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temper and conduct formed upon the model of his gospel ? Are they such, as we would desire to present them before the presence of his glory? What is wanting, cannot be numbered; and perhaps we may be ready, too rashly, to conclude, that what is crooked cannot be made straight. Nevertheless, let us remember, it is our duty to attempt it, as prudently, as immediately, and as resolutely as we
III. That consequent on this survey, it will be proper, as soon as poslible, and henceforward at least once a year, to visit, if it be practicable, every head of a family under our ininisterial care, with a solemn charge to attend to the business of religion, in their hearts, and houses, watching over their domestics in the fear of the Lord, we, at the same time, professing our readiness to give them all proper assistances for this purpose.
IV. That it will be highly expedient, immediately, or as soon as may be, to set up the work of catechising in one form or another, and to keep to it statedly for one half of the year at least : and that it is probable, future counsels may ripen fome fcheme for carrying on this work, in a manner which may tend greatly to the propagation of real, vital, catholic christianity, in the rising generation.
V. That there is reason to apprehend, there are, in all our congregations, some pious and valuable persons, who live in a culpable neglect of the Lord's supper; and that it is our duty, particularly to inforin ourselves who they are, and to endeavour, by our prayers to God, and our serious addresses to them, to introduce them into communion ; (to which, I quertion not, we shall all willingly add) cautiously guardcan. Many admirable advices for that purpose our fathers and brethren have given us; particu. larly Dr. Watts, in the first part of his Humble Attempt for the Revival of Religion, and Mr. Some, in his fermon on the same subject : excellent treatises, which, reduced into practice, would soon produce the nobleft effects.
ing against any thing in the methods of admiffon, which may justly discourage sincere christians of a tender and timorous temper.
VI. That it is to be feared, there are some, in fe. veral of our communions at least, who behave in such
ner as to give juft offence; and that we may be in great danger of making ourselves " partakers of other men's sins," if we do not animadvert upon them : and that, if they will not reform, or if the crime be notorious, we ought, in duty to God, and to them, and to all around us, folemnly to cut them off from our sacramental communion, as a reproach to the church of Christ.
VII. That it may, on many accounts, be proper to advise our people, to enter into little bands, or societies, for religious discourse and prayer; each confifting of fix or eight, to meet for these good purposes once in a week, or a fortnight, as may best fuit with their other engagements and affairs.
VIII. That it might be adviseable, if it can be done, to select out of each congregation under our care, a small number of perfons, remarkable for experienced prudence, seriousness, humility, and zeal, to act as a ftated council for promoting religion in the said fociety: and that it would be proper, they should have fome certain times of meeting with each other, and with the minister, to join their counsels and their prayers for the public good.
That those important instructions may be revived, and accommodated to present circumstances, with fuch additions as those circumstances require, we are, this day, having united our prayers, to unite our counfels. I will not anticipate what I have to offer to your consideration in the more private conference, on which we are quickly to enter.
form IX. That so far as we can judge, it might, by the divine blessing, conduce to the advancement of these valuable ends, that neighbouring ministers, in one part of our land and another, (especially in this county) should enter into associations, to strengthen the hands of each other by united consultations and prayer: and that meetings of ministers might, by some obvious regulations, be made more extenlively useful than they often are: In which view it was farther proposed (with unanimous approbation) That these meetings should be held at certain periodical times: That each member of the association should endeavour (if poffible) to be present, studying to order his affairs fo, as to guard against unnecessary hindrances: That public worship should begin and end sooner, than it commonly has done on these occasions:+That each pastor preach at these assemblies in his turn:That the minister of the place determine who shall be employed in prayer:
That after a moderate repast, to be managed with as little trouble and expence as may be, an hour or two in the afternoon be spent in religious conference and prayer, and in taking into confideration (merely as a friendly counsel, and without the least pretence to any right of authoritative decision) the concerns of any brother, or any society, which may be brought before us for our advice :-And finally, that every member of this association shall consider it as an additional obligation upon him, to endeavour to be, so far as he
form proper measures, will be comparatively easy : To carry them ftrenuously into execution, will be the greatest exercise of our wisdom and piety: May proportionable grace be given to animate us, and to dispose them that are committed to our care, to fall in with us in all our attempts for the honour of God, and for their edification and comfort!
justly and honourably can, a friend and guardian to the reputation, comfort, and usefulnefs of all his brethren.
X. That it may be proper to enter into some far. ther measures, to regulate the admission of young perfons into the ministry.
I will take leave to add one particular more, which has since occurred to my Thoughts, and which I here submit to your consideration, and to that of my other Reverend Brethren, into whose hands this may fall, especially those of our own association, viz.
XI. Whether something might not be done, in most of our congregations, towards aflifting in the propagation of Christianity abroad, and spreading it in some of the darker parts of our own land ? In pursuance of which it is further proposed, That we endeavour to engage as many pious people of our respective congregations as we can, to enter themselves into a fociety, in which the members may engage themselves to fome peculiar cares, assemblies, and contributions, with a regard to this great end. A copy of such an association I am endeavouring to introduce among my own people, and several have already signed it. 'Tis a feeble essay; and the effects of it in one congregation can be but very small: But if it were generally to be followed, who can tell what a harvest such a little grain might at length produce ? May God multiply it a thousandfold! Northampton, Feb. 1, 1741-2. P, DODDRIDGE.
CHRISTIAN PREACHER, &c.
DISCOURSE VII. By Clause.
ON THE COMPOSITION OF A SERMON.
ý 1. On the CHOICE of texts; as to completeness of sense, and the quantity of matter; as referring to certain times, or to places and auditories. 5 2. GENERAL RULES of sermons. 3. The great importance of avoiding excess; and \ 4. Of abstaining from observations foreign from theology. § 5. On finding the conNECTION between the text and context. $ 6. Of division in general. In what cases the divison of a discourse is proper. 7. Of dividing the text. 9 8. Of ren. dering a division more agreeable, and of subdivifions. Ø 9. Of observing well the nature of a text, and the consequent manner of composing ; whether by explication, or observation. § 10. (I.) Of texts to be discussed by way of EXPLICATION. Of the explication of terms; and \ 11. Things.