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throne of grace, and goes forth in his own might, relying upon the power of his arguments, or the eloquence of his persuasions, he may gain a reputation, but alas! there is no quickening, nor life-giving energy in his ministry. His people live on in sin ; his parish is a cold and fruitless region, on which the dews of heavenly grace do not descend to purify and to save.
Hear then, my brethren, that most pertinent and impressive exhortation of the apostle. Take unto you the whole armor of God,--have your loins girt about with truth; and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; and above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God : praying always with all prayer and supplication in the spirit. Follow these directions, and your ministry shall indeed be most powerful. It shall be a blessing to yourselves, and a blessing to mankind; and it shall be rewarded with a crown of rejoicing in the day of the Lord.
But there is one topic more to which I wish to call your attention, before I quite dismiss the subject. I allude to what I proposed to consider
4. The results of an able and well conducted ministry. These are two fold ; such as appertain to the present life, and such as appertain to the life to come.
Observation must convince every
man, that such a ministry contributes more to the order, industry, regular habits, and general improvement of the community where it is enjoyed, than any, or all other causes combined. Pass over New England, or such parts of it as have been blessed with faithful pastors, as have enjoyed in unbroken succession christian ordinances, and you will find abundant evidence, that the happiness of a people is essentially dependant on the ministry. And how will the evidence be strengthened, when you contrast such societies with the idleness, the intemperance, and the general profligacy of manners, which appear in others that have not enjoyed such a blessing. If man's destiny extended not beyond the present life, if all his interests and all his hopes were terminated by the short span of his earthly existence, you would still need the influence of the ministry, or what is the same, of religious institutions, to make his condition tolerable. Our country owes to this, its unexampled prosperity; and to this it must owe those future glories which rise in fore us. Yes; the healing influences of the Gospel and the Gospel Ministry, must not only remain to preserve and purify existing societies, but must mingle with that mighty flood of population which is rolling on to the west, or there will be a reflux of moral corruption, poisoning and destroying all that we hold dear in our existing institutions.
But while the influence of the ministry is essential to man's best interests in this world, while it is the only guardian of his peace and prosperity here, it
rises to infinite importance, when we take into view his future, and his eternal being. I need not labor to prove in this assembly, that all mankind are by nature children of wrath, being children of disobedience; that all are going down to the chambers of death; that all are exposed to everlasting separation from God, from holiness, and from heaven. But here comes in the ministry of reconciliation ; here divine mercy
put in operation a cause which acts as the power of God, and the wisdom of God unto salvation ; a cause, by the operation of which, through the sanctification of the spirit and belief of the truth, the perishing sinner is not only delivered from eternal death, but raised to eternal life, and made a companion of saints and angels in the paradise of God. How transcendently important then, we may well exclaim, is the influence of an able and faithful ministry to any people !—important as the emancipation of the soul from the dominion of sin-important as the everlasting fruition of God in heaven! Who will not prize such a ministry? Who, let him be deprived of what else he may, will not resolve to enjoy it, and to improve it to the glory of its author, and to his own immortal welfare ? And who of us, fathers and brethren, acting under such tremendous responsibilities, and in view of such momentous results, will not resolve to be faithful in it?
We see, that the honorable service to which God has called us, is that of forming men for holiness and heaven ; not indeed, by any might or power
of our own, but by the instrumentality of our example,
our prayers, and our handling of the word of life. And is not the object sufficient to call into exercise all the energies of our minds ? While the messages of salvation are intrusted to us, and immortal souls are perishing around us, can we fold our hands and sleep? Can we desert our work or suffer it to be done negligently? May the love of Christ forbid it, may the awful solemnities of that day forbid it, when we shall meet those to whom we have ministered, they to give an account how they have heard, and we to give an account how we have preached.
Our friends of this church and society will allow us to congratulate them on the blessing which they are about to secure-a minister of Christ to break to them the bread of life. It calls for our thanksgiving, that the children of the pilgrims so extensively appreciate the value of christian institutions; that in the many villages which are springing up with unexampled rapidity in New England, we see the temple of worship, and hear the voice of the man of God. And while we rejoice that the ministry is now to be incorporated with this growing community, our prayer is, that it
permanent, and that its saving influences may long, long be enjoyed here. Allow us, earnestly, to exhort you, brethren and friends, to cherish your minister with kindness, to encourage him by serious and constant attendance on his ministrations, and above all, to pray without ceasing, that the Holy Spirit may