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stance can be more likely to secure candid attention, to conciliate esteem, or to win men to Christ? The labours of Saint Paul were eminently blessed at Ephesus; and great was the affection burne to him by that people ; can we be surprised at it? He had not ceased to warn every one night and day with tears.* What an impression must this have left upon their minds, not of his earnestness only, but of his love for their souls !
The minister of Christ will likewise have occasion for patience and forbearance.
He must not be disappointed if he fail to discover all the signs of success, which perhaps he had expected. It may be his painful lot, and for a considerable time, to stretch out his hands to a disobedient and gainsaying people. Notwithstanding all his earnestness, some probably will continue in a state of absolute indifference, caring for none of these things ; some will hear and approve, and continue as they were; some who appeared to be sensible of the importance of the gospel, and desirous to be at peace with God, will gradually lose that impression ; some who seem to have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of
the world to come,* and to be striving to make their calling and election sure,t will turn back to this present world; and it will be necessary again and again to reprove, and rebuke, and exhort. This will require much forbearance and long-suffering ; but we must not be weary in well doing. I The duty is ours, the event is with God; and possessing our souls in patience, to Him we must learn to leave it.
And what does all this imply, but that the Christian minister should be a man of a spiritual and heavenly mind, governed in his own heart by the holy motives and dispositions of the gospel, and being an example of the believers in word and conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity;living and walking in the light? In order to preach the gospel with just effect, he must have imbibed its spirit, and manifest its holy influence. We may be as correct as possible in the exhibition of Christian doctrine; but if there be no spiritual warmth and spiritual energy in our souls, and especially if our conduct be at variance with our profession, what reason have we to hope either that men will listen to the message, or that God will follow it by a blessing? The teachers chosen by our Lord had His spirit within them; and their conversation was in heaven. * From the fulness of their hearts they preached the gospel, and their whole lives bore witness to its power.
Heb. vi. 5.
+ 2 Peter i. 10.
| Luke xxi. 19.
§ 1 Tim. iv, 12.
And while thus fulfilling the obligations of our sacred office in simplicity and Christian sincerity, we shall best consult our own peace of mind, and best maintain a conscience void of offence. Awful indeed is the condition of that minister, who never thinks of the trust committed to his charge, nor of the tremendous responsibility which awaits him! the more awful because he feels it not. To be awakened at length to a better mind, and to come, however late, to serious reflection, is an event supremely to be desired. But to such a man, how painful must it be, in this his better state, to dwell upon the dark and melancholy period which preceded it! He has occasion frequently to walk among the memorials of the dead; to look upon the graves of men who were formerly within reach of his instruction, but who are now in eternity. And what must be the nature of his meditations ? “ These were once of my flock, but they had a careless shepherd; they were ignorant of the way of salvation, and I taught them not; they were without Christ, and I preached Him not; they lived in sin, and from me they had no warning; they were strangers to peace, and from me they received not the true consolation. God be merciful unto me, and lay not this sin to my charge !" How different the reflections of that good and faithful servant, who, when standing amidst these records of mortality, can say of those whose remains are deposited beneath them, “ These, as I trust, were my children, and they walked in truth. Many were my infirmities, and much reason have I in the review of
* Phil. ii. 20.
ministrations to be humbled as in the dust, and to acknowledge myself an unprofitable servant; but I bless God that he gave me the inclination to preach the gospel, and that, both in season and out of season, I spared no pains to bring men to Christ. Here I behold the fruit of my labours; they adorned the gospel in their lives ; they died, I trust, in the Lord ; and unworthy as I am, I believe and am persuaded, that they shall be my hope, and joy, and
crocn of rejoicing in the prEIZI..
Do we ask, Who is sufiictez pour agree'. IRLIE"*--
an lify us for this higo vocauu:
it Crown our labours wit: suelus. benefits, then, we are 10 aCKUUWAUIC er stant dependence upon Hill, mu ferrently to intreat for ins Hors por is the very element il we w * I. I and breathe; it is to be 114 CE Jay our minds. At the turu o po find a supply for all our Ethe throne of grace w sua. T3 TO best spirit, and the UE. BIO IS and the most entire De The messenger ut i veur. which he delivers ti yule u promet, He who has promise tosc the thing whereio het Benet, mighty. That prolu'! filled; the faithíu water his own soul, and it *** of divine grace wyn UE 1 not laboured it: 24
+ 1 Thess. ii. l.