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ment, amiable in itself, is doubtless as distressing to the delicacy of the Minister as it is unfavourable to religion, to which it is apt to give an air of party. :
May we be allowed to animadvert more" immediately on the cause of declension in piety in some persons who formerly exhibited evident niarks of that seriousness in their lives which they continue to inculcate from the Pulpit. If such has been sometimes (we hope it has been very rarely) the case, may it not be partly ascribed to an unhappy notion that the same exactness in his private de votion, the same watchfulness in his daily conduct, is not equally necessary iu the advanced progress as in the first stages of a religious course? He does not desist from warning his hearers of the continual necessity of these things, but is he not in some danger of not applying the necessity to himself? May he not begin to rest satisfied with the inculcation without the practice? It is not probable indeed that he goes so far as to establish himself as an exempt case, but he slides from indolence into the exeinption, as if its avoidance were not so necessary for him as for others.
Even the very sacredness of bis profession is not without a snare. He may repeat the holy offices so often that he may be in danger on the one hand, of sinking into the notion that it is a mere profession, or on the other, of so resting in it as to make it supercede the necessity of that strict personal religion with which he set ont: He may at least be satisfied with the occasional, without the uniform practice. There is a danger--we advert only to its possibility--that his very exactness in the public exercise of his function may lead to a little justification of his remissness in secret duties. His zealous exposition of the scriptures to others may satisfy him, though it does not always lead to a practical application of them to biniself.
But God, by requiring exemplary diligence in the devotion of his appointed seryants, would keep up in their minds a daily sense of their dependence on him. If he does not continually teach by his spirit those who teach others, they have little reason to expect success, and that spirit will not be given where it is not songht, or, which is an awful cousideration, may be withdrawn, where it had been given and not improved as it might have been. .. Shonld this unhappily ever be the case, it would almost reduce the minister of Christ to a mere engine, a vehicle
throegh which knowledge was barely to pass, like the ancient oracles who had nothing to do with the information bot to conveyit. Perhaps the public success of the best men has been, under God, principally owing to this, that their faithful ministration in the Temple has been uniformJy preceded and followed by petitions in the closet; that the truths implanted in the one have chiefly flourished from having been watered by the tears and nourished by the prayers of the other,
We will hazard but one more observation on this dangerons and delicate subject; in this superficial treatment of which it is the thing ip the world the most remote from the writers wish to give the slightest offence to any pious member of an order which possesses her highest veneration.-If the indefatigable labourer in his great master's vineyard, has, as most often be the case, the mortification of finding that his labours have failed of producing their desired effect, in some instance, where his warniest hopes had been excited ;-if he feels that he has not benefited others as he bad earnestly desired, this is precisely the moment to benefit himself, and is perhaps permitted for tbat very end. Where liis usefulness has been obviously great, the true Ch'istian will be bumbled by the recollection that he is only an instrument. Where it has been less, the defeat of his hopes offers the best occasion, which he will not fail to use, for improving his bumility.". Tlms lie may always be assured that good has been done soinewhere, so that in any case bis labour will not have been vain in the Lord.
TRUE AND FALSE ZEA
IT is one of the most important ends of cultivating that self-knowledge which we have elsewhere recommended, to discover what is the real bent of our mind, and which are the strongest tendencies of our character; to discover where our disposition requires restraint, and where we may be safely trusted with some liberty of indulgence. If the temper be fervid, and that fervour be happily direc.
ted to religion, the most consanimate prudence will be requisite to restrain its excesses without freezing its energies.
If, on the contrary, timidity and diffidence be the pa: taral propensity, we shall be in danger of falling into coldness and inactivity with regard to ourselves, and into too unresisting a compliance with the requisitions, or too easy a conformity with the liabits of others. It will therefore be an evident proof of cliristian self-gov. ernment, when the man of too ardent zeal restrasns its outward expression wbere it would be unseasonable or upsafe; wbile it will evince the same christian self-deniał in the fearful and diffident character, to burst the fetters of timidity, where duty requires a holy boldness, and when he is called upon to lose all lesser fears in the fear of God.
It will then be one of the first objects of a christian to get his understandingand his conscience thoroughly enlighten. ed; to take an exact survey not only of the whole com. prehensive scheme of christianity, but of bis own charac ter; to discover, in order to correct, the defects in his judgment, and to ascertain the deficiencies even of his best qualities. Through ignoranoe in these respects, though he may really be following up some good tendency, thongh he is even persuaded that he is not wrong either in his mo. tive or his object, he may yet be wrong in the nieasure, wrong in the mode, wrong in the application, though right in the principle. He must therefore watch with a suspi. cious eye over his better qualities, and guard his very virtues from deviation and excess.
His zeal, that indispensable ingredient in the composition of a great character, that quality, without which no great eminence either secular or religions has ever been attained ; which is essential to the acquisition of excellence in arts and arms, in learning and piety; that principle withont which no man will be able to reach the per fection of his nature, or to animate otliers to aim at that perfection, will yet liardly fail to mislead 'the animated Christian, if his knowledge of what is right and just, if liis judgment in the application of that knowledge do not keep pace with the principle itself. · Zeal, indeed, is not so mnch an individual virtic, as the principle which gives life and colouring, as the spirit which gives grace and benignity, as the temper wluengives
warmth and energy to every other. It is that feeling which exalts the relish of every duty, and sheds a lustre on the practice of every virtue ; which, embellishing ev ery image of the mind with its glowing tints, animates every quality of the heart with its invigorating motion. It may be said of zeal among the virtues as of memory among the faculties, that though it singly never madea great man, yet no man has ever made himself conspicuously great where it has been wanting.
Many things however must concur before we can be allowed to determine whether zeal be really a virtue or a vice. Those who are contending for the one or the other, will be in the situation of the two knights, who meeting on a cross road, were on the point of fighting about the colour of a cross which was suspended between them. One insisted it was gold; the other maintained it was silver. The duel was prevented by the interference of a passenger, who desired them to change their positions. Both crossed over to the opposite side, found the cross was gold on one side, and silver on the other. Each acknowledged his opponent to be right.
It may be disputed whether fire be a good or an evil. The man who feels himself cheered by its kindly warmth, is assured that it is a benefit, but he whose house it has just burnt down will give another yerdict. Not only the cause, therefore, in which zeal is exerted must be good, but the principle itself must be under due regulation : or, like the rapidity of the traveller who gets into a wrong road, it will only carry him so much the further out of his way; or if he be in the right road, it will, through inattention, carry him involuntarily beyond his destined point.
That degree of motion is equally misleading, which detaing - us short of our end, or which pushes us beyond it. .
The Apostle suggests a useful precaution by expressly asserting that it is in a good cause," that " we must be zealously affected,” which implies this further truth, that where the cause is not good, the mischief is proportioned to the zeal. But lest we ślonld carry our limitations of the quality to any restriction of the seasons for exercising it, he takes care to animate us to its perpetual exercise, by adding that we must be always so affected.
If the injustice, the intolerance and persecution, with which a misguided zeal has so often afflicted the Church of Christ, in its more carly periods, be lamented as a de
plorable evil, yet the over-ruling wisdom of Providence educing good from evil, made the very calamities which false zeal occasioned, the instruments of producing that true and lively zeal to which we owe the glorious band of Martyrs and Confessors, those brightest ornaments of the best periods of the Chnrch. This effect, though a clear vindicatiou of that divine goodness which suffers evil, is no apology for him who perpetrates it.
It is curious to observe the contrary operations of true and fälse zeal, which though apparently only different madifications of the same quality, are, when brought into contact, repugnant, and even destructive to each other. There is no attribute of the human mind where the dif ferent effects of the same principle have such a total opposition : for is it not obvious that the same principle under atiother direction, which actuates the tyrant in dragging the Martyr to the stake, enables the Martyr to einbrace it?
As a striking proof that the necessity for caution is not imaginary, it has been observed that the Holy Scriptures record more instanees of a bad zeal than of a good ove. This furnishes the niost anthoritative argument for regula. ting this impetuolis principle, and for governing it by all those restrictions which a feeling so calculated for good and so capable of evil demands.
It was zeal, but of a blind and furious character, which produced the massacre on the day of St. Bartholomew a day to which the mournful strains of Job bave been so well applied." Let that day perist. Let it not be join; ed to the days of the year. Let darkness and the sba: dow of death stain it."--It was a zeal the most bloody, combined with a perfidy the most detestable, which inflamed the execrable Florentive* when, having on tbis occasion invited so many illustrious protestants to Paris under the alluring mask of a public festivity, she con: trived to involve her guest, the pious queen of Navarre, and the venerable Coligni in the general mass of undistinguislied destruction. The royal and pontifical assas. ejns; not satisfied with the sin, converted it into a triumph.' Medals were struck in honour of a deed which lias no parallel even in the Annals of Pagan persecutiou. • Even glory did not content the pernicious plotters of this direful Tragedy. Devotion was called in to be .. is. The crowri and consummation of their crime
* Callant e Ditebu