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are disposed to give as little as they can possibly help; a far greater number, without thinking about the matter, give what others give, and go on in this way for ten or lwenty years, without considering that money is not above haif the value it was then; and too many, likewise, without considering that their capacity to give is increased tenfold. In short, if the balance of equity were hung up, and the subscriptions of the congregations were laid in, very many of thein would be " found wanting.”
3. The inattention of stewards and deacons to the duties of their office, is one of the most common causes of subscriptions being so small. Individuals among them deserve great praise; but instances occur sometimes, when these men seem to think only of the power of their office, not of its duties. Some are persons of a narrow, contracted spirit, and judge that little is better for a minister than much. Some have very little knowledge of the world ; they are pious, worthy men, but from a want of acquaintance with inankind, and ignorance of what is becoming and suitable in different situations of life, they are incompetent for the steward's place. Some do not love trouble; and, as they consider what they do as wholly a favour, they take what is given them by the people, and what was customary. If there be favour in the exercise of this ofiice, it is on the congregation the favour is conferred, not on the minister: to him it is but an act of justice ; for, if he be labouring all the year from day to day for the people's spiritual good, it is surely their business to send a person to collect what is due to him for his labour. How frequently does it happen, by the inattention of deacons, that people who can well aiförd it, attend froin month to month on the ministry of the word, without contributing a mite, Some are so very considerate, that they do not apply for a subscription till they see if the person succeed in business, and can well afford it. If the person should go to the deacen's shop for a pound of tea, or a suit of clothes, does he let them have it for nothing on that account or does he not require the same price as from his richer customers? But, perhaps, the most common fault of stewards and deacons has been that which is common to them with the people in general, nainely, a want of duly con<sidering what is equitable and necessary, and the following of old customs, without minding that the old times are passed away, and the state of things is entirely changed. . 3 B 2
4. In many places the congregations are small, and frequently poor likewise. From such, less is to be expected ; but, even in most of these, the foregoing causes operate with equal force as in larger societies.
Such are the causes of the scanty provision made for one of the most laborious and useful classes of men in the · çommunity. Let us look into the consequences resulting from this.
Ministers must be rendered uncomfortable in their minds, when they find that a diligent application to the duties of their office will not provide the conveniences of life, and when they observe their difficalties heightened as their families increase, it must add to their uneasiness ; and it tends to destroy that tranquillity and that freedoin from worldly cares, which is so scry important in the discharge of their various duties.
Should necessity compel a minister to apply to some kind of business to help towards the support of his family, there is, at the least, so much time taken away from attention to his office. Fiom his habits, he is not very likely to succeed in trade. At any rate, there is great danger of the mind contracting a worldly tinge, which will be exceedingly prejudicial to him in every religious exercise. . When it is found that they who serve at the altar cannot live by the altar, and bring up a family in a decent way, the certain consequence is, that there will be a deficiency of weil-educated persons for the ministry; and in an age when knowledge is more widely diflused than in any former one, a good education in ministers is the more lecessary
Is it not then to be feared that religion will suffer, and the cause of the Redeemer sustain an injury? This is a consideration of the most sericus kind, and should excite the liveliest feelings, "But what is to be done, in order to remove so oppressive an evil, and to render the situation of ministers inore comfortable ?
This enquiry will forin the subject of another letter. In the mean time, seriously recommending the matter to the consideration of every friend of the gospel, I am,
GENTLEMEN, London, Your most obedient humble Servant, Ayg. 19, 1802.
A. Z. PBITUARY,
MRS. WATKINS. Mrs. Watkins received serious and effectual religious impressions under the ministry of Mr. Venn, more than forty years ago, which were manifested in her conduct as a wife and a mother, throughout her life. For several years past, her health and strength were declining; yet was the strength of her heart renewed day by day. On Sunday, May 11, 1800, she was attacked with a violent pain in her side, which, when it subsided, left her pecularly weak and languid, and gave symptoms of approaching dissolution; but she possessed great consolation and joy in the prospect of blessedness cternal. She repeatedly said, “I am going home.” When it was said, I hope you are better, she would reply, “ I should be sorry if I were not going home.” Of an aged friend, incapable of coming to see her, she said, “ Don't let hiin be uneasy that he cannot come to see me; te shall meet in Heaven, and part no more.” “In my Father's house are many mansions - I know whom I have believed; I know that my Redeemer liveth.” “ It is all over with me as to this world (said she to her daughter I am going the way of ail liesh, but there is no condempation to them that are in Christ Jesus --I am not afraid to die ; the sting is taken away, and because Jesus lives, I shall live also." Perceiving one of her children by her, and much affected, she said, “Don't sorrow as those who have no hope ; consider, child, you will have a mother in glory-l long to depart, to be with Christ. O that I had wings, like a dove, for then would I Ay away, and be at rest! I shall no more çojoy public ordinances below (which she had constantly attended, notwithstanding a bodily infirmity of many years standing); but they are only streams; “ I am going to the marriage-supper of the Lamb,” she would repeat often the whole of that hymn, " Not all the blood of bulls on Jewish altars slain,” &c. On being asked, Whether she was desirous that any of her friends should be apprized of her illness, she said, “No; I have many godly friends; but I shall meet them before the throne, when I appear in yondur cloud, with all the favoured throng," &c. Ou the following Sunday, she said to those who attended her bed, “I am sorry you cannot go to a place of worship; but I shall soon go to spend an everlasting Sabbath in Heaven, and then you will lave an opportunity." At another time, she said, “I am very dull:" and on her being asked whether her evidence of her interest in Christ was obscured, she replied, “ No; my hope is on Christ, the Rock of ages.” On being asked if she found herself better, she said, “ Yes I am, because I am nearer my God and my home.” On Friday, being asked if the bedding might be altered, whereby she might lie more easy, “ No," replied she, "I wait to enter the rest that remains for the people of God. I trust, God hath forgiven ine all my sins, and pardoned all mine iniquities ; I hope to be with God to moriow. Lord be merciful to me a sinner, and take me bome : but keep me from murmuring. God bless you all ; and may he lift upon you the light of his countenance. Lord Jesus, come quickly : why are his chariot-wheels so long in coming ?" Upon Mr. Watkins leaving the room, and saying, "I hope I shall find you better ;” she replied, "If you never see me again alive in this world, I hope to meet you in the kingdom of our Father. I have been a long time weaning from the world; but my Father has led me by a right way, towards the city of habitation, - What are sixty years to eternity? I commit you 29 God, and to the word of his grace, I leave my husband, children,
friends, friends, and servants, with a gracious God. - Oh this poor weak body! but it shall be raised a glorious body! - What are all the enjoy. ments of life to one moment's full enjoyment of God!" -- Ofren did she pray, “ Lord take me home: I cannot rest my soul on any thing but thee; but by and by I shall enter into rest. - Blessed be God for that promise : The ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; sorrow and sighing shall Ace a way." .
It pleased God, unexpectedly, to restore some small degree of bodily strength, sufficient to enable her to walk about the bouse; but as she gradually lost the prospect of an almost immediate departure to be wrh Christ, her disappointment became evident to those who observed that she seemed to experience no satisfaction in the prospect of continuing on earth. Indeed, she had a part of her warfare tu accomplish in the death of her husband, four months after; and God appeared to have prepared her mind to be a preacher of consolation to her children on their loss, but his gain : so ncar are consolations and trials allied in the Christian pros gress! She never, however, completely recovered the effects of the last and a former paralyric shock; and for seventeen months she experienced an increasing weakness, and gradual decay. On monday, October 19, 180, she suddenly fell from her chair by a paralyric affection. When she was lifted up, she said, “ My husband has been gone a few months, and I an going now, and it is all well, very well." From This time, though she talked much, very litele could be understood. When a text was introduced, we could (from knowing the words ourselves) discover she was repearing and concludmg it. When two lines of the hymn,“ Jesus, lover of my soul," were spoken, she, in broken accents, readily Hoished the verse. October 2oth, she rested very quietly, and nothing of nourishment could be made acceptable. We could understand that she frequently prayed. Once, after she had said, “ Lord have mercy upon me," it was remarked, That he is a merciful, faithful, and covenant-keeping God; she said, « Yes, yes." From this day till October 22d, she was in a state bordering on insensibility ; when, without any peculiar struggle or conflict, her soul fled away, and was at rest. God graciously answered her prayer, which she had ofren put up, that she might not be long confined to her bed.
Though deprived of sight, by a gutta serena, wear forty years, her memory was furnished with a multitude of Scriptures, and comfortable religious truths. Her retirements from her family for private prayer, were regular and frequent. She lived near the throne of grace, and God gave her grace to help in time of need ; she left a family, looking to God that they might die the death of the righteous, and that their last end might be as safe and as peaceful as that of their departed parents :
N. G. WATKINS.
RECENT DEATH. On the 21st of July last, died much regretted, after a few days illness at Luron, in Bedfordfhire,.Miss H. Neale, author of Sacred History in Familiar Dialogues *, &c. and other publications in considerable esteem, We understand it is in contemplation to publish some interefin memoirs of her experience, chiefly extracred from a diary, which she kept for many years. . * See our Review of Books for Feb. 1798.
REVIEW OF RELIGIOUS PUBLICATIONS.
Four Sermons, preached in London, at the Eighth General Meeting of the
Missionary Society, May 12, 13, and 14, 1802. By the Rev.s. Lowell; G. Townsend ; J. M. Mason, A. M.; and R. Hawker, D. D. Alsoʻthe Report of the Directors, and a list of the Subscribers, 8vo.
In a public work like this, wherein so many persons have atha nually engaged, it is difficult to appreciate comparative excellence without hurting the feelings of those whose zeal and piety are equally unquestionable, though not intrusted with equal talents by their great Lord and Master, who estiinates the labours of his servants, not so much according to the talents committed to them, as according to the diligence and faithfulness with which those talents have been employed For this reason, we have been cautious of giving opinions upon the respective Discourses, and shall still adopt the same principle, in giving a brief analysis of each Discourse.
We cannot omit pre nising a singular relation and connection of the subjects of the present Sermons with each other, as it was, doubtless, unintentional; which shews the preachers to have been arsimated with the same spirit. Mr. Lowell celebrates the triumphs of Messiah over all the difficulties of his Mission in the Heathen world ;--Mr. Townsend advances the glory of the Messiah in their conversion ;-Mr. Mason proves the stability of his throne;
while Dr. Hawker improves the whole, by shewing the importance of the work of the Holy Ghost, in giving success to Mis sionary exertions, and in glorifying Jesus as the Messiah.
Mr. Lowell's text is Isaiah xi. 4, 5. “ Every valley shall be exalted," &c, which he properly applies to the times of Messiah ; in the enlargement of whose kingdom he judiciously observes, The most formidable obstacles shall be surmounted, the grand designs completely accomplished, - and the divine honour brightly displayed : and the subject is applied to support and animate the Society addressed.
Mr. Townsend endeavours to exalt the glory of Christ froin Isaiah lxvi. 19. “I will set a sign among them,” &c. He first reviews the text by way of paraphrase or exposition, and then in. duces a few general remarks ; after which the subject is applied to Ministers, - to the Missionary Society at large,--to Missionaries, and to the congregation; of which the grand object is to exalt Christ and debase the sinner.
From Heb. i. 8. “Unto the Son, he saith, Thy throne, o God! is for ever and ever!" Mr. Mason considers the Majesty of Jesus as a proper subject for the encouragement of the Society. In discussing the text, Mr. Mason points to the personal glory of Messiah as God; - to the sovercignty and supremacy of his throne, of which the characters are Mystery, Wisdom, and Righteousness; and to the glorious prospects that arise to the church, of preservatior, encrease, and triumph : which are exhibited in language well suited to their sublime nature.
Dr. Hawker's was the last Discourse, and sweetly concluded the an. niversary. His text was Rom. x, 14, 15, “How then shall they call on hiin in whom they have not believed" &c. After a suitable expo. sition of the text, Dr. Hawker takes a short view of the nature and fondency of the Gospel ; shews, the "absolute necessity of the