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That the greatest tenacity of precedence is evinced by those whose rights to it are dubious, and whose claims (those of the merely rich for instance,) are not acknowledged in Blackstone.

That it were desirable for rules of precedence to be drawn up, to regulate the claims of those whose rights are not in the red book.

That it is right to give precedence to the stranger, and the oldest in company.

That abroad, strangers at a party take place even of the noble.

That it would be best to struggle with the desire of precedence, as an unchristian feeling.

That it would be wisest to endeavour to be indifferent to going first or last, and try, wherever we sit, to make our part of the table the most attractive, be it low or high, by the pleasantness of our conversation—a charm no red book can give or take away.

That the anecdote which I give is applicable to the subject.

Lastly, thať it were well to remember the sacred injunction, to go, when bidden to a feast, unto the lowest room.



Having laid it down as a general principle, that the feeling of competition is common to every one, and that its results are envy and detraction, it must be my firm belief that even that class of my fellow-christians, who are teachers of the word, can not be wholly exempted from the dangers incident to it; but in them, such feelings, I trust, are in some measure subdued, as soon as they are aware of their existence; and how can a humble, serious christian, who performs the duty of self-examination, and brings before his mind every night not only the actions but the feelings which he has experienced during the day, in order to supplicate pardon, if they have been sinful, and to return thanks, if they have been pure, how can such a man have a feeling of jealous competition without being conscious of it? But, as he knows his disease, he also knows his remedy.

I have been encouraged to make these remarks, by perusing a sensible and useful work, called “Christian Fellowship, or the Church Member's Guide,” by J. A. James.

In this work, the language of reproof shows, that certain errors are apt to creep in even amongst the pious. But he shall speak for himself

. “It does not unfrequently happen, that where two or more churches of the sarne denomination exist in a town, a most unhappy, unscriptural, and disgraceful temper is manifested towards each other. All the feelings of envy, jealousy, and ill-will, are cherished and displayed with as much or more bitterness, than two rival tradesmen would exhibit in the most determined opposition of interests.”

Again he says: “Let us not look with envy and jealousy on the growing prosperity of other societies. Let us not consider iheir success as in any degree encroaching upon ours. If we succeed more in our own church, let us be thankful but not boastful; if others take precedence, let us be stirred up to affectionate, holy emulation, but not to envy and jealousy." “ Shall we feel mortified when immortal souls are saved, because we were not the instruments of their conversion? Shall we say, if we can not gather them into the church, let them not be gathered? If two rival physicians, who had each as much as he could do, when the plague was raging in a town, looked with envy and grudging on each other's success, what should we say of their spirit? But such a temper, in these circumstances, is far less criminal than the envious disposition of some ministers and their flocks.”

There should be a spirit of mutual affection between the members of different churches; they should live as brethren; and that this might not be disturbed, they should avoid, when they meet in their respective social circles, all invidious and uncharitable reference to the others.

Nothing is more coinmon than for the christians of one society to make the circumstances and faults of those of another the leading topics of conversation. “Ministers and leading persons in the company should always set their faces against this mischievous gossip. All comparisons between the talents of the ministers and the respectability of their churches should be carefully abstained from." It is right for every church member to be attached to his own pastor; and he may very innocently think, that his minister is the very best preacher in the town; but it is insulting and mischievous to express his opinion to those who prefer another.” I have copied the foregoing extracts with more pleasure, because some of the passages come in aid of what I have said on the duty of every one to discourage talebearing detraction. This impressive author says, " Ministers and all leading persons in the company should always set their faces against mischievous gossip;” but all gossip is mischievous, and not only ininisters, but every one in a company should endeavour to lead the conversation into better things; and I feel assured that this christian writer would fully agree with me in opinion. He also discourages criticism and comparison of the talents of ministers; and as I intend to hold up this sort of


criticism to just reprobation, I feel fresh encouragement to the task, while transcribing the above extracts. I hope that I shall not be deemed presumptuous in having discussed the certain temptations and probable errors of christian ministers; but I thought I could not avoid alluding to them, as I feel a strong conviction that nothing is more likely to interrupt watchfulness—that “watchfulness unto prayer," so requisite even to the most spiritual of teachers, as a belief that they are raised above the weakness of other men, and that though others may stumble, their footing is

I have entire unity of opinion with the sentiments of the following extract; nevertheless I believe, that though competition is not the only source of detraction, its results are of the most mischievous and most extensive nature, and the envy which it excites is the most dangerous and most incessant.

66 Others there are who use defamatory discourse, neither for the love of news nor defamation, but purely for love of talk; whose speech, like a flowing current, bears away indiscriminately whatever lies in the way; and, indeed, such incessant talkers are usually people not of depth enough to supply themselves out of their own store, and therefore, can not let foreign accession pass by them, no more than the mill, which is always going, can afford any waters to run to waste. I know we use to call this talkativeness a feminine vice; but to speak impartially, I think, though we have given them the inclo

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