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'sibly contrived or set forth in words.'-He concludes this subject, (of the ordination offices,) by exhorting all candidates for orders to read them frequently and attentively, during the time of their preparation; that they may be aware before-hand of the obligations they are about so solemnly to enter into; and to peruse them at least four times in a year, ever after their ordination, to keep in their minds a continual remembrance of their important engagements. How necessary this counsel is, every minister, or candidate for the ministry, must determine for himself: for my part, I had never once read through the office when I was ordained, and was in great measure a stranger to the obligations I was about to enter into, till the very period; nor did I ever afterwards attend to it, till this advice put me upon it. The shameful negligence and extreme absurdity of my conduct in this respect are too glaring, not to be perceived with self-application, by every one who has been guilty of a similar omission. I would therefore only just mention, that hearty earnest prayer to God, for his guidance, help, and blessing, may be suitably recommended, as a proper attendant on such a perusal of our obligations.
Again, (page 147,) he thus speaks of a wicked clergyman: His whole life has been a course of hypocrisy in the strictest sense of the word, ' which is the acting of a part, and the counterfeiting another person. His sins have in them
all possible aggravations: they are against knowledge, and against vows, and contrary to his 'character; they carry in them a deliberate contempt of all the truths and obligations of religion; and if he perishes, he doth not perish alone, but carries a shoal down with him, either of those who have perished in ignorance through his neglect, or of those who have been hardened in their sins through his ill example!'-Again, (page 183) having copiously discoursed on the studies befitting ministers, especially the study of the Scriptures, he adds, "But to give all these 'their full effect, a Priest that is much in his
study, ought to employ a great part of his time, ' in secret and fervent prayer, for the direction and blessing of God in his labours, for the 'constant assistance of his Holy Spirit, and for a lively sense of divine matters; that so he may feel the impressions of them grow deep and strong upon his thoughts: this, and this only, ' will make him go on with his work without wearying, and be always rejoicing in it.'
But the chief benefit which accrued to me from the perusal was this:-I was excited by it to an attentive consideration of those passages of Scripture, that state the obligations and duties of a minister, which hitherto I had not observed, or to which I had very loosely attended. In particular, (it is yet fresh in my memory,) I was greatly affected with considering the charge of precious
souls committed to me, and the awful account one day to be rendered of them, in meditating on Ezekiel xxxiii. 7-9. "So thou, O son of man, "I have set thee a watchman unto the house of "Israel: therefore thou shalt hear the word at "my mouth, and warn them from me. When "I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou "shalt surely die: if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood "will I require at thine hand. Nevertheless, "if thou warn the wicked of his way, to turn "from it: if he do not turn from his way, he “shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered "thy soul." For I was fully convinced, with Bishop Burnet, that every minister is as much concerned in this solemn warning as the prophet himself. Acts xx. 17-35, was another portion of Scripture which by means of this book was brought home to my conscience; especially ver. 26, 27, 28, which serve as an illustration of the preceding Scripture: "Wherefore I take you to "record this day that I am pure from the blood "of all men: for I have not shunned to declare "unto you all the counsel of God. Take heed "therefore, unto yourselves, and to all the flock
over which the Holy Ghost hath made you "L overseers, to feed the church of God which he "hath purchased with his own blood."
In short, I was put upon the attentive and re
peated perusal of the Epistles to Timothy and Titus, as containing the sum of a minister's duty in all ages. I searched out and carefully considered every text I could find in the whole Scripture which referred to this argument. I was greatly impressed by 1 Cor. ix. 16. "For necessity "is laid upon me, yea, woe is me if I preach "not the Gospel." Nor was I less struck with Coloss. iv. 17. "Say to Archippus, take heed to "the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it." This was brought to my conscience with power, as if the apostle had in person spoken the words to me. But especially I was both instructed and encouraged by meditating upon 1 Peter v. 2-4. "Feed the flock of "God which is among you, taking the oversight
thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not "for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being. "ensamples to the flock: and when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown "of glory that fadeth not away."
I hope the reader will excuse my prolixity in speaking on this subject, because in itself it is very important: and though I obtained no new views of gospel-truth from The Pastoral Care, yet I received such a deep conviction of the difficulty and importance of that work in which I had thoughtlessly engaged, and of the imminent danger to which my soul would be exposed, should I
neglect to devote myself wholly to it; as laid the foundation of all my subsequent conduct and change of sentiments. I was indeed, guilty of very criminal procrastination, after I had been thus convinced; and being engaged more than I ought in other matters, I for some time postponed and neglected complying with the dictates of my conscience. But I never lost sight of the instruction I had received, nor ever enjoyed any comfortable reflection, till, having broken off all other engagements, I had given myself up to those studies and duties which pertain to the work of the ministry. And I have cause to bless God, that this book ever came in my way.
Still, however, my self-confidence was very little abated, and I had made no progress in acquiring the knowledge of the truth. I next read Tillotson's sermons, and Jortin's works: and, my time being otherwise engaged, I for a while gave into the indolent custom of transcribing their discourses, with some alterations, to preach to my people. This precluded free meditations on the word of God, and led me to take up my opinions on trust. My preaching was in general that smooth palatable mixture of law and gospel, which corrupts both; by representing the gospel, as a mitigated law, and as accepting sincere instead of perfect obedience. This system, by flattering pride. and prejudice, and soothing the conscience, pleases the careless sinner and self-righteous formalist,