Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

this demands more attention and judgement than are sometimes exercised."

We have already said, that the Charge (by the Rev. Dr. Allyn, of Duxbury) is excellent. It is a charge which may be read with profit by all Christians; it is a large and enlightened statement of christian duty, founded on the thought that every man in his place is in some degree and in a certain sense, the minister of God. "A power of doing good intimates an obligation to exert one's-self in promoting religious faith, hope, and charity." We first give the introduction,and afterward the passages to which we have now alluded. "Ordination of ministers is justly considered a sacred and solemn act, but like other religious acts has no value in itself unless it lead to sentiments, affections and conduct which are holy, worthy of the christian,and beneficial in their effects to the church. If we separate from the solemn exercises usual on occasions like the present, the ideas suggest ed to the mind, the ends designed, the religious and moral tendency of the language used, nothing of value remains. Prayer and praise, the singing of psalms, the administration of baptism and the Lord's supper, together with the act of ordination in which we are now engaged, have, none of them, any use, sacredness, acceptability, separate from their influence in producing a more devout, active and useful life. Qn this principle, ordination,. without any special reference

to place, or a people of the minister's charge, may be viewed with favour and approbation, if the service be performed in a serious and pious manner, accompanied with moral effect in regard to the candidate to be ordained, and in regard to the spectators and actors in this solemnity.

"Ordination communicates no grace; only operating as a monitor, and drawing after it a peculiar train of ideas and emotions. It communicates no exclusive authority, for every man is authorized to admonish, teach and persuade his neighbour for his edification. It places a man under no obligation not binding before ; for every christian is obliged to perform what may benefit his fellow-creatures, advance the cause of christianity, and promote the glory of God."

"Having had the advantages of a liberal education, having been nursed in the school of our prophets, we charge you to consider an acquired ability of teaching others, a power of doing good as intimating an obligation to exert yourself in promoting religious faith, hope and charity. Use every means of perfecting your ideas of christianity. Meditate on its value, its spirit, its laws and sanctions, its doctrines, its history and examples, its influence on individual and national happiness, and that of the whole world. Reflect on its immediate and ultimate design to make men holy and virtuous, and to fit them for the enjoyments of eternal life. Seek advancement in christian know

ledge. You have not now to learn the comprehensive and progressive character of relig. ion. You was not satisfied with the imperfect ideas im bibed in the nursery. You indulged a spirit of search; and with the same reason, at this more advanced age, if humble, you will doubt of the fullness and perfection of your faith, and expect new discoveries from the study of the sacred scriptures, the treasury of wisdom and truth. Here on earth we see but in part; we are disciples in the christian school, and must receive the kingdom of God with the docility of children. A humble and docile temper will afford the best sccurity against the fickleness of those who are always changing without improve ing. It will prevent from pertinaciously adhering to prepos sessions, and obstinately refusing confession of error. It will secure against the delusion of sudden impulses and the conceit of intuitive knowledge; against superstition which, by plunging the human mind into despair, utterly parAlizes its searching power, Consider yourself a learner,and not vainly imagine that your sight now extends to the whole system of divine truths, but discriminate that horizon which bounds the visible and invisible hemispheres of things known and unknown.

#

"But while you humbly sit at the feet of Jesus Christ, yet in the presence of your breth ren, and especially in the company of profane and immoral men, you may assert the char

acter of a teacher in Israel, and use the boldness of a prophet. You will frown on the cold and lukewarm christian, on the backsliding and unstable, on the perverse disputer, on the irreligious and unbe lieving who see no form or comeliness in our divine Master, that they should desire him."

We would call the particu lar, attention of our readers to the following extract; and request them seriously to reflect upon it; and we earnestly wish that some might be led by it to become "occasional preachers" of the truth, and bear witness to the value of religion, though the vows of ordination are not upon them.

“You have been, ever since your profession of christianity, tacitly considered a member of the society of christians for the suppression of vice and advancing the reformation of manners; but now you are specially recognized as such; for what else is the christian priesthood but a holy fraternity for these very purposes, When you are invited to subscribe your name as a member of any particular institution established for religious and moral purposes, you may say with the Quaker in his reply to the invitation to join the Peace Society, "I belong to your society already" All ministers of Christ from the very nature of their profession, should consider themselves as one body, whose joint and several duty it is to devise and execute the best means of breaking up the evil customs of the world,

and promoting the interests of religion. Support designs of reformation and thus you will prevent reproach against that holy name by which we are called."

"It is desirable to have more occasional preachers; to see respectable laymen fall into the ranks of the ministry, by praying, preaching, giving a word of exhortation in cases of exigency. To reason of right eousness, temperance and a judgement to come, is not exclusively the duty of clergymen; but all christians should Be preachers to their families, neighbourhood, and in the circle of their friends; while the best endowed may act in a more enlarged sphere. Were our magistrates, lawyers and physicians men of religious character, to give a word of comfort and exhortation, as did the first governor of Massachusetts Province, would add dignity to their calling,

The views of religion exhibited to the council by the candidate for ordination, form an appendix to the pamphlet. We were pleased with them as being the clear and independent statement of a man, who appears not to have gone to men for his opinions, and is satisfied with the sufficiency of the scriptures

Upon the whole, we have been highly gratified with these performances, and are so persuaded of their excellence, that we make no apology for our numerous and long extracts.

Vid. Col. His. Soc. 9th vol. page 19 and 20. 2 note. 1 Heb. i. 1,

EVILS RESULTING FROM AN UNCANDID SPIRIT.

CHRISTIANS are required to be "followers of God as dear children," and to love one a nother as Christ has loved them. But how little are these injunctions regarded by persons of different sects in their treatment one of another! God is good and kind to each sect, and Christ laid down his life for all. If there be any thing in which we should be followers of God, we should doubtless imitate his benevolence, mercy and forbearance. In this. way we should love one anoth

raise the standard of public morals and religion, awaken the diligent labours of ministers to bring out of their treasury, things new and old, answering the expectations of intelligent hearers, and excite the hope, that the time is not far distant, when all, from the least to the greatest,shall know the Lord."

[ocr errors]

er as Christ has loved us. But how miserable must have been the condition of every denomi nation of Christians, had God exercised as little mercy and forbearance towards them as they have often displayed one towards another! An uncandid spirit is not only the opposite of a christian temper and of fensive to God, but it exposes men to many evils; some of which it may be useful to mention.

An uncandid spirit is unfriendly to the personal happi

ness of the possessor. God has connected a portion of pain and misery with such a spirit, and a portion of real pleasure and happiness with the exercise of a candid mind. In this way he has made it for the present interest of Christians to cultivate a kind, candid and forbearing spirit. For the truth of this remark we may appeal to the experience of every real Christian. Each one has probably at different times known what it is to feel candor, and the want of candor. Let each one then reflect, and ask himself, in which state of mind he has enjoyed the most happi

ness.

As an uncandid spirit is unfriendly to personal happiness so it is to the happiness of society. It is in a great degree contagious; and it tends to produce bitterness, envy and contention. In its fruits it is the reverse of that wisdom which is from above.

Under the influence of this unhallowed disposition, a person is very liable to self deception, and to account his bitter and censorious feelings towards his dissenting brethren, as evidence of his own love to God, to truth and religion. Such was probably the case with those who "killed the Prince of life." The same was the case with Paul, while breathing out threatnings and slaughter against the followers of the Lamb. An uncandid spirit is ever a spirit of delusion, and the degree of delusion is probably in proportion to the degree of unkindness which is indulged.

[ocr errors]

This spirit ever exposes a man to misjudge the character of his neighbour, as well as his own. That forbearance and tenderness towards the supposed erroneous, which is one of the best evidences of self knowledge, humility and christian love, will, by the uncandid, be set down as evidence of luke warmness, hypocrisy or an inclination to apostacy; and a readiness to censure, or a defamatory zeal in one of his own party, will be regarded as evidence of love to the truth, to orthodoxy and to God. Have we not reason to fear that many in our day have been as really deluded by an uncandid spirit, as were the Jewish clergy in our Saviour's time? And what sect is free from persons of this description ?

How lamentable and shocking is such a spirit in a minister of religion! It is like the war spirit of a ruler, easily transfused into the minds of others, and dangerous in proportion to his popularity. Such a minister will very naturally dwell much on the peculiarities of his own sect; and wheth er they be truth or falsehood, he will treat them as the essentials of religion. Those who have confidence in him will naturally believe that to embrace his system of opinions is the one thing needful; and a disposition to defame those of opposite opinions will be deemed as one of the fruits of christian love. This belief and this disposition will prepare the hearer for communion with his minister. That which ought to be viewed as evidence of de

[ocr errors]
[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

lusion in both, will prepare them to dwell together in a dreadful kind of unity! it will prepare them to applaud each other for the unchristian virulence with which they mutually reproach people of other de nominations.

Again, the prevalence of an uncandid spirit has a powerful tendency to confirm deists in their disbelief of the gospel, to arm them with weapons against the christian religion, and to enable them to make proselytes to their own system. Any religion which authorizes its professors to treat one another in an injurious manner, may justly be esteemed as from beneath and not from above. If the gospel justified such conduct it might justly be classed with the Alcoran of Mahomet, as an imposture. However unjust such a method of proceeding may be, it is unquestionable, that unbelievers are much disposed to form their estimate of the gospel from the influence it has on its professed friends, to the neglect of carefully studying the scriptures for themselves. While, therefore, they behold in professors of christianity, that spirit which is from beneath a disposition to ruin and devour one another, what better is to be expected than that the fault will be imputed to the religion they profess. If Christians would conform their hearts and their lives to the precepts and example of their Lord, the mouth of infidelity would be in a great measure stopped. But for ages unbelievers have had opportunity to Vol. VI-No, 3.

[ocr errors]

show how cordially professed Christians hate one another.

The rising generation is greatly injured by the example of an uncandid spirit. Children in every society necessarily imbibe many of the opinions of their parents and their ministers. If these guides indulge unchristian feelings towards their brethren of other denominations, this pernicious leaven will assuredly be transfused into the minds of young people; and they will grow up with censorious dispositions towards the objects which they have thus been taught to despise. By this deleterious influence they will learn to defame worthy characters, and to hate those who are beloved of God.

In a time of war between two nations, the children of each are taught by example to hate and revile the people of the other, before they know, or are capable of knowing the grounds of the contention, or which party is the most in fault. In like manner the children of different denominations of Christians are prepossessed and injured by an uncandid spirit in their parents one towards another.

This unsanctified spirit is also a great obstacle to improvement in religious knowledge, both in regard to the aged and the young. It disqualifies any person for perceiving with clearness or judging with impartiality. Very little confidence is to be placed in the judgement of any one who is so far under its influence that' he cannot speak peaceably of

« НазадПродовжити »