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from house to house; we are not instant in season and out of season; we do not make it sufficiently our first and great business, in the intervals between our public services, to know, and converse with, and advise and counsel, and cherish, and pray for those who might be led to seek the way to Zion; and therefore it is that our public duties become barren and unfruitful. Of course, you will not suppose that I speak of all ministers. I trust, and I believe that there are exceptions, but I fear they are few and far between.'

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Now since the deficiency lies in the private branch of ministerial duty, the remedy must be sought for there, and not in innovations upon public order. And, therefore, let ministers try whether they cannot, in the first place, improve in their own private devotions, and give more of their time to the much neglected duty of secret supplication. Next, let them try whether they cannot go round the houses of their parishioners, and close an evening's religious conversation with family prayer, strongly recommending the same practice to all their people. Next, let them have a social meeting once a week, at the dwelling of one of their communicants, or at their own, in rotation, where Scriptural questions may be answered, religious instruction given, and, especially, where inquiring minds may be brought to their notice, and attended to with careful affection. And let all their intercourse with their people be impressed with the same stamp, and let the people themselves be taught that it is their duty and their happiness to labor with their ministers, and strengthen their hands by their zealous co-operation. In these, and in similar ways, let the Apostolic plan be fully carried out in its private branch of ministerial duty. And I risk nothing by predicting, that in a little while, our barren congregations would bud

and blossom; and the influences of the Spirit of God would descend: not, indeed, like a cataract to prostrate, and overwhelm; but, in the beautiful language of Scripture, they would drop as the rain ;' they would distil as the dew; as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass.'

reason must be beWhen that system upon the souls of

My beloved brethren, nothing can be so safe as the Scriptural track-nothing so sure as the Apostolic system. When that track does not seem to lead the Church to holiness and zeal, doubt ye not that the cause we do not faithfully follow it. appears to lose its converting powers men, you may be well assured that the cause of the defect is not in the system, but in the poor, imperfect, languid, formal, or secular modes in which it is pursued. May the Spirit of God bring his ministry to a full accord upon this serious and momentous subject. May he forgive the boldness with which many have marred the public order of his Church, and teach them to seek for reformation, rather in the private walks of their official duty. May he pardon, for Christ's sake, the sins of omission with which all the under shepherds of the flock are chargeable, and few more chargeable, my brethren, than your own pastor; and may he excite us to far greater diligence for the time to come, enabling us to guard the good old paths from the hand of unauthorised innovation, and quickening us in the performance of all those labors of love, which shall not only mark the sincerity of our personal faith, but shall bring in a constantly increasing multitude, to be the followers of the Saviour's cross on earth, and the sharers of his crown of righteousness in heaven,

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LECTURE VI.

ACTS XXIV. 25.

AND AS HE REASONED OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, TEMPERANCE, AND JUDGMENT TO COME, FELIX TREMBLED.

IT has been a common characteristic of mankind, my brethren, in every age, to think that they possessed some important advantages over all that have gone before them. And we should do great injustice to the temper of our own times, if we denied our perfect sympathy in this agreeable spirit of self-exaltation. Indeed, there is hardly a point in the circle of literature, of arts, of politics, and of social life, which does not, in some degree, bear the stamp of the conviction, that we occupy a far higher rank in the scale of human attainment than any other portion of our race. And it affords a curious and instructive instance of the subtilty of pride, when we see how the same vanity which would be a vice in ourselves, becomes a popular virtue, as soon as it is diffused over our age, or nation. We should be disgusted, for instance, to hear an individual say, How enlightened, liberal, refined, and benevolent a man I am,— there never was a mortal equal to me, in enterprise and moral virtue. Such a speech, would obtain for its author no better return than derision and contempt. But let him extend the compliment to others, and say, How enlightened and liberal is the age we live in! How refined and benevolent are the people of our beloved country! Surely

there never was a period of the world, or a nation upon earth, so distinguished as our own.-Ah, now we hear the voice of a true patriot, of a practical philosopher, and of an admirable judge of human nature; and we take the of fering of self-love in this shape, without the slightest distrust, and carry home our share in the applause with the gravest air of perfect disinterestedness, and feel disposed to turn with absolute wrath upon the man who would dare to question a proposition, so modest and so plain.

In close connexion with this temper, we hear of those familiar phrases, which are almost enough, of themselves, to procure a high degree of favor towards any one who judiciously employs them. The march of intellect-the progress of intelligence—the spirit of the age-the genius of the age-the benevolent enterprises of the age-these are favorite forms of speech in all the oratory of the day. To be behind the spirit of the age, is an awful sort of depravity, according to the popular standard of esteem; and to hold back from the benevolent enterprises of the age, is an atrocious wrong, for which all the old-fashioned virtues put together, can afford no adequate reparation.

If, my brethren, this disposition to boast of our superior wisdom and virtue, had not become leagued with a bitter hostility against those who halt in the rear of this march of improvement, if, especially, it had not invaded the sacred inclosure of the Church of Christ, and set up its banners, as tokens, against those old-fashioned Christians, who are disposed to walk quietly and peaceably in the paths of their fathers, content with the wisdom of the Bible and the rules of the Apostles, I should not have been troubled with preparing, nor you with hearing the present lecture. But the zeal of our brethren is so strong in the language of denunciation-their voice is so loud in the eloquence of re

buke, that I am called upon to defend our principles in reference to another novelty, in which the pre-eminent perfection of our day most particularly prides itself, namely, the Temperance Reform.

Let me not, however, be supposed to have selected this topic on account of any personal feeling. To the censure so liberally bestowed upon myself, for not thinking fit to join the Temperance Society, I am so long and thoroughly accustomed, that it costs me nothing to bear it with good humor. But the Church to which I belong, is beginning to be involved in the accusation. The neighboring Diocese of Connecticut, at its late convention, had a resolution offered to it in favor of the Temperance Society, which was rejected by a very large majority, on the ground that it was a question, with which, in their conventional or Church capacity, they had nothing to do. Other conventions of our clergy had previously taken a similar course. And hence it has assumed the shape of a general charge, affecting the Church as a body, that Episcopalians are hostile to the Temperance reform. My individual share of the odium attempted to be raised in this shape, is a very small matter; not deserving a formal defence from this sacred desk, in which I stand, however unworthily, as a Minister of God. But when the Church is implicated, and the Christian character of that Church is assailed in consequence, it is a part of my solemn duty to examine the charge, and shew that it is totally erroneous, both in fact, and in principle.

To do this effectually, my brethren, I shall be obliged to ask an attentive and a candid hearing. The subject does not admit of being fully understood at a glance, nor yet on a hasty and shallow consideration. There are many minds indeed, which cannot think, and many more who will not; especially where they stand pledged to a course which they

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