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enquiry into the reasons of the doctrine. And, * lastly, apply the whole.. . To begin with the first of these, The defign's a people thould have in calling a gospel minister, are many. We shall endeavour to reduce them o a few. And, '
: ; 1. A people should, in calling a gospel mini-. fter, design to hear from him the whole counsel of God in reference to their eternal salvation. This is the great business of gospel ministers, to declare the whole counsel of God to these to whom they come, to keep nothing back from them that may be of use to them. So their commission runs, Matth. xxviii. 19, 20..Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you, and ļo, I am with you always even to the end of the world, Amen. And the great apostle of the Gentiles, in that famous farewel sermon of his to the church of Ephesus, which we have recorded, Acts xx. from the 17. and downward, appeals to the conscience of that people as to his faithfulness in fulfilling his commission in declaring to them the whole counsel of God, verse 27. And in keeping back nothing that could be profitable to them, ver. 20. Whoever would approve himself a faithful gospel minister, must take care faithfully to discover to his hearers their loft and undone state by nature, that they are all become guilty before God, and that there is no other way of their obtaining access to him but through Jesus Christ, who is made of God to them who believe wisdom, righteous. ness, fanctification and redemption. To these two doth the apostle refer the whole of that coun
fel of God. He shunned not to declare to the E. phesians in that forecited scripture, Acts xx. 21. He testified to all persons, Jews and Greeks, repentance towards God (i. e. that they were guilty of such offences against God, as called for deep humiliation) and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ, that is, that there was no way of escaping the wrath of God, but that of closing with Christ by faith. This is the matter of the gospel : and Christ's servants are to make it their business faithfully to unfold the mind of God in reference. to these two, man's state by nature, and what he may by grace be advanced to. This is called, í! Tim. v. 17. a labgiring in the word and doctrine:
This preaching of the gospel takes in three things." I, A full proposal of the doctrine just now mentioned. Ministers must, without minching the matter, plainly discover to men their loft ftate, and the impossibility of recovery any other way than by the gospel method, through Jesus Christ, Acts xx. 21. 2. They must discover these things, not as their private sentiments built upon some rational conclusions of their own draw: ing and framing, but as the word of God. It is the word of God they are to propose, and not their own private opinions; and it is the word of God hearers are to receive from them, i Thess. ii. 13. For this cause also thank we God, saith the apostle, without ceasing, because when ye received The zuord of God, which ye heard of us, ye receivs ed it not as the word of men, but (as it is in truth, the word of God, which effe&tually worketh alfo in you that believe, 3. This preaching of the word takes in not only a proposal of the word of God, but an authoritative declaration of it by virtue of a cominislion, derived from God. These
A3 - things things fpeak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority, Tit. ii. 15. The word in the first language may be rendered command with all command. Ministers are clothed with authority from God, and in his name, by virtue of a commission received from him, they are to preach the gospel, and to speak the counsel of God, as being his mouth to the people, i Pet. iv. ii. This is the principal part of the ministers work, and therefore to hear the word of God from them in this manner should be the great design of these who call. a gospel minister, that they may hear''. from them as the mouth of God, what by nature they are, and what through the grace of God in . Christ Jesus they may be. But now, .. . * 2. When a people call a gospel minister, they fhould design the regular and orderly performance of the worihip of God. This worship of God, as it is contradistinguished from the doctrine of the gospel, of which under the former head, confifts principally in the administration of the facramients and prayer, public prayer, I mean, under which praises are comprehended, as belonging to, and always to be joined with it, according to our blessed Lord's appointment in that form, com. monly called the LORD'S PRAYER, which concludes with thanksgiving. In that iid of the Acts 42. We have an account of the public wora mhip of the church, which consists in preaching, there expressed by doctrine, and breaking of bread, that is, adminiftering the facrament of the Lord's supper, and prayers and praises. And they; faith the spirit of God fpeaking of the church, cuirtinued in the apostle's doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. And ver. 47. Praising God. The celebration of the
facraments, public prayers and praises, are divine institutions for the salvation and edification of the church, which cannot be gone about or orderly performed without a gospel ministry, who only have commission to celebrate the facraments, and to be the inouth of the people to God, in their public assemblies, being furnished with spiritual gifts for the work, Matth. xxviii. 19. I Cor. xi. 23. and xiv. 16. And therefore, when a people call a gospel minister, they should have this in view, as one great design, that thereby they may have the gospel worship celebrated among them in all its parts, according to Christ's institution, to their spiritual advantage, and his glory. I
3. They should call a gospel minister to rule over them. This is one part of the minister's work, to rule over his fock, 1. Tim, v, 17. Let the elders that rule well, be counted worthy of double banour, especially they who labour in the ' word and doctrine. This superiority which gospel ministers have, is not a lordly dominion either over the persons or faith of their flock. No, :. any thing of this sort that ever crept into the church, had its rise from the subtilty of Satan, who envied its peace, and is directly opposite to the gospel, which forbids lordly dominion, the gospel ministers authority being given only for edification and not for destruction, as the apostle has it, 2 Cor. x. 8. And it consists, i, in an authoritative publication of the laws of Christ's house. 2. In an authoritative enforcement of them by a ministerial offer of the gospel privileges as the rewards of obedience. And, 3. in a pow. er to inflict, according to Christ's appointment, the gospel punishments upon the disobedient, the highest whereof is.excommunication, whereby the
disobedient are delivered over to Satun, for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be favo. ed in the day of the Lord Jesus, as the apostle has it, i Cor. v. 5. And to one of these three ends might all be reduced, according to the common diftinction of gospel ordinances in doctrine, worship and governinent: but that you may the better understand this matter, we shall name some more particular designs : and therefore, we say,
4. A people, in' calling a gospel minister, should design the closing of a bargain, and making a match with Christ upon his own terms. It is the work and business they are sent out for, to espouse sinners to Christ, 2 Cor. ii. 2. to woo a bride for the lamb. They have a commission as Abraham's servant had, to go and seek a wife' for their master's fon; and there who ca!1.them, should do it in order to the conclusion of this happy match, that from them they may hear the terms whereon they are to be admitted into this near relation, the advantages that shall accrue to them by it, the inconveniencies they will run themselves into by. a refusal, and the warrant they have to enter into fo high and honourable a relation. ;.. i
5. They should design their own furtherance in acquaintance with Christ. They should as new born babes desire the sincere milk of the word, that they may grow thereby, I Pet. ii. 2. that they may be furthered in their joy and faith, growing in grace, and in the knowlege of the Lord Jesus Christ. ..
. ;"" "a . 6. They should design their own establishment in the ways of God, that they may not be toled tod fra with every wind of doctrine, but that being rooted and grounded in the faith, they may grow up in all things to him who is the bead and