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forcible and respectful addresses as possible, to treat with every person particularly about their everlasting interests.
First, you may discourse with the elder people upon such points as you
as you think most proper for them. Especially charge them to maintain family-prayer; and obtain their promise of establishing it, if it has been hitherto neglected; yea, pray with them, that you may show them how to pray, as well as obtain their purposes for it. You may likewise press upon them the care of instructing their children and servants in the holy religion of our Saviour, to bring them up for him. .
If any with whom you should have spoken, are absent, you may frequently leave one or two solemni texts of the sacred Scripture, which you may think most suitable for them; desiring some one present to remember you kindly to them, and from you to recommend to them that oracle of God.
You may then call for the children and servants; and putting to them such questions of the catechism as you think fit; you may, from the answers, make
lively applications to them as possible, for engaging them to the fear of God. You may frequently obtain from them promises relating to secret prayer, reading of the Scriptures, and obedience to their parents and masters. You may also frequently set before them the proposals of the New Covenant, after you
have laboured for their conviction and awakening; till with floods of tears, they expressly declare their consent to, and their acceptance of the proposals of the covenant of grace, which you have set before them.
Some of the younger people you may order to bring their Bibles, and read to you from thence two or three verses, to which you may direct them: this will try, whether or not they can read well. You may then
encourage them to think on such things as you remark from the passage for their admonition, and never to forget those “ faithful sayings” of God. You may sometimes leave with them some serious question, which you may tell them they shall not answer to you but to themselves: such
66 What have I been doing ever since I came into the world, about the great errand upon which God sent me into the world?” “ If God should now call me out of the world, what would become of me throughout eternal ages?” And, “ Have I ever yet by faith carried a perishing soul to my only Saviour, both for righteousness and salvation ?"
You will enjoy a most wonderful presence of God with you, in this undertaking; and will seldom leave a family without many tears of devotion shed by all sorts of persons in it. As
seldom visit more than four or five families in an afternoon, the work may be as laborious as any part of your ministry.
My son, I advise you to set a special value on that part of your ministry, which is to be discharged in pastoral visits. You will not only do good, but also get much good, by your conversation with all sorts of persons, in thus visiting them “ from house to house." And
66 walk in the Spirit,” than when you thus walk among your flock, to do what good you can amongst them. In your visits an incredible deal of good may be
done, by distributing little books of piety. You may,
without much expense, be furnished with such books to suit all occasions: books for the old and for the young--for persons under afflictions or desertions—for persons under the power of particular vices—for those who neglect household piety-for sea-faring persons—for the erroneous-for those whom you would quicken and prepare to approach the table of the Lord for those who come to have their children baptized; and catechisms for the ignorant. You may powerfully enforce your admonitions, by leaving suitable books in the hands of those with whom you have conversed; you may give them to understand, that you would be still considered as conversing with them by these books, after you have left them. And in this way you may speak more than you have time to do in any personal interview; yea sometimes, more than you would wish. By good books a salt of piety is scattered about a neighbourhood. Pastors, uphold and cherish good schools in
But then be prevailed upon occasionally to visit the schools.
That holy man, Mr. Thomas White, made a proposal, “ That able and zealous ministers would sometimes preach at the schools; because preaching is the converting ordinance; and the children will be obliged to hear with more attention than they often do in the public congregation; and the ministers might here condescend to such expressions as might work most upon them, though not so fit for a public congregation.” 1 have read the following account of one who was
your towns !
awakened by this advice to do such things: “ At certain times he successively visited the schools. When he came to a school, he first offered a prayer for the children, as much adapted to their condition, as he could make it. Then he went through the catechism, or as much of it as he thought necessary; making the several children repeat the several answers: but he divided the questions, that every article in the answers might be understood by them; expecting them to answer, Yes, or No, to each question. He also put to them such questions as would make them see and own their duties, and often express a resolution to perform them. Then he preached a short sermon to them, exceedingly plain, on some suitable Scripture, with all possible ingenuity and earnestness, in order to excite their affectionate attention. After this, he singled out a number of scholars, perhaps eight or ten, and bid each of them turn to a certain Scripture, which he made them read to the whole school; giving them to see by his brief remarks upon it, that it particularly related to something which it concerned the children to take notice of. Then he concluded with a short prayer for a blessing on the school and on the tutors.”
While we are upon this subject, I would request that you visit the poor as well as the rich; and often mention the condition of the poor, in
your conversation with the rich. Keep, Sir, a list of them; and recollect, that though the wind does not feed any body, yet it turns the mill which grinds the corn, which may feed the poor. When conversing with
the rich, you may do this for the poor who are on
In visiting the poor, you will take occasion to dispense your alms among them. These alms, you will, with as much contrivance as possible, make the vehicles for conveying to them the admonitions of piety; yea, means and instruments of obtaining from them some engagements to perform certain exercises of piety. All ministers are not alike furnished for alms, but all should be disposed for them. They that have small families, or large interests, ought to be shining examples of liberality to the poor, and pour down their alms upon them, like the showers of heaven. All should endeavour to do what they can in this way.
Nazianzen of his rererend father's alms-deeds? They will find that the more they do (provided it be done with discretion) the more they are able to do ; the loaves will multiply in the distribution. Sirs, this bounty of yours to the poor,
procure a great esteem and success to your ministry. It will be an irrefragable demonstration that you believe what you speak concerning all the duties of Christianity, but particularly of liberality, a faithful discharge of our stewardship, and a mind weaned from the love of this world: it will deinonstrate your belief of a future state; it will vindicate you from the imputation of a worldly man: it will embolden and fortify you, with much assur
you call upon others to do good, and to abound in those sacrifices with which God is wellpleased.
You will do well to keep a watchful eye on the