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members of a church are specially apt to be neglected in all the visitations of elders. A plain and unpretending operative feels as if it would be presumptuous in him to intrude on the privacy of his superiors, and accost them in the language of exhortation; and though he may be clothed with office, and they are not, he cannot so far sink the mechanic or tradesman in the office-bearer, as to derive from this circumstance sufficient fortitude for the undertaking. But these impressions are very unfounded. The rich, it should be remembered, need spiritual counsel as well as the indigent, and instead of proudly repelling a religious monitor, they will often be found peculiarly grateful for an elder's attentions. At all events, an elder should do his duty, and not take impediments for granted until he encounter them.

(3.) Some elders object to visit the sick, because the performance of this duty by them appears to serve no purpose ; an elder's visit is not accepted for a minister's visit, and therefore the minister is not aided by co-operation, which leaves the calls on his personal attentions neither silenced nor diminished. I reply, that the light in which an elder's visits may be viewed is no measure of their usefulness. They are eminently fitted in themselves to do good; and if this end be gained, it matters little whether the elder be considered an independent counsellor, or the minister's assistant. That an elder's visits are sometimes undervalued is an abuse, and has arisen from the unscriptural neglect of the office. Let these officebearers be efficient, and the very frequency of their

visits will create a dependence on them, and appreciation of them, and earnest longing to have them repeated. Were it found, indeed, that a minister discontinued his own attentions because he found substitutes in the members of session, a reasonable dissatisfaction might be awakened. But the attentions of elders have quite a different tendency. They make him acquainted with cases of distress, of which he might not have otherwise known; and while his mind is relieved from the pressure of impracticable toil, he is stimulated to do all he can for the sick, in the certain knowledge that others are traversing the same path, who are necessarily observant of the degree of his faithfulness.

SECT. 5.—The backsliding members of a church form another class particularly requiring an elder's attentions. It is his duty to speak with them on the sinfulness of their conduct, and strive by God's blessing to bring them to repentance. This obligation is not indeed peculiar to office-bearers. We find it commanded in the most absolute and comprehensive form: “Thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him.' Of like extent is the promise-Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him ; let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.'t Expostulation, in one form or another, is competent to all. Servants

* Lev. xix. 17. † James v. 19, 20.

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may fitly rebuke fellow-servants, and the youngest children their companions in childhood. Circumstances may occur, in which inferiors do well to admonish superiors, and the child the parent. The servant of Naaman wisely said to him— If the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it ? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean ?'* And though our Lord himself was in early life a signal example of filial obedience, residing at Nazareth with Joseph and his mother, and being subject unto them,'t we find him on one occasion exchanging that subjection for censure, and saying, "How is it that ye sought me ? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?' I The duty, then, is general, to ‘have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather to reprove them.'§ At the same time, the duty of reproving is not devolved equally on all.

Parents are bound, in a very special manner, to interdict and condemn all misconduct in their offspring. Nor is it a passing expression of disapproval that will discharge this responsibility. Eli, hearing all that his sons did unto Israel, said unto them, “Why do ye such things? for I hear of your evil doings by all this people. Nay, my sons; for it is no good report that I hear: ye make the Lord's people to transgress. If one man sin against another, the judge shall judge him: but if a man sin against the Lord, who shall entreat for him ?'ll This seems to be serious expos* 2 Kings v. 13. + Luke ii. 51. | Luke ii. 49.

& Ephes. v. 11. || 1 Sam. ii. 23, etc.

tulation, and yet, because it was tardy, occasional, and irresolute, we find Jehovah afterwards saying of Eli—'I will perform against him all things which I hare spoken concerning his house; when I begin, I will also make an end. For I have told him that I will judge his house for ever, for the iniquity which he knoweth ; because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not.'*

Is there not many a house--the house of many a real saint-desolate as that of Eli, from the same cause the relaxation of parental discipline?

The ministers of religion are also under peculiar obligations to tell offenders their faults: “Preach the word,' says Paul to Timothy; "be instant in season, and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all long-suffering and doctrine.'t Of like speciality is the obligation resting on the elders of the church, to see to the well-doing of its members. They are rulers, and what sort of rule would it be that took no cognizance of transgression? It is of incalculable moment to sustain the standard of christian morality in our churches; and while all should endeavour, after their own manner and in their own measure, to contribute to this result, yet so much depends on the eldership, that if their part be neglected, the purity of the society is infallibly and fearfully compromised.

Any sin, when it becomes known, is a proper subject of remonstrance by an elder. There are some sins, howerer, which, from their prevalence or danger, will call for his more frequent and earnest dissuasions. * 1 Sam. üi. 12, etc.

+ 2 Tim. iv. 2.

Absence from church is among these. It is one of the surest signs of degeneracy when persons desert the public ordinances of religion, not remembering the Sabbath, and not reverencing the sanctuary. Such contempt of divine institutions is very sinful in itself, is always allied with other elements of backsliding, and removes the transgressor from the appointed means of correction and improvement. Some, who do not forsake the church wholly, rest quite contented in a half-day attendance, or every-other-day attendance, when they might be present with perfect regularity. Such conduct, if it be not checked, is apt to become general, and always to proceed from bad to worse, till church-attendance, in this country, as in continental countries, would almost fall into desuetude. Elders, then, should watch over such cases, and not shrink from telling Sabbath-breakers their guilt and danger.—Another sin, of dreadfully menacing aspect in the present day, is intoxication. While other vices slay their thousands, this slays its tens of thousands. It is this sin which empties our homes and churches, and fills our bridewells and cemeteries. Inebriating liquors have been termed strong drink; and strong indeed they are, when reason falls before them, and the claims of friendship, and the love of a good name, and the comforts of time, and the interests of eternity, are of no avail to withstand their ravages; when multitudes of our youth, far outnumbering the armies which in modern wars defended our country and discomfited its foes, and won its glory, are taken captive almost without a

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