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What I have said of rural diversions, I may sat, also, of frequent play. A Clergyman, who is a professed gamester, is a disgrace to the Church; he loses at the gaming table, the time designed for the salvation and the sanctification of the souls redeemed by the blood of the Son of God; he loses then, the attachment to whatever is serious and sacred in his profession; the respect and the confidence of his flock; the quiet and tranquillity of his mind: he loses there his soul, by the passions inevitably attendant upon play; What does he not lose, since he there loses the spirit of his vocation^ and the whole advantage of his ministry? Such are the losses which can never be repaired, with which the loss of money, however severely it may be felt, can never be put in competition.

Permit me, my Reverend Brethren, to conclude this discourse with the words of the Apostle—" Ye "have not so learned Christ; ye, who are our glory "and joy," do not thus dishonor your ministry ; ye do not thus prostitute that sacred character which ye have received of the Lord Jesus; ye have not thus learned Christ. Continue then, my brethren, to conduct yourselves before your respective flocks, in a manner becoming the holiness of your calling; "See that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, "but as wise, redeeming the time, because the "days are evil." The reserve, the circumspection, interwoven in your whole deportment, cannot be too much guarded; what may be lawful, may not be expedient: consider the people who surround you, as so many censors, whose eyes, always upon you, pardon nothing, and are more disposed to construe a slight dissipation into a crime, than to excuse it, as an allowable relaxation. Let us not encrease the blindness of the world, by confirming it in its profligacy, its errors, or its prejudices, through our example; let us not become stones of stumbling, to those, to whom we are to be guides in the paths of salvation; and let us not be the severest scourge with which the Church can be afflicted ;—us, whom it has honoured with its choice, and distinguished by its confidence, to become the oracles of its truth, and the dispensers of its blessings.

CHARGE XII.

ON THE SOLICITUDE THE CLERGY OUGHT TO

SHEW FOR THEIR PEOPLE, WHEN

CONFINED BY SICKNESS.

Be not slow to visit the sick ; for that shall make thee to be beloved.

CHARGE XII.

ON THE SOLICITUDE THE CLERGY OUGHT TO

SHEW FOR THEIR PEOPLE, WHEN

CONFINED BY SICKNESS.

I AM this day to address you upon a subject which will, I doubt not, arrest the attention, and interest the heart, of every Clergyman who heafs me—which is, the care and solicitude we should shew for our flock, when they are confined by sickness. Negligence in other parts of our duty, however inexcusable in the sight of God, may, indeed, sometimes find an excuse in the judgment of men, who do not consider the nature of our engagements, and the extent of our duties: but to neglect a dying soul, betrays such a want of humanity, as to give great and serious offence to a whole parish, alarmed at beholding a wretch on the brink of death, without being assisted by his Minister, to possess himself of the comfort of hope, if he cannot arrive at the assurance of pardon.

Can a father see his children taken from him, without running to their support, and, at least, bestowing upon them his blessing, the last tokens of his tenderness and affection? Is he a Shepherd, or an enemy to the flock, who perceives one of his sheep weak, it may be dying, and who does not deign to approach it, to see whether he can administer to it any relief? The good Shepherd leaves his whole flock, to go after a single one that has strayed; and will you leave that which is dying before your eyes, to perish, unattended to, in the very midst of the fold?

No, my Brethren, a Clergyman who fails to visit those souls for whom he must one day give account, when they are confined by sickness, who goes, only, when he is sent for, in the last * extremity; who, after long delay, shews himself —when, from the violence of the disorder, neither the presence of the Pastor, nor the prayers appointed to be read in his dying agonies, can convey any comfort to the unhappy man; can there remain in the breast of such a Clergyman a single sentiment of Religion: can he be otherwise than seized with horror at the reflection, that that soul is going to appear before the awful tribunal of God? What will it answer, in the severe examination which it is to undergo, when it departs from the body, of the use it has made of its sickness, of the restitution of goods unjustly acquired, of " repentance towards God, and faith towards "our Lord Jesus Christ?" What will be the answer it will make ?—He, Lord, whom thou

* The visits of the Clergy can,- at that juncture, do no good, and are rather to be discouraged, than promoted.

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