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CHRISTIAN PREACHER, &c.
RULES OF CONDUCT.
$ 3. As
§ 1. Introduction. The subject stated. \ 2. (1.) Take
heed to your PERSONAL RELIGION. to its reality and evidence, liveliness and power, growth and increase. § 4. Which will have many happy effe&ts. 5. (II.) Take heed to your PRI
1. General studies. $ 6. 2. Particular studies. 17. Particular rules in preparatory studies. 1. In choosing a text. 8. 2. In handling a text. Ø 9. 3. In speaking of the things of God. 10. Of duties. § 11. Of grace. 12–16. The gospel is the only effectual means of salvation. 17. 4. Distinguish the different characters of hearers. 18. 5. Teach them to build their faith on solid grounds. V 19. 6. In every sermon bring some thing practical. s 20. 7. Impose nothing on them but what Christ hath imposed. 21. 8. Remember you have to do with each of the human faculties. The understanding, and $ 22. The reasoning powers. 23. The Ø
imagination. 24. The memory. conscience, will and affections. 26. 9. Borrow the art of reafoning and persuasion from the holy scriptures. $ 27. 10. Be not slothful or negligent in your weekly preparation for the pulpit. Ø 28. (III.) Take heed to your PUBLIC LABOURS. 1. Apply to the work with pious delight. Ø 29. 2. Get the heart into a temper of divine love. $ 30. 3. Go forth in the strength of Christ. § 31. 4. Get the substance of your sermon wrought into your head and heart. $ 32. 5. Do not confine yourfelf precisely to private preparations. $ 33. 6. Proper attention should be paid to elocution. $ 34. 7. Be very solicitous about success. 35. (IV.) Take heed to your WHOLE CONVERSATION in the world. 1. Let it be blameless and inoffensive. Ø 36. 2. Exemplary in all duties. 37. 3. Grave and manly, yet pleasant and engaging. § 38. 4. Attended with much self-denial and meekness. § 39. 5. Fruitful and edifying. $ 40. (V.) Thefe duties ENFORCED. 41. By the decaying interest of religion. § 42. By the awful circumstances of a dying bed. 43. § By the folemn account we must give of the ministry. 44. By all the terrors of the sacred volume, and, § 45. By all the joys of paradise.
WHEN true religion falls under a general $ 1. and remarkable decay, it is time for all that are concerned, to awaken and rouse themselves to fresh vigour and activity, in their several posts of service. If the interests of piety and virtue are things fit to be encouraged and maintained in the world, if the kingdom of the blessed God among men be worthy to be supported, surely it is a necessary and becoming zeal for every one who hath the honour to be a minister of this kingdom, to take alarm at the appearance of such danger; and each of us should inquire, What can I do to strengthen the things that remain and are ready to die, as well as to recover what is loft ? Let
my brethren therefore in the ministry forgive me, if I presume, at this season, to set before them a plain and serious exhortation. What I have to say on this subject shall be contained under four general heads.
1. Take heed to your own personal religion, as abfolutely necessary to the right discharge of the ministerial office.
II. Take heed to your private studies, and preparation for public service.
III. Take heed to your public labours, and actual ministrations in the church.
IV. Take heed to your conversation in the world, and especially among the flock of Christ over which you preside. Bear with me while I enlarge a little upon each of these.
ý 2. (1.) Take heed to your PERSONAL RELIGION, especially to the work of God in your own heart, as absolutely necessary to the right discharge of the ministerial work. Surely there is the highest obligation on a preacher of the gospel to believe and practise what he preaches. He is under the most powerful and sacred engagements to be a christian himself, who goes forth to persuade the world to become christians. A minister of Christ, who is not a hearty believer in Christ, and a sin. cere follower of him, is a most shameful and inconsistent character, and forbids in practice what he recommends in words and sentences.
But it is not enough for a minister to have a com. mon degree of piety and virtue, equal to the rest of christians, he should transcend and furpass others. The leaders and officers of the army under the bleffed Jesus should be more expert in the christian exercises, and more advanced in the holy warfare, than their fellow-soldiers are supposed to be: 2 Cor. vi. 4. In all things approving ourselves (saith the apostle) as the ministers of God, in much patience, &c. and, I may add, in much of every christian grace. A little and low degree of it is not fufiicient for a minister; see therefore not only that you practise every part and instance of piety and virtue which you preach to others, but abound therein, and be eminent beyond and above the rest. as your station in the church is more exalted, and as your character demands.
Now since your helps, in the way to heaven, both as to the knowledge and praćtice of duty, are much greater than what others enjoy, and your obstacles and impediments are in some instances less than theirs, it will be a shameful thing in you, as it is a matter of shame to any of us, to sink below the character of other christians in the practice of our holy religion, or even if we do not excel the most of them; since our obligations to it, as well as our advantages for it, are so much greater than those of others.
§ 3. 1. Take heed therefore to your own practical and vital religion, as to the reality, and the clear, undoubted evidence of it in your conscience. Give double diligence to make your calling and election fure. See to it, with earnest folicitude, that you
be not mistaken in so necessary and important a concern; for a minister who preaches up the religion of Christ, yet has no evidence of it in his own heart, will lie under vast discouragements in