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not yet truly converted to the Christian faith: and (I repeat it after Mr. Ostervald) being destitute of Christian piety, far from being in circumstances to preach the gospel, they are not able even to comprehend it. These are they, " who having a form of godliness, deny the power thereof." And the greatest eulogium that can be pronounced upon such characters, is that with which St. Paul honoured the unbelieving zealots of his time: "I bear them record, that they have a zeal for God;", but that zeal is unaccompanied with any true knowledge, either of man's weakness, or the Redeemer's power : " For they, being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own reighteousness have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth."
6. Whoever has not experienced that conviction of sin, and that repentance, wbich is described by St. Paul in the seventh chapter of his epistle to the Romans, though, like Nicodemus, he may be a doctor in Israel, yet he shall never see the kingdom of God. Totally carnal, and satisfied to continue so, he neither understands nor desires that regeneration which the gospel proposes and insists upon. He endeavours not to fathom the sense of those important words, "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." He considers those who are born of the Spirit as rank enthusiasts, and disdains to make any serious inquiry respecting the foundation of their hope. If his acquaintance with the letter of the Scripture did not restrain him, he would tauntingly address the artless question of Nicodemus to every minister, who preaches the doctrine of regeneration, -" How can a man be born, when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother's womb and be born ?" And unless he was withheld by, a sense of politeness, he would rudely repeat to every zeal
ous follower of St. Paul, the ungracious expression of Fes, tus, " Thou art beside thyself; much" mystic "learning doth make thee mad.”
7. On the contrary, a minister, who is distinguished by the second trait of the character of St. Paul, at the same time proportionably possesses every disposition necessary to form an evangelical pastor ; since it is not possible for Christian piety to exist without the brilliant light of truth, and the burning zeal of charity. And every minister, who has this light and this love, is enriched with those two powerful resources, which enabled the first Christians to act as citizens of heaven, and the first ministers as ambassadors of Christ.
His intimate union with Christ by faith. * L AM come," said the good Shepherd,“ that my sheep might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the light of the world. I am the way, the truth and the life. I am the vine; ye are the branches.' The faithful minister understands the signification of these mysterious expressions. He walks in this way, he follows this light, he embraces this truth, and enjoys this life in all its rich abundance. Constantly united to his Lord by an humble faith, a lively hope, and an ardent charity, he is enabled to say, with St. Paul, “ The love of Christ constraineth me; because we thus judge that if one died for all, then were all dead; and that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him who died for them, and rose again. We are dead, and our life is bid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall we also appear with him in glory. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection. Knowing that Christ, being raised from the dead, dieth no more, but liveth unto God; we likewise reckon ourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God, through Jesus Christ our Lord."
This living faith is the source from whence all the sanctity of the Christian is derived, and all the power of the true minister: it is the medium through which that sap of grace and consolation, those streams of peace and joy, are perpetually flowing, which enrich the believing soul, and make it fruitful in every good work : or, to speak without a metaphor, from this powerful grace proceeds
that love of God and man which influences us to think and act, either as members or as ministers of Jesus Christ. The character of the Christian is determined according to the strength or weakness of his faith. If the faith of St. Paul had been weak or wavering, his portrait would have been unworthy of our contemplation : he would necessarily have fallen into doubt and discouragement; he might probably have sunk into sin, as St. Peter plunged into the sea; he must, sooner or later, have lost bis spiritual vigour; and have made'the same appearance in the church, as those ministers and Christians who are influenced by the maxims of the world. The effects of faith are still truly mysterious, though our Lord has explained them in as intelligible a manner as their nature will permit. “He that abideth in me,” by a living faith, "and in whom I abide,” by the light of my word and the power of my Spirit, “the same bringeth forth much fruit; for without me ye can do nothing. If any man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and” being “withered, is cast into the fire and burned. Herein is my Father glorified, that,” united to me as the branches to the vine,
ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.”
Penetrated with these great truths, and daily cleaving more firmly to his living Head, the true minister expresses what the natural man cannot receive, and what few pastors of the present age are able to comprehend, though St. Paul not only experienced it in his own heart, but openly declares it in the following remarkable passage: "I am crucified with Christ : nevertheless I live ; yet not 1, but Christ liveth in me: and the life, which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave
himself for me.
His extraordinary vocation to the holy ministry; and in
what that ministry consists. EVERY professor of Christianity is acquainted with the honour which our Lord conferred upon the apostle Paul, in not only calling him to a participation of the Christian faith, but by appointing him also to publish the everlasting gospel. A just sense of this double honour penetrated the heart of that apostle with the most lively gratitude :“I give thanks,” saith he, " to Christ Jesus our Lord, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious. But I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief: and the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant in me, with faith and love, which is in Christ Jesus. Howbeit, for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to everlasting life.” The evangelical ministry to which St. Paul was immediately called, is in general the same, through every age enlightened by the gospel, and consists in publishing the truth after such a manner, that the wicked may be converted, and the faithful edified. The commission which the great apostle received from Christ, contains, essentially, nothing more than the acknowledged duty of every minister of the gospel. Leave out the miraculous appearance of our Lord; pass over the circumstance of a commission given in an extraordinary manner; substitute the word sinners for that of Gentiles, and instead of Jews read hypocritical professors ; and you will perceive that, with these immaterial alterations, the commission of St. Paul is the commission of every faithful minister in the church. Observe the tenor of it. In person, or by my ambassadors, in a manner either extraordinary or ordinary, “ I appoint thee a minister, and a witness of those things which thou hast seen,” or experienced, “and of those things, in the which I will appear to thee; and I will deliver thee from the hands of the people, and from the Gentiles,” i. e. from the hands of hypocritical professors, and from ignorant sinners, unto whom I now send thee, to open their eyes, and to turn them from the darkness of error to the light of truth, and from the power of Satan to God," i. e. from sin, which is the image of Satan, to holiness, which is the image of God, "that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and an inheritance among them which are sanctified, by faith that is in me.” Such was the office to which St. Paul was appointed, more especially among the Gentile nations; and such, without doubt, is the office of every pastor, at least, within the limits of his particular
parish. As for taking the ecclesiastical habit, reading over some pages of a liturgy, solemnizing marriages, baptizing infants, keeping registers, and receiving stipends, these things are merely accidental : and every minister should be able to say with St. Paul, “Christ sent me not, principally, “ to baptize, but to preach the gospel.”
It is evident from various passages in the different offices of our church, that our pious reformers were unanimously of opinion, that Christ himself appoints, and, in some sort, inspires all true pastors; that he commits the flock to their keeping, and that their principal care is the same with that of the first evangelists, namely, “ the conversion of souls.” And truly, the same Lord who appointed his disciples as apostles, or ocular witnesses of his resurrection, has also appointed others as pastors, or witnesses of a secondary order, and suffragans of the first evangelists. If the witnesses of a higher order were permitted to see Christ after his resurrection, those of a secondary order have felt the efficacy of his resurrection, “ being raised together with him," or regenerated through the reception of a " lively hope, by the rising again of Christ from the dead." So that every true minister, who bears his testimony to the truths of the gospel, whether it be from the pulpit or before tribunals, is supported by his own particular experience of Christ's resurrection, as well as by a conviction founded upon the depositions of the first witnesses. Now this conviction and this experience, are by no means confined to the ministering servants of God; but the hearts of the faithful, in their several generations, have been influenced by them both ; if it be true, that they have constantly stood prepared to seal with their blood these two important truths, Jesus Christ " died for our sins, and rose again for our justification.” Millions of the laity have been called to give this last proof of their faith, and beyond all doubt, it is abundantly more difficult to bear testimony of the truth upon a scaffold, than from a pulpit
If St. Paul and the other apostles are considered as persons of a rank far superior to ours, they themselves cry out, “O sirs! we also are men of like passions with you." If it be said, that God inspired the apostles with all the wisdom and zeal necessary to fulfil the duties of their high vocation; it may be replied, that our churches