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survey the bulwarks of the christian faith ; to try the foundation on which every post and pillar stands; and to plant high the standard of the cross on every battlement.
Some perhaps may object to this view of the qualifications of a minister, as attaching too much importance to worldly wisdom. To such I reply, it is plainly agreeable to the will of God, that those who instruct in divine things, should, in addition to piety, furnish themselves with the aids of human learning. He has manifested his will on this point with sufficient clearness, under the three great dispensations of the church, the Patriarchal, the Jewish, and the Christian. During the patriarchal age of the church, which extended from Adam to about the descent of the children of Israel into Egypt; God often held converse with men, as he did with Noah and Abraham, and instructed them in divine things. But even in this early period, there was one important source of human learning, from which he commanded them to seek instruction respecting his moral government. Job, who lived near the close of the patriarchal times, from which poets and orators have drawn their descriptions of the golden age; and who laid in them the scene of his wonderful poem, that he might preserve the remembrance of days fast fading away from the earth, says respecting the government of God, inquire 1 pray thee of the former age, and prepare thyself to the search of the Fathers. Shall they not teach thee and tell thee? To inquire of the former age, and search of the fathers, which is here enjoined, is the chief object of human learning.
Another evidence of his will, on this point, may be
drawn from the Jewish dispensation. The Levitical priesthood, so far as we are informed, gave no special instruction to the people. They devoted their attention wholly to the sacrifices and ceremonies of the temple worship. The prophets were the teaching priests in Israel. This holy and venerated class of men, at once the fear and the boast of Jacob's race, were specially inspired, and directed by God. Still, even before the days of Samuel and onward till the Babylonish captivity, about which time this office ceased in Israel, the prophets had their schools of sacred learning in Bethel, Naioth, and Jericho. In these schools, those who aspired to be the future prophets of the Lord, were instructed in the scriptures, in a life of self-denial and holiness, and in whatever pertained to the sacred functions of the prophetical office.
When Christ established his kingdom on the earth, he appointed for his church a numerous and extraordinary ministry. God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healing, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. This numerous ministry were far from being uninstructed and, as it is often affirmed, proof that learning is not needed in the teachers of the church. The apostles and many of the evangelists and teachers, were about the person of Christ, and attended on his ministry for the space of three years. From him they daily received the most important instruction. Nor were this extraordinary ministry indifferent, or uninstructed, about the qualifications of their successors; those, who were fö 'expound the scriptures to the future disciples, to conténd earnestly for the faith once delivered to the
saints, and to plant the standard of the cross on the battlements of paganism ; when they themselves had fallen by the sword of persecution. Accordingly, the apostles and first christians established schools of sacred learning in several places ; where those destined to the ministry, might be properly educated for this work. The apostle John erected such a school at Ephesus. Another of the same kind was founded by Polycarp at Smryna. Others of equal or surpassing fame were established at Selucia and Antioch. But none of the christian schools were in greater repute than the one at Alexandria, supposed to be founded by Mark, the evangelist. It was renowned for raising up a succession of learned and able defenders of christianity. Pantænus, Clemens of Alexandria, and Origen, stood successively at the head of this school, and made it famous by their “varied learning" and sound piety. The apostles and evangelists who established these nurseries of learning in the church, it will be remembered, were the extraordinary ministers of our Lord Jesus Christ, and were guided by the Holy Ghost in all they did, agreeably to his promises in the 14th of John. We cannot, therefore, avoid the conclusion, that they acted agreeably to the will of God, while thus laying the foundation for a learned ministry in the church. Nor can we avoid the conclusion, that it is agreeable to the will for God, that his religion should be explained to the understanding of men by a learned ministry, as well as enforced upon their hearts by a devoted one.
And here we feel the highest satisfaction in contemplating that class of benevolent operations, in our own, and other christian lands, whose object is to
raise up for the church a learned and faithful ministry. It is evidence that the pure light of christianity is breaking through the darkness of ages; that the church is returning to her primitive purity; that the streams of christian benevolence, after a perversion of sixteen hundred years, are beginning again to flow in those sacred channels, marked out for them by Christ and his apostles.
Having now finished what I designed to say on the qualifications of a minister, I shall make some remarks on the manner in which faithfulness requires him to discharge the responsible duties of his office. Faithfulness to his office, as well as reverence for God and his word, requires a minister to draw the chief materials for his public discourses from the bible. There is always danger perhaps, that the youthful pastor, who is a lover of literature, will spend too much of his time amidst the productions of human learning. He should never forget, that he is not to seek fame in the literary world. That the energies of his mind and the feelings of his heart must not be exhausted in study. A large portion must be kept in reserve, to animate his public discourses; to enable him to devise plans of usefulness for his people and the church; and in private conversation, to press home the momentous concerns of the soul. From the fountains of divine truth, however, he must drink deep, not of Pyærian, but of heavenly springs. The doctrines and duties which he inculcates, he should be mainly anxious to prove from the scriptures; knowing that the sword of the Spirit is the word of God. If he can handle this sword of the Spirit skilfully, he is a workman that needeth not to
be ashamed; though he is not familiar with all the ancient books on theology, and has but a slight acquaintance with the literature or politics of the day. The great business to which he has devoted his life, is to exhibit the being and attributes of God, to portray the moral deformities of man, and to preach salvation by Christ to a dying world. In whatever pertains to these things, the bible is like the sun, shining in majesty and strength; while systems of theology and moral discussions are often no more than stars, which twinkle through the mists of night. Nor is it necessary that the faithful pastor should go beyond the bible, in order to come at the original sources of information ; to find well-drawn characters to guide his pen; history to instruct, or poetry to inspire and charm. There is wisdom enough in the book of God. Whoever learned the history of the creation, or the deluge; the origin of moral evil; the rise of the different languages of the earth; or the beginning of the ancient nations, except from the bible? Whoever became acquainted with the true character of God or man; with the Father of the church; or the dispensations of grace to a guilty world, except from the sacred oracles? Here also is the great storehouse of political wisdom, from which the ablest statesmen have drawn their best maxims. Here is unfolded the secret causes of the prosperity and decline of nations. Nor is there any want of history to instruct; or of well-drawn events to impart fertility to the imagination, or interest to the heart. Among the mighty works of Jehovah, the nations of the earth are as a drop of the bucket. They are thrown upon the sacred page, and disappear like the rapid and