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made us a people, we have laid great stress on religious feeling. “ I am
am aware that some good men have thought that we have insisted too much on the necessity and importance of religious feelings, and that we have neglected the religious instruction of our people. We ought to pay so much regard to the fears of our Christian brethren of other denominations, as to be induced thereby to insist equally on knowledge and feeling in religion :- light and heat should be combined.
“Some men are entirely opposed to all ardent emotions in religion, and stigmatize as enthusiasts all who contend for lively inward feelings. We may, we ought to feel on other subjects, it is admitted ;—on subjects of trade, politics, and learning: and friendship without feeling is allowed to be an absurdity. So is Religion without feeling. Never be afraid of avowing your sentiments on this subject; and meditate deeply, and pray much, that you may be prepared to shew what are those religious feelings which form what we denominate experimental religion, and which are found in some degree in all who are new creatures in Christ Jesus :-feelings of humiliation and godly sorrow, connected with the knowledge of our sinful, guilty, miserable state by nature and practice :—feelings of confidence in God, for pardon, acceptance, adoption, holiness, and eternal life, through faith in Christ;—such feelings of love, as are described 1 John iv. 19, and 1 John iii. 14 ::-to which may be added, inexpressible abhorrence of sin, and desire of holiness, rising higher and higher in proportion to our increase in the knowledge and love of God ;-joy unspeakable and full of glory, in a sense of present pardon and the hope of future and eternal good. Be zealously affected in this good thing. Consider,-it is of the utmost importance to yourselves, to keep in exercise lively religious feeling; and your usefulness very much depends upon your promoting it in others.
"3. Practical piety.—There is a close connexion between Christian knowledge and experience, and every good work. These things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works.'— Tit. iii. 8. “Put them in mind—to be ready for every good work.'—Tit. iii. 1.
That readiness implies knowledge of duty, approbation of it, and power to perform. Urge these as the natural products of inward religion, Matt. xii. 35; and evidences of the genuineness and vigour of faith. Show me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.'—James ii. 18. My brethren, be examples to the flock of God in your readiness to every good work; and labour diligently to build up others on their most holy faith.
“Let your piety be proportioned to your character and situation in the church of Christ, and to your peculiar advantages, and exemplify a practical regard to the truths you teach and the duties you inculcate, “that all may see the doctrines which they hear.'.
“4. One thing more is included in the trust committed to you, — the exercise of godly discipline, on which the order, harmony, peace, and prosperity of a Christian community greatly depend. Such a system of godly discipline exists among us, as, when attended to and exercised conscientiously and in meekness and love, never fails to promote vital and practical religion. Let me impress upon your minds the vast importance of this discipline. This is an essential part of the deposite committed to your trust.
What have been denominated the peculiarities of the Methodist discipline must not be conceded, or be suffered to relax. A Christian society, by means of proper discipline, should be like 'a city compact together.
Such, my brethren, is the sacred deposite committed to your trust. Christian doctrines, experimental religion, practical piety, and godly discipline. Keep that which has been committed to your trust.'—Retain the doctrines in their purity, and preach them in their primitive simplicity. Beware of refinements, even in phraseology, to suit the taste of speculative persons. Earnestly urge the necessity and importance of lively, vigorous, fervent, and growing piety, and strenuously, but mildly, enforce discipline.
“ÎI. In order that you may keep,' &c. let me recom
mend to you:
“1. A serious and deep attention to your own personal religion. "Take heed to thyself,' 1 Tim. iv. 16. Let your religion be genuine, deep, vigorous, growing.
See an example, Phil. iii. 13, &c. Let it be diffusive, extending to every part of your conduct and spirit in public, in private, in your own family, and in all your intercourse with the people among
labour. • Be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.' 1 Tim. iv. 12.
“2. Pay a due attention to the improvement of your minds, in general knowledge, and more especially in Biblical knowledge. A man ought to understand what he undertakes to teach others. If a man unacquainted with mathematics and the classics, were to undertake to teach them, every body would be struck with the absurdity of his professions. It is so in that divine science which you undertake to teach, the science of theology.
“It has never been held among us to be essentially necessary to usefulness in the Christian ministry, to be what is commonly called learned; though we do allow that the knowledge of languages and the sciences is not only an embellishment, but a means of extensive usefulness, if duly regulated and improved. But it has always been deemed necessary, by a constant course of reading, meditation, and prayer, to endeavonr, day by day, to add to the stock of useful knowledge. Mr. Wesley's directions in the Large Minutes deserve your notice. See
“My brethren, there are considerations which ought to bave due weight upon your minds on this subject, sufficient to induce you to “study to shew yourselves approved unto God, workmen that need not be ashamed,' and that your “profiting may appear unto all.'
“ You have time for improvement, being exempted from worldly business and worldly cares ;-your proper, every-day work is such as if done aright will enable
you to learn something new and good every day.
“Your means of improvement are great. Books of the most useful kind are within your reach ; you have time for reading and study, and opportunities of conversing with men of judgment and experience. Allow me to say, that one book well read and digested will improve your minds more than twenty hastily glanced at.
Mark, learn, and inwardly digest' what you read. The variety of helps in the study of the Holy Scriptures, and in the
page 22, &c.
acquisition of general knowledge in subservience to your great work, hold out to you the highest degree of encouragement to diligence.
“Intellectual improvement in preachers is becoming more and more necessary. This you will perceive, if you consider the general improvement of society in knowledge;—the liberal education of the younger branches of the families in our Connexion,—the abundance of able ministers whom God has raised up,—and above all, the importance that all classes of people connected with us may be fed with knowledge and understanding.
“I need scarcely say, that every Methodist preacher ought to be well read in the writings of Mr. Wesley and Mr. Fletcher. Mr. Wesley's Sermons may be often read over again with profit, and a portion of his Notes might be read daily with advantage. To an attentive, studious mind, Mr. Wesley's Notes will afford much instruction; though a careless cursory reader may see nothing great or deep in them.
"3. A spirit of habitual diligence and glowing zeal to get and do good should be kept in constant exercise. The mind should always be 'still plotting, when and where, and how, the business may be done.' Enthusiasm, such as that described 2 Cor. v. 14, 15, and 1 Thess. ii. 8-12, is useful. Our fathers were distinguished by their zeal, earnestness, and unremitting diligence to save souls, and to do all the good possible. To keep alive in your minds the same spirit
, let me recommend to your frequent perusal, the Lives of Messrs. Wesley, Fletcher, and Walsh; and the Lives of the first race of Methodist preachers, which you will find in the early volumes of the Magazine; also the Life of Brainerd, and Baxter's Reformed Pastor.
“4. In the exercise of your public ministry, always keep in view the end of preaching. To every one whom the Lord Jesus Christ calls to this work, he says, “I send thee to open' men's eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.' Acts xxvi. 18. Aim at nothing but doing good, and at doing good now.
“Earnestly covet the best gifts, that you may speak
unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort. In your preparations for the pulpit, study closely, that you may be workmen that need not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. Labour also to acquire an agreeable and acceptable address. We may apply to preaching an old proverb,—“Whatever is worth doing at all, is worth doing well. The desire to preach well, in a proper sense of the words, is laudable in a young man. Beware, however, lest that laudable desire should degenerate. Your circumstances may expose you to the temptation to seek human applause. «Cease from man,''neither of men seek glory.' Honour God, and he will honour you. Be in earnest. Let your hearers see and feel that you believe what you say; and that you are not indifferent whether they believe it or not. • Speak to your hearers as to men that must be awakened here or in bell. Look upon your congregation with seriousness and compassion; and think in what a state of joy or torment they must be for ever, and that surely will make you earnest, and melt your hearts for them.'-Baxter's Reformed Pastor, p. 36.
And while you hold forth to sinners a present salvation, let your arguments be clear and perspicuous. Let them see that these things are now ready for them; and let the fervour and unction which accompany your words be calculated to make them feel that there is a reality in these things, and that you speak that you know, and testify what you have seen and felt yourselves.
" 5. Let me earnestly recommend to you the practice of visiting the sick, and the families of our friends in a pastoral way. You have already pledged yourselves to the performance of these duties by subscribing to the Large Minutes.—See pp. 7 to 13, to which I refer you. Consider, you are called, not to preach only, but to be always at work, wherever you are ;—in your private and social visits, as well as in public.
“I am aware of the difficulties which attend visiting from h to house in large towns, as well as in extensive country circuits; but as far as in you lies attend to it. By a judicious arrangement of your employments and improvement of time, it would be no difficult thing to visit upon an average at least one family in a day; so