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The ministry is indeed armed with great powers for great effects. The doctrines which Christianity commits to its teachers, are mighty engines. The perfect character of God; the tender and solemn attributes, which belong to him as our Father and Judge; his purposes of infinite and everlasting mercy towards the human race; the character and history of Christ; his entire, self-immolating devotion to the cause of mankind; his intimate union with his followers; his sufferings, and cross, his resurrection, ascension, and intercession; the promised aids of the Holy Spirit ; the immortality of man; the retributions which await the unrepenting, and the felicities and glories of heaven,— here are truths, able to move the whole soul and to war victoriously with its host of passions. The teacher, to whom are committed the infinite realities of the spiritual world, the sanctions of eternity, "the powers of the life to come," has instruments to work with, which turn to feebleness all other means of influence. There is not heard on earth a voice so powerful, so penetrating, as that of an enlightened minister, who, under the absorbing influence of these mighty truths, devotes himself a living sacrifice, a whole burnt-offering, to the cause of enlightening and saving his fellow-creatures.
No; there is no romance in a minister's proposing, and hoping to forward, a great moral revolution on the earth; for the religion, which he is appointed to preach, was intended and is adapted to work deeply and widely, and to change the face of society. Christianity was not ushered into the world with such a stupendous preparation; it was not foreshown through so many ages by enraptured prophets; it was not proclaimed so joyfully by the songs of angels; it was not preached by such
holy lips and sealed by such precious blood, to be only a pageant, a form, a sound, a show. O, no. It has come from heaven, with heaven's life and power, -come to "make all things new," to make "the wilderness glad and the desert blossom as the rose," to break the stony heart, to set free the guilt-burdened and earthbound spirit, and to "present it faultless before God's glory with exceeding joy." With courage and hope becoming such a religion, let the minister bring to his work the concentrated powers of intellect and affection, and God, in whose cause he labors, will accompany and crown the labor with an almighty blessing.
My brother, you are now to be set apart to the Christian ministry. I bid you welcome to its duties, and implore for you strength to discharge them, a long and prosperous course, increasing success, and everlasting rewards. I also welcome you to the connexion which is this day formed between you and myself. I thank God for an associate, in whose virtues and endowments I have the promise of personal comfort and relief, and, still more, the pledges of usefulness to this people. I have lived too long, to expect unmingled good in this or in any relation of life; nor am I ignorant of the difficulties and trials, which are thought to attend the union of different minds and different hands in the care of the same church. God grant us that singleness of purpose, that sincere concern for the salvation of our hearers, which will make the success of each the happiness of both. I know, for I have borne, the anxieties and sufferings which belong to the first years of the Christian ministry, and I beg you to avail yourself of whatever aid my experience can give you. But no human aid
can lift every burden from your mind; nor would the truest kindness desire for you exemption from the universal lot. May the discipline, which awaits you, give purity and loftiness to your motives; give energy and tenderness to your character, and prepare you to minister to the wants of a tempted and afflicted world, with that sympathy and wisdom, which fellowship in suffering can alone bestow. May you grow in grace, and in the spirit of the ministry, as you grow in years; and, when the voice which now speaks to you shall cease to be heard within these walls, may you, my brother, be left to enjoy and reward the confidence, to point out the path and the perils, to fortify the virtues, to animate the piety, to comfort the sorrows, to save the souls of this much loved people.
Brethren of this Christian Society! I rejoice in the proof, which this day affords, of your desire to secure the administration of Christ's word and ordinances to yourselves and your children; and I congratulate you on the prospects which it opens before you. The recollections, which rush upon my mind, of your sympathy and uninterrupted kindness through the vicissitudes of my health and the frequent suspensions of my labors, encourage me to anticipate for my young brother that kindness and candor, on which the happiness of a minister so much depends. I cannot ask for him sincerer attachment, than it has been my lot to enjoy. I remember, however, that the reciprocation of kind feelings is not the highest end of the ministry; and, accordingly, my most earnest desire and prayer to God is, that, with a new pastor, he may send you new influences of his spirit, and that, through our joint labors, Christianity,
being rooted in your understandings and hearts, may spring up into a rich harvest of universal goodness. May a more earnest concern for salvation, and a thirst for more generous improvement, be excited in your breasts. May a new life breathe through the worship of this house, and a new love join the hearts of the worshippers. May our ministry produce everlasting fruits; and on that great day, which will summon the teacher and the taught before the judgment-seat of Christ, may you, my much loved and respected people, be “ our joy and crown"; and may we, when all hearts shall be revealed, be seen to have sought your good with unfeigned and disinterested love!
MOST FAVORABLE TO PIETY.
DEDICATION OF THE SECOND CONGREGATIONAL
NEW YORK, 1826.
MARK XII. 29, 30: "And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord. And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength. This is the first commandment."
We have assembled to dedicate this building to the worship of the only living and true God, and to the teaching of the religion of his son, Jesus Christ. By this act we do not expect to confer on this spot of ground and these walls any peculiar sanctity or any mysterious properties. We do not suppose, that, in consequence of rites now performed, the worship offered here will be more acceptable than prayer uttered in the closet, or breathed from the soul in the midst of business; or that the instructions delivered from this pulpit will be more effectual, than if they were uttered in a private dwelling or the open air. By dedication we understand