Obrazy na stronie

other terms than faith and obedience. For instance; Noah -was to manifest his faith in God, by building the ark, that himself and family might not be destroyed in the waters of the deluge. Moses and the children of Israel, were to prove their faith, by attending- to every particular ceremony of the passover, that they might escape the hand of the destroying angel. David, by building an altar at the? threshing-floor of Araunah, to stop the pestilential sword of the Lord. Naaman, by washing himself exactly seven times in Jordan, to cure his leprosy. And the widow of Zarepta, by delivering up her last morsel of meal and oil, to support the Prophet of God, that they might not fail during a famine of three years and six months. In the New Testament, life and immortality are brought to light: a future state of endless happiness or misery, is clearly set before us: under this dispensation of light, the covenant of grace was introduced by the Son of God', our all-gracious Redeemer: he, who in the same nature fulfilled that law in which Adam originally transgressed, and through whose mediation (though we are sinners) we can have access to the Father. This dispensation requires of us a Christian faith, a divine temper of mind, and sincere repentance, together with evangelical obedience. The first comprehends what we are to believe, the second what we are to be, and the last what we are to do. The first step in the Christian religion, is to believe that Jesus Christ is the true Messiah, pointed out by the Prophets: This belief is founded upon the evidence for it, contained in the scriptures of the Old Testament concerning the Messiah ; and we are to compare the fulfilment of them in the New, and see if Christ came with all those characters mentioned by the ancient Prophets. In this case, our faith will be built ufion the foundation of the Afiostles and Prophets-, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone. In short, sir, to obtain eternal happiness, we must be initiated into the Church, or body of Christ, by the sacrament of bafitism. This is the way and means by which we are admitted into favour and covenant with God. In this new covenant, God grants us the five following privileges, viz.

1st. The forgiveness of all our own sins, if we have committed any, and the sin of Adam, so far as we are concerned.

2d. A title to the Holy Spirit, as being the life of that body whereof we, by baptism, are made members.

3d. The promise of a resurrection of the body, and of a glorious. immortality in heaven.

4th. That a sincere and universal obedience to the law of God, will be accepted, although it be imperfect.

5th. That if we are so unhappy as to violate our baptismal vow, by gross and wilful sin, God will nevertheless pardon us upon our sincere repentance.

We must also receive the sacrament of the body and blood of Christ, or in the words of St. Paul, the communion of the body and blood of Christ. By the worthy partaking of this holy ordinance, we obtain the pardon of our sins, fresh supplies of the Holy Spirit, and a principle of immortal life to our bodies, as well as our souls. We must also constantly appear before God in his house, in the place of his more immediate presence, where his honour dwells, •nd -where,- if we with penitent hearts confess our sins, devoutly implore the forgiveness of them, heartily thank him for the maniJbld favours and privileges he is constantly bestowing upon us ; with humility ask the continuation of them, and with attentive minds and obedient wills, hear what he saith to us in his holy word; he hath promised to meet and bless us. These things being done upon gospel motives and evangelical principles, render us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light. When we are thus qualified for happiness, Christ will intercede, in right of his own merits, that we may be put in possession of that degree of happiness our gospel obedience has fitted us to enjoy. These are the means I have made use of from my youth up, with a stedfast faith in the promises of God, through the merits of Christ, and a sincere desire to walk in the commandments and ordinances of God, blameless.

My dear Sir, take for once an old man's advice. Give over your whimsical ideas of obtaining eternal happiness simply by hearing; and sincerely and devoutly make use of all the means of grace which our blessed Saviour hath instituted in his Church; and you have the promise of God himself, that they will, through the merits of Christ, finally conduct you to the land of everlasting happiness, there to reign with him, world without end.

The good old gentleman spoke all this with such evident marks of benevolence and charity, and with such firm confidence in the the promises of God, upon the terms of a Christian faith, evangelical obedience, and sincere repentance, that I was arrested in my career of roving in pursuit oi preaching: And I am now fully determined no more to heafi to myself teachers, nor any longer to have itching ears: but to sit quietly down, and with the utmost sincerity of heart, make use of all the means of grace which our blessed Redeemer has appointed in his Church, under any lawful minister which God in his Providence shall place over me; with the most certain assurance that they will, through the merits, mediation, and intercession of Christ, finally lead me to those rivers of pleasure which flow at God's right hand, where I shall partake of heavenly joys for ever and ever.




YOU perceive then that the first, indispensable PreparaTion for holy orders is that of the heart and affections. To the schools of the Prophets, above all others, suits the ancient motto, Let no unclean person enter here. The love of God, the love of man, which flows immediately from it, the due government of ourselves, which is derived from both; this compendium of all sound philosuI

phy; this sum of the law, and the Prophets, and the gospel; diis rational criterion, by which we measure our hopes of the young, our esteem for those in maturer life, and our reverence for the aged; these virtues must surely constitute the primary qualification of him, whose office it is to set forth continually their religious obligation, to unfold their intrinsic reason, loveliness, and utility, and so recommend them to the understanding and affections of mankind. If the truths upon which these duties are founded have not obtained the full assent of your own understanding; if they have made no impression upon your own affections; above all, if they have not influenced your practice; wave, for the present at least, all thoughts of a profession, which will enhance your prior, unsatisfied obligations, and will render your failings more painful and dishonourable to yourself, and more displeasing and pernicidus to the world. Wait for the more happy season, when vivd voce instruction, reading, meditation and example, shall have better formed your principles, and regulated your life. Become a faithful servant of God, and a true disciple of Christ; and then you may aspire, with comfort and confidence, to be a minister of religion, and a preacher of the gospel.

The second preparation for holy orders is the acquisition of an adequate portion of learning; first, elementary and general, such as is expected in every educated person; which has been hitherto, and will for some time continue to be, the object of your pursuit; secondly, special or professional, such as will be requisite for the performance of your office; which is the subject of our present enquiry.

Upon this head, the first question which arises is, at what age, or at what standing in the university, I would advise you to turn aside out of the wider path of general learning, into the line of study which leads directly to the knowledge of your intended profession. This is a point which deserves the well-advised consideration of every scholar who designs himself for a particular calling. Here are two extremes to be avoided. On the one hand, he may suffer greatly by entering too early on his professional study: which can never be advantageously pursued without previous application to general literature, philological and philosophical. Without some knowledge of the learned languages, and an acquaintance with a few of the best classical writers, his means of information will be limited, and his manner of communicating his sentiments will be ungraceful. The study of the sciences strengthens the understanding, habituates it to -calm and orderly discussion, and furnishes it with topics of argument, illustration and ornament, upon every subject. On the other hand, these preliminary acquirements, however generally necessary, and always desirable, must not be suffered to encroach too far upon the only time which the shortness of human life, and the exigency of particular situations, allow to the attainment of the substantial knowledge of the profession itself. I have known many a young academic destined to the bar fall into the first error; and lose much of an enlarged education by his impatience to engage in Blackstone's Commentaries, when, after the example of this author himself, (as we may fairly infer from his work, and have other reasons to believe) he ought to have been applying himself to logic, ethies

and metaphysics, forming his taste by Longinus, Cicero and Quinctiiian, and accustoming his mind to sound argument, demonstrative ©r probable, by a book of Euclid, and a prelection of Sanderson. But the student designed for the Church more frequently commits the second; and (if it be not very speedily and industriously remedied) the more pernicious mistake. He improves and amuses himself, more or less, according to his talents, industry, and opportunities, in the pursuit of general learning, till the eve of his expected ordination. He then suddenly undertakes to write for the pulpit, upon the strength of a few successful efforts in a poem, essay or declamation: he depends upon his mathematical knowledge for an intuitive comprehension of the reasoning of St. Paul; and expects that his intimacy with Sophocles or Demosthenes shall compensate for the want of even a superficial acquaintance with the sacred historians, the Prophets and the Evangelists. A partial ground, and palliation of this his error may be, that the statutable regulations, I believe, of both our universities, very rationally suppose the first four years to be spent in the cultivation of such introductory and general learning, as is necessary, useful or ornamental to every profession, to every course of mature study, and to every active, or even retired situation in life. And it is most happy when a scholar designed for a profession is enabled by family circumstances, or the assistance of a foundation, to form himself entirely upon this eligible plan. It is particularly desirable for students who are to be candidates for the ministry; because while others, after they leave the university, usually pass to some second scene of professional education, these remove precipitately to the immediate employments of the profession itself.

If therefore you have the command of your time, you cannot do better than to follow the usages of your university. You will pursue the general stated course of education for four academical years, or three civil years complete at the least; and then devote the three years following to your particular preparation for orders; adding to each of these periods so appropriated, as much time as your plan of life will allow. But if your circumstances do not admit of this distribution; if you foresee that you are doomed to be a candidate for deacon's orders, or even to aspire to the sole care of a parish, immediately upon taking your first degree, you will remedy the evil of your situation as well as you can. You are obliged to compress the main business of six or seven years into something less than four. To effect this object in any satisfactory degree, the only means, I conceive, are; first, to use extraordinary diligence; secondly, to abridge discreetly your academical or general studies; thirdly, so to select and arrange them, that a considerable part of them may bear a direct and immediate reference to your professional studies; and fourthly, to begin your preparation for orders, concurrently with your other employments, at the opening of your second year.

Whichever of these may be your situation, whether you are likely to be a candidate for orders at four, or five, or six years standing, or later, the following hints may be useful to you

From this yourfirstresidenceintheuniversity, have yourprofessidS* constantly in your view. Besides that this foresight will have a happy influence upon your sentiments and manners, it will also (which is the immediate subject of our present consideration) give a reasonable bias to the train of your literary thoughts and general studies.

Attend with alacrity and spirit to the usual academical courses of logic, ethics and metaphysics. These studies are more easy, useful, and even necessary then they who slight them are apt to imagine. A small portion of time and industry will suffice for them. They 'will have a considerable effect, through your whole life, upon the clearness of your thoughts, and the precision of your language. The technical terms and distinctions belonging to them are frequently commodious in learned discussions; and they occur so familiarly in the writers of the last century, and in some who lived in the beginning of the present, that you would do well to acquire them, were it only as you learn dead or foreign languages, for the sake of conversing freely with those who use them.

Learn the elements of the Hebrew language without delay. You never will have more time for this undertaking, or better relish, or more ready ability. Your future progress in this tongue (or other kindred ones) will depend upon circumstances, which you cannot now foresee, nor need to consider. You may be assured that even a superficial knowledge of it will be useful and agreeable to you; and without an improved acquaintance with it you will not be a complete divine.

Whatever may be your present or future acquirements in Grecian learning, secure to yourself a knowledge of the language and phraseology of the New Testament. This book is to be your manual and your guide through life; the authentic oracle to which you are constantly to resort, for doctrine and for precept, in order to the edification of yourself and others. Your early proficiency in it will be your passport into the sanctuary: your further progress will be very much the measure, and the mean, of your worthy administration there. You may have heard concerning an eloquent father of the Eastern Church,* that he was accustomed, I suppose in his younger days, to have Aristophanes always under his pillow; and of a venerable English Bishop,t that he had read Tully's Offices twenty times over, and in his old age had the book by heart: But as it is evident from the writings of both these divines, that they were perfectly conversant with a volume of higher order and origin, so I hope that you will at nro time suffer it to be driven from your table by any classic author, ancient or modern, however entertaining or improving. I wish you indeed, at a convenient season, and the sooner the better, to be acquainted with the ancient poets, orators and philosophers: But how preposterous would it be to offer yourself for the ministry of the gospel, better informed in the ethics of a Grecian school, the moral sayings of a tragedian, or the dying con« versations of the Athenian martyr, than with the sermons, and parables, and last injunctions of our blessed Saviour? I will add, how * Chrysostoni. f Sanderson. .

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