« PreviousContinue »
To the editor of the Christian Observer. soon increased to seven, and the min.
ister read occasionally. The good efI BEG leave to present you with an fects, which have been noticed, account of an association formed at (though, in some cases, only the reKeynsham, near Bristol, about a year mote cause) have been, a more geneago, for the more general and exten. ral spirit of piety and scriptural resive reading of the scriptures.
search; a greater fear and shame of I established twenty six different open vice; a' more numerous attenstations, at eligible distances, by read. dance at public worship, and an acces. ing at regular periods, every evening, sion of about 15 to 20 communicants. at three or four houses, half an hour Many persons, embracing those con. each. This was accomplished in about stant opportunities with much glad. a week or ten days. The regulations ness,and almost daily advancing in the subjoined I caused to be affixed in the knowledge of the scriptures, discovermost conspicuous places in the several ed all such testimonies of joy as prove apartments where the readings were most gratifying to a christian. It is conducted. Some of these have from humbly hoped, that the advantages of thirty to near fifty names annexed, a. this plan will stimulate the similar exmounting in all to about 450 persons, ertions of many pious christians. of different denominations of chris
I am, &c. tians, who attend these readings. On the 9th of Sept. 1811, I commenced The pleasing accounts of "Sunday the scriptural readings; and the suc schools" and "reading societies" in cess which resulted abundantly prov Britain, are introduced into this work, ed the blessing with which it was at with a hope that some in this country tended. The devout silence and re. will be induced to "go and do likespect which have almost uniformly fol. wise.” Such institutions and exertions lowed the impressive reading of the promise a rich harvest of divine bles. Bible, have been highly encouraging, sings. While they tend to promote appear to insure the success of any christian knowledge, they also tend to similar attempt, and largely compen. eradicate the unhappy prejudices sate for the exertion bestowed. The which exist in the minds of different increase of the companies in some in. sects of christians, one towards anothstances was very rapid; and in com er; and to promote that love and friendmodious apartments from 40 to 50 and ship by which the disciples of Jesus even 70 perhaps, or upwards, have as. are to be distinguished from the world. sembled. The number of readers
Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. Sept. 15, 1813. A sermon was delivered in Boston before the Massachu. setts Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, by the Rev. Dr. Prentiss of Medfield.
Foreign Missions. Sept. 16, 1813. A sermon was delivered in Boston, before the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, by the Rev. President Dwight. Contributions on the occasion, for translations and foreign missions, amounted to 526 dollars.
Candidate for the ministry, recently approbated.
Mr. EDWARD EVERETT, Cambridge.
A SKETCH OF THE REV. THOMAS HOOKER:
Abridged from Allen's American Biog. and Hist. Dict. Mr. Thomas Hooker, the with sucla majesty in the pulpit, first minister of Cambridge, that it was pleasantly said of Massachusetts, and one of the him, that "he could put a king founders of the colony of Con- in his pocket.” He has been necticut, was born in Leicester. called the Luther, and Mr. Cota shire, England, in 1586, and was ton the Melancthon of New Eneducated at Émanuel college. gland. It was his custom to After preaching for some time preach without notes.
On a in London he was chosen lec- visit to Massachusetts in May, turer and assistant to Mr. Mit- 1639, he preached on the sabchel at Chelmsford in 1626. "bath at Cambridge, and governOn account of his nonconform or Winthrop went from Boston ity he was obliged to flee 10 to hear him. Having named his Holland about the year 1680, text in the afternoon, he proceedand be preached sometimes at ed about a quarter of an hour Delft, and sometimes at Rotter- with great loudness of voice and dam, being an assistant to the vehemence of manner, when sud. celebrated Dr. Ames.
denly he found himself at a loss In 1633 he came to New En- what to say. After several ingland, and was settled at Cam- effectual attempts to proceed, ho bridge, or Newtown, on the eleve observed to the assembly, that enth of October. In June 1636, what he intended to have spoken, he removed to Hartford in Con was taken from him, and renecticut. He died of an epi- questing them to sing a psalm, demical fever July 7, 1647, in withdrew for half an hour. He the sixty second year of his age. then returned and preached As he was dying, he said, "I about two hours, with wonderful am going to receive mercy;" and pertinency and vivacity. After then closed his own eyes, and ex
the sermon he said to some of pired with a smile on his coun his friends, "we daily confess, tenance. Mr. Hooker was a re that we can do nothing without markably animated and inter- Christ, and what if Christ should esting preacher. He appeared prove this to be the fact before
the whole congregation?” Dr. it subservient to the interests of Ames declared, that he never truth and religion. Thus he has met with Mr. Hooker's equal often done in time past; and his either in preaching or disputa- sufficiency is unchangeable. But tion.
while those who suffer, have While living in England he this consolation, the guilty are was invited to preach at the not to be excused; they mean great church of Leicester, and not so, neither do their hearts one of the burgesses set a fiddler think so. The happy consein the church-yard to disturb the quences which resulted from Mr. worship. Mr. Hooker elevated Hooker's coming to this country, his voice, and spoke with such are not to be imputed to the animation as to rouse the curios- good will of those by whose opity of the man, and attract him pressive conduct he was to the church door. There he strained to leave the land of his heard such solemn trutlıs, as by pativity. The case of Mr. the blessing of God were the Hooker is but one of a vast means of his salvation. Though multitude, in which excellent men naturally irascible in his temper, have been treated as heretics, by he acquired a remarkable coin an assuming, self-sufficient and mand of his passions. He was domineering clergy. Those of condescending, benevolent, and the present age, who are disposed charitable. His benevolence was to indulge an intolerant spirit, united with piety. In his fam- might profit by such admonitions, ily he exhibited a lively devo were it not that the misguided tion, and all who resided under zeal, by which they are lurried his roof were instructed and ed- on, closes their eyes and ears ified by him.
against every thing of an admon
itory nature, and is very fruitful In giving the sketch of Mr. in furnishing excuses for the Howe, we had occasion to no most flagrant improprieties. tice, that an intolerant spirit in Thus it ever has been, and thus England occasioned many wor we may expect it ever will be, so thy men to be driven into exile. long as such a temper is sufferBy the same spirit, Mr. Hookered to exist among christians.' A was compelled to leave his na- blinding self-confidence is a nevertive country. But as the perse. failing concomitant of a persecution of the christians in Jeru- cuting spirit. Men of humble salem, occasioned a more exten- and candid reflection see toosive spread of the gospel, so it many innocent occasions of error, has been in many other cases.
and too much ground to suspect It is indeed a comforting consid- themselves to feel at liberty to eration, that God is able to over. destroy others
on account of rule such evil conduct, and make their opinions.
TESTS OF RELIGIOUS SINCERITY.
Connected with page 158. Having in my former commua the world and its pleasures; if you are nication mentioned several imperfec- continually comparing yourselves with tions, with which religious sincerity others, and think you have done may be united, I proceed, according enough, when you have done more to promise, to give some of the most than they, you bave great reason to essential marks or tests of this tem doubt the sincerity of your religion. per. My christian friends, this is a 2 In the second place, if your most subject of primary importance in reli. secret and private actions are not as gion. Without sincerity, our pre pure and correct as your public ones, tended obedience is sin; our religion depend upon it you have no claim to but vanity and guilt. We cannot de. the praise of religious sincerity. I ceive God; we may deceive, perhaps ask you then, if your
intercourse with we have deceived, ourselves. Ex God in private is devout, or if your amine yourselves then, whether you public reverence of religious institube in the faith; prove your own selves. tions is only the result of your defer
1. - In the first place, you have great ence to the habits of the community., reason to doubt of your religious sin. I ask you, if you prefer to give your cerity, if you make no progress in alms in private, where no eye but holiness. Every principle of real God's discerns it, to giving them in virtue is an active and a progressive public, where spectators will allow principle. It cannot leave a man sat you the credit of the alms; or whether isfied with his present attainments, you are not uneasy, till by some means, and if you have thought yourselves your benefactions are known to others! long stationary in your religious char I ask you, if in your most trivial, nego-, acters, the probability is, that you have tiations you are as scrupulous and bonbeen long retrograding. The path of est, as in your large and notorious the just is as the shining light, shin- transactions; and whether the absoing more and more unto the perfect lute security from detection would not. day. He, who carefully examines tempt you into any thing like injus. himself, cannot avoid discovering his
tice? I ask you,
conduct in imperfections, and he, who is afraid your families, and with those over to discover or is negligent in the whom you have control,
or with search, has no sincere disposition to whom you are intimate, is as careful. correct them.
Whatever you may ly regulated by the laws of christian choose to call the ruling principle of benevolence, as you would lead us to a religious life, whether the fear or believe from your public conduct; or the love of God, whether it be grati- are you christian in church, and a tyrant tude, or humility, or ambition of in at home? In short, is your religion à tellectual improvement, all, all urge spirit which animates you, and not a us forward to greater attainments. Is countenance which
assume? it love? Real love is never tired with Would it be the guide of your life, if pleasing its object, never at ease when there were no one to observe you, but it has a suspicion of offending it. Is he, “who seeth not as man seeth?" it gratitude! Gratitude never thinks 3. Is your obedience universal and it has done enough; humility never unlimited? This is a most essential feels itself secure, and love intellectu test of our religious sincerity. Do al always grasps at something higher. you make no exceptions in favor of If then, my friends, you find in your particular vices, and continue to live selves a disposition to circumscribe in some habits, which your conscience the limits of your duty, if you find tells you are not precisely right? The that you endeavour to steal as much meaning of that passage in James, as you can from your obligations, and which was before explained, includes give as much as you can well spare to this test of our religious obedience.
• Christian Disciple No. 2, page 49.
«Whosoever shall keep the whole where your zeal is most engaged, and law, and yet offend in one point, is your exertions most strenuous, what guilty of all.” Why? Because if he de. is your object? The promotion of liberately and habitually make an ex your own interests and the interests of ception in favor of some passion, lust, your party, or the benefit of mankind, or habit, he discovers that he really the glory of God, and the cause of has no sincere respect to the authority virtue? How far is your sense of your which established the whole law. duty to God predominant in your life!
There are several cases in human Does it lead you to sacrifice your prolife which may illustrate the nature of perty, and your reputation, and whatthis principle of religious obeclience. ever you hold most dear; or have you What should we trink, for instance, contrived to conceal, even from yourof the sincerity of that man's friend self, the real motives of your behavior; ship, who should make all the profes. and to serve yourself of the name of sions of attachment, and appear religion, and of God's bonor, when through the greater part of his life you have nothing of them but the name. devoted to a friend, who yet should In short, is not your reverence for God, deliberately desert him in his time of your sense of religious obligation afe need, or betray, when tempted, one fected by the changes of the age, and only of his most important secrets? the character of your contemporaries? Thus no religious obedience has any Are you on the Lord's side, even if claim to the praise of sincerity, which
you stand alone? is not unlimited and without reserve. My friends, this subject of sincerity A religious man will not say, I am not is of infinite importance to us.
It is guilty of this or that sin, but I hope the foundation, the grand preliminary God will pardon me for a particuiar of a religious character. It is indishabit which I find it difficult to relin- pensable to the acceptance of any of quish. Neither will he say, 'I am sen our services. Without it, our religion sible of the guilt of a particular course is our condemnation, our observances of conduct, and if God spare my life, of its rites are the records of our sin. I will break it off at such a future Without this, it is impossible to have time. O no! my dear friends! this is any satisfaction in duty; religion will the most shocking hypocrisy. It is be our burden, God our terror, consuch trifling as nothing can atone for, science a sting, and death will overThe man of this partial obedience, and whelm us with inconceivable dismay. the man who is continually deferring With this only can we assure the day of his repentance, is yet in the
hearts before God. For if our hearts gall of bitterness and the bond of in condemn us, God is greater than our iquity.
hearts, and knoweth all things. But, Lastly-What appears to you the beloved, if our hearts condem us not, governing motive of your conduct? then have we confidence toward God. In those portions of your character
TERMS OP ADMISSION TO CHRISTIAN PRIVILEGES.
To the Editor of the Christian Disciple.
I was highly gratified by a forgotten. No subject perhaps communication in one of your is more simple, and yet on one late numbers on the terms of do we find greater or more freehristian communion. You in- quent misconception. The church timated at the close of that piece, of Christ is shuton many, whom, that you hoped to make this the as we have reason to think, Jesubject of future discussion. I sus would have received with Krist, this promise will not be affection; and the consequence is,