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So far from fixing their attention on their own interests and reputation, and thereby departing from the simplicity, and preventing the efficacy of the gospel; they will not be anbitious of saying fine things to gain applause, but usesul things to win souls. They have so imbibed the meek and lowly spirit of their Divine Master, that it is become their habitual study to explain and recommend the gospel, considered as an humbling and sanctifying scheme, contrived to lead men from themselves to God through a Mediator, for pardon and holiness, and in that way to form them to and build them up in a Divine life.
As to the second particular, the apostle speaks in the most positive terms, We preach Christ Jesus the Lord.” Faithful ministers always keep him in view, and make him the chief subject of their discourses. They preach him-in all the typical representations of his person, character, and offices. They exhibit him as represented by typical persons, such as Abel, Isaac, Mel. chisedec, Moses, Joshua, David, Solomon, and many others. By typical things, such as Noah's ark, the pillar of cloud and fire by which the people of God were directed through the wil. derness, the manna with which they were fed, the brazen serpent, the mercy-seat, the red heifer, the scape-goat, the slaughtered lamb, and most of the ritual observances under the Mosaic dispensation. And they fail not to inform their hearers, that the reason why so many emblems were used to set him forth was, because a few were not sufficient to represent all the superlative excellencies of the Saviour, and to keep alive the expectations of men before he was manifested in the flesh. They preach him In all the perfections of his Divinity. The Scriptures not only expressly declare, that he is 6 The Mighty God-Jehovah our Righteousness-Emmanuel, which being interpreted is God with us;" but they also explicitly ascribe to him all the glorious attributes of Deity. Just views of these are necessary to all acceptable worship; they elevate and improve the intellectual and moral faculties, excite in the heart many pleasing emotions, produce in us love and reverence towards him, and engage us to the strictest duty and obedience. They preach hinn-In all the virtues of his humanity. His earnest devotion, his contentment under every privation, his meekness and patience amidst the most irritating treatment, his entire submission to the Divine will, his unwearied beneficence, his compassion for his enemies, his love to souls, his forgiving spirit, and his perseverance in spite of all difficulties. They preach him-In all his offices. In his patriarchal dignity, his prophetical wisdom, his priestly sanctity, and his kingly dominion. They preach him-In all his miracles, which they consider not only as infallible proofs of his Divine mission, as the true Messiah, and evident demonstrations of the certain truth and infinite importance of every part of his doctrine thus at
bested; and of the inexcusableness of those who do not receive it in the full assurance of faith, and use their utmost endeavours thoroughly to understand and uniformly to practise it; but they represent them also as emblematical of the spiritual cures which he performs on the souls of true believers; giving sight to their blind minds, unstopping their deaf ears, loosing their dumb tongues, renewing and strengthening their weak and enfeebled powers and faculties, and healing the various and complicated disorders and maladies, the fevers and phrensies, dropsies and consumptions, languors and lethargies of their immortal spirits; thus dispossessing satan of his vassals, and rescuing from his power, those that have been long taken captive by him at his will. They preach him-In all his predictions; those particularly in which he foretels the effects of his doctrine, his mysterious passion, his death and resurrection; the preaching of his gospel among all nations, the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, the defamations of his person and religion, the persecutions of his people, and the certainty of his second coming for the punishment of his enemies, and the everlasting reward of his friends. These predictions they represent as sufficient to prove that God sees all things past, present, and to come ; that all possible causes, effects, and contingencies, are open and naked before him; that he governs the world, and all its changes and events, from the greatest to the least, by a wise, superintending, general, and particular Providence; and that he has a peculiar regard for those whose hearts are perfect toward him. They preach him-In all his doctrines. They declare that God hath spoken to us by his Son; and that by him he hath furnished us with all the glorious discoveries of Christianity. The principal of these doctrines relate to God; his existence, essence, attributes, works, word, and worship:The Redeemer; his person, offices, states, and mercies:- The Holy Spirit; his personality, divinity, and operations :—The soul: its spiritual and immaterial nature, its faculties and immortality : -Sin; its origin, its kinds and degrees, occasions, deceitfulness, and punishment:-Repentance; its nature, preparatives and accompaniments :-Faith; its properties and fruits :-Justification; its nature, effects, and importance :--The witness of the Spirit, both ordinary and extraordinary:–Holiness ; its parts and properties :- The four last things, death, judgment, heaven, and hell. In a word, true ministers shew us that Christ hath revealed the whole counsel of God, and that the efficacy even of true doctrine, whether recorded in Scripture, or declared from the pulpit or the press, depends on his blessing, and on the influence of his Spirit. They preach him-In all his humiliation and sufferings; on the depth, extent, and complicated forms of which, as demonstrative of his unparalleled love to us, and the high value VOL. XLII. APRII., 1819.
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he puts on our immortal souls, they frequently discourse. Nor do they confine themselves to the reality, nature, and greatness of his sufferings; but they also set forth the design of them,
They inform us that they were intended, in addition to his miracles and other evidences thereof, to put beyond suspicion, the tru'h and importance of his mission; to exhibit him as a perfect pattern of virtue, to render him a propitiatory sacrifice for our sins, to favour us with the clearest discoveries of inmortality and glory, and to give us a full assurance of his tender affection for us, and sympathy with us. And what man is he that can either openly declare, or properly hear these things, without correspondent feelings?
“ Dear Saviour, oh what ails this heart,
Sure 'uis of stone, it cannot smart,
And I not drop one tear for thee?" • They preach him-In all his merits and benefits. By reason of these he is in every respect suited to the state and wants of the moral world. Is it a world of darkness? He is the light thereof, who, by his glorious gospel, together with the influences of his Holy Spirit, illuminates and guides the minds of men into all truth. Is it a world of sin and misery? He bas provided and offers a full, free, and present salvation, unto all who sincerely repent of their sins, and unseignedly believe with their hearts unto righteousness. They preach him-In all his promises. These are Divine in their origin, suitable in their nature, abundant in their number, clear in their expression, free in their communication, and certain in their accomplishment. These, when an plied to the heart by a Divine influence, are more precious than rubies, and more to be desired than all the riches of the world. They preach him. In all his glories : In his transfiguration, resurrection, ascension, and inauguration. “ Unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom: Thou hast loved righteousness and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows," Heb. i. 8, 9. They preach him-In all his terrors. Not only in those that are past, but also in those to come. His greatest terrors will be displayed at the day of judgment. This will be a day of great assemblage, a day of universal investigation, a day of final decision, and a day of great wrath, Rev. vi. 17.
Thus the ministers of the gospel preach Christ, in all his
typical representations, the perfections of his divinity, the vir. tues of his humanity, his offices, miracles, predictions, doctrines, sufferings, merits and benefits, promises, glories, and terrors.-Let us now examine, · Thirdly, The motives by which they are influenced.
1. They are not influenced by worldly motives. They preach, and are your servants, not for the sake of vain applause. Though they study to shew themselves approved, as workmen that need not be ashamed, they seek not to be vainly applauded for the elegance of their compositions, the eloquence of their speech, the subtilty of their reasoning, the strength of their arguments, the soundness of their doctrines, nor for any thing else. The applause of thousands of men is but an empty sound, when compared with the approbation of God. Nor for the sake of soothing men's ears. In practising this dangerous complaisance they know they might preserve the name of virtue, but they fear lest they should destroy the thing itself, lose it in their congregations, and in their own hearts. Nor for the sake of secular advantages, or worldly pre-eminence. These are low and puerile considerations to act upon, which will never rise higher than the principles from whence they spring; as the waters rise not above their level, or the spring from whence they flow. All the honours and possessions which the greatest princes could bestow, would be lighier than vanity, when laid in the balance against that unfading “ Crown of Righteousness” which every faithful minister may expect, when Christ the Chief Shepherd shall appear.
2. They are influenced by pure and spiritual motives. They preach, and are your servants, for “ Jesu's sake.” This implies respect to the person of Christ-submission to his will-subjection to his authority-estimation of his merit-concern for his cause and the most tender compassion for men's souls as his creatures. Their bosoms glow with such undissembled love, that they can truly say, they reckon the title of servants of Christ, and of the church for his sake, a thousand times more honourable than to be the sovereigns of the whole world; that they had rather approve themselves the faithful interpreters of his laws, than see assembled nations bowing down before them, and with the profoundest submission receiving laws at their mouths. In a word, the whole of their temper and conduct may be well represented according to the elegant language of St. Paul, We approve ourselves, says he, as the ministers of God, in all the various circumstances through which we pass, in honour and dishonour; treated, indeed, by the world as deceivers, yet conscious to ourselves that we are true, and the great patrons of truth; is obscure and unlenown to a proud and insoient world, who affect to overlook us with sovcreign contempt, yet well known, even by the happiest tokens, to those souls who are brought to God by our means; as dying
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daily, yet behold we live, through the singular interposition of our great Lord for our preservation; as sorrowful on account of various calamities that surround us, and yet in spirit always rejoicing, because though we appear in the world as poor in these things, yet we are making many rich in grace and glory; as having nothing which, in a worldly sense, we can call our own, and yet possessing all things, the proper title to all things, and that godliness which is profitable to all things. Oye Corinthians, ye Britons, ye Methodists, our mouth is open unto you, our heart is enlarged. Ye are not straitened in us, but ye are straitened in your own bowels. Noro for a recompence in the same, (I speak as unto my children,) be ye also enlarged.
By these considerations I am led to add,-A few thoughts by way of improvement, which will bring us to the period of the present discourse. These thoughts shall be addressed not unto ministers, but unto the people. - My dear brethren, you cannot esteem them as being the ministers whom the Lord approves, who are immoral, who are negligent of the pure doctrines of the gospel, who countenance and abet the innovations made in it, the corruptions mingled with it, by men of great repute, or by the uninspired, though combined together in synods and councils. We beseech you to discountenance them; we exhort you to submit to the teaching and guidance of your Christian ministers, so far as it is agreeable to the Word of God. Bear with their importunity and solicitude, in watching for your souls. Unite with thein in such plans and attempts, as may best promote the objects of their ministry. Maintain a just value and esteem for them. Do not put a yoke upon their necks which you would be unwilling to bear yourselves. Be very tender of their reputation, and endeavour to vindicate and defend it by all just and proper methods. Pray for them, and that earnestly and constantly, that they may be circumspect, modest, patient, peaceful, pious, and public spirited. And heartily endeavour, in your several stations and capacities, to further the ends of their ministry among you. And finally, let us beseech Almighty God to enable ministers so to preach his Holy Word, and the people so obediently to follow the same, that both may receive the crown of everlasting glory, for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour. Amen.
An Extract from a Tract (never published) entitled, " Gospel Preachers described and directed by a Preacher of the Gospel." 66 These things write I unto thee, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to
behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth," I Tim. jil. 14, 15. Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just, man and lie will increase in learning,” Proverbs ix. 9. Preface. It is an undeniable truth, that many persons have