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and ornament of the coming time. In the same view, St. Paul, having exhorted Timothy, that he should let no man despise his youth, adds, as a means to this end, that he should "give attendance to reading," and not neglect the gift that was in him, which was given him by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. A plain proof, if there were no other, that the supernatural gifts, conferred upon the ministers of Christ, and which he hath promised shall be with them to the end of the world, do not supersede the necessity of their own study and the cultivation of learning, as some enthusiasts would persuade the world.

An ignorant and illiterate clergyman is certainly far from respectable. If, therefore, my young brethren, you wish that no man should despise your youth, furnish your minds with as much knowledge, and of the best sort, as you


No person can be better acquainted than I, with the solid foundation for this, which you have laid in your early studies. But you yourselves must be sensible, that there is no limit to your progress. You have just entered upon the verge of an immense field, where the wisdom of ages lies before you, scattered in books which you are now qualified to understand. If, therefore, you would be respectable, get this wisdom. "And with all thy getting, get understanding. She shall give to thy head an ornament of. grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee."

2. But it is not only by defect of knowledge, that a young clergyman forfeits respect. Very many do so, in the eyes at least of every serious and judicious person, by their manner of using the knowledge which they have attained, in the instruction of their flocks; when they are ambitious of pleasing their hearers, rather than of profiting them; or of being thought eloquent or learned speakers.

It is a natural principle to wish that

mankind should think well of us, and when properly limited and directed, it is a useful one. But young men are apt to be influenced too much by it, before they have learned, by experience, of how little real value the opinion of the world is; upon what slight ground it is usually built; and how often it is placed on the wrong side.

Whoever knows, and duly considers these things, will not think the hunting after fame to be a very dignified pursuit for any man; and if so, it is easy to conceive, how revolting it must be to every pious mind to see the least symptom of it in a clergyman, who should never look his congregation in the face, without the sentiment of the apostle in his heart: "With me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man's judgment. But he that judgeth me is the Lord."

If the preacher will but reflect on that final judgment; and that he is the watchman, at whose hands God will require the blood of the people he is then addressing, if they perish through his neglect; I think he will be more anxious to mend their hearts, than to please their ears.

But even if this awful consideration has no weight, I should think that the very facility of the attainment would make it be despised.

There are few things more easy than to be a popular preacher; for it requires neither great extent of knowledge, nor keenness of judgment, nor delicacy of taste, nor vigour of fancy, nor any one high or rare talent.. It is only to put together a flimsy, superficial discourse, that would answer just as well for any other time or place in the world, as when and where it is delivered; to take good care that there be nothing in it to ruffle the minds of the hearers with disagreeable thoughts, 'and especially the thoughts of their own sins; to entertain the fancy, now and then, with new combinations of ideas ; and to let the whole be dressed in flowing language, closing with

artificial periods; and the object is effected. The audience is delighted; the speaker is applauded; and all goes well-except that not a soul is the better for it. It was this that made a good man say, whenever he heard that his sermon was admired, "I fear I have not preached as I ought." This was no extravagant or groundless fear; and I would heartily recommend some jealousy of this sort to every young person entering on the Christian ministry. But although your minds should rise (as I trust they ever will) far above seeking the praise of men, yet there may be a danger of another sort, arising from no unworthy motive, against which I wish to caution you; I mean the introduction of rhetorical ornaments into your discourses. You have so lately been conversant with the great poets and orators of antiquity, and so familiar with the beauties of their writings; and all these have such charms, especially for young minds, that there will be great danger, unless you guard your selves well, of their intruding into a place too sacred for them to enter.

It is extremely delicate and difficult to accommodate heathen ornaments to Christian churches. There is something in our religion so pure, so awful, in short, so peculiar to itself, that whenever it is attempted to embellish it with any thing of foreign growth, the incongruity is manifest, and every pious feeling is disgusted.

The most effectual style of preach ing, perhaps, is, not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but setting forth, with simplicity and vigour, the affecting promises and threatenings of the gospel; that gospel; on which its Author set this distinctive mark, that the poor were to have it preached to them. Therefore, it should be preached in language that the poor understand. "In the church," says St. Paul, "I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue."

Now what are learned words but an unknown tongue to the poor.

A very near relative* of one of you, whose praise is in all cur churches, has shown you how a man of great and various learning, and of fine imagina. tion and taste, can confine himself to the simplest, purest, most unaffected language, in addressing his people.

3. There is yet a third way, in which a young clergyman may come to be despised. It is the last I shall mention, and that very briefly, because from long and intimate knowledge, I feel that there is little danger of its occurring in the present instance. I mean the mixing too much with the gayeties and amusements of the world. I know that moroseness is no part of religion, and that the blessed Author of ours condescended to be present at meetings held for the purposes of festivity and innocent enjoyment. And I am convinced that it would be an injury, not a benefit, to morals, if the clergy were excluded from such, by any rule, or even by publick opinion. Recreations, we will admit, are sometimes necessary to relieve the mind, when exhausted with serious employments, that it may return to them again with greater effect. But, notwithstanding this, it is certainly not decorous for a clergyman to be remarked as prominent or frequent in such things.

If it be one of the marks of the extreme depravity which the apostle foretells should arise in the last days, that men would be lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God; and if that time seems already to have come upon us; how needful is it that the clergy, who are the chosen soldiers of Jesus Christ, and called upon, as such, to endure hardness in his cause, should strive to stem, rather than encourage, by their example, that torrent of dissipation, which threatens to be as fatal

The reverend Mr. Gilpin, vicar of Boldre, England, author of many learned and pious works, and grandfather to one of the young men here addressed.

to true and vital religion, as even the grossest vices can be.

And now, I will take my leave, by earnestly repeating to you, severally, the apostle's admonition to his young pupil and friend: "Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an exam. ple of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity." May the God of all purity enable you so to be.

For the Gospel Advocate.


Sept. 17, 1821.

DEAR SIR,-Your letter arrived while I was absent on a journey, and I did not get it until the day before yester day, or I should have replied to it sooner. The subject is one of infinite importance, and your inquiries appear to be dictated by an earnest desire after truth; happy shall I be, if I can give you the information you so much wish for.

The task which you impose upon me is a very delicate one; but, relying on "the Spirit of truth," to "guide me into all truth," I will endeavour, by bis assistance, conscientiously and faithfully to execute it.

How far the excitement of which you speak may be the immediate operations of the Holy Spirit, I will not pretend to judge; God grant that the subjects of it may "bring forth the fruits of the Spirit," as an evidence of their conversion. No doctrine of the bible, I will venture to say, has been so frequently handled, as that which regards the operations of divine grace, in the conversion of the sinner; and after all, none is so little understood. It is a doctrine by no means difficult in itself, or in any manner unintelligible to the meanest capacity, if viewed with an unprejudiced eye, as it is clearly set forth in the gospel; but rendered dif

ficult, only, by the abstruse speculations and metaphysical subtleties of some modern theologists; by the unskilful interpretation of the ignorant; and by the visionary, wild, and incoherent rhapsodies of the enthusiast. These interpreters of scripture are led into their errour by not distinguishing between the miraculous and ordinary operations of the Spirit.

The miraculous gifts of the Spirit, enabled the recipients to work miracles in attestation of the truth of the doctrines which they taught, and to speak in languages which they had never learned.. This was necessary to the first promulgation and establishment of Christianity; for, as the gospel was to be preached to "every kingdom and nation, and tongue and people under heaven," it was necessary that those who were to be the first publishers of it, should understand the language of those nations to whom they respectively preached; but as the apostles were poor, unlettered men, and had no means of acquiring knowledge in the ordinary way, it was also necessary that they should receive the

gift of tongues' by direct and immediate revelation. I will refer you to the second chapter of Acts, for an account of the manner in which this miraculous gift was communicated, and the effects upon the recipients.

These miraculous effusions of the Spirit continued until the Christian religion was firmly established, and no longer needed such aid; they ceased when the end for which they were given was accomplished; we are not now, therefore, to look for any miraculous inspiration. But the ordinary operations of the Spirit must and will continue so long as human nature remains frail and corrupt. They are absolutely necessary to the sanctifying our nature and to perfect us in that "holiness, without which no man shall see God." This "manifestation of the Spirit," St. Paul tells us," is given to every man to profit withal."

But that the ordinary operations of true; but let it be remembered that the Spirit are neither instantaneous nor these were miraculously converted, and perceptible, appears to me to be very had the power conveyed to them of evident, both from reason and scrip- working miracles, in attestation of the ture. They are not instantaneous; truth that they were under the mirafor if, in one mysterious moment we culous operation of the Holy Ghost. are translated from a state of sin and They spake with tongues and prowickedness, to a state of perfect holi- phesied, as the Spirit gave them utterness, what is meant by "growing in ance. Nor can it be denied that there grace?" 2 Peter iii. 18. What is may be instances in our day of permeant by perfecting holiness in the sons being suddenly brought to see fear of God?" 2 Cor. vii. 1. Surely, their wickedness, and to turn from it, if the Corinthian converts were already yet without any miracle wrought for perfect, there was no occasion for the their reformation; such, for instance, apostle to exhort them to go on perfect- as those who all their life long have ing themselves. Again, we are told lived in the practice of gross vices. to "increase more and more;" Their repentance, however, is but the COMMENCING-POINT of their reformation; they must still go on "perfecting holiness in the fear of God."

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1 Thess. iv. 10. "That our love may abound yet more and more." Phil. i. 9. The language of St. Paul is," Till we all come unto a perfect man; unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ;" Ephes. iv. 13. And he evidently meant, by this figure, that reformation was progressive, and not instantaneous, in the same manner as the human body gradually increases to its full stature. Again he says, "I press towards the mark, for the prize, &c." Phil. iii. 14. This was spoken by the apostle long after his conversion; yet the question naturally arises, how could he press towards the mark, if he had already attained it? The words of the Almighty, by the mouth of his prophet, are these: "When the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness, and doeth that which is law ful and right,"-mark the condition

and doeth that which is lawful and right, "he shall save his soul alive." Ezek. xviii. 27. The sinner is not merely to turn from evil, but he must also do what is lawful and right;" but this cannot be done in an instant, and until it is done, he cannot "save his soul alive.?'

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It may be asked, are there not many instances of what may be termed instan taneous conversion recorded in the new testament. That there are many sudden conversions recorded, is very

But, so long as we confound things that are different, we can never arrive at the truth. This is in nothing more true than in regard to the doctrine of instantaneous conversion, as it is grounded on the instances recorded in the new testament. We ought, in reasoning on this subject, to take into view the difference between the state of the world as it was when Christianity first began to be promulgated, and as it is now, when that religion is firmly established. Then, the whole world was divided into Jews and Pagans, the former of whom had corrupted the true religion, by the grossest superstitions, and the latter were given up to the practice of every species of idolatry and wickedness. To establish Christianity on the wreck of Judaism and idolatry, it was necessary to lay the axe at the very root of these corruptions; consequently miracles must be wrought to effect so wonderful a change; and those who were converted from Jewish superstition and pagan idolatry would manifest their sincerity by an immediate renunciation of their false gods. Consider, for a moment, what a wonderful change was to be effected, and by whom it was to be effected. A few unlettered, despised fishermen,

undertaking to reform the world; to overturn systems sanctioned by the authority of ages; to combat prejudices incorporated with the habits and interests of mankind, to strike at the very foundation of all those corrupt doctrines in which the pagan world had been educated, and which they deemed impregnable. Those surely, who were to be instrumental in accomplishing this arduous and hazardous work must have been endowed with miraculous power from on high; and those to whom they preached the word of life, being either Jews or pagans, and consequently attached, by education and prejudice, to their respective religions, if they were convinced by the apostles' preaching, would immediately renounce their idolatries and commence a new course of life; but this, as we before remarked, would be but the commencement of of holiness. But these instances afford no manner of ground for the doctrine of instantaneous, or miraculous, conversion, in our day. If any one claims to have been miraculously converted, he must work some miracle to prove it, or we are bound not to believe him. Now to illustrate what we have said, by the example of St Paul, whose conversion is often insisted on by those who hold to the doctrine of instantane. ous conversion as a proof that their doctrine is scriptural, he tells us that he was born a Jew, and educated after the strictest sect of his religion, a pharisee. With strong prejudices against the Christian religion, he took delight in persecuting the early Christian converts; verily believing that he was thereby doing God service. The Almighty, by a most astonishing miracle, wrought the conversion of this furious bigot; that he might, as God himself declared, "be a chosen vessel unto him, to bear his name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel." Acts. ix. 15. The miracle was sensible ; there was a voice from heaven, and a light above the brightness of the sun at noon day; and the men who were with him, saw the light.

Nothing, therefore, can be built upon this instance, to support the doctrine of instantaneous conversion in our day. Beside, St. Paul himself regarded this as but the commencement of a life of holiness. Let me again refer you to his own language, long after this remarkable event; "I press," says he, "towards the mark;" "I die daily;" "Let us cleanse ourselves, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." What mean these declarations, if St. Paul, in one mysterious moment, was translated from a state of sin, to a state of indefectible and salvable grace? The great danger arising from this erroneous doctrine is, that it leads men to trust to a precarious death-bed repentance; than which nothing can be more perilous.

Having thus, my dear sir, stated with as much brevity as the case would admit, what I conceive to be the true, scriptural doctrine on this subject, namely, that the reformation of the sinner is progressive and not instantaneous, I shall now endeavour to show what I think is equally plain from scripture, that the operations of the Spirit are not perceptible; that is, we cannot perceive how or in what manner it operates on our hearts. We can only judge of the cause by the effect produced; we can only judge the tree by its fruit. If we bring forth the fruits of the Spirit, we may rest assured that it operates on our hearts, although we are not otherwise sensible of its operation. Some persons pretend, as you observe, that they can tell the precise moment when the Holy Spirit of God so operated on their hearts that they at once hated all sin; they felt a sensible impulse, an indescribable something within them, which assured them that they were in a state of grace. But this is not to be relied on; "it is visionary and vain." Trances, visions, noises, dreams, mental agitations, glows and raptures, which some mistake for the operations of the Holy Spirit, are generally the effect of a disordered and heated imagination, which may frequently be wrought up to such a pitch,

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