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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 occasion. 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 ; “Even as Christ loved the church, &c.”—It is a wonderful tenderness. Wol. 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 prospect in the main foint. 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.
My Dear Sir, No. 11. I HAvr enjoyed your agreeable settlement, and the many circumstances, that seem to promise you both comfort and usefulness; though I hope neither of us forgets upon whose blessing both depend. If I must continue my feeble suggestions, I must. The afflicting circumstance of dropping hints to others, is its bringing up so many failures of my own, and many which I am afraid it is too late to retrieve. No more of Mentor to such a navigator as Inc. It is not difficult to bring up particulars, which should have been more attended to by myself. For instance, I see now more than ever, that the different parts of our work, taken up alternately, and in due proportion, aid and befriend each other. Itetired ..., studies furnish us for conversaition ; and by conversing with ... our people, we go to our studies with new advantage ; and the - more, as our visits bave been properly pastoral. . The ver 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 to 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 entiments of thinking and prayi. Christians; the questions on livine subjects, which will often be brought up ; the very ignorance and eccentricitics of the less cultivated, will suggest subjects of meditation and ospreaching, very necessary, and which, but for mixing often with our people, would have been less remembered. . . o Conversing with the afflicted is of special use to call out every sentinient we possess, if not to suggest new ; as generally it Jets us into much of human naure, and various views of it in . 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
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 these 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 auimating 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. - , BETA. Asswork to rior question coxc ERN ING G ENERAL Associ A11ox— - * - * * * . - Proposed in Panoplist No. 27, page 118, by is Qu is Ek'. .. In the first place let it be considered, that the associations of Congregational ministers in this commonwealth are all perfectly voluntary. They are not restricted to neighbourhoods, counties, or any other local boundaries, but are constituted according to the choice and agreement of individual ministers. Let it be further remarked, that as these voluntary associations are formed for starticular fourfioses, the members are under no obligation, which can binder them from joining other societies of clergymen formed for other surfioses. Nor indeed are they under any obligation, which can prevent them from asking: and obtaining an honourable disinission from one association for the sake of belonging to another of the same kind, where their convenience or their satisfaction . can be better consulted. This” has often been done, and has never been considered as censurable or inconsistent with the bonds of a voluntary ministerial association. ‘Now if Inquirer, or any other clergyman, belongs to an association 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. : - o 1. He may still continue a member of the association, to which he has belonged, and pro
mote, as actively as ever, the laudable purposes of it, and yet, with a higher object in view, join with others in like circumstances in forming -a new body for the ear/ress four/lose of fromoting, the design and enjoying the advan
tages of the GENERAL Associ
A rion. Or, - . . . . 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 Assoc 1 ATION. Or, o .. 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 V le W. ... " o It is hoped that, in every measure which is pursued with res. efence to the great object cf 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 possible.
As a new and animating argument in favour of the General Association, the following information is communicated.
Extract of a flasher lately flubbished 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 then approved and accepted. On Monday, May 18, that meeting was held at the Rev. Mr. Gaffee's meeting house, New Broad Street, and was numerously attended. The plan 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 considerably 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 are successfully adopted to promote a similar objectin Massachusetts. Respondent.
ON THE GRADUAL AND INSIDI OUS PROGRESS OF SIN.
It is a common saying, that no man becomes very wicked at once. Men are prepared by degrees for the last acts of iniquity. Ask the murderer how he came to imbrue his hands in blood. He will tell you, that he was first light and thoughtless, then loose and extravagant; and that, having thus brought himself into difficulties, having also associated himself with bad company, he was tempted to some little act of injustice, which he meant, perhaps, to repair, and certainly to commit but for once. The fraud was resorted to as the means of deliverance from urgent distress ; but the devil having tempted him to perpetrate this single act, he was induced to repeat the crime, even though a little less pressed by want; so that the same act under these new circumstances had more sin in it. At last, murder became necessary to conceal theft, and seemed only to be a part of the same iniquity.
Ask, in like manner, the unhappy woman, who has not only forfeited her character, but has lost all regard to decency, and whose very trade is that of corrupting others, how she arrived at so great a pitch of wickedness; she will tell you, that it was by slow degrees. At first she secretly indulged improper thoughts; a too free behaviour followed, improper conversation was permitted, little liberties were taken; and if a parent or
friend reproved her, she pleaded that these liberties were insignificant. She began by trifling with temptation, and now she is the most abandoned of her species. Take, in short, any character that is now infamous ; his history, if he were to tell it to you, would be the same. What abandoned sinnels are some men ; what cheats, what liars, what blasphemers of God, what
despisers of all that is good l Is .
thy servant a dog, said Hazael, that he should commit this thing 2 Hazael could not believe his nature to be capable of the crime which the prophet told him that he should perpetrate. The sins of some men are so dreadful, that we stand astonished at them. We look on these persons as beings of another nature; as scarcely human. Alas! the wickedest man that lives is only one who has fallen by little and little ; he has been, perhaps, for some time, proceeding in this downward path. That vile wretch, whom you loathe, was once perhaps in nearly the same condition as you ; he had a conscience which smote him when he did evil ; he had a general regard to God and godliness ; he had a blushing cheek, and a modest look; a habit of kneeling down in worship, or in seeming worship, in the same manner as you. Let us explain this point very familiarly. A child, let it be supposed, is taught to say his