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disquieted within me? Hope thou in God for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.” You will remind him that, “ like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him." " Whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.”
Sometimes, and I fear oftener than otherwise, you will find the mourners of your congregation, “strangers to the covenants of promise.” You cannot point them to the consolations of religion ; for they have never “ tasted that the Lord is gracious.” You cannot address them as children smarting under the rod of their heavenly Father; for they have never learned to look up with filial confidence and say, “Our Father, who art in heaven." You cannot comfort them with his great and precious promises; for these are addressed to none but “mourners in Zion.” But you can sympathize with them. You can instruct them. You can tell them, where alone the afflicted find true consolation, and who it is that binds up the broken hearted. You can vindicate the ways of God to man; can show that what he gives, he has a perfect right to take away ; that he doth not willingly afflict and grieve the children of men;" that he is as it were constrained to do it, to arrest them in their thoughtless career, and bring them to repentance, and that afflictions, when rightly improved, are blessings in disguise. You can affectionately exhort the bereaved, who have no faith, no grace, no hope to support them, to“ hear the rod, and who hath appointed it;" to listen when the voice cries, “ be ye also ready, for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of man
cometh;” and to see to it that they get ready to follow those, whose departure they mourn, to the bar of God. You can tell them that if afflictions do not soften, they harden the heart, and that you cannot but tremble for them, more than ever, if after all they should go their way, and forget that they too must die. On topics like these you can safely dwell, and let me exhort you to be faithful as one who must give account. And do not content yourself, with calling once, after public prayers have been requested in compliance with the general custom, but repeat your visits, and follow up every good impression, which may have been made, with fervent prayer to God, that it may be deepened into conviction, and issue in saving conversion. I fear, there is in general a great want of pastoral faithfulness in this particular. Those who are alarmed by the death of their friends are left to sink back into their former stupidity, when by the blessing of God upon repeated visits and conversations, they might have been induced, " to work out their own salvation with fear and trembling ?”
There is one other class of mourners, which you may be called to visit, and with whom you should be prepared tenderly and solemnly to expostulate. I allude to such as actually murmur and rebel under the rod. I have heard a person of this class say, "I do not know what I have done, that God should afflict me so often, and so much more than he does others.?' What was this but making the charge of injustice and partiality against the Judge of all the earth, and what was the proper answer ? " You do not know what you have done! I am amazed. I am confounded. What have you not done to wear out his patience, and bring down his holy displeasure?
Tell me the day of your life, in which you have not broken his holy law, and been unthankful for his mercies. You make me shudder. “Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thy heart may be forgiven thee."
Should you, my dear son, ever be brought into similar circumstances, may God give you grace to be faithful, and in all other cases where, though the lips may not express it, you find reason to believe that secret murmurings are indulged in the heart.
I am very affectionately, &c.
MY DEAR E.
The catalogue of your pastoral duties is not completed. You might visit every family in your congregation, once a year, or oftener; you might be unweared in your attentions to the sick and the afflicted, and yet not be a good pastor-not properly fill your important station. Always bear it in mind, that more than one half your flock are under twenty years of age, and that the tenderest care of a shepherd is, to gather and feed the lambs. It is your duty, and if you discharge it faithfully, it will be your greatest pleasure, to superintend the religious education of the children and youth of your pastoral charge. While you are preaching to them as part of the congregation from Sabbath to Sabbath, and sometimes writing sermons on purpose for them, much more will remain to be done. The children must be brought nearer, and addressed in a more familiar style, than they can ordinarily be from the pulpit. The truth must be presented in its more simple and elementary forms. You must gather the little ones about you, and break up the bread of life into small portions, as they can receive it.
In the first place, then, let me charge you to catechise them. This you may do, both on the Sabbath, and on week days; and I would advise you to do it systematically. Whatever method you adopt, form your plan, and announce it from the pulpit. Let your people understand, that it is your intention to meet the children statedly, at such times and places as you specify, and that you rely upon the co-operation of parents, to aid you in securing their punctual attendance. I would recommend neighborhood catechising, because it will sometimes be inconvenient and even impossible for all the children to come together in one place; and they ought none of them to lose the benefit of this exercise. But you should by all means have set times for catechising them together on the Sabbath. I confess I feel a great partiality for the sanctuary, as the most proper place. Perhaps it is because, when I was pastor, I was in the habit of bringing the children for the same purpose into the body pews, several times in a year, after the regular services of the Lord's day. I know not how much of mere feeling there may have been in it, but there was always to me a sacredness in the associations of the place, which added much to the interest and solemnity of the exercise. There I had baptized many of them in the name of the Holy Trinity; there they were accustomed to listen to me from the pulpit, and there most of the parents would remain in the side pews, to hear what I had to say. This last circumstance gave me a fine opportunity of saying many things to fathers and mothers through their children, which I could scarcely have said with equal advantage elsewhere. If this hint should strike you favorably, I hope that wherever you collect the children of your congregation to catechise them, you will induce as many of