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out religion, without the knowledge of salvation by the remission
of your sins, this scene will be entirely reversed; and, instead of
angel kands conveying your soul into Abraham's bosom, hell
from beneath will be moved to meet you at your coming, and
devils drag your soul away to their infernal den, where you must
lament the loss of endless happiness, exchanged for everlasting
woe; the society of angels for the inhabitants of the bottomless
pit; Christ for Belial; the unsullied regions of immortal day,
for the gloomy horrors of eternal night! Yet this need not be
the case, for Jesus Christ receiveth sinners, and he invites you
to come and take of the waters of life freely. I hope you em-
brace every opportunity to read good books, and charge your
memory with what you do read; and likewise that you improve
yourself in writing as much as possible with the small helps that
you may have in your present situation. If so, you will always
find me disposed to render you every service in my power, and
I hope when my apprenticeship is expired to be able to maintain
you in Bristol, until I can get a proper situation for you.—I am
your affectionate brother,
Bristol, July 4, 1793.

W. WILLIAMS."
(To be continued.)

DIVINITY.

Signs of Conversion and Unconversion in Ministers of the

Church." Since the revival of evangelical truth, by the preaching of the Methodists, several of the Bishops, and many hundreds of the clergy, and thousands of the members of the Church of England, have seen the necessity of distinguishing between the converted and unconverted ministers of the church. In the diocese of St. David's, a society, of which the Bishop is the President, gave a premium, a few years ago, to Mr. S. C. Wilks, a young man of St. Edmund Hall, Oxford, for an “ Essay on the Signs of Conversion and Unconversion in the Ministers of the Church,” which Essay was printed by the society, and we hope was circulated, not only in Wales, but through the whole united kingdom, for the instruction of both clergy and laity.

Mr. Wilks, who is now himself a minister, and a converted minister, we have no doubt, has lately published a second edition of his Essay, which has just fallen into our bands, and which we are desirous of bringing under the notice of our readers.

The signs of conversion and unconversion in the ministers of the church are clearly marked in this Essay; and it is of great

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importance that both the ministers and congregations of the Church of England, and of every denomination of Christians should know them, and remember them.

The terms conversion and unconversion, as Mr. Wilks observes, have fallen under a degree of reproach, as well as other terms which are connected with theunfashionable doctrines of Christianity. In the primitive church, the language of Christians in speaking on religious subjects, was formed froin the language of the New Testament. Among the ministers of the Church of England also, both at the Reformation, and for many years afterwards, a similar practice prevailed: at length, however, Scripture language was disused, and even studiously avoided, and the doctrines with which it was connected were neglected or disbelieved. It was discovered that ethics might be discussed without the use of terms peculiar to Christianity; and it was not difficult to substitute the words virtue, reformation, and moral consciousness, for sanctification, conversion, and conviction of sin.

It may naturally be asked, What are the peculiar doctrines in the preaching of a minister which form the test of his conversion? To this question we will give the answer in Mr. Wilks's words: “ The most obvious (of those doctrines) is, that man has departed from original righteousness, and on account of sin is justly obnoxious to the Divine anger. This fact, and the consequence deduced from it, form the hypothesis on which the preaching of every converted minister, and, indeed, the whole scheme of Christianity, is founded; and which being denied, Christianity and preaching become inappropriate and useless. A minister who admits these truths fully and unequivocally, must, in consequence, admit the necessity of the atonement; and who, that admits its necessity, can be unconscious of its importance? Or who, that allows its importance, can fail to make it a prominent topic in his parochial addresses ?

“In addition to these points, Justification, solely and exclusively through the merits of Christ, has been always considered, among men of piety, as a doctrine plainly revealed in Scripture, and of essential value in the system of human redemption. They have viewed it, not as an appendage or corollary, much less as an excressence, but as the sum, the substance, the life, the spirit, of the whole dispensation. On this only, their own hopes of pardon and acceptance have been founded, and on this only have they exhorted others to depend. Having learned from Revelation the nature of God and the extent of the Divine requisitions, and having at the same time discovered the utter incompetency of man, since the fall, to secure to himself a place in heaven by sinless obedience, they have acknowledged that nothing but a revelation of gratuitous mercy could relieve our wants, or be worth VOL. XLI. JANUARY, 1818.

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our acceptance. On these accounts, the doctrine in question has, in every pure church, been considered of supreme importance ; and, whatever niay be the prevailing sentiment of any particular age, the gospel and its effects being always the same, the piety of that minister is undoubtedly suspicious, whose preaching is here, tical or defective on this fundamental subject of justification by the merits of Christ.

“ Intimately connected with the last-mentioned topic is that of the Divinity of our Saviour, a doctrine which, beyond most others, has been ridiculed and impugned; but which is so explicitly taught in the Sacred Writings, and so necessarily implied in the whole economy of human salvation, that it would be difficult to imagine him a converted man who denies its truth, or him a faithful minister who forgets its importance. The disbelief of this doctrine, virtually implies a disbelief of Christanity (except so far as it is a system of ethics), and must, therefore, be the most fatal of mistakes.

“ The Divinity of the Holy Spirit will hardly be denied, but by men who have read the Scriptures with the express design of perverting them; or his agency, but by those who have previously concluded that it is not necessary, and, therefore, is not promised. Every minister of the Church of England has so solemnly attested his belief on these two subjects (and, indeed, on all those before mentioned), that, cven if unconverted, we might reasonably expect him to be orthodox. In that very service, for example, by which he is initiated into the ministry, he distinctly acknowledges the Sacred Spirit's influence; and that, not as a vague dogma, or a mere article of peace, but as a practical truth, and as the very bias that incited him to become a Christian pastor, This spiritual agency, a pious man will not be content to forget with the day of his ordination. He will of course assiduously guard it against the misconceptions of fanaticism, distinguish it from the more evident and miraculous effusions of the primitive ages, and teach his hearers to hope for it only in the appointed use of means and second causes; but he will not deny its existence, dispute its necessity, explain it away till it becomes useless, or fail to implore it both for himself and the people committed to his charge. The man who denies the influences of the Holy Spirit, can of course have no reason for supposing that they have been vouchsafed to himself; and since they are represented in Scripture as necessary to implant either the desire or the ability to return to God, he can in consequence have no just evidence of his conversion. He, on the contrary, who is really and visibly bringing forth the fruits of the Spirit, and shewing his faith by his works, will with humility acknowledge, that whatever is good in him flows from a higher source than his own heart, and, without the least semblance of enthusiasm, will consider it as an emas

nation from that Being from whom all holy desires, all good counsels, and all just works do proceed.'” p. 36-42.

After having mentioned the principal doctrines which the converted minister preaches, Mr. Wilks proceeds to describe the practical effects which flow from them. A constant theme of the discourses of such a man will be the necessity of that holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord. All the essential doctrines of Christianity will appear in the preaching of a converted minister, to be of moral and practical importance; while, from the preaching of the unconverted minister, who is ignorant of the evangelical principle of obedience, the doctrinal and preceptive parts of Scripture will scarcely appear to have any connection.

The most conspicuous aim of a pious minister, says Mr. Wilks, and that to which his whole conduct may be reduced, is the salvation of his own soul, and the souls of those that hear him. It is impossible that he who has imbibed even the smallest portion of that Christian spirit which actuated the apostles, confessors, and martyrs, can remain an unconcerned spectator of the religious wants of those whose souls are entrusted to his care. His preaching will be cordial and affectionate; his private labours conscientious and unremitted ; and in his whole conduct, he will appear to value his bodily strength, and his mental attainments only as they promote the cause of the Redeemer.

In speaking of the recreations of a clergyman, as important tests of his character, Mr. Wilks observes, that the converted minister has neither time nor inclination to swell the processions of gaiety. His spirit not being secular, his amusements will not be such. There are atmospheres which he knows he cannot breathe without contamination. Besides, he has a definite object of pursuit, and is conscious that the souls of his people will be required at his hand. A man who is thus impressed, will not devote his mornings to the chase, or his evenings to the cardtable; he will not feel ambitious of being the steward of a raceground, or the litigious guardian of the game laws; he will neither appear the foppish and idle attendant of female vanity, nor the boisterous associate of Bacchanalian carousals. p. 81, 82.

Mr. Wilks then considers the difference between the converted and unconverted minister in various other respects, in which we adopt his sentiments, although we abridge his language.

Suppose an ignorant careless person to be convinced that he is a sinner before God, and that the threatenings denounced against the wicked are applicable to himself. If he apply to a minister who has himself been convinced of sin, and has found consolation in Christ, the penitent inquirer will be directed to look unto Him s who taketh away the sin of the world.” “ But the merely nominal minister is, in such cases, unavoidably embarrassed; not being practically acquainted with the subject' himself, he knows

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our acceptance. On these accounts, the doctrine in question has, in every pure church, been considered of supreme importance; and, whatever niay be the prevailing sentiment of any particular age, the gospel and its effects being always the same, the piety of that minister is undoubtedly suspicious, whose preaching is here, tical or defective on this fundamental subject of justification by the merits of Christ.

“ Intimately connected with the last-mentioned topic is that of the Divinity of our Saviour, a doctrine which, beyond most others, has been ridiculed and impugned; but which is so explicitly taught in the Sacred Writings, and so necessarily implied in the whole economy of human salvation, that it would be difficult to imagine him a converted man who denies its truth, or him & faithful minister who forgets its importance. The disbelief of this doctrine, virtually implies a disbelief of Christanity (except so far as it is a system of ethics), and must, therefore, be the most fatal of mistakes.

“ The Divinity of the Iloly Spirit will hardly be denied, but by men who have read the Scriptures with the express design of perverting them; or his agency, but by those who have previously concluded that it is not necessary, and, therefore, is not promised. Every minister of the Church of England has sa solemnly attested his belief on these two subjects (and, indeed, on all those before mentioned), that, even if unconverted, we might reasonably expect him to be orthodox. In that very service, for example, by which he is initiated into the ministry, he distinctly acknowledges the Sacred Spirit's influence; and that, not as a vague dogma, or a mere article of peace, but as a practical truth, and as the very bias that incited him to become a Christian pastor, This spiritual agency, a pious man will not be content to forget with the day of his ordination. He will of course assiduously guard it against the misconceptions of fanaticism, distinguish it from the more evident and miraculous effusions of the primitive ages, and teach his hearers to hope for it only in the appointed use of means and second causes; but he will not deny its existence, dispute its necessity, explain it away till it becomes useless, or fail to implore it both for himself and the people committed to his charge. The man who denies the influences of the Holy Spirit, can of course have no reason for supposing that they have been vouchsafed to himself; and since they are represented in Scripture as necessary to implant either the desire or the ability to return to God, he can in consequence have no just evidence of his conversion. He, on the contrary, who is really and visibly bringing forth the fruits of the Spirit, and shewing his faith by his works, will with humility acknowledge, that whatever is good in him flows from a higher source than his own heart, and, without the least semblance of enthusiasm, will consider it as an ema,

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