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mistake, and doing their own churches, as well as the cause of religion in general, so much injury. All evangelical ministers, of all denominations, certainly ought to be agreed. that conversion is good for nothing, when not based on conviction.
Dr. Pond makes some valuable suggestions in regard to the treatment of young converts. The argument, sometimes derived from the practice of the Apostles, for receiving persons professing to be converted, into the Church at once, we do not remember to have seen any where more briefly and happily refuted than in one of these Lectures. We quote the passage:
"The difference of circumstances between ourselves and the Apostles, ought here to be taken into the account. So far as our
circumstances and theirs are alike, we are bound to follow their example to the letter. But when there is a wide and manifest difference, as in the case before us, we are to practice, not precisely as the Apostles did, but as we have reason to believe they would, were they in circumstances like our own.
"In the age of the Apostles, there was much less inducement to deception, and proportionably less danger of it, than there is at present. Then the instruction imparted was of the best kind; given under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost. And the exposure at that period not only to reproach and shame, but to palpable persecution, was so great, that none would be likely to make a profession of their faith in Christ, who were not in possession of the great reality. In the peculiar circumstances of that age, a simple profession on the spot, such as was always made previous to baptism, furnished probably a more decisive evidence of piety, than converts in general can furnish now, after weeks of probation.
"It should be considered, too, that the Apostles were under the immediate direction of the Holy Spirit, which rendered them, if not infallible in the discernment of character, at least much better judges than we can pretend to be. We have evidence of this, in the readiness with which Peter detected the hypocrisy of Ananias and Sap phira, and of Simon the sorcerer. As we have not the power to unmask hypocrisy after this manner, so neither have we the power to decide (as the Apostles did ordinarily on the spot) who are and who are not proper candidates for admission to the Church of Christ. We lay no claim to the supernatural direction of the Holy Spirit in this matter, but are left to the slow processes of probation and inquiry.
"But though we dare not follow the example of the inspired Apos
tles to the letter, in this thing, we do profess to follow it in substance and spirit. The Apostles admitted persons to the church so soon as they were satisfied of their conversion; and we are entitled to do the same. The only difference is, they had the means of obtaining satisfaction sooner, ordinarily, than we can.
"I have said that we are entitled to receive professed converts to the church so soon as we can obtain reasonable satisfaction on the question of their piety. But this cannot be obtained in one day, or two. It cannot be obtained, as a general thing, in one week, or two. Persons need time for reflection and self-examination, after they indulge the hope of being (that they have been ?)' converted, before it will be prudent for them to offer themselves as candidates for the church. And the church needs time in which to judge of their experience, and observe the character and walk of professed converts, before they can be satisfied on the question of their piety, and can prudently receive them to the fellowship of God's people. Satisfaction, I repeat, is what the church wants, and as soon as this can be obtained, and not before, should the candidate for membership be permitted to enroll himself among the professed disciples of Jesus."
Of the system (if system it may be called) of Evangelism. the Doctor is a firm and strenuous opponent. He believes that the pastor should be his people's revivalist, and that if he is what he ought to be, they will need no other. The Lecture on this subject has been published as a separate article in the New-Englander, and is worthy of the careful attention of ministers and churches. It is not of great length, but disposes of the subject satisfactorily, and is without bitterness or unfair
Of protracted meetings, Dr. Pond is an equally firm and strenuous advocate. Whatever his readers may think in regard to the correctness of his views, they will concede that the case is well argued. The lecture constitutes a very good document for any one to refer to, who wishes to make up his mind upon the subject. And it is a subject of no small importance. Special services of some kind, we take it, will be known as long as revivals are known. There is a speciality about the whole nature of a revival; and the means employed to secure
1 Neither expression is strictly correct, for hope cannot be properly applied either to the present or the past-either to that which is or that which has been : and the conversion is here spoken of as existing.—ED.
and advance a revival must have something of speciality too. A young man begins his ministry, perhaps, strong in the belief that the stated means of grace are not sufficiently valued, and that it is short-sighted policy to employ any others. But before many years have passed away, he finds that there are times when some special means must be employed, if he would save the souls of his people. His church, perhaps, are slumbering. He tries to arouse them. He throws the utmost possible earnestness and pungency into his sermons. He makes the most of the regular church-meetings. He endeavors to give as solemn, searching, thrilling a character as possible to the communion seasons. He visits from house to house, "reproving, rebuking, exhorting, with all long-suffering and doctrine." But in vain. The lethargy continues. It has peculiar depth and power. The disease is alarming; and he becomes convinced that some means must be employed, adapted to this special exigency. Perhaps he induces the church to appoint, or informally appoints himself, a visiting committee to go about and exhort their brethren. Perhaps he appoints a series of weekly church-fasts ;-perhaps a series of evening prayermeetings. Something he will do-he must do. So far, we take it, all ministers, who desire and aim at revivals, are agreed. And they are agreed also, that when a revival is in progress, there must ordinarily be some multiplication of religious services. At such seasons, there is a craving for instruction, which no devoted pastor can find it in his heart to deny. The only point of difference is, as to what the special services shall be. Dr. Pond argues in favor of protracted meetings, technically so called:-not simply a multiplication of services, but "a series of meetings continued a portion of the time, more or less, through several successive days." p. 175. The idea would be rather naturally gathered from his lecture, that special efforts to promote a revival should generally take this one form, or at least that this should be prominent among the efforts used. It strikes us that the Doctor would have done better to argue in favor of the principle of special services, allowing a little more latitude as to the shape
which they should assume. this case have done more justice to his real sentiments. For although we believe that he has great faith in the efficacy of the protracted meeting, yet we think he would be as ready as any man to question the expediency of any one unchangeable measure or set of measures, and to acknowledge that different measures answer best at different times.
If we mistake not, he would in
From the subject of Revivals, Dr. Pond passes to the duty of a pastor as to enlisting the co-operation of his church in his schemes of usefulness. A well-written lecture is devoted to this topic. Another canvasses the pastor's duties toward the youth of his flock. Another discusses his relations to the. charitable objects of the day. In this lecture, Dr. Pond takes up the question of agencies, and shows with great clearness and force that they cannot yet be dispensed with. There are, however, one or two statements which we should have been glad to see in a form somewhat inore guarded.
"We occasionally," says Dr. Pond, "find a Pastor, who can be his own agent, and who will take efficient care of all chari able objects among his people. Perhaps it would be well if all Past rs were of this stamp. But it cannot be disguised, that this is not t. e fact; nor is likely to be very soon. Some Pastors are not fitted, a apted, to do the work of agents. They could not well do it, even it they were called to engage in it as an employment. Others, who cou. do it, are exceedingly averse to it, especially among their own peop They prefer that some one should come and plead the cause of benevolence, rather than undertake the work themselves. Even in the primitive churches, the Pastors needed jogging and helping in the matter of collecting their charitable contributions; and the Apostle Paul and his corps of Evangelists were not unwilling to be employed occasionally, as agents for this important purpose." P. 233.
These statements seem to leave the impression, that it is only few ministers who may hope to present the object of be. nevolence successfully to their flocks. We venture to suggest, whether it is not rather only a few who may not indulge this hope; and whether the many ought not to be urged to qualify themselves, and keep themselves qualified, for the duty. A THIRD SERIES, VOL. I. NO. I.
mere "aversion" to a duty certainly ought not to be received as an excuse for not performing it; and in this case, as in many others, when the duty is honestly attempted, aversion often gives place to delight. To us it seems evident, that pastors need some impulse of this sort, to induce them to maintain a familiar acquaintance with the benevolent movements of the day; and why may they not keep themselves as familiar, considering all the facilities enjoyed at present, as any agent -except indeed he be one of the secretaries of our benevolent organizations? We confess that there is, in many quarters, a deficiency among pastors on this point. Our only objection to Dr. Pond's views is, that he seems to regard this deficiency as a necessary one, and does not address himself, with his usual energy, to having it remedied. It should be remarked, however, in justice to Dr. Pond, that he prescribes no small amount of labor for the pastor, as well as the agent, to perform in regard to those objects-an amount which the pastor hardly can perform without becoming a good agent himself.
Beside the lectures already noticed, there are excellent ones on the Pastor's duty in relation to the induction of others into the ministry—his intercourse with other ministers and churches of his own denomination-his relations to other denominations-the duties which he owes to himself to his family-his political duties. The lecture on Respect for the Ministry, discussing the questions, Whether this respect is greater or less now than formerly, and How it may be forfeited and how retained, is one of great interest. The lecture on Frequent Dismissions-causes and remedies-is in Dr. Pond's happiest style. That on withdrawing from the Ministry deserves attentive consideration. And the last, on the results of faithful pastoral labor, forms an appropriate close to the series.
On the whole, the book is worthy of its author and worthy of New-England. If it has any faults, they "lean to virtue's side," arising from the ardent and active spirit of the writer; and they are faults of a very trivial character, compared with