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EVERY book really worth a Minister's studying, he ought, if possible, to have in his own library. I have used large libraries, but I soon left them. Time was frittered away: my mind was unconcentrated. Besides, the habit which it begets of turning over a multitude of books, is a pernicious habit. And the usual contents of such libraries are injurious to a spiritual man, whose business it is to transact with men's minds. They have a dry, cold, deadening effect. It may suit dead men, to walk among the dead; but send not a living man to be chilled among the ruins of Tadmor in the Wilderness!
CHRISTIANITY is so great and surprizing in its nature, that, in preaching it to others, I have no encouragement but the belief of a continued divine operation. It is no difficult thing to change a man's opinions. It is no difficult thing to attach a man to my person and notions. It is no difficult thing to convert a proud man to spiritual pride, or a passionate man to passionate zeal for some religious party. But, to bring a man to love God - to love the law of God, while it condemns him -to loath himself before God, to tread the earth under his feet-.to hunger and thirst after God in Christ, and after the mind that was in Christwith man this is impossible! But God has said it shall be done: and bids me go forth and preach, that by me, as his instrument, he may effect these great ends; and therefore I go. Yet I am obliged continually to call my mind back to my principles. I feel angry, perhaps, with a man, because he will not let me convert him: in spite of all I can say, he will still love the world.
St. Paul admonishes Timothy to endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. It sometimes falls to the lot of a Minister to endure the hard labour of a Nurse, in a greater measure than that of a Soldier. He has to encounter the difficulties of a peculiar situation : he is the Parent of a family of children, of various tempers, manners, habits, and prejudices : if he does not continually mortify himself, he will bear hardly upon some of his children. He has, however, to endure the hardness
of calling his child-his friend-to an account; of being thought a severe, jealous, legal man. If a man will let matters take their chance, he may live smoothly and quietly enough; but if he will stir among the servants, and sift things to the bottom, he must bear the consequences. He must account himself a Man of Strife. His language must be--" It is not enough that you feed me, or fill my pocket--there is something between me and thee.” The most tender and delicate of his flock have their failings. His warmest and most zealous supporters break down some where. A sun-shiny day breeds most reptiles. It is not enough, therefore, that the sun shines out in his church. It is not enough that numbers shout applause.
A Minister may be placed in a discouraging situation. He may not suit the popular taste. He may not be able to fall into the fashionable style. He may not play well on an instrument. Though an effective man, and a man of energy, he may be under a cloud. The door may be shut against him. Yet it is a dangerous thing for such á man to force open the door. He should rather say
66 I have a lesson to learn here. If I teach the people nothing, perhaps they may teach me.” The work of Winter is to be done, as well as the work of Summer.
The hardness which I have to endure is this Here are a number of families, which shew me every kind of regard. But I see that they are not right. They somehow so combine the things which they hear, with the things which they do, that I am afraid they will at last lie down in sorrow! Here is my difficulty. I nust meet them with gentleness; but I must detect and uncover the evil. I shall want real kindness and common honesty, if I do not. Ephraim hath
Ephraim hath grey hairs : yet he knoweth it not. Ephraim is a cake not turned. But, if I tell him these things, be and I shall become two persons. He must however be so touched in private; for he will not be touched in the pulpit. He will say “ I am not the man.”
A MINISTER must keep under his body, and bring it into subjection. A Newmarket - Groom will sweat himself thin, that he may be fit for his office: Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we, an incorruptible!
is just come from college. He has a refined, accurate, sensible mind. Some of our friends wish to get him a station at Calcutta. They think him just adapted for that sphere.' I differ widely in my view of the matter. A new man, with his college accuracy about him, is not the man for the dissipated and fashionable court at Calcutta. Such a congregation will bid nothing
for his acuteness and reasoning. He, who is to talk to them with any effect, must have seen life and the world. He must be able to treat with them on their own ground. And he must be able to do it with the authority of a messenger from God, not with the arts and shifts of human eloquence and reasonings. Dr. Patten said admirably well, in a sermon which I heard him preach at Oxford : “ Beware how you suffer the infidel to draw you upon metaphysical ground. If he get you there, he will have something to say. The evidences and the declarations of God's word are the weapons with which he must be combated, and before which he must fall."
LONDON is very peculiar as a Ministerial walk. Almost all a Minister can do, is, by the Pulpit and the Pen. His hearers are so occupied in the world, that if he visit them, every minute perhaps brings in some interruption.
It is a serious question-Whether a Minister ought to preach at all beyond his experience. He is to stand forth as a witness- but a witness of what he KNOWS, not of what he has been TOLD. He must preach as he feels. If he feels not as he might and ought, he must pray for such feelings; but, till he has them, ought he to pretend to them?