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christian minister is less arduous, or less responsible, than that of the priests was in the tabernacle or the temple.
An additional remark under this head is, that even maturity of age and judgment is not sufficient to qualify a man for the pastoral office, without a considerable acquaintance with the world and knowledge of human nature. When a youth who has had little previous intercourse with mankind, passes at once from the Academy to the College, thence to the Theological Seminary, and from that to an important parish, how can he be fitted for his station? He may be extremely well read in his profession, may be deeply versed in sacred criticism and controversial theology, and may preach with great ability, and at the same time, be a mere novice, every where out of his study and pulpit.
Now will you put such a candidate at once into the ministry ? Will you commit to him all the momentous interests of a church and congregation ? Is it kindly done? Is it right thus to overlook his inexperience, and jeopardize the prosperity of a religious community? Let him rather be advised to acquaint himself first, with the elementary chapters at least, in the great volume of human nature. And that he may benefit others, while he is thus qualifying himself for a pastoral charge, let him inquire what he can do in Sabbath Schools and Bible Classes ;- what, to instruct the ignorant, to reclaim the vicious, and to better the condition of the poor and desponding. Or let him, when he has finished his studies and taken license, devote himself, for a year or two at least, to the missionary service. There is no such preparatory school as this for instruction in pastoral duties and trials. And I cannot but regard it as auspicious to our churches at home, as well as to the scattered popu
lation of the west and south, that God is inclining the hearts of so many to seek for ultimate settlement through a course of missionary trials and labors. May he incline many more to adopt the same course.
Fifthly. The christian pastor should be a man of prudence. By prudence, however, I do not mean that time-serving, man-fearing, earth-born policy, which in the desk keeps out of sight what are called the hard doctrines ; and never has the rudeness to disquiet the sinner's conscience, and is so very polite and civil as never to utter the word hell without a humble apology, or to name the prince of darkness without turning him into a harmless eastern metaphor! Nor by ministerial prudence do I mean that cringing spirit, which never dares to look titled wickedness in the face-that aspen timidity which always says. Yes,' to the world, whatever it may dictate or propose ; and which never troubles the gay, the rich, the great, the polite, with any of the unwelcome and old fashioned topics of religion; or at any rate, not till they are just leaving the world, and want to be assured that such harmless and good-hearted people as they are, have nothing to fear. All this and more, which sometimes passes current under the imposing garb of prudence, deserves a very different name.
Genuine ministerial prudence keeps back no important. truth--listens to no compromise with sin-connives at no fashionable vice-cringes before no lordly worldlingis never silent when it ought to speak; and never sits quaking in cowardly concealment, when the honour of religion calls for boldness and activity. But prudence is always the opposite of rashness and inconsideration. It neither speaks nor acts till it has had time to deliberate. Its words being 'fitly spoken, are like apples of gold in
pictures of silver.' In rebuking transgression, it strives to conciliate and gain the offender. It disarms prejudice, inspires confidence, gains friends, and wards off the attacks of enemies. Ordinary talents, under the direction of prudence, will do more in the ministry than the greatest gifts without it. Indeed, without prudence, no pastor can long be either useful or happy.
From pastoral qualifications we proceed,
Il. To pastoral example. And here, every minister should be a pattern of whatsoever things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report'-particularly of meekness, patience, forgiveness, contentment, temperance, hospitality, industry, brotherly-kindness, and charity. Upon each of these particulars I might enlarge, did the time permit. But I can only touch briefly upon a few of them in passing.
First. Every pastor should be an example to his flock of christian forgiveness. As the love and forgiveness of enemies found no place in the admired codes of heathen morality, so the authority of Scripture on this point, is admitted with more reluctance than on almost any other. Scarcely any thing is so congenial to our fallen nature, as rendering evil for evil. Human resentment, or rather revenge, is every where so loud and clamorous in demanding an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth,' that it requires all the authority of the Saviour, seconded by all the influence of christian example, to keep it within any tolerable bounds.
How important then, that ministers of the gospel should be bright and steady examples to their people, of blessing those who curse them, and of praying for those who despitefully use and persecute them.' One such godlike example will do more than a thousand fine sermons without it,
When a minister is wantonly traduced, there is no sin in showing that he deeply feels the injury, and there may be cases, in which resort to legal redress is justifiable ; but they must be very strong cases indeed ; and even then, a forgiving spirit should be prominent in the whole transaction. How ought it to cut a minister of Christ to the heart, to have it said, that he is as ready as any man to resent injuries, and to be conscious that he has given too much occasion for the remark.
Secondly. Every pastor should be an example of temperance. By temperance I mean moderation in the indulgence of his appetites, or in the use of the bounties of providence. O what a reproach to the ministry is a glutton, or a wine-bibber! I do not stand here to plead for wasting abstinence. Far fronı it. Our Father gives us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons,' to fill our hearts with food and gladness. But surely it does not become our sacred profession to ask • What shall we eat and what shall we drink,' as if plain and wholesome fare could not satisfy us. We ought on the contrary to let our moderation be known unto all men. I hold that it is a base slander, or a mournful stigma upon a minister's character to say, that he is one of the freest livers in the whole parish; that nobody is a better judge of brandy and wines ; or is more fond of good eating and drinking.
Thirdly. Every christian pastor ought to be a pattern of industry. I do not mean by this, that he is bound to be as early and as late in the field as the most laborious husbandman in his parish. A faithful minister will commonly find but little time for manual labor. And even though he should seldom put his own hand to the plough, but merely take the oversight of those who do the work, I very much doubt whether it would increase
his usefulness to be counted the best farmer; to fill the largest barns; or to raise the finest crops and cattle of any man in the town. These are not the things in which one who has the care of souls should be anxious to excel. His industry should appear in his study, and in the seasonable and conscientious discharge of parochial duties. As no man has so large a field to cultivate, as no one has so much to do, and as the consequences of indolence are nowhere so deplorable, surely the spiritual laborer, of all men, should be up and doing what he findeth to do with his might. Nor does that pastoral industry, on which I lay so much stress, consist merely in devoting a certain number of hours every day, to the duties of the ministry. It includes a methodical appropriation of time, and an orderly arrangement of what is to be done, so that one thing may not interfere with another. It is needless to say, that a man of system will accomplish twice as much in a given time, as one who is always in a bustle, and has no plan to guide him.
Do any thing else, then, with a man who is habitually and incurably indolent, or who has no regard to system in what he does. Send him into your harvest field, when the precious grain is wasting for want of reapers; leave your whole farm to his drowsy management ; put him into your counting house; make him sole agent of a great manufacturing establishment; entrust him with the endless details of the war office, or department of state; but O, put him not into the sacred ministry. Entrust him not with the care of souls. We want men for this service who have heads and hearts and hands to offer; and who are willing to spend and be spent in it.
Fourthly. A christian minister should be given to hospitality ;' and in this, as well as in every thing else