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THE

DUTY OF THE CHURCH

TO TAKE MEASURES FOR PROVIDING

AN ABLE AND FAITHFUL MINISTRY:

A

SERMON,

DELIVERED AT PRINCETON, AUGUST 12, 1812,

AT THE

INAUGURATION

OF THE

REV. ARCHIBALD ALEXANDER, D.D.

AS PROFESSOR OF DIDACTIC AND POLEMIC THEOLOGY,

IN THE

THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY OF THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH.

BY

SAMUEL MILLER, D.D.

PASTOR OF THE CHURCH IN WALL-STREET, NEW-YORK:

THE

DUTY OF THE CHURCH,

&c.

2 Tim. ii. 2.

- And the things which thou hast heard of me, among many

witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.

THE apostle Paul received both his knowledge of the Gospel, and his commission to preach it, immediately from the great Head of the church. Yet, notwithstanding the extraordinary circumstances which attended his theological instruction, and his official investiture, that all things might be done decently and in order, he submitted to the laying on of the hands of the Presbytery, before he went forth on his great mission to the gentiles. In like manner, Timothy, his own son in the faith, to whom the exhortation before us is addressed, was set apart to the work of the holy ministry, by the Presbytery, in which body, on that occasion, the Apostle himself seems to have presided*. Timothy was now at Ephesus ; and being the most active

* Compare 1 Tim. iv. 14. with 2 Tim. i. 6.

and influential member of the Presbytery which was constituted in that part of the church, his spiritual father directed to him, as such, and in him to the church in all succeeding times, the rules and instructions contained in the Epistles which bear his name. Among these we find the passage which has just been read : And the things which thou hast heard of me, among many witnesses, the same comuit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.

It is impossible, within the limits of a single discourse, to do justice to a portion of scripture replete with such various and important matter, as the slightest attention will discover in this text. Of course, much of what properly belongs to its illustration, must be either wholly omitted, or very briefly noticed, on the present occasion. That the Christian Ministry is an institution of Jesus Christ; that this institution is essential, not only to the well-being, but also to the very existence of the church, as an organized body; that Christ has promised that there shall always be a succession of ministers in his church, to the end of the world, and that none have a right to enter on the appropriate functions of this sacred office, without having that right formally and officially milted” to them, by men who are themselves already in the same office; are great, elementary principles of ecclesiastical order, which are all fair

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