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crush thee. He is omniscient, knowing every thing which can be known. Regard not the imaginations, sayings and censures of thy fellow men ; but God, who beholds thee in every place, and records every action, that he may disclose it in the day of judgment. Fear to sin in secret; and mourn for thy secret sins, of negligence, hypocrisy, whoredom and profaneness, with an earnest desire for pardon, and with admiration at his patience, who, having seen, has not damned thee. God is true. He means to do as he saith; and represents things as they are. Let every child of God, therefore, be comforted by his promises; and every wicked man expect the execution of his threatenings, notwithstanding his o ; for the longer justice is in drawing his bow, the deeper will the arrows of vengeance strike. God is holy : let us therefore be holy, for without holiness no man shall see the Lord. Finally, he is just and merciful; just in himself, and so will punish all sin: merciful in the face of Christ, and so will punish no sins in believers; Christ having already borne their punishment for them. He is a just God, against a hardhearted sinner; a merciful God towards a humble sinner. He is not all mercy, and no justice; nor all justice, and no mercy. Submit to him, and his mercy embraces you; resist him, and his justice pursues you. 3. God is glorious in his persons. The Father is called the Father of glory (Eph. i. 17.); Christ the Lord of glory (1 Cor. ii. 8.); and the Spirit, the Spirit of glory. (1 Pet. iv. 14.) The Father is glorious in election, the Son in redemption, and the Spirit in his work of application: the Father, in choosing the house; the Son, in buying the house; and the Spirit, in dwelling in the house, that is, in the heart of a poor, lost sinner. 4. God is glorious in his works, of creation and government. When
On the 19th of October, 1820, the Rev. Samuel Miller, D.D. preached a SERM ON in Baltimore, at the ordination of the Rev William Nevins to the ministerial office. The sermon, and the CHARGEs addressed to the pastor and people of the First Presbyterian Church in that city, by the Rev. Elias Harrison, of Alexandria, have been published in a very handsome style, and are worthy of extensive circulation. Dr. M. has exhibited some of “the dangers and temptations which attend the preaching of the gospel in great cities;” and some of the reasons which render it “of peculiar importance that the gospel should be plainly and faithfully preached in such places.” He remarks,
“There is, if I mistake not, a sort of intensity of character imparted to the inhabitants of great cities; an intensity generated and nourished, by the almost constant intercourse of persons of like taste and employment, and by the unceasing stimulants which such intercourse is calculated to apply. In no places on earth, assuredly, do we find such extremes of character; such exalted vir. tue, and diabolical vice; such fervent piety, and daring profaneness; such noble generosity, and sordid selfishness, as in great cities. We are told, in the land of our fathers, the phrase, “London piety,’ is often employed to express the highest degree of heavenly-mindedness; and ‘London vice,” the most degrading and shocking depravity. We may apply the
same remark, with some degree of propriety, to every great city. Cities are commonly the grand theatres on which both the good and the bad display their
greatest energies. Now, as in all society,
the bad form by far the largest part; and as their follies and vices are heightened by the circumstances in which they are placed in a great city; there, of course, we must expect to find, in its most concentrated virulence, whatever is hostile to the purity and simplicity of the gospel, and whatever is opposed to the success and enjoyment of a gospel minister.”
He then proceeds to show, particularly, that “the accumulated wealth, and the consequent luxury and, dissipation” of great cities; “ the refinements of philosophy, falsely so called, which are apt to reign, in a peculiar degree,” in them; the “peculiar demand for smooth and superficial preaching” among people of “polished and fashionable society;” the familiarity with death, and the frequency and publicity of gross vices, in populous places; and the love of variety and fondness for religious dissipation, which are too prevalent in them, present “serious obstacles to the plain and faithful preaching of the
#. The following remarks ought to be attentively considered:
“When a minister is settled in a retired situation, or in a town where there is but a single church, and but seldom an opportunity of comparing the ministrations of others with his, he has, comparatively, an easy task. He is, in a great measure, free from that peculiar pressure, which a very different state of things imposes on the city pastor. In great cities there is created a sort of morbid appetite for variety, and for an excessive quantity, as well as delicacy, of public preaching. There is such an easy access to every sort of talent and manner, that it cannot fail of being extremely difficult for any one man
to keep together, and to satisfy, a large
congregation. If he hope to do it, he
writing to Timothy, exhorts—He must
profit. While those who are more advanced in life, taking little or no time for meditation and reading in private, do not grow as they ought in scriptural knowledge, and remain but babes, while they ought to be strong men in Christ.”
Yet in these great cities, it is of peculiar importance that the gospel should be preached most plainly and powerfully, because of the “intensity of character usually observable” in them. “It is a maxim, among wise physicians, that the most strongly marked diseases, call for the most bold and vigorous treatment. To counteract a poison of peculiar virulence, remedies of the most active character must be employed. So it is in the moral and spiritual world. Where difficulties more than commonly powerful and obstinate exist, remedies of corresponding potency ought to be sought and diligently applied. Since, then, the gospel of Christ exhibits the only adequate remedy for human depravity and misery, it ought to be preached with peculiar plainness, fidelity and perseverance, wherever the diseases which it it is intended to heal, reign with more than ordinary malignity.” Again: in great cities, “the gospel is commonly addressed to greater numbers at once than in more retired places;” these cities form “ the most vital portion” of the country in which they are situated; in them “there is apt to be less reading, less retired devotion, less patient use of the private means of growing in knowledge, than are commonly found in other places;” and in them, “the faithful, popular preacher will, almost every Sabbath, address a number of strangers, who flock to the metropolis, on business or pleasure, from every art of the surrounding country; and who, if they be benefited themselves by his labours, will carry with them a portion of the sacred treasure, wherever they sojourn, or wherever they abide.” “Finally; in a large city, as we have seen, there is generally collected a much greater amount of intellectual power, of literary attainment, and of pecuniary means, than are to be found in other places.” For all
these reasons, it is peculiarly important that the gospel of Jesus Christ should be proclaimed in the most scriptural manner in our populous cities. This illustration of his subject, Dr. M. has followed with a suitable and very appropriate address to his young friend and pupil, Mr. Nevins. The discourse was well timed, and manifests such decision on the fundamental point of our Saviour’s DEITY, as we could wish all the author’s brethren in the ministry might imitate. “In great cities,” he says, “likewise, or at least, in states of society similar to what is commonly found in such laces, has generally commenced that fatal decline from orthodoxy, which began, perhaps, with calling in question some of what are styled the more rigid peculiarities of received creeds, and ended in embracing the dreadful, soul-destroying errors of Jrius or Socinus.” To this remark Dr. M. has appended the following note:
“The above language, concerning the destructive nature of the Jorian and Socinian heresies, has not been adopted lightly ; but is the result of serious deliberation, and deep conviction. And in conformity with this view of the subject, the author cannot forbear to notice and record a declaration made to himself, by the late Dr. Priestley, two or three years before the decease of that distinguished Unitarian. The conversation was a free and amicable one, on some of the fundamental doctrines of religion. In reply to a direct avowal on the part of the author that he was a Trinitarian and a Calvinist, Dr. Priestley said—“I do not wonder that you Calvinists entertain and express a strongly unfavourable opinion of us Unitarians. The truth is, there neither can nor ought to be, any compromise between us. If you are right, we are not Christians at all; and if we are right, you are gross idolaters.” These were, as nearly as can be recollected, the words, and, most accurately, the substance of his remark. And nothing, certainly, can be more just. Between those who believe in the divinity and atonement of the Son of God, and those who entirely reject both, “there is a great gulf fixed,” which precludes all ecclesiastical intercourse. The former may greatly respect and love the latter, on account of other qualities and attainments; but certainly cannot regard them as Christians, in any correct sense of the word; or as any more in the way of salvation, than Mahommedans or Jews.”
The charges by the Rev. Mr. Harrison, partake a little too much of the character of essays; for, in our opinion, the person who performs the office assigned to him, on this occasion, should consider himself as enjoining a summary of ministerial duty, in behalf of the Presbytery which he represents; and in the name of the Great Head of the church, should charge the pastor and people, before God and the elect angels, as one having authority; and not enter into laboured discussions and remonstrances. There is a
eat deal of good sense, however,
in the following extract, with which .
we conclude this article.
“Give your minister sufficient time to study; and occasional opportunities for relaxation from the duties of the study. There is, I find, a very mistaken impression gone abroad in the world, with respect to this matter also. Multitudes suppose, that, as a clergyman has but little bodily labour to undergo, therefore the life which he lives, must of necessity be a very easy one, to say the least of it, if not a very lazy one. They seem to imagine, that he ought to be able to preach not only at any time, but at all times: and that, too, with the same appropriateness of subject—the same excellency and variety of matter—the same elegance and polish of diction—and the same animation and impressiveness of manner. And it is a fact, that he is often made the subject of severe censure and animadversion, because he will not preach more than three or four times in a week, besides attending to all his other parochial duties. If, brethren, ministers at the present day are influenced in the same manner as the apostles were, i.e. by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, this impression is then undoubtedly correct. If, however, it appear, that they are nothing more than mere men after all—prepossessed of nothing more than ordinary capacities, and capable of acquiring nothing except through the same means which are made use of for this purpose by other persons; that is, by the most patient, laborious, and persevering exertions: if this be true, as it most assuredly is, the impression is not only an injurious one,
but such as no person of generous feeling
ought to harbour in his bosom for a single moment. I am no advocate for indo
lence, among any class of people: much less among the clergy. I know that much is expected of them—much ought to be expected of them: and if they performs their duty, in reference to the account which they must at last give of the manner in which they have discharged their stewardship, I know they will never be satisfied, without doing every thing that they well can do. But I must protest, and, I do, most solemnly, against ever loading them with any burden, which they are not able to bear. Let them only be treated with the same deference to feeling, and the same regard to comfort, as other people are; and if they are not satisfied with this, they will have nobody to blame but themselves. “lf, then, my brethren, you wish your minister to be respectable—if you expect instruction from his public ministrations —if you desire him to present, the truths of the gospel in such a manner as to arrest, and keep up the attention—if you wish him to arouse those that are slumbering—to establish those that are wavering—to animate those who are des. ponding—to console those who are afflicted; and in one word, to perform his duty with fidelity to himself, and with benefit to you, we charge you, not to lay too much upon him. Allow him always sufficient time to prepare himself beforehand; and never find fault with him for not doing, what in the nature of the case it was not possible that he could do. Be mutual helps and comforts to one another —forbearing one, another, and forgiving one another in love. If there be any strife between you, let it always be, who shall be most forward in advancing the interests of our ltedeemer’s kingdom.”
“He too ea: animo, avows the name of Presbyterian, and in consistency, as he thinks, with such an avowal has aimed in his sermon to attach his brethren more firmly to that excellent form of sound words professedly received and adopted by every officer of the Presbyterian church. This he humbly hoped from the manner in which he attempted to perform it, would have been a peaceable, or at least an inoffensive measure. How it has happened that the hearing of the sermon awakened in some of the brethren a whole train of martial ideas, appears to him not a little mysterious. Is it then come to this, that every commendation of the public standard of our church must be denounced as a measure calculated to promote religious warfare 2 If the following sermon shall appear to its readers to be of such a character, let them treat it and its author with merited contempt. But if it shall appear to breathe a spirit of peace, it is
hoped its readers will profit by its peru
Dr. Bovell is a modest, sensible, peaceable, sound divine; and any person who could detect in this discourse a love of controversy, or a contentious spirit, must have been put upon the scent by some experienced huntsman, after the little fores, that spoil the vines bearing tender grapes.
“Hold fast the form of sound
words, which thou hast heard of me,” is the Doctor’s text; from which he deduces the following propositions:
“I. It is very important that we should be well established in the great fundamental principles of religion.
“II. Sound principles have the most effectual tendency to produce right practice.
“III. It is the duty of professors with unshaken constancy to retain those pure and wholesome doctrines in which they have been instructed by aged, and experienced teachers.”
Are these military posts, for which Presbyterians war among themselves P Surely there ought to be no contention about the fundamental principles of religion, between Christian ministers, who have solemnly assented to the same form of sound words. That other denominations should assail some of our out-works, and even our citadel,
might be expected; but really, we must be in a deplorable state, if there is much diversity of opinion in our presbyteries, about the being and essence of God, the fall and depravity of mankind, the deity of Christ, the justification of believers on account of the righteousness of Christ, the necessity of regeneration, the work of continued sanctification, the resurrection of the dead, and a future state of happiness or misery. In Dr. Bovell’s statement of fundamental doctrines, he differs nothing from the West: minster Confession of Faith, and nothing from the Bible. The points concerning which he must have been obnoxious to the views of
some, we apprehend to be these :
“That it pleased God in the exercise of his everlasting and boundless love, to purpose the redemption, regeneration, and final glorification of an innumerable multitude of the fallen race of Adam—that in pursuance of this eternal purpose of his grace, he hath sent into the world, his only begotten Son, that he might put away sin by the sacrifice of himself, and bring to the mansions of everlasting happiness, all those who should obey him: And that in their effectual calling and conversion, he communicates freely to them that grace in Christ Jesus, which was engaged to him as the surety of his chosen people from the ages of eternity.”
“That it is the very righteousness of the Redeemer itself, and not simply the benefits resulting from it, which is imputed to the believing sinner for his justification. ‘This is his name whereby he shall be called, The Lord our Righteousness.” Those to whom the righteousness of Christis imputed, are legally justified. They shall not come into condemnation, but are passed from death unto life.”
We cannot but think these statements to be scriptural, and they have our most hearty approbation, as truths of God. The following extracts present a fair specimen of Dr. Bovell’s manner of writing, and at the same time are calculated to do good to those, whose feeble minds have begun to question the utility of any ecclesiastical creeds.
“It seems also that he required Timo
thy not only to retain the substance of the doctrines which he had delivered to him,