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Proposals to Churches for doing good.
We have already proposed to the Pastors of Churches various ways of doing good; we shall now lay before the CHURCHES some proposals of welldoing, in which they may do well to join their pastors.
DAYS OF PRAYER, occasionally observed by the churches, for the express purpose of obtaining the sanctifying influences of the Spirit of God on the rising generation, have had a marvellous efficacy in producing a religious posterity in the land, and <a seed accounted to the Lord for a generation.” Such an acknowledgment of the necessity and excellency of supernatural grace, would be a very probable preparative and introduction to the communication of it. And when the children see their parents thus ear-' nestly seeking the grace of God for them, it would have a natural tendency to awaken them to an earnest seeking of it for themselves. The sermons also preached by the ministers on such solemn occasions, would, probably, be very awakening ones. That this proposal has been so little attended to, is lamentable and remarkable; but-" They all slumbered and slept.”
There is another proposal which has been tendered to all our churches, and attended to in some of them:
That the several churches having, in an instrument proper for the purpose, made a catalogue of such things as have indisputably been found amiss among them, do with all seriousness and solemnity pass their votes. That they account such things to be very offensive evils, and that, renouncing all dependence on their own strength to avoid such evils, they humbly implore the help of divine grace to assist them in watching against the said evils both in themselves and in one another: and that the com. municants frequently reflect upon these their acknowledgments and protestations, as perpetual monitors to them, to prevent the miscarriages by which too many professors are so easily overtaken.
It has been considered that such humble recoge nitions of duty will not only be accepted by our God, as declarations for him, upon which he will declare for us; but also, that they are the way of the new covenant, for obtaining help to perform our duty.
A particular church may be an illustrious pillar of the truth, by considering what important truths, and what part of the kingdom of God, may call for special, signal, open testimonies; and they may excite their pastors to the composing, and assist them in the publishing of such testimonies. It is probable that God would accompany such testimonies with a marvellous efficacy to suppress growing errors and evils.
A proposal of this nature may be worthy of some consideration :
1. It were desirable that every particular church should be furnished with a stock, that may be a constant and ready fund for the propagation of religion;
and that every minister would use his best endeavours, both by his own contribution, according to his ability, and by applying to well-disposed persons under his influence, to increase the stock; either in the way of collections publicly made at certain periods, or in the
of more private and occasional communications.
2. This evangelical treasury may be lodged in the hands of the deacons of the respective churches in which it is collected; who are to keep exact accounts of the receipts and disbursements; and let nothing be drawn from it, without the knowledge and consent of the church to which it belongs.
3. The first and main intention of this evangelical treasury is to be, the propagation of religion : and therefore, when any good attempts are to be made on unevangelized places, the neighbouring ministers may consult each of the churches, what proportion they may allow out of their evangelical treasury, towards the support of such a noble undertaking.
4. This evangelical treasury may be capable of being applied to other pious uses, and especially to such as any particular church may
for the service of religion in their own vicinity. Such as the sending of Bibles and catechisms to be dispersed among the poor, where it may be thought necessary. Likewise, giving assistance to new congregations, in their first attempts to build meetinghouses for the public worship of God with scriptural purity, may be one object for this evangelical treasury.
Query--Our churches have their sacramental col
lections, and it is not fit indeed that they should be without them. The primitive Christians did the same: Justin Martyr informs us of the “ collections,” and Tertullian of the “gifts of piety” which were made on these occasions. May not our churches do well to augment their liberality in their grateful and joyful collections at the table of the Lord, and to resolve that what is now collected shall be part of their evangelical treasury; not only for the supply of the table and the relief of the poor, but also for such other services to the kingdom of God as they may, from time to time see cause to countenance ?
Magistrates possess much power for doing good.
FROM ecclesiastical circumstances, which, in such a subject as the present, may with the utmost propriety claim the precedency, we will make a transition to POLITICAL. Now" Touch the mountains and they will smoke !" O when shall wisdom visit princes and nobles, and all the judges of the earth, and inspire them to preserve the due lustre of their character, by a desire to do good on the earth, and a study to glorify the God of heaven! tunities which rulers possess for doing good, are so evident, so numerous, and so extensive, that the person who addresses them, cannot but be overwhelmed with some confusion of thought, where to
66 Be wise now,
begin, when to conclude, or how to assign a fit order to his addresses. Indeed, the
Indeed, the very definition of government is, “ A care of others' safety.” Sirs, from whom have you received this power? could have no power at all, except it were given you from above.” Certainly what is thus received from God, should be employed for God. therefore, O ye kings; be instructed, ye judges of the earth : serve the Lord with fear,” lest you forget and offend him who has made you what you are. Kiss the feet of the Son of God, lest he be displeased at the neglect of your duty. Do not kindle the wrath of him who is “the blessed and only Potentates the King of kings, and Lord of lords." What is the name of a magistrate? The name which he that made him has given him is, “ the minister of God for good.” His empty name will produce a sad crime, if he do not set himself to s do good,” as far as ever he can extend his influence. Is he a vicegerent for God, and shall he do nothing for God? Gross absurdity! black ingratitude ! Is he one of those whom the word of God has called gods? Gods who do no good, are strange gods, not gods, but another name too horrible to be mentioned, belongs to them : such rulers we may call gods that have mouths but they speak not; eyes but they see not; noses but they smell not; and hands but they handle not!” Government is called, “The ordinance of God;" and as the administration of it is to avoid those illegalities which would render it no other than a violation of the ordinance; so it should vigorously pursue those noble and blessed