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half a year. One of these hundred and fifty sacred lyrics might upon an average be committed daily without the least interference with other duties. This single acquisition would make you infinitely richer, than thousands of gold and silver.

The leading and essential topics of prayer, are Invocation, Adoration, Confession, Petition and Thanksgiving. All these should be brought in every sabbath day, and you will find yourself greatly assisted by something like the methodical arrangement which is here indicated. Sometimes you will dwell longer upon one topic, sometimes upon another, and sometimes you will find it convenient, perhaps, to adopt a different order. But regard to method you must always have. If you commence without a plan, you will be liable to wander, you know not where, to fall into bewildering, if not“ vain repetitions,” and to protract the exercise to a tiresome length.

You will find it very much for your improvement in the gift of prayer, to make the chapter which you read in your family devotions, the main subject of the exercise, in the way of confession, petition, or thanksgiving, as either of these topics may be most distinctly suggested. You will also, if my own experience does not deceive me, derive much advantage to yourself, while you impress scriptural truth more deeply upon the hearts of your congregation, by going over the leading topics of your last sermon in prayer, while they are yet fresh in the minds of all. For example, if you preach on depravity, or faith, or repentance, in the forenoon, make that the burden of your first prayer in the afternoon. It is well, I think, generally to confine your morning prayer chiefly to the state and wants of your own people, and to reserve the other and more public topics for the evening.

Avoid every thing like ostentation in prayer. Let your language be simple and child-like. Let your attitude be reverential, as becomes a worm of the dust addressing a God of infinite majesty and purity. Let the tones of your voice be solemn, but naturalsupplicatory, but not affected. Let your enunciation be deliberate, but not drawling. Be careful not to weary the congregation by the unreasonable length of your prayers. On ordinary occasions a quarter of an hour before the sermon, and two or three minutes at the close is probably as long as is profitable, though I would by no means have you always confine yourself to any definite limits.

definite limits. Much will depend upon your own spiritual frame and that of your people.

As helps to improvement in prayer, let me recommend to you both Watts and Henry as invaluable. I do not see how a young minister can do without them.

One suggestion more, and I have done. Whenever you are called upon to make the introductory, or consecrating, or concluding prayer at an ordination, keep within your own proper limits, both as to time and topics. For want of a due regard to this caution, the whole ground is often gone over two or three times. In almost everything but the name, the first prayer is the ordaining prayer, and it is well if he who closes the exercises, does not go back and set the candidate over the people for the third time.

I am affectionately, &c.



Yoc will, I presume, expect me to say something on the subject of exchanges. Taking it for granted that you may sometimes exchange pulpits and labors with your brethren, the question will arise in your mind, how often it is expedient to avail yourself of the accommodation. And this question involves two others. How much indulgence do you need, and how much will the best interests of your church and congregation allow you to take ? I am afraid, that on this point you may think me rather too rigid, and perhaps suspect, that I must have forgotten how I used to feel, when driven into corners in the first years of my own ministry. But that is one of the things which I shall always remember. I know very well, what it is to be taken up nearly all the week with visiting the sick, attending funerals,and with other exhausting pastoral duties, and to be overtaken by the sabbath without any adequate preparation. Under such circumstances it is a great relief to exchange. But looking over the whole ground, my deliberate judgment is, that it is best for a minister to preach at home as much as he can.

I will briefly state the reasons on which this opinion is formed, and leave you to weigh them at your leisure.

When you was ordained and took the pastoral oversight of the second church in - you was



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solemnly charged to feed that particular flock, and under this charge you voluntarily assumed all the responsibility which it was intended to impose. It is to be presumed, at least so the partiality of a father construes it, that, before they gave you a call, the hearts of the people were drawn out towards you, and that they wished you to settle with them, because they were pleased and edified with your preaching. They elected you not to supply the desk by

. proxy, but that they might secure the stated exercises of a spiritual guide and teacher, to whom they were personally attached, and who dwelling among them, and acquainted with their wants, might know how to "give to every one his portion in due season." This, to my mind, is a weighty argument against your exchanging very often. Your church and congregation have claims upon you, which no other people can have ; and if they had rather hear you preach from sabbath to sabbath, than any of those worthy brethren with whom you might exchange, you are bound to gratify them as far as your health will permit.

Another reason why a minister should generally occupy his own pulpit is, that he understands the state of his flock better than any other preacher can ; and of course better knows how to adapt his discourses to their spiritual need. The brother, with whom he might exchange, is perhaps a much abler man than himself; but he is a stranger, I mean comparatively so, although he may be a near neighbor. He feels it, when he selects his discourses, and sometimes labors under the painful uncertainty all the way through, whether he is edifying his audience or “beating the air.” If the pastor's ordinary sermons are not near so well written, or so full of thoughts, they may do more good by their timely and skillful adaptation. An ounce ball, when it does execution, is better than a grape shot that whizzes by; and the slightest blow, that hits the nail on the head, will drive it further than a hundred strokes of a trip-hammer striking within an inch of it.

A third important reason why a pastor should generally occupy his own pulpit is, that it gives him the advantage of systematic instruction, and of following up the good impressions of his discourses, which frequent exchanges are liable to obliterate. This reason may not strike you so forcibly now, as it will some years hence; although one of the first lessons of experience in your preaching will be, that topics which are connected, and which you have chosen and arranged, with your eye upon the state of your flock, are far more interesting than those taken up at random, however ably discussed. When a minister, whose heart is set upon the salvation of his people has presented one great truth clearly to their minds, and some interest is excited, he is very apt to feel, that he has just been preparing the way for another, not only in the order of sequence, but of time; and it often happens, that he hardly knows how to wait till the next sabbath, before he brings it out.

He sees as clearly as the light, that so long as God works by means, a vast deal depends upon their proximity, as well as their connection and skillful adaptation. And in this view of the subject, though he may wish for

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