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execution of his office. On the other hand, he who is actuated by a contrary principle, though he is obliged, that he may raise his wages, in some sort to do his duty; get how heavily must it go on, how tedious and burdensome must it be, both in preparation and performance ? He will count his service at the altar, and his work among his people, as a toil and drudgery, and reckon all that redeemed time that he can save for himself, from the duties of his office.
Perhaps it may be thought that there lies a strong objection against this observation from experience; as it appears that such ministers as have least of religion, com. monly go most lightly under the charge, and are far from feeling any burden in what is committed to them ; whereas the most pious and faithful ministers seem to have a weight upon their spirits, and such a concern for the falvation of their people, as cannot but take much from their chearfulness in the work to which they are called. Io answer to this, observe, that an unfaithful minister is not easy and chearful because his work is agreeable to him, but because he takes as little of it as may be, and seeks his pleasure more than his duty. Certain it is, that the work of the ministry must be irksome and uneasy to him that believes not, except so far as he makes it subservient to ambition, and displays his own talents when he should be feeding his people's fouls. This I confess, which the Apostle justly calls preaching ourselves, may be abundantly gratifying to the most corrupt heart. On the other hand, that concern for his people which is upon the heart of every faithful pastor, is far from being inconsistent with the most solid peace and desirable pleasure arising from the discharge of his duty. It is like the exercise of pity and compassion to the distressed, in him, who is acting for their relief, which, though in some sense painful, is yet accompanied with the approbation of God,
and conscience, as flowing from a rightly disposed mind, and therefore to be cherished and cultivated rather than suppressed. 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 asbes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.
III. Real religion in a minister will make him faithful, and impartial in the discharge of his trust. The God in whose presence we stand, and in whose name we speak, is no respecter of persons, and neither should we be in doing his work. There is commonly a great variety of persons, of different stations, and of different characters, committed to the inspection of a minifter; the pleasing or displeasing of whom, has a considerable influence in his wordly ease and interest. This is a great temptation to be unfaithful, and often leads to speak unto them smooth things, and prophecy deceit; or at least, not to deal with all that freedom and impartiality, that his duty to God requires. In every unregenerate man, wordly interest in one shape or another, either vanity or gain, is the fųpreme motive of action ; and therefore, as most men are impatient of reproof, it cannot be supposed, that an unfanctified minister will venture to provoke their displeasure, or to gall them with unacceptable truths. The favour of the great, or the applause of the multitude, he certainly will seek 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 seeks to please men, he cannot be the servant of Christ. He will therefore no farther obtain, and indeed no farther wish to obtain their favour, than as a diligent discharge of his duty approves him to their consciences in the fight of God, or forces the approbation of the impartial, notwithstanding the resentment 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 surely, 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 reasons which incline me particularly to insist on that faithfulness, which can only flow from true piety.
1. That preaching, in order to be useful, must be very particular, and close in the application. General truths, and abstract reasoning, have little or no influence upon the hearers, as the ignorant cannot, and the wise will not apply them to themselves.
2. The other reason 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 presence and command of that God, who hath set him to watch for the souls of his people, as one that must give an account.
IV. Real religion in a minister will make him active and laborious in his work. Diligence is absolutely necessary to the right discharge of the pastoral duties, whether public or private. It requires no small attention and labour to seek out fit and acceptable words, as the preacher expresses it, to stir up the attention of the inconsiderate, to awaken fecure, and convince obftinate finners, to unmalk the covered hearts of hypocrites, to set right the erring, and encourage the fearful. An unbelieving minister must be careless and slothful. As he is unconcerned about the success 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 em
ployed ployed 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 souls 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 striking consideration is this, to suppose ourselves interrogated by the Supreme Judge, concerning every finner under our charge? Did you earnestly warn this unhappy foul, by earnest exhortations in public, and by serious affectionate expoftulations in private, to consider his ways? It is an easy thing, by a partial or cursory performance of our dutý, to screen ourselves from the censure of our fellow-men; but to stand at the judgment-seat of Christ, and answer there for our diligence, is a more awful trial.
Will not also a concern for his people's interest, animate a pious minister to diligence? If he is truly pious, as he loves God, he loves his brother also. The Apostle Paul says, 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 see a fellow.creature, in the rage of a fever, rushing to the brink of a precipice, and not restrain him, would fall under lasting infamy. Must not the same compassion move the heart of a serious person, who sees his fellow-finners going blindfold to the pit of perdition ?
It is their'not believing these things, that makes them so 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 mini. fter successful in bis work. This it does, both as it fits him for doing his duty to his people, which has been il. lustrated above, and as it adds to his precepts the force of his example. First, it makes him successful, as it fits him for his duty. It is true indeed, that God only can give the blessing upon a minister's labours, and that he can save by many, or by few, by the weakest, as well as by the ableft instrument; yet we see from experience, that in all ordinary cafes, he proportions the success to the propriety, or sufficiency of the means. Neither is there any surer mark, that God intends effectual benefit to any part of the world or the church, than when he raises and commissions men eminently qualified to plead his cause. Therefore, real piety, even in this respect, contributes to a minister's succeis. If diligence in all other things produces success, it must be so also in the ministry. If he that lays out his ground with the greatest judgment, prepares and dresses it with the greatest care, has the most plentiful crop; if the shepherd that waits most diligently upon his flock, feeds them in the best paslure, and leads them to the safest shelter, has the most increase; then that minister, who does his duty most wisely and most powerfully, will also see most of the fruit of his labours.
But real and unaffected, yet visible seriousness, has also its own proper additional influence on a minister's success. An apparent and viâble impression upon the speaker's mind, of what he says, gives it an inexpressible weight with the hearers. There is a piercing heat, a penetrating force, in that which flows from the heart, which distinguishes it not only from the coldness of indifference, but also, from the false fire of enthusiasm or vain-glory. Be. sides all this, the example of a pious minister, is a conftant instruction to his people. It ratifies his doctrine,