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ody, that they expect to find their own eternal and supreme ·licity. Hence they love the church as their own souls, and esire its prosperity above any separate, personal good, that Tey can derive from any other source. The world and the rings of the world, would lose all their lustra in the eyes of ood men, did they not subserve and promote the prosperity of je church. They view and desire this, therefore, above their hief joy. It is an object in which all their hopes and desires entre, and in which the glory of God and the good of the unierse are necessarily involved. For these weighty and solid reaons, they desire the prosperity of the church, above any thing a nd every thing in the world. Hence we see, why there is 1 othing which good men more sincerely and sensibly lament than the low and languishing state of the church. There is nothing so disagreeable to mankind, as to fail of securing their Supreme object. And if good men supremely desire the prosBerity of the church; then it must be extremely painful to see itin a low and languishing state. This appears also from the account we have of the feelings of good men, in a time of great degeneracy in the church. The pious Israelites in Babylon,
sat down, and wept when they remembered the low state of Zion. Hence also we learn why good men will do more to promote the prosperity of the church, than to promote any other interest in the world. All men will sacrifice any thing which stands opposed to their supreme object. Good men will. If they can do any thing to promote the prosperity of the
church they cheerfully do it. The prosperity of the church is in an object, which good men will never give up, so long as they
can do any thing to promote it. How happy are all good men! They belong to a society which shall live and prosper, and be a source of everlasting joy. But, on the other hand, how wretched are all wicked, impenitent men; they belong to a kingdom which is destined to ruin, and which must sink just as fast as the church of Christ rises.
PROTRACTED MEETINGS. We extract the following from “a Letter on Protracted Meetings, dated February 24th, 1832, and addressed to the Church in Paris, N. Y. by their late Pastor, Rev. WILLIAM R. Weeks, D.D.” He describes such a protracted meeting, as we “ should love to attend.” If our limits would admit, we should be glad to copy the letter entire, which is, written in the author's peculiarly perspicuous style, and scriptural, convincing manner; and in our view, is exceedingly well-timed and calculated to do much good.
"I should love to attend a protracted meeting of such a kind as I can easily conceive of, in my own mind, though I may not
be able to describe it upon paper so clearly as I could wish.It should be a meeting for which the church had previous prepared the way, by turning from their backslidings, putting away all their sins, and engaging in the diligent discharge et every duty. They should have “put away from among them all bitterness, and wrath, and clamor, and envy, and evil speak. ing, and be kindly affectioned one toward another with brotherly love." They should have looked closely into their ova hearts, and have deeply humbled themselves before God. They should have carefully looked after their wandering brethren, and have administered the discipline of the gospel in the true spirit of it. They should feel their dependence upon God far every blessing, and not be looking to creatures for help. They should realize that God has a right to grant or withhold the influences of bis Spirit, as he may see best, and feel that they have no claims upon bim, but are utterly unworthy of the favors they ask. They should be disposed to come to God with the temper of dutiful and affectionate children, who have more confidence in the judgment of a wise and good Father, than they have in their own; and should be as willing to be denied the favors they ask, if he shall see that to be best, as they are thankfully to accept what he shall be pleased to bestow. They should desire a revival of religion, chiefly that God may be honored ; and while they are prepared to rejoice in the tri umphs of his grace, they should be also prepared to rejoice in his adorable sovereignty, and his glorious justice, which are always displayed at such a time, and be willing he should “ have mercy on whom he will have mercy, and harden whom he will." They should put away from them, as utterly un worthy of christians, that arrogant spirit, which aspires to dic. tate to the Almighty, and pretends to “take God at his word, and hold him to his promise, ” when he has. not promised in his word the conversion of any particular sinner, nor of any sinners in a particular place, nor at a particular time. They should be prepared to hear, and desire to hear • and take effectual measures to hear, on such an occasion, those glorious doctrines of the gospel, which exalt God and abase the creature. They should invite, on such an occasion, those preachers of the gospel who most value these precious truths, and exhibit them most clearly and abundantly in their discourses; and such as “ see eye to eye, and lift up the voice together.” They should carefully close up every avenue by which error might creep 10, at such a time, and take effectual measures to have truth, in 8 full, and copious, and unbroken stream, pour in upon the une derstanding, and conscience, and heart, of every one who altends. They should give place to no human contrivances, no artifice, nor trick, to play upon the passions, and produce a theatrical effect. The native majesty, and simple dignity of truth, as exhibited by the prophets and apostles, in the words which the Holy Ghost has taught in the Bible, will produce deeper feeling, and be attended with better effects. Let God
hating iniquity; let him be seen, “making all things for himself, yea, even the wicked for the day of evil ;" let him be held forth to view, as the Sovereign Potter, forming whom he will 'into vessels of mercy, to the praise of the glory of his grace, apd equally forming whom he will into vessels of wrath, to the praise of the glory of his justice ; let him be seen, determining
to show his wrath and make his power known" in punishing sin, as well as determining to show his mercy in the salvation of some ; let these things be solemnly and earnestly pressed upon the audience, and there will be feeling. Saints will feel; and sinners too will feel, in view of these things. So deep solemnity, and so earnest atteution, I have never witnessed, under the exhibition of any other subjects, as has usually attended the exhibition of these. Let Christ be exhibited, as having the same feelings with the Father, delighting in justice as really as in mercy; and rejoicing in spirit and saying, “I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes; even so, Father, for so it seemed good in
thy sight." Let the law of God be exhibited, which binds the * sinner to love this holy and righteous Sovereign, and denounc
es eternal death as the just penalty for the slightest failure, and which requires every one to "accept the punishment of his iniquity,” and say amen to the penalty which it denounces upon him; let it be seen that the law reaches to the heart, and condemns selfishness in every form; let it be seen, that all
those religious affections and performances which have self for So their object, are transgressions of the law, and that, for this
reason, “the ploughing of the wicked is sin, and the prayer of
the wicked is abomination ;" let it be understood, that ihe pray. niers, and cries, and tears, and resolutions, and promises, and efI forts, which sinners make, and all the steps they take in order not to get converted, before actual submission to God, are nothing 13 but sin ; and let them be warned against all such things so done, 5 ana be pressed with the duty of instant submission to the the penalty of the law, and a cordial reconciliation to the justice xt and sovereignty of God; let this be earnestly and solemnly penent dove, and there is some hope that they may be brought under
conviction. Let them see, that God has a right to save or destroy them as he pleases; that nothing which they do, and nothing 'which christians do, lays God under the least obligation to save them; that he has made no promises to save them; and that there is nothing in the whole book of God which affords any ground for any one yet in his sins to believe that he shall be saved ; let him see that he is in the hands of God and cannot get out of his hands, and that it is altogether uncertain, as yet what God means to do with him; and when all his sins appear in array before him, and the enmity of his heart against God is strongly felt, and he is pressed in his conscience to the performance of that duty to which his whole heart is opposed; then be will be likely to see that he is in an evil case, and that there is no hope for him, unless God shall be pleased, not for his sake, but for bis own name's sake, to stretch out his almighty arm, and subdue the enmity of his heart. In this situation, I have seen some among you, as I trust, brought, by the pey creating energy of the Holy Spirit, to let go their hold upon their own interest, to consent to the penalty of the law in their own case, and to be filled with admiring views of the boliness and justice and adorable sovereignty of the glorious God. The nature of experimental religion should be clearly exhibited at such a time, and be carefully distinguished from all counter. feits; that christians may see what is wrong in themselves, and repent it, and not exalt themselves in their own eyes for that which God abhors; and that those who are awakened may not be deceived with a false bope. The true nature of prayer should be shown, and its duty urged, the prayer of faith is God and not faith in ourselves, that prayer which expresses more confidence in the wisdom and goodness of our Heavenly father, than in our own, and leaves our requests before him, to be granted or denied, as he shall see best. The office work of the Holy Spirit should be shown, in making men holy, as consisting not merely in persuasion, by the exhibition of motives, but in giving efficacy to those motives by his new creating energy, by the same exertion of almighty power which raised Christ from the dead, And this should be done, that cbristisns may feel their dependence upon him, and realize that they are « his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works ;” and that sinners may feel, that, though they are able to do what God requires, and are justly condemned for not being willing, yet, there is no hope that they ever will be willing, unless God makes them willing in the day of his power. False religion should be exposed, in all those forms of it by which saints and sinners are usually deceived, and to accomplish which Satan transforms himself into an angel of light. And both christians and sinners should be stripped of every excuse and driven from every refuge of lies, that they may be effectually humbled, and brought to repent and turn to God.
In short, I would have all the exercises of such a character, that the whole tendency of the meeting should be, to present truth to the mind, and press it upon the conscience; to strengthen the hands of the faithful minister, to increase his influence, and the influence, of the church, in their efforts to mantain the ascendency of evangelical sentiments, and to stay the progress of error and irreligion; and thus to promote the glory of God, the peace of the church and the salvation of men.
Short Sentences-Do more good than long speeches-we can remember the one, while we can scarcely find time to read the other. One is like a guide post, distinctly pointing out our way; the other like a general map, in which we are puzzled, after a long search, to find where we are. Neither Solomon nor Solon, Napoleon nor Franklin, made long speeches.
CLERICAL DOMINATION. A Circulur appeared in the Boston Recorder, under date of August 26th, 1831, addressed to the “Congregational and Presbyterian Churches in the United States," signed by Z. L. Barstow, “one appointed by the General Association of New Hampshire to signify the regular standing of ministers and licentiates in their connexion.” In this communication, which " the several papers in the United States were requested to pubJish,” it was stated, that "the Rev. Ezekiel Rich, a member of the Monadnock Association, was not in a proper condition to be received as a minister of the gospel, on account of certain injurious reports, which the Association had appointed a Committee to investigate.” This “Committee” sign their names to a Postscript, in which they say, they “ fully agree with the Rev. Mr. Barstow, in the opinion, that the churches ought not to fellowship him (Rev. Mr. Rich,) till his conduct is cleared up.”
The above appeared to us, at the time, as a novel, hasty, oppressive, and ridiculous transaction ;-novel, as we had never heard of an Association, that had undertaken to silence a minister before he was tried ;-hasty, as it put a veto upon their brother's ministrations, before the “reports” in circulation had even been examined ;-oppressive,as it tended in a high degree to impeach the character of Rev. Mr. Rich, before being heard in his own defence, and to excite prejudices against bim in the minds of the christian public, which it might cost bim, however innocent, much labor and time to remove ;-and lastly, ridiculous, as this Rev. Mr. Barstow assumes the archi-episcopal power of suspending a minister, when he had been appointed merely "to signify the regular standing of ministers ;" and while he has the brotherly-kindness to admit the impropriety of “ judging his case without a fair hearing,” he authoritatively si enjoins it upon the churches, not to receive him," till after the “conternplated examination”!!
We do not think it strange, that the General Association of New Hampshire, at their next meeting, should drop Mr. Barstow (as we are told they did,) from his office of " signifying the regular standing of ministers.” But we did think it strange, that for so many months, the public should hear nothing from the Committee " to take measures for investigating reports against Rev. Ezekiel Rich,” nor from the Monadnock Association; nor does it much diminish our wonder, to be informed,