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ing at Mr. I. P.'s. Much liberty in speaking on the 51st Psalm. Find good advantage arising to the Church from this method of promoting the cause of Jesus. It admits of so much familiar and plain exposition of the word, with such pointed and direct application to the consciences of men, as can not be practised with equal success in larger and more mixed assem. blages. It is also more social, and operates through our sympathy to produce a more powerful influence upon our affections." This testimony from such a man, indorsed by scores of faithful ministers living and dead, should not be overlooked or disregarded. It identifies a mode of usefulness of which he successfully availed himself, and which others may employ with similar advantages.
7. The public services of the sanctuary, and these assemblages during the week, did not engage him to the exclusion of other forms of ministerial activity. A due portion of his time was devoted to pastoral visiting, in which he excelled. With him this was no mere ceremonious call—a brisk bowing into some drawing-room, the rapid interchange of a few compliments and commonplaces, and then a bowing out again, in haste to repeat the flourish at as many other places as possible, and at last home to register the performances among other parochial statistics. For these, indeed, he had neither time nor taste. He was not insensible to the rational enjoyment afforded by the social intercourse of friends, but when he went forth on his ministerial round, it was to visit the poor, the afflicted, “the sick as well as the whole within his cure,” to address to them “such private monitions and exhortations as need might require, and occasion be given." It was in these communings, joined with appropriate devotions, that he not only strengthened and comforted the weak and sorrowful, but also gained that knowledge of the wants of his congregation, and cultivated that lively interest for their welfare which furnished suitable materials for his sermons and earnestness in their delivery. His diary abounds with notices of these visits, many of them deeply affecting. No one could read the record without the conviction that a large measure of his great nsefulness is to be ascribed to his diligence, and judicious fidelity in pastoral visitation.
8. Another particular is worthy of remark-Mr. McGuire's constant and careful observation of the spiritual condition of his people, and the minuteness with which he records the vicissitudes which occurred. No husbandman watched with more solicitude the seasons and the elements in their effects on his crop, than he the various influences to which his field was exposed. This is in a measure exhibited by the extracts already given from his diary, though they were adduced for other purposes. Its pages look as if they were the daily report of the spiritual health-officer of the parish. No phase is unnoticed ; no symptom escapes observation. The existence of healthful agencies and their salutary operation is described, and the presence of such as produce disease and death is quickly descried, and promptly and fearlessly published. Witness the following entries :
July 1, 1825.-"Iniquity seems to abound in our town to a greater extent than usual. New sources of moral pollution are coming in among us. Horse-racing, attended as usual by excessive gambling, has been brought back, after having been unknown among us for several years. A great and overwhelming flood of iniquity has been introduced by this vile amusement, and vice stalks abroad with more than its wonted effrontery. May the Lord help me to be faithful in warning and crying aloud."
July 15.-"The play-house is about to be opened-that synagogue of Satanthat porch of hell. We have reason to mourn and weep for the desolation of the enemy. This fountain of corruption will pour its bitter waters among us, to the contamination and ruin of many, especially of the young. May the Lord lift up a standard against the enemy."
9. When Mr. McGuire entered upon his special field, the surrounding region was in a lamentable state of spiritual desolation. The Church was prostrated, and there were none whose labors were available for its restoration. His large heart was deeply affected by the spectacle, and he did what he could to effect a change. He was often out among the people in the performance of the offices of religion, visiting the sick, burying the dead, baptizing households, and preaching the word in their decaying churches, and from house to house. Not only his own county of Spottsylvania, but Stafford, with several counties in the northern neck, Essex, Caroline, Culpepper, and even Orange, were from time to time visited by him, and received the benefit of his labors of love. When the increasing demands of his own parish left him little time for these excursions, he devised a plan for supplying his lack of service. He formed a society in his congregation to aid in sustaining young men who should officiate in such places as seemed most promising. Among others thus employed were the Rev. Leonard H. Johns, the Rev. (now Doctor) John T. Brooke, and the Rev. John P. McGuire. By the blessing of God on their ministrations, “ the things which remained, and were ready to die, were strengthened,” and saved to our communion. That whole region is now blessed with regularly organized congregations, which are not only self-sustaining, but able to aid in extending to others the privileges which they enjoy. Of the Church in this section of the Diocese, Mr. McG. may be regarded as the spiritual father.
His brief account of one of those excursions will be read with interest:
"July 28, (182–.)Went this day to Caroline with my brother, for the purpose of fulfilling with him, and the Rev. Mr. Cooke, of Hanover, an appointment to preach at St. Margaret's Church, three days-Friday, Saturday, and Sunday."
" 29th.--I preached to a considerable congregation-very attentive. Spent the day with Mr. Robert Quarles, a respectable friend of the Episcopal Church in this destitute county."
"30th-Rev. Mr. Cooke preached. My brother followed with an exbortation. Both sermon and exhortation impressive and awakening. The congregation large and attentive. Divine service in the afternoon, at the residence of Mr. Baily Tompkins, a very warm friend of the Church in this county, Brother Cooke lectured."
"31st.-An amazing concourse of people at the church this morning; the number of carriages and horses exceeding any thing I have ever seen. The people convened said to amount to fourteen hundred. After the church had been crowded to overflowing, there were three or four hundred people in the yard, about the windows, etc. The oldest inhabitants say they have seen nothing like this crowd in the county for forty years. My brother and myself preached. The effect was very great-great attention, patience, and feeling discovered by the people. I have seldom seen so many tears shed on one occasion. The people in a most anxious state about the ministry, and institutions of religion among them,
"The parish has been in a most destitute and disorganized state. They have seen nothing of the Church in its purity, and have been in a fainting and starving condition for many years. They have heard of the Church being revived elsewhere; but it has never been brought near them in this improved character, till some recent services held among them. Hence the unusual excitement to which allusion has just been made. May the merciful Saviour have compassion on them, and bless them with a faithful minister."
10. In the Diocesan and general institutions of the Church, Mr. McGuire felt a lively interest, and took an active part. Of the Education Society, formed to assist pious but indigent youth, in their preparation for the ministry, and in the Theological Seminary of Virginia, designed to provide competent instructors for candidates for orders, he was the early and steadfast friend. His allusion to the origin and purpose of those institutions shows his interest :
"Received the constitution and address of the Society for the Education of Pious Young Men for the Ministry. Much interested for the welfare and prosperity of this Institution. Shall make considerable exertion to assist its funds. Pray God to prosper it. Made one of its directors."
July 1st, 1823. —"Left home for Georgetown, to attend a meeting of the Educa. tion Society. Met on the second of the month, and located in Alexandria. Rev. Mr. Keith as a teacher of Theology, to instruct such young men, students of divinity, as the Society might be able to provide, or such as might come under any other circumstances. Dr. Wilmer is also to render his services, in the Seminary, as occasion may require. This is a foundation, I trust, of a flourishing School of the Prophets,' in the South. May the Lord bless it, and cause it to send forth many labor. ers into His vineyard, who, by their zeal and wisdom in the service of God, shall prove the favored instruments of turning many to righteousness, causing the wil. derness to be glad, and the desert to rejoice and blossom as the rose."
He lived to see the answer to his prayer, and to receive largely the gratification of his pious desire, in the prosperity and usefulness of these kindred and harmonious institutions.
11. Mr. McGuire's religious sympathies and efforts were not confined to his own parish or diocese. They began there, but had expansiveness enough to recognize the entire field designated by the Master, " the world.” As early in his ministry as April 22d, 1819, he writes :
“My mind much exercised about the forlorn and miserable state of the heathen world. Six hundred millions of the human family never have heard the name of the precious Jesus. Thousands of these are crowding every moment into eternity from amidst their crimes. The Christian world begins to awake from its apathy on this subject. Something is done for these wretched creatures, but nothing compar. ed with the vast demand.”
With these views no one could be more gratified than he was by the declaration of the General Convention, that the
Church is a missionary society, and all her baptized children bound to coöperate, according to their ability and opportunity, in sending the Gospel to all mankind. He promptly organized an auxiliary in his congregation, which at its first meeting took action worthy of imitation.
" Jan. 12th, 1830.—At night, a meeting in the lecture-room, after divine service, for the purpose of forming a society auxiliary to the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society of our Church. The Society was organized, and one hundred and five dollars subscribed annually. May the merciful Lord prosper this good cause, to the advancement of His glory, and the salvation of immortal souls."
12. With regard to ecclesiastical polity, Mr. McGuire's views accorded with the language of the Prayer-Book, in the preface to the form and manner of making, ordaining, and consecrating Bishops, Priests, and Deacons. That, “from the apostles' times, there have been these orders of ministers in Christ's Church.” Convinced of this, he held that the primitive organization ought to be maintained and none other recognized within our borders. The importance he attached to its preservation, is expressed very decidedly in a sermon delivered in St. George's Church, Fredericksburg, on Sunday morning, Oct. 4th, 1835, on the occasion of the hundredth anniversary of said church :
“The importance of the outward order of the Christian Church, can not well, in our view, be too highly estimated. That this is every thing, however, we do not by any means maintain—with this divinely ordained form of government, we know that she may sadly decline, and become exceedingly corrupt, through the infirmity and depravity of human nature. Freely admitting this, we yet conceive it certain, that without a due external ecclesiastical polity, there would not only be a sad declension in religion, but Christianity would, in all probability, cease to exist in our world.”
But though clear and conservative in his Church principles, he was careful to maintain and set forward quietness, peace, and love among all Christian people. Witness the following record :
" March 21st, 1819.—My soul engaged in shaking off prejudices and bigotry, and in endeavoring to promote harmony and unanimity among Christians. Oh! that the Spirit of love would descend upon the Church, and bind our hearts in a perpetual union! Lord, help Thy poor servant to please Thee in this respect."