Imatges de pÓgina

sion of the sacredness of prayer, and of the inconsistency of add ing profaneness to it, let him seriously engage in the former; and it is probable he will discontinue the latter.

There is a formal, careless kind of praying, which has little efficacy either to direct our conduct, or procure God's blessing. It is not this kind of prayer, which I recommend to you; but that serious, collected manner of praying, which may be called committing ourselves to God, and in which God is regarded as present with us, and the desires of the heart are offered to him.

Such a manner of praying will have some influence on the daily conduct.

I may, in this case, appeal to the experience of every serious person; I may appeal to your experience. Have you not often found a rising passion checked and restrained by the reflexion, that you have just been in God's presence, pouring out your heart before him? or by the consideration, that you are soon, to go into his presence, and address him in behalf of yourself and others? When you have felt a temptation urging you to an unworthy action, has not prayer, at once, disarmed it of all its power, and laid it impotent at your feet? In the review of the errors of your conduct, and the follies of your social converse, have you not perceived your godly sorrow increased, and your virtuous resolutions strengthened by contemplating how often you have been in God's presence, and sought his directing and restraining grace; and how soon must again go into his presence on the

same serious errand? Has not this contemplation made you more watchful over yourself, more attentive to your words, more circumspect in your walk, more discreet in your deportment?

The prayerless man cannot be virtuous. The prayerful man, he who is really such, cannot be vicious. Converse with God is not only an essential part of piety, but a necessary mean of virtue. In the total and habitual neglect of it, there can be no security against sin, and no defence against temptation, either from the operation of internal principles, or from the presence of divine grace. "Thou, therefore, my son, be strong in the grace of God; and continue instant in prayer, watching thereunto with all perseverance." And remember

Your affectionate parent,

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ters are induced to strengthen your hands; that a part of that church, which he purchased with his own blood, and such a respectable congregation with them, should so soon and so unitedly stretch out their hands to you, as their chosen pastor, under him the Great Shepherd. Whenever and wherever you shall be invested with that office, I hope you will be able to say, as a very eminent person did before you; "I thank Jesus Christ who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry." In the mean time, with what aspirations will your heart go forth, more than ever, to your good Master, for every gift and every grace; and for mercy to sustain you under the pressure of the present


I shall not fail to wish and ask for you a sure direction, and a clear determination of your duty. But my opinion in this case ought to be given with diffidence, as I know you have those near you, who are much better acquainted with than I am. However, I am much inclined to think well of the opinion which Mr. has given :-And, in general, have a favourable idea of answering the cordial invitation of a united and worthy people with a good grace. Where no imperious circumstances forbid it, I believe this to be your idea.

If you do give yourself to them, I hope it will be with a most tender affection, and a most sincere desire to minister to their eternal good: "Eyen as Christ loved the church, &c."-It is a wonderful tenderness. Vol. III. No. 5.


Such a rare harmony of a whole people, and the cordial attachment of so many praying Christians, ready to strengthen your heart in all your work; and whose piety and experience may help a young minister to a thousand good ideas;-open, as far as we can judge, a fair pros pect in the main point. And from their general character, there seems little room to doubt your faring well among them in temporal things, with proper economy, and such a measure of self-denial as this good service always requires.

Accept the love and best wishes of your friend, &c.

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studies furnish us for conversation; and by conversing with our people, we go to our studies with new advantage; and the more, as our visits have been properly pastoral. The very action which is required in making our excursions; the vigour, the recreation to our spirits, which they give us, are important. We study to better effect; we can do more in a little time; we have not lost so much, in any . respect, as we feared.


Cultivating acquaintance with our people prepares them hear us with the better attention. Cherishing affection on our part, entering into their interests and feelings, opens our hearts to them in preaching. But the new tracts of thought, which open to us in the way of pastoral visiting, are many and valuable. The practical and solid sentiments of thinking and praying Christians; the questions on livine subjects, which will often be brought up; the very ignorance and eccentricities of the less cultivated, will suggest subjects of meditation and of preaching, very necessary, and which, but for mixing often with our people, would have been less reanembered.


Conversing with the afflicted is of special use to call out every sentiment we possess, if not to suggest new; as generally it lets us into much of human nature, and various views of it in different subjects.

But chiefly, perhaps, are sick and dying beds useful to cultivate our own hearts, call forth their best feelings, and instruct us how to preach.. In the last par

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ticular I have often thought, that if a preacher, would study the spirit and manner in which the best people, when leaving the world, give counsel to those about them; the plain and faithful, yet humble, loving, persuasive, unexceptionable manner; it would be of great use to him.

Here, likewise, as much as any where, we may learn what are the subjects on which the preacher should be most emphatical. The death bed of a good man exhibits no metaphysical subtilties, no flaming zeal for modes and forms, and little circumstantials in religion; but the obvious, plain, simple truths of the gospel, and all in a practical way.

One thing still let me, add. Solemn and awful as the last scene of an irreligious person is, there is one circumstance in it, which usually gives me, pleasure, and an animating excitement to go on preaching the religion of the gospel, as an all important reality. It is this, that such persons, as well as others generally give their testimony in its favour, before they leave the world... Some exceptions, we meet, but comparatively. very few.

Let me pray you, my friend, to improve upon these hints, as far as you think them just, and favour me with additional illustrations upon the leading idea, such as your own thoughts will readily furnish.

Wishing many and great blessings on your person and ministry, I subscribe, &c.


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Let it be further remarked, that as these voluntary associa- › tions are formed for particular purposes, the members are under no obligation, which can hinder them from joining other societies of clergymen formed for other purposes. Nor indeed are they under any obligation, which can prevent them from asking and obtaining an honourable dismission from one association for the sake of belonging to another of the same kind, where their convenience or their satisfaction can be better consulted. has often been done, and has never been considered as censurable or inconsistent with the bonds of a voluntary ministerial



Now if Inquirer, or any other clergyman, belongs to an associ-' ation of ministers, whose views on the subject of GENERAL ASSOCIATION differ from his, he : may, it is conceived, adopt one or the other of the following methods, as particular circumstances shall render most expedient.

1. He may still continue a member of the association, to which he has belonged, and pro

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2. He may obtain a dismission from the association, to which he has belonged, and seek admission into another regular association, already formed,, which has or will have a connexion with the GENERAL, AssoCIATION, Or,

3. He may relinquish his present connexion, and unite with others, who are disengaged, in ̧. constituting a new body, for all the common purposes of ministerial associations, as well as for the general object particularly in view.

It is hoped that, in every measure which is pursued with refefence to the great object of the General Association, ministers, in the circumstances abovemen-" tioned, will unite wisdom with decision. If they do so, it is presumed they will not be severely censured, even by those, who have not the same views respecting the general object.

They, who have not joined' any particular association, may without embarrassment form any connexion, which they judge expedient.

For reasons, which need not be now mentioned, it is deemed very important, that this subject should be seasonably attended to, so that the next general meeting, being in a central part of the state, may comprehend as many particular associations as possi ble.

As a new and animating argument in favour of the General Association, the following information is communicated.

Extract of a paper lately published in London on the subject of the "general union of Congregational ministers and churches throughout England and Wales."

"In the month of May, 1806, a number of ministers and members of Congregational churches, both of town and country, assembled by appointment in London, to confer on the subject of establishing a general and explicit union of the whole body of that denomination. It had occurred to many of them, that although the principle of the independency of every church ought to be inviolably maintained; yet, that by cultivating a better acquaintance with each other, by communicating mutual information, and occasional advice, and by an extended cooperation, the interest of the kingdom of Christ in general, and the prosperity of this class of Christians in particular, might be more effectually promoted. After much interesting conversation, the meeting unanimously agreed, that such a union appeared to them to be highly desirable; and that the Board of Congregational Ministers in London, should be requested to prepare a plan for that purpose. In consequence of this request, the Board took up the business, and appointed a committee to sketch the outlines of a plan of union. These outlines were drawn, and presented to the

Board in March, 1807; and by them approved and accepted.

On Monday, May 18, that meeting was held at the Rev. Mr. Gaffee's meeting house, New Broad Street, and was nuThe plan merously attended. was then taken into consideration, and various sentiments on the subject were advanced by the brethren. Some objections to the projected union were brought forward by very respectable friends, which seemed to arise chiefly from a misapprehension of the design, or from the manner in which it had been expressed; other objections seemed to originate in that laudable jealousy, which dissenters ought ever to maintain against the assumption of unscriptural authority in the church of Christ, or the formation of any institution which might, in its issue, endanger the liberty with which Christ has made us free. These objections, it is hoped, in the course of discussion, were satisfactorily removed, or considera bly weakened; and the plan, which, perhaps, through excess of brevity, had been left somewhat obscure, obtained further explanation and enlargement, and was cordially adopted by the meeting."

In another paper, published in England about the middle of the present year, devout notice is taken of the remarkable fact that, at the very time when Congregational ministers and churches throughout England and Wales are engaged in establishing a general union, measures successfully adopted to promote a similar object in Massachusetts. RESPONDENT.


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