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vinity. If such have indeed tasted the delights of renewing grace and redeeming love, how much is it to be lamented that they have not their hearts enlarged! From a false zeal of contending for the fundamentals of religion and of being pillars in the church, they may render themselves a burden to their brethren and stumbling blocks to the world.
What a contrast in the views, preaching, and life of the Saviour, that great and divine teacher of morality. He not only delivered the most weighty messages relating to eternal realities, but he inculcated all the moral virtues and went about doing good; granting healing to the sick, hearing to the deaf, sight to the blind, and administering to the temporal wants
And did the divine Redeemer, whose great object was to be the physician of souls, do well to become the physician of the body, and to discover a lively interest for the present well-being of man? Then let not his ministers think they demean them. selves to copy his worthy and glorious example. Shall objects of pity and charity have no claim to their addresses and pleas from the pulpit? Are there no afflicted suffering widows, whose hearts the irregularities of a husband have broken? No half famished orphans whom the indolence, intemperance, or excesses of a father have reduced to want? Surely society burdened with manifold evils, cries aloud for help from the discourses of the minister in the pulpit, and in his volume of sermons. Then let the varied topicks of Christian morality have their due weight and share in the publick discharge of the ministerial office.
6th. If ministers of the gospel bring forth an interesting variety in their religious
instructions, they will do much for the promotion of useful knowledge among the people of their charge, and for building up the church in the most holy faith. An ingenious and intelligent minister has it in his power greatly to enlighten the congregation, over which he may be appointed a pastor. And if
his subjects be wisely chosen, they will be of such a nature and variety as will tend to enlarge the views of his hearers, to excite a spirit of inquiry, and to instruct them in many useful and important truths. Moreover, piety will be encouraged and promoted; for believers must grow in knowledge in order to their growth in grace, Thus an enlightened and faithful minister will be a burning and shining light in the midst of his people, who, from his extended views, will be enabled to take an extensive survey of the kingdom of God. And the man who connects the different departments of knowledge, and the discoveries of science with his prospects of God's universal dominions and government, can with his mental eye, traverse the different regions of the earth, and penetrate into the most distant and retired recesses where human beings have their residence. He can contemplate and adore the conduct of divine sovereignty, in leaving so many nations to grope amidst the darkness of heathen idolatry; can trace the beams of the Sun of Righteousness, as they gradually arise to illumine the benighted tribes of men; can realize in some measure, the glorious and happy scenes which will be displayed in the future ages of time, when the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdom of our Lord and his Christ; and when the everlasting gospel shall be published, and its blessings distributed among all who dwell
the face of the earth. With his mental sight he can view the planetary worlds, and surve
far more spacious globes than ours; peopled with a higher order of intelligences, arranged and superintended by the same almighty Sovereign, who doth according to his will among the inhabitants of the earth. With enlarged views he exclaims, Who can utter the mighty acts of the Lord ? who can show forth all his praise? A gospel minister, who bringeth forth from his treasure things new and old, renders his people highly exalted in point of privilege ; for they have an important aid in acquiring new and interesting ideas, and in enlarging their views of the works of creation, providence, and redemption. But how different the prospects of those who have a religious teacher, that is confined to a narrow circle in his publick discourses. Sameness must be a peculiar trait in his instructions; and with a few exceptions, the people of his charge will have contracted and illiberal views. Whilst they make but little progress in divine or useful knowledge, they will verify the saying, Like priest, like people. And indeed how strangely ignorant are the majority of some congregations respecting the various doctrines and duties of Christianity, and other important and interesting truths closely connected with them. The range of subjects to which the minds of some professing Christians seem to be confined, may be comprised within the limits of five or six chapters of the New Testament. And how very narrow and limited are their ideas respecting the universal kingdom of Jehovah, and the range of his operations! The vicws of some individuals are confined chiefly within the limits of their own parish; or at fartherest, extend only to the sensible horizon, which forms the boundary of their sight. Within this narrow circle, all their ideas of God, of religion, and of the relations of intelligent beings to cach other, are chiefly circumscribed. What may be the nature of the vast assemblage of shining points which adorn the canopy of their habitation, and the ends they are destined to accomplish in the plan of the Creator's operations, they consider as no part of their province to inquire. There is a certain narrowness of view and principle of selfishness that pervade the minds of many professors of religion, which lead them to conclude that if they can but secure their own personal salvation, they need give themselves no trouble about the glory and extent of the kingdom of the Most High. What need We care, say they, about nations in the far distant
But such persons
parts of the world, and about the divine works in the planets and stars ; our business is to attend to the spiritual interests of our souls. seem not fully to understand in what salvation really consists, and what is conducive to their spiritual growth, nor to appreciate those tempers and habits which will qualify them for the enjoyment of eternal life. It forms but a very slender evidence of their being the children of God, if they wish to rest satisfied with the most scanty and vague conceptions of his works; and if they do not ardently aspire after a more enlarged view of the greatness and glory of his empire, and of whatever may tend to expand their conceptions of the inheritance of saints in light.
But how great the influence of a gospel minister over the minds of the generality of his hearers, either to render contracted or to enlarge their views; to reuder them bigots, or to cause them to abound in all Christian and useful knowledge. If the pastor feed his flock from all that richness of provision which the great Shepherd, in his abundant fulness has provided, instead of having leanness sent into their souls, they will enjoy a feast of fat things. Each one will have his portion of meat in due scason; while the whole will be edified and sanctified. Then what encouragement for ministers of the gospel to hold forth variety as a prominent trait in their publick discourses.
7th. The beneficial influence on the minds of young people, should be viewed as an encouragement and powerful excitement for the bringing forth of things new and old, in the religious instructions from the pulpit. If an extensive variety of topicks should be introduced into the publick discourses of the sanctuary, by connecting the manifestations of Deity in the systein of nature, and the discoveries of science with the objects of religion, it would have a tendency to allure the attention of the young to religious subjects, and to afford mental entertainment and moral instruction to intelligent minds of every description. And certainly every wise and well instructed scribe must feel a lively interest in so gaining their attention, as to excite them to an inquiry of the
great things of the kingdom. Are youth the peculiar hope and encouragement of a minister's usefulness? Then they certainly clạim a particular regard in the choice of his subjects and illustrations. But variety and novelty are highly favourable to attract the notice and impress the minds of the rising generation. Are young persons generally fond of reading novels? And are they much in quest of new things? Then let singular texts and subjects be occasionally chosen and elucidated; that they may be led to a perusal of the holy scriptures in view of the marvellous things therein recorded. Doubtless if a suitable portion of the manifold varieties, singular events, and wonderful phenomena of divine revelation should be judiciously illustrated from the pulpit, many young people, from a laudable curiosity, would be incited to hear the word preached with readiness, and would eagerly peruse the sacred volume for entertainment and instruction. Does the Bible abound with such a variety of novelties and divine wonders only to be read, and not to be the theme of gospel heralds ? Do not the age, the active principles, and dearest interest of children and youth, in a special manner require that they derive a due portion of food from such nutritive provision? I am well aware that some may be ready to reply, Young people are so thoughtless concerning religious subjects, and so bent on the vanities of youth, that they should be addressed with subjects of the most pungent and alarming nature. But is it not a fact that the generality of youth do frequently have their minds much exercised about the concerns of their souls ? Moreover, does not a continued series. of doctrinal and terrifying subjects serve to impress on their thoughts that the duties and essence of reli