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They look on elder Christians, and ADVICE TO THE ELDER MEM
especially on those who have been BERS OF THE CHURCH.
the means of their conversion, as their IV. Be examples to your Fellow- spiritual parents, and they have a naChristians of all goodness. All Chris- tural.inclination to imitate them in tians are to be examples to the world, all their movements. When chilbut you who are elders should be dren are young, they generally have examples to the Church. 1. This is a very high opinion of their parents ; urged by the Apostles. “The
elders they regard them as the wisest and which are among you, I exhort, cleverest beings in the world; they who am also an elder, Feed the flock are, with them, the standards of what of God which is among you ; taking is right and true, and they judge the oversight thereof, not by con- others to be what they should be, acstraint, but willingly ; not for filthy cording as they approach to the likelucre, but of a ready mind ; neither ness of their parents. And so it is as being lords over God's heritage, but in a great measure with young conas being ensamples tothe flock.”—1 Pet. verts; they have generally very high vi. 1-3. Timothy and Titus were ex- notions of the goodness of elder horted to be examples to believers Christians,—they imagine them to in all things, in word, in behaviour, be something like angels : they exin charity, in spirit, in faith, in pu- pect to find them free from all stains rity. And the Apostle Paul himself of sin and folly, and full of uncould say,
“ Brethren, be ye follow.. mingled goodness. They never dream ers together of me, and mark them of counterfeits; they do not even which walk so as ye have us for an dream of mixtures : they look for example.”
nothing but gold, fine, pure gold. 2. It is absolutely necessary that we When children are young, they have should be examples of all goodness, great confidence in what their parents if we would ever see the Church what teach them ; they never imagine that it ought to be. We may cherish any thing can be false that they rehopes of the rising generation, that ceive from them; and they consider they will prove a wiser and a holier they have proved the truth of what racē than the present generation; they say beyond reasonable doubt, but our hopes will be all vain, unless when they can say, “ My father said we who are at present elders in the so.” And there is a similar respect Church, take care to be examples of in new-born Christians for the tesintelligence and piety. The charac- timony of their spiritual elders. ters of old professors are the moulds They are ready to drink in as true in which the young ones are fa- all that they teach. These things shioned ; our characters are the seals cause a tremendous responsibility to by which theirs are stamped. If the rest on old professors, and the consiold professors are serious, thoughtful, deration of them ought to make us intelligent, upright, loving, laborious, use our utmost endeavours to be self-denying, zealous, persevering every thing that is wise and good. If men, the young ones, as they come on a closer
acquaintance with us, the into the church, and begin to mingle young disciples should discover that with them, may be expected to take we are not the characters theysupposed the same character, and carry out us to be; if they should find that inthese excellencies still further. But stead of being full of all wisdom and if the old professors are ignorant, con- all goodness, we are an idle, unthinkceited, light-headed, unprincipled, ing, earthly, lukewarm, half-hearted, self-indulgent men, the young con- unloving set of men, they are almost verts will be corrupted, and either sure to be stumbled ; and if they are go back into the world, or hang like not stumbled, they will be in danger millstones round
of the of settling down into the same low, church, and drown it in earthliness miserable and guilty state with ourand sin. When children are very selves, and of spending the remainder young, almost their whole work is of their lives to no purpose. If we imitation. They watch their parents wish the friends who are uniting with and try to imitate them in almost us to be men and women who shall every thing. And it is much the raise the church from its present
with new-born Christians, fallen degrade d condition, and rem
deem the religion of Christ from its will naturally fall into your hands. present state of humiliation and It is the appointment of God that bondage, we mustourselves be Chris- the church should be guided by the tians of an elevated character, ex- elders. And it is of the greatest imamples of that intellectual and moral portance that the elders should be worth which we are wishful to be- very wise, prudent, holy, exemplary, hold in them. In a word, if the in order that they may be able to church is to be reformed, it must be guide the church aright. We ought reformed in us; if we want others to be free from all selfishness. We to be thorough-going Christians, we ought to be free from all love of must be thorough-going Christians praise, of honour, of pre-eminence, ourselves. If the new converts do of power, of lordship. We ought to not become what we would wish be very lowly and loving, ready to them, we shall have, in a great mea- wash each others feet. We ought to sure, to blame ourselves.
be very calm, mild, meek, patient, 3. Besides, we ought to be exemplary gentle. There should be nothing for the sake of the world, as well as boisterous, violent, harsh, impatient, for the sake of the young disciples. short-tempered, rough, uncourteous. The world look at us, and they judge Read the Epistles of Paul to Timothy of religion from what they see in us. and Titus, and seck to have the adWe know they do wrong in so judg- vice, which the Apostle gives in these ing, but so it is, and we cannot help epistles, written on your hearts. We it; and what we have to do is to try have complained of the antichristian to turn the evil to advantage. Let way in which some have managed us take care that they see in us the affairs of the church, and we nothing but what is good. Let us have complained justly. The abuses so speak and act before them, that which have crept into the church if they will judge of religion by under the name of church discipline what we are, they shall be led to and church government, are truly judge it something very excellent. frightful, both in number and enor
4. A good example will give us a mity ; but we shall run into the right to speak to the world, and to same evils, unless we keep close to our younger brethren too. The man the sacred oracles, and drink in the that has got a beam in his own eye mind that was in Christ.
Nothing has no right to attempt to pull the can preserve us from laxity on the mote out of his brother's eye. Let one hand, and from tyranny on the him first put things right at honie, other, but a fulness of holy light and and then let him try to put things love, the rich in-dwelling of the right abroad. If we wish to be able spirit of Christ. to advise or reprove another to good V. And lastly, when those who are purpose, we must ourselves be blame- younger than yourselves have beIess. If a man has a bad conscience, come full members of the church, and he cannot muster courage to reprove have begun to take part in the proanother ; or if he does muster cour- ceedings of the church, do not slight age, he only brings down rebuke their suggestions, their plans of laand shame upon himself, if his faulti- bour, or their views of truth. Do not ness be known.
think it impossible for you to learn And if we who are older profes- any thing from them. Wisdom is sors, are not examples to the younger, not always confined to the aged. we have no excuse. We have had more Revelations of truth are frequently time and experience to teach us what granted to youthful minds, which are is right, and more opportunities of not presented to elder ones. And it is getting the mastery over what is wisely ordered that it should be so. evil, and of getting free from what The young have more time to trace the is imperfect. And if we are not ex- relations of truths, and they have amples both to the church and to the more time, as well as more activity, world, I see not how we can escape more ardour and more vigour, for carthe greatest condemnation.
rying out new revelations of truth IŤ. Seek for much wisdom as well into practice. It is right that the as much grace, that you may be able young should pay respect to the to
manage to advantage the affairs of elders, but it would be wrong in the the church. The affairs of the church elders to attempt to bind down the
younger to a strict conformity with have as yet a correct idea. themselves. It is right for the elders not entertain the thought for a moto advise the younger, but it would ment then, that we have reached . be
wrong for the elders to attempt to the end of what is true and good; enslave them. Great reforms have have done no such thing. generally been begun and carried on The religion of Christ is only be
Tho by persons in the freshness and vi- ginning to be understood. gour of their days. John the Baptizer, light we have as yet is but the the Apostle Peter, the Apostle Paul, dim dawn, a grey mixture of light Luther, George Fox, and John Wes- and darkness, of indirect and feeble ley, all received those clearer manifes. rays with mists and clouds and shatations of truth, and commenced those dows. And the persons who are to reforming movements with which separate the light from the darkness, their names are associated while they and to bring in the full bright light were yet in their youthful vigour. of day, may be sitting among those It is very dangerous to resist the younger members of the church, movements of a member of the which we are so prone to undervalue, church, or to reject or slight his pro
so prone to listen to, when they posals merely because he is young ; speak in our meetings, with impain so doing we might be found fight- tience. Let us be careful, that while ing against God. Let us learn to
we advise and caution, and endeavour believe it possible, that those who to lead and guide the young, that we come after us, maylilearn some
do not, like Herod, by our severithing which we have not learned, ties, drive from amongst us, into and be called and qualified to do Egypt, the very persons whom God something greater and better than has commissioned to diffuse a new we have been able to do. The hu- light and a better spirit through the man mind is progressive, and we
church and through the world. should be prepared to hear truths which we have not heard before, and we should be looking for a kind of benevolent undertakings which In a sea-port town on the west have not yet seen. Christianity coast of England, some years ago, itself is not fully unfolded yet; it there was notice given of a sermon contains in itself views of truth of to be preached one Sunday evening, which the majority of its disciples The preacher was a man of great have not the least conception. Chris- fame, and that circumstance, along tianity is perfect, we know, but it with others, attracted an overflowing is but very imperfectly understood, audience. After the usual prayer even by its friends. Who would and hymn, the preacher gave out the have thought that George Fox's text, and was about to proceed with views, which, when he first declared his sermon, when he suddenly paus, them, seemed so wild and monstrous, ed, leaned his head on the pulpit, and should in our days appear to such remained silent for a few moments ; multitudes so rational, so lovely, and it was imagined that he had become so true. And to George Fox only a indisposed; but he soon recovered part of the scroll was unrolled. The himself, and addressing the congreFriends will have to receive addi- gation, said, that before entering on tions to their present sentiments his discourse, he begged to narrate to and singularities, or else be left be- them a short anecdote.
" It is now hind, as once others were left behind exactly 15 years,” said he, “ since I by them. On wealth, on law-suits, was last within this place of worship; on civil governments, on terms of and the occasion was, as many here Christian fellowship, on trade, and may probably remember, the very on a multitude of other subjects, no same as that which has now brought Christian community with which us together. Amongst those who we are acquainted have gone so far came hither that evening, were three as the Gospel would lead them. And dissolute young men, who came not there are views of truth and duty to only with the intent of insulting and be unfolded by the spirit of God, mocking the venerable pastor, but through the instrumentality of the even with stones in their pockets to New Testament, of which none of us throw at him as he stood in the pul
THE PUNISHMENT OF A PROFANE
pit. Accordingly, they had not long He chose the most moving and imlistened to the discourse, when one portant subjects, and treated them in of them said impatiently, i'Why the most pathetic and searching manneed we listen any longer to the ner. The awfulness of the judgment, blockhead-throw ! but the second then before the eyes of all, gave great stopped him, saying, "Let us first force to his addresses, and several see what he makes of this point.' were awakened under every sermon. The curiosity of the latter was no He visited all that sent for him; and sooner satisfied, than he, too, said it pleased God to take peculiar care
Ay, confound him, it is only as I of him: for though, in London, there expected—throw now !' But here died of the plague that very year no the third inter posed, and said it less than 68,596 individuals, and 7 would be better altogether to give up persons died in the family where he the design which had brought them lived, he continued in perfect health there. At this remark his two friends all the time, and was a useful ministook offence, and left the church, ter for upwards of twelve years. while he himself remained to the end. Now, mark, my brethren,” continued the preacher, with much emotion, “ what were afterwards the
Mr. Pawson, one of the old Methoseveral fates of these young men ? dist preachers, has furnished us with The first was hanged, many years an account of an awful manifestation ago, at Tyburn, for the crime of for- of Divine judgment, which occurred gery ;
; the second is now lying under when he was stationed in the London sentence of death, for murder, in the circuit, in the year 1770. This acgaol of this city; the third, my count is as follows :—“Just behind brethren,”—and the speaker's agita
our house, there was a very small tion here became excessive, while he paused and wiped the large drops inhabited by very wicked people.
square ; a very retired place, but from his brow—“the third, my It happened one day, that two of brethren, is he who is now about to these poor ungodly creatures quaraddress you—listen to him !"
relled to a high degree. In the conclusion, one of them solemnly swore
by his Maker, that, if he did not In the year 1665, when the great procure a warrant for the other man plague in London was raging with the next day before ten o'clock, he extraordinary violence, Mr. Thomas prayed God would strike him dead. Vincent, who had been driven f' in He was standing at his own door, his situation as a Christian mini ter just as St. Paul's clock struck ten, for nonconformity, was employed as and at that inoment the Lord took a tutor in an academy at Islington. him at his word, and he fell down But when he saw the lack of spiritual dead in an instant.”. Verily, there is instruction, his spirit was stirred a God that judgeth in the earth. within him, and he formed the determination, whatever might be the consequence, to preach the gospel of ALEXANDER demanded of a pirate, Jesus Christ. His friends endeavour whom he had taken, by what right ed to dissuade him from the dangerous he infested the seas? By the same enterprise; but in vain. He assured right, replied he boldly, that you them that his resolution was the re- enslave the world. But I am called sult of much serious thought. He a robber, because I have only one had carefully examined the state of small vessel; and you are styled a his own soul, and could look death conqueror, because you command in the face with comfort. He thought fleets and armies. it absolutely necessary, that the vast numbers of people then dying should have some spiritual assistance; and I am a monk, and yet no monk : that he never could have such a pro- I am a new creature, not of the Pope, spect of usefulness as a minister as but of Jesus Christ. Christ alone is now presented itself. During all the my bishop, my abbot, my prior, my time of the plague, he preached every lord, my master,—and I acknowSunday insome of the parish churches, ledge no other.-Luther,
A PROMPT REPLY.
DEBTS, PUBLIC COLLECTIONS, Newcastle-on-Tyne, 3 Mo. 15, '42.
So far from seeking any party in-
parties, except the party scattered I am instructed by the friends at up and down through all parties,—the Ney to write, to request you to come people who make the study, the and preach our anniversary sermons practice, and the spread of the simple this year, if possible. Several of the religion of Christ, the great business friends are readers of the Investiga- of their life. I can neither form a tor, and a few have made a little pro- sect, nor belong to a sect, except the gress in the way of self-denial, while ancient sect of mere Christians, foundall appear to believe the doctrines ed by Christ himself on the principles and duties therein taught to be in of simple faith and love.
If men accordance with the oracles of Divine believe in Christ with such a faith as truth : and though not ready all at works by love, I regard them as once to give up customs that have brethren in the Lord, wherever they been handed down through many may dwell, or by whatever name generations, and taught as duties even they may be called. from the pulpit, yet are they anxious I would not belong to any dethat “those men that have turned nomiation that would not admit any the world upside down should come sincere Christian to its fellowship, hither also." For really it appears
or that would not allow every astonishing (to worldly minds at sincere Christian freely to exercise least) that the heaven-born princi- his gifts for the edification of his ples of Evangelical Reform should brethren. I will be free myself, make such rapid progress through and I must leave others free. I am the length and breadth of the land. glad the principles of Evangelical May they speedily extend from the Reform are spreading in your neighrivers unto the ends of the earth. bourhood. I hope you and your Oh! Sir, visit us if possible to give Christian brethren will do all you the cause a little impetus in the Vil- can to exhibit a holy and prudent lage of N-ey. We have not fixed example. Let it be seen by all any time, as we thought it best to that you are yourselves better for the leave that with you, as we are not principles which you hold. Nothing particular to two or three months. so powerfully pleads the cause of We have had our sermons for several truth, as a life and conversation in years on Whitsunday, and our tem- accordance with the principles of perance festival the day following; truth. but many of the friends are so anxi- I shall be glad to see you at my ous to hear you, that I believe they earliest opportunity; but do not exwould rather have you without a pect me to preach anniversary sercollection, (should you be opposed mons, and make public collections : to making one) than to raise six or I believe I shall make no more enseven pounds with any other minis- gagements to preach what are called ter whatever. If you think it pro
6 occasional sermons.” I think it is bable that you can come, please to high time for us to lay public collecinform us a few weeks before the tions aside, and begin to raise the time. We are aware that the dis- money we want among ourselves. tance is great, and N-ey but a And as for debts, we ought, in my small village, yet we have some faint judgment, never to incur them. I hopes, that if you cannot visit us di- believe the proper plan is, to incur rect from Gateshead, that some time no responsibility, till we have the when you visit Mossley or Manches- money in hand or at our command. ter you will be prevailed on to pay I believe chapel debts, school debts, us a visit, as we trust you are not society debts, circuit debts, and priseeking any party interest, but the vate debts are all bad things, and I spread of pure and undefiled religion feel resolved for myself, by God's through the world. Hoping that you help, to have nothing more at all to may be long spared for this great do with them. I believe that God and glorious work,
does not require us to do that which I remain, your's affectionately, we cannot do without going into