IN THESE UNITED STATES:
JAMES B. DOW,
OFFICE OF THE CHRISTIAN WITNESS AND CHURCH ADVOCATE.
MY REVEREND BRETHREN:
In commencing this my Third Charge, I am forcibly reminded of the contrast between the present religious condition of our country, and that state of things which we had to deplore when I last addressed you on a similar occasion. At that period, not only within our own fold, but among all other Christian bodies,--not only in this region in which Providence has placed ourselves, but every where else, from north to south, and. from east to west,--the pulse of spiritual life seemed as if it had ceased to beat. The voices of the great "company of preachers" were lifted up in vain. There were no tokens for good. Redeeming blood, poured out upon the cross for our salvation, was nothing to all them "that passed by." It was the universal reign of indifference. The pursuit of riches with one class, and the excitements of frivolous pleasure with another, preoccupied the hearts of men. The ambassadors of Christ fulfilled simply the function of proclaiming truth, which none were disposed to receive; and thus renewed, in their profitless [3/4] ministrations, that experience of ancient days, "Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?"
Amidst this disheartening deadness of the whole land, it pleased divine Providence, as you all know, to bring about, some time ago, a change as remarkable as it was unexpected. This new state of things had already begun to manifest itself, when we last assembled in this place at the annual Convention of the Diocese. And with gratitude we have to acknowledge that it has ever since continued. If, as the subject of the present Charge, I shall offer some observations upon the features of this work of grace,--and then a few considerations as to the encouragements it suggests on the one hand, and the solemn memento of duty it furnishes on the other,--may I not reasonably trust, my dear brethren in the ministry, that a topic will be presented, which, with the Spirit's blessing, may be found eminently profitable to your own souls?
This awakened interest in the things of eternity I have called remarkable; and that it is such in several important particulars, none among you, I think, will be disposed to question.
And 1. It has been, from the beginning, a most striking feature of this religious movement, that it has manifested itself not in the desire to listen to the voice of exhortation, but in a profound and earnest spirit of supplication and prayer.
Aroused by the judgments of God, in financial prostration and ruin, to a sense of the vanity of things present, and the momentous, though hitherto forgotten [4/5] importance of things future and eternal, men have seemed to wish, above all other things, for the privilege of pouring out their hearts together before the mercy-seat. They who profess and call themselves Christians have evinced an eagerness to intercede for others; while multitudes of these others, not yet brought by faith to the Lamb of God, but strongly touched with the convictions of the Spirit, have, with fervor of heart, and with wonderful interest, united in these petitions, sent up on their behalf to the throne of God through the mediation of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Let me not be understood as intimating, that the effect of these social assemblies has been to create a distaste for the ministry of the word, and for the appointed instruction of the sanctuary. What I mean to say is simply this:--that the distinction of this awakened attention of men to the things of the soul,--and a glorious distinction it is,--has been the disposition to bow their knees. And this fact surely throws great light upon the origin of what we have witnessed. It refutes the insinuation, muttered here and there amidst the general rejoicing, that this work is but an earthborn fever; and stamps it as divine. For, when stiff-necked man, casting off his conceit and his rebellion, "his pride, and the naughtiness of his heart," is seen falling down as a suppliant before the footstool of God, we may be very sure that he has been led to these acts only by that superhuman arm, which makes rebels a willing people "in the day of his power." We cannot forget, that, when the Lord of glory would remove every doubt from Ananias in regard to the awakened [5/6] Saul of Tarsus, he uttered these three and simple words,--"Behold, he prayeth!"
But I must remind you of a second feature in this wide-spread attention to the things of the eternal world:--it owed its commencement, as you are all aware, to the operation of no human agency.
This is a fact which has never been denied; and it is as striking as it is indisputable. The inhabitants of the land were lying smitten by the hand of God. Their present condition was desolation, and the probabilities of the future were wrapt in thick darkness. On a sudden, in various cities, towns, and villages of our extended country, there arises from multitudes of hearts the incense of united supplication. The impulse was spontaneous. Without any stirring and especial efforts previously set in motion, and affording ground for the anticipation that something unwonted was at hand, thousands upon thousands lift up their thoughts to the realities of another world; begin to appreciate for the first time the necessity of a Saviour; implore for the gift of pardon; and thirst after that peace which the world has never given them, and "cannot give." Now, my reverend brethren, this admitted fact of the absence of human and exciting agency compels us to the acknowledgment, that the work which we have seen, not being of man's prompting, must have been of God. I have witnessed, during the years of my residence in the city of New York, frequent periods of religious excitement among large masses of the people; and scenes of a similar character have, perhaps, passed before the eyes of many of those whom I now address: [6/7] and the transient character of much of the results in these instances, and the distrust thereby engendered as to the depth and reality of the work, have produced a scepticism, in some minds, in reference to that remarkable manifestation of spiritual interest which has recently taken place throughout the country. But the cases are widely different. It must be remembered that, in the instances just named, the spectacle before us was that of an unusual fervor produced by the action of a powerful and stimulating oratory; and might very easily, therefore, have been, to a considerable degree, a matter of mere sensation and sympathy, instead of direct quickening influence from the Spirit of God. In this last wonderful and widely-diffused interest, on the contrary, there had been no machinery first set at work by human laborers. What we have seen has been the subdued spirit of humble, fervent, unceasing prayer; and, without any of man's appliances, a hungering and thirsting of weary hearts after the blessings of the kingdom of heaven. And this character of the movement distinguishes it with the evident impress of a heavenly birth. I beg you candidly to ponder this fact in the history of the scenes that have passed before our eyes. Who, when he bears it in mind, can fail to recognize in those phenomena a divine and glorious presence? Without noise of "axe," or din of "hammer," the majestic temple rose: its "lively stones," though silently put together, impressing all eyes with their solidity and grandeur; and "built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ."
 There is yet a third fact which demands our attention, in the history of this awakened interest in the things of God;--namely, that it has, almost universally, awed opposition into silence.
This has been a most remarkable distinction of the present state of things. During former periods of religious excitement which some of us remember, there was, in many quarters, undisguised and bitter hostility. The shafts of ridicule, also, were discharged without measure. And even the wise and the good expressed the language of suspicion and fear: compelled thereto by the questionable character of some of the measures adopted; and by dislike of the spirit of self-reliance which was encouraged by many of the leaders in the work, and which put very much out of view the Holy Spirit, as the source from whom "all holy desires, all good counsels, and all just works do proceed." In the present instance, it has seemed as if, with one general consent, men have regarded the work going on around them, far and near, either as a subject for ascriptions of gratitude and praise, or, at all events, as something not to be mentioned with sneers upon the lip. Many of our distinguished public men, as you well know, have honored not this movement, but themselves, by their reverent and decisive approval. The rich and the poor, the cultivated and the unlettered, "all sorts and conditions of men," have joined their testimony in its favor. Even the secular press, with rare exceptions, has lifted up the voice of thanksgiving; and has been distinguished, when commenting on these striking scenes, by a tone of sentiment that would not have [8/9] been out of place within the very precincts of the sanctuary. The occasional ebullitions of a different spirit have been so few in number, as only to render more conspicuous the fact to which I am calling your attention. It was to be expected, that those convictions of sin, those apprehensions of danger, and those desires after the righteousness of Christ the Lord, which the Holy Ghost stirs up in the human bosom, would be denied as fables by one, and by another, among the ranks of a worldly and sceptical philosophy;--and that frigid formalism, likewise, confining the influences of the gracious Spirit within the channels of the Sacraments, administered by an authorized priesthood,:--and thus transforming the Gospel into a system of mechanical observance,--would, in some instances, give expression to the contempt with which it contemplated these great marvels. But, as I have said, this whole country has stood still, as it were, to "see the salvation of God." And I cannot but perceive, herein, a ground for our firm conviction, that these things which we have seen have had God Almighty for their author. It seems as if He had made his footsteps so plain, that none could question his presence. The tongue of obloquy has been hushed. When, after a long night of spiritual apathy, the "dayspring from on high" appeared, the general company of Christ's professed followers acknowledged its coming: and even reluctance was willing to say, "If this work be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God."
What has now been said, my reverend brethren, in [9/10] regard to the characteristic features of this religious interest, will not have been in vain, if it shall have served to convince the doubting among you, if such there be, and to strengthen the convictions of others, that what we have seen has been the real outpouring of the Spirit from on high. There are other lessons, however, which we may gather from the subject; and, among the most important of these, are the encouragements which it addresses to the clergy of our Protestant Episcopal Church in these United States.
And, in the first place,--May we not, at such seasons of merciful visitation as that which we are considering, take courage from the fact, that we possess, in our Liturgy, a form of words which is so eminently in harmony with the spiritual condition of the people?
I briefly touched upon this ground for rejoicing, in my Address to the last annual Convention of this Diocese; but the topic will bear a more expanded consideration. It is, obviously, of the highest importance, that, whenever there arises a more than ordinary interest throughout the country in the things which belong to men's peace, the regular ministrations of the sanctuary should adapt themselves peculiarly to such a condition of things. Not only the preaching of the word, but all the ordinances, should answer to the deep wants that exist. There being a sense of trespass, the soul should be unburdened, and find relief, in fervent confession, and earnest supplication for pardon. There being a consciousness of need of some effectual plea before God, the name of our Lord Jesus should be held up on high, through all the departments of worship, as [10/11] a tower of strength; as "a covert from the tempest;" as the "Advocate with the Father;" as "the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." In a word, the gospel being the only remedy adapted to the weary and heavy-laden, this gospel, in all the simplicity of its statements of sin, and in all the fulness of its promises of righteousness, should be prominent in the successive exercises of the gates of Sion. Now, my reverend brethren, whenever we meet our people in the Lord's holy temple, this adaptedness is found ready to our hands. What degree is there of sorrow for transgression,--what extent of desire is there after some mediatorial defence to stand between offending man, and offended God,-which does not find a response in these scriptural services through which we lead the congregation? It is the gospel here--it is the gospel there--it is the gospel every where--distinct, and full. Anthem,--creed,--petition,--humiliation,--thanksgiving,--all speak one language; and that, too, the very language most in unison with all the emotions of an awakened heart, because it is the simple phraseology of the Bible, expressing those simple truths which that same Bible reveals. How often, my brethren in the ministry, you must have felt the comfort of having such a treasure in our Liturgy, as you have periodically entered the reading-desk since these interesting months began! How frequently must the cheering reflection have crossed your minds, that the very provision which man needs, under unusual spiritual impression, is here supplied! And we have, I humbly think, a right to draw [11/12] encouragement from the fact, that, by God's gracious providence in the gift of this work of our Reformers, we stand upon such a vantage-ground at this time. We often hear complaints made, by those who are outside of our fold, of the frigidity and stiffness of our ritual. One thing, however, I doubt not that you have always found; that, where there was a shallowness of religious character among our brethren of other names, these complaints were always the loudest,--and that, on the other hand, where there was the profoundest sense of sin, and the warmest fire of love towards Him who bore our transgressions "in his own body on the tree," and the clearest apprehension of the gospel, there our form of words was the most thoroughly appreciated and loved. Let us thank God, as at all times, so especially now, for the adaptedness of the Prayer Book to the present state of things. It is simple prayer, to give vent to the burdened soul; and it is Christ, "evidently set forth," to those who, self-condemned under a spiritual view of the commandment, are importunately asking the question, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?"
But there is a second encouragement which we of the Protestant Episcopal Church may take to ourselves, in connexion with that work of the Spirit which has taken place throughout our land; and to which I would, for a few moments, direct your thoughts. Experience has shown us the wholesome effects derived from the constant use of a Liturgy, in the order, propriety, and Christian dignity, of those more informal and social meetings of our people, which, since the present interest began, have been held for united and extemporaneous prayer.
 During the past year, I have thought it my duty to meet the prevalent feeling, and to respond to the wishes of those who desired frequent seasons of supplication, by establishing, in the Sunday School Room of this house of God in which we are now assembled, periodical opportunities for prayer and praise. These assemblies, which are still continued, may, perhaps, be most fitly described as being, on an enlarged scale, gatherings for family prayer: where, under the conduct either of myself, or of some one of the clergy of this neighborhood, the laity, as well as the ambassadors of Christ, have poured forth their hearts successively in supplication for the extension of the gospel; for the conversion of the impenitent; for the increase of the life of God among his professed people; for a blessing upon our congregations,--upon the ministry of the word,--upon our rulers,--upon the country in which we live,--upon the dark places of the earth,--and upon the whole world. And I here bear my rejoicing testimony, which will be confirmed by that of many among my brethren of the clergy, that these meetings have been free from any thing objectionable even to the most fastidious taste. Quietness, sobriety, and heavenly peace, have characterized our blessed opportunities of approach to the Hearer of prayer. They have been numerously attended by persons cultivated in intellect, and highly conservative in tendencies and habits; and these have acknowledged, without, so far as I know, a dissentient voice, the edification and delight they have received through these channels of grace. And this characteristic feature of our assemblages for prayer is to be ascribed, [13/14] without a question, to the use, in our churches, of those offices of devotion which are contained in our Book of Common Prayer. This ritual is wonderful in various respects; and not least is it remarkable for its subduing influence upon the whole Christian character. The type of religion which it generates is one of gentleness, and reverence, and chastized fervor; and, consequently, when those Christians who have worshipped for many years in our sanctuaries, and have thus become imbued with the spirit of our forms, give utterance to their desires in unpremeditated language, the moulding influence of the Liturgy is at once perceptible in their supplications. And this is a fact, my reverend brethren, which well deserves your consideration. For it shews, that, by commencing in your parishes,--where persons in sufficient number, and properly qualified, can be found to sustain them from time to time,--these familiar assemblies for prayer, you may set on foot a measure which will certainly be prolific of blessing, without the danger of accompanying fanaticism and disorder. 'We must all admit, my dear fellow-laborers in the ministry, that a spirit of prayer among our people is that which we have all greatly needed; and which, as an engine of blessing on the preaching of the word, is most devoutly to be desired. How cheering the conviction, then, that, by establishing, wherever it is practicable, such a means of drawing forth hearts in united supplication, and of thereby bringing down rain from the opened windows of heaven, you will have no counterbalancing evils to forebode! I have given you the results of my own observation. And the same has [14/15] been the experience of others. May the Lord raise up, through every portion of this Diocese, companies of earnest and praying men! And may God put it into your hearts to encourage their intercessions for a dying and thoughtless world! Your hands will be strengthened. Your field of labor will be refreshed with dew from heaven. And the two-fold result of earnest, effectual prayer, will be,--on the one hand a deeper devotedness to the Saviour on the part of those who confess Him in the rite of Confirmation, and, on the other, an enlarged addition "to the Church of such as should be saved."
I beg now to call your attention to certain lessons of duty, which the great Head of the Church, in this extended religious movement, addresses to us the ministers of his word. May the Lord help us to give heed to his voice, and to profit by what that voice speaks!
And surely, if He utters any admonition to us in this work of his grace, it is that of increased fidelity, directness, and scriptural simplicity, in preaching the plan of salvation.
Let us consider what this state of things throughout the land has been, really and truly. It has been an awakened feeling of the insecurity of earthly confidences; and a turning to God in prayer, for the gift of that knowledge of a Saviour whereby "we have peace with God, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God." And, even in cases where there has been little or nothing of these deep convictions, yet, from the very fact of the interest manifested around them, many have been brought to a thoughtfulness to [15/16] which previously they were strangers. Now this, as you must instantly perceive, is the very state of mind and heart which is supremely to be desired; of which the absence is the great obstacle to our success; and which, when aroused by God's Spirit, offers an opportunity, the most advantageous and welcome, for our faithful exhibition of the cure for man's wants and sorrows. Woe unto us, then, if we neglect this favorable season! For, thereby, a soil is prepared for us into which we fail to cast the seed; and thus incur the tremendous responsibility of losing the glorious harvest, which it might have been our blessed privilege to secure. I have sometimes thought that one of the designs of Providence, in the present visitation of so many hearts by his Spirit, may have been to excite to this renewed faithfulness the preachers of his word. However this may be, it is, I think, not to be disputed, that such a result has followed, in very considerable measure, from the wonderful scenes which the Lord's ministering servants have had forced upon their attention. Those who have been called to this "office and administration" have seen, in their own neighborhood and elsewhere, an unwonted impression possessing the souls of men. They have seen them awakened to a sense of the fleetness of human life; of the danger of sin; and of the importance of Christ's propitiation as the way of deliverance from its consequences. They have seen them praying for forgiveness, through Jesus Christ. They have seen them desiring, as the one thing needful, that favor which is "life," and that loving -kindness which is "better than life." And, [16/17] seizing the gracious moment, many of them have abandoned, in their ministrations, what was vague and powerless; they have faithfully discovered to their hearers the nature of that plague which they were beginning to feel within; they have endeavored to give greater pungency to their uneasiness; and they have pointed them, in terms the most intelligible, to Him whom "God hath exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour." My reverend brethren, allow me affectionately to remind you of your own duty, in these days of the Holy Spirit's presence. Especially let me urge my younger brethren to "stir up the gift that is in them." All observation shews, that no blessing ever comes from any preaching that is not according to "the simplicity that is in Christ." The responsibility is, therefore, always laid upon us, of following this simplicity in exhibiting the message of life. But, at such times of unusual impression as the present, this responsibility seems to press on us with added weight and solemnity. Now is the "accepted time" for us who are the heralds of Emmanuel. What if we shall be negligent of this day of opportunity? What if, when men are touched with anxiety about their condition, we do not aim at deepening that solicitude? What if, when men are beginning to long, as they never longed before, for a part in Christ's redemption, we do not hold up before them that willing, compassionate, and all-sufficient Redeemer? What if, with such a state of feeling before our eyes, we waste our precious occasion in preaching which has no point? What if we never touch, with direct contact, the [17/18] awakened conscience? What if we are giving men opiates, instead of feeding them with bread; and bidding them find comfort and hope in the mere reception of ordinances, instead of bringing them to the Lord Jesus as the only effectual physician? Or, what if, with sincere but blind earnestness, while we are inviting men to eternal life, we do so in such a way as to present no distinct ideas in answer to their inquiry, "What must I do to be saved?" Would to God that we may ponder the call he is addressing to us, in this inviting season of labor! Let us "preach the word." Let us be "workmen rightly dividing the word of truth." For, in this way, we "shall both save ourselves, and them that hear us."
But, my brethren in the ministry, there is another lesson which, in this time of awakened spiritual feeling, God utters in our ears. Does He not admonish us, in view of the present state of things, to put away henceforth, if so be that we have indulged it, spurious charity for erroneous exhibitions of the Gospel?
While contemplating this interest, among such multitudes through all the land, in regard to the things of eternal life, there is one reflection that must have arisen frequently in every serious Christian mind; and it is that of the inefficacy of every system for the relief of burdened souls, but that of a direct application of the righteousness of Christ to the needy and the perishing. You must have felt,--constantly and deeply,--that for the wounds of the convicted conscience there is no balm but that of Gilead; and that, in regard to any attempts to meet its necessities by substitutes for Christ, [18/19] it would be hard to say whether they are most ludicrous, or most cruel. Now, my reverend brethren, if such has been the light shed, by the events of the past year, upon the exclusive value of those evangelical doctrines, which, first contained in the Bible, are republished in the Liturgy and Thirty-nine Articles of our Church, God calls us, assuredly, to follow out this conviction to its legitimate consequences; and to forswear that false tenderness, so unhappily making its appearance, here and there, in our household of faith throughout the whole country, for views utterly in contradiction to those which have just been described. We are admonished to abjure, for example, that weak and unmanly spirit, which would lead us, for the sake of what is called peace, to look with a lenient eye upon those teachings whose sum and substance is ceremonialism; and justification by sacraments; and a course of observance whereby the Saviour is put into the back ground, and the soul kept from going directly and immediately to Him, as the only righteousness, and the only redemption. If such a system as this is unsuited to those earnest wants under which we have seen men laboring, since last we met together, then it is not of God; and ought, at all times, and in all places, to be regarded with uncompromising hostility. I am well aware that such counsels are met in many quarters, in these days, by deprecating notes of warning against what is termed the spirit of party. Let us, however, understand definitely what is meant by this expression. If by party-spirit is signified the maintenance of truth with bitter and violent personality,--or if it means [19/20] resoluteness in extending certain principles only for the sake of division,--there can be no question that such a warfare, being not spiritual, but carnal, is disapproved of God, and should be shunned by men. But if, on the other hand, by bidding us avoid being partisans it is intended to say, that, under the plausible pretext of brotherly love, we are to obliterate all the lines that separate truth from error,--and to lower momentous differences into trifles,--and to represent the precious truths of our scriptural and Protestant faith on the one hand, and the inculcation of delusive formalism, popish worship, and priestly mediation on the other, as both leading the soul by different roads to the same final glory and immortality,--then let us take our stand against such a caricature of peace, and give place to it in look, word, or deed, "no, not for an hour." Is not this that very counterfeit of charity against which we have been expressly warned? "The wisdom that is from above," says the Holy Spirit by the mouth of an apostle, "is first pure, then peaceable;" and, if she be shorn of her purity, pacific though she be, she is heavenly wisdom no longer. And yet, my reverend brethren, how many affectionate and genial natures, sorrowing, as they well may, over the spectacle of strife, and longing for rest, are beguiled by such feelings into compromises more pernicious to the cause of Christ than the worst of evils they deplore! For what is the consequence of this broad and indiscriminating spirit? Just so far as we promote among the people, by our influence, the sentiment that peace is the exclusive blessing at which to aim, we render them [20/21] indifferent to saving truth; we remove their feet from that Rock, Christ, on which they were once, perhaps, firmly planted; and thus, while seeming to pursue charity, are violating it in the most palpable form by doing injury to immortal souls. Are we prepared to encounter such a responsibility; and, led away either by a pusillanimous and selfish desire of repose, or by the specious pleas for harmony so often reiterated in these days, to sacrifice the everlasting interests of those committed to our charge? Against such a perversion of the name of love, I feel it to be my duty, in virtue of the office which I hold, distinctly to protest. God grant, of course I say, that you may all love the peace of Sion! But God grant that you may likewise love the true and uncorrupted gospel! God give you decision; and make you so firmly to hold the truth, and to set your faces against what is contrary to this truth, in whatever shape it may come, that it may be known and read of all men what you are, and where you stand! I need not remind you, that the ambassador of Christ who is wanting in what is positive, "steadfast," and "unmoveable" in character, can never, in the very nature of things, accomplish a fruitful ministration. But one suggestion I cannot refrain from making, with all the solemnity which it demands. There is a day coming, brethren beloved in the Lord, when, however we may shrink, in this world, from standing forth in all the distinctness of avowal of the right, and opposition to the wrong,--however we may temporize,--and however, under the fair name of charity for what is obviously error, we may decline to place [21/22] ourselves manfully on the side of truth,--this uncertainty will continue no longer. When the Son of man shall come, and all his holy angels with him, He will fix the place where we shall be compelled to stand. O that we may guide our course by the light of the eternal world! "He that is not with me is against me." "Whosoever shall be ashamed of me, and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father's, and of the holy angels."
I commend these thoughts, my reverend brethren, which the events of the last year have suggested to me, to your serious consideration; invoking, at the same moment, the aid of the Holy Spirit to give them acceptance with you all. Firmly persuaded, in my own mind, of their consonance with the word of God, it would be strange if I did not desire that they should also approve themselves to those to whom they have been presented. This, however, I must leave to Him, "without whom nothing" that man can say "is strong" to accomplish its object. My heart's prayer is, that the wonderful tokens God has been giving of his presence, by awakening so many of his immortal creatures to the remembrance of eternity, may not be unheeded by us in any of the aspects in which they have been considered. I desire you to feel a hearty belief, derived from the view of all the facts, that this work is of God. I also desire you to rejoice, at such a time as this, in the privileges we enjoy in our liturgical services;--not in the foolish spirit of vain-glory, but on the ground of their adaptation to the condition [22/23] of such, among the worshippers in the sanctuary, as have been touched by the Holy Ghost,--and of their efficacy in giving a well-regulated character to those familiar assemblies for unpremeditated prayer, which, although regarded by many with suspicion, have proved of late so eminently fruitful in results of blessing. And I desire, further,--to see the ambassadors of Christ stimulated, by what is now going on, to continual fidelity in the presentation of the simple gospel; and to the abandonment, like honest, straight-forward men, of a drivelling charity for that system of superstition, which puts the Lord Jesus into the shade, and which, as you must have often thought of late, it would be as evidently a mockery to offer to hearts under the conviction of sin, as would be the giving of "a stone" for "bread," or instead of "a fish," a "serpent." May the Lord grant to us all such an heart, while witnessing the work of grace which is now in progress; and at last, after we have finished the part assigned to us in our respective spheres of labor, may we be found worthy, through redeeming blood, to receive from "the chief Shepherd" a "crown of glory that fadeth not away!"