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sacramental occasion, and inducing a few to give thenselves up to God in the work of the ministry.
How anxious ought those, who minister in holy things, to be to have their hearts right with God. What comes warm from the heart will most generally reach the hearts of others. What inducement have the christian people to pray for their ministers! As it fares with the pastor, so it is likely to fare with the people.
RESIGNS HIS PASTORAL CHARGE AND RE
TIRES TO THE COUNTY OF GREEN.
Having laboured for fifteen years in a widely extended congregation, Mr. Rice's constitution was considerably weakened. He particularly felt a disorder in his head, which he supposed in a great measure unfitted him for the exercise of discipline. When any thing closely engaged bis attention, or raised any thing like anxiety, he supposed that he became measurably incapable of forming a judgment about it. Hence le concluded that it was proper to resign his pastoral charge, and take no more share in the government of the church. Whether it was really a fact that he was by any bodily infirmity rendered in some degree incapable of sitting in judgment, is of no importance now to determine, AN
must, however, allow, that it was a very amiable and a very singular.trait in his character, that he should, of his own accord, propose to withdraw from the exercise of government and discipline, and give his incapacity as his reason.
That the congregations might be more free and more united in procuring another minister, he resolved also to move out of their bounds.
His situation while connected with this congregation, was a mixture of comfort and sorrow.
It was comfortable to behold one of the most delightful countries under heaven rapidly filling up with inhabitants. Though the general character of these inhabitants was not of the most religious or moral cast, yet, supported by the promises made to Messiah, the mind looked forward to a period when Kentucky, the wilderness, one of the ends of the earth, was to be wholly under his controůl. And to be used by him to scatter the first seed of his truths in this wilderness, and to draw the first sketches of this his extensive and glorious empire, was to enjoy no mean honour. The head of the church had also sent him from time to time fellow labourers, with whom he enjoyed many comfortable days. He saw the slender vine extending over the land and becoming a tree, not so much needing as affording protection to those who put themselves and their families under its shadow.
To balance these and other comforts, he had his share of sorrow. He had to lament the want of personal and family religion, to a considerable degree, even among those who were in good standing in the church. A vast portion of the youth grew up quite careless, and some of them became avowed infidels. A number of useless,
and some of them very sinful disputes, rent the new congregations, and eat up almost every thing like genuine piety. The Sabbath was not respected, even by the generality of the members of the church, as God's commandment, God's promises, and the practice of all who are under the influence of living religion, demand, Church discipline was executed in many cases with a great deal of difficulty, in many cases altogether omitted, and in others, the offenders set the authority of the church at detiance, and were received as good men, nay, in some cases, as sufferers for the truth, by other denominations. Impressions made on men by the preaching of the word and other ordinances, in many cases, were not lasting Numbers who had been received into the church as converts soon lost their first love, and in some cases soon assumed their former character of carelessness and profanity. In fine, the spirit of avarice, cherished and strengthed by the opportunity for speculation, and amassing a fortune in land, was extremely inimical to the spirit of the gospel. A sense of moral obligation, unless it was sanctioned by some legal form, which could not be evaded, was almost destroyed. When a congregation had helped a minister and his family to a few acres of land, or in other words had directed bim to devote himself wholly to the world, as they were doing, they practically, and many of them arowedly, considered themselves as under no more obligation to contribute to his support. Ministers considered it also as a point of delicacy to preach the doctrine of the apostle,~"that God had ordained that those who preach the gospel should live of the gospel”-and some,
from mistaken notions, if not from worse motives, openly preached the opposite doctrine "that ministers ought to labour with their hands, and support their families by following secular employments, as other people do." Taking all these discouraging circumstances into consideration, Mr. Rice bad frequent occasion to adopt the language of the apostle. See Cor. xii. 20, 21.
LAST YEARS OF HIS LIFE.
BETTER wear out than rust out, appears to have been Mr.
Rice's motto. In 1798 he ceased to be the pastor of a congregation, and ceased in a great measure to take any share in directing the judicatories of the churchyet neither bis labours nor his usefulness were at an end. He moved to the county of Green, a new and frontier county, and resolved to spend his last days in visiting the vacancies, and assisting his brethren as opportunities offered. The state of religion in general, in this new county, first attracted his notice. "I found," says he, that there were but few of reputable characters as Christians. There were a few Presbyterians, a few Baptists, and a few Methodists, and but few upon the whole. These all united would make but a feeble band to carry on a war against the devil, the world and the fiesh. Yet if a union, a good understanding, could be accomplished, something might be done-whereas, should we divide, we should weaken each other's hands and injure the good cause in which we professed to be engaged.” All the brethren of the diferent denominations appeared to coincide with father Rice in these sentiments, but they were all too ignorant of human nature, or too much tinctured with party spirit, anu likely also possessed too little piety, to act as these sentiments demanded.
In the summers and falls of 1805 and 6, under the appointment of the General Assembly, father Rice made a tour through the churches of Kentucky and lower parts of Ohio, comforting the saints, and trying to gather in some of the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Two small pamphlets, entitled a first and second epistle to those who are called, or who have been called Presbyterians, will be monuments to generations of his affection and faithfulness on tbese occasions.
The year 1812 or 1813 may be said to have closed the public administrations of father Rice. He was at home from that time till the day of his death, by the mere decay of nature, contined to his own house. He bad been often applied to by his brethren in the ministry, and others, for a short account of his life. In the winter of 1814 and spring of 1815, when he was incapable of writing with his own hand, and could only walk when assisted, he considered it his duty to comply with their request. A neighbouring brother attended as often as he could conveniently, and acted as his amanuensis. From the account thus received all the facts