« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
dinine all be re, And to Jefus, asirit may for the
disobedient are delivered over to Satan, 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 distinction of gospel ordinances in doctrine, wore fhip and government: but that you may the better understand this matter, we hall 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 Christy 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 son ; and these who call 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 so high and honourable a relation.
5. They should design their own furtherance in' acquaintance with Christ. They should as new born babes defire the fincere milk of the word, that they may grow thereby, 1 Pet. ii. 2. chat they may be furthered in their joy and faith, growing in grace, and in the knowlege of the Lord Jesus Christ.
6. They [hould design their own establishment in the ways of God, that they may not be toffed to and fro 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 head and
Saviour of the body. This is exprefly declared to be the design of the ministry, Ephes. iv. 11. The apostle having spoken of Christ's exaltation, and his having received gifts for men, tells us of him in this verse and the following, That he gave some apostles, fume prophets, and some evangelists, and some pastors, and teachers, for the perfecling of the saints for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ; till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowlege of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ : that we henceforth be no more children tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of do&trine, by the sight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lye in wait to deceive, etc. And to the same · purpose speaks the spirit of God frequently ellewhere of the design of the ininistry. Paul, Rom. i. 11. expresseth his earnest desire to see them, and to impart fome spiritual gift unto them, to the end they may be established. These who are already engaged in God's ways should design their own establishment in them in their calling å gospel minister.
7. They should design their own direction through all the difficulties of religion. The Lord's people have many dark steps in their way: fometimes they are under teinptation, and know not how to carry ; sometimes they are engaged in a clofs fight with their adversaries, and know not how to wield their spiritual armour to advantage; sometimes they are out of the way, and know not how to get into it again : and therefore, they need some to guide them into the meaning of God's word; for how can they underfand unless they be taught, Acts viii. 31. How can I under
ftand, fays the Ethiopian eunuch, unless fome man
pose to themselves in calling a gospel minister; - and therefore, we shall conclude all in this one, which is sure to comprehend them.
8. They should seek to have one who may answer in fome measure Timothy's character, with respect to the church of the Philippians, Phil. ii. 20. one who may naturally take care of them, that is, one who may; out of love to their souls, affectionately, prudently, carefully, and with im." partial boldness, open and apply the word, dirpense the sacraments, and administer discipline,
for the instruction of the ignorant, strengthening 3. the weak, comforting the disconsolate, affecting
the impenitent, reproving the faulty, recovering wanderers, directing and helping forward thote who doubt and halt; that he may both save himself and them, to the praise of the glory of God's grace. We shall not insist upon each of these particulars, which would require not one or two, but many fermons, which suits not our present de fign. We mall therefore proceed, in the
Second place, to enquire how a people Mould make it appear that they were acting upon these designs in their calling a gospel minister. This enquiry might be understood eicher to respect their own satisfaction, or the satisfaction of the world, or of the minister himself, as to this matter; but time not allowing us to be so particular, we shall hold the enquiry in the general, and in anfver to it we say.
1. A people should discover their designs to be such as we have mentioned, by a punctual attendance upon all the ordinances, to be by him dispensed in public or private. Thus we see it was with Cornelius; he not only waited on him. felf, but he called together these on whom he had . any influence. And Cornelius waited for them, • and had called together his kinsmen and near friends, Acts X. 24. These who will not give , attendance to the public difpenfation of the word, and the private instructions, either family or perfonal, but withdraw, we cannot think these perfons had the right end before them in calling a gospel nainister: surely had they been right in their aims, they would have been ready to say with Cornelius, We are all here present, etc.
2. They should not only present their bodies upon such occasions, but they should fist themselves as in God's fight, to hear all things what ever are coinmanded of God by his servants. We are all here present, says Cornelius to Peter, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God. ver. 33. To give attendance to the ordinances, ei. ther more public or private, on any other design than this, is to offer the sacrifice of fools, contrary to that injunction of the wise man, Ecclef. v. *. 1. Keep thy foot when thou goeft to the house of
God, and be more ready to hear than to give the fa:crifice of fools. When we are come to God's or.
dinances, we must come to hear what he speaks to us.
3. They should evidence the honesty of their designs, by obeying the word which they hear at his mouth; they should comply with all the commands of God, and say to their minister as the people of Israel said to Mofes, Deut. v. 27. GO thou near and hear all that the Lord our God mall say, and speak thou unto us all that the Lord our God mall speak unto thee, and we will hear it and do it. For as the apostle James well obferves, It is not the hearer of the word but the doer who is blessed of God, Jaines i. 25. As we must hear and do, so our attendance must not be limited, but our ear must be opened to reproofs, and the most terrible denunciations of wrath from God, as well as to the sweet promises and charming discoveries of the glory of Christ, the beauties of religion, the surprizing happiness of the faints in heaven; and there must not only be obedience to these commands which may bring in honour, external gain and pleasure by our compliance, but these also must be obeyed, which may bring us under the lash of wicked mens tongues, and expose us to reproach, hazard and ignominy in the ' world. All things whatever are commanded of God must be punctually obeyed without reserve.
4. There must be a submitting to all the ordinances of God. Both this obedience and submission you will find spoken of, Heb. xiii. 17. Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit your. felves, for they watch for your souls, as those who anuft give an account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for this is unprofitable