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appointed rock, even Jesus Christ? And how shall the preacher, like a wise masterbuilder, prepare them to be an habitation of God through the Spirit (c); unless, while in every part of his labour of edification he incessantly refers them to the fundamental doctrines of the Cross, and to those doctrines traces backward every motive, warning, admonition, and encouragement; he assigns separate and adequate attention to every Christian grace, to every form of fin: unless he specifically developes the characteristic marks and customary bearings of each branch of duty and of transgression; the occasions on which the virtue is most needed and most difficult, the sin most free, quent and most ensnaring; the delusions by which the range of the virtue will apparently be curtailed, and the pretences by which its obligation will be plausibly undermined; the disguises under which the sin will veil itself, and the palliations by which it will extenuate the guilt of concession.
Farther: The Christian Preacher is zea. lously to allot an extraordinary measure of exertion to those branches of religion, whether doctrinal or practical, which he discovers to be grossly misunderstood, or lightly (c) Eph. j. 22.
regarded, · by many of his congregation. To all whom he is appointed to feed he is to give their portion of meat in due season (d): and he is to distribute fpiritual nutriment in a manner suited to the ability which different individuals possess of digesting it, and to the need which they have of it; strong meat to the adult, milk to babes (e). Some of the doctrines which he inculcates as of the highest importance, some of the practical duties which he describes as requisite marks of a real Christian, will be extremely unpalatable to numbers among those whom he addresses. At the humbling picture which a faithful minister cannot but draw of the utter weakness and corruption of human nature; at his delineation of the unwearied vigilance, of the purity of life, which he cannot but pronounce indispenfable; pride, self-righteousness, worldlymindedness, will assuredly take offence. At one period the Galatians were so fondly attached to St. Paul, that the Apostle impressively represents them as desirous, had it been possible, to have plucked out their own eyes and given them unto him. Afterwards, their sentiments were completely changed. They were alienated from the (d) Luke, xii. 42. (e) Hebs, v. 12. 14. - B 4
Apoftle. They regarded him as their'enemy. Why? St. Paul discloses the reason. The Galatians regarded him as an enemy because he told them the truth (f). He spoke to them without disguise. He humoured not their prejudices. He declared that which was right, however unacceptable, however offensive, he knew that the truth would prove to them. If to his own converts St. Paul himself could not preach the truth without giving offence; let not the faithful minister of the present day hope that his discourses shall offend none. If he perceive that some are offended, what shall be his conduct? He shall pity them. · He shall pray for them. But he cannot change his course. He must persevere. He reads in the discontented eye of his auditor; “ I “ approve not thy doctrine: I relish not • thy strictness.” He turns his ear to the voice of the Most High: Son of man! I have made thee a watchinan to the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at My mouth, and give them warning from Me. Speak My words unto them, whether they will bear, ór whether they will forbear (8). Is he to obey man or God? Is he to be a pleaser of men, or of God? He is to approve himself
(f) Gal. iv, 15, 16. (8) Ezek, üi. 7. iii. 17.
to his own master. He is to persist in ex. plaining the whole counsel of God, in set: ting forth the fincere word of Jesus Christ, precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line ; here a little, and there a little, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; in humble hope that peradventure an hour may come, when God will give unto them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth (5). .
Lastly; the Christian Preacher is to preach not himself, but Christ Jesus the Lord (i). He serves the Lord Christ: for Christ he is an ambassador: his master's glory, not his own, muft.he pursue. The pulpit he is to regard not as the throne of his exaltation, but as the place where he is to manifest himself the servant of all for the sake of Jesus (k). He is not to assume to himself consequence, as though he were lord over the heritage of God. He is not to seek to have dominion over the faith of his brethren. He is not to convert the house of God into a theatre for the display of his erudition, of his imagination, of his eloquence. Devoted to his master's honour, absorbed in solicitude for (6) Isaiah, xxviii. 10. 2 Tim. ii, 25. (i) 2 Cor. iv. s. (k) Ibid.
the salvation of his flock; how shall he make himself, his own reputation, his own authority, his own secular advantage, the end and object of his preaching? How shall he thus hypocritically profess himself a worker together with Christ? How shall he thus profane the ministry of the word of life?
II. I proceed to the duties of a Christian Hearer.
By contemplating the devious tracks in which the careless and the obstinate are bewildered, we are taught to discern and to value the path of safety. Consider then the unworthy motives and views, with which men too often present themselves as hearers of sermons.
Many persons attend public worship, and preaching as one part of it, from custom, or from a regard to character. They see the neighbourhood flocking to the church: therefore they go thither. They perceive that orderly and respectable persons make a point of regular attendanceand they are not unwilling to embrace the same method of being esteemed orderly and respectable, A man of this description has satisfied his wishes by shęwing himself in the church.