Page images
PDF
EPUB

himself of his undertaking, and to wish himself any the meanest mechanic, rather than a minister ? But alas ! this were vain, yea sinful. We are engaged in this sacred office, and there is no retreating; we must now run the hazard, how great soever it be; in we are, and on we must. What shall we then say? what shall we do? Surely this is our best, yea our only course.

Let us first prostrate ourselves at the feet of the Almighty God, humbly confessing and heartily bewailing our great and manifold miscarriages in this weighty undertaking; let us weep tears of blood (if it were possible) for the blood of souls, which we have reason to fear

may
stick

upon our garments. The blood of souls, I say: for when I consider how many less discerned ways there be, whereby a man may involve himself in that guilt, as not only by an openly vicious example, but even by a less severe, prudent, and wary conversation; not only by actions directly criminal, but by lawful actions, when offensive; (for by these, the apostle assures us, a man may destroy the soul of his weak brother, for whom Christ dieda ;) not only by a gross negligence and supine carelessness, but by every lesser remission of those degrees of zeal and diligence, which are requisite in so important an affair : in a word, by not doing all that a man can, and lies within his power, to save the souls committed to his charge :- I say, when I consider this, for mine own part I cannot, I dare not justify myself, or plead Not Guilty before the great Judge of heaven and earth ; but do, upon the bended knees of my soul, bewail my sin, and implore his pardoning grace and mercy, crying mightily unto him; Deliver me from this blood-guiltiness, O my God, thou God of my salvation ; and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness.

Having laid ourselves at God's feet, let us not lie idly there, but arise, and for the future do the work of God with all faithfulness and industry ; yea, let us make amends for our past negligence, by doubling our future diligence. And for our encouragement here, let us remember, that though many things are required of a minister, yet the chief and most indispensable requisites are these two; a passionate desire to save souls

, and an unwearied diligence in the pursuit of that noble design. The minister that wants these two qualifications will hardly pass the test, or gain the approbation of God, the great Judge and Trier; but where these are found, they will cover a multitude of

a Romans xiv. 15.

U

other failings and defects. Let us therefore, reverend brethren, (and may I here conjure both you and myself, by the endeared love we bear to our own souls, and the precious souls committed to our charge, yea by the blood of the Son of God, the price of both, let us, I beseech you, from henceforth return to our several charges, zealously and industriously plying the great work and business that is before us.

Let us think no pains too great, to escape that ueilon_xpiua, that greater judgment, that otherwise attends us. Let us study hard, and read much, and pray often, and preach in season and out of season, and catechise the youth, and take wise opportunities of instructing those, who being of riper years may yet be as unripe in knowledge; and visit the sick, and according to our abilities relieve the poor, shewing to all our flock the example of a watchful, holy, humble conversation. And may a great blessing of God crown our labours! Let us go on, and the Lord prosper us!

I have done ad clerum, and have but a word more ad populum, to the people.

My brethren, you may possibly think yourselves altogether unconcerned in this whole discourse. But if you do, you are mistaken; all this nearly concerns even yoy. I shall only point to you wherein.

1. If the pastoral office be so tremendous an undertaking, judge then, I pray you, of the sacrilegious boldness and impiety of those Uzzahs among the laity, that dare touch this ark, the priest's charge and care.

If we, my brethren, that have been trained up in the schools of the prophets, that have been educated with no small care and cost to this employment, that have spent a double apprenticeship of years in our studies, and most of us a great deal more if we, I

after all this, find reason to tremble at our insufficiency for such an undertaking; how horrible is the confidence, or rather impudence, of those mechanics, that have leaped from the shopboard or plough into the pulpit, and thus per saltum, by a prodigious leap, commenced teachers ? what shall we say to these mountebanks in the church, these empirics in theology? I only say this. I can never sufficiently admire either their boldness in venturing to be teachers, or the childish folly and simplicity of those that give themselves up to be their disciples. It is a miracle that any such person shall dare to preach, or if he do, that any man in his right wits should vouchsafe to hear him.

say,

2. This discourse concerning the difficulty and hazard of the priestly office shews sufficiently all the people's danger. It is the danger your own souls are in, my brethren, if not carefully looked to, that is the great hazard of our office. Otherefore, if you do consider it, what need have you to look to yourselves !

3. Lastly, if our work and office be attended with this difficulty, sure it is your duty to pity us, to pray for us, to encourage us, by all possible ways and means, to the vigorous performance of it; at least not to add to our load, or discourage us, either by your wayward factiousness, or stubborn profaneness, or sacrilegious injustice: if you do, sad will be

your account.

Řemember therefore the advice of the apostle b; Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves ; for they watch for your souls, as they that must give an account ; that they may do this (i. e. attend on this work of watching over your souls) with joy, and not with griefc. Grotius's paraphrase is here most genuine; "Sweeten and “ allay the irksome labour of your teachers, by performing 6 to them all offices of respect and love, that they may “ with alacrity, and not with grief, discharge that function, 66 which is of itself a sufficient burden, without any addition “ of sorrow from you d.”

Now to God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, be ascribed all honour and glory, adoration and worship, both now and for ever. Amen.

b Hebrews xiii. 17.
Ινα μετά χαράς τούτο ποιώσι, και μη στενάζοντες.

& Mulcete eum laborem omnibus obsequiis et officiis, ut cum alacritate potius quam dolore fungantur munere satis gravi, etiamsi a vobis nihil triste accedat.

[merged small][ocr errors]

THE

PRINCIPAL PARTS AND BRANCHES

OF THE

PASTORAL OFFICE,

WITH

RULES AND DIRECTIONS

FOR THE DUE PERFORMANCE OF EACH OF THEM ;

IN A CHARGE TO THE CLERGY OF THE DIOCESE OF

ST. DAVID'S.

Reverend brethren of the clergy, I SHALL not waste my time and little strength, by detaining you with a long and useless preface. In short, my business at this time shall be to set before

you

the several parts and branches of that holy office and function which you have undertaken, together with some rules and directions which are necessary to be observed for the due performance of each of them.

The principal parts and branches of the pastoral office are these five:

First, Reading divine service, or the prayers of the church.

Secondly, Preaching.
Thirdly, Catechising.

Fourthly, Administering the holy sacraments of baptism and the Lord's supper.

Fifthly and lastly, Visiting of the sick.

First, Reading divine service, or the prayers of the church. This some may think to be a slight and easy matter, that needs not any advice or directions; but they are very much mistaken. For to the reading of the prayers aright, there is need of great care and caution. The pray

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »