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the efforts of men, who lived in apostolic times. Take religion as practically exemplified, by the men whose lives and labours are recorded in the Acts of the APOSTLES. Think of their efforts for our world's conversion. Their pecuniary means were limited. They were unendowed, and even unsanctioned by the state. The kings of the earth took counsel against them. Their cause was unpopular. The pride, and prejudice, and passion, of an ungodly world, assumed the lofty attitude of defiance; and yet they went everywhere preaching the Word. They gave their hearts to the work of converting sinners, from the errors of their ways, and thus saving souls from death. And before one hundred years from their Lord's ascension, they had spread the Gospel through every land, from the banks of the Ganges, to the shores of the Atlantic ! What are our efforts when compared with theirs ? We talk about the moral dignity of the enterprize of evan. gelizing the world, when roused by the stirring eloquence of some favourite speaker, or heated by the excitement of some popular meeting, we cast our mite into the treasury. of God. but of what comfort-of what luxury have we ever deprived ourselves, that we may savé a soul from death ? The church of God has money enough, and men enough, to send the Gospel to every creature, and yet, SIX HUNDRED MILLIONS of our race, are living and DYING without God in the world! And how many of those who lived in our towns, or villages, or neighbourhoods-- how many of our brethren and kinsmen according to the flesh, “having lived and died unpitied and unblessed, may have bitterly said, as they entered the confines of eternity, “no man has cared for my soul!" What does all this argue ? That our souls are in health ? Ah, no! It argues that when compared to the high-toned spirituality of primitive Christians, we need a revival of religion in our own hearts. Brethren in the ministry we require a revival in our hearts. Do we feel the awful responsibility that attaches to our office! Do we preach, and pray, and plead for eternity! Do we plead with God for men, while we plead with men for God? Do we act as seeing him who is invisible ?" Do we sink our own individuality in the responsibilities of our office? Do we feel that we are nothing, and that • Christ is all, and in all ? Is it 'our meat and our drink, to do the will of him who has sent us? Do we come to the pulpit from the throne of grace ? Do we retire from
the sanctuary to the closet; and then where po eye can see us, except the upslumbering eye of God, do we plead and pray, that God may bless our feeble efforts to the conversion of some, and the edification of others ? If we are anxious to honour God-to glorify Christ-to save souls-oh! let us seek a time of refreshing from the presence of the Lord an unction from the Holy One of Israel. Eminent piety is essential to eminent usefulness.
And you, brethren, who may wait on our ministry, need more of the reviving presence of the Spirit, Is there a devotional reading of the book of God-reading it not as critics, but as Christians ? Is there daily examination of your hearts before God? Is there a prayerful Spirit ? Is there an humble and habitual walking with God? Is there a careful avoidance of every thing in temper, and conversation, and conduct, that would grieve the Holy Spirit of God, whereby you are sealed unto the day of redemption ? Is there a diligent cultivation, and an un. ostentatious display of all that tripity of graces, faith, and love, and hope, which so pre-eminently adorned the lives and distinguished the labours of Christians in the apostolic age? If not, and who can say that there is then you all need a revival of religion, " ," .
L'u ...". Lire ?" . J. C.. BELFAST, September 1, 1831.
- THE LATE REV. WILLIAM DUNCAN STEWART.'
UPON many accounts, it may here be desirable to fur. nish a brief record of the origin of the Congregation of Downpatrick, in connexion with the Synod of Ulster. The Presbyterian Congregation of Downpatrick originally belonged to the Synod, but was separated from it in 1726, and joined to an Arian Presbytery; under which it has continued now upwards of a century, . About the year 1825, an attempt was made by a Missionary from England, to propagate, in Downpatrick and its neighbourhood, the Socinian, or Unitarian Doctrines, On this occasion, a few individuals whose attention had been awakened to the value of evangelical truth,--partly by addresses at Bible and Missionary Societies, partly by the Sermons of their deputations, partly by having heard the doctrines of free grace preached by others, and parily by hearing the doctrines of Arianism more openly avowed-deter. mined to unite in a common effort for the establishment of an Orthodox Congregation. Accordingly, application was made to the Presbytery of Dromore, by whom they were supplied with occasional preaching; and, after due enquiry into their circumstances, 'were, in 1826, erected into a congregation. They had now to engage in the ar. duous work of building a place of Worship, and to seek for a suitable Minister. To the one, the few members of which the church consisted (originally about seventy in. dividuals,) addressed themselves with persevering zeal, and devoted liberality; and, to the other, with earnest prayer to God, that he would provide them a Pastor accord. ing to his own heart. ' In both the Lord was pleased to prosper their works, and hear and answer their prayers. A handsome and commodious House of Worship has been erected, capable of containing nearly five hundred persons, and calculated for farther enlargement should the Lord give farther increase." An excellent school room has likewise been built, in which a large female school is now successfully conducted ; and, had the Lord spared ourde. parted brother, it was his purpose to have erected another room for boys a work, which, under the providence of God, we doubt not, he would have successfully accomplished,
When we thus estimate the measure of success the Lord has been pleased to grant, we are naturally inclined to ex. amine into its visible causes. These, under providence, we ftod in his singleness of purpose, decision of character, indefatigable labours, and eminent qualifications for the Ministry
From the day of his ordination, with absolute devoted. ness of heart, he surrendered himself to the work of the Ministry. Always twice, often thrice, did he preach upon the Lord's day. On Wednesdays he was accustomed regularly to catechise the young, and preach in the Meeting.house; and, during the remainder of the week, he was accustom. ed, almost constantly, to preach daily some where in the peighbourhood. His days were employed in visiting the people, and, where 'opportunity invited, in examining schools. He had a radical and thorough knowledge of Theology, and, therefore, felt always prepared to preach ; he was gifted by Providence with fluency of speech, and
readily clothed his ideas in acceptable language ; and he possessed such perfect self-command, that, under all circumstances, he spoke as a Master in Israel. I do well recollect the first time he appeared on trials before the Presbytery of Dromore. He had come direct from Dublin; and, having written out his sermon upon an important topic of theology, had placed the manuscript before him. He had read but a little way when the manuscript fell—he could not recover it-but he never lost his self. possession. He proceeded with his discourse as if nothing had occurred; although he was now entirely thrown upon his extemporaneous resources. Nor did any one dis. cover either pause in the discourse, or difference in the manner. When he ended his discourse, one of the most acute Divines of the Presbytery, (the cessation of whose active labours, the church has latterly had reason to lament,) turned round to me, and whispered “ Aye, that will do; that is preaching the Gospel." I heartily responded to the sentiment; though neither of us, at the time, gave him credit for the deep knowledge or extemporaneous powers which were thus called into exercise. But though possessed of such abilities, he was a diligent and persevering student, both of the Bible and best standard Divines. He was a special admirer of Turretine, and had thoroughly studied Fisher's Marrow of Modern Divinity, with many other authors of that family. So that he might in truth be called “a scribe well instructed in the mysteries of the kingdom.” Above all things he felt the love of Christ, and had cal. culated the value of souls, and, therefore, laboured for eternity. Accordingly a blessing from the Lord descended upon all his labours. As his character became developed, as his doctrines became known, the church under his care continued steadily to increase in members, and its mem. bers to grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Yet to increase the numbers of his church was, with him, never a primary object. In fact, his high sense of the value of orthodox truth, and strictness of discipline, rather closed the door against an influx of members. His views upon this subject will be best understood by the following extract from the “Regulations” agreed to by the Ministers, Elders, and Congregation, on the 20th of August, 1827. After some economical regulations, it is enacted
“No seatholder shall, as such, be entitled to vote in the calling or election of a Minister or assistant, but those seatholders only who have been in full communion with the church assembling in this place of worship since the administration of the Lord's Supper, which shall have been last time but one before the time of such vote. Because, according to the Holy Scriptures, it belongs only to those who make public and consistent profession of their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, to act in the choosing of officers for his church ; and because the very worst consequences may arise, and have arisen, in many instances, to the cause of truth, from al. lowing persons, who, on their own tacit admission, are not worthy of church communion, to choose a religious teacher for those who are the professed disciples of the Saviour."
• We therefore appoint this as a standing rule of this congregation, in the full persuasion that it is warranted by Scripture, is not opposed to any existing law of the General Synod of Ulster, and cannot hereafter, be repealed or nullified.”
" That every person about to be nominated to any office in the Church, assembling in this place, for the satisfaction of the session and congregation at large, as well as for the more effectual observance of these regulations, and the maintenance of the true Gospel of Christ, shall be requir. ed, previously to his nomination, to sign the following declaration, viz
“I, do firmly believe that the Scriptures of the Old'and New Testament contain the Word of God; and that they plainly teach, that the Lord Jesus Christ is truly and properly God, equal with the Father in power, glory, and all infinite perfections. That he took the nature of man into union with his Divine nature, and offered himself an expiatory or atoning sacrifice for the sins of men. That it is only through faith in his blood, that any sinner can be saved. That the gracious influences of the Holy Ghust are absolutely necessary to produce a saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. That such a faith is always accompanied by an entire change of the sinner's original deprared nature, so that the believer be. comes a new creature, through the power of the Holy Spirit. And that the true and hearty belief of these truths is necessary to, and is always productive of, the fruits of holiness and good works in all that believe.,
These doctrines I hold to be of the utmost importance to have con. stantly maintained and urged upon the attention of men; and believing these regulations to be designed and calculated to promote the mainte. nance of these and other inestimable truths of the Gospel, I do hereby engage to the utmost of my power, by every lawful means, to enforce the observance of them in this congregation ; and by my prayers, by my influence, by my exertions to labour to secure the preaching of the pure Word of God, and the duc administration by proper persons of the other ordinances of the Gospel.”
“ In testimony of this, my belief and determination, I affix my signature bereto."
“That these Regulations be entered on the session and Committee books; and that the Committee shall submit them to every person proposing hereafter to become a seatholder; and that the act of taking a seat, or part of a seat in this house, be considered as an agreement to abide by them.”
These regulations afford a noble specimen of his decision of sentiment, and of the paramount importance