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which a capable minister finds in an extended connection with a parish. The opportunity for acquiring intimate and accurate knowledge of his people, gaining more and more their confi. dence in his friendship and competence, and, by sincere sympathy in their joys and sorrows, gathering around him their true and tender love; these are among the advantages to be obtained by long residence. They form a power for good, which no mere natural gifts can impart. And as, when one moves, he can not carry them with him for use in his new sphere, or leave them for the benefit of his successor, he should be sure of an equivalent before he consents to a change which renders their loss unavoidable.
If the usefulness of Mr. Mc Guire's ministry was not as uncommon as its duration, it was nevertheless very remarkable. The fruits of his labors were too palpable and plentiful to be overlooked or mistaken. It may be said with truth, that during the long period of his rectorship, there was scarcely a time when some of his congregation were not becoming anxions on the subject of religion, and beginning to inquire: “ What must I do to be saved ?" His ministry was attended by the almost unintermitting influences of the Holy Spirit, sometimes more, sometimes less copious and extensive. Whilst he was constantly engaged in a building up believers in the most holy faith,” “that he might present every one perfect in Christ Jesus,” he was often gladdened by individuals, and occasionally by many at the same time, seeking to be guided into "the way of life.” To the special work of grace, which appeared soon after he commenced his services in Fredericksburg, we have already alluded. The following memoranda, indicating its continuance, occur in his diary:
Oct. 16, 1815.--"The work of grace during this period was progressive; souls were continually added to us by the Lord, in testimony of His approbation."
April 17, 1816.-"The work of religion under my poor ministry, has progressed, and is progressing. Our once degraded church begins to raise her drooping head. I suppose there are now attached to her communion in this town fifty souls converted savingly to God. This number I calculate as having been converted since my ministrations commenced. Some of these persons are signal monuments of Divine grace perhaps seldom surpassed.”
Similar entries occur through successive years :
Jan. 19.-"This day baptized three adults in the church. A solemn occasion. The people much impressed by the ceremony. Many affected to tears. Every prospect that the Lord designs to visit us in mercy."
Feb.—"The interest still increases. Many inquiring what they must do to be saved.'”
March.—"The work of grace begins to assume every appearance of a general revival. The concern of many is becoming deeper, and their anxiety about their spiritual state more intense and painful. Increased the occasions for assembling my people for prayer and exhortation. The first night of holding an additional meeting, the house was crowded, and much sensibility was manifested."
April.—"Our meetings still greatly crowded, many crying out: 'What shall we do to be saved ? My heart is enlarged; praise God, O my soul !"
April.—“The people meet six or seven times a week. They take pleasure in assembling themselves together. The power and grace of God are signally displayed in some of our meetings. I have never heard of more remarkable evidences of the Divine presence. Some He enables to rejoice with joy unspeakable, in the assurance of His pardoning love; others are painfully convinced of sin and danger, and suffer acute distress of mind."
May.—"The people still continue greatly interested."
These quotations will serve to indicate the state of religion under the ministry of Mr. Mc Guire. Others could be added at pleasure, but we must content ourselves with his account of the great awakening in 1831 :
May 17.-"Left home for Norfolk."
May 23.—"Returned home. Death in that short time had entered two families. Whilst at Norfolk, four young females of my flock became more deeply impressed with divine truth, and were confirmed. They had been seriously impressed before. This occasion deepened their convictions, and brought them out on the Lord's side. On our return to Fredericksburg, the change in these girls excited much interest among their young companions. Many seemed to be concerned for their salvation, and evinced desires after a life of devotion to the pursuit of eternal things. Thus it continued until the last Sunday in June, when the Lord's Supper was administered. There were two of our brethren assisting, the Rev. C. Mann and the Rev. J. P. McGuire. The services of this occasion were profitable, and the good work began to spread. One and another showed signs of concern about their salvation. Our meetings became crowded. There was every appearance of deep interest. The old members began to wake up, and eyince great sensibility. Many persons young and old, began to cry out, 'What must we do to be saved ?' Whilst some continued to mourn, others were suddenly enabled to rejoice in the hope of divine mercy. The number increased, till from three or four, they amounted to about sixty, who were seemingly concerned for their salvation.
“ The persons thus graciously visited were of all ages, from twelve to seventy. three. At this time there are about forty expressing a hope of forgiveness. The number of males is very considerable, and they are of all professions and callings. This good work has not been marked by any extravagance. A few bave been deeply distressed, so much so as to grow pale, and tremble when spoken to about their souls. All have been greatly engrossed by the work, and have given themselves up to its advancement in their own hearts, and then in those around them.
“It is the most remarkable work of the kind that I have ever seen, and I desire to bless God for so distinguished a privilege and honor. May it still progress, and may precious souls be gathered into the fold of the Redeemer."
We have no means of becoming further acquainted with the history of this signal visitation, for here the diary, commenced January 1st, 1819, terminates. We regret this, and all the more, because it leaves us without an account, by the same hand, of the glorious work of the Holy Spirit in the same congregation in the spring of 1858. There were, we know, not only no special means used with a view to such a blessing, but owing to the great and growing infirmities of their beloved minister, the congregation was often necessarily deprived of their ordinary religious services. Under these unpropitious circumstances, when no one expected it, the windows of heaven were opened and a shower of grace descended even more abundantly than the former effusion, and causing a harvest greater than the now aged and enfeebled servant was able to garner.
The result of this revival, so far as its effect was manifested by an open profession of religion, was the presentation of eighty-eight persons to receive the rite of confirmation. This number, as was said in reference to those who were converted during the previous visitation, included persons of both sexes, various ages and occupations. Among others, an unusual number of gentlemen of standing and influence. These all on the first opportunity, completed their profession, by partaking of the sacrament of the Lord's Supper. This occurred on the twenty-seventh of June last. It was indeed an affecting scene—as one remarked, “The most glorious day ever witnessed in St. George's Church.” Other ministers were there to relieve the honored patriarch from those services for which he might not feel himself adequate. He officiated only in consecrating the elements, and in their distribution to the first two or three groups which gathered around the chancel. His manner, though feeble and somewhat bewildered, was very solemn, and marked by strong, and at times irrepressible emotion. As he stood within that rail, remembering his journey five and forty years ago, when he came from Baltimore an almost unheeded stranger, to labor among the desolations of the church in Fredericksburg—when he thought of it, and of him. self, as they were in that day, and then looked at the numerous spiritual children around him, " which God had graciously given to His servant," and the spacious beautiful building in which they were assembled, he might well feel, and truly speak as Jacob did : “O Lord, which saidst unto me, Return unto thine own country, and to thy kindred, and I will deal well with thee, I am not worthy of the least of all Thy mer. cies, and of all the truth which Thou hast showed unto Thy servant; for with my staff I passed over this river, and now I am become two bands."
The whole scene was so overpowering to him, that he was obliged to withdraw to the vestry-room. One of the clergy, who, as soon as he could, followed him out, found him standing with his person bowed, and slowly swaying from side to side, the big tears on his cheeks, and his quivering lips giving utterance to all he could say: "O God! this is too much, this is too much.” It was more than the foretaste of the “unspeakable” which is in reversion. It was the “fullness of joy" itself breaking in, as it were, prematurely, in streams more abundant than there was yet room to receive, or strength to bear. It seemed to be kindred to the experience of the devoted 'missionary in the midst of his self-sacrificing labor in the east, when he received such revelations of the grace and glory of God, that overpowered by the view, he cried ont: “Hold, Lord, hold, I can bear no more."
The ministry of Mr. McGuire was eminently productive. Its regular annual yield was gratifying, and in some seasons specially abundant—the last the largest. “Planted in the house of the Lord,” he “flourished in the courts of our God, still bringing forth fruit in old age.” How may we explain
this exemplary usefulness? God, it is true, and He alone, "giveth the increase," but He is pleased to do so in connection with certain instrumentalities; and these He graciously adapts to the accomplishment of His merciful purposes. We may therefore expect, generally to discern in the character and course of the servant, something by which, to human view, he is fitted for the work which he is honored in performing. What of such suitableness is discoverable in the ministry of Mr. McGuire ? . 1. His intellectual endowments it is unnecessary to note, except that he possessed a sound mind, susceptible of solid improvement, and a courageous spirit, neither deterred nor dismayed by difficulties. But it is important to observe in this connection that he was truly of good report.” So the recommendation for his admission to orders testified, and such, after a ministry of five and forty years in the same parish, was the testimony of the whole community in which he lived and died. They were proud of his virtuous example, and when it was withdrawn from before their eyes, lamented as a public loss. At the close of nearly half a century, the integrity and purity of his moral character were without reproach or suspicion. His daily deportment, instead of negativing his teachings in the pulpit, furnished a fine illustration of the precepts of religion, and a happy persuasive to their practice. This was indeed a power in the line of the Christian ministry. A French infidel, who was for a few days the guest of the excellent Archbishop of Cambray, though not once personally addressed by him on the subject of religion, was so impressed by his beautifully consistent life that he exclaimed: “I must leave this house, or I shall become a Christian.” Few who had the privilege of intercourse with Mr. McGuire failed to feel the silent eloquence of his walk and conversation,
2. This attractive rectitude was not the result of mere virtuous training. It was not the effect of any mere philosophical principles or considerations of worldly prudence, but the outward genuine expression of an “inward and spiritual gracea death unto sin, and a new birth unto righteousness.” “Not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but