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the first gospel minister, they are prompt to the call of the Spirit, “ saying, Whom shall I send, “and who shall go for us?” and answer severally, “ Here am I, send me.” This truth of a call so independent of man, of qualifications so unattainable by the will of man, and of ministrations so special and effectual, and indispensably requisite for the safety of the church, as are theirs who are set for the defence of the gospel, will ever be peculiarly oflensive to the spirit of the world; especially, as weaknessand bonds must always attend them in the present life; but their matters will stand, and no man shall make void their glorying in bearing the marks of a suffering, dying, risen and reigning Lord.
Among the many objections made to the necessary direction of the church by its watchmen, overseers and guides, it is said that the Scriptures are a sufficient director, and with them in our hands we are not so necessarily dependent for safety upon men of any description. But, where are the Scriptures which do not point to the ministers of Christ, as being the stewards of the mysteries of God? Where are the passages which do not shew the reasonableness, and safety, and necessity of placing confidence in them? Where are the injunctions given to ministers, that they should not in the church “these things command "and teach?” or that, acquitting themselves as the servants of God, they should not “ speak “and exhort, and rebuke with all authority......... And what directions do the Scriptures give to the people, other than these, “Remember them “ which havethe rule overyou....Obey them which " have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: “ for they watch for your souls, as they that must
give an account, that they may do it with joy, “and not with grief; for that is unprofitable for “you.” The Scriptures were never given to su
percede the necessity of the ascension gifts, pas
except they be sent? as.it is written,, How beau. * tiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel “ of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things.”
The gospel is a message, and implies a messenger; it is an ambassage, and implies an anbassa
it is a ministration, and implies a minister. The Holy Ghost, cometh upon the chureh in an instituted way; the water and the blood must be continually sprinkled; daily sacrifices must be offered upon God's-altar; and this work must be done by consecrated liands. It will be found a truth, in the day that shall disclose the secrets of the heart, that whatever high regard men profess for the Bible, as far as they feel independent of the ministry, so far they either know not the voice of the Scriptures, or they wilfully reject its instruction..
Whenever God has an eleet soul to save, there he will send his servants; and considered jointly, as, in this charge, they are always to be considered parish; they can, no more fail to fulfil their ministry, than the promise of God to save his elect can fail. With respect to failures of a nature not to hazard the safety of the church, nothing need be said.. Failures, also, of the most hazardous nature, made by one, whilst his yoke-fellow supports the trust, and reclaims his brother, as in the case of Peter's dissimulation, are no exception to the doctrine; rar are those exceptions which, according to the law of the watchman, God may visit hy a stroke of his sword, cutting off the unfaithful servant; as in the case of the
sons of Eli; whilst another, who will keep the commandment, is prepared to fill his place. But should the anger of the Lord be kindled against a people who have walked contrary to him, disobeyed his servants, and grieved his holy Spirit ; and he turns and walks contrary to them, sends them false spirits to blind their watchman and overseers, and mislead their guides; so that they all fail ; which appears to have been the 'case just before Jerusalem's woful day, when no confidence was to be put in a guide; then, be sure, the grieved good spirit of the Lord is gone, the candlestick is removedoutof its place, and there is noremedy.
The question will arise, How are these men of ascension gifts to be known? The answer is, By the same clear and unequivocal marks that Christ was to be known by in the world. But for the same reasons that he was not known; and was rejected as an impostor, by men who had every means to know him, that the wisdomof God could devise, these his servants will not be known; but, in like inanner, they will be thrustaway by all men who are not prepared to receive them by a teaching from the Holy One; which is of the same nature with that by which these, his ministers, are prepared for their work, and are directed where to go, and how to proceed through every step to accomplish it. The true servants of Christ bear a great variety of distinguishing marks; but, with this question directly before him, in these words, “ Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I “ would not have you ignorant. 1 Cor. xii. 1...... The Apostle contented himself with giving a single mark, which is the criterion of the truth itself ; and therefore, sufficient alone for the attainment of the important object. - Wherefore I give you “ to understand, that no man speaking by the “Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed; and that
no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by “the Holy Ghost.” ver. 3. This is the touchstone of faith. Speaking the truth manifests the men of truth; the manifesting mark of the Spirit is to profit thereby. To the sheep the shepherd's voice, simply, is sufficient to make him known; no farther evidence need be sought by the people of God of the true character of a minister of Christ, than that he comes to them by the door ; by the doctrine of the Lord, which is the way, the truth, and the life...... This is the anointing that teacheth them of all things, and is truth, and is no lie......John, writing to his brethren, concerning them that seduced them, referred them simply to their own discriminating mark, viz. a confession that Jesus is the Christ; this is that which we have heard from the beginning; and the unction of this name will eternally distinguish the true from false professors; for no lie is of the truth. All the preaching in the world falls under this distinction, that Jesus is accursed; or, that he is Lord; which intends chiefly, the great distinction of law and grace. Christ was put to death in the flesh; i. e. as being obligated to the law, and therefore accursed; but in being consigned to the tree, that obligation was cancelled, and he rose and revived, and so became Lord. Wherefore the redeemed church, being dead to the law by the body of Christ, that she might be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead; like a free woman, henceforth, she knows no man after the flesh. But as Sarah knew the princely character of Abraham, and gave him
honor; so the Bride, the Lamb's Wife, will call Jesus Lord. This sentiment of marriage-union between Christ and the church, forms, in like manner, an indissoluble band between the ministers of Christ, who are sent to proclaim it, and all them who know the joyful sound.
The doctrine of the Lord, that Jesus is Lord, like the Hebrew word for the ford of Jordan, that divided Gilead and Epraim, is a true Shibboleth, by which it may be as clearly discerned by us, as it was by the men of Jepthah, to which side the passengers belong. To clear the distinction of accursed, and Lord, as it respects the gospel subject, requires the same teaching with that by which Peter called Jesus, Christ, the Son of the living God. First, to display the grounds, existing in his death and resurrection, by which he is pronounced worthy to take his seat upon the holy hill of Zion, and there be crowned Lord of all. Secondly, to unfold the glory of his approaching day, and give clear marks of his kingdom to come, and of a world put under him, as having no more curse in it, no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, nor pain; no more accursed. ground, bringing forth thorns and thistles; and no more the accursed Canaanite in the land; for to admit, in doctrine, of the least possible stain of the fall and curse upon those illustrious times, which are destined to " SHEW who is the blessed “ and only potentate, the King of Kings, and “ Lord of Lords;" would be a fatal lisp upon the word, Jesus is Lord; and finally, to call Jesus Lord, not "in word, neither in tongue, but in “ deed and in truth ;" for they are liars, and swear falsly to his name, and are guilty of the most enormous perjury, who call him “ Lord, “ Lord, and do not the things which he com“ mands.”.....To do this, is to speak a dialect not taught by flesh and blood, but by the Falher only. This is a mark of the sons of God, so conspicuously engraven in their foreheads, that it cannot pass unobserved; and at the same time, as the hand-writing of the Great Eternal, it is a signature incapable of being counterfeited; it is the “the white stone,” that distinguishes the