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pious and well informed, can feel nothing but grief and disappointment, when compelled to hear such empty, and often disgusting rant, under the name of preaching Christ and him crucified. It is wonderful how minds impressed, and subdued, and humbled with the gospel, can trifle in this manner; trifle, too, in the presence of God, and with the salvation of immortal souls. There are others, whose preaching is good sense and evangelical sentiments; but there is such a profusion of shining ornaments as to suggest, in the mind of the hearers, the idea of art employed for the sake of these ornaments. The gospel, indeed, is preached; but the hearers will find it difficult to banish the thought, that it is partly, if not chiefly, for the sake of an opportunity of presenting these elegancies of style; that the gospel is used merely as the canvass on which these splendid figures are to be drawn and exhibited. These embellishments are so numerous as to give character to the sermon; and it is called beautiful, elegant, and by some even eloquent. Multitudes, who reject the gospel, will be highly pleased with these decorations; this pleasure may be mistaken for religious feeling, and thus contribute to their self-delusion and their final perdition. If the truly humble and pious will draw aside this drapery, will remove this painting, they may find the gospel which will cheer the heart. If this drapery has to be drawn aside, then, is it not a hinderance to the gospel? to say the least, is it not useless?
We can think of nothing better for those ministers of the cross who may be inclined to pursue this manner, than for them to sit at the feet of Jesus, and hear his words. He too was a preacher of the gospel, and as such has left an example worthy of the closest imitation. He knew perfectly the mind of man, and in what dress to present the truth, so as to render it most efficient. His style is simple and perspicuous, and yet dignified; full, and yet not redundant; brief and comprehensive, and yet not obscure. He employs a variety of figures; but they are like so many suns, shedding light on the truth which he taught. Not a word, not a phrase, not a trope is used merely for the sake of ornament. Every sentence is well adapted to answer the purpose of the speaker; and for this reason he is truly eloquent. In proof of this, the tears of the humble penitent, the bitter opposition of his enemies, may be adduced.
The truth may be obscured by the method of reasoning sometimes employed. The reasoning is perfectly correct, and the conclusion irresistible; but on account of its length it is too abstruse, and requires too much mental effort, to be easily comprehended. It, therefore, fails to enlighten the mind, or approve itself to the conscience. Preaching, indeed, requires reasoning, close and powerful reasoning; but such only should be employed as will render the truth more intelligible, of course, more forcible than it would otherwise be. Let it be powerful as the lightning's stroke, but clear as the sunbeam. Such was the reasoning employed by our Saviour;-short, clear, and conclusive.
II. But the spirit with which the truth is delivered is of essen1 tial importance to give it its full effect on the conscience; and
this is the spirit of love; of love unfeigned. No style, no manner will commend the truth or the preacher to every man's conscience, without love; sincere, ardent, constraining love; love which manifests itself by its own appropriate effects; love to God, to the Saviour, and to men. Nothing can supply the place of this holy ardor of soul. The style may be elegant, the manner may be graceful, genius and learning may exhaust their stores; but without love, all will be cold and lifeless; without it, there can be no genuine pulpit eloquence. Nothing else will bear the Christian minister through honor and dishonor, through evil report and good report, through all the nameless toils and anxieties and sacrifices of his office.
The voice of inspiration has clearly decided, that if we love God, it will lead us to obey his will. He that hath my commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me. If a man love me, he will keep my sayings. This is the love of God that we keep his commandments. We have decided, beloved brethren in the ministry, after much inquiry, much deliberation and prayer, that it was the will of God concerning us, that we should preach the gospel. This decision has been affirmed by those who were in the ministry before us, by the laying on of their hands. This is true of all whom the Head of the church has called to the sacred office.
We see, then, that this love will give a direction, different from that of other Christians, to the inquiries and labors of a minister. Both have to work out their own salvation; but in addition to this, the minister is bound, by preaching the gospel and administering its ordinances, to use his utmost efforts to secure the salvation of others. This is the will of God: which is peculiar to him, which love unfeigned will lead him to obey. Hence, his first inquiry : will be that of Paul;—Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? What must I do, and what must I suffer to promote the salvation of perishing sinners? Love unfeigned will lead him to pursue this inquiry till he is fully satisfied; for it is not a blind instinct that urges him on to a course of action for which he can assign no reason; it is the holy fervor of an intelligent mind, under the influence of motives, acting with design, having a specific object to accomplish. It is not enough that he be actively employed; he must be satisfied that his efforts will meet the approbation of God; of course, that they are according to his will. With this view he will turn his attention to all those sources from whence information can be obtained. With deep interest he will consider the example of Christ, who taught as never man taught. How did he comfort and cheer the humble, the weeping penitent; how did he direct the anxious inquirer, instruct the ignorant, and
give warning and reproof to the hardened and impenitent; how' did he invite to the fountain of mercy; how did he pass sentence ** on those who proved incorrigible! How did he feel and how did he act when the air was rent with hosannas to the son of David; and how, when the same air resounded with the cry of crucify him? To every Christian the information derived from this source will be liighly useful; to the minister of the gospel it will'. be of more value than half the wealth of the globe. It flows directly from the fountain of truth, from the Head of the church," from the Apostle and high priest of our profession.' For the same purpose he will turn to the example of Paul, of whose ministry more is given than of any of the other apostles. If the perfect purity and wisdom of the Saviour should be supposed to place his example above the attainment of men, here is the example of one subject to like passions with himself, who has, by nature, the same wicked and deceitful heart, depending on the same mercy, influenced by the same motives, invested with the same office, ac-' countable to the same Judge with himself. Two lessons, parti. cularly useful, may be learned from this example; first, the use that ought to be made of learning and talents, both of which Paul possessed in no common degree. He could have used the words * which man's wisdom teacheth; have discussed the philosophical speculations of that age; have employed the eloquence then so much admired; and thus have gained the unhallowed applause of men. But he determined to know nothing, and to preach nothing but Christ and him crucified. It might be foolishness to the Greek; but on this course he staked his reputation as a man of learning and talents. The only use, then, which he made of his acquirements and abilities was, to explain the gospel and render it intelligible to the weakest capacity; to bring the truth to bear fully and powerfully on the conscience and the life. Such is the use which all, who are willing to learn from this example, will make of their learning and their talents. The second lesson is; a wise and careful adaptation of the truth to the character and condition of men. He reasoned with the Jews out of the scriptures, which they professed to believe; and with the Pharisees and Sadducees, according to the peculiar opinions of these two sects, into which the Jews were divided. When he addresses the great mass of the gentiles, who were devoted to the senseless rites of idolatry, he labors to convince them that the objects of their worship were dumb idols, without wisdom or power to help them; that they were the workmanship of men's hands, of course, no gods. When he meets the philosophers in Mars-hill, his address is different from both the former instances: he reasons with them from the altars at which they performed their devotion, and from their own poets. In this sense he became all things to all men, that he might, by all means, save some. He knew that the truth would not be ' received unless it was understood; and that it would most proba
bly be understood, if derived from principles acknowledged by those to whom it was presented.
The minister of the gospel, at this day, who would make full proof of his ministry, must imitate this example; he must try all
means in his power. There is the same necessity now, as in the C days of the Apostle, for rightly dividing the word of truth, and
giving each his portion. It will not excuse him to say, that he I will preach the truth, regardless of the prejudices, the errors and
the ignorance of men. His object is to save them from this state En of mind by the most judicious exhibitions of truth which he can e employ. He is to deal with men as he finds them, not as they insbught to be. Besides, it is not the sacrifice of truth, but the skilful per adaptation of it to the minds of men, as they are, that is required.
Paul, though made all things to all men, yet did not sacrifice a my particle of truth; he was under the law to Christ. Whether he are preached to the Jew or the Greek, his object and his prayer to Ter God was always the same, that they might be saved. That ace, preacher of the gospel, therefore, who desires to be useful, will
be amply rewarded for the most persevering attention he can e pay to this instructive example. h** We most earnestly insist, that supreme and ardent love to God w and the Saviour will lead the zealous herald of the cross to purpil sue this course. His first desire will be, to please God. He will er be deeply convinced that without the divine blessing, his ministry Ust will not be useful; and that this blessing need not be expected, bith anless his labors are according to the will of God. He can learn Growthis will, only from the precepts and examples, contained in the t-holy scriptures, relating to the ministry. He will, therefore, quisearch the scriptures; for love rejoiceth in the truth. If there is one in manner of delivering the truth, better calculated than another, to thrender it successful, he will endeavor to make that his own. He e *will not be as one who beateth the air; his efforts will be directed mato a specific object. He will endeavor to render his short and viimcertain ministry as useful as possible. In This unfeigned love to God will coexist with sincere love to ball men, and, of course will lead the faithful minister to desire and ceci labor to promote their salvation. It will exert a most happy in-- Guence on his own mind, sustaining him under those trials and os preserving him from the danger of those temptations, which are
in beculiar to his office. He may be tempted to spare the rich and ter those who are esteemed great in this world, supposing their inthe fluence and their approbation too valuable to be lost; and may The fear that this would be the result of faithful and honest reproof. TEL But if he loves their souls, this love will not permit-him to consult the with flesh and blood; it will overcome his timidity and give him - boldness in the discharge of his duty. His fidelity may commend
itself to their conscience, though it wounds their pride. If by this belidelity he should incur their displeasure, he will secure the appronhalation of God, and of his own conscience. He may be tempted to neglect the poor. But if he loves their souls, this love will draw him to their humble abode not less frequently nor less cheer fully, than to the more wealthy. He will enjoy it as a privilege to instruct them, to guide and cheer them on their way to heaven. *** Though poor in this world, they may be rich in faith, and be heirs of the kingdom. By faith, he can see them, on the morning of the resurrection, clothed in their white robes, acknowledged a as friends by the Judge, and entering into the joy of their Lord. He will not then be ashamed to be their companion; nor regret to have aided them in preparing for this elevation and glory.
Every one who labors faithfully in the ministry will meet with much to try his patience. Some whom it is his desire and his duty to instruct, will be found dull of hearing; some are stupidly ignorant and insensible; some warped with prejudice; some area carried away with error; some are daringly wicked. Having honestly endeavored, again and again, to convey truth to the mindre without success, he may become impatient, and be tempted to re- kunis linquish the task of instruction as entirely hopeless. But if he loves them with a pure heart fervently, this love will suppress this feel u ing of impatience. To give them up as hopeless, is to give them up to perdition. His love and compassion for their souls will not permit him to do this. Love beareth all things, for it is not easily provoked. His compassion is excited by a deep conviction of their en great and imminent danger. Those things which try his patience, ki na are proof to him that this danger is increasing every day. He 4 will, therefore, persevere in his efforts. If one attempt fails, with me greater earnestness, with deeper compassion, and, if possible, with greater wisdom, he will make another. Hope of success will animate these renewed efforts; for love hopeth all things. He will not give up as hopeless those whom God is preserving in his providence, with whom he is waiting with much long-suffering and patience. His provocations are nothing compared with those continually offered to God, who yet gives them time for repentance.
Even in the pulpit, a variety of events may try the spirit of the preacher. Some wantonly and shamelessly intrude themselves after the worship has commenced, and disturb the devotioner of the whole assembly. Some, by their idle and indecent gazing, tell him plainly that not a word is understood or regarded. Some give decent attention from year to year, but remain unmoved as the rock. Some turn their pews into couches, and doze when they ought to pray. To resist these trials is not so easy as some, who are unacquainted with them, may suppose. He is but an earthen vessel, to whom the gospel is committed in trust. Some se degree of impatience and irritation may be excited; and if the occasion, in his opinion, justifies reproof, this may be given with an asperity of temper and of language which cannot be concealed. This exhibition of unholy displeasure will operate different." ly on different classes of hearers. By some it will be turned into reproach; by others, into an excuse for their neglect; while the pious