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both. He should view it in its subordination to Christ, the Apostle and High Priest of the profession; and in its dependence upon the Spirit, under whose ministration it ranks. In thus regarding the dignity, he will, as a consequence, be led to see the responsibility, of this calling. If conscience have had its influence in the election which he has made, he will not have decided upon a question of such moment to himself and others without the most serious and self-inquiring delibcration. If his views be enlightened and pure, he will have consulted his heart upon the sacrifices he must make, the diligence he must exercise, the humility he must practise, and the judgment he must endure.
In anticipating the condition upon which he is to enter, he will be abashed at the thought of his pretensions to such a distinction, nor dare to proceed without a large measure of fear and trembling. He will lɔok forward with apprehension to the course of his ministry; and dread, lest spiritual pride, worldly mindedness, or carnal timidity, should lead him to sully the purity, abuse the privileges, or compromise the duties, of so important a station. Under this sense of his inadequacy, and these forebodings of his infirmity, he will find relief and direction in falling prostrate before the Great Head of the church; and seeking his qualifications, as Paul sought his, “ Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?”
Nor is it only in the contemplation of this profession that such views should govern the mind: the same sentiments should accompany the minister through the whole of his clerical career. The functions which he exercises must not be regarded as less solemn, because they are more familiar. Still the place on which he stands is holy ground; still those rites, which he so frequently performs, are sanctified means for sovereign ends, and symbols of great and awful realities. That these impressions may be encouraged, he will find it expedient to have in remembrance, “ unto how high a dignity, and to how weighty an office and charge," he has been called. By refreshing his recollection with those views under which he once regarded the duties of his profession, he will escape that formality which a rotation of performances is too apt to produce, and rise to the true tone and spirit of his employment. Thus will those considerations, which miglit seem likely to inflate him, in reality humble and quicken him. He will find motives for personal self-abasement in those very circumstances which give him an official distinction; and, awakened to diligence by a thousand incentives connected with the solemnity of his station, he will always abound in the work, till he finaliy enters into the joy, of his Lord.
CONVERSATIONS IN THE INVISIBLE WORLD.
CRUDELIS AND MARTYR. PURE spirit of light, said Crudelis, once the degraded and patient sufferer, now the triumphant Martyr! The sight of thy dignified felicity, contrasted with my own despair, adds a bitterness to all my woes.
Martyr. Ah! Could the inhabitants of the earth have ascera tained the eternal distinctions of character that separate disembodied spirits, methinks their conduct in the former state of existence would have been more befitting a life of short probation for eternity. You, unhappy Crudelis, would rather have plunged your body into a fiery furnace, than have stretched out the arm of power and oppression against the faithful disciples of Jesus.
Crudelis. Then, alas, were the days of my authority; and I confess with anguish, they were misemployed to the purposes of cruelty!
Murtyr. Had you given attention to the language of inspired truth, you would have known that the interest of all his people lay near the Redeemer's heart; and that he had engraven their names on the palms of his hands.
Crudelis. Sometimes I remember-Oh memory! too faithful memory! What alarming pictures of the days of former years dost thou now present to my tormented soul! Were memory extinct, the half of hell would be gone.
Martyr. Yes: While a retrospect of the past affords a joy unspeakable to all the spirits of light, who walk the fields of paradise, it is replete with tragical misery to the damned. It would not be consistent with the government of the Eternal, to extinguish your sense of pain: it is by memory you must recognise the cause of all your miserics.
Crudelis. I remember, alas! that, in the other world, I was sometimes a little impressed with that appeal which the divine Being made to the rulers of the earth, when I considered myself as an enemy to God, and the monarch of an extensive empire: “Why do the kings of the earth take counsel together against the Lord? He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.” But the most terrible expressions of divine wrath were forgotten by me, while perpetually moving in the giddy circle of licentions mirth, and thoughtless dissipation, Oh that I should ever listen to the detestable adulation of courtiers and parasites, while I turned a deaf ear to the solemn voice of the Omnipotent! The scene is changed; wofully changed! Earthly dignity and splendour have now lost all their fascination; and in this state of black despair, no distinctions prevail between the meanest and the mightiest; except that the latter, from his greater responsibility, and more extensive wickedness, endures the most pungent wo.
Martyr. You may imagine, perhaps, that your conduct would have been different in the other world, could you have estimated futurity. But be assured, that those who would not hear the voice of the apostles and prophets, could not have been persuaded to renounce their folly, though the curtain that concealed the invisible state had been drawn aside, or a departed spirit had gained permission to appear from the realms of death. This might have impressed a transient terror; but it could never have produced any substantial or permanent reformation.
Crudelis. Oh that thou wouldst stretch forth thine angel-arm and only for a moment relieve my inexpressible anguish! Spread thy sunny pinions across the unfathomable gulph, and shake from them one particle of light and joy, to alleviate my sufferings!
Martyr. In thy lifetime
Crudelis. My lifetime! Ah, there's the point: that's the hinge on which turns all my misery! That's the thought which curses me, and causes every cord of sorrow to vibrate afresh.
Martyr. In thy lifetime thou didst enjoy thy good things: thy heaven was frivolity and dissipation; thy hell is remorse.
Crudelis. Oh that the ages would again roll back, and it were possible that I could exchange condition with the oppressed and persecuted Martyr! With what alacrity would I come down from the throne of a kingdom, to live in the deepest seclusion and retirement.
Martyr. But the day of salvation, the acceptable time, is past! Well I recollect your indignant frown, when, at the bar of judgment, in your presence, I began to speak of Jesus the Redeemer of men. I reasoned of righteousness, and in defence of my faith: but, casting your eyes through an ample window in the hall of judgment, towards the place designed for my execution, with a sarcastic smile of triumph you seemed to say, “ There you shall die at the stake, or renounce your Galil an.” It was a look that chilled my blood! Not that I entertained any alarming apprehensions of my fate; but while I felt the inhuman barbarity of your conduct, pitied your fatal infatuation.
Crudelis. Yes: I observed you fearing the pangs of death; yet triumphing in the prospect of it, from the immortality you expected to succeed. I almost thought there was a divinity in your
espect; and had it not been for the most astonishing stupidity, supported by all the grandeur that surrounded me, my heart would have failed when you pronounced those memorable words after your condemnation; “ I die; but it is to gain a crown. You have dominion only over my body; but there is one able to rescue my soul from the torturing flames! To his just tribunal I this day cite all my judges to answer for their decisions before the Son of God, and all the holy angels who come with him in the clouds of heaven!”
Martur. What an hour was that, when I was conducted to the fatal spot! My thoughts, indeed, were but little agitated in anticipation of the horrid execution, being desirous of imitating that glorious Redeemer who was “ led like a lamb to the slaughter.” It was my hope to maintain a good profession before many witnesses, and to celebrate the praises of God in the hour of martyrdom. In full prospect of the vision of God and the Lamb, I rose on the wings of faith above the fears of the gloomy king. I seemed in a bed of roses; and my exulting soul caught hold of the robe of righteousness, as she dropt the mantle of mortality, Now my brightest expectations are infinitely surpassed! The most felicitating conceptions of celestial glory which the best of christians in an imperfect state could form, were far inferior to the blessed reality. Imagination's liveliest pictures in the other world, were but unfinished outlines of paradise! There all was shadow and imperfection ; here all is light and glory. In that world the ways of God were but obscurely understood; in this, a beam from the excellent glory irradiates all that was obscure, and renders intelligible all that was mysterious. In contradiction to a thousand testimonies in the external appearances of society, you imagined, that to be received to the favour of God it was only requisite to be great and distinguished amongst men. The bounties of providence enriched you; and, in the possession of more than heart could wish, you imagined that the liberality of heaven was the evidence of your worth. But had you examined the world, you would have discovered, that God made his sun to shine on the good and on the evil; that the vicious frequently occupied what to man appeared the rightful honours of the virtuous; and that, wbile iniquity sat on a throne, inheriting the praises of multitudes, worth, shivering and pining in a cottage, was loaded with contempt. These reflections might have awakened the idea of a future retribution; and you would have perceived that, to demonstrate the equity of his administration, the Ruler of the world must, at one time or another, reverse, awfully reverse, the scale. VOL. II.
Crudelis. Methinks, (hell-born wish! for it is fruitless,) methinks, were time presented to me again, it should be employed for honourable purposes. Every faculty of my soul should be devoted to the cause of that God whom I have slighted; to the protection of the injured, and to the advancement of the virtuous sons of obscurity and indigence. Never should this right-hand again sign the warrant of death.
Martyr. This is indeed the language of remorse; forever ineffectual! But Crudelis is mistaken. Were life again put into your possession, every thing would assume a different aspect. Surrounded again by all the pomp of power, by all the fascinations of the world, and every weakness of humanity having a correspondent temptation, what you now experience would be to you like a dream of night, and every terror would " vanish at the crowing of the cock.” Unless you attended to the dictates of conscience and the word of God, Crudelis would again drag Martyr to his tribunal, and pronounce the sentence of death upon him!
ADDRESS OF THE PRESBYTERY OF NEW-YORK. Extract of a letter from a gentleman in - to his friend in this city.
“ I take the liberty to enclose for your satisfaction, and that of your particular friends, an Address of the Presbytery of NewYork to the congregations under their care, on the subject of educating poor and pious youth for the gospel ministry. As a friend of our church, you will, I am sure, be pleased to find that this presbytery, agreeably to an overture sent down from the General Assembly, and in expectation of the co-operation of other presbyteries, have adopted, with so much spirit, a plan which promises an extensive and happy influence on the cause of the Redeemer. In addition to the intelligence contained in the address, I have it in my power to inform you, that the presbytery of NewYork have recommended to the ministers composing their body to read this address from their pulpits, and endeavour to impress their congregations with the importance of the object contemplated. They have directed, that annual collections be made in their several churches to defray the expense of this plan of education. In addition to this measure, they have issued subscription papers, and have earnestly recommended to the ministers and elders within their bounds to use spirited exertions to obtain occasional and annual subscriptions for the same end. I am informed, that their standing committee have had several meetings, and are attending in earnest, to the object of their appointment.
“ The following is the address alluded to in the above extract."