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world! “God so loved ihe world that he gave his only be. "gotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him might not "perish, but have everlasting life." It may give us much solid and rational satisfaction, that we have a complete and faultless system of inorality to recommend to mankind for their obedience, an amiable example of universal goodness to set before them for their imitation, an exceeding and eternal weight of glory to promise them for their reward. Were ever public speakers in possession of so rich a variety of every thing grand, interesting, delightful! Avail yourself of these advantages. Neglect foreign and less important things. Dwell with pleasure and copiousness on Christ and him crucified. To carnal Jews this method of preaching has been a stumbling. block. By polite Greeks it was, and still is accounted, arrant folly; but to them who believe, it is the wisdom of God in a mystery. Who art thou, then, that thou shouldst be afraid of the strength of infidelity, or ashamed of the gospel of Christ? · Hast thou not heard? bast thou not read? is it not now told you, that it is the power of God ulito salvation to every one that believeth, because therein the righteousness of God is revealed? Let me put the words of the Apostle in your mouth; your heart, I hope, has made them your own: “God forbid that I should glosry, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world."
The necessities of your hearers must have the disposal of your studies. Like one who knows how to divide the word of truth, you must give 'subjects which are the most. solid and edifying the preference. Upon this plan, you will find it necessary to preach frequentiy the same truths, pressing them from time to time with redoubled earnestness. The lost and helpless state of man; salvation by the free grace of God; justification and acceptance through the righteousness of Christ; the necessity of regeneration, and of the sanctifying operations of the Holy Ghost: These doctrines were the essence, soul, and glory of the Reformation; these doctrines are the marrow of that gospel in which Christ is All. It is to be lamented that at present they are in disrepute, and, by many in this reformed island, boldly and violently opposedl; but, I hope, no opposition will move you to disavow them by a timid silence. I would be undutiful, if I did not exhart you on this occa
sion, to be clear and explicit on these heads. The truth is, they are of so general consequence, and have so near a connection with every part of the Christian system, that, be the subject what it will, they ought not to be kept too far out of view. Moreover, you will do well to beware of handling such glorious and heavenly truths in a cold and abstracted
your own soul be in the first place warmed with them, so shall they be in your mouth sharper than any two-edged sword.. We utter what we feel with unspeakable cnergy. Ardent expressions, which burst from the fulness of an affectionate heart, and carry the very soul of the speaker in thein, make their way like lightning into the hearts of his audience, and irresistibly: *enkindle in them the same glowing affections. Perhaps you may find some of your hearers carried away with divers and strange doctrines, and others led aside by divers Justs and passions. Endeavours must be used to reclaim the one from the error of his thoughts, and the other from: the evil of his ways. In doing this, you will have occasion for much prudence and discretion. To spend time in confuting errors and reproving vices, with which the generality of your hearers are untainted, or perhaps unacquainted, is a very great impropriety. To raise up for gotten errors from the dust, to recall departed controversies, to harangue an assembly of simple, well-meaning christians, as if they were a crowd of aiheists, infidels, and profligates, is an absurdity altogether unjustifiable. Nay, it is worse than absurd. It may all the ininds of honest. people with extravagant and wicked notions, which otherwise they would never have thought on. I have confi. dence in you, dear. brother, that you will prudently for.. bear such dangerous subjects, reproving, in the course of your ministry, only prevailing vices, and confuting only prevailing errors.
Shrink not at the prospeci of opposition, nor even of persecution. The plan of conduct delineated above requires you to avoid conformity with the world. However, that is not all. It is, besides, necessary, that you, on all proper occasions, testify a dislike of its corrupt maxiis and practices. This must naturally draw on you a consi. derable share of hatred, and especially in an age when reli. gion is fallen into disrepute. Singularity is enough to beget ill-will; but when a person not only uses different
manners, but likewise condemos the manners of those among whom he lives, such a one will not be easily forgiven. Now, the most prudent and modest minister will find himself, in many instances, obliged to condemn the world, and in that case has no better treatment to ex. pect than Lot received from the Sodomites, who could not bear that a fellow, as they called him, who came in to so. journ, should pretend to be their judge. “But be not "hou afraid of their faces, lest thou be confounded be. “fore them.” “If thou take forth the precious from the bóvile,” saith God,* "thou shalt be as my mouth. Let them "return unto thee, but return not thou unto them. And I "will make thee unto this people a fenced brazen wall, "and they shall fight against thee, but they shall not presyail against thee; for I am with thee to save thee, and to “deliver thee, saith the Lord. And I will deliver thee "out of the hand of the wicked, and I will redeem thee out Wof the hand of the terrible.”
Beware of levity in any part of your behaviour. A small tincture of folly will unfit your mind for serious thinking in your closet, and draw on you coldness and indifference toward divine things. Deplorable is the situation of a church, whose ministers are light and treacherous persons. Tribing and impertinence is no beauty to any character, but it is criminal in a minister, whose speech should always be well-seasoned and edifying. I do not mean that you should shut yourself up from the world, or assume the sullen airs of a monkish devotee. What I aim to recommend is not opposed to cheerfulness, but to levity. It is, in short, a grave and sober deportment, in opposition to what is called in the scripture "a vain conversation.” The office
have this day been vested with is of too fine and sublime a quality to permit you to mix and incorporate with the dead and polluted conversation of worldly men. No doubt a reasonable regard is to be had to render yourself, as much as possible, universally agreeable and obliging. The confidence and affection of mankind opens an extensive sphere of usefulness, and, where it can be innocently obtained, should be highly valued and well-inproved. But in an age when whole sets of men discover a contempt of all the serious appearances of religion-in
* Jerem. xv. 19-24
ao age, wherein pious and holy dispositions are construed to be unnecessary or superfluous ingredients of a worthy character in an age, wherein an universal langour and want of energy is observed in the spiritual discipline, to ex• ert itself with any dignity or efficacy for the suppression of liberties which strike at the very being of religion and national decorum, you will do well to consider how far you are safe in mixed, and much less in profane and dissolute company
Abuse not the confillence of an affectionate people. It is your honor to enter among them by an imsuijcited and harmonious call. This, however despised by some, is a miost happy and comfortable circumstance both for you and them. They seem willing, for a season at least, to rejoicein your light: and it is necessary, cn your part, to preserve and cherish these dispositions. By this means the way to their heart will be kept open, and your instructions, both in public and private, listened to with pleasure. But take hced of abusing their love and affection to feed your vanity with their applause. Such an abuse will diminish the worth of your character in the judgment of every sober man. I am persuaded you are determined on the one hand to guard against man-pleasing, and on the other to beat down, with a generous greatness of mind, the selfadmiration and self complacency which strongly mark the character of too many of our order; and to employ the love and confidence of your people for the noble and divine purposes of rendering them daily wiser, better, and happier.
Let meekness be your ornament. Take meekness for your ordinary temper. «The servant of the Lord must sonot strive, but be gentle toward all men, apt to teach, in smeekness instructing them that oppose themselves.” An insolent and huffing humour, a pertness and loftiness of behaviour, a petulant peevish temper, renders the lives of ministers bitter and uneasy to themselves, and their jabour's, however valuable in other respects, unacceptable to their people. Is it becoming or adorning, in a ser. vant of Jesus who is meek and lowly in heart, lo whet his tongue like a sword, and act the part of a passionate, provoking brawler? This will not be pretended. Bitter, and reproachful words are ncither the proper expressions of Christiap zeal, nor the probable means of true reformation. They are more likely to create enemies than procure friends to religion, and, in a preacher of the gospel, betray such a conceit of himself and contempt of bis audience, as the greatest abilities cannot excuse. I know, Sir, you are determined to form on a better-natured plan; determined to be humble, modest, condescending, respectftit, and io shun in address the least appearance of ostentation and self-sufficiency. I mean not any thing that has been said, and I hope none will interpret it, as implying any suspicion of you. I have spoken them from a deep impression of their importance to us all. And, on the same principle, I call upon you, in the last place,
To shew yourself an honest mail. Let your behaviour be as much as possible consistent, and of a piece with itself. Nothing is so odious as a minister that disagrees with his sbaracter. A soldier that is a coward, a courtier that is servile and cringing, an ambassador that is supple and treacherous, are not so unseemly and contemptible cl acters as a drunken, a dissolute, a rambling clergyman. No respect of persons, nor prospect of profit or fame, must tempt a minister to subscribe with his hand, confess with his tongue, or recommend to the belief of others, what his own heart, after the maturest deliberation, condemns. Candour and integrity are qualities which command universal esteem. But a supple and complying temper, which unfettered by conscience, sacrifices honesty to popularity, and religion to conveniency, may succeed a while, but will hardly prosper to the end. I hope, Sir, you have received this ministry with a resolution to renounce the hidden things of dishonesty; and, without walking in craftiness, or handling the word of God deceitfully, will, by a manifestation of the truth, commend yourself to every man's conscience in the sight of God. This charge I give you in the sight of God, who quicken. eth all things, and before Jesus Christ, commanding you to keep it without spot, unrebukeable, till the Chief Shepw herd appear, and call you from your station. And I am persuaded I may assure you, the affectionate wishes of your Brethren are, that by pureness, by knowledge, by long-suffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, by honour and dishonour, by evil report and good re