Imatges de pÓgina

through the mediation of his 1. That the loveliness of truth Son, there are no secrets. Noth- is one of the secrets revealed to ing is kept back, which sinners those, who fear the Lord. may consider as desirable for The Christian discerns that in them to know.

God's character, to which the un3. They, who fear the Lord, believer is totally blind ; alare entrusted with no secrets, as though they both look at the to the manner of having the gos- same character, and acknowledge pel pressed upon them. In this the same attributes. What a respect they are not made to dif- mystery is this! To what can fer from the wicked. The gos- this mighty difference be owing ? pel comes to all men with the Certainly not to a different exhisame things to recommend it. bition of the perfections of God; God addresses the saint and the for, as has been observed, truth sinner with the same clearness, is uniform. It is owing to the and with the same earnestness. different tastes of the persons. Heaven and hell are exhibited to The Christian loves the characthe view of each, and the conse- ter of God, because it is excelquences of believing and reject- lent and lovely. The sinner ing the gospel are stated with- sees the same character, but such out any reserve; so that neither is the corruptness of his heart, the one, nor the other, will be that he discerns no loveliness in able to plead ignorance of these it. As to what is truth, respectthings. They,, who fear the ing the divine character, they Lord, and they, who fear him may see alike ; they differ in renot, have opportunity to bear gard to the beauty and lovelithe gospel proclaimed from the ness of truth. The same obsersame preachers. As to the vations may be made with remanner in which the gospel is gard to the divine law, the charrecommended to their accept- acter of the Mediator, and the ance, there is no difference, whole system of divine truth. The engagedness, which the Christians are entrusted with an Christian discovers in those, who important secret; and the whole are set for the defence of the secret, important as it is, congospel, the sinner has full oppor. sists in their discerning moral tunity to notice. They are both beauty, where the sinner disconversant with the same afflic

They have eyes to tive and instructive providences. see, and ears to hear; and when As far, therefore, as instruction the great system of divine truth and the manner of communicating is exhibited, whether in one genit, are respected, the Christian is eral view, or in its parts, it is not exalted above the sinner. food to their souls. But it is The conclusion, therefore, is ob- not so with the wicked. They yious, that the secret of the have eyes, but they see not ; Lord has no respect to any ex- ears have they, but they hear țernal adyantages.

not. By these expressions, it is These things being premised, meant, that there is an awful with a view to take from the sin, blindness in their minds, or in per all ground for caviling; it other words, that their hearts are may be remarked positively, totally corrupt.

cerns none.

That Christians love and ad- speak to them of all his perfecmire the character of God, is to tions, and by the aid of the holy sinners a great mystery; be- scriptures, may describe them, cause it is so contrary to their in a just and clear light; but, it own experience. They like not is not in their power to make to retain God in their knowledge. them appear to the unsanctified That Christians should say, with to be beautiful and excellent. David, Thy law is my delight, is As many, therefore, as are to the wicked a great secret ; for brought to fear the Lord, have a their unsanctified minds are not secret revealed to them. It may “subject to the law of God, nei- be said of them, that they know ther indeed can be." That the Lord, in a peculiar sense. Christ appears precious to Chris. Agreeably to this sentiment the tians, and that they are willing apostle John says; Every one to count all things but loss, for that loveth is born of God, and the excellency of the knowledge knoweth God. He that loveth of him, is a dark and mysterious not, knoweth not God. affair to the wicked; for in their 2. Believers have a secret review, he hath no “form nor vealed to them respecting sin. comeliness," and when they look 'The Spirit of Christ, which is in upon his character, they see no their hearts, has taught them the “ beauty that they should desire odious nature of sin. Having him.” In the minds of the their eyes opened, they discern wicked, there is the same blind that evil in it, of which they ness with regard to the whole could not have a sight by mere system of divine truth. Be- speculation, and which never tween the truth and their hearts, could have been communicated there is no more agreement, than to them by the force of arguthere is between light and dark- ment. Persons, in a state of naness. Of course, it is mysteri- ture, may have a conviction, that ous to them, how Christians can an ungodly life exposes them to be pleased with the exhibition of evils; and'when they are made those truths, which are so entire to realize that these evils are ly crossing to the reigning prin- coming upon them, they wish ciple of their hearts.

they had pursued a different The attainment of the Chris- course. But, to the mind of tian, in discerning the loveliness the Christian, something more of truth, may be called a secret ; is revealed. He sees that sin is because it is something of which odious in its own nature, aside the unrenewed are as ignorant, as from all the evils to which it exa the man born blind is of colours, poses him. To him iniquity and of which they will forever appears to be hateful; because it be totally ignorant, unless their is opposition to that holy God, hard and finty hearts are taken whose character he loves. He from them by the power and has been taught, by the Holy grace of God. Christians them- Spirit, to loathe himself. Conselves cannot communicate to scious of his proneness to transthe wicked the idea of the loveli- gress, he is often led to humble ness and transcendent beauty of himself before God, on account God's character. They may of sins, of which no one has a knowledge, but the great Judge of life. Such have been taught of the world, and himself, and of God. Having tasted and seen which have been committed, on- that he is good, they can joyfully in his wicked heart. To have ly commit to his keeping and such feelings in view of sin, es- disposal their own lives and pecially of sins, which are pri- souls, as well as those of their vate, is a secret to those, who children. They believe him to are in unbelief.

They may be faithful ; and believing this, have experienced a multitude of they know that all things will evils, in consequence of their work together for the good of transgressions, and their con- those, who love him. They sciences may have often smitten feel assured, that every event is them; yet they are total stran- a part of the great and perfect gers to godly sorrow. They plan of Him, who worketh all have never intermeddled with things according to the counsel the feelings of that heart, which of his own will, and that every has been broken for sin. Of the event, however melancholy in itsecret respecting the odious na- self, will, in some way, promote ture of sin, to which reference is the interest of that kingdom, to now had, the finally impenitent which they have devoted themwill not make the least discove- selves. Truly, they have an inrý, after having endured the an- heritance made over to them, guish of being cast off, thou- which is more valuable than all sands and millions of ages. It this world. will be a secret to them forever The Lord open the eyes of and ever. Nothing but the those, who may peruse these Spirit of the Lord, in his sanc- thoughts, that they may see the tifying influences, will give that beauty and glory of his characsight of sin, which is implied in ter; and," beholding, as in a brokenness of heart.

glass, his glory, may they be 3. They, who fear the Lord, changed into the same image have a secret revealed to them from glory to glory, as by the respecting his covenant faithful- Spirit of the Lord.” ne88.

It is recorded, in the sacred volume, of this happy number, that God “ will shew them his covenant.” To have confidence To the Editors of the Panoplist. in God, and to learn to commit Gentlemen, ourselves, and all our concerns I HAVE, for many years, seizto him, and to be happy in doing ed every opportunity to attend it, is a great attainment. It is ordinations. To me they have an important art ; yea, infinitely been both solemn and delightful, more important than any art, That they are generally attended which is ever taught by men. with so much order, and that the Through the infinite grace of great Redeemer is pleased, on the Redeemer, some of our fal- such occasions, to give so many len race are enabled to acquire tokens of his gracious presence this heavenly art; and they are with ministers and churches, is a often found in the lower walks matter of joy and praise. Still,



I think there is room for amend- ances, which we generally hear ment; and I beg leave, through at ordinations, I take the liberty your religious publication, to oí- to mention what I consider, as fer the following hints to the con- faults. If they are really so, they sideration of those, who are par- should be corrected. ticularly concerned. Though First, Repetition. In each pray. not a clergyman, I am a decided er we frequently hear the same friend to gospel ministers ; and thought, and sometimes the same Lassure them, that in the re- expression repeated again and marks which follow, I have the again. And this repetition is genconcurrence of many learned and erally so far from being emphaticpious laymen, who wish for no- al or impressive, that it apparentthing more sincerely, than to gively springs from vacancy or disrespectability and influence to the order of mind, from want of preclergy.

paration, or from inadvertence, I take it for granted, that a se. and is of course a severe exercise rious and careful examination of of the candour and patience of candidates for ordination is neces- hearers, sary and important. , Is there Secondly, Prolixity is a fault not, then, great impropriety in ap- frequently objected against ordi, pointing the meeting of the coun- nation performances. I would cil at such a late hour, as to give not consult the taste of the irre: little or no opportunity for an ex-ligious, but the Spirit of inspira- : amination ? Is it not expedient, tion. Scripture precepts, and that the ordaining council be uni- scripture examples discounte: formly invited to meet on the nance long prayers. Solomon's evening before the ordination ? direction is this ; God is in heavBy this arrangement, they would en, and thou upon earth; there. have sufficient opportunity to ex. fore let thy words be few. The amine the candidate, to attend to instructions of Christ afford no the circumstances of the church encouragement to long prayers. and society, to consider any diffin When ye pray, he says, use not culty deserving the notice of the vain repetitions,ąs the heathen do; council, and to finish in season for they think that they shall be their whole business preparatory heard for their much speaking. to ordination. This arrangement The general form or directory of would prevent the pain and disor- prayer, which he gave his disci. der occasioned to a large assem- ples,

very short.

There is bly by a long disappointment re- one example in the Bible of a specting the public services. long public prayer, viz. that of Such disorder I bave often wit. Solomon at the dedication of the nessed; such pain I have of- temple. But it must not be for, ten felt. This arrangement gotten, that the occasion was imwould likewise give the perform- portant almost beyond compariers time to compose their son, and that his prayer was the thoughts, and by suitable premed- only performance of the kind on itation, to prepare their minds to that great occasion. And yet I. engage in the public solemnities. hazard the assertion, that the

While I am happy in admiring prayer of Solomon recorded in the excellence of the perform- scripture is not half so long, as

the introductory prayer often is ing prayer is sometimes such, at an ordination. Yea, after ve- that during a considerable part ry long performances preceding, of it, we should hardly be able

I have sometimes heard a closing to conjecture, what is the pecuprayer quite as long, as the whole liar object of the performance. of Solomon's prayer at the dedi. While attending to the concludcation. Nor does such length of ing prayer, we are frequently, for prayer commonly appear to flow a long time, wholly unable to from the fulness of the heart, nor see, that the performer has any from any remarkable copiousness suitable sense of the occasion, or of ideas. The lengthening out any design to close it. of prayer frequently appears the Fourthly, The parts commonly effect of mere labour, which is intrude upon each other. If the equally uncomfortable to speaker parts are really distinct in their and hearer. They, who lead in nature, they ought to be kept this exercise, seem not unfree distinct in the execution. But quently to be influenced by the instead of this, the introductory opinion, that a prayer is excellent prayer generally contains much in proportion to its length. of that, which is the peculiar There could not be an opinion province of the consecrating more unnatural and groundless. prayer. The sermon often antiTedious length is often given to cipates the ground of the charge the other performances, as well and the right hand of fellowship. as to the prayers. This fault is The consecrating prayer consists connected with another, which is, in part of what belongs to an inThirdly, The introduction of troductory prayer.

The right much impertinent matter. How hand of fellowship frequently reremarkable for sacred perti- turns upon the ground of the nence was the prayer of Sol- charge. The last prayer, which omon above mentioned. He should be considered as a devout entered directly into the spirit of and easy close, generally rehearthe occasion. Though he said ses a considerable part of the conmuch, he said nothing but what secration, and sometimes takes was perfectly adapted to the as formal and particular notice of great object of the assembly. every subject involved in the oca But at ordinations it is frequent- casion, as though there were no ly otherwise. Expressions are other performance. Of course, abundantly used, and thoughts instead of being four or five minexpanded, which, though suita- utes long, it is fifteen or twenty. ble on ordinary occasions, are What sacred improvement and by no means adapted to this. pleasure does an ordination afThe greatest part of the first ford, where every performer has prayer, which ought to be mere- the true spirit of the occasion, iy a well adapted introduction to and executes the part assigned the solemn business of the ordi- him with readiness and propriedation, is frequently made up of ty. When every one enters imthings, which are heard every mediately on his appropriate Sabbath. The sermon is com- ground; knows what to say, and monly, though not always, less which is almost equally importexceptionable. The consecrat- ant, what not to say; begins

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