PREACHED AT THE
OPENING OF THE GENERAL CONVENTION
PROTESTANT EPISCOPAL CHURCH
United States of America,
ST. JAMES' CHURCH, PHILADELPHIA,
ON WEDNESDAY, AUGUST, 12. 1829.
THOMAS CHURCH BROWNELL, D.D. LL.D.
BISHOP OF THE DIOCESE OF CONNECTICUT.
A SERMON. &c.
GALATIANS iv. 18.
But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing.
BRETHREN, our text requires no explanation. We may therefore direct immediate attention to the practical application of the precept of the Apostle. The "good thing" to which he refers, and for the promotion of which he declares it "good for us always to be zealously affected," is that pure and undefiled religion which he had preached to the Galatians, and which is no less important to us than it was to them.
In this great cause our zeal should evince itself, first, in embracing its truths, and devoting ourselves to its practice, "with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our mind;" and secondly, in putting forth all our exertions to extend its salutary influence among our brethren of the human family.
I. In the first place, then, our zeal should evince itself in embracing the truths of Christianity, and in devoting ourselves to the practice of its duties, "with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our mind."
 In the pursuit of temporal objects which engage their affections, men are ardent, active, and persevering. They who set their hearts on the acquisition of wealth are ready to encounter every obstacle, and to submit to the most harassing cares, for the attainment of their object. The devotees of pleasure engage in the vanities, and follies, and vices of the world, as though they constituted the most important of all avocations. Look at the ambitious man, and behold the ardor he displays in the mistaken object of his pursuit. What chicanery, what flattery, "what sordid cringing for popularity, what slander and calumny, what prostitution of honor and of conscience, for the attainment of power and distinction! And shall we not manifest as much zeal and earnestness in the cause of God and of religion--a cause in which all true felicity, both temporal and eternal, is involved--as we lavish on the perishing and deceitful vanities of the world!
Lukewarmness in religion is most pointedly condemned in the Scriptures. "I would that thou wert either hot or cold," said the Spirit of God to the angel of the church of Laodicea. Not that lukewarmness is, in itself, worse than positive irreligion; but because, in such a state, there is less probability of repentance and amendment. In such a state, men feel no apprehensions, because they imagine themselves secure. Though conscious of no high attainments in religion, yet they think they have sufficient knowledge of the way of salvation, to need no further instruction, sufficient devotion to need no new ardor, and sufficient holiness to need no reformation. But can such persons hope to secure the rewards of religion? Will not the talent which they bury in the earth, and of which they make no improvement, be ultimately taken from them? What say the [4/5] Scriptures? "Cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness; there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth."
There are those whose religious affections may escape the imputation of absolute lukewarmness, but who yet lack resolution and perseverance to overcome the difficulties in the way of a religious life. They are favorably disposed to religion, are persuaded of the duty of repentance and amendment, and are almost determined to resist the temptations which beset them, and enter at once upon that strictness of living which religion enjoins. Like the young man who came to our Saviour, they are inclined to do some good thing, that they "may inherit eternal life;" but when the sacrifices and self-denials of religion are proposed to them, they want resolution to encounter them, and "go away sorrowful." But there is no progress in religion without firmness, diligence, and perseverance. "The double-minded man is unstable in all his ways." In the pursuit of worldly objects, men know that they must submit to privations, and put forth great exertions. Why will they not submit to equal privations, and put forth corresponding exertions, in that more profitable cause, "which has the promise both of this life and that which is to come;" and in which we have so much more reason to rely on assistance from above?
There are yet others who set out with much zeal in their religious course, but soon fall back into a state of impenitence, or go on fluctuating between the temptations of the world and the duties of religion. Their feelings are readily excited, and as quickly subside. Like the seed sown on stony ground, their religion soon springs up, and as hastily [5/6] withers away; or, "unstable as water," and inconstant as the waves of the ocean, their lives are spent in a continual conflict between sinning and repenting. We often see such men deeply affected with the importance of spiritual things; lamenting their frequent derelictions of duty; forming strong resolutions of amendment, and setting out with renewed earnestness and zeal in the ways of religion; and yet all these good resolutions soon fail, and pass away like the morning dew. Again they fall into their former sins, and again they repent of them. Their life is but a succession of inconsistencies; a constant conflict of opposing principles and inclinations; their consciences convincing them of the important realities of religion, and their passions alluring them to the deceitful vanities of sin. In such a state they forfeit every kind of happiness. They cannot enjoy the mistaken pleasures which the worldling seeks, and they deprive themselves of all the true consolations of religion. Where then shall they find a remedy for their deplorable condition? Let them consider well the depravity and deceitfulness of their own hearts, and their natural inability to do any thing that is good, and let them seek for aid in the proffered grace of God. Let them not take encouragement from slight and transient emotions of penitence and zeal, but only from a patient and persevering continuance in well-doing. Let them exercise a constant and unwearied watchfulness over themselves; suppressing in their hearts the love of the world, the love of money, and the love of distinction; and let them be careful that in every thing religion occupy the first place in their affections. And above all things, let them be earnest and persevering in their private prayers to that Throne of Grace where all sufficiency resides.
 But it is not enough that our zeal be earnest and constant; it must be characterized by just views of the nature and the requirements of religion.
The Christian religion is not a cold system of morality, nor a set of unmeaning forms. It is founded on the fall and consequent guilt of man, and on the riches of divine mercy as displayed in the meritorious atonement of the Son of God. The duties which it requires are not to be wrought by our own strength; and the rewards which it promises are not to be obtained by our own righteousness. Before our zeal can be directed to its proper end, or influenced by any adequate motive, we must be duly sensible of the utter ruin which is brought upon us by the corruptness of our nature, and our actual transgressions; and that there is no other way or name, given under heaven among men, by which we can be saved, than that of Jesus of Nazareth.
The Jews supposed religion to consist in the observance of certain forms, and in the performance of certain outward duties, without regarding the spirit of the law which enjoined them. And there are too many, at the present day, who entertain low and inadequate ideas of religion; who substitute some favorite or easy part for the whole of its duties; or who mistake its forms for the religion itself. True religion, while it is embraced by the understanding, has its chief seat in the heart and the affections. Its great ends are to glorify God and sanctify man. And whatever falls short of this, or is substituted in the room of it, is unworthy of the sacred name.
There are many things essential to real piety, which are yet far from making up the sum of religion. It is not enough [7/8] that we are baptized into the Christian church. The baptism which becomes effectual to our salvation consists not in the "putting away the filth of the flesh," not in the mere washing of water, but in "the answer of a good conscience towards God." It is not enough that we respect the Lord's day, and repair to the house of public worship. The outward acts constitute but the form of religion. The power of it consists in the sanctification of the heart, and amendment of the life. It is not enough that we repeat the solemn prayers of our liturgy. The heart must be engaged. The true fire of devotion must glow in the soul, to enkindle the wood upon the altar, and consume the sacrifice. All our conduct must be actuated by truly Christian motives. A fervent love of God, and a sincere desire to do his will, a heartfelt gratitude for the inestimable love of Christ, as displayed in the redemption of the world, must direct all our conduct and animate every exertion. And above all, a pure and holy life must be the unfailing result of our Christian principles; and our great concern must be to "live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world;" looking forward to the blessed hopes and rich rewards of that which is to come.
II. Having thus shown that our zeal in the cause of religion should first induce us to embrace and cherish it ourselves, "with all our heart, and with all our soul, and with all our mind," I proceed to show, in the second place, that it should incite us to put forth all our exertions to dispense its blessings to our fellow men.
We are commanded to "love our neighbours as ourselves;" and if religion be essential to our own happiness, both temporal and eternal, it must be equally so to that of [8/9] all our brethren of the human family. And if we are forbidden to see even an enemy suffer hunger, or nakedness, or disease, without endeavouring to relieve him, how will he be regarded in the sight of God, who beholds with indifference millions of his fellow men groping in the ignorance and guilt of heathenism; and who, with equal indifference, beholds millions more, surrounded with the light of the Gospel, but shutting their eyes against that light; and who yet puts not forth a single effort in their behalf!
Brethren;--this aspect of our subject naturally directs our attention to those plans of Christian benevolence which constitute so distinguished and honourable a characteristic of the present age. For how can we so effectually advance the spiritual welfare of our fellow men, as by promoting the religious instruction of the rising generation; by the liberal support of our literary and religious institutions; by the education of pious young men for the Gospel ministry; and by the sending of missionaries to the destitute portions of our own country, and among the Heathen in foreign lands? These objects of Christian benevolence are all intimately connected, and they all spring from the same principle--a true zeal in the cause of the Christian religion.
It is but a short period since the attention of our church began to be awakened to the importance of these objects; and it is certain that she does not yet evince that general and deep interest in them, which pervades the other religious communions in our country. Some apology for this remissness may indeed be found in her comparative weakness. Most of our parishes, arising from small beginnings, and organized in the midst of communities by no means favorable to their increase, were for a long time struggling [9/10] for existence. But it has pleased God greatly to bless our Church; "to lengthen her cords, and strengthen her stakes;" to raise her from the dust, and give her an honorable place among the communions by which she is surrounded; and she is now called upon, by every motive of religion and gratitude, to vie with them in all their Christian exertions for the welfare of the human family.
Yet, after every reasonable allowance for the past, it must still be admitted that there have been many parishes, and some individuals in most parishes, who might have contributed much more largely to the general objects of religious charity; and it must also be conceded, that there are religious denominations, who, with less pecuniary ability, have exerted themselves much more liberally and effectually, in promoting the general interests of their communion, as well as in aiding the great cause of Christian philanthropy. On this point we cannot acquit ourselves, as a Church, from the charge of criminal indifference and negligence. And, my brethren of the clergy, I fear we must sustain our full share in this general condemnation. I fear we have not inculcated, so frequently and so forcibly as we ought to have done, the solemn truth that men's wealth is not their own--that "the silver and the gold are the Lord's," and that its possessors are but the stewards of his bounty. Brethren, is this important truth sufficiently felt and appreciated? I cannot address this question to a single congregation, but the consciences of more than half my audience must bear me witness that it is not. And yet there is no truth more firmly inculcated in the Scriptures, and none to which enlightened reason should yield a more ready assent. Why is it, then, that so many are "slow of heart to believe" it, and still more reluctant to act in accordance with, its [10/11] dictates? Again I say, I fear it has not been sufficiently declared from our pulpits. I fear we have been too tender towards the prejudices, as well as towards the avaricious feelings of our hearers; and that, for ourselves, we have been too much afraid of incurring the odious but idle imputation of priestcraft.
The scriptural obligation of justice seems to be admitted by all; but not so the obligation of charity. There are too many who feel that they may be liberal, or not, according to their own pleasure; and that they incur no guilt in the sight of God by withholding their charity. But this is not the language of Scripture. According to this unerring standard, justice and charity rest upon precisely the same foundation--the will of God. The same authority that has enjoined us to "render to all their dues," has said, "to do good and to distribute forget not;"--"Charge them who are rich in this world, that they be ready to give, and glad to distribute; laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may attain eternal life."
If the force of these injunctions and encouragements were sufficiently felt, we should hear fewer complaints from our brethren of the importunities to which they are subjected. The calls of charity afford no proper subject of complaint to a Christian man. He should rather rejoice in every new opportunity of contributing to his Master's cause. If he believe the object to be laudable, and possesses the ability to aid it, he should be "ready," and "glad" to do so. If he has nothing to give, or if he is conscious that he has contributed all that duty requires of him, in aid of other charities, he should at least give his denial with kindness [11/12] and courtesy, while he bids "God-speed" to the object and its advocate.
But the complaints to which I allude do not generally proceed from the benefactors of religion. They are heard chiefly from those who give little to such objects, and who grudge to give any thing. They are chiefly from men who give not from Christian motives, but because they feel that the public sentiment exacts such a tribute from them. It is not wonderful that such men should consider charity as a burthen, or that they should wish to escape from it. Without any feeling of its religious obligation, and without any interest in the objects presented to their patronage, it is natural that they should regard every such application as a species of injustice and extortion.
But it is gratifying to perceive that juster sentiments are beginning to pervade the great body of our Church: The important duty of charity is getting to be better understood; and many, who heretofore have felt its force only in reference to the wants and distresses of individuals, begin to evince a deep and growing interest in those plans of Christian benevolence, which have for their object the spiritual welfare of a community or a nation. This fact is equally auspicious to the cause of charity, and to that of personal piety. For the more extensive and diffusive our benevolence; the more we imbibe the spirit of that divine command which requires us to "love our neighbour as ourselves;" the more completely shall we be freed from the dominion of selfish passions, and assimilated to the perfect benignity of Christ.
Still, however, there are yet too many who look with an [12/13] unfriendly eye on those religious objects which are supported by the public benevolence; and who not only withhold their own aid, but seek to justify their conduct by magnifying the abuses to which they have sometimes been perverted. Because some enthusiastic projector may have started an object of trivial importance or doubtful utility, and pressed it with importunate and unbecoming zeal; or because another individual may have hypocritically availed himself of some popular religious charity to promote his own selfish ends, they seem to consider such abuses as inseparable from these objects, and fall into the common error, that nothing can be good or useful which may, by possibility, be abused. But, among imperfect creatures, there is nothing which may not be abused. Christianity itself may be abused. The very faculty of reason is abused by such fallacious arguments.
We sometimes hear, too, of the great sums which are lavished on these charities, as though they were a heavy burthen on the community, and as though men were really impoverished by them. But it is not sufficiently considered, that whatever contributes to promote religion and morality, at the same time subserves the general welfare of society, and tends as effectually to the protection of person and of property as the taxes which are levied for the support of civil government. And I hazard nothing in saying that the sums which are contributed to the religious charities of our country are repaid to the community fourfold, in the indirect and collateral results which they produce; and independent of the great objects for which they are expended. As an illustration of this remark, I might refer to some of the incidental effects of foreign missions:--to the extension of geographical knowledge, to the information obtained in [13/14] relation to the languages, manners, and arts of distant nations, and to the channels of commercial enterprize and national prosperity which have thus been opened.
But after all, what are the sums contributed to these objects, in comparison with those voluntarily expended on other objects which are useless? I may say, in comparison with those expended on indulgences which are absolutely injurious to health and to happiness? Let us, then, reject the idea that such charities conduce to poverty. We may safely appeal to experience on this point. Where is that community, where is that religious denomination, which has been thus impoverished?--I had almost said, where is that individual? For, in all my observation, I have never yet known a man who had been obviously impoverished by his charities. I have known charitable men who were reduced to poverty by misfortune, and by improvidence, but never one where that calamity was obviously produced by his liberality in the cause of religion. And this experience is precisely conformable to the promises of Scripture: "The liberal soul shall be made fat."--"He that soweth little shall reap little; and he that soweth plentifully shall reap plentifully."--"For whatsoever a man soweth that shall he reap."--"He that hath pity upon the poor, lendeth unto the Lord; and look, what he layeth out, it shall be paid him again."--"Blessed is he that considereth the poor; the Lord will deliver him in the time of trouble. The Lord will preserve him and keep him alive, and he shall be blessed upon earth."
These rewards of charity are not, indeed, immediate, direct, and obvious. Such a dispensation would destroy our free-agency, and would be subversive of the very nature [14/15] of charity. But the infinite wisdom of God can devise a thousand ways of fulfilling his promise, without doing violence to either. He can restrain the blight and the mildew. He can preserve from the devastations of fire and of flood. He can send the former and the latter rain. He can bless our fields with increase, and prosper the work of our hands. And besides all this, liberality in the cause of religion tends, in its very nature, to the improvement of individual character. It secures confidence and esteem, and is favourable to habits of industry and economy, and to all those virtuous exertions which naturally lead to worldly prosperity.
My brethren; I trust the influence of considerations like these is rapidly spreading in our Church. May we not hope that it will soon pervade the whole body, and utterly destroy every vestige of those lingering objections and prejudices to which I have alluded. With what ardor, and with what efficiency, we might then carry forward those great objects of Christian benevolence which have been instituted by this body! I refer to our THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY, and our SOCIETY FOR DOMESTIC AND FOREIGN MISSIONS. These are surely among those "good things," for which, in the language of the text, "it is good for us always to be zealously affected."
Of all the measures which can be devised for promoting the prosperity of our Church, I regard the education of pious young men for her ministry, as of primary and paramount importance. By the blessing of God on our exertions, our Seminary is already sufficiently endowed to support a competent number of learned professors for effecting this object. And yet how small is the number of those who [15/16] avail themselves of the means of instruction which have been provided! It is obvious, therefore, that something more is required to be done. Means must be provided for supporting, or assisting, pious young men, during the course of their education; not only during their theological education, but also during their preparatory collegiate course. In no other way can the Seminary be made to answer the beneficent purpose for which it was designed, and in no other way can a sufficient number of clergy be supplied to fulfil the present and increasing wants of the Church.
From the best estimate which I have been able to form, there are now, within the bounds of our communion, more than one hundred vacant cures, each possessing sufficient means of support, if competent clergymen could be obtained. This is in itself an alarming destitution: but at least as many more clergymen are wanted for the supply of weak or newly formed parishes, under missionary auspices; and for the occupation of new fields of missionary labour, which are now "white and ready for the harvest." And how is this great deficiency to be supplied? We observe no increase in the number of our candidates for Holy Orders, which is at all commensurate with the increase of the Church. It is obvious, therefore, that, under present circumstances, the deficiency must continue to augment, or the Church must decline. And we can see no new causes which seem likely to add to the number of candidates for Orders. Fortunately the sacred office holds out few worldly inducements. The road to wealth and distinction lies through other professions and callings. Still, however, there are, within our Church, a sufficient number of youth of piety and talents, who would willingly devote themselves to the labours of the ministry, if the means of acquiring a [16/17] competent education were afforded them. This seems to me the only resource for the supply of our wants to which we can resort with any rational prospect of success: and the only way of availing ourselves of this resource must be by making a liberal provision for the education of such youth.
Brethren; I am persuaded that this great want of ministers in our Church is not generally known. Certain I am that it is not adequately felt and appreciated. Those indeed who are appointed overseers in the Church, and whose duty it is to see that no portion of their charge shall suffer for lack of pastoral superintendence and instruction, are compelled to feel this destitution, with many bitter regrets at their inability to afford relief. And there are extensive portions of our country for which there are no such overseers; and where there are none to "seek for Christ's sheep that are dispersed abroad." Would to God, my brethren that the Church at large might awake to a sense of our wants, and take immediate and effectual measures for supplying them! Would to God that we might all be induced to look abroad to the magnitude of the harvest, and the paucity of the labourers; that we might earnestly "pray the Lord of the harvest, to send forth labourers into his harvest," and be induced ourselves zealously to co-operate in the glorious work! I know, indeed, that something has already been done in this noble cause. I know that societies have been instituted for the education of pious youth for the sacred ministry, and that many individuals have set a laudable example of beneficence. But these partial efforts bear no proportion to our wants, and we can expect no adequate supply till the same spirit shall pervade every portion of our Church.
 Brethren; I have already alluded to the "Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society," as originating in this body, and embracing a cause, in the promotion of which "it is good for us always to be zealously affected." You will hear that cause supported by other and abler advocates, but I cannot forego the present occasion to express the deep and anxious solicitude which I feel for its success. I consider its prosperity as inseparably connected with the prosperity of the Church, and the piety of her members. I consider the spirit of missions as the true spirit of Christianity; and I regard, with equal solicitude, both the great objects for which the society was established.
I am aware, indeed, that there are those who think the time has not yet arrived when our Church is called upon to take an active part in the cause of Foreign Missions. I pay all due deference to their opinions, and to the motives by which they are actuated; but for myself, I consider the cause of missions, as well as the spirit of missions, to be one and indivisible; and I shall not be thought presumptive in declaring this sentiment, before a body whose sanction it has already received. The great object of missions is, to fulfil the injunction of Christ, to preach the Gospel to every creature; and I know no other limit to this command than the ability of Christians. Should we wait for all the spiritual wants of our own country to be supplied, before we engage in sending the Gospel to heathen lands, the duty will never be performed. We can anticipate no future period when the principles of Christianity will be so predominant that there shall be no infidels to be converted, and no careless or presumptuous sinners to be admonished of their duty; and when there shall be left no room at home for the exercise of Christian benevolence.
 But the practice of the Apostles and primitive Evangelists is the best commentary on this command. They did not stay their progress to convert every soul in Jerusalem, and in Judea, before they carried the Gospel to other countries. They went throughout all lands, shedding the light of Christianity along their path, and setting up here and there a Church to diffuse its rays upon the surrounding darkness. We are indeed required to provide for our "own household," but this duty is not to interfere with that of general benevolence. Both duties rest upon the same foundation, and both are equally included in the divine commandment to "love our neighbours as ourselves."
If we appeal to experience, we shall find that liberality in the cause of foreign missions, creates no impediment in the way of domestic exertions. On the contrary, we shall find that those denominations, those communities, and those individuals, who evince the greatest interest in the promulgation of the Gospel among the heathen, are the most liberal contributors to domestic missions, and to every other object of Christian philanthropy. It is natural and reasonable that it should be so; for a true and enlightened zeal in the cause of foreign missions is founded in a strong conviction of our Christian obligations to all our brethren of the human race; on a deep sense of the value of the souls of men; and on an awful apprehension of those dread alternatives of everlasting happiness or misery to which they are destined. The heart that is penetrated with these feelings is imbued with the true spirit of benevolence. Narrow and selfish affections are extinguished, and it is prepared for a ready co-operation in every act of Christian beneficence.
 To the domestic operations of our General Missionary Society there are, at the present day, but few objectors. Formerly it was otherwise. The time is not remote when too many of our clergy were accustomed to consider every farthing collected from their parishes, even for diocesan purposes, as so much abstracted from the means of their own support. But experience has shown the fallacy of this opinion; and has demonstrated that the surest way of supporting local institutions, is by fostering the general principle of charity. This discovery is removing those difficulties which selfishness is ever so ready to interpose, and is giving free course to that missionary spirit which is so rapidly pervading our Church. I hail the prevalence of this spirit as most auspicious to the prosperity of the Church, and to the piety of her members. And especially do I hail its increase as pre-eminently auspicious to the spiritual interests of that great and interesting country which spreads so wide to the west and to the south, beyond our mountains, and into which there is flowing such an overwhelming tide of population. Never was there an object better calculated to inspire and inflame the spirit of missions, than the moral and religious destitutions of this wide-spread region, and never was there presented a more interesting field for its efficient and useful exertion.
Time will not permit me to take a survey of this region, nor to lay its wants before you. Nor is it needful that I should do so. Its privations have become a subject of anxious inquiry, and deep solicitude to the Society of which I have been speaking. Through its proper organs they will be made known to the Church. We shall be informed of the immense extent of this country; of the amazing increase of its population; of its lamentable destitution of [20/21] the means of moral improvement and religious knowledge; of the noble efforts put forth by other religious denominations for the establishment of their institutions there; of the small number of Episcopal clergymen and missionaries scattered through the country; and of the great portion of the emigrants and their offspring who are attached to the institutions of our Church, and anxiously waiting to welcome its ministrations.
In the view of considerations like these, what shall be the response of the Church? May we not expect a zeal and a liberality commensurate with the magnitude of the object, and which shall constitute a new era in our ecclesiastical annals! Most devoutly do I pray for such a consummation; and I feel that we are called upon by every motive of interest and of duty to urge it forward. We are called upon as churchmen, to send the institutions which we love;--which we revere as the legacy of our Saviour and his Apostles, to a people anxious to receive them; and where there is such a mighty region for their expansion and beneficent influence. Sensible of the importance of religion and morality to the support of civil government, and the preservation of civil liberty, we are called upon as patriots to aid in extending their influence among our destitute fellow citizens, with whom our political destinies are united. But I waive all meaner considerations;--we are called upon as Christians,--by the love of Christ, and by a regard for the souls of our brethren, to send them the blessings of that religion whose efficacy is in the blood of Christ, and through which efficacy alone they can be saved from eternal perdition, and prepared for the inheritance of everlasting glory and felicity.
 Brethren; I might direct your attention to other charitable institutions, in the cause of which it were well for us "always to be zealously affected." I might speak of the beneficent operations of our Sunday School Society; and of the salutary measures which have been devised for the dissemination of Bibles, Prayer Books, and religious Tracts; but I have thought it right to confine my remarks to those special objects which have derived their origin from this Convention.I will only add, that I consider a zealous co-operation in these works of charity, as among the most efficient means of promoting the peace, the union, and the spiritual welfare of our Church. They present a common cause, for the advancement of which all may heartily unite, whatever may be their diversities of sentiment; and by being brought to act together in this common cause, they will learn to do justice to each other's motives, opinions, and conduct, on other occasions. And while such a co-operation will have a salutary tendency to check all undue regard to local interests and selfish feelings, we shall find that a serious concern for the spiritual welfare of our fellow men will produce the most beneficial effects on our own personal piety, and we shall learn, by a happy experience, that "it is good for us to be zealously affected always, in a good thing."