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teachers as well as from the seduction of SERM. sin. It is their duty, their bounden duty, to tell the truth, as it is revealed in the word of God; and let ever so great personal prejudices be raised against them, or stand in their way, nevertheless it can, in the nature of things, only be for the good of those they address, that in the several administrations, above alluded to, they do “ the will of God;" for the will of God, in the Gospel of our blessed Lord, is express. It does not depend for its efficacy upon those who undertake to expound it, but, being there delivered in plain and explicit terms, it must have always the saine weight and force whenever it is justly and properly administered. In merely expounding the word, there may be room for error, and therefore ground for objection; and the only care that could be taken to guard against such evils as might ensue from the mistakes of incompetent expositors, was taken, at the first planting of the Gospel, by committing it, pure and uncontaminated, to the keeping of a regular ministry, and pro
SERM. viding for a perpetual succession of them, in to be set apart for ever for the peculiar
study of the law of God. But a faithful and true steward of God's mysteries, need not run into long expositions to convince men of their errors ; if he will but be careful to lay before them the indispensable conditions of Christ's covenant with mankind, he will discharge his duty; and he that hath ears to hear, should listen and be converted, This is the case at all events.
Let men judge as they please: the minister's duty is clear and express; but yet, let us not suppose it to be altogether so uninteresting a concern, as that he who teaches, should have no regard to the effect of his doctrines; whosoever has a just sense of the high and great importance of the duties of Christianity, cannot view with indifference any base neglect of them. Cold must be that heart which, mindful only of its own concerns, does not shudder at the thoughts of the sure perdition others
be hurrying themselves into. Cold must be the heart of him who, wrapped up in his own righteousness, can behold the misdoings of others
without sorrow and compunction. Can SERM. he, think ye, be your friend, who, knowing on the word of truth, that without holiness no man shall see the Lord in the glory of heaven, can forbear to tell you so, when he sees that your conduct is daily leading you further and further from the great hope of your calling? Shall he be thought your enemy, who, certified past all doubt and disputation, that neither "fornicators, idolators, or adul"terers, neither thieves, nor covetous, nor re"vilers, nor drunkards, nor extortioners, shall "inherit the kingdom of God," shall venture to remind you of such a truth, though from the application he may chance to wound your feelings! God forbid that such charges should be applicable to those I am addressing; but if it were so, it would not only equally be my duty, from this place, as an authorized minister of Christ's Gospel, boldly to preach among you the word of God, and enforce all his holy injunctions; but if I had the common feelings of a man, I ought the more to be moved to it from a just consideration of the perils awaiting
SERM. you. When, therefore, you are reminded at any time by myself or others, so appointed, of the great danger of sin and wickedness, do not suffer your feelings so to get the better of your reason, as to fancy us your "enemies because we tell you the
truth."-The truths which the ministers of Christ's Gospel have to promulgate, all relate to your eternal welfare. None of us have any power to denounce them as irrevocable sentences. If we tell you, that "the sinful soul will be cut off," and that at the last day" the Lord will not at all acquit "the wicked," we are not such inspectors and judges of the heart as to be able to know to whom such heavy condemnation shall finally apply; we are instructed rather to hope well of all, not to deliver over to damnation the wicked soul, but “to call sin❝ners to repentance," that they may in time, and before it is too late, "turn from their "wickedness and live." Our's is, in its very nature, always a friendly call; while we condemn and reprobate the sin, we strive all we can to redeem the sinner. all then, as a main step towards the amend
ment of our lives, learn to think properly SERM. of those who put themselves to the pains of giving us advice and instruction; but, above all, of those who seek to guide us by the light of God's word; for, in this case, we may be sure that the seed is good, and that if it produces no fruit, the fault must be in the soil into which it falls; that is, in short, in the perverse disposition of the hearers. For great is the efficacy of the word of God towards instructing and improving his creatures; if his creatures on their part will but prepare themselves to receive it." The rain," and "the snow" that descends from heaven to water the earth, "and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater," will produce no such effects on the sandy desart or barren rock; so neither will the word of God bring forth in us the fruits of the spirit, unless we duly prepare our hearts to give it entrance and admission. Then only will it "accomplish that which God pleases, and prosper in the thing whereto He sends it."