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circumstances, to approach the table among the first, and reverently to implore the divine blessing. But if the company be large, disorderly, noisy, and apparently indisposed to such exercises, and there be no weighty portion of it ready to act as pioneers, and open the way for him, he ought not, in my judgment, to force his services upon such an assemblage. If after you become a minister, you are ever thrown into such a situation, withdraw to a quiet end of the table, with the little group who may be like-minded with yourself, if there be any such present, and there, in a low voice, only to be heard by yourselves, and the few who sit next to you, implore the blessing of heaven on the comforts of which you partake. When you fall into such turbulent companies, this course, if my observation has not greatly deceived me, is best adapted to make the desired impression.
I have known some clergymen, who, in travelling, thought it their duty, and laid it down as a rule, at every public house at which they put up, whether crowded with company or not, without exception, to call the family together to morning and evening prayers. That this may often be done, very acceptably, and to great advantage, in the private, or family room, where the keeper of the house and his family are respectful to religion, I am well persuaded. And, therefore, a clergyman in travelling ought ever to be on the watch to perceive, and ready to seize, favourable occasions to introduce the worship of God. But to insist on doing it in the face of manifest aversion, and even in the midst of a noisy and profane throng, as I have sometimes known to be the fact, is, verily, in my opinion, “casting pearls before swine," and adapted to dishonour rather than recommend religion.
17. In travelling, be not ready to entangle yourself with obtrusive or troublesome strangers.
In almost every crowded public conveyance that you enter, there are passengers who answer this description; persons who, from vulgarity, from officiousness, or from some sinister motive, will be disposed to fasten themselves upon you, and endeavour to make you subservient to their convenience. They will, perhaps, oppress you with their conversation, pester you with their plans, and even lay a snare for your politeness, which may give much trouble afterwards. Be on your guard against such persons. Give no encouragement to their intimacy or their schemes, especially until you know something about them. The exercise of common civility to them may entangle you to a most inconvenient degree. To this class of travellers females are sometimes found to belong. Travelling without a protector, they may feel desirous of engaging a clergyman to act the part of one; whom, though a stranger to them, they consider as furnishing, in his profession, a pledge of fidelity and benevolence. Often have I known females travelling in these circumstances, impose themselves on clergymen travelling in the same direction, and form an incumbrance and impediment of the most serious kind. I have known ministers, young and old, on journeys for their health, really oppressed, and their movements most unhappily and injuriously trammelled, by these self-created charges. Guard against every such imposition. If you do not, you will never be without incumbrance. In travelling, be polite, accommodating and benevolent
to every body, especially to females, and, above all, to unprotected females of decent appearance and character. But do not allow them, in ordinary cases, to identify themselves with you; to consider you as their humble servant; and to expect you to regulate your motions by their convenience. Perhaps no class of men have so much reason to be on their guard against this species of imposition as ministers of the gospel.
18. In travelling, guard against giving unnecessary trouble, and making unnecessary complaints. I have often observed clergymen and theological students to act indiscreetly in this respect. They have given so much trouble, and addressed themselves so offensively to stage-drivers, boatmen, innkeepers, and servants at public houses, as really to be regarded, after a while, as a nuisance wherever they appeared. Guard against this mistake. Speak to persons in such humble stations mildly but respectfully. Be sparing in your demands on their time and services; and when they are civil to you, manifest a thankful spirit. Be not ready to complain when your accommodations are not such as could be wished, and even when they are shamefully bad. What good will your complaints do? You are always completely in the power of those persons in whose vehicles you travel, or in whose houses you put up; and, in most cases, loud complaints will only make the matter worse. Besides, ministers ought to exhibit, every where, a patient spirit, and contentment with such things as they may chance to have. Be easily satisfied, backward to complain, and respectful to every body; and the impression made on the minds
of all you fall in with, will operate more strongly in your favour than you can easily imagine.
19. Whenever you travel out of your own immediate neighbourhood, be careful to seek and treasure up
all the information which you may have an opportunity of gaining. It is wonderful to observe under what a lethargy of mind many intelligent men labour, as to this point, in their most interesting excursions. They travel, perhaps, hundreds of miles through the finest regions of country, without making a single inquiry, or treasuring up a single fact, adapted to solid use afterwards.
This is a fault, really as criminal as it is disreputable. I advise you to consider every journey that you take as “a price put into your hands for getting wisdom." Try to return from every excursion laden with knowledge, concerning the agricultural, the commercial, and the manufacturing state of the districts through which you pass; their various internal improvements, their literary, moral, and religious condition; the numbers, prospects, wants, &c., of the different ecclesiastical denominations; and particularly any institutions or practices which may be worthy of imitation. In travelling, always keep a diary. If it be as minute in recording what you see, as well as what you do, and as rich as it ought to be, it may be to you a document of great value as long as you live.
20. Learn the happy art of turning every thing into the channel of religion, and making every thing subservient to it. You remember that Dr. Johnson, in his life of Dr. Watts, remarks, that " whatever he took in his hand, was, by his incessant solicitude for souls, converted to theology.” This is, indeed, exalted
praise for a minister of the gospel. May you be enabled to merit the same eulogium! If you should live to be invested with the sacred office, never, for a moment, lose sight of that office nor the duties which it infers. Let all your reading, conversation, plans, journeys and recreations, point directly to the advancement of the Redeemer's kingdom, and the temporal and eternal welfare of men, as their grand centre. Whatever others may do, consider yourself as a man consecrated to the great work of doing good, to your latest breath. To this let every pursuit and acquirement be subservient; to this make every thing bend. Wherever you sojourn or reside, be ever on the watch for opportunities of promoting the moral and spiritual benefit of yourself and others. Recollect that you have but one object to pursue, — the extending and building up that “ kingdom which is not meat and drink, but righteousness and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” Let the last words, emphatically repeated, of the old English prelate, — PRO ECCLESIA DEI — PRO ECCLESIA DEI — be visibly inscribed upon every thing you possess and do. This is the real art of “turning every thing to gold,” in the best sense ; the art of being, in the highest degree that this world admits, useful and happy.
And now, my dear young friend, I must bring to a close this collection of counsels; which I fear my desire to omit nothing important has led me too much to extend. A wish, also, that nothing might escape your notice, has led me to present the same thought more than once in different connections. For this I make no apology. The truth is, there is so intimate a relation between different parts of truth and duty;