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Single Page Chapter II

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now relinquished a favourite pursuit, a pursuit that promised the most brilliant temporal advantages; and, after much serious and severe self-examination; after reading, and meditating, and fasting, and praying, again and again, with a view to obtain counsel of the Lord, upon the subject of his present inquiry, after carefully arranging and weighing the arguments for and against it, he arrived at the full conviction that a necessity was laid upon him to preach the Gospel, there can be no question, it is repeated, with any candid and reflecting person, that he was indeed called of God to become an ambassador of the Prince of Peace. And, it is scarce possible to image to one's self a more interestmg object than a youth, in the nineteenth year of his age, shut up for hours together in a retired room, that no eye might see, and no ear hear him but God's, there, upon his bended knees, with all humility and fervour of spirit, seeking to learn of Him, with whom is the residue of the Spirit, whether or not he shall go forward to proclaim the precious tidings of salvation to a dying world. How shockingly impious, in the eyes of all genuine Christians, and how contemptible in the eyes even of the world, if contrasted with his must be the conduct of those, who, without giving any evidence of piety, assume the ministerial office! To authorize its assumption, the

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possession of grace, a certain degree of intellectual cultivation, an acquaintance with the system of revealed truth, and the approbation of the Church, duly expressed, are prerequisites, which common sense pronounces indispensable; but, in addition to these things, it is necessary that there be such a drawing of his heart to the work, for the glory of God and the salvation of souls, and such a concurrence of outward providences, in his case, as will show satisfactorily to the individual proposing to undertake it, the approbation of God, There are many great and good men in the church, in whose conversion and call to the ministry, as far as known, nothing very striking or remarkable can, perhaps, be discovered; yet, it is a fact, and the reader may possibly be able to refer to instances in verification of the fact, which have come within his own observation, that, when a person is in a manner, somewhat extraordinary, brought to a knowledge of the truth, and is suddenly diverted from a business which he had designed to pursue, and is constrained, contrary to antecedent views and calculations, to devote himself to the ministry of the Gospel, he is subsequently distinguished, in a pre-eminent degree, by the divine blessing upon his labours. To the writer, this appears to be an ordinary procedure of Providence; and the sequel will show, that the Lord was preparing Mr. Livingston for a great


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