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Mr. Christmas was licensed to preach the Gospel, by the Presbytery of Philadelphia, in the month of April, 1824, a few days after he had completed his twenty-first year. He immediately received an urgent invitation to visit a Presbyterian Church, which had been recently organized in Montreal, Lower Canada, with which he thought it his duty to comply. After preaching to that flock three or four Sabbaths, he was unanimously called to become its Pastor. This, also, he was prevailed on to accept. And having transferred his relation, as a licentiate, from the Presbytery of Philadelphia to that of New York, he was, by an act of the latter Presbytery, ordained to the work of the ministry, and installed Pastor, in the city of Montreal, August 1st, 1824, when he took his seat as a member of the Presbytery by which he had been set apart to the ministerial office.

In the month of June, 1825, he formed a matrimonial connexion with Miss Louisa Jones, daughter of Mr. Perez Jones, of the city of New York, a young lady who, as the writer of the memoir assures us, “by her piety, intelligence, and wisdom, her meek and affectionate spirit, and the dignity and amiableness of her manners, was singularly well suited to him, and to the station she was called to occupy.'

In Montreal he continued to reside, and to labour with indefatigable diligence for about four years. The climate, indeed, was soon found to be too rigorous for his delicate constitution; and the inconveniences and disabilities to which he was subjected by the operation of the ecclesiastical establishment, under the malign influence of which Canada is placed, threw many obstacles in the way of a comfortable discharge of his duty. Nevertheless, amidst infirmity, opposition, and many trials, with zeal, firmness, and perseverance, he held on his way: and God was pleased to crown his labours with a very gratifying degree of success

. Early in 1827, his ministry was attended by a powerful revival of religion, as the result of which, about one hundred souls appeared to be savingly benefited, and were added to the communion of his Church. In the autumn of the same year, his ministrations were blessed to the hopeful conversion of about thirty more, residing at St. Andrews, a town about forty-five miles west from Montreal, to which he paid a visit of a few weeks. And near the close of the same year, a renewed religious attention appeared in his own pastoral charge, and about twenty more were added to the communion of the Church.

VOL. IV. No. II.—2 K

It is gratifying to find, from this memoir, that amidst all the active labours which were necessarily connected with these revivals of religion, and amidst all the trials of his faith, arising from infirm and frequently interrupted bodily health, and the obstacles thrown in his way by government, and by individual adversaries, he was not only sustained in remarkable constancy and fortitude of mind, and animated, from time to time, with new degrees of zeal and ardour of pursuit; but that he also redeemed time enough to make very sensible progress in the cultivation of his mind, and the enlargement of his knowledge. Besides preparing for the pulpit, he studied daily to improve his acquaintance with the original languages of Scripture; to become more intimately familiar with every part of the English Bible; to extend and mature his acquirements in systematic theology; and to make a liberal use of his pen, composing a number of small works, several of which were subsequently published. This was a noble example. It is deeply to be lamented, that so few occupants of the sacred office, even in early life, seem to take this view of their obligations, or to be inspired with this laudable thirst for knowledge. That pastor who is called upon to address the same people from Sabbath to Sabbath, for a considerable time, who does not, besides making immediate preparation for his public services, take pains to enlarge his stores of knowledge; above all, to become more intimately acquainted with the Bible, and, in some good degree, to keep pace with the progress of literature around him—may be a zealous preacher, may be in some measure useful, and may maintain an ephemeral popularity; but he cannot "feed the people continually with knowledge and with understanding;" he cannot let his profiting appear unto all;" and he will be apt, by and by, to sink down into a dull, vapid repeater of his own “common places,” and to fall into mental imbecility, for want of that intellectual exercise and aliment which our better part, as well as our corporeal nature, undoubtedly demands.

When Mr. Christmas left Montreal, he seems to have seized upon the occasion, as an epoch in his life, to settle the account of his acquirements while there.

He drew up a general statement of what he had attained and done; the books he had read; the works he had written; the depart. ments of knowledge in which he thought he had made some progress, &c.; to which he added, what he called “an esti

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mate of his knowledge and ignorance, together with a plan for future acquisitions.” Exercises of this kind are often as useful and as important in intellectual pursuits, as keeping regular books and often balancing his accounts are to the adventurer in mercantile enterprise. They indicate sincerity and earnestness in intellectual culture, a desire to know how the account with ourselves really stands, and a willingness, at once, to profit by our past mistakes, and to make a more faithful use of our time in future. For want of such a settlement and record, many know not how little they read, or how great their ignorance: and others are not aware how much they have accomplished in a given period, and how great reason they have to be encouraged for the time to come. Order is the soul of business, and intelligent, honest adjustment of order.

Another commendable practice of Mr. Christmas, during his preparation for the Gospel ministry, and in the course of his pastoral life, is worthy of particular notice here. We refer to the unwearied pains which he appears to have taken to attain the grace as well as the gift of PRAYER.

By the grace of prayer, we mean that large participation of the spirit of faith, love, humility, and filial confidence, in other words, that genuine taste for intercourse with God, through a Mediator, which renders prayer delightful. By the gift of prayer, we understand a happy talent of giving utterance to our desires in simple, natural, fluent, happy language, without hesitation, and without impropriety. In short, by the grace of prayer, we mean a truly and deeply devout spirit; and by the gift of prayer, the power, at all times, of giving expression to our requests with readiness, judgment, and taste. These are not always found united. We have known, on the one hand, both private Christians and Ministers, who appeared ardently and even peculiarly pious, whose manner of conducting social prayer was by no means judicious or happy. And, on the other hand, we have been acquainted with a few instances-not many indeed—but with some remarkable instances of those, who, with a very peculiar and impressive talent for leading in prayer, manifested, when nearly approached, very little of the genuine spirit of devotion. Mr. Christmas seems to have possessed both in rather an unusual degree. He took more than ordinary pains to cultivate both; by devoting special attention to the subject; by reading the best authors who had treated on it; by making an extended and minute analysis of the several departments of prayer; by writing much on the subject; by composing many prayers, particularly on special occasions; and by committing to memory large portions of Scripture, which he deemed peculiarly adapted to furnish proper topics and language for this elevated exercise. By these and other allied means, in connexion with an unusual share of devotional spirit, he seems to have become qualified for leading in this part of the public service of the sanctuary, in a deeply solemn, acceptable, and impressive manner.

“It may well be supposed,” says Mr. Lord, “to have been owing, in no small degree, to his having so faithfully studied this subject, and enriched his mind with it, that he excelled so remarkably as he did in public prayer. Highly interesting as his public ministrations were wont to be, generally, no portion of them was more edifying and impressive, or gained more upon the attention of his hearers, than his prayers. They were charac. terized, not only by variety, copiousness, and fervency, but by a happy method and arrangement, an appropriateness and ease, a singular felicity of expression, a dignity, propriety, and reverence which could hardly fail to be observed by every one. This was evidently a most agreeable exercise to him; and being performed

a with all the natural ease and sweetness of his voice and manner, it won the attention and sympathy of the hearer, and seemed to abstract him from the world, and carry him, with the speaker, up to the throne of grace.”—pp. 33, 34.

We fully concur with the respected biographer of Mr. Christmas, when he remarks: “ To excel in public prayer is by no means common.

How seldom, indeed, is this service performed in such a manner as to fix the attention, and impress the mind of the hearer! How often, on the contrary, do public prayers exhibit almost every species of fault, in regard to the general spirit and manner, the topics introduced, the careless, affected, drawling, or hurried pronunciation, the frequent repetition, and perhaps, irreverent use of the sacred names, the introduction of unusual and inappropriate words, and of highly figurative language and allusions, of long and involved periods, of didactic and controversial matter, of laboured description, hyperbole, and metaphor? How often, instead of a calm and collected state of mind, do we witness haste, effort, and irreverence; and instead of what would be appropriate, a surprising crudeness and flippancy in matter and manner, which would not be tolerated in a sermon, and would be very ill thought of in a closet ?”

If any ask, how these evils shall be avoided, and the opposite excellencies attained? We answer, we know of no methods more direct and effectual than those which were adopted by the subject of this memoir. Let that candidate for the holy ministry who desires to excel in public prayer, devote early, habitual, and close attention to the subject. Let him, first of all, and above all, labour to cultivate a devotional spirit, by daily communion with God; by a devout study of the Scriptures; and by a deep and intimate familiarity with the throne of grace in secret. Let him read and think much on the great subject of prayer; not merely on its duty and importance, but likewise on its nature; its constituent parts; and the best sources of aid for its acceptable performance. Let him often embody, and express on paper his thoughts in relation to these points. Let him carefully peruse the best works, both on the general subject, and on particular branches of it, which he may be able to find. Let him abound in devotional composition; in other words, let him, every week, for a number of years, exercise himself, more or less, in composing prayers, more particularly on special and interesting occasions. Let him labour, by thus putting his devotional thoughts in writing, to acquire a simple, natural, filial, humble, tender mode of addressing the High and Holy One. Let him carefully commit to memory, every day of his life, for the first ten years—and frequently afterwards-select portions of Scripture, the spirit and language of which may appear peculiarly adapted to the exercise of prayer. Let him sacredly avoid all high-flown, rhetorical, quaint, ostentatious modes of expression, in this solemn, elevated service. Let it be his constant aim to have incorporated in his prayers as much as possible of the diction, as well as the spirit, of the word of God; remembering that no language can possibly be more appropriate, more suitable, more touching, and more likely to move and impress than that which is drawn immediately from the sacred oracles. Let him, whenever he is called upon to perform any public devotional service of a peculiar kind, adjust his thoughts for the purpose by careful, devout premeditation. In a word, let him labour, in all the variety of ways, which will readily occur to an active and pious mind, to lay up in store the richest materials to which he can obtain access, and which may help to prepare him for performing this part of his public work, not only with acceptance, but with the deepest impression. And, finally, after

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