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a single moment, if you can possibly avoid it. Make a point of being within at an early hour in the evening, so as not to interfere with the usual time for dometic worship and retiring to rest. Employ the servants as little as possible in waiting upon you, and in going on errands for your accommodation. In short, study to accommodate all your movements to the ordinary habits and convenience of the family to which you are indebted for its hospitality. Christian benevolence demands that you pursue this course. It is only doing to others as you would that they should do unto you. A regard to your own interest also demands it of you. For it cannot be doubted that those who find you a very troublesome guest, will be glad of your departure, and not very anxious that you should repeat your visit.
10. Be careful in receiving, as well as in paying visits. When
have a house of your own, be hospitable. Your duty as a Christian, and as a minister, will demand it. Receive and treat your friends with unaffected benevolence and kindness. Entertain them comfortably, but always plainly. “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” But remember that what is called hospitality may be carried too far.
When a minister of the gospel, under the notion of complying with this duty, “keeps open house,” and allows his dwelling to be made a tavern, he does injustice to his family, and criminally consumes his own time. For to every guest some time must be devoted, and to some much time. I have known some clergymen in populous towns, a large portion of whose time was employed in this manner, to the utter destruction of
their studies; and whose households were thereby kept in a course of constant toil and confusion. As to the question how far you ought to go, in this respect, I can lay down no general rule. Christian wisdom must direct you.
11. When you visit large towns, do not calculate on going to lodge at the house of the minister with whom you may happen to be acquainted. Peculiar intimacy may indeed render this strictly proper ; but never do it, without being decisively, and even pressingly invited. Your case, it is true, is but one; yet if two or three such cases occur every week, it is easy to see what the consequence must be to those ministers who live in populous places. A little reflection will show how you ought to act.
12. My last counsel on this subject is, that you never enter any house to pay the shortest visit without leaving some testimony in favour of religion. Even where there is no time or good opening for direct address, or even inquiry concerning the spiritual interests of those whom you address, you may still speak a word for your Master, and leave a hint, if it be but a hint, to his honour behind you. A single sentence expressive of trust in God, or some other pious sentiment; a reference to his all-governing Providence, and the dependence of all creatures on his power; a suggestion respecting the uncertainty of all worldly possessions, the stability and infinite value of heavenly treasures, and the blessedness of those who have a well-founded hope in Christ; an allusion to the superior importance of spiritual health, where disease of body is complained of; a mild and friendly check of anxiety, where an inordinate share
of it is expressed, by directing the thoughts of the anxious to the adorable government of God; a sentence or two of this kind, uttered, not with formality, but with mild and affectionate simplicity, may be “a word in season,
a means of incalculable benefit to those to whom it is addressed. Many a time has a short sentence, spoken in the fear of God, and from a tender love to souls, though perhaps soon forgotten by the speaker, proved an instrument of eternal benefit to some individual or family, where such a result was least expected.
And let us consider one another, to provoke unto love, and to good works. - HEB. X. 24.
HABITS IN THE SEMINARY GENERALLY.
MY DEAR YOUNG FRIEND:- You are no longer a school-boy, nor even a college student. Having become a man, you will be expected to “put away childish things.” Having taken your place in a theological seminary, as a candidate for the holy ministry, you thereby give a solemn pledge that every thing weak, irregular and disorderly, every thing calculated to retard your own progress, or to offend others, shall be carefully avoided. Many indeed carry this idea so far as to imagine that, in a theological institution, there can be no need for regulation or discipline at all. They imagine that all candidates for the sacred office will, of course, have so much gravity, prudence, sense of decorum, and fixed religious principle, as to render all specific measures for maintaining order altogether unnecessary. And hence it is, that such persons consider a system of rules, intended to control the personal deportment of such students, as altogether superfluous, if not an unworthy reflection on their character.
Such persons, however, take a hasty and narrow view of the subject. Their impressions are not derived from experience. They forget that the greater part of an associated band of theological students have just left college ; and that there they have been accustomed to a certain set of habits appropriate to institutions in which the regular and the disorderly are mingled together, and in which puerility, and as much disregard of rule as can be ventured upon, are apt to be indulged by many. There students who profess to be pious, are, as a matter of course, subjected to the same regulations which bind the most licentious and unruly. Accordingly, they become habituated to that constant pressure of college authority, which, being found necessary for others, is extended to them.
With these habits they enter a theological seminary; in which the same rigour of inspection, and the same strictness of regulation, in detail, are considered as unnecessary, and even as improper. In such circumstances, no wonder that their first impressions are those of unlimited liberty. No wonder, that, in a few instances, they are found to need a monitor to remind them, that, although their personal habits, and their application to study, ought now to be left more to their own sense of duty than formerly, rule and order are still indispensable. And some are evidently more slow than others in accommodating their habits to the new system under which they are placed.
But, truly, if among young men from twenty to twenty-five years of age, all professors of religion, all considered, in a judgment of charity, as pious, all candidates for the holy ministry, and all supposed to