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bring others to a saving acquaintance with him, and to a more clear, comfortable, and practical understanding of that well-ordered, sure, and everlasting covenant of which he is the blessed Mediator, and which, in all its rich and glorious provisions, and great and precious promises, is filled to be all the salvation and all the desire of those who are included in it.
But as I address you at present, chiefly under your public character, as a minister of Christ, I take leave, in ibis view, now to exhort you in the words of the A postle Paul, in his solemn charge to the pastors of the church of Ephesus ; “ take beed to yourself, and to all the dock over wbich the Holy Ghost bath made you overseer, or bishop,” (a name, or title, expressive of the office of every pastor of the church) “ to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood."
In allusion to the special or principal business of a cominon shepherd, which is to feed the flock committed into his bands, you are here reminded, that your great care as a spiritual shepherd, or pastor, must be to feed the flock of Christ, with the charge of which you are intrusted.
And you are to remember, that the dis. charge of this trust eminently consists in a judicious and faithful preaching of the word of God, which is the proper food of souls, the great instrumental means of their spiritual life, and growib in knowledge, grace, holiness, lisefulness, and meetness for the inheritance of the saints in light. The word of God, therefore, you must be careful to dispense in such a manner, that you may give a suitable portion of this spiritual meat, to every one in due season ; and that you may be able to say, with a good conscience, that “ you have not” in
tentionally “ shunned to declare to your hearers, the whole counsel of God, and have kept back nothing that might be profitable to them.” Considering, that as a minister of the gospel, “ a dispensation of the word is committed to you,” “ take beed to the doctrine" which you preach, that it be the truth as it is in Jesus," and that “ the word of truth be rightly divided,” and distinctlý, prudently, and faithfully applied to the various cases of the different classes of
your There is no truth in divine revelation that requires the obedience of the heart, or respects the regulation of the life, which may not be preached in its season, with propriety and advantage. In the course of your ministry, it may be profitable to your hearers, not only to illustrate and enforce the eminently great and weighty matters of the law and the gospel, which more immediately affect the salvation of the soul ; but to explain and recommend whatever is decent and beautiful, lovely and praiseworthy, ornamental and attractive, in tem, per, conversation and conduct. But the fundamental truths of the gospel, and the essential leading duties of sobriety, righteousness and godliness, must be ever the principal subjects of your discourses; the subjects which you evidently keep mainly in view, and on which you most frequently and copiously dwell.
The doctrines which teach, the subsistence of three co-equal persons in the one adorable Godhead ; the creation of man in the moral image of his Maker ; the universal corruption of human nature, by the transgression and fall of our first parents, and the subjection of the whole human race, according to the righteous sen, tence of the divine law, to death, spiritual, temporal and eternal, because all have sinned and come short of the glory of God; the election of a certain number of mankind, according to the sovereign, free and everlasting love and mercy of God, to salvation and eternal life in Christ the Redeemer and head of the church; the union of the divine and human natures in the person of Jesus Christ; the satisfactory atonement made by his death, to the law and justice of God for human guilt, the forgiveness of sins, and the justification of sinners with God, solely through the merits of his precious blood, and perfect righteousness; the necessity of the agency of the Spirit of God, to work in the soul, an unfeigned saving faith in Christ the Redeemer, and to produce in our fallen depraved nature, that great moral change, which is called regeneration and a new-creation, and without which none can enter into, or see the king. dom of God; the certain perseverance and assured preservation of all who truly believe in Christ, and are born of the Spirit, in the course of an acceptable obedience to the gospel, by the power of God, through faith, to that full and everlasting salvation which is ready to be revealed at the last day ; and the resurrection of the bodies of all the dead, at the end of the world, preparatory to the solemnities of the great day of judgment, when the whole race of mankind shall appear before the judginent seat of Christ, that every one may give an account of himself to God, and receive according to what he has done, whether it be good or bad ; that in soul and body the wicked, who have not known God, nor obeyed the gospel of Jesus Christ, may be punished with an everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and the glory of his power; and that the righteous who, being justified by faith in Christ, have been restored to peace with God, and followed after
that holiness without which none can see the Lord, may be received with the honors of a public triumph to the inheritance of immortal life, and unfading glory, in the presence and enjoyment of God, reserved for them in heaven. These are the truths which lie at the foundation of christianity, and form the distinguishing glory of the gospel. And it is the faithful preaching of these truths, upon which the gracious Head of the church, has promised to command his blessing, and which he makes effectual, by the co-operation of his Spirit, to the conviction and conversion of sinners, and the edification and consolation of believers. These therefore you must study to exhibit in their proper importance, connexion and consequences, and to represent in the clearest light and the most forcible manner, within your power, if you would hope for any measure of desirable success in your ministry.
As a preacher of the gospel, it must, in a word, be your aim and determination, “to know nothing among your hearers, save Jesus Christ and him crucified." All your reading and studies, and your intercourse among those with whom you associate and converse, should be so managed as to be made subservient to the great design of qualifying and engaging you to preach more instructively and persuasively, a crucified Redeemer.
The advantages which you derive from a liberal ed. ucation ; from a command of valuable books, the works, of the learned, the ingenious, and the pious ; froni der society of those whose minds and manners are b's all : cultivated and improved, and from your acqua uich he with the circumstances of such as remain in persation, comparative ignorance and rudeness, will be amend his consecrated to their proper use, when they are employed to the purposes of preparing and leading you to recommend more effectually, the Lord Jesus Christ, as the only hope and all-sufficient Saviour of sinners, and to display more fully and forcibly, his glory and his grace, and the necessity, importance and use of all his mediatorial offices and works : In order to convince sinners of their need of an interest in him, to encourage awakened souls to apply to him, and to trust in him, and to establish and build up believers in their most holy faith, to animate their diligence and zeal in the discharge of their duty, and to increase their peace and joy in the hope and prospect of their being in due time received to himself, that they may be forever with him, beholding and enjoying his glory.
Thus you are to preach the word, and Christ in it, in season and out of season ; in the stated times for the exercise of your ministry, and on particular occasions, whenever and wherever the providence of God may call you to improve them, for that purpose. And thus you are to preach, not only in the pulpit, or in public; but from house to house, embracing the occasion of ordinary visits, and every fair opportunity, for introducing the truths of the gospel, and the concerns of religion, as the subjects of your familiar conversation.
In this way you will find some advantages beyond what the pulpit ordinarily affords, for speaking of the things which belong to the peace, and concern the sal
'ion of the soul, in such a manner as to gain the attenobeye
and impress the hearts of the individuals with with an the Lord Vou converse ; and especially of children and righteous rissons, the afflicted, the awakened, the doubt
mpted, and the mourners in Zion. In this been restore