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and to guide men into the way of bly necessary in those who sustain peace, of holiness, and bappiness. that office. If he is to teach, he
2. Christ further illustrates the must bimself be previously instructnature and design of this office, by ed; and if it is his business to disan allusion to that of an householder. pense to others, he must bave a A reference to the manners of the treasure from which he can comtimes when Christ was upon the earth, municate. “The priest's lips should will show the propriety and beauty keep knowledge, and they should of the similitude. The Israelites seek the law at his mouth; for be were a plain and frugal people, who is the messenger of the Lord of derived their subsistence chiefly hosts." Mal, ii. 7. Let us attend, from the produce of the field; and i. To the nature of this qualif. their wealth principally consisted in cation, “instructed unto the king. their houshold treasure, their stock dom of heaven." of provision and apparel. To a This comprehends a distinct people thus circumstanced, it was knowledge of the gospel dispensarequisite that the head of the family tion. « The kingdom of heaven” is should keep in store all snch things a phrase, which signifies the gospel as were required to feed or clothe economy, as opposed to the Jewish those under his care; and, as his dispensation. The one was a sysstock would be constantly diminish- tem of promises and prophecies, ing by consumption, he would find the other is a record of events in it necessary to be making conti- the life, death, resurrection, and nual additions to it. Thus, he had ascension of the Saviour ; which things "new and old” laid up in accomplished the prophecies, and his store, or treasury, from which fulfilled the promises made to the he brought forth for the supply of fathers—the one of types and sha. the exigences of the respective mem. dows, the other of the antitype and bers of his family.
substance: the one the ministration To this Jewish householder, thus of condemnation and death, the farnished and prepared for all oc- other of righteousness and life. The casions, our Lord compares the law came by Moses, but grace and Christian scribe. The church of truth by Jesus Christ. To be iaChrist is the house or family of structed unto the kingdom of heaven, God, and the business of the Chris. is to understand its doctrines, its tian minister is to feed them, and laws and ordinances, its promises, supply them with the means of sup- and the final prospects opened to all port and defence. If it be an office who are interested in its blessings. of great importance in the head of Every scribe who is instructed in a family to provide for the wants of this glorious scheme of grace and its different members, surely it is mercy, is an “able minister of the incomparably more so to supply the New Testament, not of tlie letter, souls of men with the bread of life; but of the Spirit." and to give to every man a portion It implies a knowledge of the in due season. It is true, it is no connexion which subsists between part of our business to form the the different branches of Divine necessary treasures; but what skill, truth, and of their dependence on diligence, and fidelity, are required each other. Divine truih is not reto dispense them aright. Such is vealed in the scriptures in a systhe nature of the Christian minister's tematic form, yet there is a relation work; and this leads us to consider, between one part and another, and
II. The qualification indispensa. a mutual dependence in the whole.
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The doctrines of Christianity are to them; that his profiting might
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and if the wavering be not confirm- a spirit of curious speculation, hy ed by the exhibition of the evidence which their preaching becomes a of the truth, he will be led away by nere display of their own skill, rathe error of the wicked. But, if a ther than the means of diffusing the minister does not possess a fund of savour of the knowledge of Christ. Christian knowledge, and wiselom As the most common blessings of to apply it, how can lie adapt bis Providence are, by far, the most vainstructions to the ever-varying and luable, so the plainest truths of pressing necessities of the church of Christianity are the inost important, God! But, if be be informed, he and universally interesting to the will be capable of suiting his ad- souls of men. The gospel is the dresses to the diversified circum- daily bread of the Christian, that on stances of saints and sinners, right- which he lives, in every circunly dividing the word of truth, and stance in which be is placed, aud giving to every man a portion of the minister who knows and relishes meat in due senison.
it himself, will be anxious to disHe will, also, be qualified to im- pense il to others. part instruction with a pleasing and But while, in our public ministrauseful variety. The phrase, things tions, we uniformly regard the leadnew and old, may refer to the Old ing principles of the gospel, they and New Testaments, and the scribe will admit of the most pleasing vawell instructed, will be able to illus- riety in their statement and illustra. trate the one by the light of the tion. The doctrine of Christ cruci. other, and thus shew the harmony fied displays the manifold wisdom of both. But the leading idea is of God, and the riches of the Savi. that of variety in our ministrations. our are unsearchable. These mysConsidering the constitution of the teries of redemption, into which ihe kuman mind, and the diversity of angels desire to look, will afford taste, nothing is more desirable in ample matter for the research of the a public instructor, in order to his strongest powers. If our minds are acceptance and usefulness, than this well stored, we shall be able 10 qualification. This will enable boim maintain, in perfect consistency to bring forth old and common with a constant exhibition of the truths, and by his illustrations place first principles of the gospel, a vathem in a new light. For want of a riety as pleasing as that of the sea. more ample store of Christian sons of the year,
which never knowledge, many ministers are per weary; or that of the rising and petually insisting on a few leading setting sun, which is perpetually topics, and nearly in the same gilding and diversifying the clouds words; hence the hearers become which hang around and adorn his weary and disgusted. It is true, path. Such a minister will come the first principles of the gospel forth, displaying a vigour of mind, onght to find a place in almost every a comprehension, and depth, and sermon; and, whatever he the text, variety in his knowledge, which the doctrine of the cross should be will make even the common-place clearly exhibited. There is, in the topics of Christianity appear as ministry of some men, a vain at- new. Thus, a scribe instructed into tempt at originality, which leads off the kingdom of heaven, will be like the attention of their hearers from an householder, bringing out of his the common salvation ; thus they treasures things new and old. In lose sight of the most important conclusion, we observe, trulhs of the gospel, and indulge in The utility of Academical lasti
tutions, to assist in the acquisition To persons, then, of suitable chaof this essential qualification for the racter, and good natural talents, Christian ministry. The warmest this institution supplies incalculaadvocates for these seminaries of ble advautages. It furnishes them learning, do not pretend that they with the means of acquiring knowcan impart the primary qualification ledge, which they would never posfor a Christian teacher, real piety: sess without it; and by setting them this must be communicated by an at liberty from the ordinary busiagency, which God alone can exert. ness of life, they have leisure to imTo educate young men, on the sup- prove their talents, and acquire that position that they may become the information which is requisite to fit subjects of Divine grace, appears to them for their future destivation. them highly presumptuous. They They are trained 10 habits of close require credible evidence of a and right thinking, to arrange their change of heart, as an essential thoughts with skill and perspicuity, pre-requisite for admission. But and to speak with propriety and while piety is indispensable to the force on the things of God. Nor Christian minister, this alone will are the advantages of these institunot fit him for his work. His busi- tions confined merely to the few ness is to teach, and, therefore, he years spent under the roof of an acamust have learned.
In religion demy; but they lay a foundation of alone, it is thought by some, tbat a knowledge, on which a superstrucman may at once become a teacher, ture may afterwards be raised, and without preparation, or, at least, by the adoption of a plan of study, with no suitable preparation. Here they acquire the power of adding to two opposite classes meet, the mere- their store in future life. ly learned churchimen, and the ene I shall conclude this discourse, mies of learning among Dissenters. already extended to 100 great a The former suppose their know- length, by addressing a few words ledge of language and the sciences, to you, my eșteemed young friends, may be immediately succeeded by who enjoy the advantages of this their preacbing the gospel, while evangelical seminary. I trust you they are ignorant of almost every will look well, not only to the realthing which it is the design of their ity, but to the improvement of your office to teach. The latter plead personal religion; that, while you that the apostles were not learned are employed in acquiring the varimen; but it should be remembered ous branches of useful learning, your they had Christ for their preceptor, piety may not be suffered to decay, and they were not allowed to enter You have need to be on your guard on their ministry fully, till the de- against every thing which might bescent of the Holy Spirit. Tarry ye, come the means of impairing your said Christ, at Jerusalem till ye are spirituality; to which nothing is endued with power from on high, more unfriendly than levity. Let Iris trifling to talk of gifts being your cheerfuldess be chastened by sufficient to qualify_supernatural an habitual sense of the fear of gifts are not intended. Superior na- God, and of the importance of etertural talents, and superior piety, are pal things. Keep your passions in as highly valued by the advocates subjection, and maintain purity of of learning as by others; and if abi- heart. “Flee youthful lusts, and follity be a good ibing, then learning, low after righteousness, faith, and which is acquired ability, is equally charity, with all that call on the desirable.
name of the Lord." Those who bear