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trade to earn by, and has it at leaft as his highest aim to promote his own worldly advantage. It is easy to see in what a different manner thefe different perfons will act, and in what different light they will view the facred duties of their function. He who truly believes the Gofpel and loves its Author, will reckon it his highest honor when he is called to recommend it to the belief of others. He will be apt to teach, and will find a pleasure in carrying his meffage, befides the reward he expects from him who employs him, and will undergo with chearfulness every fatigue he is fubjected to, in the execution of his office. On the other hand, he who is actuated by a contrary principle, though he is obliged, that he may raife his wages, in fome fort to do his duty; yet how heavily muft it go on, how tedious and burthenfome must it be, both in preparation and performance? He will count his fervice at the altar, and his work among his people, as a toil and drudgery, and reckon all that redeemed time that he can fave for himself, from the duties of his office.
Perhaps it may be thought that their lies a ftrong objection against this obfervation from experience; as it appears that fuch minifters as have leaft of religion, commonly go moft lightly under the charge, and are far from feeling any burthen in what is committed to them; where. as the most pious and faithful minifters feem to have a weight upon their fpirits, and fuch a concern for the falvation of their people, as cannot but take much from their chearfulnefs in the work to which they are called. In an fwer to this, obferve, that an unfaithful minfter is not easy and chearful because his work is agreeable to him, but because he takes as little of it as may be, and feeks his pleafure more than his duty. Certain it is, that the work of the miniftry muft be irksome and uneafy to him that believes not, except fo far as he makes it fubfervient to ambition, and difplays his own talents when he should be feeding his people's fouls. This I confefs, which the apoftle juftly calls preaching ourselves, may be abundant. ly gratifying to the most corrupt heart. On the other hand, that concern for his people which is upon the heart of eve. ry faithful paftor, is far from being inconfiftent with the
moft folid peace and defirable pleasure arising from the discharge of his duty. It is like the exercife of pity and compaffion to the diftreffed, in him, who is acting for their relief, which, though in fome fenfe painful, is yet accompanied with the approbation of God, and confcience, as flowing from a rightly difpofed mind, and therefore to be cherished and cultivated rather than fuppreffed. There is a time for every good man to mourn, and a time to rejoice, and perhaps the one is even more falutary than the other; for we are told, that God will appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.
III. Real religion in a minifter will make him faithful, and impartial, in the discharge of his truft. The God in whose prefence we stand, and in whofe name we speak, is no refpecter of perfons, and neither fhould we be in doing his work. There is commonly a great variety of perfons, of different stations and of different characters, committed to the inspection of a minifter; the pleasing or difpleafing of whom, has a confiderable influence on his worldly eafe and intereft. This is a great temptation to be unfaithful, and often leads to speak unto them smooth things, and prophesy deceit; or at leaft, not to deal with all that freedom and impartiality, that his duty to God requires. In every unregenerate man, worldly interest in one fhape or another, either vanity or gain, is the fupreme motive of action: and therefore, as moft men are impatient of reproof, it cannot be fuppofed, that an unfanctified minifter will venture to provoke their difpleafure, or to gall them with unacceptable truths. The favor of the great, or the applaufe of the multitude, he certainly will feek, more than the edification of any. On the other hand, he who truly fears God, and believes what he teaches, will act with faithfulness and boldness. He will remember that if he feeks to please men, he cannot be the fervant of Chrift, He will therefore no farther obtain, and indeed no farther wish to obtain their favor, than as a diligent difcharge of his duty approves him to their confciences in the fight of God; or forces the approbation of the imparVOL. II.
tial, notwithstanding the refentment of particular offenders. It is only the fear of God, can deliver us from the fear of man. I do not pretend that all who fear God, are wholly delivered from it: but furely, bad men, must be far more under the government of this finful principle. The one may fail occafionally, the other is corrupted wholly. There are two reafons which incline me particularly to infift on that faithfulness, which can only flow from true piety.
1. That preaching, in order to be useful, muft be very particular, and clofe, in the application. General truths and abstract reafoning have little or no influence upon the hearers, as the ignorant cannot, and the wife will not apply them to themselves.
2. The other reafon is, that private admonition, and personal reproof, are a great part of a minister's duty, and a duty that cannot be performed by any man, who hath not a steady regard to the prefence and command of that God, who hath fet him to watch for the fouls of his people, as one that must give an account.
IV. Real religion in a minifter, will make him active, and laborious in his work. Diligence is abfolutely neceffary to the right difcharge of the paftoral duties, whether public or private. It requires no fmall attention and labor, to seek out fit and acceptable words, as the preacher expresses it, to ftir up the attention of the inconfiderate, to awaken fecure, and convince obftinate finners, to unmask the covered hearts of hypocrites, to fet right the erring, and encourage the fearful. An unbelieving minif ter must be careless and flothful. As he is unconcerned about the fuccefs of his work, he cannot have any great concern about the manner of performance. But he, who believes the unspeakable importance of what he is employed about, both to himself and to his people, cannot fail to be diligent. He knows that he himself muft answer to God, for the care he has taken of the fouls committed to his charge; and that if he does not faithfully warn the wicked to turn from their ways, their blood will be required at his hand.
Oh! my brethren, what a ftriking confideration is this, to fuppofe ourselves interrogated by the Supreme Judge, concerning every finner under our charge? Did you earneftly warn this unhappy foul, by earnest exhortations in public, and by ferious affectionate expoftulations in private, to confider his ways? It is an easy thing, by a partial, or cursory performance of our duty, to fcreen ourfelves from the cenfure of our fellow-men; but to ftand at the judgment feat of Chrift, and answer there for our diligence, is a more awful trial.
Will not also a concern for his people's intereft, animate a pious minifter to diligence? If he is truly pious, as he loves God, he loves his brother alfo. The Apoftle Paul fays, Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men. If a man in good earnest believes that everlasting misery must be the portion of all who die in an unrenewed state, what pains will he not take, to prevent finners from going to that place of torment?
One who could fee a fellow-creature, in the rage of a fever, rushing to the brink of a precipice, and not restrain him, would fall under lafting infamy. Muft not the same compaffion move the heart of a serious perfon, who fees his fellow-finners going blind-fold to the pit of perdition ?
It is their not believing these things, that makes them fo fearless in finning; if you truly believe them, will you not make an effort to alarm them? There are no motives like these to diligence-he that believes will certainly speak.
V. In the last place, real religion will make a minister fuccefsful in his work. This it does, both as it fits him for doing his duty to his people, which has been illuftrated above, and as it adds to his precepts the force of his example. First, it makes him fuccefsful as it fits him for his duty. It is true indeed, that God only can give the bleffing upon a minifter's labors, and that he can fave by many, or by few, by the weakeft, as well as by the ableft inftrument: yet we fee from experience, that in all ordinary cafes, he proportions the fuccefs, to the propriety,
Neither is there any furer
or fufficiency of the means. mark that God intends effectual benefit to any part of the world, or the church, than when he raifes and commif. fions men, eminently qualified, to plead his caufe. There fore, real piety, even in this refpect, contributes to a minifter's fuccefs. If diligence in all other things produces fuccefs, it must be fo alfo in the miniftry. If he that lays out his ground with the greatest judgment, prepares and dreffes it with the greatest care, has the most plentiful crop if the fhepherd that waits most diligently upon his flock, feeds them in the beft pafture, and leads them to the fafeft fhelter, has the most increafe; then that minif ter, who does his duty moft wifely, and moft powerfully, will alfo fee moft of the fruit of his labors.
But real, and unaffected, yet vifible ferioufuefs, has also its own proper additional influence on a minister's fuccefs. An apparent and vifible impreffion upon the fpeaker's mind, of what he fays, gives it an inexpreffible weight with the hearers. There is a piercing heat, a penetrating force, in that which flows from the heart, which diftinguishes it not only from the coldness of indifference, but alfo, from the falfe fire of enthusiasm or vain glory. Befides all this, the example of a pious minifter, is a conftant inftruction to his people. It ratifies his doctrine, while he not only charges them to do what he fays, but to be what he is. This will receive much illuftration from its country.
A minifter who has a carelefs, untender walk, defeats, by his life, the intent of his preaching. Though in reafon, it cannot juftify any one in difobeying wholefome instructions, that the inftructor despises them himself; yet it is one of the most common excufes men make for themfelves, and few excufes feem to fet their confciences more at eafe. Loofe and carelefs perfons think themfelves quite at liberty to defpife the reproofs of their paftor, if, while he teaches others, he teaches not himself.
Nay, not only is it thus with the profane, but even those who have the greateft regard for religion, are not fo much affected with the fame truths, when fpoken by one they think indifferent about them, as when fpoken by