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INSTRUCTIONS TO MINISTERS.
435 2. Learn to feel for your hearers : shall St. Paul feel much, and you - little * ? Let
Let your hearers lie daily on your loving heart; and remember, a feeling heart is a praying one. What a soul-rending pain musi it be to a loving and faithful minister of the gospel, to be compelled to observe how his people live and die in such a state as must drive him to reflect on the loss, rather than the saivation of their souls! Let this dreadfit consideration move you the more to feel for, pray for, and preach to them. Oft endeavour to say, and labour to have it a practical saying,
“ I'll preach as if I ne'er should preach again;
“ And as a dying inan to dying men!" Should your mind evince too much of the want of such becoming sensations, you will be in danger when you visit such unhappy hearers on their sick-beds, and afterwards hear of their death, to feel but little more than you do at any common loss. You will be in danger also of paying less serious and earnest attention to the particulars of your preaching to them, and the particulars of your conversing with them; the feeling of the heart will shew itself in the address of the tongue: if you endeavour to feel, and pray that you may feel as you ought for yourself, your people may be moved also to feel for themselves.
3. In your way and manner of preaching to your people, I wish to engage your attention to this one great endeavour; namely, to open to them the Scriptures in public; and with the professed view of engaging them to use and understand them in private. The great prevalent lack amongst people is, that of the knowledge and use of their Bible ; bend your heart toward the core of this soul-destroying evil. Make much of your preaching on long passages explanatory; then bring inferences home to the heart, and apply them, in warm interrogatories, or exhortations, to the conscience. If you
can thus gain your hearers over to be students in the Scriptures, you will carry an important point. If, at other times, you take a single verse, professedly, as a text to preach upon, keep to it; leave not that matter in it, which you should bring out of it, but give the full meaning; then your inferences from it will be as full as your matter in it. Inattention to this particular, will have a tendency to cause you to leave your text too similar to the motto of a book in the title-page, which hints at something of the author's design, but tells none of the contents of his book. Your hearers should be moved to take away with them the text, because of your sermon ; and your sermon, because of your text. If the texts are not sufficiently
* Rom. ix. 3, and *.1. Gal. is. 19.
kept to in their meaning, and their inferences well drawn from their fulness, you will but too easily be led to speak to generals instead of particulars; to give your hearers a discourse sensibly sentenced, it may be, and prettily worded, when they want plain matter, well applied, and so they will receive mental entertainment rather than profitable edification ; and literary pleasures instead of serious impressions. See more on this head in the 9th chap. of Bishop Burnett's “ Pastoral Care.”-Here I cannot but put
my warm recommendation of Dr. Gill's “ Exposition of the Old and New Testainent; the former, in six volumes folio; the latter, in three, quarto, perhaps, folio; which excel all others in opening the Scriptures. These precious volumes, if you can, by all means procure.
4. Labour to give such full proof of your ministry, that, to your people, it may answer for saying purposes : if it does not, let not the fault lie at your door, but at theirs. Do you be pure from their blood, if they will not; save your own soul, if you caonot save their souls.
What good purpose will it answer to you, or to them, if you hear them say to you, or hear of their saying to others, or one among another, What a good sermon was this, at one time; or that, at another ? Rather be suspicious of such hearers, than be pleased with them. You and they also should be dissatisfied, it' nothing better be said, or nothing more done, for a saving purpose. When they can say to you, as one of old said, “ Come, all ye that fear God, and I will tell you what God hath done for my soul,”- then indeed you will hear, as they will tell, something worth knowing. Salvation then goes from you to them: your ministry answers an encouraging purpose to you, saving to them, and as glorious to the Saviour as gracious to them. Let the breathing of your soul to God go for this most blessed, purpose of your ministry. If you want an example for this, take Christ's, John va 34. Then take the apostle's, Rom. X. 1, and xi. 14. 1 Tim. iv. 10. 1 Cor. ix. 22, and x. 33.
5. As you will labour for your people in public, so you will in private. Not only read for them, write for them, and pray for them in your own house, - but talk with them in theirs. Call upon them, visit them at proper times, and endeavour, where you can, that they may talk with you, as you with them much to the like purpose, as you speak to them, and they hear you publicly, Where you cannot be spiritual, be neighbourly; becoming familiarity will breed, not contempt, but profitable favour. They will hear you more pleasingly and more profitably in God's house, after hearing you in yours or theirs ; and you will be better able to preach to thene on a Sunday, after conversing with thein on other days. Such ministerial and neighbourly visiting appears calculated to further the
THE INVASION OF PARADISE.
437 gospel in their attention to it. I believe, where this is so practised, it is so found. Your great Master went about doing good, by talking as well as by preaching doctrines and working iniracles. He has left us an example, that we should follow his steps; as did the Master, so did his servant, who visited “ from house to house,”
And now, Sir, I hope you will take in good part what I write with a good design. I add no more. If these things which I name are attended to, other things which you may name, I think, will not be neglected. May God's blessing cause it happily to answer my purpose in sending this address, and yours in receiving it! “ Consider, what I say; and the Lord give you understanding in all things!"
THE INVASION OF PARADISE
BY THE PRINCE OF DARKNESS,
To the Editor. Sir,
When I sat down to write a few thoughts on the Invasion *, I intended to make some spiritual improvement of the subject; but finding it would have made the paper too long, I hope you will indulge me with a page or two more in the present Number, for a few reflections upon some invasions, different in their nature, and far more interesting than any to which I have referred in my last; and in which not one or two, but all the nations in the world are interested.
The first of those to which I allude, was the invasion of the blissful regions of Paradise by the great Enemy of souls ť; previous to which the inhabitants of that country were as pure, as free, and as happy as it is possible for any people to be in this world. When this implacable and murderous foe entered, he, in part, seduced them from their allegiance to the best of Kings, by the plausible pretext of advancing them to greater liberty and happiness; but finally conquered them, and reduced them to the most deplorable state of poverty and wretchedness &. So complete and successful was the mischievous enterprize of this invader, that the inhabitants of Paradise were driven out of their fertile and peaceful residence, became the subjects of disease, misery, and death; and to this day, their descendants feel the sad effects of all the evil in which they themselves were involved. The whole of this melancholy story is minutely and faithfully recorded in a very valuable and old-fashioned book, called the Bible ; and is interspersed
+ Gen. iii. 1, &c.
* See page 385, of our last Number.
Gen, iii. 16, 17.
with many wise and useful lessons of instruction, suited to make the reader both happier and wiser.
Although it be allowed that the invading foe was skilful, enterprizing, and powerful, yet no small share of blame is attached to the unhappy victims of this cruel outrage. They had been admonished of their danger, and instructed as to the sure means of their preservation * ; but forgetting the salutary advice which they had received, and too confident in their own wisdom and strength, they are no suoner assaulted than they are put into disorder and overcome. Now, filled with shame and confusion, and struck with deep remorse, they could not fail to accuse themselves of the most shameful inattention and indolence; and, in the first paroxysms of distress, they fall to reproaching and accusing each other, while it is obvious that they were mutually in fault; for if one party yielded first, the other also yielded, soon as attacked.
After perusing the sad detail of this ruinous invasion of the once prosperous and happy inhabitants of Eden, how can a thoughtful reader but heave a sigh and drop a tear! Ah, how effectually, in this instance, did the fruitful land become a barren wilderness! It has not only been despoiled of all its wonted beauty, and trodden under foot, but the spot itself cannot even be exactly traced. Those miserable victims of delusion were carried away captive by the Devil, into his own territory of darkness and sin; there they and their immediate descendants felt the galling chain, the iron of wbich are into their souls; and their posterity to this hour have reason to lament their folly and their sin. At the same time, they have much reason to be thankful for what has been done, and is still doing, towards their complete and eternal emancipation by the King of Saints.
In looking over the account given of this event, oné perceives several things which should serve to admonish all people who may be the subject of invasion in time to come, whether from the Devil or from men. Their watchfulness was by no means proportioned to the extent or magnitude of their danger. The cautions which had been given by their best friend were, in substance and in spirit, nearly the same as those which are delivered to us in the following written maxims: “ Watch and pray that ye enter not into temptation."
“ Be sober, be vigilant; for your adversary the Devil goeth about, like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour t."
Watching and praying should never be separated. In the present state of apparent danger to which Britain is exposed, there can be no complaint in regard to the former. Our cruisers surround the enemy's coasts; and our own are fur.
* Gen, ii, 16, 17,
+ Mat. xxvi. 45. Pet. v. &,
THE INVASION OF PARADISE.
439 nished with signal-posts, and lined with troops: but all this will avail us nothing, without the assistance of Heaven; and this must be sought by prayer; for “ Except the Lord keepetli the city, the watchman waketh but in vain +."
Another circumstance which tended to facilitate the invasion of Eden was, that the strength of the inhabitants was not concentrated; but being divided, was opposed to the enemy by degrees, and utterly, failed of making any impression in their favour. The strongest and most numerous people may be easily conquered, if there be not an early and a steady union both of counsels and exertions. History and experience both confirm an ancient and wise saying, "A house divided against itself cannot stand.” Read and meditate on this, ye common enemies of our country, who fan the sparks of either religious or political discord. Remember that one of the seven things which the Lord hateth, is a man “ that soweth discord among brethren.' Let party names and distinctions be buried in oblivion, and he be reckoned the truest patriot who fears inost to sin against his God, and who displays most genuine zeal to advance the safety, the honour, and the prosperity of his country $. The importance and necessity of union is so forcibly inculcated in the ancient story of the King, his Sons, and the Bundle of Arrows, that it will be here recolected.
The last error which I shall mention, as having had a ruinous effect upon the inhabitants of Eden was, their want of inplicit confidence in the counsels and assistance of God. Yea, they believed and trusted the delusive suggestions of their own hearts, thought too highly of their own knowledge and strength, laughed at the idea of their danger, and thus were deceived and undone. How true, how appropriate, how solemn, that lesson of divine wisdom,“ Pride goeth before de. struction, and a haughty spirit before a fall* !"
Flere again is a warning to Great Britain, “ Let not him that girdeth on his harness boast as he that putteth it ofl.” It is far from being the writer's wish either to damp the ardonir, weaken the exertions, or question the courage of his countrymeu ; but he wishes them to know, that a people's greatest weakness is their vain confidence; and that their greatest
+ Psalm cxxvii. 1.
| Prov. vi. 19. ☆ It is truly shocking to the feelings of all honest men and sincere friends to their country, to observe the virulent and dividing spirit disa covered in some of the periodical publications. In which the most no. torious misrepresentations and infamous falsehoods are published, with an impudence and malignity which out-Satans even Satan himself. The writer recommends the Editors of these publications, when they go to church again, and hear the Minister read “ Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour,” to forbear mocking God, by saying * Lord have mercy upon us, and incline our hearts to keep this law jus * Prov. xvi. 18.