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your children; by a due mixture of encouragement and correction-correction not in anger, but in love; by losing no opportunity of imparting to them sound religious knowledge; by conveying it yourselves, or seeking it from those more capable of imparting it; line upon line, and precept upon precept; here a little and there a little above all, by your own conduct and conversation, which they shall daily behold, do you show yourselves faithful to the solemn trust which God has committed to your charge.
Do your part to train up your sons and your daughters in the way wherein they ought to go, and then, when they are old, they will not depart from it they will not, as did Eli's sons, by a course of hardened crime, bring a judgment out of heaven upon themselves, nor weigh down your grey hairs with sorrow to an untimely end;-no-but instead of a curse, they will prove a blessing. It cannot be but that your children, thus religiously educated, will (as a general rule) pay back with interest all the care and anxiety you have expended on them they will be dutiful, loving, and obedient to you in all things; they will be your comfort in declining age; they will sooth you on the bed of death-yes-and they will be your crown of rejoicing in the day of judgment. United with them, in humble reliance on the Redeemer's merits, you
will say as you stand in meekness before the throne, "Behold I and the children whom thou hast given me," of those whom thou hast given me I have lost none.
HEBREWS xiii. 17.-" Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account; that they may do it with joy, and not with grief."
THE subject which these words, my brethren, bring before our minds is full of importance. It is the duty of a Christian minister towards his flock, and the corresponding duty of the flock towards their minister, a subject at all times interesting, at all times capable of yielding profitable instruction; but which at this present moment seems to me to be doubly so, when that connexion which for the last three years and more, has united us together, is about to be broken off.
Let me, then, my brethren, ask your attention,
that attention which has hitherto been readily given, while I set before you to the best of my power, what the teaching of Holy Scripture is, upon the point proposed for our consideration in the text: and may God grant that the remarks I am about to make, may (as far as they are suitable to His holy word) be blessed to the promoting of His glory, and to the furtherance of that end which while here I have had constantly in view,—the salvation of your immortal souls through the method marked out in the Gospel.
First, of our two points is our inquiry, of the duty of a Christian minister towards his flock. What is meant by a Christian minister? And what is that which he has appointed him to do?
By a Christian minister, I mean one who after the order set down in the New Testament, has been lawfully called and sent to labour in the Gospel field one who, (as our Prayer Book teaches us in the Ordination Service,) after examination had, to see if he be duly qualified, has been publicly appointed, and set apart for so holy an office, by public prayer, and the laying on of the hands of the elders and chief rulers in the Church.
Such was the manner in which Christ's ministers received their commission, at the very beginning of Christianity. The apostles appointed a bishop, chief pastor, or overseer, in every place, where there
was a sufficient number of believers; and gave him power to ordain other ministers under him. That power has come down in an unbroken chain through the space of eighteen hundred years; and it is from it, that I (and every other minister of the Gospel, in our branch of the episcopal Church,) have received authority to exercise the office which I hold-unworthy as I am of it-in the church of God.
Such in a few words is what I would understand by a Christian minister. And now let us consider what are the duties of that office, and the responsibility which is attached to it; or what the Christian minister has to do.
He is appointed to preach the word of God, and to administer the holy sacraments of the Gospel. He is appointed to stand before the congregation and lead them in their prayers,--to read to them publicly the Holy Scriptures, to apply those Scriptures by preaching, and instruct them out of them in all things necessary to their salvation, through faith in Jesus Christ. But this is not all: he has" to seek for Christ's sheep which are dispersed abroad, and for His children who are in the midst of this naughty world, that they may be saved through Christ for ever." And that he may do this the better, he is bound under a solemn promise to "be ready (I quote from the Ordination Ser