A valuable correspondent who used frequently to call on the late venerable Abraham Booth not long before his death, when all who visited him remarked his great spirituality of mind, and doubtless received instruction from his communications; (for of him it might be truly said "His lips kept knowledge;") wrote down some of his conversation on his return home, and thinking it might be useful to other young ministers as it had been to himself, has kindly transcribed it for our work. We gladly give these morsels a place in the hope that their excellence may provoke ministers in general to solicit the republication of that excellent work of Mr. Booth's, intitled 'Pastoral Cautions,' a work which every pastor should possess, and which every one who assists at the ordination of young ministers should exhort them to purchase, as next in point of excellence to the Epistles of Paul to Timothy and Titus.
Advice Respecting the Pulpit.
Never study a sermon with the design of displaying your abilities; but always aim to promote the glory of God.
Endeavour to improve your understanding, by reading the scriptures; and praying for divine assistance.
Never forget while you are preaching to others that you are a
sinner yourself. Take care and not attend to publick work as the mere duty of office. Pray not as a minister, but as a poor sinner. If you wish to be comfortable in your work, pray for much of the life of religion in your own soul.
Advice Respecting Conduct.
Be not frequent in your visits to any lady living alone; I have seen much mischief resulting from such conduct.
Never visit any of your hearers who are rich, without a particular invitation; give them no cause to think you want either their food or their money.
Be home with your wife and family early in the evening; many a minister's wife has been rendered miserable through the inattention of her husband.
Have nothing to do with making matches among your people; let the men find their own wives and the women then own husbands; this is no part of your business, Sir.
Be cautious how you make a will for any one of your people: and never be an executor or guardian for any.
Advise not the rich to lend to the poor, nor lend any thing yourself, unless you are first satisfied that you can afford to lose it all. Be not a surety for any one.
On the Origin of Evil.
Doctor Willams, said he, has attempted to account for the origin of evil by saying, "That a reasonable creature, necessarily tends to evil. He has that in him which physically considered tends to nihility; and morally considered to defection." But, added he, If a creature has a tendency to evil, that must be an evil tendency; for a disposition to rebel, is rebellion. It is generally admitted, that no creature can be absolutely independant; none can be immutable; to suppose this would involve a palpable contradiction. But, I apprehend, it is as impossible for a God of perfect wisdom and purity, to create a Being which has a tendency to evil, as for Omnipotence to create a Square Circle. I have listened for several years to what was said both by great men and little men on this subject, and was as well satisfied with what little men said, as with what great men said; but, for forty years past, I have made up my mind to this conclusion, That to account for it is impossible; it must be reserved for another state.
On the Divinity of Christ.
The Saviour says, Do this in remembrance of me. Who is this instituting a new act of worship? Tis as much the prerogative of God to say how he will be worshipped, as it is for the supreme ruler of a state to coin money. Hence God was so jealous of his
honour under the old dispensation, that when any thing of man's invention was introduced into his worship, he asked, Who hath required this at your hands? If Jesus be not God what is the inference? For he certainly instituted this ordinance to be observed by his disciples; and makes himself the sole end of his own appointment. "Remember me," said he, and "do this," to keep alive in your recollection my sacrifice and death.
[From The Baptist Magazine, Volume 2, 1810, via Google Books On-line. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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