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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
ministra tions 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 crown of rejoicing in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming."*
Do we ask, Who is sufficient for these things at Our sufficiency is of God. He alone can qualify us for this high vocation ; He alone can crown our labours with success. For these benefits, then, we are to acknowledge our constant dependence upon Him, and daily and fervently to intreat for his Holy Spirit. Prayer is the very element in which we are to live and breathe; it is to be the constant habit of our minds.
At the throne of grace we shall find a supply for all our necessities; and from the throne of grace we shall go forth with the best spirit, and the most persuasive arguments, and the most entire dependence upon God. The messenger may be feeble, but the word which he delivers is quick and powerful ; § and He who has promised that it shall prosper in the thing whereto he sends it, is the Lord Almighty. That promise will be assuredly fulfilled; the faithful minister will be blessed in his own soul, and he will see, by the evidences of divine grace upon his hearers, that he has not laboured in vain. Some careless persons will be brought to devout reflection; some who were dead in trespasses and sins, will be quickened to a spiritual life; and others who seemed to be only like a bruised reed, or as the smoaking flar, will be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man, and shine forth as lights in their generation. In this world, probably, we shall never be apprized of the full effect of our labours; the seed which we cast into the ground may not for the present appear to take root; but who can say that it shall not eventually bring forth, perhaps when we are in the grave, the blade, and the ear, and the full corn in the ear? It may be our duty to sow in tears ; but we shall reap in joy: He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.*
1 Thess. ii. 19. + 2 Cor. ii. 16. 1 2 Cor. ii. 5.
s Heb. iv. 12. || Isa. Iv. 11.