PREACHED AT THE OPENING OF THE
AND AT THE ORDINATION OF
REV. ELIPHALET PEARSON, LLD.
SEPTEMBER 28th, 1808.
BY REV. TIMOTHY DWIGHT, D.D.
PRESIDENT OF YALE COLLEGE.
PUBLISHED BY FARRAND, MALLORY, AND CO.
SUFFOLK BUILDINGS, STATE STREET.
Belcher and Armstrong, Printers.
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Willison Editorís note: The formation of Andover Seminary followed on the heels of Harvardís appointment of Henry Ware as Hollis Professor of Divinity. Ware, by holding Unitarian views, signaled a radical departure by Harvard from the Puritan theological presuppositions it held for nearly two centuries. The clash of these two contradictory views ( our sermon by Daniel Dana on the Deity of Christ well captures the fervor !) spurred the Trinitarians to establish a new school to this end, and the influence was felt by the Presbyterians, with Princeton Theological Seminary becoming the first fruits of many schools later formed as the country expanded westward.
MATTHEW xiii. 52.
THEN SAID HE UNTO THEM, THEREFORE EVERY
SCRIBE, WHO IS INSTRUCTED UNTO THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN, 1S LIKE UNTO A MAN WHO IS AN HOUSEHOLDER, WHO BRINGETH FORTH OUT OF HIS TREASURE THINGS NEW AND OLD.
A SCRIBE, in scriptural language, was a person, professionally employed in expounding to the Jewish nation the law of God. In the text this name is given to a Minister of the gospel. Such a Minister, when instructed unto the kingdom of God, i. e. educated to the service of the church, is said by our Saviour to be like unto an Householder who bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old. A treasure is a collection of valuable things, stored for future use. Here it denotes a rich collection of valuable thoughts, and useful professional knowledge, treasured up by such a Minister through a series of years, and brought forth, as occasion requires, for the benefit of mankind.
The acquisitions, which obviously constitute this treasure, are numerous and important. The Evangelical Scribe, without a question, ought well to understand the Scriptures; the Evidences, on which they rest for their divine origin, and the Doctrines and Precepts, which they contain. To this end it is necessary, that he should thoroughly understand his own language, the Latin, the Greek, and the Hebrew. Of the last he cannot be ignorant without serious disadvantages; nor of the three first, in ordinary circumstances, without disgrace. If he cannot construe words and phrases; he cannot settle the opinions, which they express; but must always be bewildered in uncertainty, and error. If he is not versed in his own language; he cannot understand the books which he reads, nor communicate his sentiments as he wishes. In ancient History, both civil and ecclesiastical, he ought to be well read; because, otherwise, he will not know the meaning of the numerous Scriptural allusions to the former, nor the state of the Church, as unfolded in the latter; and because a large part of the proofs of a divine Revelation rest upon the facts, furnished by both. He ought to be thoroughly acquainted with Logic, because otherwise, he cannot reason with skill, or success; with Rhetoric, because it is necessary to teach him how to write, and speak, with propriety and force; with Natural Theology, because it is a branch of his professional science, and because the Scriptures have made it a part, and a fundamental one, of the Religion which he teaches; and with Christian Theology, because it constitutes the principal business of his office. Generally, his mind ought to be variously, and extensively, furnished with useful knowledge; because, otherwise, his views will be contracted; his illustrations of divine truth inapposite, uninstructive, and unsatisfactory; and his images few, poor, and often low and disgusting.
He is set for the defence of the truth; and must, therefore, be furnished with the necessary weapons of defence. He is to teach others; and, therefore, ought to be able to teach. Without this knowledge he may, indeed, as it is indispensable that he should, be a good man; but he will not be a good teacher. Every one, who hears him, may address to him the humiliating and unanswerable proverb; "Physician, heal thyself."
That a Religious Instructor ought to have his mind thus stored with the knowledge, suited to his employment, is forcibly taught in the text. It is also exhibited with equal force in other parts of the Scriptures.
The ancient instructors of the Jews were the Priests, and the Prophets; the ordinary, and extraordinary, Ministers of God to his people. The Priests were required to teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the LORD had spoken by the hand of Moses.[Lev. 10:11] Accordingly, Moses prophesied of them, that they should teach the law, and the judgments, of God to Israel [Deut. 30:10] in succeeding generations. By the Prophet . Malachi, GOD testifies concerning them, that the law of truth was in their mouth, and that they turned away many from their iniquity. " For the Priestís lips," he subjoins, "should keep knowledge ; and they should seek law at his mouth.["Mal. 2] If the Priestís lips were to keep knowledge; his mind must have obtained it. If the people were to seek the law at his mouth; he must have previously learned, and understood, the law. It ought not to be forgotten, that, in this passage, the Prophet has connected with the knowledge of the law integrity of instruction, rectitude of life, and a ministry, successful in turning many from their iniquity.
It is declared by the Jewish Rabbins, and is adopted from them by Lightfoot, that some, at least, of the cities, distributed to the Levites, were universities, devoted to the education of those who belonged to that tribe.
The Prophets were extraordinary Ministers to the people of Israel. It is well known, that they were inspired ; or that the will of God was, from time to time, immediately revealed to them. It is also well known, that they were carefully educated to their profession in schools, consecrated to this purpose. Ramathaim, Zophim, or Tsophim, i. e. the Ramath.s of the Seers, contained the first of these schools, spoken of in the Scriptures. Over this school Samuel presided. Others were afterwards erected in other places ; and were superintended, probably, by Elijah, Elisha, Nathan, Gad, and other Prophets, in their respective times. After the captivity, schools, generally of the same nature, were set up at Babylon, and elsewhere some of which were holden in high repute by the Jewish nation.
That God was pleased to educate men, destined by him to receive the spirit of inspiration, under the most enlightened Instructors of their respective ages, is a strong and decisive argument for the liberal education of men to the Ministry of the Gospel. There is, however, a fact, which furnishes an argument of still greater strength ,and more decisive efficacy. CHRIST selected his Apostles for the great work of preaching the gospel to mankind. Exclusively of St. Paul, who was educated in all the learning of the Jews, and to a considerable extent in that of the Greeks, he himself taught all his Apostles with his own mouth, more, according to the common opinion, than three years, and, in mine, more than four. Never was there such a Teacher never such a luminous course of Instruction. How immensely important they esteemed it we know from their own testimony, and from the daily and extensive use which they made of these instructions in their preaching and writings. Yet these men were destined by their Master to receive the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, in a degree totally transcending that, which had been vouchsafed to any other Prophets.
These illustrations, if I mistake not, place the importance of an enlightened education to those, who are designed for the Evangelical Ministry, in a light, which nothing can obscure ; and lend to it a sanction, which nothing can lessen.
What is thus unequivocally, and so strongly, enforced by the Scriptures, Reason and Experience urge upon mankind with their united voice. Reason proclaims, that an ignorant teacher is necessarily a mere Empiric, professing to communicate what he does not possess. Experience testifies, that all such Teachers distribute to their hearers chaff instead of wheat ; and that they are so far from being able to furnish food for men, as to be incapable of supplying the milk, which is necessary for babes.
There are, however, many persons in this and other Christian countries, who declare, both in language and conduct, that the desk ought to be yielded tip to the occupancy of Ignorance. While they demand a seven-years-apprenticeship, for the purpose of learning to make a shoe, or an axe; they suppose the system of Providence, together with the numerous; and frequently abstruse, doctrines and precepts, contained in the Scriptures, may be all comprehended without learning, labour, or time. While they insist, equally with others, that their property shall be managed by skilful agents, their judicial causes directed by learned advocates, and their children, when sick, attended by able physicians; they are satisfied to place their Religion, their souls, and their salvation, under the guidance of quackery. Among these people, men become preachers in a moment; and put on the qualifications for the Ministry, as they put on a coat. Multitudes of them can neither speak, nor write, nor even read, English with propriety. They can neither explain, nor understand, the great body o f Scriptural pas sages. They profess themselves to be set for the defence of the truth; and yet know not what the truth is, nor what are the means of defending it. Should the Gospel be attacked by an Infidel; they are unable either to answer his objections, or to tell what are the proofs, on which its authority rests as a Revelation from God. Should the translation of a text be called in question; they could neither explain, nor defend it. Should a geographical, or historical fact be mentioned; or a local custom allude to; it might, so far as they are concerned, as well have been written in Arabic, as in English.
At the same time, men of this character are incapable of the decorum, and dignity, which are indispensable in the desk. By mankind, at large, Religion is primarily seen in its Ministers; and, in the common apprehension; almost necessarily takes the degree of reputation and importance, which it actually sustains, from the manner, in which it is exhibited by them. If Ministers are respectable; Religion will by mankind in general. be respected. If they are grave; it will be regarded with seriousness. If they are intelligent; it will be believed to be a compend of wisdom. If they are refined; it will be supposed actually to refine and purify man. If they are dignified; it will be believed to be noble. If they are pious; it will be acknowledged to be real.
But if, on the contrary, Ministers are contemptible Religion will be despised. If they exhibit levity in their manners; it will be considered as a mere collection of trifles. If they are ignorant; it will be supposed to be a mass of folly. If they are vulgar; it will be regarded, not by superior minds only, but ultimately by the people at large, as a system of grovelling doctrines, and debasing precepts, lowering the character of man to a degree, beneath even his natural degradation. If their deportment exhibits, on the whole, meanness and littleness of character; Religion itself will sink down to their level; and become the subject of disgrace, and the object of scorn and ridicule.
I will not occupy the time of this assembly in refuting, any farther, the miserable shifts, and impious pretensions, by which these men endeavour to support
themselves in this wretched cause. Without a shadow of argument in its favour, it can be embraced only by imposture, ignorance, or enthusiasm; and must always shrink from the touch of sober investigation. That it will continue to engross the attachment, and the labours, of many persons in this and other Christian countries, is certainly to be expected for it must needs be, that offences come; but woe to that man, by whom the offence cometh. All that can be done by the friends of Christianity, towards an effectual resistance against this evil, is to lessen, as far as may be, the influence of those causes, from which it springs; and thus to prevent the existence of their effects. The Institution, whose birth we are this day assembled to celebrate, is designed, peculiarly, to accomplish this valuable end. Its efficacy may in some measure be understood from the following considerations
1st. It is the design of this Institution to furnish students with a sufficient opportunity to prepare themselves for the Ministry of the Gospel.
For this end, it not only offers them gratuitous instruction, and the gratuitous use of such books, as are fitted to this purpose ; but provides for them, also, at least to a considerable extent, the buildings in which they are to live, and the necessary expenses of living. It has long been a frequent, and unhappily a too well founded, complaint, that Theological students were, in many instances, forced into the desk, very imperfectly fitted for their profession, because their pecuniary circumstances would not permit them to pursue their studies through a sufficient length of time. The foundation of this complaint, it is hoped, will here, in a great measure, be taken away; and young men, destined for the Ministry, be furnished with those accommodations for their great purpose, which will enable them to pursue it through such a period, as wise and good judges shall deem necessary. The stated period will probably be thought sufficient; when it is remembered, that each student will previously have obtained a regular and liberal education.
2dly. A library will be furnished, sufficiently various, and extensive, for the purposes intended.
As the books, involved in this part of the Institution, will all be selected solely for the benefit of those, who are to use them; they will probably yield advantages, which can be enjoyed, elsewhere, only by means of much more extensive collections.
3dly. Professors will be established in the five great divisions of theological education . Natural Theology, Christian Theology, Sacred Literature, Ecclesiastical history, and the Eloquence of the Desk. To these it may, hereafter, be thought expedient to add a Professor of the Oriental Languages.
It is hardly necessary for me to observe, that each of these branches of Theological Learning is sufficiently extended, and various, to demand, and to exhaust, the utmost talents of a single man; or that the instruction in each, which will be highly profitable to students in Theology, may advantageously employ the whole time, and labour, of the most learned Professor.
In this country, hitherto, such students, after having completed a regular course of collegiate education have generally, and necessarily, been placed under the tutelage of parochial Ministers. An individual, in this case, has furnished all their professional instruction and that while encumbered by the superintendance of a parish, and the labour of writing, and preaching, two sermons in a week. Of this subject I speak with confidence, because I speak from experience; and cannot but have learned, in this way, the embarrassments, in parable from a course of instruction, so interwoven with other perplexing concerns. Were an Instructor ever so competent: it would be impossible for him to command sufficient time to communicate the knowledge, which ought to be considered as indispensable. Even the principal things must be summarily taught. The rest, both numerous and important, must be either barely glanced at, or wholly passed over. The true reason, why so many able and excellent divines have existed in this country, does not lie in their preparatory advantages, but in their talents, their fidelity, and their subsequent vigorous application to study.
In the present case these disadvantages are removed. Men of known reputation are here selected for the purposes of studying, and instructing, severally, each of these great divisions of Theological knowledge: and this to each of them becomes the business of life. They are secluded from all other employments; and encumbered by no other cares, beside those which are universally incident to man. Ample opportunity, therefore, to make extensive acquisitions is here furnished to them all; to arrange into system whatever they acquire; to correct whatever they find erroneous; and to teach with regularity and method the results of their various labours.
At the same time, they will direct with similar regularity that course of reading, which is best suited to a Theological education; demand of their students those exercises, which will render what they read their own; watch attentively their moral and religious deportment; withdraw them from errors; reprove them for faults; warn them of dangers; and endeavour, universally, to increase their knowledge of experimental piety.
4thly. Students may here derive peculiar advantages from each other.
It is reasonably believed, that a considerable number of youths will ultimately assemble in this place, for the purpose of obtaining an education for the Ministry; and will naturally be united to each other in the bonds of friendship. All Ministers ought to be friends. To this end, however, some knowledge of each other is no less necessary, than mutual good will. When Ministers are educated separately, and solitarily, this knowledge, in ordinary cases, cannot exist; and, when it actually exists, must often be very imperfect. Here, being educated together, being of the same age, pupils of the same Instructors, tenants of the same buildings, engaged in the same delightful pursuits, and actuated, as we may reasonably hope, by the same spirit, they can hardly fail to be of one accord, and of one mind. The friendships, formed in youth, are peculiarly intimate and endearing. The very phrase, "A friend of my youth," carries with it an image, which few men survey without delightful emotions. The friendships formed here, will, it is believed, spring from the best of all sources; Evangelical Virtue. They will, also, be strongly cemented by oneness of age, education, circumstances, and pursuits. They will, therefore, last through life; will have a powerful influence on the character and conduct; will extend their efficacy over every part of this land; and will effect, in the happiest manner, all the moral and religious interests of its inhabitants.
5thly. The doctrines, which will be taught here, are the doctrines of the REFORMATION.
These are the doctrines, generally taught in the creeds, catechisms, and confessions, of almost all Protestant Churches. They are the doctrines, conveyed down to us from the earliest periods of the Church by that body of Christians, to whom the title of Orthodox was peculiarly applied, both by themselves and their opposers. They are the doctrines, brought with them by those eminently good men, who converted New-England from a desert into a garden. They are the doctrines, under which almost all Revivals of Religion have existed. They are, therefore, the doctrines, which have peculiar claims to be acknowledged as those of the Apostles. An Institution, which provides extensive and permanent instruction in Religious knowledge, of such a nature, sets up, in this manner, the best human barrier against error; and furnishes the best means, within the reach of man, for the general diffusion, and perpetuation, of the truth, influence, and blessings, of the Gospel.
Finally. A general control over all these subjects in vested in the Boards of Trustees, and Visitors, constituted by the Founders.
These Boards, it is hoped, will feel in a deep and affecting manner the importance of the trust, committed to their hands; and with fervent prayers, Evangelical zeal, and Christian fidelity, labour, unceasingly, to render the Institution, in all respects, extensively and eminently useful. Where so much has been done for so good a purpose; it ought to be hoped, that no beneficial effect of such efforts will fail of being realized by the Church of Christ, either through negligence, or error, on the part of those, to whom the general management of it is entrusted.
We are assembled, my Friends and Brethren, on the birth day of an Institution, consecrated to the service of the Redeemer, and destined to furnish a succession of able and faithful Ministers for the city of our God. Those, to whom the immediate care of it is committed, cannot fail to realize the importance of that solemn office, which they will this day begin to sustain. They will, however, suffer me to assume the, task, not of an Instructor; as unnecessary to them as unsuited to me; but of an affectionate and Christian Monitor, disposed with fraternal good-will to awaken in them, on this interesting occasion, the remembrance of their duty.
When Christ ascended on high, and led captivity Captive ; he gave gifts unto men. Among these gifts, Pastors and Teachers were, after the Apostles, more important than any other. These whose instrumentality the salvation of their fellow-men, in all lands and ages, is chiefly accomplished. These are the pillars, on which, in this world, primarily stands that glorious building, the Church of God. From the faithful labours of these men, as instruments in the hands of the Spirit of God, have been derived the prevalence of the Gospel in the world, the triumphs of the cross, the religion of the East and the West, and the immortal life of millions, who are now united to the general assembly of the first born.
To form, and accomplish, for this sacred, this celestial office, such youths, as spontaneously devote themselves to it, is the design, for which this School of the Prophets is erected. To this noble design, you, my Brethren, are solemnly set apart this day. I feel myself warranted to assert, that you will think no labour, no care, no self-denial, too great. to be cheerfully encountered in this honourable employment.
To compass this divine purpose, it is indispensable, that he, who is destined to the Ministry, should be effectually instructed unto the kingdom of heaven. He must not be a Novice, lest, being lifted up with pride, he fall into the condemnation of the deviL The Truth of God, alone makes men free from the bondage of sin and death. But he, who is to preach it, must know what it is; or he will never be able to communicate it to his hearers. To this knowledge laborious study, and sound instruction, are the only avenues. Without these advantages the professed Teacher may indeed, be a Christian, but he cannot be a Teacher. Children and slaves may be Christians.
Equally indispensable is it, that he should believe the truth. Whatever knowledge he may have amassed of this glorious object, whatever acquaintance he may have gained with the Scriptures, it can, obviously, he to ho useful purpose, so far as his Ministry is concerned, or the salvation of his Rock, Unless he also believes the doctrines, which they contain. What he does not believe he will never teach, and they will never hear. The Bible may in the most extensive manner be in his mind; and Plato or Epictetus, Behmen or Swedenborg, Hume or Herbert, may fill his sermons. All his public and private instructions may be made up of the bewildered dreams of enthusiasm, or the frosty morals of heartless philosophy; and be as destitute of Evangelical truth, as barren of hope, and life, as a Nubian desert. Fifty-two times in a year the Sabbath may dawn with the light of heaven, the Sanctuary open the gates of immortality, the assembly of perishing sinners convene, and the Minister ascend the sacred desk; and yet no call of Mercy be heard; no voice of the Redeemer summon them to repentance, and faith, and love; and no invitation of a forgiving God announce to them the tidings of immortal glory. Under such a Teacher, his flock will grope for the wall like the blind, and grope as if they had no eyes; stumble at noon day as in the night; and will be in desolate places as dead men.[ Isaiah 59. 10] Throughout his whole Ministry he will be merely a substitute for a Christian Pastor ; an automaton, in the place, and dress, and business, of a living man.
What must be the feelings of such a Preacher at the great day of account? " Ye," said St. Paul to his own converts in Corinth, Philippi, and Thessalonica, " are our hope, our joy, and our crown of rejoicing in the day of Christ Jesus." But who shall be the crown, the joy, or .the hope, of such a Preacher as this? When he stands before the final Judge; what must be the subjects of his account? When he confesses, as he will be compelled to confess, that he has preached another Gospel, than that which Paul preached; must he not be withered by the remembrance, that the same Judge has said of every such Preacher, "Let him be anathema ?" What plea will he make for intruding upon the prerogative of JEHOVAH, and substituting for His truth, the contrivances, the whims, the phrenzies, of his own moon-struck mind? What can such a man rehearse before the tremendous bar of God, but wasted talents, a prostituted Ministry, dishonest sermons, and a ruined Congregation? In the mean time, his flock, committed to his charge, that they might obtain salvation under his preaching and now summoned around him to be witnesses .of his condemnation, and of the guilt on which it is founded, must, unless prevented by other means, only share in his ruin. On their salvation such a man can never have spent a thought, nor employed a moment. With what confusion must he now behold them all led by himself into the broad and crooked road, which goes down to the chambers of death? Without an attempt made, or a wish cherished, to feed them with the bread, or gather them into the fold, of life, he has quietly beheld them advance, or has rather taken them by the hand, and walked coolly by their side; to the world of perdition With what feelings must such a Minister, and such a Flock, regard each other at this amazing interview? With what agony must he behold their eternal ruin; and know, that it has been extensively derived from himself? How fearfully must their eyes kindle, and their bosoms burn, with resentment, against the author of injuries, which transcend all limits, and of sufferings, which know neither alleviation nor end?
It is, also, of the last consequence, that the Preacher should feel the truth, which he knows, and believes. A cold Preacher naturally makes a frozen audience. The truths of the Gospel are of such immense import in themselves, that it is difficult for a hearer to believe the Preacher, who utters them with a wind-and-weather indifference, to be in earnest. Should he escape this censure, the sympathy (if I may call it such) of a stagnant countenance, a marbled posture, and a lifeless tongue, will reach every heart in his Congregation; and benumb with a paralytic power all the living, waking energy of the mind. A religious assembly, habitually thus addressed, will soon become a counterpart to one of those silent Congregations, depicted in Eastern tales; over which a Genie has stretched his mysterious wand, and changed them all into living statues an assembly of forms and features merely ; possessed of minds indeed, but minds which have lost the power to act, of eves which cannot see, and ears which cannot hear. A spectator, uninformed of the transmutation which they have undergone, believes them to be human beings. He calls to them; but no voice answers; no eve turns toward him the look of consciousness; no motion, no instinctive impulse, gives the sign of remaining life. Lost in astonishment, he looks around him, to, find in this crowd of images living men and women; but discerns nothing besides silence, solitude, and death. The surrounding walls, mistaken by him for the residence of intelligent beings, are changed, into a vault, entombing the remains of departed man. Amazed, overwhelmed, despairing of any future return of thought, and sense, and life, to these inanimate forms, he throws around the last gaze of horror, sighs, trembles, and retires. Who would willingly be such a Preacher? Who could consent thus to benumb the flock, Whose immortal welfare was committed, to him by the Redeemer? Who, let me further ask, could be the voluntary instrument of educating such Preachers, as these? Who would not think life well spent in educating those of the contrary character?
Trace, my beloved Brethren, now to be solemnly inducted into these Christian professorships, (one of you for a length of time already employed in the Ministry the other still longer devoted to it, and on this occasion to be solemnly consecrated to its official duties;) trace, with me, the high import, and immense utility, of the pastoral function. Take the simplest object, by which it can be illustrated: a single Sinner, making his escape from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty, and final privileges, of the Sons of God. See him humbled in the dust under an overwhelming sense of his guilt, and voluntarily prostrated at the foot of the cross. Emptied of all reliance on his own righteousness, casting an eye of trembling faith towards that of the Redeemer, he becomes a suppliant for mere mercy; and commits his all into the hands of Sovereign love. From this period, light arises to him in the midst of the darkness, by which he was surrounded. Hope, serene, mild, and cheerful, as a morning of Paradise, dawns upon his anxious mind; and a beam of mercy plays around. his broken. heart. The rebel has now bçeome a penitent, and a disciple. The prodigal has fled from the wilderness of famine and despair; and in all his rags and wretchedness is tracing his weary way to the house of his father, the mansion of everlasting peace, abundance and delight. Instinctively, he cries out, at distant sight of this Glorious Being, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before thee; and am no more worthy to be called thy son. Make me as one of thy hired servants." Angels have renewed their joy, to see an immortal mind, once lost to the divine kingdom found again. The assembly of the first born have beheld with transport an, Intelligent creature, once hopelessly dead, again alive, to live forever. Trace this renewed child of Adam, through the remainder of his, life; struggling, feebly indeed, but faithfully, in the honorable conflict against lust, and sin, and Satan, and through the grace of God struggling with success. Behold him a child of the Highest; a follower of the Lamb; a blessing to himself; and a blessing to mankind; throughout his earthly pilgrimage. Accompany him to his dying bed; a place, to the wicked, curtained with terror, remorse, and agony opening to that melancholy region, which is overspread with the blackness of darkness forever. Here, sustained by an Unseen, Almighty hand, self approved, approved of God, his sou1 ,stands on the awful verge of eternity, serene, collected, superior to alarm, and smiling in conscious safety. At the call of its Maker, awful but delightful, it bids a cheerful adieu to these regions of sin and sorrow; and, stretching its pinions for its final home, wings its flight through the immeasurable vast, directed by an unerring and invisible Guide, to the place of its happy destination. Burst the veil, which hides the unseen world from mortal eyes; and follow this renovated man to the bar of GOD. Listen, while the awful Judge pronounces, "Well done, good and faithful servant. Thou hast been faithful over a few things: I will make thee Ruler over many things; enter thou into the joy of thy LORD." Pursue his entrance into that happy world. See the gates of life open to receive him. Hear the songs of transport and triumph, and survey with humble adoration the smiles of infinite complacency, which welcome his arrival. Behold him begin the immortal career of wisdom, virtue, glory, and felicity; and unceasingly advance from this happy goal in the ascending progress towards perfection. See him day by day brighter, and better, and happier; more lovely in the sight of God; a richer blessing to the universe; a more glorious ornament to the divine kingdom; through ages, which cannot end. Of all these wonderful blessings, and of preventing the evils of endless sin and endless woe; the wretched character, and dreadful reward, of the impenitent; Ministers are the chief instruments in the hand of God. How immense is the evil prevented, on the one hand, and the good achieved on the other? Extend both considerations to hundreds, to thousands, to millions, of immortal beings; and you cannot fail to feel the nature, the importance, the glory, of the pastoral office.
In this solemn and sublime object, of importance literally boundless, you cannot but find motives, which acknowledge no limit, to the vigorous and faithful discharge of your professional duties. To these motives let me add others, to animate you, and all those who have embarked with you in this delightful purpose. Who have given birth to this school of Christ? A small, a very small number of Individuals; who have thus .evangelically testified, that God has not showered wealth upon them in vain. This honourable disposal of property I know not, how sufficiently to commend: while delicacy, perhaps, would on this occasion, forbid me to commend it at a In justice to my own feelings, I cannot avoid saying, that it is property nobly consecrated to GOD, to Christianity, to the salvation of mankind. Nor can I hesitate to believe, that the praise of the Donors is already in a great part of the Churches in this land; or that the children of many generations will rise up, and call them blessed. Can this bright example of love to the souls of men be, for a moment, out of sight to you, or any of your coadjutors in this benevolent design?
The present, wonderful AEra in the affairs of men furnishes also a combination of the most solemn inducements to every faithful exertion in this sacred business. The ancient establishments, civil, literary, and religious, of the Old World, are, to a great extent, crumbling to ruins. The throne of the Romish Hierarch is shaken to its base. The tottering mosque of Mahommedism announces its approaching fall.
What a multitude of crowns have already vanished, how many republics have been wiped away, from the face of the earth? .Look at the kingdoms, which once, like the cedars of Lebannon, exa1ted themselves above all the trees of the field. The strangers, the terrible of the nations have cut them off; and the people of the earth have gone down from their shadow. Look upon their cities, they have been searched with candles. Their goods have become a booty; and their houses a desolation. Look at their Princes and Nob1es. Their Kings have gone into captivity; their Priests and their Princes together. They have called the Noble to the kingdom; but none were there; and their princes have become nothing. Look to their fields, they are whitened with human bones; they are drenched with human blood. Mark the tempest which lowers in the eastern skirt of the heavens. The Lord hath his way in the whirlwind-and in the storm; and the clouds are the dust of his feet. He rebuketh the sea, and maketh it dry; and drieth up all the rivers. Bashan languisheth, and Carmel, and the flower of Lebanon languisheth. The mountains quake at him, and the hills melt; and the earth is burnt at his presence: yea, the world and all that dwell therin.
In this terrible day, as in every other, the church of God is the safeguard of mankind; the salt, which keeps this putrid world from absolute corruption. For its safety, its peace; and its prosperity, at all times the first-objects of benevolent exertion, and the most dear to the heart of piety, peculiar efforts are now demanded; efforts, proportioned in their vigour to the greatness of the danger. There is not a single reason for discouragement. The gates of hell cannot prevail. The enemy will, indeed, come in like a flood; but the Spirit of the LORD will as certainly lift up a standard against him.
Such a standard is already lifted up. Gloomy and dreadful as is the aspect of the political horizon, the Christian world has already roused itself from the slumbers of two centuries, and with a spirit of prayer, zeal, and liberality, scarcely exampled, has wafted the Bible to distant nations, and planted missions in the region and shadow of death. In the East and the West, the North and the South, a field so vast, as to leave the utmost stretch of human sight, is already whitening to the harvest. The demand for faithful labourers mocks calculation. "Come over to Macedonia, and help us," is audibly resounded from the four ends of the earth. The savages of the West advance in all their nakedness, sin, and suffering; and exclaim, "When shall the nations, which sit in darkness, behold the light of the Sun of Righteousness? Ethiopia already stretches forth her hands unto GOD, and unto his Church. The nations of the East, and the islands of the sea, already wait for his law. The wilderness, and the cities thereof lift up their voice ; the villages that Kedar doth inhabit: the inhabitants of the rock sing ; they shout from the top of the mountains.
For Zionís sake, my Brethren, let us, now, not hold our peace ; for Jerusalemís sake let us give ourselves no rest; until her righteousness go forth as brightness, and her salvation as a lamp that burneth. On the efforts of the present generation, and on ours, if we are faithful, as truly as on those of others, depend the knowledge, the piety, the salvation, of the generations yet to come. The inheritance of those who are unborn is by the Father of the universe put into the hands of the Christians of this age, to be preserved, and managed. As faithful stewards, let us transmit the divine patrimony, not impaired, but improved. Let them see, that the trust has been faithfully discharged; and enter upon the possession, unimpoverished by the negligence, or fraud, and enriched by the diligence, care, and integrity of those who have gone before them.
The period, my Brethren, is hastening ; the morning star will soon arise, which will usher in that illustrious day, destined to scatter the darkness of this melancholy world, and cover the earth with light and glory; the second birth-day of truth, righteousness, and salvation. Soon shall the Church awake, and put on strength. Soon shall she be clothed with beautiful garments. Soon shall she behold God coming with vengeance, even our God with a recompense, to save her from all her enemies. Soon shall peace be extended to her as a river; and the glory of the Gentiles as a flowing stream. The Jews, provoked to jealousy, and roused from the torpor of eighteen centuries, shall behold a standard lifted up among the nations, and an ensign among the people, summoning them again to the land of their fathers, and to the kingdom of God. Obedient to the divine call, Judah and Ephraim, no more twain, but one, shall hasten from the remotest regions of their dispersion; and the receiving of them be to the world as life from the dead. The heathen, with one immense and united suffrage, shall cast their idols to the moles, and to the bats. Holiness to the LORD shall be written, alike, on all the enjoyments, and all the pursuits, of man. The earth shall become one vast temple of JEHOVAH; and itís morning and evening incense shall be wafted to heaven by the whole family of Adam.
In effectuating this mighty change, this universal renovation, no miracles will be employed, but miracles of grace. The grace of God, the true alchemic stone, which transmutes the heart of rock into gold, will every where accompany the ordinances of the Gospel, and the Evangelical ministrations of men. Ministers, instructed unto the kingdom of heaven, faithful, zealous, wise, and thus fitted to turn many to righteousness, will be the instruments, by which the SPIRIT of truth will accomplish this divine transformation. To form, and furnish, such ministers, therefore, is to contribute to this glorious work; to convey the blessing down to succeeding ages, and to the remote regions of the earth; to awaken the song of transport in lands yet untraversed, and in millions yet unborn; to become benefactors to the nations of the Millenium; and to increase the multitude, the happiness, and the glory, of heaven.
To aid this exalted purpose what labour shall be spared? Whose prayers shall not ascend to God? Whose heart shall not glow with benevolence? Whose arms shall not be strung with vigour to the undertaking. God forbid, that any of those, to whom either the instruction, or the management, of this Seminary is entrusted, should be slothful, negligent, heartless, prayer-less, or unfaithful, in the sacred trust. On this solemn occasion, can we hesitate, my Brethren, to yield ourselves, as a free will offering, unto God? Shall we not, with the spirit of the Psalmist, say to the Church, whose interests, in one important sense, he has committed to our care, "If I forget thee, 0 Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning; let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth."
With the same views, with the same affections, must this school of CHRIST be regarded by the inhabitants of this town, and its vicinity. In the midst of you, my Friends and Brethren, the Creator of all things has been pleased to plant this choice vine. Long have you been favoured with peculiar privileges. God has been pleased to raise up in the midst of you a Family, long distinguished above all others, in this land, for its liberality to Learning, and equally devoted to the interests of Religion. * [ The family of Phillips]The blessings, which you have derived from them, added to the innumerable mercies which GOD has poured in upon you from other sources, have made your lot eminently desirable. The infinite Benefactor is now giving you a singular token of his goodness. This plant, we trust, our heavenly Father bath planted. I need not tell you, that it can never flourish in a moral wilderness ; nor that its proper seat is a well watered garden, a fruitful field which the Lord hath planted. Let every thing around it become as Eden. Let your morals, and your communications, be such, as, instead of corrupting, shall improve, and purify, those of the youths, who shall be sent for education to this school of the Prophets. Let the flame of Piety, kindled all around them, warm their hearts with love to God, to their Ministry, and to the salvation of their fellow-men.
With you, with us, all good men, who become acquainted with the nature and design of this Institution, will unite their best wishes, and their fervent prayers, for its prosperity, and for its happy influence on the salvation of mankind. That God may smile, that the dews of heaven may descend, upon it, who, that loves Religion, can fail earnestly to wish, and unceasingly to pray. O thou Father of all mercies, and God of all grace, bow thine heavens, and come down. Delight to dwell here, and command here, from generation to generation, thy peculiar blessing, even life forevermore; through Jesus Christ thy beloved Son, and our Saviour. AMEN,
BY THE REV. JONATHAN FRENCH
THERE are but few transactions among men, in their nature and consequences more solemn and important1 than that of consecrating a person to the sacred work of the gospel ministry, as a servant of the most high GOD, to show unto men the way of salvation.
The consecrating prayer and the laying on of the hands of the Presbytery are perhaps the only rites, essential to this solemn transaction. From the first ages of christianity, however, a solemn charge or exhortation has usually been given to the person ordained. Having, agreeably to antient usage, performed these rites, we now declare you, Dr. ELIPHALET PEARSON, "to be ordained and set apart to the work of the gospel ministry, in whatever part of the vineyard of the LORD the great Head of the Church may occasionally call you to labour." In particular, you are to co-operate with other Professors, in the newly founded THEOLOGICAL INSTITUTION, in which, it is contemplated, a Church will in time be gathered and established.
We now, reverend and dear Sir, solemnly exhort you before God, the LORD JESUS CHRIST, and his elect Angels, to take heed unto thyself, and to the people of God, to whom you may be called to minister; to feed them with the sincere milk of the word. Shun not to declare the whole counsel of God. Keep nothing back, that may be profitable to them, who shall hear you. Put on the whole armour of GOD. Hold fast the faithful word, that you may be able both to exhort and to convince gainsayers. By manifestation of the Truth endeavour to commend yourself to every mans conscience in the sight of God. In imitation of our divine Master, the meek and humble JESUS, be clothed with humility; and may you enter on the arduous duties of your Office, strengthened with the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left. Be sensible of your continual need of divine light and grace. Seek continually the truth of the gospel, and with energy defend and propagate it against the attacks of infidelity, in what font soever it may appear. Be watchful against the numerous errors, which prevail, and are levelled against pure morality, true piety, and the very foundation of unadulterated christianity. Be vigilant, be zealous, remembering that, while men slept, the enemy sowed tares.
Preach the word, not as a man pleaser, but with singleness of heart. Amuse not your hearers with unedifying speculations or questions, which only engender strife. Though, when called to alarm the hardened sinner, you are with the energy of St. Paul, knowing the terrors of the Lord, to persuade men; yet be thou to the returning sinner, like Barnabas, a son of consolation. Assail the hosts of infidelity with the boldness and resolution of Boanerges; but to them, who love our LORD JESUS CHRIST in sincerity, exhibit the mild, the engaging temper and affection of that disciple, who leaned on Jesusí bosom. In all your discourses remember the momentous consequences of what you deliver, that the word will be a savour of life unto life, or of death unto death.
If called to invest others with the sacred office of the ministry, remember the solemn injunction of the Apostle; "lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other menís sins." You are now authorized to administer the ordinances of baptism and the Lordís supper to proper subjects. Wherever you are called to minister, bless the pepple in the name of the LORD.
In managing the discipline of the Church, wherever this may be incumbent on you, regard the rules prescribed, and the examples exhibited, by our divine Saviour and his Apostles. Do nothing by partiality; but, as circumstances may require, reprove, rebuke, and exhort with all long suffering and patience. Do the work of an Evangelist in all things, and make full proof of thy ministry. Often peruse, and strictly observe, the solemn charges, written by inspired men and recorded in the sacred word. Discharge the duties of your office with that meekness, seriousness, and good fidelity, which the gospel requires.
As you and your colleague Professors are to be heads in this new School for raising up of our sons for Prophets, and of our young men for Nazarites; great, very great, will be the weight of duty incumbent on you. The glorious gospel, you are called to teach, was accounted foolishness by the learned Greeks, and is still scornfully termed foolishness by a vain philosophy, and science falsely so called. It becomes you to consecrate your literature and talents to the important purpose of showing that the religion, which the scriptures reveal, is most consistent with true philosophy; a science, which reason approves; and the power of GOD, and the wisdom of God for salvation, to every one, that believeth.
From your known character, age, capacity, erudition, and experience, much will be justly expected of you; the eyes of thousands will be upon you. The eyes of the benevolent Founders and Benefactors of this Institution; the eyes of its Visitors and Trustees, the eyes of the Clergy, the eyes of the friends and of the enemies of religion, will be upon you. Moreover the eyes of the elect Angels, of the blessed JESUS, and the eternal GOD, will be upon you. Impressed with a sense of this high responsibility, be thou faithful unto death; and may the blessing of thousands come upon thee.
RIGHT HAND OF FELLOWSHIP.
BY THE REV. JEDIDIAH MORSE, D. D.
SINGULAR in the history of our country and interesting in a high degree to the friends of the Redeemer, are the transactions of this day. A new era in our Churches now commences; and events may be expected to follow, of incalculable moment to their purity and prosperity. A new Institution, the offspring of Christian liberality, broad and scriptural in its foundation, richly endowed, consecrated to the interests of Evangelical truth, rises to bless our country.
From the days of Samuel the prophet Theological Institutions have existed in the world, whose object has been to educate young men, of competent talents and piety, for the sacred work of instructing their fellow men in the doctrines and duties of the true Religion.
The men appointed over the first schools of the prophet as Samuel, Elijah, and Elisha, were men divinely taught of God, and by Him ordained to the sacred and responsible office. They and their pupils sustained toward each other the endearing relation of fathers and sons. My father, my father, exclaimed Elisha, when he beheld Elijah his master ascending to heaven in a chariot of fire; having been for few years employment in it, as a candidate, Providence directed you to occupy, for nearly thirty years, different, but honourable spheres of usefulness; yet, during that period, you have not ceased to desire the office, which you originally contemplated. This desire, though not in the way which you had preferred; yet in the better way, as we hope, which divine Providence has prescribed, is now accomplished. You have received ordination to the sacred work of the gospel ministry, by the laying on of the hands of the Presbytery.
Perceiving the qualifications and gifts with which the grace of GOD hath furnished you, for preaching the unsearchable riches of Christ, and for training up young men for the like office; the Council, convened for your ordination, have directed me; in their name, to give you the Right Hand of Fellowship. Take, therefore, my Brother, this right hand. Receive it as a symbol of our personal friendship. Receive it also, and especially, as our acknowledgment that you sustain, equally with us who are ordained to preach the gospel, the office of a minister of Jesus Christ; and that you are invested with all the privileges and authority belonging to the sacred function. By this friendly token we bid you welcome, as a fellow labourer in the vineyard of our common LORD. We doubt not, that you will cheerfully reciprocate all Christian acts of kindness and assistance, which are appropriate to this honourable office.
We have witnessed the diligence and ability, with which you have discharged arduous and complicated duties, belonging to the respectable stations, which you have already filled. This furnishes a satisfying pledge of your future fidelity in the still more important offices, which you now sustain.
We rejoice that God, in his wise and good Providence, has assigned this favoured spot, as the place of your residence, and honoured you as one of the principal agents in founding this School of the prophets. May the Church, which is to be here established and placed under the joint care of the Professors, become as a well watered, skilfully cultivated, and plentifully furnished, nursery for our American Churches; from whence shall be successively transplanted Trees of Righteousness; Plants of renown, which shall flourish and bear abundance of the fruits of holiness, in the courts of our God.
May you, dear Sir, your fellow Professors, and your pupils; may the Trustees and Visitors of this Institution, and its venerable and respected Founders, continually enjoy the presence, direction, and blessing of the great Head of the Church.
Were the departed spirits of those Worthies, who in their heaven-inspired wisdom and pious charities, in the name of JEHOVAH, laid broad the foundation, of this literary and religious Seminary, and consecrated it to His honour ; ówere the venerable spirits of these men now present with us, (and who can say they are not) and witnesses of the transactions of this day; doubtless they would mingle their praises with ours, to the God of heaven and of earth. Most cordially would they join their prayers with ours to Him, in whom dwelleth all fulness of grace, that blessings in abundance may be poured down from above, on this hitherto prospered Institution, that so its increasing influence may be purifying and healthful to the Churches of Christ; be deeply and happily felt in every part of our land, and endure, as the Sun and the Moon, forever and ever. AMEN.