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weakened, if not destroyed. It is not uniform results, or if the uniforming asserted that the conscientious ser- be broken, it is by the gradual increase vants of the Lord Jesus, will invaria- of divine influence. But in such viobly yield to the bad tendencies around lent inovements, in order to sustain the them, yet few will be found who will amount of impression at first producescape unhurt from so fiery an or-ed, the strong wind that breaks the deal.
mountains and rends the rocks, must If then the churches would enjoy be succeeded by the earthquake,which a ministry most in accordance with shakes the whole ground, and that, by the mind of Christ, they ought to re- the fire which melts the elements with sist, as far as possible, the current mu- fervent heat. A certain amount of tability of the pastoral relation. They excitement is secured by a few days would encourage their ministers with application of the means of grace; the hope of permanency: and thus twice that number of days must be throw in their path strong inducements employed the next time to realize the to give themselves to study, that they expectations of the people, and so on, may bring forth out of their treasure in endless progression. A minister of things both new and old, for the edi- unwonted action and skill wakes up a fication of the body of Christ. powerful interest in the community;
Another evil arising from the fickle to sustain it, another preacher must be state of the ministry is the aggrava. obtained of still greater address, and tion of the already sickly taste of the so on, as long as ever varied powers, community. “The time will come, and yet newer novelties can be found. saith the Apostle, when they will not What sort of tastes will be generated endure sound doctrine, but after their in people, in process of time, by such lasts will heap up to themselves teach- a management of the ministry? Sureers, having itching ears." It was no ly they will be such as no power of enviable reputation possessed by the human eloquence can either benefit ancient Athenians, that they spent for satisfy. The ordinary influences their time in telling or hearing some of the house of God, such as he denew thing. Such fondness for novel- signed for the perpetuity of the church, ties, however, was comparatively harm- will become of no effect, and after a less, when wasted on such subjects as time, the most extraordinary that can usually solicited the attention of the be used will likewise fail. Some parts curious Greek; but when turned to of the American heritage are already religious topics, and especially when in this dismal state, and it becomes found in the bosom of the church of the churches every where to oppose Christ, it is the fountain of inexpres- the instability of the ministerial funcsible mischief. The apostle is very tions, that they may save themselves severe on this class of religionists, in from a siınilar blight. The human the words we have just quoted. They constitution may become so sickly as are so excitable that they cannot rest not to be able to bear wholesome food, satisfied without something continually or at least not in sufficient quantities presented to rouse up the feelings, and to indicate health and vigor : and the keep them in a state of constant irri- church may, by a process such as we tation. To effect this there must be have described, be cursed with a relia perpetual increase of the stimulant gious condition that will end in the applied. The same portion will not total consumption of its vital powproduce the same excitement the sec-ers. ond time as the first, or the third time Besides producing in the churches as the second The still small voice morbid sensibilities, unfavorable to reof God's word and Spirit will produce ligious growth, the frequent change of the ministry tends likewise to divide which has been conceded to a minerithem, or at least to weaken the union ty, in too frequent instances, and to which is essential to their prosperity. the manifest wrong of Zion. A few The predilections of hearers must be individuals become disaffected with the greatly diversified, from causes that minister unreasonably, and set on foot are necessary and perpetual opera- a plan for his dismission ; they protion. Men naturally have their own pose to trouble the waters so long, and peculiar feelings and modes of judg- so deeply, that even his best friends ment. Even if there is a good degree will think it expedient to consent to of harmony as to doctrines, the style his removal. His usefulness is repreand method of presenting them, which sented as being at an end; or the sowill please one part of an audience, ciety is so small as to need the pecuwill disgust others. The same remark niary assistance of all, and the hope will apply to the proportionate atten. is entertained that another minister tion which
may be paid to pastoral and would unite the parish, and thus lightsocial visiting ; some will be well pleas- en the burden of supporting ; and vaed with this, at the expense of the rious other considerations are pressed more varied and thorough preparation into the service of the malcontents. for the pulpit; while others will plead It has been asserted that a single man, strongly for the most diligent study, especially if at all prominent, is able, and elaborate sermonizing, though in this way, to rule the whole parish, they should render it impracticable and that cases of this kind have been for the minister to mingle much with known, in which the work was going the people. The very personal habits, on for several years; and in which, and most trivial conduct, let them be although the instigator was finally ruwhat they will, can scarcely ever be ined himself as to peace and usefuluniversally approved; he is too famil-ness, yet the object which he had in iar,or he is too austere; he is too close view was effected. One sinner deor he is too liberal; he mingles too stroyeth much good, even if he demuch with the ungodly, or he throws stroys himself at the same time. A them off entirely from his influence by blind Sampson may pull down the keeping them at too great a distance. temple of religion although he may Now in cases where the ministry is bury himself in the ruins. Cases have long and faithfully conducted, these been known where two or three mindiscrepancies of taste gradually dis-isters have been dismissed to suit the appear, and all become so far united caprice of a single man, and that man, as to dwell together in peace, and to aster all, expelled from the church.— profit by the word, and to prosper in Now what society which thus trifles the worship of the Lord. But the with the feelings, reputation, and minperpetual changeableness of ministeri-isterial functions of their Pastor, can al labors tends on the contrary to ag- expect to prosper? Will God smile gravate the differences of taste, until on gross injustice, because it happens it becomes absolutely impossible that to be committed against a poor minisany one preacher should be able to ter ? Never. He who hath said, touch gratify the feelings of all. Thus the not mine Anointed, and do my prophevil is only enhanced by the shifting ets no harm, will blast the prospects of trials to remove it, and the brethren any religious society, which sacrifices, who used to walk together in unity of from mercenary motives, the peace spirit, become rent into mutually de- and happiness of its public servants.nouncing factions.
Not even the pecuniary object can be And in connection with this great obtained in this manner, for ere long iniquity may be mentioned the powerlit becomes an impossibility to settle a
minister with any degree of unanimity. This division in the churches, if not in a parish cursed with such fickle- first created, is constantly fomented ness; the instability of whose itching by agents and lecturers, passionately ears has been wonderfully enhanced devoted to their respective projects of by the foolish exertions to gratify it. philanthropy, and oftentimes exceed
We shall next glance at the causes ingly bitter towards each other. We of this instability in the Pastoral rela- may here venture a remark on public tion. These are to be found chiefly agencies generally. If they are of in the difference of opinion and feel- such a character as to insure the apings on subjects of great exciting in- probation of the christian public, they terest in the public mind. There is a still need to be conducted with more division of sentimeut in the christian discretion than always falls to their lot. church in relation to the measures to Agents acquire a readiness in the disbe employed in the removal of certain cussion of a few interesting topics, and national sins, and for the promotion of there are always some in the assenthe opposite virtues, and the difference blies they address who cannot realize of sentiment is so great, as to have the impossibility of sustaining the instrong hold of the heart
. So much so terest thus excited, if the same speakthat denominational differences are er were to be listened to Sabbath aflost sight of in the greater differencester Sabbath for a length of time.that run through churches of the same Hence these superficial hearers bedenomination. Even the perversion come dissatisfed with the labors of their of sound doctrine is winked at, if it own Pastor, and vainly imagine that come in connection with the warm the man who has deeply interested them support of a favorite object of reform. once or twice, would continue to inIn such strength of religious sentiment terest thus deeply ever after.
We exand warmth of feeling, church mem-culpate all our approved agents from bers are prone to exact of their minis- any intention of this kind; but the subter sentiments and feelings like their ject is worthy of consideration. The own. They require of him a partial- very nature of agencies requires peity for plans of benevolence dear to culiar caution, lest those who pass from their own hearts, and a distrust and de- place to place, and become familiar preciation of those plans, which they with parish difficulties, should so cirthemselves distrust and depreciate.- culate the knowledge of them as to agNor are they satisfied with inere de gravate their evils. preciation on the one hand, or mere We may be allowed to advert to ansupport on the other. The favorite other cause of fickleness in the Pastoenterprises must be advocated with ral relation. We refer to the exertions energy of language commensurate and influence of great revival preachwith their supposed magnitude ; and ers; the labors of evangelists : prothose which are pronounced an impo- tracted religious services, and their ussition on the public, must feel the ual attendants. Most surely the exweight of a most terrible indignation.cess to which these things have been It is certain that the minister cannot carried, and the improper reliance please both parties. If some require placed upon them, have been one great wine at the commnnion, at all events, cause of the frequent changes in the and others, with equal importunity de- ministry. Eminent revival preachers sire its removal, the Pastor cannot sat- sometimes owe their success to their isfy, even by his silence-much less by very extravagancies. Their novel his warm adherence to one of the re-measures, the varied use of the voice quisitions. Other illustrations might be acquired by special attention to that adduced.
point, and in some instances the novel
doctrines arresting the public mind, means alone their prosperity can be segive them a momentary influence over cured, they become dissatisfied with the people, far beyond that of the the services of those who are not giftsettled Pastor. Not stopping to con-led with brilliant otatorical powers-sider the abiding consequences, but consequently they are deprived of the rejoicing at the sight of many in the only religious instruction they can comassembly, who are usually absent from mand. the house of God—and of the hope- But what sort of ministerial influful conversion of numbers; with the ence do you need to give the most endeep, solemn impression left on the during success to the appointed inminds of still more; even good men strumentalities of the sanctuary? Is are enticed into the belief that a meth-it not that which is continually put od of conducting public worship dit forth? Is it not that which extends ferent from that of their own Pastor's, to all these instrumentalities? Do and resembling that of distinguished you not need, that the rich and varied revivalists, would be more conducive instruction of God's word should be to the promotion of religion. Here so imparted to the entire congregation has been found one of the most active as to leave on their ninds an imprescanses of the dismission of ministers. sion of the whole spirit of revelation ?
We turn now to the remedy of these Do you not need to have declared to evils, which together with their causes, you all the counsel of God? Do you we have endeavored to describe. The not need to be ted with strong meat as success of this remedy, so far as you well as with the milk of the word ?are concerned, will depend mainly on Could you be long saved from disperthe compliance with this direction - sion, were all the preaching you enjoylearn to be content with the plain faith-ed, confined to the reiteration for the ful, persevering labors of your own thousandth time of a few meagre but Pastor. Value the Sabbath, because exciting thoughts? Do not the chilit is God's day; the ministry, because dre.. and youth of your societies need it is ordained of heaven for the salva- to be under a systematic course of intion of your souls, and the souls of struction, which can be carried out your children. Be not drawn to the only where are enjoyed the regular, sanctuary, on account of the display of well sustained labors of the faithful the pulpit, but because it is the place, Pastor? Do you not feel that if unwhere the Father of mercies has re- der such a ministry, you are gradualcorded his name. We do not advise ly strengthened from year to year, it you to sustain an incompetent or un- will be in the end vastly better for you faithful minister ; but if you have one than any fancied rapid growth, which sincerely devoted to his work, able and is doomed to sudden decay and disaswilling to instruct you in the things of trous termination ? the Kingdom of God-be more than Now if this is the ministry, which satisfied with him ; esteem him highly you need, are you not convinced, that for his work's sake—do not depreciate it is to be found not so much in conhim—do not weaken his hands or dis- nection with shining pulpit talents, courage his heart by an expressed pref- the ability to rouse the general mind erence for the more striking exhibition for a short time, as in connection with of the pulpit, which you may have the self denying, serious, protracted witnessed in others.
efforts of the Pastor who loves his peoThe passion for such exhibitions is ple, and strives with all his power to the curse of our churches, especially promote their salvation, though he may of those that are feeble. Indulging not be able to dazzle their minds with the erroneous feeling, that by these the brilliancy of particular discourses? Are you not convinced, that your true paratively, have been removed from and lasting good can be best promoted their labors by disease. Many of our by a Pastor who shall lead you into churches, especially our feeble churchthe green pastures and by the still wa- es, which have, heretofore, been desters of salvation ?
titute of Pastors, have during the past We would freely open to you, breth-year, been supplied ; so that, perhaps, ren, all the feelings of our hearts on at the present moment, there are fewer this subject. We would express to churches destitute of settled Pastors, you our solemn belief, that darker or stated supplies, than in former years. days are before the churches, unless It has pleased the Great Head of the the foregoing cousiderations are duly church to visit his people throughout regarded. The relation we have been the State, the past year in an unusual contemplating is too sacred to be treat- manner, by the special out-pourings of ed with that levity in which it is by his Holy Spirit. Almost every report many viewed. It is a relation which to which we have listened, has given God has formed and owned, and bless-the cheering intelligence of some speed. To restore the proper christian cial work of grace, within the bounds sentiment in reference to it, exert all of the Association covered by the the power you possess. Nothing else report. In many instances, we have will save you from the spiritual mala- been told there have been extendies that will lay the emaciated church- sive revivals. And in other cases, es in the grave.
there have been more hopeful converEnter fully into the wise plans of sions than have been reported in any benevolence, which your Pastors adopt former years. Almost every town has but do not force them to advocate or dis- been blest with the out-pourings of the approve such as you may approve or Holy Spirit. Owing to the want of condemn. Allow them right of particularity in the reports, we cannot judgment in matters difficult to be de- specify the number of revivals in each cided and already the sources of trouble Association; but there have been in to the churches. Help to sustain their the whole, during the last year, not far burdens. Expect, that they will con- from Fifty, and an addition in the agstantly improve their official influence gregate, of more than two thousand over you, if you kindly receive their members to our churches. The As. ministry. Give diligent attendance on sociations which have shared most their public services, and cordially re- largely in these revivals, are Hopkinceive them at your houses. God will ton, Belknap, Piscataqua, and Monadbless you for such a treatment of his nock. The character of the revivals servants, with peace in your borders, has generally been of the most pleasand prosperity in your palaces. ing nature. While in many instances
pastors have resorted to the labors of NARRATIVE OF THE STATE their ministerial brethren, in their im
OF RELIGION. mediate neighborhoods, they have genThe General Association of this erally, if not universally avoided the State, has seldom, if ever, met, when labors of professed evangelists. The they have had more occasion for grati-delegates from nearly all the different tude to God for his varied mercies, than Associations have been explicit in bearat the present time. Though the an- ing their testimony against the system gel of death has been among our flocks of itinerant preaching. and many saints have been called home Great reliance has been placed on to glory, in no instances has the hand the ordinary means of of death, during the past year, been stated weekly ministrations of the laid upon any Pastor, and few, com- word, in the pulpit and the lecture