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"chief inducements, to enter into the function of the ho "ly miniftry, and not worldly defigns and interests." This is maliciouffy interpreted to fuppose, that a minister in accepting of a fixed charge, hath no view or intention, primary or fecondary, of being provided of a maintenance. This would be both unnatural and unreasonable. แ They that ferve at the altar, muft live by the altar.” The plain meaning is, That the great motives of a minifter, in confecrating himfelf to this employment, and accepting the particular ftation affigned him, ought to be the honor of God, and intereft of religion, as expreffed above. And furely, that this fhould be the cafe, hath nothing in it incredible in our country, the provision for the miniflry not being fo large, but a man of tolerable abilities hath a much greater hazard of rifing to wealth and dignity in many other employments. But alas ! how ignorant are they who cavil at this queftion? Do they not know that every Chriftian is bound habitually and fupremely to regard the glory of God in all his actions? This is not peculiar to minifters, except fo far as they ought to be exemplary in every thing. Wo to every man in this affembly, be his employment what it will, if he does not habitually point his whole actions to the glory of God. "Ye are not your own; ye are bought with a price; "therefore glorify God with your bodies, and your fpirits, "which are God's."a
The other queftion is this, "Have you ufed any undue methods by yourfelf or others, in procuring this call?" It is impoffible to find fault with this queftion, but by leav ing out the word, undue. And indeed, it is fo far from being wrong, that there would be no harm if it were more particularly explained. It was probably intended to difcourage all briguing and folicitation, other than a mar.'s real character does for itfelf, or the free unbiaffed judgment of others, inclines them to do in his behalf. I apprehend it does reach a reproof to all thofe, who either promote or hinder fettlements, from political connexions, or in expectation of temporal favors and to thofe who, by promiles or threatnings, endeavour to influence their inferiors
a 1 Cor. vi. 19, 20
in fuch a caufe. In the mean time, I dare fay it will be allowed, that any thing of this kind done by a minifter himself, or at his direction, in his own favor, would be very wrong: and, blessed be God, it is at prefent among us confidered as highly indecent and criminal.
I must also put you in mind of the great duty of family inftruction and gorvernment. Heads of families must prepare their children and fervants for receiving benefit by public inftruction, and endeavor by repetition to fix it in their minds. It is our duty to speak plainly, no doubt; but it is impoffible, preserving the dignity of the pulpit, to fpeak in fuch a manner as to be underflood by those who have had no previous inftruction in a familiar way. It is like cafting feed upon an unopened, unprepared foil, which takes no root, and brings forth no fruit. Is it not hard, that, when many are fo ready to find fault with every neglect of minifters, and fometimes expect more work from one, than ten can perform, they fhould take fo little pains in their families, these smaller diftricts, which are committed to their own charge.
To conclude all, Strive together with your minister in your prayers to God for him. There is no way more effectual to prepare him for ferving you in the gospel, and there is no way more proper for preparing you to attend upon his miniftry. If you make confcience of this duty, you will come to receive the answer of your prayers, and indeed to hear the word of God. Alas! that there fhould be fo few of our hearers of this charitable, fympathifing kind. We have fome ftupid and infenfible hearers, fome proud and difdainful hearers, many criticifing and cenfuring hearers, but few praying hearers. Let all that fear God give themselves to this duty. And let them not only remember that corner of God's vineyard in which their own lot is cast, but the kingdom of Christ in general; and pray, that his name may be great, "from the rising of the fon, unto his going down." Amen.
PRAYER for NATIONAL PROSPERITY and for the REVIVAL of RELIGION infeparably connected.
Preached on Thursday, February 16, 1758, being the day. appointed in Scotland for the late Public Faft.
ISAIAH, li. 9.
Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the LORD: Awake as in the ancient days in the generations of old. Art not thou it that hath cut Rahab and wounded the dragon.
E are this day called by our fovereign to the duty of folemn fafting and humiliation, and to earnest prayer for the bleffing of God on his councils and arms. Religion and humanity confpire in urging us to a hearty compliance, especially while public affairs wear fo threatening an afpect. It ought alfo to awaken the attention, and increase the serioufnefs of every particular worshiping affembly, that they are joining with fo many others in intreating deliverance from these national calamities, in which all are equally concerned.
We have often, for fome years past, professed to humble ourselves in the fight of God, and have done it, alas! with a fhameful coldnefs and indifference, or with an hypocrify ftill more criminal. But it is remarkable, that such is the fituation of affairs at present, as hath given an alarm
even to fome of the moft infenfible, and constrained them to confider this duty as now fomewhat more than a form. There has been for fome time paft, fuch a continuance and increase of public judgments, fuch a series of abortive projects, and broken difconcerted schemes, as makes the most obftinate and inconsiderate stand and pause, and ferioufly afk, Is there not a caufe?
Our fetting apart this day, and applying ourselves to the duty of fafting and prayer, implies a confeflion of the power and providence of God.
It implies, that we believe in him, as the Almighty Creator, and righteous Governor of the world; the fupreme Difpofer of every went, and fovereign Arbiter of the fate of nations. How were it to be wifhed, that there was a just sense of this truth on the minds of all of every rank! And that, in all who are in any measure fincere on this occafion, the impreffion may not be tranfient and partial, but lafting and effectual! It should excite us to a holy jealoufy over ourselves, that we have fo often effayed the like duty without any apparent fuccefs. "Is there un
righteoufnefs with God? God forbid !" The fault, doubtlefs, lies in ourselves. Our fafts have not been fuch as God has chofen, and therefore he hath refufed to hear our prayers.
In general, no doubt the evidence and the effect of an acceptable faft, is repentance compleated by reformation, Where this is wanting, we are justly liable to the charge brought by the prophet Isaiah against the children of Ifrael,
Bring no more vain oblations, incenfe is an abominati"on unto me, the new moons and fabbaths, the calling of "affemblies I cannot away with, it is iniquity, even the "folemn meeting, Your new moons, and your appoint"ed feafls my foul hateth, they are a trouble unto me, I "am weary to bear them. And when ye fpread forth ་ your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear; your hands are full of blood."a There is no queftion but the unreAtrained flood of impiety which has overfpread this nation,
a Ifa. i. 13, 14, 15.