Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

suffering, sinful men shall bow their adoring heads as her sweet voice shall fall upon their ear.

1. In view of all that has been said, it is expedient that there should be a much more exalted appreciation of the ministerial office. It should be magnified above all other callings. Is he deemed great who founds empires, gains victories, amasses wealth, or glitters in stars and coronets—whose praises live in history, and whose name is engraven on marble? How much more honorable, and how much more deserving of gratitude, should they be deemed who ameliorate the hearts of men, subdue passions, found churches, form public morals, and produce effects on character and conduct that shall last forever.

2. We also see, from this subject, the propriety of setting apart a distinct class of men to the ministerial work. If the ministry be of divine appointment, honored of God, magnified of Paul, filled by Christ, surely not every one is competent to enter it, and none should enter upon it, but he that is “called of God, as was Aaron”—called by the Church, called by his own brethren, called by the Spirit, called by his own heart, glowing with love for souls, and appropriating the words of the Apostle, “ for necessity is laid upon me, yea, woe is me if I preach not the Gospel.” And when such a one has assumed the ministry, he should never desert it. He should wear out in it, and become every day more and more a centre of influence, and a saver of life unto life to immortal souls. Alas for those who do not thus magnify their office. Woe to those who degrade the ministry-detract from its heavenly dignity by perverting it to secular purposes, and "steal the livery of the court of heaven to serve the devil in.” Among such we include sectarian preachers, poetical preachers, sensational preachers, political preachers, fanatical preachers. 3. Contemplate the elevated position of our Church in its high appreciation of the dignity and sacredness of the office, in permitting none to enter it but men of piety and learning, that the ark of the Lord be not carried by inefficient or unholy hands. Hence the honorable distinction of our Zion in her zeal in educating the young, in founding schools and colleges, and furnishing the world with a learned ministry.

4. You here learn the duty of the people to provide for the temporal wants of the ministry. If we minister to you in spiritual things, is it not a small matter that you should contribute to us of your temporal things? Is not the laborer worthy of his hire? Should not they who serve at the altar, live of the altar? And is not that church most criminally remiss in her duty to herself and her head, which expects of her ministry constant services and elevated mental toil, but which extends to them a scanty and niggard support, expecting men to be given to hospitality and devoted to study, as well as punctual in meeting their pecuniary obligations, but whose worldly maintenance is inadequate or paid with reluctance.

5. The views which we have advanced respecting the ministry, so far from begetting in the mind feelings of vain glory, are calulated to instill the deepest humility. When we recount our arduous duties, our severe trials, and our fearful responsibilities, we would cry out with the Apostle: “Who is sufficient for these things?" Oh, brethren,“ we are with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling." And we would appeal to you in the language of the same Apostle, “Brethren, pray for us." Nothing will so much relieve us, nothing will so much encourage us, as your fervent

prayers.

For a prayerless people will always have a desponding ministry; while, on the other hand, the performance of this duty will lead to the performance of every other. They who pray for their pastor will necessarily love him.; they will contribute to his worldly support; they will be careful of his reputation; they will punctually wait on his ministry; they will receive with meekness the word of God from his lips, will grow up with him as heirs of the grace of life, and finally enter with him into the same eternal joy.

1

HISTORY

OF THE

PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH,

HOUSTON, TEXAS.

This church was organized on the 31st of March, 1839, in the Senate Chamber of the Congress of the Republic of Texas, by Rev. William Y. Allen, after a sermon preached by him from Psalm cxxii., verse 6: “ Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, they shall prosper that love thee.”

The following preamble and resolutions were adopted as the basis of organization, viz.:

“For the purpose of promoting Divine worship, and our mutual edification in the knowledge and practice of piety, we, whose names are hereunto subscribed, do agree to associate ourselves together as a Presbyterian Church upon the following principles, viz. :

" 1st. We believe the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the Word of God, the only infallible rule of faith and practice.

“2d. We sincerely adopt the Confession of Faith of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America as containing the system of doctrine taught in the Holy Scriptures.

“ 3d. We adopt the form of Government and Directory for
worship as laid down in the Constitution of the Presbyterian
Church in the United States of America."
To the above agreement the following names were appended :
A. B. Shelby,

Marian Shelby,
J. Wilson Copes,

James Bailey,
James Burke,

Sarah Woodward,
Isabella R. Parker,

Jennett Smith,
Edwin Belden,

Harris G. Avery,
Sophia B. Hodge.

The organization was completed by the election of James Burke to the office of Ruling Elder.

On the 14th of April, 1839, the sacrament of the Lord's Supper was administered to twenty-five communicants. This was the first celebration of this sacrament in Houston, most probably the first in Texas.

After organizing the church, Rev. W. Y. Allen continued to minister to it until the spring of 1842, when he resigned and returned to Kentucky, and was succeeded by

REV. J. M. ATKINSON, then on a visit to Texas. He received a unanimous call to become pastor of the church. Finding his health unfitted him for the labors of the office, he declined the call, and left the State early in 1843, having served the church about one year.

In the spring of 1843, application was made to the Board of Foreign Missions of the Presbyterian Church, in the United States, which commissioned the Rev. J. W. Miller as a missionary to this field.

REV. J. W. MILLER

arrived December, 1844, and entered on the discharge of his duties. He received a unanimous call to the pastorate, and was installed November 21, 1847. His health failing, he resigned the charge in January, 1850, having been five years over the congregation, during which time seventy members were admitted to the church.

REV. L. S. GIBSON, being in the city, received a unanimous call from the church and congregation. His health failed under two severe bilious attacks, in 1850 and 1851, which caused him to cease preaching. He died in Philadelphia, in

« AnteriorContinuar »