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been felt by the christian world, and which our own church in particular both acknowledges and laments. In the primitive church, says the preface to the Commination, there was a godly discipline, that at the beginning of Lent, such persons as stood convicted of notorious sin, were put to open penance, and punished in this world, that their souls might be saved in the day of the Lord; and that others, admonished by their example, might be the more afraid to offend; which discipline it is much to be wished might again be restored *,
6. After the church has attended to her doctrine, and to her mode of instruction, worship, and discipline; her work will still remain imperfect, without a provision of fit men to carry her plans into execution. What is necessary to constitute this fitness, I shall touch in a few particulars.
First, they must be good men. The observation of Quintilian, that to be an orator it is necessary to be a good man t, is more clearly applicable to a minister of the gos
* See Cave's Prim. Chris. part iii. at the close. † Quintil. inst. lib. xii. eap. 1.
pel; to a due discharge of whose office, a sanctity of character is an indispensable qualification. I do not say, that the want of this qualification would invalidate all his ministrations, or nullify the efficacy of the christian sacraments; I must say, however, what I think none will deny, that it would be sure to weaken, if not entirely to destroy, the good effect of his personal addresses, whether public or private. There is usually a chilling and deadening spirit which attends the best instructions, and the most seraphic sentiments, from unhallowed lips; as, on the other hand, the ordinary discourse, and even the silence, of a truly good man, will shed around him a secret and salutary influence. To insist further on so obvious a point would be superfluous; every one is sensible, that the effect of good counsel depends in a great measure on his character who gives it; that, from a bad man it commonly meets with little or no regard; whilst, from one of an opposite character, and of whose wisdom and sincerity we are persuaded, it seldom fails to produce a happy correspondent impression. ,
Secondly: To piety must be added zeal and warmth of address. It is not enough to employ a bare exposition of sound doctrine, accompanied with a gentle expostulation; something more animated is necessary to attract and fix the general attention. Men must be carried beyond a cold approbation; they must be made to feel what they are taught; they must have heat together with light; and if the church supply not the former as well as the latter, they will seek it elsewhere. They will resort to the meeting or the conventicle, where the fervency of the preacher kindles a similar ardour in their own bosoms; and where they find themselves generally engaged, and often, as we may hope, editied. And should the orthodox established pastor be offended or grieved at such a preference, the remedy lies open before him; let him add proportionable zeal and earnestness to his other good qualities, and then he will have no cause to apprehend any inconvenience on the score of competition. · Thirdly: To piety and zeal must be joined ability. I have put this in the third place,
because, in the ministerial office, the two former, with a moderate share of the last, may be of good service; whereas, the most eminent ability without zeal, will, in general, do little; and, without piety, will do nothing. As a principal it is of small value; as an auxiliary, it may be of great and important use. It may serve to correct the prejudices of some, who consider religion as nothing more than a fruit of ignorance or hypocrisy; it may command respect and attention, and procure for truth an audience, which it would not otherwise obtain; it may repel those cavils and objections, which might be an overmatch for a less-instructed piety, and thus prove a defence to the common faith. But the use of ministerial ability which I have here chiefly in view, is to apply the general doctrines of religion to the particular state and circumstances of a congregation, or of individuals; to draw them down to cascs of conscience; and bring them home to men's business and bosoms. Without this skill, a preacher may indeed exhort well, and stir up his hearers to the inquiry, What shall we do? but he will not soundly resolve the question. "'Tis an easy thing,” says Lord Bacon, “to call out for the observance of the sabbath, or to speak against unlawful gain; but what actions and works may be done upon the sabbath, what not; and what courses of gain are lawful, and in what cases; to set this down, and to clear the whole matter, with good distinctions and decisions, is a work of great knowledge and labour, that requires much meditation, conversing with the scriptures, and other helps, which God has provided and preserved for instruction *."
Lastly: to the office of a public teacher must be added that of a pastor, who is diligent to know the state of his flock; who, instant in season and out of season, not only ministers to the congregation, but from house to house; enters into familiar converse with individuals; inquires into their religious circumstances, their wants, and dangers; and affords them that appropriate counsel, reproof, or encouragement, of which they stand in need. In a word, he watches for their souls
* Bacon's Works, by Shaw, vol. ii. p. 304,