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and felt that it was their duty to attach themselves to the church, they were allowed to do so. Let any one only read “ An Account of the Revival of Religion in Boston, in the years 1740—43, by the Rev. Thomas Prince, one of the Pastors of the Old South Church,” in that city, a small but most interesting work, of fifty or sixty pages, published at first in 1744, and re-published in 1823, and he will see what effects this pernicious doctrine had produced at that period, although it had been, in some measure, opposed by several of the city ministers of that day. I confess that I have never read that pamphlet without feeling a disposition to lift up my voice, and if possible, sound a note of alarm throughout all the churches, and to conjure them to beware of acting upon this dangerous principle. Few churches in the United States would now avowedly proceed upon it; for I believe that almost all require those who would join the church to give such evidence of conversion as an examination of their doctrines and experience of the power of religion in the heart affords. But it is much to be feared, that these examinations are not so thorough and faithful as they ought to be, and the consequence is, that too many are admitted to the privileges of the Lord's Supper and Church Communion, who give no satisfactory proof that they have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit. Such a course will, anywhere, fill the church with those who have no real love of the truth, but who will remain worldly, and in most cases, hopeless professors of a religion of which they are almost wholly ignorant.
So it was in the churches in Boston, and many other places in New England, one hundred years ago. They became filled with unconverted persons. The next step, or rather an accompanying one, was the introduction of unholy men into the ministry. Superficial examinations of the candidates became almost universal. And when, as was the case for a long time after this declension had become somewhat extensive, the pulpits were very generally occupied with moral, amiable, pleasant, and in the main, serious men, but such as appeared to know little of heart-religion, then the way was effectually prepared for the introduction of almost any error. It is very difficult for an unconverted minister to be truly orthodox. He may in theory, but not in heart; and it will be very difficult for him to preach the truth faithfully to the hearts and consciences of men. It may be possible to get into the church, and even into the ministry; but it is another thing to be a truly converted and devoted Christian. O what desolations were brought over the churches in New England, by acting on the principle, not, indeed, latent and deceptious, as, it is to be feared, it exists still in too many other parts of Christendom, but openly avowed and carried out into effect, that unconverted persons of moral life have the liberty of coming forward to the communion of the church.
In my next, I shall take notice of other causes which contributed to lower the standard of religion, and so prepare the way for the springing up and the development of heresy in New England.
THE WAY TO INCREASE CONGREGATIONAL CHURCHES.
Mr. Editor.-In your Magazine for April, page 233, there is a Paper on the Limited Success of Congregational Churches, and as I have had a pretty extensive knowledge of these churches, it occurred to me that I could offer a few thoughts on this subject, which our friends might turn to advantage.
I. The word “ limited” ought not to discourage us. Some time ago I was invited by a friend to meet a breakfast party at his house, among whom were several young ladies of large fortune. Three of them sat just opposite to me, and I embraced the opportunity of urging them to lay out their talents nobly for God, and not let the canker get into their money. Close by my side sat their mother, with her £400 per annum, who appeared deeply interested in the conversation, and at last she said, rather sharply, there are no young ladies at this table, Sir, whose fortunes are not a limited." Thank you, Madam, I replied, and I can tell you something more, Yorkshire is a limited,” but it is the largest county in the kingdom. The party caught the idea, and burst into laughter, and the mother said no more about their 6 limited” fortunes. Now in your paper, our friend “C." complains of the limited success of the Congregational Churches, and it is all true enough; but could he not have told us a little about their prosperity ? Surely he might; for there are bright and beautiful spots to be seen all over the country. It has fallen to my lot to witness more of this than most of my brethren, and I can speak joyfully on the subject. I believe the success of the Congregational Churches in the United Kingdom is greater than ever it has been at any former period; and if the plan that I shall suggest could be adopted, and why not? there would soon be a shout from every quarter, Lo! these, where had they been ! who hath begotten me these!
II. The most diligent husbandman will generally have the best garden.
This is a proof that God smiles upon common-sense plans for improvement. Bitter complaints about the coldness of the weather, and the unproductiveness of the soil will never produce a crop. No! If we wish to have a plentiful harvest, we must plough, and sow, and harrow, and watch, and water, and weed it, and then look up to God for the increase. But if we perceive that our neighbour's field looks greener than ours, or brings forth more abundantly than ours, let us act wisely, and enquire into the cause of this difference, and try his plans, and, if possible, adopt them, and improve upon them, and not only equal him, but excel him. It is not vanity to try to surpass our neighbours in endeavours to be useful. Mr. Newton says, that
parish.” A deep sense of our obligations to redeeming love ought to prompt us to it; and I am sure there is that in Congregationalism which, if well worked, would soon fill the world with blessings. No doubt there are difficulties in the way, but we must meet them, and meet them with prayerful intrepidity, and we shall find them like so many turnpike gates; that is, some one will come out and open them just at the moment that we want to pass through.
III. There is great spirit for hearing in the people.
I have been labouring in this county for a month, during which time we have had forty services in Baptist chapels, Independent chapels, and barns. One Saturday evening we had a thousand people in a barn. The weather has been cold, the snow frequently lying thick on the ground; but this never diminished the congregations. There were generally a few standing about the doors unable to gain admission. And this spirit of hearing is not confined to Cambridgeshire. I have seen it in almost every part of the kingdom. I acknowledge that our congregations were not composed entirely of Dissenters. O, no! It was better than that; for some of the people had never been known to visit either church or chapel before; and this is the class of people which we ought to seek after.
I would not lift up my finger to proselyte pious people to our churches, but I think I would circumnavigate the globe to convert a sinner from the error of his way, and save a soul from death, and hide a multitude of sins. In making a calculation lately, it appeared to me, that there were more than twelve milllons of unconverted people in the United Kingdom, and these are the people to whom we should direct our energies. O, how we might swell our Congregational churches if our plans led us more among the unconverted ! And surely, when the people are willing to hear, then is the time for the minister to preach.
IV. The laity want more occupation for their talents.
There are rich funds of piety, and education, and good sense, and business habits among our lay friends, which have not yet been called forth; but we must have them. I like to see the well-dressed people in the green seats, with their eyes glistening with tears; but I like to see more than that. God has given them tongues, and hands, and feet, as well as eyes; and they must be employed for the giver. When a great work is to be done, many hands are needed, in order to accomplish it; and if we can get the men, they will do the work, and do it well, and do it quickly. The reason why the British manufactures are so excellent is, the division of labour. And some of our congregations have a good lesson to learn, not about divisions, but division of labour. O, I rejoice to think of the activity of the Cambridgeshire friends. One clearing out his barn, and setting his people to get it ready for the congregation. Another killing the rats, and putting the thrashing-machine to work, that nothing might be left undone to render us comfortable. Another lending his gig. Another saddling his poney, and another going himself with his carriage to convey the preacher thirty-five miles in one day. It must be confessed, that all this bustle is more than some good people would like; yet, after all, there is nothing like occupation. Even ranting is preferable to the stillness and coldness of death.
V. To meet the popular feeling, it is needful for ministers to put forth some extra efforts.
If the old sailing vessel will not do, give them a steamer; and if the people will not travel by the stage, let them have a railroad.
Something more than common is needed, and it must be done, and it will be done. What I would venture to propose is this ;
Let six country ministers, who live near to each other, say, A., B., C., D., E., and F., arrange in the following manner. Let A. and B. exchange pulpits for a whole week, and preach every night, except Saturday, in the regular preaching places, if there are six or seven villages near him, and as many chapels or barns to be had. Let C. and D. and E. and F. do the same in their districts. and thus there will be through their whole neighbourhoods a simultaneous attack upon the kingdom of darkness. Then make it alternate six times in the year, choosing the most suitable seasons for the working classes. In this way, each of the six ministers would become acquainted with the whole circuit, and, by the divine blessing, water the seed which the regular minister of the place had sown.
This would not unfit the minister for study. No! The wise man's eyes are in his head, and so are his ears too, and surely a week now and then among strangers, and sheep-folds, and gardens, and farm-yards, would furnish plans and illustrations for the sermons of the next six months. That the good feelings produced by such extra services might not die away, the Congregational churches in this part of Cambridgeshire have adopted an admirable plan, which might be introduced with peculiar advantage into every county in the kingdom. The plan is this. It is divided into districts, and annual missionary meetings are held alternately in every town in the district. This plan produced in one year, not only a delightful feeling, but twice the amount of money raised in any former year.
VI. Ministerial talents multiply in exact proportion as they are employed.
The adorable Master has taught us this, " Then he that had received two talents went and traded with the same and made them other two; and he who had five worked with them until they became ten.” Practice makes perfect. Doors open by being pushed. If people see their ministers eager to work, they will help, and that is a great point gained. His capability for enduring fatigue will increase by his labours, if he act cautiously, and not preach long sermons, and avoid drinking any exciting liquor after preaching. My own experience is just to the point. I have seldom seen a man whose constitution was so weak as mine was, when I returned from India ; but now, by the blessing of God, I can go through a good deal of work without much fatigue. This, I consider, arises chiefly from being much in the open air, and often employing my lungs.
Come, then, dear brethren, and promote the enlargement, and piety, and efficiency of the Congregational churches. You may depend upon it, the plan I have suggested will answer. You may depend also, upon the co-operation of your very obedient servant,
RICHARD KNILL. Fordham, Cambridgeshire.
P.S.-It has been hinted to me, that some of our friends may read this, to whom it will appear impossible for the above plan to be
carried into effect in their locality, because their minister keeps a school. If this be true, it is deeply to be lamented. I have seen several excellent brethren groaning under this burden. There are a few men of rare talents, who can, by their superior abilities, and with the aid of an assistant, attend to a school, without injuring their health, or interfering with their pastoral duties. But by far the greater part of ministers who keep schools are warn donn and worn out by the arduous labour; and, after all, I believe it is only a few of them who clear more than £50 a year by it. Now, if their congregations would offer to add this sum to their salary, they would shake off the yoke, and say, “ Thanks be to God; now we are free, Let others keep the schools, and we will give ourselves unto prayer, and to the ministry of the word.” And could not something be done to give our ministers full play for all their powers? The sooner you attempt it the better.
ON THE BIBLIOGRAPHY OF THE HOLY SCRIPTURES.
(Continued from page 169.) “ Original investigation and free inquiry, by fair biblical exposition and argument, must go on. It was the want of it in the primitive church which left the mind to fall into the slumbers of ages. It was the resurrection of it which has shaken the throne of ignorance and infidelity, and is now agitating the world with premonitions of that earthquake in which superstition and formality will sink for ever, and intellect and holiness shall triumph in the emancipation of the world."BEECHER.
4. Implements for Writing. The variety of substances employed as materials for writing upon, rendered it necessary to use different tools or instruments to form the writing. For inscriptions on stone or metal, the chisel and the graver were adopted, Job xix. 23, 24.
“ O, that my words were even now written down ;
O, that they were engraven on a tablet :
That they were sculptured in a rock for ever!" Equally emphatic are the words of Jer. xvii. 1. But for writing upon boards, waxed tablets, bark, and softer materials, the style, or graphicon was used. This implement was sharp at one end, to write with, and broad at the other end, to erase any mis-written words. It was made either of “ iron," or gold, silver, brass, ivory, and even of wood. The iron styles were dangerous weapons, and were therefore prohibited by the Romans.
" Reeds,” (Psalm xlv. 2,) or canes, were necessary for the use of ink, or coloured liquids, Jer. xxxvi. 18; 2 Cor. iii. 3; 2 Epis. John 12, kept in an ink receiver, Ezek. ix. 2, 3, 11, to express which, by the way, the term in the Hebrew is perfectly unique. Pen-knife occurs, Jer. xxxvi. 23. “ Pens," meaning feathers, or quills from the wing, are of a much later date. Encyclop. Brit. xx. p. 764. VOL. I. X. S.