, when extemporaneous petitions seemed edifying both to the pastor and his flock. As to the great benevolent and religious institutions of the age, our ministers felt that they were doing well to encourage their people to a lively participation in them. The Missionary and Bible Societies, the Colonization and Temperance Societies, especially, received their most cordial support, and they considered it a subject of devout thankfulness to God if their congregations took a deep interest in the same.
To provoke each other and their congregations to zeal in all good works, and especially to awaken the careless to a sense of their lost condition, the ministers would meet together occasionally, and for several successive days, make full trial of prayer and God's word, expecting the blessing promised to two or three who come together, and ask somewhat of God.
To these I will only add a few words as to the spirit cherished and the course pursued towards our Christian brethren who walk not with us in all things of Church order and worship.
We have seen how long and bitter the strife that subsisted between them and our fathers; how violent the prejudices that raged against us; and it would have been easy to enter on the work of revival in the spirit of retaliation and fierce opposition. But would it have been right, and as our Master would have had us do? Had not our forefathers done religion and them some wrong? Had not God
made much use of them for good to religion? Were they not most sincere in their fear of us, and opposition to us? Did it not become us rather to win them over by love, and secure their esteem by living and preaching differently from our predecessors?
Such was the conciliatory course pursued by our deceased Father in God, and followed by those who perceived the good effects of his example; and most happy was the effect of the same.
And now, brethren, are there any who, in view of the past, and of God's blessing upon the doctrines preached, and the measures adopted, would, for a moment, listen to the proposal of a change? More especially, when we remember, that in the course adopted by us, we only followed closely in the footsteps of a noble host of faithful ministers and laymen in our Mother Church, who, during the last fifty years, have been so successfully engaged in the work of her revival. Though not so deeply corrupted as the Church of Virginia, yet was the English Church most sadly defective, both in doctrine and practice. But God raised up the Venns, Newtons, Scotts, Cecils, Martins, Buchanans, among the clergy, and the Wilberforces, Thorntons, Grants, and Hannah Mores, among the laity, to bear their testimony against the jejune morality of the pulpit, and to condemn, as well by their writings as example, the worldliness both of clergy and people in that day.
And what a blessed change has been effected! None pretend, for a moment, to question either the effect or the cause thereof. And yet, alas! so fickle, so fond of various experiment is man, there are not a few, who, within the last twelve years, while lavishing praises on those who were the chief instru
ments of the happy change, have yet proposed to do more good by means and instruments widely different from those which heaven has so greatly blessed for the last half century. I need not tell of the confusion, discord, and unhappiness already produced by the unwise experiment, and the injury our Church is suffering thereby. We, my brethren of the clergy and laity, will keep to the old ways; assured that he, "in whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning," will continue to bless us as he has done, and yet more abundantly, if we will only be more faithful in those ways.
And while we have reason, at thought of our present by comparison with our past condition, to exclaim, "What hath God done!" to thank him and take courage; yet should we beware of boasting, or of supposing that all is done, or that what remains will certainly and easily be done. I consider it as the great error of many in our Church throughoughout the land, that we are too much given to boasting, too apt to overrate our own successes, and calculate too largely on far greater while underrating the present or probable future successes of others. God will, in his own way, correct us if we be guilty of presumption. Our Jacob is still small, and it becomes us now, as of old, to ask, by whom shall he arise? Much is there yet to be done, and there are many difficulties in the way. Though we have a goodly number of ministers, yet by no means enough to carry on the work of enlargement as we could wish, and as the door seems opening to us.
Although we have many churches, yet how many of the congregations are small, and not rapidly increasing, being still unable to afford even a moderate support to the ministry.
Many are the discouragements which meet us in our efforts to sustain some of the old, and to raise up new congregations. the most painful is the difficulty of attaching the poor of this world to our communion. When our Lord was on earth, he gave, as one of the signs of his heavenly descent, the blessed fact, that "to the poor the Gospel is preached," and "the common people, it is written, heard him gladly;' the multitudes followed him." Such should be our constant endeavour, my brethren of the clergy; and if, from the causes alluded to in the past history of our Church, one description of the poor of Virginia have been almost entirely alienated from us, let us rejoice to know that there is another description not less acceptable in the sight of heaven, who, if we are kind to them, and will take due pains to win them over, will more easily be led to come under the faithful preaching of the word. The poor servants will, if we persevere in our labours of love towards them, and be to them what God's faithful pastors in every age have been to the poor, be benefited by our ministry, and may, if we will, in conjunction with their owners, attend to them betimes as we do to our own children, become regular and pious members of our communion. But whether we think of the rich, or the poor, or those of any and every condition and character amongst us, with the hope of converting them to Christ, and attaching them to the communion of our Church, we need not expect much success, without much zeal and diligence, such as was put forth in our first efforts for its resuscitation. State is not one of those whose population is rapidly increasing, in which flourishing villages are springing up in every direction,