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Seriousness and affection marked his principles, he never lost his self-respect, public ministrations; and were the writer and those who opposed his views, generequired to furnish a description of his rally admired his teinper. Indeed, in general manner, he might fearlessly all public questions affecting human hapadopt one already given of a faithful piness, Mr. Hall felt a lively interest. preacher, by a justly admired poet, and His persevering zeal to assist in the ex. say,
tinction of slavery will not be speedily
effaced from the memory of bis friends ; “ I would express him simple, grave, sincere, In doctrine uncorrupt; in language plain,
for, having clearly perceived that the And plain in manner: decent, solemn, chaste, nefarious system inflicted suffering, obAnd natural in gesture; much impress'd
structed good, and violated natural rights, Himself, as conscious of his awful charge, And anxious mainly that the flock he feeds he exerted himself strenuously to effect May feel it 100; affectionate in look,
its abolition. And tender in address, as well becomes
The entire result of a life so boly, A messenger of grace to guilty men.”
zealous, and disinterested remains to be As a pastor, he felt deeply for the ascertained from the disclosures of futuspiritual advancement of his charge; he
rity; but it will then probably be seen rejoiced when they rejoiced, and wept that the fruits of his “work of faith and when they wept; but never perhaps was labour of love" far exceed our present his emotion so deep and visible, as when estimate. This idea is illustrated by a the honour of the Christian character
beautiful aphorism, selected from his pa. was overshadowed by the detected in- pers, in which he refers to the unquestionconsistencies of professors. He loved
able, though hidden usefulness of many his Master too well not to feel intense
Christians in the bumble walks of life. sorrow when his name was reproached.
“ Many obscure persons are In all the diversified engagements of the amongst the most useful members of civil ministry, he studied to show himself
and religious society. The majestic arch approved unto God;" and, doubtless, he
which spans the deep, wide, and rapid derived comfort from the conviction of
current, forming a pathway for man upon being “pure from the blood of all men.' the flood, rests on timber and stones,
He laboured patiently and disinterest- which the traveller cannot see, and which edly, shrinking from no effort that could
never may be seen, till God shall dry up further the great cause he had espoused; the rivers." but being of a retiring disposition, he The bereaved relatives of our deceased sought no engagements from home. In
friend have been greatly consoled amidst deed, modesty and humility were pro- their heavy trial by the numerous exminent features in his character; of
pressions of Christian condolence which which he gave a striking proof, when ihey have received, and which convey a informed, on the Monday previous to tribute to the excellence of him whose his death, that a special prayer meeting departure they so deeply deplore. From had been held on his account, which was
these letters a passage or two shall be attended by ministers and members of extracted, which will show how highly different congregations, who offered ear
he was esteemed, and will confirm tbc nest and affectionate supplications for views we have given of his character. his recovery; he replied,
One writes thus,—" My esteem augChristian regards and thanks to all; it
mented as I saw more into his soundwas very kind of them, but mine is an ness of judgment, simplicity of purpose, unworthy life to pray for."
and solid worth-qualities much rarer His ministerial brethren knew his
than specious and showy talent." * worth as a friend; and in his intercourse Another says,-" It is now a great with those, who on some points differed joy to view the character of one so from him, be endeavoured to blend
blameless, so holy, so meet for glory. My attachment to his own peculiar views dear friend was one of the few of my with Christian charity towards others.
early associates, upon whose character His mind was deeply imbued with the and conduct I could never look without love of liberty. He felt that conscience
feelings of admiration and love. He was should be kept sacred from human intru- an Israelite indeed in whom was no guile, sion, and hence he resisted every attempt as well as a faithful servant and minister to coerce or enslave it. But his resist- of Christ.”+ ance was neither boisterous nor passionate. While he advocated his peculiar • Josiah Conder, Esq. + Rev. Dr. Redford.
“ Give my
Such was the character of this excel. lent minister, whose life exhibited the power of divine grace; and whose death evinced the reality of his faith in Christ. His memory is blessed; and from this brief record we may hear enforced, as
with additional emphasis, the solemn ad-
J. S. B.
THE USEFUL CHRISTIAN.
BY DR. SPRING, OF NEW YORK.
Extracted from “ Fragments from the Study of a Pastor.” The tendencies of piety are to do Christ's followers went back and walked good. A good tree bringeth forth good no more with him, “ Jesus said unto the fruit. The high aim of the true Chris- twelve, Will ye also go away? Simon tian is to be useful. This is the tendency Peter answered him, Lord, to whom of his spirit, his affections, his desires, shall we go? Thou hast the words of his hopes, his efforts, his whole renewed eternal life; and we believe and are sure character. It is not that he may be a that thou art that Christ, the Son of the splendid man, nor even a happy man, living God.” What multitudes in differbut a useful man.
ent ages of the world have sacrificed their That man presses after a prize of very lives in testimony of the truth and imquestionable lawfulness who aims at being portance of the essential doctrines of the a splendid Christian, or even a happy gospel. Indeed I know not in what Christian; but he has no misgivings of saving faith consists, unless it be in beconscience when he aims at being a use- lieving and loving those great and preful Christian. He will be very apt to be cious truths. The Christian's future and disappointed if he aims at any thing short eternal hopes are founded upon God's of this, while in modestly and humbly immutable truth. “ Other foundation aiming at this, he will rarely miss his can no man lay than that is laid.” And mark.
if a true Christian may be distinguished To be a useful Christian, a man must from a merely nominal professor by his be well instructed in the oracles of God. believing and maintaining the essential It is vain to think of being usefully occu- doctrines of the gospel, much more may pied in the exercise of Christian affec- the useful Christian be thus distinguished. tions, or the practice of Christian duties, I have ever regarded a man's religious without a good understanding of Chris- sentiments as a test of his usefulness. tian truth. It is impossible otherwise to Nor have I ever been deceived in this supply the motives to obedience, or in- impression. I see no way in which a spire the mind with the principles of duty. very ignorant Christian can be extenWhere religion would be enthroned in sively useful. One reason why a multithe heart and spread around her all her tude of Christians accomplish so little in charms, she must act by the light of the cause of their divine Lord, is that truth. And is it not indispensable to the they are so wavering and unsettled in Christian character to be well established their religious views, and withal so igno. in the essential doctrines of the gospel ? rant. With these impressions, I have How can a man be conformed to the wondered not a little at the growing premoral image of God, reconciled to his judice against creeds and confessions of character, to his laws, to his designs, and faith. By nothing has the baneful influto the salvation procured by his Son, if ence of error been so generally counterhe is ignorant of these great and funda- acted, and the cause of truth so genemental truths ? How can his internal rally promoted, as by these judicious views and affections become essentially confessions. New England owes her changed, if bis understanding is shrouded orthodoxy, under God, to the Assemin darkness ? How can he have a spi- bly's Catechism; and not until that ritual discernment of spiritual things, if excellent summary of doctrine fell into he has no intellectual discernment? On disuse, did her churches decline from a memorable occasion when many of the faith of their fathers.
land, too, owes its remaining ortho- go far to make a useful Christian. The doxy to the thirty-nine articles. And, treasures which infinite Wisdom has acwhere will you find a formula which more cumulated in the Bible abundantly enclearly ascertains and defines the system rich and adorn, and give practical utility of doctrines taught in the Holy Scriptures, to the Christian character. Aim at high than the Catechism and Confessions of attainments in Christian knowledge. If Faith of the Presbyterian Church ? Let you cannot excel in every thing, excel in it be a maxim with Christians to have this. Labour, study, pray, to excel in no views of truth but such as are definite. this. To be burning and shining lights, It were unspeakably better to understand you must feel the pre-eminent claims of a few truths well, and to know them cer. religious truth. Every Christian, in his tainly, than to expatiate vaguely over place and proportion, is the instructor the extended fields of Christian science. and guide of his fellow-men, to lead them The certainty of knowledge is a very to the day-spring from on high, to illudifferent thing from the extent of know- mine those who dwell in the darkness ledge. Because you may have but a and shadow of death, and to show them partial and imperfect view of divine the way of peace. truth, it does not follow that you must of To be extensively useful, a Christian necessity be in darkness and uncertainty must possess ardent and uniform piety. in relation to those truths with which you His usefulness will, in a great measure, are familiar. Though no man that ever depend upon the power which the reli. lived, should perfectly know all that God gion of the gospel exerts upon his own has revealed, this would not prove that soul. To this, more than any other he does not know many things with per- cause, may be traced the secret power of fect definiteness and certainty. Though such men as Baxter, Edwards, Brainerd, our natural eye-sight is limited, so that Payson, and Howard. One reason why we cannot see beyond a certain circle, 80 many Christians live to so little pure nor all things at once in any circle, yet pose is, that while they may perhaps be we can see one thing at a time, and that good men, they are obviously deficient clearly. The same is true of the under- in that ardent piety which has a transstanding. Though we may have no forming effect upon the heart and deknowledge about some truths, and though portment. God and heaven are not the we cannot contemplate and compare many point of attraction towards which ibeir truths at once; yet we can contemplate minds and efforts are perpetually tending. one thing at a time, and compare a few I have known Christians of splendid things together, and hence come to a talents not half so useful as many of their definite and certain knowledge of such humbler brethren; and who probably things as we can discern and compare, will not be found in the more illumined and from one truth clearly discover an- departments of the heavenly city. A other, and so make slow but progressive Christian cannot be useful without feradvancement in knowledge. And thus vent piety. His life must be bid with it is that we shall see clearly, the har- Christ in God. A living, active faith mony, connexion, and consistency of the receives from the fullness of the Saviour great truths which the gospel reveals. all spiritual graces. Without this be deIt is this definiteness of view which we clines and backslides; he loses bis sense affectionately and urgently recommend of the divine presence; and his heart is to you. One doctrine of the Bible con- left alone, weak, comfortless, and wretchsistently understond, will almost neces- ed through manifold temptations. The sarily lead a devout and inquiring mind channel of heavenly communication is to perceive and appreciate the harmony obstructed-stopped--and the sanctify and connexion which run through all the ing, comforting influeuces of the Holy peculiar and essential doctrines of the Spirit cease to flow into his soul. “Abide gospel. The Christian who thoroughly in me and I in you. As the branch canunderstands one doctrine of the gospel, not bear fruit of itself except it abide in will be prepared to understand another the vine, no more can ye except ye abide and another. Once let his views of di- in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches. vine truth be definite, and there is little He that abideth in me, and I in him, the danger but they will remain distinct and same bringeth forth much fruit. If a prominent. Clear and definite views of man abide not in me, he is cast forth as God's truth, combined with ardent piety, a branch and is withered.” The Chris.
tian, if he would be useful, must have adornment, and gives his character its habitual impressions of a present God. lustre. The bare hopes of piety, and His mind must be familiar with things even its predominating graces, ought not unseen. Their beauty and glory must to satisfy him. Her self-denying spirit, shine upon bim, not in a glimmering, her heaven-aspiring affections, her exflickering light, but in their steady splen- alted and bumbling joys, her unreserved dour. H• must have meat to eat which self-devotement, her increasing purity, the world knows not of. He must have her sweet sensibility and tenderness, her the image of God impressed on his heart, absorbing confidence in the cross, and and be in a good measure conscious of her deep and restless solicitude for the the high feelings and aspirations which best interests of men ; these, under a wise belong to his heavenly birth. He must direction, will not fail to make him a useput himself under the training of the ful Christian. celestial Spirit ; and his graces must Another characteristic of a useful grow and expand, and attain some such Christian is untiring diligence and energy measure of stability as was developed in of action. It was not by his talents the experience of the great apostle, when merely, nor simply by his fervent piety, he said, “I live, yet not I, but Christ nor was it only by his enlarged views of liveth in me.” Such a religion is not the the truth of God, but by his indefatigable mere creature of the imagination; nor is diligence and action combined with these, it the offspring of ignorance and enthu- that the apostle Paul accomplished a siasm ; nor is it the result of mere occa- greater amount of good than was ever sional excitements and momentary feel- accomplished by any other man. The ings; but of strong and stedfast principle. life of a useful Christian is an eventful It has weight and influence." It does life. It is fruitful in benevolent results. not vanish with the first causes of excite- His energy is not developed so much ment and the first passion of zeal. The upon set occasions, or by studied efforts : history of the human mind furnishes no his whole life is full of labours and events stronger principle of action than such a that are intimately connected with the religion; nor is there any thing that can best interests of men. There are pious awaken the soul of man to greater efforts, men, who are called to contend with or greater submission. It prefers a thou- most inactive and sluggish habits, both of sand times to die faithful, rather than to body and mind; and there are those who live unfaithful; to die with Christ, rather are never satisfied and happy unless they tban live without him. The men of this are in some way actively employed; and world may not comprehend the prin- the difference in the aggregate of good ciples and aims of such a religion; they accomplished by these two classes of do not know them, and cast them out as men will be found, in the course of years, evil. Men of such a spirit find their to be immense and almost incalculable. Let peace where the men of the world find every man settle it in his mind, that all iheir perplexity ; their joys where the bis indolent habits must be broken up, children of this world find their sorrows. if he has the most distant hope of being Joyful in hope, and patient in tribulation, a useful Christian. If he is not will. they weep as though they wept not; they ing to harness himself for labour, he had rejoice as though they rejoiced not; and better never enter the field. All the they use this world as not abusing it. springs of his life will run down without Such a man may have his seasons of effort. His hope and courage will sink darkness, as well as his seasons of light; and die away, if he has no spirit of enhis moments of languor as well as his terprise. He will soon become a burden days of strength; bis periods of trem- to himself and a cumberer of the ground. bling, as well as triumph. The light of A slothful Christian is a contradiction, heaven may come in collision with the which it is very difficult to reconcile with darkness of his own sinful heart; the the lowest standard of holiness. A man divine life may struggle with remaining who is born for immortality-ruined by death ; and holiness and sin, in japid and sin-redeemed by the blood and Spirit of imperceptible succession, may maintain Jesus Christ-promised a reward that their conflict within him; while amid all outweighs all the material universe-and these alternations he does not forsake his yet, murmur at bardship, and complain Saviour. Piety is the Christian's great
that he must labour for the cause of Christ! God expects better things of tell him where we have been ; what we his people. The church demands them. have done; and what were the motives The age, the land which gave them birth, by which we have been actuated; it and nurtures them for scenes of toil and would have a salutary effect upon our triumph such as the generations that whole conduct. While reading over each are gone have never witnessed, expects day's page of life, with the consciousness better things of them, and things that that he was reading it with us, we should accompany salvation to their own soul detect many errors and defects which and to this dying world.
would otherwise pass unnoticed.” It is To be eminently useful, Christians this familiarity with Jesus — they are must also be men of prayer. Nothing these unaffected approaches to the throne has so powerful a tendency to subdue of grace, through all the sins and duties, the unballowed affections of the mind, the mercies and trials of his course, that and the grosser appetites and passions of make the useful Christian. I have seen the body; nothing will so certainly con- Christians of very reserved habits in their trol and direct the thoughts, and elevate intercourse with men, who were emithem above all that is base and grovelling, nently useful because they conversed trifling and little, as frequent and intimate with God. You will greatly abound in fellowship with God. The great secret the duty of prayer, if you are ever emiof mortiłying a worldly spirit is to culti- nently useful. vate a heavenly one. is Walk in the It is also indispensable to distinguished Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lusts of and permanent usefulness in a Christian the Aesh.” “ Be not conformed to this that he mortify an aspiring spirit. Do world, but be ye transformed, by the re- not contend for pre-eminence. If you newing of your minds." No where does are thrown among those who contend for the world appear so much like an empty it, retire from the conflict. Strive to do shadow, and nowhere is its baleful influ- good, and if your motives are impeached, ence so certainly counteracted, as in let your habitual deportment be your sweet communion with things unseen. only defence of them. I say again, bePrayer furnishes the strongest stimulus, ware of an aspiring spirit. There is the most powerful incitement to self- scarcely any thing that has a stronger denying duty and toil. And who has tendency to neutralise and counteract not observed that intelligent, earnest the benevolent designs of good men, prayer improves all the powers and pro- than a self-complacent, aspiring spirit. perties of the soul, and wakes the mind Beware of it. Learn of him who was from her sluggishness and apathy to the “meek and lowly in heart." “ He that exercise of the best and most ennobling exalteth himself shall be abased, and be affections ? Nowhere does that won- that bumbleth himself shall be exalted." derful system of truth, that "mighty“ Pride goeth before destruction, and a range of motive," disclosed in the Bible, haughty spirit before a fall." obtain its sure and certain dominion over A Christian to be eminently useful, must the soul, if not in the frequency, serious- also be distinguished for no small sbare ness, and joy of familiarity with God. of carnestness and zeal. On this point I Were the history of Christians made feel afraid of leaving a wrong impression. known, I have no doubt that you might Zeal, without judgment and discriminatrace the distinguished usefulness of the tion, spoils a man for a Christian. A most distinguished men to their closets. man may possess exemplary piety, and If you will review your own history, I distinguished talent, but without practical think you will not fail to see that those wisdom he cannot become useful. And periods of it have been most distin- yet discretion may degenerate into guished for usefulness, that have been timidity; may even lead to a trimming most distinguished for prayer. The late and calculating servility. A character Dr. Payson, in suggesting a few hints to that is formed on the highest models of a youthful brother in the ministry, among usefulness, must be distinguished for de many most valuable remarks, has the fol. cision, energy, and zeal, as well as selflowing: “The disciples, we read, re- diffidence and discretion. There is no turned to Jesus, and told him all things : danger that zeal will be too ardent, so what they had done and what they had long as it is the expression of simple taught. I think that if we would every benevolence. Only be sure that your evening come to our Master's feet, and heart glows with the benevolence of the