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first, but which is brought out by it; as the intellectual life, for example by the material, according to St. Paul's observation, “Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward, that which is spiritual.” (Cor. I. xv. 46.) And it is a wonderful transition that people make sometimes from one to the other, as well between sleeping and waking as between life and death, and between infancy and manhood: sometimes indeed the difference or transition may not be considerable; but, as I said, sometimes it is, and even wonderful. And not only so; but there is nothing in nature, and not much in art—that we can either see or conceive,--no animal, vegetable, nor mineral production, no office, place, object, nor institution-however visible or evident it may be in the sequel, but dates its first existence from an invisible beginning, and owes its continuance to One Invisible Cause at least. Thus the law owes its beginning as well as the gospel to the will of God, expressed in his eternal Word,—the visible Redeemer was invisibly the same with God before all worlds, - and the invisible curate also derives his being and beginning from him, who is both visible and invisible, as well as he-that is to say, visible in his body, the church militant, here below; invisible with the church triumphant, and the Almighty Father, and the Eternal Spirit-all of one principle or unity, above:
dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto;" “ the image of the invisible God, the first-born of every creature;" for whom all things were created, and by whom they consist,—his own ministers, or particular disciples, it may be said more especially.
And our existence too, as some of these, is more like
that of a tree which grows half in and half out of the earth, than like the existence of any other creature that moves on its surface; being rooted in Christ, the promised Seed, the Seed of the woman, the Seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; the Centre of an universal blessing, which we are blessed sometimes in promoting as well as enjoying—and enjoy the rather for promoting. For curates are not without their secular concerns which all men have, or ought to have—their share of: our heavenly Father having so determined in his allwise providence, that while our eternal and invisible objects are most important - the temporal and visible shall be most importunate; as, were it otherwise, we might be apt to indulge our primitive bent and inclination too far on the celestial side for
prisoners of the earth,” and for “ the joy that is set before us” forget almost to eat our bread; as David professes to have done at one time (perhaps during his child's sickness, Sam. II. xii. 16,) for very trouble. The happy mean for every one, therefore, and for curates as well as others, is to follow visible objects moderately, and in subordination as well as respect to the invisible, if by the mercy of God " being our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal, that we finally lose not the things eternal."
Among temporal blessings I must account it one, and one of the most agreeable and becoming for a man in office to enjoy the esteem and friendship of his fellow servants of those with whom he has to cooperate, if they should also be happy enough to deserve the esteem and friendship of their master or director. And I also reckon that among curates particularly the way to their Master's approbation is the sure way, if it be slow, for servants to please themselves in the first instance, and eventually each other : for that they may not always at first. It will be an heartfelt gratification to me to be received by my brother curates on this footing. Believe me brethren, it is not strangeness that has made me a stranger to nearly all of you, if not quite, so far; but my particular calling, as another's may be more for society; since“
every man hath his proper gift of God,-one after this manner, another after that.” If therefore my addressing an abstract character in the ensuing correspondence should savour of alienation or excessive abstraction from the body to which I belong, let this short apology be accepted as a proof that no such excessive abstraction was ever felt or intended.
Let me never be thought capable of so flagrant a defect for a curate : indeed I hope, if it please God, to prove by degrees, that I am not.
The gift or faculty of mental abstraction which an eminent metaphysician of our own country, and nearly of our own time also has duly appreciated and clearly disclosed-would be ill employed if it tended to a greater abstraction of sentiment: this sort of abstraction being one of which we are capable, as well as the other, and equally useful in its kind too, if used with moderation. For without the gift of sentimental abstraction in some degree and with our finite regards--we could no more love two distinct objects at once, than we could compare their dimensions, or any other property belonging to them without the intellectual sort which Mr. Locke mentions : and then there would be little room for that principle which is the perfection, as of every other part in life, so of the curate's especially. I know very well that the property of abstraction may be carried to an excess in feeling, as well as in thinking, and writing, and speaking, and indeed in general living: so that a man may live long, and write many books, or talk the more for not writing; and all to no practical purpose : all his writing, talking and general living may be but one huge preface-to nothing, for want of the principle just alluded to, our grand corrective in
every case ;
which is CHARITY. For the sake of charity therefore, for the sake of my own success in life, and theirs with whom I have the honour to cooperate,-if, like the rest of my order, I do sometimes abstract too much in the way of reflection, I hope I shall not in the way of sentiment.
With respect to you, my brethren, especially I hope I shall never be so deficient as to carry my abstraction either to the point of oblivion in thought, or of alienation in feeling,---have as many and as importunate calls as I may besides.
It may seem idle for one to talk of cooperating in the exalted service before alluded to, or in any other service, while one only subscribes one's self a Supernumerary, instead of a captain, or an equerry, a judge, a professor, or a pluralist. However it may seem for other idlers in different places, it would not seem as if one " standing all the day idle in the market place,” or as it were at a MOP, could be much of a cooperator : but we read of persons who were also in that wretched case, willing to work, and offering themselves for hire, but in vain till the last hour; when they fortunately earned their penny however, or, if they did not earn, were however allowed to receive it by their generous employer: and the same might happen through the divine bounty, again. Let us wait patiently, as David says, “I waited patiently for the Lord : and he inclined unto me, and heard my calling," (Ps. xl. 1,) if it should be as late as the eleventh hour before we have the pleasure of hearing his. And, as St. James advises, “ Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient : stablish your heart; for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.” (James v. 7, 8.)