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them, and honourable to a Christian land. The first could not be benefited by religious instruction, and the second is provided for in the piety of the immediate superintendants. Shall I forget to name the Alms-house, the Hospital, and the State's Prison ? The people who occupy these places, have heard, in some instances, by the gift of a bible, that all who die in the Lord are blessed. In the State's Prison they have also heard the Gospel, of late, from the ambassadors of Christ. Four sabbaths in the month, the prisoners are supplied by the clergy of different denominations, who are obliged to desert their own cure, that these poor sinners may not perish, neglected by the Christian world. When the month has a fifth sabbath, the prisoners must be denied a resort to their chapel ; or be dependant on a licentiate, more willing than able, to preach Christ, without living of his Gospel*; or be idly amused by some self-sent trumpeter, who gives no distinction of sound. In other States, and in other countries, prisoners have the benefit of a chaplain. Who would object, were the legislature of this State to appoint a chaplain, and give him all necessary support? Let some pious and able minister of the Gospel, either of the Episcopal, Presbyterian, or Baptist denomination, have the peculiar charge of these people, and methinks bigotry itself will have no disposition to contend for proselytes. One question the religious community should answer. By what authority are these men deprived of the regular ministration of the word, bound
* Mr. Wm. Woodbridge.
în chains of darkness, and consigned to hell, before the time? Civil liberty may be taken away, but God forbid that six hundred souls should be deprived of the liberty of hearing the Gospel!
The alms-house is more lamentably deserted than the prison. Here are assembled, " the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind,” by hundreds. They have souls which must be saved or lost. Some pious laymen have, in a manner becoming the profession of Godliness, catechised the children in this house ; but this does not supersede the necessity of preaching the Gospel, nor render useless public worship. Most of the paupers are too old, or too lame, or too blind, or too feeble to go from their rooms to the Churches in the city. Were they to go, the Churches are so full of the rich, that these poor persons would rarely find a seat sufficiently near the pulpit for their aged ears to receive articulate sounds. Besides, some pride remains in the poorest, which would prevent many, who have not decent clothing, for appearing in a public place, from frequenting any Church. Within the walls of the alms-house, many might be benefited by appropriate discourses, who would become nothing the wiser by hearing such sermons as are designed for a more intelligent audience. Here, also, if a minister did not preach as a dying man, he could not avoid preaching to dying men. Here are ignorant persons to be instructed, secure persons to be alarmed, and believers to be comforted. Yes, there are children of God, who
love the word of truth, and need to be reminded frequently of the blessedness of those who die in the Lord. Yet the children of God without the habitation of the poor, who are not satisfied with attending public worship five or six times weekly, have not supported a minister for the alms-house !
Brethren! do you need the consolations of a regularly preached Gospel ? So do these
One servant of God*, who has the episcopacy of one of the largest Presbyterian Churches in this city, besides his abundant labours at home, has bestowed on the inhabitants of the alms-house several evening lectures; and he can testify, that they are delighted to hear the preaching of the cross. But who has laboured with this congregation of sinners on the Lord's day, that most appropriate time for prayer, praise, and public teaching? And who can do it, except the corporation of the city, the guardians of the poor, or individual believers contribute to his support? Believers, would you live in Christ, die in him, and reign with him in glory? Let the Gospel, through your instrumentality, be preached to the poort.
The Hospital in this city, has been more destitute of religious instruction, than any other similar insti. tution. A venerable ministerf, of the Dutch church,
* Philip Milledoler, D. D. † It is but just to state, that Mr. Woodbridge gave several discourses
the alms-house last winter ; and the author has since given two on the sabbath, and six upon other occasions.
# J. H. Livingston, D. D. S. T. P.
has formerly visited and prayed with some of the sick; and lately a younger teacher*, in the midst of numerous pastoral duties, has followed his benevolent example. An individual, who had more noise than zeal, and more zeal than knowledge, once or twice attempted publicly to exhort there ; and was wisely prevented from continuing the practice, because his turbulence tended not to edification. Never, to the reproach of believers I speak it, until the first sabbath in October, A. D. 1810, has any regular minister of the gospel attempted to preach in the Hospital. Why this neglect ? Hundreds die there, who possibly, in their sickness, might practically learn the way of salvation through Jesus Christ. The speaker can testify, that upon common occasions, more than one hundred guilty sinners may be assembled, who will listen as attentively to the preaching of the Gospel as any polite audience in the city. Alas! alas! that so many have departed from the walls of that humane institution, to testify before God, that while their worm-eaten bodies have been objects of attention, their immortal souls have been wholly neglected! Hundreds have died there, who will attest in the judgment, that the pious people of this city sent them no chaplain to show them their guilt, and proclaim salvation by the blood of the Lamb. Shall others ascend to the awful tribunal, to cry, “vengeance on the stupidity of worldly-minded, slumbering christians ?” Hark! they say, “ we have perished in our iniquity ; but our blood be upon their
* Rev. G. Spring:
Christians, I misjudge your hearts, or the spiritual welfare of the poor in this city, in the Prison, Almshouse, and Hospital in particular, will gain your attention.
Do not object to the idea of supporting a chaplain for the poor, in these places, that money is wanting, that the preachers of the city are in fault, or that the thing is impracticable. True, the poor are always with you,
and your liberality has been in many instances unusual; but so long as Christ's cause needs pecuniary instrumentality, and you can give, will you withhold that silver and gold which the Lord claims ? “ Will ye rob God ?”
Tax your luxuries. Let the professing christians of this city forsake the theatre, and abstain from the fourth glass of wine throughout the year, and a fund would soon be raised, the interest of which should supply a chaplain with the necessaries of life, who should visit the destitute sick, and preach three or four discourses weekly, to such as are ready to perish.
The pastors of churches have already more duties devolving upon them than they can perform. It is a rare, and almost an impossible thing for one of them to be personally acquainted with all who commune with him in the same sacramental supper.
Until the shepherd can know his flock, he ought not to attempt the guardianship of another fold.