Chapter II

CHAPTER II.

RELIGIOUS CHARACTER AND HABITS OF THE CLERGYMAN.

The foundation of influence in parochial life is in the clergyman's character, and the root of clerical character is piety. The first theme, consequently, that demands attention, in the discussion of the subject of Pastoral Theology, is the religious character, and habitx, of the clergyman.

The calling and profession of the clergyman demand eminent spirituality. An ordinary excellence is not sufficient. The Christian minister, by his very vocation, is the sacred man in society. By his very position, he is forbidden to be a secular member of community, and hence he must not be secular, either in his character or his habits. It is true, that the clergy are not a sacred caste, yet they are a sacred profession. Hence, society expects from them a ministerial character and bearing, and respects them just in proportion as they possess and exhibit it. The clergyman is sometimes called the "parson." Though the word has fallen into disuse, owing to the contemptuous employment of it, by the infidelity of the eighteenth century, its etymology is instructive in this connection. Parson is derived from the Latin persona. The clergyman is the person, by way of emphasis, in his parish. He is the marked and peculiarly religious man, in the community.1 His very position and vocation, therefore, make it incumbent upon him to be eminently spiritual. His worldly support is provided by the Church,, to whom he ministers, and his acceptance of it is an acknowledgement upon his part, that a secular life is unsuitable for him, and a demand upon their part, that he devote himself entirely to religion, and be an example to the flock. Every clergyman ought to be able to say to his congregation, with the sincerity, and the humility, with which St. Paul said it to the Thessalonians, "Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily, and justly, and unblamably we behaved ourselves among you."

Not only does the ministerial calling and profession require eminent piety, but it tends to produce it. By his very position, the clergyman is greatly assisted in attaining to a superior grade of Christian character, and if, therefore, he is a worldly and unspiritual man, he is deeply culpable. For, so far as his active life is concerned, his proper professional business is religious. The daily labor of the clergyman is as truly and exclusively religious, as that of the farmer is agricultural, or that of the merchant is mercantile. This is highly favorable to spirituality. Ought not one to grow in grace, whose daily avocations bring him into communication with the anxious, the thoughtful, the convicted soul, the rejoicing heart, the bereaved, the sick, and the dying? Ought not that man to advance in the love and knowledge of God, whose regular occupation from day to day it is, to become acquainted with the strictly Religious wants, and condition of the community, and to minister to them? If the daily avocations of the mechanic have a natural tendency to make hiru ingenious, and inventive, if the daily avocations of the merchant tend to make him enterprising, and adventurous, do not the daily avocations of the clergyman tend to make him devout? The influence of active life upon character is, in its own place and manner, as great as that of contemplative life. A man is unconsciously moulded and formed by his daily routine of duties, as really as by the books he reads, or the sciences he studies. Hence, a faithful performance of clerical duties contributes directly to spirituality.

1 One reference, also, was to the ed, and he is himself a body cor

temporalities of the Church. "He. porate, in order to protect and

is called parson (jwe?.s<mff),because, defend the rights of the Church,

by his person, the Church, which which he personates." Is an invisible body, is represent

Again, so far as the contemplative life of the clergyman is concerned, his profession is favorable to superior piety. In discussing the subject of Homiletics, we have seen that the clergyman, in order to successful sermonizing, must absorb himself in theology, must induce and maintain a theological mood, must acquire the homiletio spirit and talent, and make all his culture subservient to preaching. But such a life as this, from day to day, naturally affects the moral character. The studies of the theologian, and preacher, work directly towards the growth of piety. Those who unduly magnify the practical, to the undervaluation of the doctrinal and theoretic, in theology, are wont to make the objection, that study is unfavorable to devotion. There cannot be a more erroneous judgment than this. The studious, thoughtful Christian is always more unworldly and sincere, than the Christian who reads but little, and thinks still less. The pastor can employ no means more certain to sanctify his flock, than reading and reflection, upon their part. Just in proportion as he is able to induce the habit of studying the Scriptures, and of perusing religious and doctrinal books, will he spiritualize the church to which he ministers.

This is equally true of the clergyman. Study, close, persevering study, improves his religious character. An indolent minister is not a spirituallyminded man. He who neglects his library, and passes by Biblical and theological science, to occupy himself with the frivolities of society, or with the light literature of the day, cannot keep his mind • and heart in a very high state of devotion. There is something in a regular routine of careful investigation, eminently fitted to deepen and strengthen the religious character. The mind converses with solid verities, and is thereby preserved from what the Scriptures call "vain imaginations." It does not ramble and wander in the fields of fancy, but is busy with sober, serious truth. How much more favorable to the growth of piety is such a studious life, than an indolent and day-dreaming one. For the aiind must do something. If it is not occupied with ^reat and good themes, then it will be busy with small and frivolous ones. This is specially true of the clergyman. He has no secular occupations to engross him, like those of the farmer, the mechanic, and the merchant. He does not rise up in the morning, and go out among men, to his work, until the evening. His time is all at his own disposal, and if he does not devote it, with fidelity, to the active and contemplative duties of his profession, it will hang upon his hands. The consequence will be, a restless, vagrant, and inefficient mental action. So far as his intellect is concerned, he will drag out a feeble and unhappy life. And is this favorable to growth in holiness? Is this the sort of mortification that is profitable to godliness? It is no more profitable than the dull, paralytic existence of the monk, in his dark, damp cell.

The fact is, that the holiest men, in the Christian Church, have been the most studious men. Those spiritual and heavenly-minded divines, who accomplished most in the ministry of their own day, and who have been the lights and guides of the ministry up to this time, were men of great learning Augustine, Calvin, Owen, Baxter, and Edwards, were hard students. Henry, in his life of Calvin,—• a work which deserves to be read, aad pondered, by every clergyman,—furnishes striking examples of the studiousness of this great, and intensely spiritual man. He was so assiduous in completing Ins Instates, that he often passed whole nights without sleeping, and days without eating. Beza remarks, that for many years Calvin took only one meal a day, and then only a very sparing one, assigning, as a reason, the weakness of his stomach. Though, from his connection with the Reformation generally, and his relation to the Genevese commonwealth particularly, Calvin was compelled to perform as much public civil labor as a modern secretary of state, he yet found time to write a commentary upon nearly the whole Bible, to carry on learned and powerful controversies with all sorts of errorista and heretics, to compose a system of divinity, which has exerted more influence in the world than any other uninspired production, and, besides all this, to preach, probably, more than three times the number of sermons delivered by the minister of the present day, in the same length of time. Henry remarks of his labors at Geneva, that in addition to his literary employments, such as the composition of treatises, didactic and polemic, and an extensive correspondence with kings and cabinet ministers, in behalf of the Church, he had to attend to the business of the court of morals, or the consistory, to

that arising from the assembly of the clergy, and from his connection with the congregation,—a great amount of local, legislative, and judicial business. Three days in the week, he lectured on theological subjects, and every alternate week, he preached daily. When the day had been wholly occupied in business, the quiet hours of the night remained to him, and, allowing himself a brief repose, he would continue his studies. Writing to Farel from Strasburg, Calvin says: "When the messenger was ready to take the beginning of my work, with this letter, I had about twenty leaves, to look through. I had, then, to lecture and preach, to write four letters, make peace with some persons who had quarrelled with each other, and answer more than ten people, who came to me for advice. Forgive me, therefore, if I write only briefly."1

Baxter has left a larger body of theological composition, for the use of the Church, than any other English divine; and how much he accomplished, in the way of preaching, and of pastoral work, is well known. Though his early education was neglected, and he did not receive a collegiate training, he was one of the most studious, and learned of men. He is generally known by his more popular, and practical writings, and one who had read these alone, might infer that Baxter was distinguished only for a vivid intellect, and a zealous heart. But, if any one will study his strictly theological treatises, he will discover evidence in

1 Hknrt: Life of Oulvin, I. p. 424.

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every line, of the most severe discipline, and the most patient and extensive reading. Besides the close and critical study of the Scriptures, in the original tongues, Baxter was well versed in the Pagan theologies and philosophies, in the speculations of the Christian Fathers, and in the theology and philosophy of both the Schoolmen, and the .Reformers. The familiarity which Baxter shows with the Scholastic philosophy and theology, is remarkable. His own mind was eminently analytic, and one of the English prelates remarks of him, that if he had lived in the Middle Ages, he would have been one of the Schoolmen. The plain, unadorned, and pungent periods of the Saint's Rest, and the Call to the Unconvertedj came from a mind that was entirely master of the subtle metaphysics of Thomas Aquinas.1

Now we hold, and affirm, that this severe study fostered the piety of Calvin, and Baxter. If we could suppose that, in the economy of grace, the same degree of Divine influence is bestowed without the use of means, as is bestowed with it, and should assume th3 existence of the same degree, in the instances of Calvin and Baxter, that was actually enjoyed by them, while subtracting the influence of this close studiousness, upon their Christian character, it would undoubtedly lose much in depth, tho roughness, and ripeness. God bestows a blessing upon intellectual seriousness, upon devotion to good books, and upon a meditative spirit. It is true, that the learned man is oftentimes proud and unevangelical, but would ignorance render him any less so? In order to convert a proud scholar, into a meek and lowly Christian, is it only necessary to take away his library, and strip him of his acquisitions? Is ignorance the mother of devotion?

1 "Next to practical divinity, brought things out of the darkno books so suited with my dis- ness of confusion. For I could position as Aquinas, Scotus, Du- never, from my first studies, enrandus, Ockham, and their disci- dure confuskyn." Eaxteb: Narpies; because I thought they nar- rative of his Life and Times, "owly searched after trrth, and

Having thus seen that the clerical calling, and profession, itself demands, and is favorable to, a superior religious character, we proceed to mention some practical rules, for its cultivation in the clergyman. 1. The first rule is that which is to be given in every age, and clime, to all grades of cultivation, and all varieties of occupation, and profession. That which is the first maxim, for any and every Christian, in keeping the heart, is also the first for the clergyman. He must maintain regular habits of communion with God, in prayer. The lettered Christian is more liable to neglect this duty, and privilege, than the unlettered, because his mind is constantly conversant with divine truth, and he is exposed to the temptation of substituting this, for the direct expression of desires, and wants. But, in order to growth in religion, it is not enough for

him to meditate upon the Divine character and religious doctrines; he must actually address God, in supplication. Undoubtedly, a serious mood may be maintained, by being familiar with great and lofty subjects, especially with the deep themes of metaphysical philosophy. The merely natural attributes of the Deity, have power to elevate, and solemnize the human mind. Pantheism itself, introducing the soul to the immensity of nature, and bringing it under the mysterious impression of vast forces, and laws, and processes, operating in infinite space and everlasting time, throws a shadow over the spirit, and renders it grave in its temper. Spinoza was a serious.minded person; so much so, that Novalis, one of the most thoughtful of the secular German poets, named him the "God-intoxicated man;" and Schleiermacher himself, in one of his Discourses upon Religion, calls him the "holy, persecuted Spinoza.''1 But the very delineation of his character which follows, shows that this solemnity of Spinoza's intellect originated in the awe, and worship, of the impersonal Infinite,—a worship that is meditative, indeed, but "never supplicatory. f But, this is not religion. It has no root in the knowledge, and acknowledgement, of the I Am. It never holds actual communion, with the living and true God. Naturalism never prays. There is no address, of one person to another person. For, this communion with the Infinite; this " mingling with the universe," and feeling, in the phrase of Byron, "what one cannot express, yet cannot all conceal;" this worship of mere immensity; is not religion. There is no personality, upon either side. The man who worships loses his individuality, and the God who is worshipped has none to begin with.1 And this holds true, as we go up the scale. It is not sufficient to commune with the truth; for truth is impersonal We must commune with the God of truth. It is not enough to study, and ponder, the contents of religious books, of even the Bible itself. We must actually address the author of the Bible, in entreaties and petitions.2

1 Schleieemaohek: Reden uber Eeligion, p. 48.

1 That there can be no penitence for sin, and confession, in pantheism, is self-evident; and, therefore, so far as this is an element in religion for man, religion is impossible for the pantheist.

'Col eridge,dnring that pantheistic period in his mental history, which is so interesting in its psychological aspects, fell into this error respecting prayer, but afterwards criticized, and corrected it, with a depth of insight into the nature of prayer, all the more profound, perhaps, for the previous experience. A writer in Tait's Magazine informs us, that on his first introduction to Coleridge, "he reverted with strong compunction, to a sentiment which ho had expressed in earlier days,

upon, prayer. In one of his youthful poems, speaking of God, he had said,—

Of whose all.seeing eye,

Aught to demand, were impotence of niiud.

This sentiment he now so utterly condemned, that, on the contrary he told me, as his own peculiar opinion, that the act of praying was the very highest energy of which the human heart was capable, praying, that is, with the total concentration of the faculties; and the great mass of worldly men, and of learned men, he pronounced absolutely incapable of prayer." Henry Nelson Coleridge corroborates this statement, in the following interesting anecdote. "Mr. Coleridge, •within two years of bis death, very solemnly declared to me his conviction upon the same subject. I was sitting by his bedside, one afternoon, and ho fell, an unusual thing for him, into a long account of many passages of his past life, lamenting some things, condemning others, but complaining withal, though very gently, of the way in which many of his most innocent acts had been cruelly misrepresented. 'But, I have no difficulty,' said he, 'in forgiveness; indeed, I know not how to say, with sincerity, the clause in the Lord's prayer, which asks forgiveness as we forgive. I feel nothing answering to it in riy heart. Neither do I find, or

There can, consequently, be no genuine religion without prayer. And the degree of religion, will • depend upon the depth and heartiness of prayer. It does not depend so much upon the length, as the intensity of the mental activity. A few moments of real and absorbing address to God, will accomplish more for the Christian, in the way of arming him with spiritual power, than days or years of reflection, without it. Hence, the power of ejaculatory prayer. In the brief instant, the eye of the creature catches the eye of the Creator, glances are exchanged, and the Divine power and blessing flow down into the soul. It is this direct vision of God, and this direct imploring something of Him, which renders the brief broken ejaculations of tne martyr, so supporting, and triumphant over flesh and blood, over malice and torture. The martyr might meditate never so intensely and long, upon the omnipotence and the wisdom of God, and still be unable to endure the flame, and the rack. But the single prayer, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit," lifts him high above the region of agony, and irradiates his countenance with the light of angelic faces.

reckon, the most solemn faith in God, as a real object, the most arduous act of the reason and will. O no, my dear, it is to Peat, to Prat as God would have us; this is what, at times, makes me turn cold to my soul. Believe me, to pray with all your heart and strength, with the reason and the will, to believe vividly that God will listen to your voice through Christ, and verily do the thing he pleaseth, thereupon,—this is the last, the greatest achievement of the Christian's warfare upon earth. Teach ns to pray, O Lord!' And then he burst into a flood of tears, and begged me to pray for him." Colkkidge: Table Talk, Works, VI. 327

The most holy and spiritual teachers and preachers, in the Church, have been remarkable for the directness, and frequency of their petitions. They were in the habit of praying at particular times in the day, and also of ejaculatory prayer. Some of them began the day with hours of continuous supplication, and then interspersed their labors with brief petitions. Luther was distinguished for the urgency, and frequency of his supplications. His maxim, bene orasse est bene studuisse, is familiar. So easy and natural was it for him to pray, that even in company with friends, and in the midst of social intercourse, he would break out into petitions. This' was often the case, in times of trouble to the Church, and the cause of the Reformation. God was then present, without intermission, to his anxious and strongly exercised soul, and hence he talked with Him, as a man talketh with his friend. The peculiar vigor, and vitality of Luther's religion, should be traced, not solely to his reception of a doctrine, even so vital a doctrine as justification by faith, but to direct intercourse with God.

Consider, again, for an illustration, the Confessions of Augustine,—the most remarkable book, of the kind, in all literature; a book, in which the religious experience of one of the subtlest and deepest of human minds, allied with one of the mightiest and most passionate of human hearts, is portrayed in letters of living light. But, it is full of prayer. The autobiography is intermingled, all through, with petitions and supplications. So natural had it become for that spiritual and holy man, to betake himself to his God, that the reader feels no surprise, at this mixture of address to man and address to God. This work is well entitled Confessions, for, in it, Augustine po,urs out his whole life, his entire existence, into the Divine ear.

Well, therefore, may we lay down, as the first rule for the promotion of piety in the clergyman, the great and standing rule for all Christians. Let him not be satisfied with studying, and pondering, the best treatises in theology, or with studying, and pondering, even the Bible itself. Besides all this, and as the crowning and completing act, in the religious life, let him actually, and really pray. Let him not be content with a theological mood, with a homiletic spirit, with a serious and elevated mental habitude. Besides all this, and as a yet higher and more enlivening mental process, let him truly, and personally address his Maker and Redeemer, in supplication. Let him. not attempt to promote piety in the soul, by a merely negative effort,—by neglecting the cultivation of the mind, and undervaluing learning and study. If the clergyman is not spiritually-minded, and devotedly religious, with learning and studiousness, he certainly will not be so without it. Neglect of his intellectual and theological character, will not.help his religious character. Let him constantly endeavor to advance the divine life in his soul, by a positive, and comprehensive method. Let him consecrate, and sanctify all his study, and all his meditativeness, and all his profound and serious knowledge, with prayer.

2. The second rule, for the cultivation of the religious character of the clergyman, is, that he pursue theological studies for personal conviction, and improvement. Melancthon, one of the most learned and contemplative of divines, as well as one of the most spiritual and best of men, makes the following affirmation respecting himself: "I am certain and sure, that I never investigated theology as a science, for any other purpose, primarily, than to benefit myself."1 If the clergyman would advance in spirituality, he must seek first of all, in the investigation of divine truth, to satisfy his own mind, and put it at rest, in respect to the great themes of God's purposes, and man's destiny. He must make the theology of the Bible contribute to his own mental peace. That which a man knows with certainty will affect his character. If theological stucliea result in an undoubted belief, a belief in which there is no wavering or tremulousness, they will result in solid religious growth. To say nothing of the influence of such a mode of pursuing the truth, upon the manner of communicating it, its effect is most excellent upon the preacher himself. We are, in reality, influenced by divine truth, only in proportion as we thoroughly know it, and thoroughly believe it. Suppose that the theologian wavers in his mind, in respect to the doctrine of endless punishment; will not his own religious character be damaged, in proportion to the degree of his mental wavering? Suppose that his mind is not made up, and at rest; suppose that he hesitates, not outwardly, but in the thoughts of his heart, in respect to the absolute perdition of the impenitent; will not his own sense of the malignity of sin be less vivid, and his own dread and abhorrence of it less intense? Of course, he cannot preach the doctrine to another, with that solemn earnestness, and that impetus and momentum of statement, which causes the hearer to believe, and tremble; but, he cannot preach the doctrine to himself. He cannot fill his own soul, with a profound fear of sin. Thorough knowledge, and thorough personal belief of the truth, are indispensable to the existence of sincere, unhypocritical religion.

1 Compare a similar remark himself, in his Narrative of hia which Baxter makes respecting Life and Times.

3. The third rule for the promotion of the reli

gious character of the clergyman is, that he perform every clerical duty, be it in active or contemplative life, with punctuality, uniformity, and thoroughness. There is discipline in labor. The scrupulous and faithful performance of work, of any kind, improves both the mind and heart. A thorough and punctual mechanic, is a man of character. He possesses a mental solidity, and strength, that renders him a noticeable man, and a reliable man, in his sphere. The habit of doing work uniformly well, and uniformly in time, is one of the best kinds of discipline. He who has no occupation, or profession, must be, and as matter of fact is, an undisciplined man. And, in case one has an occupation, or a profession, the excellence of his discipline is proportioned to the fidelity, with which he follows it. If he half does his work, his moral character suffers. If he does his work thoroughly, when he does it at all, but does not perform it with punctuality, and uniformity (a thing which is, however, not likely to happen), it is at the expense of his moral power.

All this is true, in an eminent degree, of professional labor. Consider, for example, the contem plative side of the clergyman's life, the duties of his profession so far as concerns the preparation of sermons, and see how directly, thoroughness, and uniformity, in this department, promote his religious growth and character. It is his duty, as a preacher, to deliver two public discourses, j,i each week. There may be, and there will be, more or less of informal religious instruction to be imparted, besides this; but the substance of the clergyman's professional service, in the present state of society, is performed, if he preaches two sermons, two oratorical discourses, every Sabbath day. This is the regular and established routine of clerical life, on its literary and contemplative side.

Now, we affirm, that the careful and uniform preparation of two sermons, in every six days, is a means of grace. It is, in its very nature, adapted to promote the piety of the clergyman. Punctual and faithful sermonizing fixes his thoughts intently upon divine truth, and preserves his mind from frivolous and vain wandering; it brings his feelings, and emotions, into contact with that which is fitted to enliven, and sanctify them; it overcomes the natural indolence of human nature, and precludes a great deal of temptation to employ the mental powers wrongly; it leaves no room for the rise of morbid and unhealthy mental exercises; it makes the clergyman happy in his profession, and strong in the truth, because he becomes, in the process, a thorough-bred divine; it gives him a solid weight of character, and influence, that does not puff him up with vanity, as mere popularity always does, but makes him devoutly thankful, and humble, before God; and, lastly, it promotes his piety, by promoting his permanence in the ministry, for the piety of a standard man, is superior to that of a floating man. And thus we might go on specifying particulars, in regard to which, the conscientious performance of clerical duties, in the study, tends directly to build up a solid, and excellent religious character.

There is a variety in the means which the clergyman must employ, in order to spiritual growth, and they differ, in the degree of their importance. We have assigned the first place, to prayer, but, we do not hesitate to assign the second place, to conscientious, and thorough sermonizing. For, what is such sermonizing, as we are pleading for, but religious meditation, of the very best kind? patient thought, upon that divine truth which is the food, and nutriment of holiness? bringing out into the clear light of distinct consciousness, in our own minds, and for the minds of others, the doctrines of salvation? There is no surer way, to become interested in a truth, than to write a well-considered discourse upon it. The careful composition of a sermon, oftentimes brings the heart into a jjlow of

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feeling, that gives itself vent in prayer. Hence, we find some of the greatest preachers, among the Fathers and the Reformers, writing down the prayer that rose, spontaneously, from their overflowing souls, making it the conclusion of their sermon. Many of the sweetest and loftiest hymns of Watts, were the lyrical utterance of what had passed through his mind in sermonizing, and were, originally, appended to his discourses. And the same thing appears, still more remarkably, in the writings of the Schoolmen. In these strictly scientific treatises, which do not pretend to be oratorical, or applicatory to an audience, we meet, here and there, a short prayer, full of earnestness, and full of vitality. In Anselm, in Aquinas, and in Bernard, the reader sees the spirit of these analytic metaphysical men, at the close of its intense meditation upon some mystery in the Divine being, or the Divine administration, subdued, and awed, hushed, and breathless, in supplication and adoration. The intensely theoretic turns into the intensely practical, pure reason into pure emotion, dry light into vivid life.

What has been said of the contemplative life of the clergyman, applies with equal force to his active life. A thorough and punctual performance of pastoral duties, is a direct means of grace. In the first place, the conscientious delivery of the two sermons, that have been composed in the conscientious manner spoken of, ministers to edification. Although this is not strictly a pastoral work, yet it belongs to the active, rather than the contemplative side of clerical life. That clergyman who preaches hia sermons with earnestness, feeling the truth of every word he utters, will be spiritually benefited by this part of his labors. Elocution, the mere delivery of truth, which is too often destitute of both human nature and divine grace, when emphatic, and sincere, promotes piety. Speaking in and by a sermon, with ardor and feeling, to an audience, in respect to their spiritual interests, as really sets the Christian affections into a glow, as speaking, in the same spirit, to an individual in private intercourse.

In the second place, a faithful and constant performance of the duty of pastoral visiting, is a means of grace. No one who has had any experience in this respect, will deny this for a moment. There is nothing better adapted to develope piety, to elicit the latent principles of the Christian, than going from house to house, and conversing with all varieties of character, and all grades of intelligence, upon the subject of religion. The colporteur's piety is active and zealous; and the missionary, who is generally obliged to teach Christian truth to individuals, is a fervid and godly man. The clergyman, then, will grow in grace, by simple assiduity in the discharge of this part of his professional labors. Whenever he is called to the bed-side of an impenitent sinner, let him be thorough in dealing with that endangered sinner's soul, affectionate but solemn in probing his consciousness, perseveringly attentive to the moral symptoms of the unregenerate man, on the bed of languishing;—let him be a faithful pastor, in each and every such instance, and he will be enriched with heavenly wisdom and love. Let him stand with the same uniform fidelity at the bed-side of the dying Christian, dispelling momentary gloom by the exhibition of Christ and his atonement, supplicating for more of the comfort of the Holy Ghost,

in the soul of the dying saint; listening to the utterances of serene faith, or of rapturous triumph; let him submit his own soul, to the great variety of 1 influences that come off from the experience of the sick, and the dying, and he will greatly deepen and strengthen his own religious character. And, lastly, the same fidelity and constancy, in conversing with well and happy men, and therefore thoughtless men, respecting their eternal interests, and in catechising the children, conduces powerfully to the formation of an unearthly, and a holy frame of spirit.

Here, then, in the clerical office itself, is a most efficient means of grace. The clergyman needs not to go up and down the earth, seeking for instrumentalities for personal improvement. By his very position, and daily labor, he may be made spiritual and heavenly. The word is nigh him, in his mouth and iu his heart. A single word, is the key to holiness in the clergyman. That word is fidelity,—• fidelity in the discharge of all the duties of his closet, his study, and his parish. A somewhat noted rationalist speaks of some men, as being " aboriginal saints,"—men in whom virtue is indigenous. There is no such man. But, we may accommodate this hypothesis of a natural virtue, and say, that the clergyman, so far as his calling and position are concerned, ought to be naturally holy. His whole environment is favorable to piety. He ought to be spontaneously religious.