Page images

congregation to give him 400 more; making the round sum of 1600 dollars! But as they are mostly poor people, they declared to him they could not afford any more than 1200 a year: he has consequently turned his attention to school keeping. This information I could not believe, as I had a predilection in favour of this minister, who is an intelligent, and in other respects, an excellent man. I therefore called upon one of his congregation, who confirmed the above intelligence: it is therefore too true. I feel it impressed upon my mind, to ask the above clergyman, or rather, to beg him to ask his own conscience, if it is consistent with heathenish honesty, much less moral rectitude, for a man to insist upon 1600 dollars per annum salary, from a congregation of poor people, living by the most laborious industry. One of them I am acquainted with, a worthy widow, who has to support herself and five small children by her own labour. She has hitherto given her mite to support this great parson, although she

could ill afford it. His avaricious conduct in the present instance, begins to open the eyes of his priest-ridden con gration, who now find it is not the flock, but the fleece he is in pursuit of; and that he is one of the thousands of lazy, idle, elegant parsons, who

"For their bellies' sake

Creep, and intrude, and climb into the fold!
Of other care they little reckoning make,
Than how to scramble at the shearer's feast,
And shove above the worthy bidden guest."

Now the conduct that our blessed Redeemer will approbate in the final day of accounts, is this; that this minister should preach only for Christ's sake, and teach a school for his own support, and not be a burthen to his congregation. I would advise him to remember the fable of the dog with a piece of meat in his mouth, and be wise. Well, but is not the labourer worthy of his hire? I answer, without any manner of doubt. If a minister has no means to make a living, he should be comfortably (not extravagantly) supported by his congregation: but to get

[ocr errors]

rich by the gospel, or make merchandise of it, is ten-fold worse than highway robbery. Ministers who preach for the glory of God, and the love of precious souls, will make tents, like St. Paul, or make coffins, like Mr. Eastburn, for their support, sooner than pick the peoples' pockets of thousands of dollars, to support their pride and extravagance, and millions of pounds to build churches like palaces and pulpits like thrones, to display their proud preeminence. Yet Mr. Eastburn, although he has not the words rev. or right rev. the letters D. D. or L. L. D. or A. M. tacked to his name, is as useful and laborious a minister of Christ, as there is (to my knowledge) in the Presbyterian Church. I love and admire the man, because he does not preach for filthy lucre, but the love of souls. If priest-ridden people could only pick up courage, and tell parson *****, who has 2000 dollars per annum, that he should have only 500 dollars for his ministerial services, per annum, then

they would soon see, what motive stimulated him in preaching the gospel.

The temporal government of the Quaker meeting is worthy of imitation in this respect: Their ministers do not receive any thing except in some very particular cases, where the individual is in very low circumstances, and travels abroad;-and then only a bare sufficiency for his or her expences in the journey. When they are at their own homes they do not receive a cent, if they should attend meetings, and preach every day in the week. They likewise transact the affairs of the church, in the same manner the primitive Christians did. Were these amiable and estimable people less mystical in spiritual matters, did they permit such of their weak members as believe it their duty, to participate the ordinances of the gospel, and give more liberty in their social meetings, they would become the praise of the whole earth; for thousands are sick of being priest ridden, and would associate with them, but for this reason.








Taken from the Book of Nature, viz.

* Learn from my kindness to you all, to be kind to one another;"

And its counterpart, taken from the Book of Revelation, "Pure Religion before God, is to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction."

The whole consolidated by the dying exhortation of MATTHEW FRANKLIN, delivered in Friends' Meeting, Pearl Street, New York, January 9th, 1815, who was a respectable minister of said Meeting, and was arrested by a messenger from the court of heaven, while delivering said charitable exhortation.Respectfully submitted to the serious consideration, 1st, of the ministers and wealthy members of said meeting; 2dly, of the ministers and members of the various congregations of the city of New York, and particularly of the charitable institutions established throughout the United States.

B b

« PreviousContinue »