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ments of the New Testament. Our Zion sits solitary, that ought to be full of people. Since my residence among you, not far from four hundred have publicly professed Christ; and the number of baptisms has been somewhat rising seven hundred and thirty. The church now, is not more numerous than it was a century past; and of males, the proportion is less than it then was. Should it occur toany of you, that there are now eight regularly constituted societies within the same limits, where there was then but one, the charge of present criminal neglect will not be thus satisfactorily obviated. Probably the population of this single society, is at present nearly or quite equal to what that of the whole town then was. The more correct mode of accounting in the matter, is, that the love of many is waxen cold-that we possess less of the vital energy of religion, than what belonged to our fathers. Surely I need not spend time to convince you, what heartfelt satisfaction it would give me, in the decline of life and rapid approach to the close of my ministry, to see religion revived, and the church increased; “her stakes being strengthened and her cords enlarged.”
I am now in my seventy-fifth year; and owing to such my age and growing infirmities,you must not expect that I should actively serve you much longer. Every year, I more and more sensibly feel my inability to encounter and go through with the numer
ous labors and fatigues of office, which your numbers render indispensible. There are but two of my brethren in the ministry, in the State, older than myself, who statedly serve at the altar. I have spent about double the usual average of a minister's life in your service. But incompetent as I may be, to serve you much longer, you will never cease to have my best wishes, and most fervent prayers for your greatest good, both temporal and eternal.The deep interest which I feel in the welfare of you all, is more easily conceived than described.
I feel for the rising generation, and am disposed to make every proper allowance for the levity of their disposition, and the gayety of their mannersStill it is my bounden duty to tell them, that all is vanity-that in this passing world, events will soon convince them, that the whole is but a dream when one awaketh-that it is a matter of infinite moment, that they fail not to remember their Creator in the days of their youth.
I feel likewise for the middle aged, busy in the career of life and but too forgetful of death. To them my solemn message is, that they are in a rapidly passing world—that they will soon be old—that ere long, and much sooner than they now realize, grey hairs will be here and there upon them, and they will find themselves in increased degrees incompetent to the performance of every important
work, and more especially, that infinitely important one of making their calling and election sure.
And surely it must be in a great measure unnecessary to inform my aged brethren, that I feel for them. For many years we have been fellow travellers. Prolonged has been the period during which we have walked together, in much love and good agreement. But let it not be forgotten by us, that our race is nearly run. More than in a passing world--the nature of things ordains that we must soon pass from it. To the grave must be our speedy remove ; and may the merciful Father grant, for Jesus' sake, that while our bodies are thus sleeping in the dust, our souls may be triumphing in glory above. Amen.
The Xnfluence of the Christian Ministry.
DELIVERED AT THE ORDINATION
REV. BENSON C. BALDWIN,
NORWICH-FALLS CHURCH, (CONN.)
JANUARY 31, 1828.
BY REV. JOHN NELSON,
Of Leicester, Mass.