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GOSPEL PREACHERS DESCRIBED AND DIRECTED.
(Continued from page 657.) - IL: I come now in the second place to give some necessary
cautions concerning things to be avoided. 1.1. Avoid carefully every kind and degree of outward and gross sin; think not this advice unnecessary; this has cast-down many wounded; yea, many strong men have been slain, by this: Pror. vii. 26. Look at Noah, Lot, Samson, David, Solomon, and Peter, and take warning by them. “ Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples; and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore, let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall," 1 Cor. x. 11, 12,. ..
2. Avoid intemperance in eating and drinking: when you sit at tables covered with dainties which kind persons provide for your entertainments; when your friends, from an excess of goodwill, press upon you to partake freely of their hospitality; when the delicacies also invite, and satan stands by, ready to improve the opportunity to his advantage, and your disgrace; then, in the midst of so many temptations, beware that you do not eat nor drink to excess. It is far better to deny yourselves, than to exceed the bonnds of Christian moderation. Our Lord's caution is remarkablo; " Take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness," Luke xxi. 34. ^ The Lord spake unto Aaron, saying, do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations," Lev. X. 8, 9. This seems to have been the cause of Nadab and Abihu's offering strange fire before the Lord, for which he slew them. One of the ejected Puritans being offered a glass of wine, when he was going to preach, replied, that “he did not choose to preach by che spirit of sack.” .66 The kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost," Romans xiv, 17.
9. On the other hand, avoid too much abstinence and selfdenial : if the body be not taken proper care of, and seasonably and suitably refreshed and supported, it will not be able to hold out in, and perform its work; and it will also weigh down the soul with it. "Give to the body that degree of nourishment which is necessary to preserve it in health and strength, that you may cheerfully go on with your work. But it is much better to preach with a comparatively empty stomach, than with a full one; and be always very careful not to visit a person that hath an infectious distemper, with an empty stomach, or immediately after preach
ing, lest you receive the contagion by so doing: I have reason to believe that my father, who died in the very prime of life, took a malignant fever, (which brought him to the grave,) in this manner.“ Be not righteous over much; (or rigorous to excess,) neither make thyself over wise: why shouldst thou destroy thyself?" Eccles. vii. 16. “The Son of man came eating and drinking,” Matt. xi. 19. For “every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving," 1 Tim. iv. 4. “Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake, and thine often infirmities," chap. v. 23.
4. Beware of familiarity with women : if you are single, do not make free with young women, lest you entangle their affections. Avoid also the company of those that are married, lest you provoke the spirit of jealousy in their husbands. Much reproach has been thrown upon religious people through this.Let no scandal be brought upon the Gospel by your fault; converse sparingly with them : let not a woman, (unless a relation) except necessity requireth, hang upon your a'm: as much as you can consistently with good manners, decline touching their hands, and be sure always to avoid touching their lips. Many have been deceived by the beauty of a woman, for herewith love is kindled as fire. “ Sit not at all with another man's wife, nor sit down with her in thine arms; lest thine heart incline unto her, and so through thy desire thou fall into destruction,” Ecclus. ix. 8, 9. 6 Jealousy is the rage of man, therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance,” Prov. vi. 34. " Abstain from all appearance of evil," i Thess. v. 22. .
5. Make not too free with any: preserve the reverence due to your office as ambassadors of Christ, 2 Cor. v. 20. It is better that your hearers stand in awe of you, than that you should be despised by them. “Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God," 1 Cor. iv. 1.
6. An over-stiff, rigid, and severe carriage and behaviour, is also to be avoided: if you are too close and reserved, the people will not have so much affection for you; neither will you be so profitable to them. A person that went in his distress to Bishop Hooper, for spiritual counsel, was so struck with his countenance and behaviour, that he came away without opening his mind. Preachers of the Gospel should walk between these extremes. “ Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love,". Rom. xii. 10. "Be pitiful, be courteous,” i Peter iii. 8.
7. Avoid levity: this is inconsistent with your character, and quite unbecoming preachers of the Gospel : you, above all men, should be habitually serious and grave. You are employed in things of the most serious nature, speaking to and for God in a VuL. XLII. OCTOBER, 1819.
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publick manner; let not your behaviour in private, be contrary to your publick employment. I never read that Christ laughed; but that he several times wept: imitate that perfect pattern, and strive to be like your serious Master, Refrain from trifting, jesting, and laughing, Eph. v. 4. “In all things shew thyself a pattern of gravity,” Titus ii. 7. .
8. Do not give way to effeminacy: this is hurtful to both soul and body, it weakens both; and you may slide into it by little and little, if you are not careful and resolute; rather endeavour to acquire and preserve an iron constitution, by inuring your selves, (in a prudent manner) to hardship, that you may bear heat and cold, wind and rain, go through labour and difficuliy, put up with coarse fare, and be reconciled to poor entertainment, if called to it. Do not spoil yourselves by self-indulgence, in a soft effeminate course of lying in bed late, living deliciously, and inmuring yourselves by the fire side in warm rooms; but rise early, accustom yourselves to exercise, let your diet be simple, and not sumptuous; Luke xvi. 19. And walk, or ride on horseback, rather than in carriages. Self-indulgence and self-denial are opposites, and you cannot be followers of Christ, unless you deny your-selves, Luke ix. 23. Private Christians are soldiers ; preachers are officers; the duty of officers is to lead on the army; but effeminate preachers are very unfit leaders. “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ,” 2 Tim. ii. 3. “Every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things," i Cor. ix. 25.
9. Beware of unnecessary visiting: this will rob you of your precious time, which you may spend in a better manner; if you cannot by visiting, edify others, nor he edified yourselves, set it down as lost time; and take care for the future to be more pru. dent, by avoiding all such visiting and unprofitable conversation: it is much better to converse with God, and the writings of good men, in private, than to spend an afternoon or an evening, in chit chat to no good purpose. “Redeeming the time," Eph. v. 16.
10. Do pot burthen your friends, by taking others with yon to their tables, when you go out to preach in the country places; neither stay too long at a time yourselves, lest they that entertain you grow weary of yon. “Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be hot blamed," 2 Cor. vi. 3.
11. Those of you that are engaged in secular employments, be diligent and industrious, that you may be able to live without being dependent on others, and then you will be able also to speak freely, being neither tongue-ticd or muzzled. “Do your own business, and work with your own hands, that ye may bavc lack of nothing," i Thess. iv. 11, 12. “Neither did we eat any men's bread for nought, but wrought with labour and travail, night and
day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you,” 2 Thess.
12. Those of you that are free from worldly business should avoid idleness also, by being diligent in the Lord's work, preaching, praying, reading, meditating, &c. continually. Calvin being desired in his illness to desist from writing, answered, “ What would you have me idle when my Lord comes ?” “ Give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine-meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them," i Tim iv. 13, 15.
13. Take heed also that you do not cntangle yourselves too much with worldly concerns; carry on no more business than you can manage without hurting your souls: keep the world out of your beads and hearts, and under your feet as much as you can. «Take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with the cares of this life," Luke xxi. 34. “ For we bronght nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out: and having food and raiment let us be therewith conteni,” | Tim. vi. 7, 8.
14. “ Take heed and beware of covetousness,"? Luke xii. 15. “ Preach not for filthy lucre," 1 Tim. iii. 3, 8.; nor for a liveli, hood; inake not gain of the gospel ; be as little burthensome to the people as your circumstances will admit of. “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have,” Heb. xiji. 5. “What is my reward then ? verily, that when I preach the Gospel, I may make the Gospel of Christ without charge," i Cor. ix. 18. “I will not be burdensome to you; for I seek not your's but you,” 2 Cor. xii. 14. “ For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail; for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the Gospel of God,” i Thess. ii. 9.
15. Avoid running into the contrary extreme, viz. that of profuseness : some have embarrassed themselves very much, and dishonoured the Gospel by their extravagance. The late Dr, Dodd was brought to the gallows through this. Do not lavish away your substance; let your income be what it may, slender or plentiful, endeavour always to keep within bounds, that you may keep out of debt, and not be afraid of any man. Be pru. dently careful, and let not any thing be squandered away, spoiled, nor lost. “ The prudent man looketh well to his going," Prov. xiv. 14. “ Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds, for riches are not for ever," chap. xxvii. 23, 24. « She looketh well to the ways of her household,” chap. xxxi. 27. “He said unto his disciples, gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost,” John vi. 12.
16. Do not ride hard without absolute necessity : it doth pot Took well to see preachers galloping like rakish gentlemen; and
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that you may not be forced to it, do not over-slay your time before you set out: be merciful to your horses, and take proper care of them every way. . " A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast; but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel,” Prov. xii. 10.
17. Avoid clownishness: let serious urbanity be the characteristic of your behaviour. “ Thou shalt rise up before thc hoary head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear thy God," Lev. xix. 32. “ Render therefore to all their dues; tribute to whom tribute is due, custom to whom custom, fear to whom fear, honour to whom honour," Rom. xiii. 7. - Be courteous," 1 Peter iii. 8. • 18. Avoid slovenliness: according to the advice of our serious poet, Mr. George Herbert,
“ Affect in things about thee cleanliness,
That all may gladly board thee as a flower ;
Before band, and anticipate their last hour:
Upon thy body, clothes, and habitation.” But I will suppose this caution to be almost, if not altogether needless.'
19. Yet I apprehend that there is too much reason for warning some against conformity to the world: is not this evil gaining ground very fast upon the Methodists ? Not only upon private members, but upon some of the preachers also ? Take heed and beware of this? You bear a publick testimony against the follies and yanities of this present evil world in your doctrine, do not adopt any of them yourselves, in furniture, apparel, or practice, lest you prop up with one hand what you would pull down with the other. Lay aside therefore, those of you which have followed it, that ridiculous custom of powdering the hair, (which took its rise from some ballad-singers at the fair of St. Germain, who whitened their heads to make themsclves ridiculous, and may be suitable to a merry-andrew; but is quite unbecoming a preacherof the Gospel :) and instead of silk waistcoats and stockings, wear cloth waistcoats and worsted stockings; which I suppose are as useful, and I am sure are more becoming the preachers of the Gos. pel of Christ. "Be not conformed to this world,” Rom. xii. 2.
20. Neither suffer your wives and children to conform to vain customs, whether of amusements, or apparel. “A minister must be one that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity," i Tim. ïïi. 4.
21. Do not disappoint any place which you are to supply; when people that have come from a distance to hear the word, (as is often the case in the country) are disappointed of a preacher, it hath a tendency to destroy the congregation, by disheartening them from taking the like pains again; or perhaps they will go