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From a liberality which will not soon be forgotten, he gave 20 dollars towards painting the church, and the glass and paint for the parsonage house. The paint has not yet been called for, as it is thought expedient, on account of the lateness of the season, to defer the painting till spring.
The parish at present contains but about 120 families, having been much diminished by the incorporation of Episcopal parishes in New-Canaan and Wilton. The parish of New-Canaan was incorporated in 1790 ; has a decent church, and a considerable congregation ; but is at present destitute of a minister.
The parish of Wilton was incorporated July 1st, 1802, and contains about 40 families ; among which are the names, Belden, Betts, Church, Fitch, James, Keeler, Lambert, Marvin, &c. A church, 40 feet by 30, was raised June 15th, 1803. The glass was a dona. tion from Mr. David R. Lambert of New York, son of Mr. David Lambert of Wilton. Mr. Lambert has further expressed his concern for the prosperity of the Church by engaging to give one quarter of the salary for two years, on condition the parish would procure the service of a clergyman every third Sunday, they having heretofore enjoyed it but every sixth. The offer has been accepted. Such encouragement of religion needs no encomium ; it speaks its own praise.
Notwithstanding the incorporation of these two parishes, the Church at Norwalk appears to be flourishing, and will continue so, unless by a departure from those genuine principles on which it first arose, the true light shall cease to shine, and the candlestick be removed out of its place. O Lord, save thy people, and bless thine heritaye. Govern them, and lift them up forever.
ON THE OBSERVATION OF CHRISTMAS.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE CHURCHMAN'S MAGAZINE. The following is taken from a volume of Sermons, the author of which is at present unknown. They were published at Bath, (England) and dedicated to the Bishop of Lincoln. From the manner in which this volume fell into my hands, and from having made many enquiries after it, I am led to conclude that there is no other copy in this part of our country. I have thonght this Sermon might be found useful and iustructive, and that its usefulness could in no way be more effectually extended, than through the Church. man's Magazine.
ON THE FESTIVALS AND FASTS OF THE CHURCH.
St. LUKE 220 Chap. 15th Verse. And he said unto them, with desire I have desired to eat this oassover with you
before I suffer. I PROCEED to consider the principal Festivals and Fasts which our church has appointed to be kept holy, and to point out the duties required of us on those sacred days. The example of our Lord, as well as the command of his Apostles, and of tlicir pre
cursors in the government of his Church, binds us to perform these duties. We are told several times in the Gospels that our blessed Saviour kept the solemn feasts of the Jewish Church ; and it appears from the chapter, of which my text is a part, that on the same night in which he was betrayed, he celebrated the great feast of the passover with his disciples. The necessity of these duties is so generally allowed by all christians, that I will not detain you longer on that subject, but proceed to explain the meaning of the chief festivals of our Church, and the manner in which they ought to be observed.
The birth-day of Christ, commonly called Christmass-day, has always been observed by his disciples with gratitude and joy. His birth was the greatest blessing ever bestowed on mankind. The angels from heaven celebrated it with a joyful hymn; and every man who has any feeling of his own lost estate without a Redeemer, must rejoice and be glad in it. On this great day he will lay aside all worldly business, he will appear in the presence of God, and prepare himself for that holy sacrament, by which we partake of the benefits of our Redeemer's birth and death. He will rejoice from his heart, and call his neighbours and friends to rejoice with him. Christmas has always been considered as a season of joy, of friendship, of hospitality, of charity; as such it always ought to be regarded. We should express our love and good will to each other; we should shew kindness to all who belong to Christ for his sake. We should give our bread to the hungry, and do every thing in our power to make our fellow creatures happy. A few holidays are generally allowed to all men in honour of this blessed season; they may be spent in harmless pleasure, in innocent mirth and joy. A good man has the best right to be cheerful, for he only is at peace with God. Let him also be at peace with all mankind. At this holy season especially we should banish all strife and contention. If any man has been injured, now is the time to forgive. If any man has done wrong, now is the time to own it and to ask pardon. · Qur Saviour came to us in great humility ; and no degree of pride must accompany the devotion of a Christian. If we have done wrong, let us never be ashamed to own it. If we have been unkind to a friend, or even to an enemy, let us not hope to feel christian joy till we acknowledge our error. Then, at peace with all men, and with our own conscience, let us be merry and joyful. This is the day the Lord hath made, let us rejoice and be glad in it; for unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given, and his name shall be called wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.
But while we point out this blessed season as a time of joy to every servant of Christ, I grieve that, in any Christian congregation, it should be necessary to say, that it is not a time of intemperance. No time indeed ought to be such ; but surely it is strange and shocking that this most holy season is sometimes disgraced by gaming, drunkenness, and every kind of vice. . Is this a Christian's joy? Is this the return which our God expects, when he allows us to rest from our labours and be happy? O my friends! consider the ingratitude, the dreadful wickedness of those, who spend such a season as this in vice. Gaming is always madness and folly—it is trusting the comfort and happiness of our future lives to chance-it is perhaps ruining our families, losing all the fruit of years of honest industry, and reducing ourselves to beggary : or, if it be successful, it inflicts the same misery on another. Who can enjoy money so gained? But these gains generally go to cheats and sharpers, who will render a dreadful account of them at the day of judgment. Those whom they have cheated, are left to lament their folly and wickedness, perhaps to blaspheme their gracious God, and shock every pious ear by oaths and execrations. This vice I hope is not common, but there is another which is so to a dreadful degree: I speak of the odious crime of drunkenness. God made man in his own image : he gave him a body fearfully and wonderfully made, and a soul capable of reason and reflection. Unlike all other animals, man can think and reason; he can remember what is past, and look forward to what is to come. He knows and feels the dig. nity of his nature, and pays to his Creator free and reasonable service. Superior to all other creatures, formed to be the lord of the world, he is greater still as he is the heir of Heaven, destined to live forever, to be forever happy. Such is man as his Creator formed him ; and now consider for a moment what he makes himself by intemperance :-Groveling on the ground, an object of disgust and detestation, his boasted reason gone, sunk far beneath the brutes that perish; he can no longer direct his own actions. He may quarrel with his best friend ; he may murder the wife of his bosom, and not know what he is doing. Does the world present a sight more melancholy or more degrading? And when that man is called to answer for his crimes, will it be admitted as an excuse, that he has robbed himself of the reason which God had given him to direct his actions ? Surely not. Though he has made himself a beast, he will be judged, he will be punished as a man. Let me entreat all who hear me, and especially those who are entering into life, to consider this odious vice in its true light, and never to be guilty of it. When once it becomes a habit, repentance is difficult, yet the hour of repentance and amendment must come, or dreadful will be the consequence, for we know that a drunkard cannot inherit eternal life ; but if those who are as yet innocent in this respect, will seriously consider this odious vice, surely they will fly from it as from the face of a serpent. If they have a proper sense of religion, they will avoid any meetings which may lead them into temptation ; and particularly at those holy seasons which are set apart for the service of God.
AN ESSAY ON THE NATURE OF THE HUMAN BODY.
[Concluded from page 432.] LET us now consider the sentiments of Christians upon the subject in hand. They not only had the example of the patriarchs and of the whole Jewish nation, to imitate in a singular respect and veneration for the body after death ; but likewise, the description of
the persons, who interred our Saviour, the enumeration of their virtues, and the everlasting commendation of her, who spent three hundred pennyworth of spikenard to anoint his body to the burial, have always been thought sufficient grounds and encouragement for the careful and decent sepulture of the dead, especially of Christians. And indeed, if the regard due to a human soul, rendered respect to the dead a principle, that manifested itself to the common sense of the very Heathens; shall we think, that less care is due to the bodies of christians, who once entertained a more glorious inhabita ant, and were living temples of the Holy Ghost ?-1 Cor. vi. 19. To bodies, which were consecrated to the service of God; which bore their part in the duties of religion ; fought the good fight of faith and patience, self-denial and mortification; and underwent the fatigue of many hardships and afflictions for the sake of piety and virtue? To bodies, which, we believe, shall one day be awakened again from their sleep of death; have all their scattered particles and atoms of dust summoned in their due order ; and be fashioned like to to the glorious body of Christ, to render their souls completely happy, and to be made partakers of the same glory with them, as once they were of the same sufferings and good works? Surely, bodies so honoured here, and to be so glorified hereafter, and which too we own, even in the state of death, to be under a divine providence and protection, are not to be despised by us, far less exposed to abuse and pollution, as unworthy of our regard : for, at the great day of account, they are to be raised glorified and spiritualized bodies. The latter of these epithets is so very unfashionable in this over-refining and philosophizing age, that I would have, perhaps, not allowed it to drop from my pen, if not supported by the suffrage of an Apostle, who says. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a SPRITUAL body. There is a natural body, and there is a SPIRITUAL body-1 Cor. xv. 44.
To determine our judgment and to influence our practice, let us here consider the pious care and tender concern, with which the body of the first martyr for the Christian faith was treated, as we find it recorded, for our instruction and imitation, Acts viii. 2. And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him: That is, they prepared Stephen for his burial, as the Greek word properly imports: they did all things in order to it, washing his body, chap. ix. 37. anointing it, and winding it up in linen, putting it in the coffin, carrying it forth to the burial-place, and weeping there over it after the manner of the Jews. A moderate, and pious mourning for the dead, is justifiable, not only from the instance of the saints here before us, but likewise by the example of Christ himself, Jolo xi. 35. and of the patriarchs, Genesis i. 1. &c.
What a solemn concern, what a tenderness of devotion, posseses every christian heart, when he attends the ever-adorable friend of mankind to the place where Lazarus lay, among the mourning Jews, and his disconsolate friends, the hospitable Martha, and the devout Mary! Ile, who had all the tenderness and goodness, without the
faults of human nature, condoles and sympathises with the distressed mourners, with all the inward concern, and outward expression, of undissembled grief. He was troubled, he groaned in spirit, and he went. How meanly do we think of the affected formality, and un-' natural concern of the Stoics, when we read of the wisest and divinest person that ever appeared in the world, Jesus wept ?
Moved by these considerations, the primitive Christians, though they made no use of ointments whilst they lived, yet they did not think the most precious too costly to be used about the dead. « Let & the Sabxan merchants know, that we take off greater quantities of « more costly spices for the embalming our dead, than others do for
incensing their gods”-Tertul. Apol. cap. 42. And they reseryed all their ointments for funerals. And yet, this was so far from being reproached with superstition, that it is ever reported as a laudable custom; and such as had in it something so engaging, so agreeable to the notions of civilized nature, as to have a very consider able influence upon the heathens, who observed and admired it: it becoming instrumental in the disposing of them to a favourable opinion at first, and then to the embracing of the Christian Religion, where these decencies and tender regards to deceased friends and good people, were so constantly, so carefully, and so religiously practised. This was observed by Julian the Apostate, who, writing to an idolatrous high-priest, put him in mind of these things, by which he thought the Christians gained upon the world, and recommends them to the practice of the heathen priests, viz. The gravity of their carriage, their kindness to strangers, and their CARE FOR THE BURIAL OF THE DEAD. Epist. 49. ad Arsacium. But,
To represent this still in a stronger light, remarkable it is, that our Christian revelations plainly suppose, the soul cannot be either completely happy or miserable, without the body ; why else do they lay so great a stress on the doctrine of the resurrection ? Nay, the great Apostle of the Gentiles farther supposes, that even the survival of the soul is only in order to this resurrection, and would not otherwise be ; for what he infers from the denial of the resur. rection (1 Cor. xv. 18. 19. 30. 31. 32.) will not hold, but on this supposition. Let people read these few verses now referred to, with any degree of attention, and they cannot fail to see, that the Apostle's reasoning ends evidently in this conclusion—That, if there be no resurrection of the body, then they who are fallen asleep in Christ, are perished, lost and annihilated for ever: That, if the dead rise not, all his sufferings would have advantaged him nothing; that the Epicurean maxim might take place, Let us eat and drink, for to. morrow we die ; and that Christians, on account of their parting with worldly enjoyments, and the many sufferings they are exposed to for their religion, would of all men be most miserable. And even, in order to this survival, a material vehicle, going along with the soul from the body, seems to be necessary, not only to its being in a determinate place, and to make it capable of sensation and the perception of things, and likewise for continuing with it the memory of actions done in this life ; but also for retaining the habits contracted in the body, which, if they were extinguished by death,