« AnteriorContinuar »
Societies, call upon a minister too influence many ways, and a rich frequently for his own spiritual blessing from the common Father prosperity. This is the case, espe- of all; from him who hath said, cially, if he be a person of talent, Bring the little children to me. who has a knack of speaking But now.evening lectures, either extemporarily, in a lively and at home, or in the villages, call interesting manner. It seems un- a man who wishes to be useful, gracious to deny such invitations; far away from those domestic it is hardly a man's duty wholly scenes, those melting moments of to withdraw himself from such a parent's most exalted affections. engagements. Yet, surely, it ad- Much good has been done by mits of at least equal doubt, whe- village preaching, and evening ther it is his duty to accept so lectures; their efficacy demands many of these as shall interfere that they be laboriously, attended with his more personal and nearer to, with all the power and talent duties, either to his fock, or to a man has, who wishes for the his family. At any rate, the ne- welcome commendation of, well gligence it induces, as 'to all that done thou good and faithful serhis children's education may de- vant. Yet the consequent loss mand of hiin, is very visible, and to his offspring where a minister very lamentable too. Their con- has a rising family, is seriously duct, in after years, may give him to be deplored ; and if possible to view such pursuits in another to be obviated, by extra attentions light, when the clapping popu- at some other seasons. At any larity of them has ceased to echo, rate, a very great portion of that and the hooting unpopularity of advantage for pious education, his son's delinquency becomes which we suppose a minister's loud and lasting. Other vine- children to enjoy, is cut off, and yards have I kept, but my own absolutely lost. . vineyard have I not kept.
When these things are well I have known ministers send considered, it will be found, that their sons to boarding school, so far from a minister's children from the utter impossibility they being better brought up than the found in attending to their edu- children of other serious persons ; cation, arising from such circum- the probability is, that of necessity stances as these. In this case, they have less attention paid to all that belongs to parental zeal, them, both in their infancy and and affection, and piety, is lost; their childhood. and the boys must take their Mere instructions given, is inchance as other boys do. If, when deed but a small part of educathey have mingled with the follies tion, yet these must be greatly and vices of fifty or sixty other fa- deficient. But the main defi. milies, they turn out well, there is ciency consists in the loss of an occasion for much thankfulness; ever watchful eye, and constantly but not to the parent, who forced regulating authority; that affechis children to pass the . fiery tionate expostulation, when any ordeal.
thing wrong is done; or that When ministers keep their sons prayer over the offending culprit, at home, under their own eye, which may impress his mind more the Sabbath evening used to be than stripes, and may gain, by a a season well and profitably de- blessing upon fatherly correction, voted to their pious instruction. an efficacy far beyond what any One might hope such fatherly violence could be expected to intercourse, mutual converse, and produce. mutual prayer, might have sweet Thus but little watched, taught,
corrected, and led to the throne the reality of professions made; to of grace, is it wonderful, if under doubt if Sabbath seriousness is not all these privations the mind is put on for the occasion, like their left wild, 'uncultivated, and like best clothes; and like them too, other soils, when neglected, be put off again for the whole week. comes overgrown with every poi- Ministers had need be doubly sonous plant, and inhabited by cautious, as their children come every base or dangerous reptile. behind the scenes, and soon find it Perhaps it may be added, that the out, if the heroes and the beauties familiarity which such children of public exhibition wear a differhave with the machinery of religion, ent appearance when not publicly may tend to weaken its influence. seen. Voltaire, I think, said, that
Religion itself, is a lovely, sim- “no man is a hero to his valet.” ple, and spiritual feeling of the I should be loth to turn the words, heart; but the external means by and say, no minister is a saint to which this is roused, animated, and his wife and children. I believe ripened, are all human, and liable many are all of a piece; devoted, to great deterioration, according to serious, humble, both at home and the character, powers, disposition, abroad. But I do not scruple to and conduct, of those who operate say, it requires not only grace, herein. We have this treasure in but great watchfulness, and selfearthen vessels, says the Apostle; denial, to attain a character, a conthe coarseness, the frailty, the duct so honourable, yet evidently crumbling nature; nay, the cracks so suitable to, so necessary for, the and holes, and leakage, suggested man of God. by this metaphor, are but too truly Not that a minister can be al. emblematical of the humours and ways 'preaching-nature and profailings, the false motives, or un- priety forbid it. Nay, the grander worthy conduct of those by whom, doctrines of the Gospel demand nevertheless, the Gospel is preach more seriousness than domestic ed-preached faithfully and use- scenes can at all times allow. Yet fully, in a manner which evinces, a minister should always seem as that divine blessing comes, not- if he were ready for preaching, if withstanding these infirmities-- he were to be called to it unexcomes so to show that the excel- pectedly; should appear as if his lency of the power is with God. heart were in the service, although
Serious people, of all ranks, had his tongue may be conversant, at need be extremely careful how that moment, with the prattle of his they behave before their children babe. at home: they may do religion The congregation have great adgreat honour by a little careful- vantages in this repect; they see ness, which will also be of great him only when he appears as the service to their own spiritual feel- minister. They have every reason, ings. They may, too, by a con- therefore, to suppose he is in eartrary conduct, do the cause of nest, that he means what he says, vital piety great disservice, and and foels what he recommends. In bring irreparable injury upon their public service, if worthy the name, children and servants. These do not (for some are evidently playing a love the strictness enjoined; they part,) he brings his whole soul to will be very apt to watch the con- the work. His understanding enduct of their superiors with great lightened, by the study of sublime jealousy. Happy is that master, and important truths; his affections that mistress of a family, who does roused, to wish these truths their not, by domestic conduct, give to proper influence upon his hearers ; scrutinizing eyes cause to suspect and all his powers of mind and
body on the full strain, to set them sion. Nothing is assumed, for the forth, so as that rational creatures feelings are real, the occasion only may be suitably moved thereby; draws them out. He loves his although he knows, that the spiri- Master, and his Master's work; tual efficacy comes from another, he believes, therefore does he a much higher source. It will be speak. Those who conceive him no wonder if the people think high- to be a serious and devout Chrisly, possibly of his talents, but cer- tian, do him only justice. And in tainly of his pious zeal. Should so deeming of him, they do themthey ever doubt it, his usefulness selves justice too; as hereby they among them would cease.
give a weight to his opinions, adWhen the minister visits his monitions, or advice, such as it people, he goes as a minister. ought to have, if it is to do them Possibly his errand is to visit the any real good, if it is to have a sick, when, of course, serious and beneficial influence on their own spiritual converse may be ex- minds, feelings, conduct, and chapected. Or he purposely aims to racter. gain access to the mind of some. But whoever sees him as a mi. hearer, whom he understands, or nister, his children, of necessity, hopes, to be serious; his address see him as a man, in all the moon such an occasion, is naturally ments of fatigue, exhaustion, affectionate, and full of evangeli- weakness, and infirmity; as who is cal topics, such as exalt him in the perfect. estimation of the wise and good. No man can be always preach
Nay, when his visits are only ing, nor have his mind fully bent, those of friendship, to take a din- and in action. On the contrary, ner, or to meet a party at tea, he relaxation is always in proportion hardly can forget his ministerial to over excitation. He who has character; the arm chair, and the watched, or fought, or laboured, seat next the fire, remind him of it. with the greatest energy, will be Without preaching, he will, if he most ready to fall asleep, when finds opportunity, introduce some the season of repose is fairly come. useful or serious topic. Or should It will be no wonder, therefore, he perceive the current of hilarity if the man who has been on the too strong for such subjects as he full stretch, studying, or preaching, best would like, (as a feast is should, among his family, unbend made for laughter,) he yet is care- his every faculty, and descend to ful not to let down his own re be the mere husband, and the spectability, by any thing tending father; sensations these which reto buffoonery; and, perhaps, aster fresh the weary, if not over-weaa while, finds something more in ried, and recruit the flagging spirit, character for himself becomes pos- by the gentle feelings which they sible. Towards the close of the occasion to glow about the heart. visit, the Bible is brought, a word May he play with his babe, or of exhortation is given, and prayer romp with his boys, or help those concludes. In all these situations a little older to play at shuttlethe people see him as a minister. cock; do not deny him these Ill-nature itself can scarcely find natural pleasures; do not say, fault, or question the reality of his he has forgotten either the Sa. piety, or the powerful influence viour, or the Sabbath; he is but upon himself of the truths he so gaining power hereby for fresh seriously inculcates.
services. He who has bestowed It would be hard judgment to on him these precious gifts, wishes say this is all hypocrisy, that the · him to enjoy them. Children character is assumed for the occa- are an heritage of the Lord, and
New Series, No. 14.
the fruit of the womb is his re- so very different. They have not ward; he has made them lovely yet learnt the rule, that every and interesting, that he may be thing is beautiful in its season ; delighted with and interested in that there is a time to laugh, as them. He who made woman a well as a time to weep. help-meet for man, and brought Again, they not only see him her to him for his solace, gave as a man, in all the harmless hiher those beauties and blandish, larities of bodily vigour, and menments, both of body and mind, tal playfulness; but, possibly, he which tend to soothe him in his may have infirmities, which oclabours, and make him forget his casion to himself much remorse, toils. Let him rejoice with the which give to his best friends symwife of his youth.
pathizing regret, if their intimacy But with his children he must allows them to be acquainted with laugh, and rattle, and rhodomon- them. These will appear, to the tade: who would talk philosophy, unbalanced judgment of his chilor even common sense, to a baby? dren, of a deep hue, as soon as He must run, or seem to run, after they begin to reason, to observe some; or there would be no fun discrepancies, and form excuses in his not catching them. He for the improprieties in their own must exercise their opening talents conduct. with puzzles, and witticisms; or Possibly he does not live up to they will grow dull, stupid, and his sermons. The character he lifeless ; quite out of character for exhibits in words is perfect: it the animality of their age, in which ought to be so; the work herein intellectuality is but in the bud. is easy. But the character he ex
Nay, what seems worse, he hibits in actions is deteriorated by must laugh—nay, for his own much infirmity; for here the work health's sake, he must laugh, and is difficult : supposing his care heartily too, to shake off the tre.. equal, the attainment of his object pidations, and to frighten away is much more laborious; and, perthe megrims. It is the natural haps, his care here is not equal, and best method of keeping off nor his watchfulness sufficient, the doctor, and setting nurses at over himself, when he supposes defiance. .
no eye is on him which he needs Now, this same laughing has to fear; nor his self-denial on the seemed, to wiser folks than chil- alert, when he conceives himself dren; to be at utter variance with quite at liberty. seriousness of character. It will No doubt, a minister of the be no wonder if this part of their Gospel ought to be perfect in his parental intercourse dwells more day and generation; or, let his on the imagination of the playful fellow-saints say, he ought to aim troop, than all the Sabbath ser- at it. He should be, at home and vices ; most of which, we may abroad, always the exemplary suppose, they as yet scarcely un. Christian. But this sort of perderstand. It will be no wonder fection is not of easy attainment. if they should recollect some of At home, where a man is much off these scenes of merriment, even his guard, if his natural temper is when papa is in the pulpit. And rugged, its ruggedness will appear it will be no wonder if with these at home, where, it is probable, recollections should be coupled a many causes of angry excitement feeling, at least, that the serious- are continually occurring. Those ness exhibited and recommended who witness such scenes should sigh from thence, is not absolutely ne- over him ; but his children, who cessary, seeing he often appears feel the soreness, or the oppres
sion, will be more apt to murmur of the world's dissolution: a stillthan to pity; to blame their pa- ness never interrupted but by conrent, than to soothe his agitated vulsive struggles. At such a time feelings; or avoid their own share in it was that there first appeared in the unhappy occasions of his an- the romantic glen, near which the ger. In judging of his character, family of men then lived, a being they will forget the minister, and of exquisite beauty and gracefulonly recollect the man; or, if they ness. His vesture, negligently cast recollect both characters, will be around him, appeared both to hide apt to imagine he cannot mean all and augment the elegance of his he says in the way of exhortation, form. He carried in his hands a or that, in the doctrine of divine number of reeds of unequal size, mercy, he finds something that but so united together as to give allows of such improprieties. It at once the idea of diversity and will be no wonder if they suppose union, of simplicity and art. He that themselves have also similar applied these reeds to his lips, and liberty to indulge each his natural produced from them such sounds propensity to evil, of whatever as broke the spell under which nature it may be...
nature laboured. They sounded (To be continued)
like the echo of those principles of nnnnn
harmony upon which the great
Architect of nature had framed ON MUSIC.
his works : like the unison of the " His volant touch
human soul with universal reason. Instinct thro' all proportions, low and He struck the chord of feeling, and
high, Fled, and pursu'd transverse the resonant
the sympathetic soul trembled at fugue."
the touch. Some wept, and in the
luxury of overstrained sensibility There was a remote period in the found relief in tears. Others gazed history of the world when nature in animated silence, and with imfirst began to feel the curse of God passioned eyes beamed forth the for sin. The beasts of the forest raptures of their soul. Some were with unwonted ferocity preyed on melted into calm serenity and lanman, and the more timid animals guor. Nor were the effects confed on his approach. The fruits fined to man. The monarch of the of the earth were cultivated and forest crouched his sinewy strength, gathered with labour, and the mines and gazed with composed visage yielded their unwilling product on the stranger. The feathered only to toilsome and iterated exer- tribes forbore their flight, and in tion. The hours of inactivity, for the intermissions of his harmony rest they could not be called, were endeavoured to imitate and recal passed in murmurings at provi- his notes. He played, and as he dence, and in natural contentions. played nature regained her breath. The weary labourer sat solitary, He ceased, and man returned to with clouded brow and sullen as labour with redoubled strength, pect; or if a group assembled to- and eased his toils by singing the gether, they met only to bewail praises of his Maker, and the their wretchedness, and to forget beauties of creation. Such is the their own misery in plotting the origin of music, and all our submisery of others. A death-like sequent attempts at harmony are gloom appeared on the face of na- but imitations of those unearthly ture. Nothing broke the awful sounds. The ancients attributed silence, but the occasional burst music to the motion of the spheres, of execration, or the frantic cry of meaning, by this figure, that the despair. It seemed like a presage orderly revolutions of the heayenly