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My dear Friends,
be aroused, your understandings I have lately been thinking much enlightened, your hearts renewed, upon the importance of the rela- your comfort promoted, and that tion subsisting between a minister you may be “ rooted and built up and his congregation. This con- in Christ, established in the faith, nection is infinitely momentous, as abounding therein with thanksgivit must have a most powerful in- ing, and unblameable in holiness Auence upon our most serious and before God." valuable concerns, and must affect Let each of us then seriously deeply, and for ever our future consider, and resolutely adopt state. I am the bearer to you of every method, by which it is likely that message from God, which is that the blessings of grace may be the savour of life unto life, or of secured to himself, and to the death unto death. I have already church and congregation. conducted many to the verge of
On a review of our state, we that eternity into which they have shall see much reason for ardent been summoned ; into that eternity gratitude, and at the same time I shall myself shortly enter; and for deep humiliation, for earnest there I shall at length stand in the prayer, and for strenuous exertion. presence of our Judge, surrounded The congregation, though it has by you my congregation. How from obvious causes somewhat dedesirable is it that we should meet clined, is still considerable, the in joy, and not in sorrow; not only regularity of most of our friends that I should have been found to from the villages, and of many in have been faithful, but that the town is truly exemplary; and should be able to " present every the general attention which preone of you perfect in Christ Je- vails, is a pleasing evidence that
the greater part of the hearers are Allow me, therefore, affection interested in the services. The ately and urgently to request that church, notwithstanding its losses you will, with all your hearts and by an unnecessary division, and souls, not only in justice to me, by an extraordinary number of but in compassion to yourselves, deaths and dismissions, has deconcur with me in this mighty un- creased since the death of Mr. dertaking.
Fuller, by only thirteen members ; Your minister stands greatly in and I am most happy to be able to need of constant divine illumina- state, that for some years it has tion and instruction, and of a per- walked in love and peace, and has petual and an abundant supply of enjoyed the consequent advantages divine influence, that he may see of christian comfort. more clearly, and feel more deeply There has been, I trust, in many, the excellency of Christ, the beauty an increase of piety and of zeal, of holiness, and the value of souls; there has been a renewal in the and that he may be able rightly and attendance on oår weekly meetaffectionately to point out the way ings, and the frequenters of our of salvation, to illustrate and en- Sabbath evening prayer meetings, force the Scriptures, and to dis- were never before so numerous. charge the arduous duties of his Those valuable institutions, the office; and you stand in need of Sunday Schools, are on the whole the same spiritual influence, that in a prosperous state, and continue by the blessing of God on his mi- to enjoy the sanction of the conuistrations, your consciences may tributors, the visitors, the parents,
and the teachers. Your minister norance, in impenitence, and under receives increasing and unequivo- the tremendous weight of unparcal proofs of the esteem and cor. doned sin ; and that there are still dial' approbation of his people, in numbers amongst us, in all the expressions and acts of kindness, stages of life, whose consciences which at times produce in his mind are asleep, wbose hearts are unoverwhelming feelings of gratitude, changed, and who are pursuing and of pleasure. And what is most those paths, which inevitably lead of all, the word of God appears to to eternal death. Now my object have been in a considerable num- in this address is to arouse all our ber of instances, attended with minds to a solemn sense of the success, and to have been rendered necessity of doing all in our power effectual to the salvation of souls. to avert these evils, which are of
But amidst these pleasing ap- various magnitude, but the least pearances, there are many things of which may be pronounced inwhich occasion discouragement and finite. Let me urge you who are regret. The attendance of some in an unconverted state to think of of the people is exceedingly irre- the perils of that state, and to flee gular and remiss : too many con- without delay, and with all your tent themselves with appearing in might, from the wrath to come. the house of God only once in the cast off all base fear of man, and day, as is evident by the compara- all false shame under the imperious tive scantiness of the morning con- influence of the fear of God, and gregation; and hence both these the apprehension of that everlastclasses lose many of the discourses ing shame and contempt to which which are most calculated to do the wicked shall awake. Apply them good. The places of those, to all the means of grace, apply to who have been removed by Provi- your Bible, apply to the throne of dence, are not all supplied by a mercy, apply to the Saviour of sinsuccession of hearers.
ners, and you shall find that “ the The monthly prayer meetings same God over all, is rich unto are not so well attended as their all that call upon him, and that importance demands; and these, as whosoever shall call upon the name well as the weekly meetings, are of the Lord shall be saved." neglected, even by some of the Let me entreat you, who through members of the church. The lives the grace of God have believed, of some, to say the least, are not to unite yourselves at once to his highly ornamental to their profes- professed people. For this the sion, and they display but little early stages of religion are the most zeal, and make but few and feeble favourable. The church is the efforts for the salvation of souls, vineyard of God, and there should and for the increase of religion. be planted the young trees of righ
There are among us many chris- teousness, for there will they be tians, who have declined for years more secure, and appear more orto unite themselves with the church, namental, and there will they and some of whom have grown flourish in richer luxuriance and old without observing the ordi- fruitfulness. nances of God. But what is most Your present conduct is discoudistressing are the awful facts, that raging to your minister, and to there have been many who after your pious friends. It is detrihaving long attended here, appear mental to yourselves, as it robs to have entered into eternity in ig- you of the peace which springs
from obedience, and deprives you | motion of their own comfort and of the benefits of Divine lostitu- improvement, and to the advantions: it undermines and weakens tage of the church? “ Whatsothe church of God, for you not ever your hand finds to do, do it only withhold from it your own with your might.” I proposed at support, but so far as the influence church-meeting, on Thursday last, of your example extends, you di- with the full concurrence of those minish in the minds of others their present, that all the members should ideas of its importance. You are make a point of attending the guilty of treating with practical church-meetings, that all should contempt the visible kingdom of come prepared to unite in earnest Christ, and the holy ordinances of prayer for the church and congrereligion, and thus your conduct is gation, and that two members and injurious to men and offensive to the minister should engage at every God.
meeting, until each has had an opAllow me further to stimulate portunity of expressing in bis own professing Christians to perform language his solemn supplications their part in endeavouring to ob- in the presence of his brethren, and tain the divine blessing ; that they of his God. These methods apmay enjoy prosperity in their own pear to me, for many reasons which souls, and may have the happiness I shall not now mention, to be preto behold it in the church and con- ferable to those especial meetings gregation.
which some recommend. Should Much depends upon you. Ye they be adopted, and should they are the lights of the world. Oh! cceed, they will encourage me, hide not, obscure not, in this state if blessed with life and renewed of night, where sinners are wan- health, to labour among you with dering around in darkness, the increasing pleasure, to promote light which the Holy Spirit bas your immortal interests and the kindled. Seriously, and with prayer glory of God. examine yourselves, and consider the state of the church and congregation. Is there any sin or in
ON THE APPLICATION OF THE TERMS consistency of which you are guilty,
Reverend AND Divine TO THE Miis there any means of grace, or of usefulness, of which you are neg-|(In Answer to the Queries in the September ligent? Might you not derive more and October Numbers.) advantage from the reading of the
To the Editor of the Baptist Magazine. Scriptures, and from public worship? Might not your prayers be
SIR, more constant, comprehensive, and As your Correspondents have bedevotional ? Are there not per- gun to notice some existing evils sons whose ignorance you might amongst Protestant Dissenters, it remove, whose consciences you is the wish of the writer and his might alarm, whom you might lead friends that they would proceed, to the house of God, whose souls, by until they have cleansed the Aua blessing on your vigorous efforts, gæan stable of all its defilements. you might possibly save ? Are I allude to the notices which have there not Christians, whose fears, been paid in your Magazine to the difficulties, and errors you might words Reverend and Divine, as remove, and whom you might in- applied to poor erring mortals. If duce to unite with us, to the pro- my advice could be followed, i
NISTERS OF THE GOSPEL.
would recommend that you publish praise to graven images, so neither in your work an Index Expurga- does he allow those whom he has torius, (and in this instance imitate condescended to employ in his the Mother of Abominations,) which service, to invest themselves with shall include such titles, &c. as his dignity, or arrogate any of his ought to be for ever banished from titles. the lips and writings of the persons I remain, I hope I can say, a alluded to above, I mean Protest- well-wisher to the cause of genuine ant Dissenters of all denomina- Christianity,
P.Q. tions. I begin with the word Reverend.
To the Editor of the Baptist Magazine. If I mistake not, this word is only once to be found in sacred writ, and there it is applied to the Di The term Reverend, which is vine Being, “holy and reverend is used only once in the Scriptures, his name;" not prefixed or ap- (Ps. cxi. 9.) is applied to the Supended to any other name, but the preme Being. This is thought by name itself.
Now, if rightly con some to be a sufficient reason why sidered, is it not bordering upon it should never be given to man. blasphemy thus to assume the name Now, to the writer, it appears fuof the great and blessed God? If the tile to object to it on that ground ; word reverend” must be taken, for once admit the principle, that why not the other word, viz. holy? the appropriation of a name or title Upon the same principle, may not to the Deity precludes the applicathe name Jehovah be assumed, or tion of it from mortals, although any other name by which the bless- employed in a very different and ed God has revealed himself ? Let inferior sense, and the admissica the Pope, the Man of Sin, style would conduct to consequences bimself not only holy, but Holi- where the most pious objector to ness—but must Protestant Dissent such terms would be afraid to folers thus ape him, at least in part? low it. Did the apostles and first ministers The objection appears to the of the Gospel ever assume such writer to assume this capital error, titles ? Plain Paul, Peter, John, viz. that words have an abstract &c. satisfied them. Did not our meaning of their own, which they blessed Lord forbid his disciples retain in relation to every topic; to be called Rabbi, and enjoin it thus conveying to the mind preciseupon them to call no man Master ly the same idea, independently of
the subject to which they are apLet your readers, Sir, but recur plied. This, however, is not the to first principles, and they will fact. Surely it will not be maintained perceive that the religion of the that the pious and intelligent, who blessed Jesus needs no such sup- think proper to reverence their felport, and is in the spirit of it in- low-creatures, give to them the compatible with such appendages. same kind and degree of reverence The promise is not made to those as that which they ascribe to the who honour themselves or one an Almighty. To say that in a lower other, but “they that honour me," and qualified sense the same terms saith the Lord, “I will honour." may never be given to man, which Let us remember that God is a in their full and highest import are jealous God; and as he will not applicable only to his Maker, would give his glory to another, or his be to impeach the character of that
exalted Being for whose honour we habit of corresponding by letters are professedly contending.
with different individuals, some of Jehovah, on one occasion, told whom address him by his name, Moses, that he had made a god of with the addition of “ Mr.;" while him to Pharaoh, Exod. vii. 1. Ma- others add the term “ Rev.” With gistrates and civil rulers, we find, regard to his own feelings, it matare frequently styled gods, as in ters not which; for he thinks it Exod. xxii. 28; Ps. Ixxxii. (; beneath the dignity of a man to John X. 34; but no one possessed notice any thing about it in a way of common sense will suppose that of animadversion.
He would ra. the same obedience is due to men, ther say, with a living author, who however dignified and exalted their also, as well as your Correspondofficial character, which is due to ent PHILALETHES, resides in the Supreme. Besides, we know Kent, “I ask no man to call me that God is expressly called Father Reverend; if any one thinks fit to in very many passages of Scrip-give me that title, esteeming it a ture: so also is our earthly parent : suitable token of respect, he is at but who ever thinks that God is a perfect liberty to do so; but I asfather in the same sense that an sume it not myself, and am offendearthly parent is ? And yet God ed with no man because he withsays, “A son honoureth his fa- holds it.”- See Groser's Lectures ther, and a servant his master; if on Popery. I then be a father, where is mine But now, perhaps, it will be said, honour ?" &c. It is certainly the. If the writer is not fond of the duty of children to honour their title Reverend, what induces him parents, inasmuch as God himself to contend for the use of it?". To commands it; and he has said of which he begs leave to reply, that himself too, " them that honour me he does not contend for its use, but I will honour.” But who among simply maintains that the reason those that are parents ever thought urged against the propriety of using of teaching their children to ho- it, is not a valid and legitimate nour them with the same kind and ground of objection. To him it degree of honour which they should appears altogether a matter of inrender to the Great Creator of all difference, being neither commandthings ? Moreover, an apostle says, ed nor prohibited in the Sacred “ We have had fathers of our flesh Scriptures. At the same time, we who corrected us, and we gave know that in those inspired pages, them reverence:" which, be it ob- the names of God, Lord, Master, served, the inspired writer does Father, &c. are frequently applied not at all object to; but he fur- both to the Divine Being and to ther remarks, that we certainly man; though, as already obseryought “rather to be in subjection ed, in a widely different sense. to the Father of spirits and live;"' To maintain, that because the i. e. if an earthly parent be deem- terms cannot be applicable to the ed worthy of reverence, much more Infinite Jehovah and to mortals in should the Great Eternal be thought the same sense, that therefore they worthy of it. Hence the apostle are in no sense applicable to both, adds, in the same chapter, “Let would be an impeachment of the us have grace, whereby we may divine wisdom, which in the sacred serve God acceptably with reve- volume has indiscriminately aprence and godly fear."
plied them. In a limited and subThe writer is occasionally in the ordinate sense, many of the rela