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be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying; neither shall there be any more pain. Yes, your light and temporary afflictions will shortly be exchanged for an eternal and inconceivable weight of glory.
They who have lost near and dear pious relatives and friends may receive consolation in the view of this subject. Have some of you, my hearers, seen the eyes of such, which once sparkled with life and beauty, rolled in death; that tongue, which once instructed and encouraged, sealed in solemn silence; and the whole frame a lifeless corpse, turning to the food of worms ? Console yourselves. At the resurrection, their bodies will be rendered incorruptible, glorious, spiritual bodies, fashioned like unto Christ'a own glorious body. Then let divine light illanine your understandings : Let heavenly rays beam with consolation upon your souls.
Christian friends, O! frequently contemplate the wonderful, the delightful, and glorious change your frail, decaying tabernacles will experience in the morn of the resurrection. Extend your thoughts a little forward, what divine and blessed realities are presented! And shall not the prospect of the glories of the heavenly world inspire you with Christian fortitude, under the trials of your pilgrimage state? It is your privilege to be profited here below, in the view of the precious, extatick truths flowing from this subject. Yet a little while, and you will mount triumphing on the celestial wings of a glorified body, soaring for ever higher in degrees of perfection; and with seraphick love, shouting God's praises in endless day. Amen.
MINISTERS OF THE GOSPEL ENCOURAGED TO HOLD FORTH
VARIETY, AS A PROMINENT TRAIT IN THEIR PUBLICK DISCOURSES.
Matthew xiii. 52.
Every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of
heaven, is like unto a man that is a householder, which
bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old. THESE words the Saviour addressed to his disciples immediately after the delivery of a number of important parables. They seem to have been apart from the multitude; and he demanded of them whether they understood the things he had related. They readily answered in the affirmative, though perhaps too confidently. Christ, however, did not administer rebuke; but his answer tended to show the importance of their being skilled in the mysteries of the kingdom of God. Jesus saith unto them, Have ye understood all these things? They say unto him, Yea, Lord: Then said he unto them, Therefore, every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven, is like unto a man that is a householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure, things new and old.
Now let us attend to a brief exposition of these words. The scribes were at this time the teachers of the Jews, under the Jewish dispensation: and the Apostles, with their successors in the ministry, were to be the teachers of the Gentiles, under the Christian dispensation. Every one of them, therefore, ought to be a scribe well instructed in all things pertaining to the kingdom of heaven. This the Saviour represented under the similitude of a householder, who has to provide for a large family. Such a one will take care to have a stock of provisions on hand for their supply, to which he will be continually adding those things which he judges needful or useful. Thus the people would depend on the Apostles and other ministers of Christ as stewards of the mysteries of God, who were appointed to dispense to them the bread of life. They should, therefore, carefully treasure up in their understanding and heart, what they had learned ; and add to their fund of knowledge continually, by deriving fresh instruction from what they see, hear, and experience. Then they would be able to bring forth old tryth, with new observations, illustrations, and exhortations; and to lead the people forward in knowledge, as they made progress themselves. In accordance with these remarks, the apostle Paul addresses his Corinthian brethren in the following terms: Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. Thus we are reminded, That they ought to be diligent, who have not only to be wise for themselves, but to dispense the wisdom of God to others.
These introductory observations serve to show that by the term seribe, is to be understood a minister of the gospel. But to be qualified for this important office and station, a man must be taught of God, by having his heart renewed by his holy Spirit, and his understanding richly stored with the manifold truths of divine revelation. Moreover, such a one will bring forth from his extensive store of knowledge, things both new and old, to the people of his stewardship. One great object in his studies and researches, will be to have variety in his instructions.
In the prosecution of the present subject, my design is to exhibit some of the encouragements, and show how important it is that ministers of the gospel
hold forth variety as a prominent trait in their publick discourses. But, while at the threshold, let me remark, that I am not presuming to give directions to those men whose eminent piety, experience, profound erudition, or elevated stations, have rendered them highly venerable. Let me freely confess as it respects my own character as a sinner, or as to my christian walk, I feel myself the least worthy of the ministerial office. Notwithstanding, a humble hope is entertained that the present discourse will prove profitable to both saints and sinners, and even to some in the gospel ministry.
Then let me not waive the point in view; but let it be freely granted, that the kingdom of God is sufficiently large to produce materials for subjects new as well as old ; not only for one, or for ten years, but for the longest period of our mortal existence. In general, the field is as vast as the works of creation, providence, and redemption, which God has made kuown to man; and ideas and motives may be presented as varied and interesting as can be drawn from heaven, earth, and hell. The Lord has not limited those who are called to preach his word, as it respects means of knowledge and excellent attainments; but he has made rich provision and given ample scope for the continued enlargement of all the human faculties, and the improvement of ministerial gifts and talents. As their station is an elevated and important one, which must be supported by a rich treasure and increasing revenue, so an extensive, an unbounded field is furnished to yield copious and permanent supplies.. And if any are straitened, it cannot be for the want of means and diversity of objects ; but because they will not arise to take an extensive view of the kingdom of God.
It is sometimes observed, that ministers of the gospel should be dismissed from the people of their charge, to take the oversight of some other congregation; and the reason assigned is expediency: as though they had exhausted the fund of theology, of mental instruction, and Christian edification. Six, or ten years at most, are deemed the extent, that one man should continue steadily as the pastor of any church. But why? Are there not a sufficient variety of interesting texts in both the old and new Testaments ?
Or has not the Lord provided resources manifold to that extent, that they can be illustrated with variety of manner, of observations, of similitudes, and with a newness of interest? Surely in these there can be no lack, no deficiency. A steward may not be devoted to the service of his master; and hence, imagine he comes short of accomplishing his work : notwithstanding for his delinquency he is to be blamed. But if he be really unable to give himself wholly to his work, he is entitled to pity and compassion. The probable reason, however, why there is a want of variety in the sermons of many, is that they have viewed the study of theology as a science of a very limited range. They do not take an extensive survey of that wide and divine field which is presented before them. They do not well consider how intimately connected is the economy of nature with the economy.of redemption; and that it is the same God, that contrived the system of nature, who is also the author of eternal salvation to all that love and serve him. But it is unquestionably unbecoming for a divine, or for any man, to overlook or to undervalue any of the modes, by which the divine Being is pleased to make known his nature and perfections to mankind.
If we consider the system, or study of theology in its most extensive sense, in its relations to the supreme Being, to his past and present dispensations of the human race, to the present circumstances and future destiny of man, and to the physical and moralcondition of all the sentient and intelligent beings of which we have any intimation, we must view it as the most varied and comprehensive of all the sciences; as it embra