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and how could, or how can any human hand im
I fear that I have dwelt too long upon this part of my subject, tediously perhaps to some, and unnecessarily, but my anxiety was to prove as clearly as I could from Scripture, and from Scripture only, the foundation, and the nature of our office as Ministers in the Church, that I might be the better enabled to show the real bond of union with our brethren the Laity. Doubtless both Clergy and Laity, members one of another, are equally members of Christ's holy Catholic Church ; the distinguishing mark is ordination, and the connecting tie is the trust we have received of administering God's holy Word and Sacraments. Without a Bishop, without Priests and Deacons, there can be no visible Church of Christ, and why? -because there can be no one commissioned as the channel through which Christ“ gives his gifts to men ;" no one to baptize in his Name; no one to preside over and dispense His Holy Feast; no one to “set things in order;" no one to “rebuke;"? no one generally authorized “ to the work of the Ministry, for the edifying of the Body of Christ.” The Scripture tells us indeed, that “ Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” But it adds, “ How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed ?
1 Romans x. 13,
And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard ? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach except they be sent ? As it is written, how beautiful are the feet of them that preach the Gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things.”
We are “1 Ordained for men in things pertaining to God,” we are “ 2 labourers together with God,” we are “ 3 stewards of his mysteries, 66 4 ambassadors of Christ.” As I have said, I do not quote these facts “ new things,” but I wish to “put you in remembrance;" for it is much to be feared that many, even of our own number, do not sufficiently consider these things; do not attach sufficient importance to their uninterrupted Apostolical succession, to their membership in that body with which Christ promised to be, even until the end of the world. Yet, if this be not true, the Clergy are but trespassers in the Lord's vineyard; they have usurped offices to which they have no claim ; they must give up pretensions which are impious in themselves : for who or what are they that they should have prayed men in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled unto God? They must remember how, and why 5 Korah, Dathan, and Abiram
1 Hebrews v. 1.
1 Cor. iii. 9. 1 Cor. iv, 1.
2 Cor. v. 20. Numbers xvi. See also 1 Kings xiii. 33. 36.
perished - those "sinners against their own souls;" they must fall low on their knees before God's footstool, and implore him to pardon this their sin, that they have intruded themselves into the service of the Tabernacle of the Lord, and have “profaned holy things.”
Thanks be to God, those that minister in the Church of England have no need to entertain any apprehensions on this subject. We must indeed feel that we are but “learthen vessels”that we are sinful men; imperfect channels, it is true, through which the world may be saved, but still the appointed channels; and “2 such trust have we through Christ to Godward, not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God, who also hath made us able ministers of the New Testament.” Boldly, therefore, may we go forth in the name of the Lord, who “? strengtheneth our weakness;" we may tell men that we are the appointed instruments, and the only appointed instruments, to receive them into the family of Christ by his Sacrament of Baptism ; to confirm their faith, to perfect their repentance, to pronounce their pardon as the dispensers of the Sacrament of his Supper; we may
warn,' buke;" we may say to all, “Jesus Christ hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation, to wit,
1 2 Cor. iv. 7.
2 Cor. iii. 4.
that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us, we pray you, in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.” We may say, finally, that the Lord has given to us his word, “1 he that heareth you, heareth me, and he that despiseth you, despiseth me; and he that despiseth me, despiseth Him that sent me."
I will not add much in the way of exhortation; for time will not allow me to do so. If I have proved that we are “ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God,” need I tell you that “2 it is required in stewards that a man be found faithful ?" If I have shown that we derive our commission, as preachers, from God, need I remind you that, “3 though we preach the Gospel we have nothing to glory of, for necessity is laid upon us ; yea, woe is unto us, if we preach not the Gospel ?" We have authority to exhort, warn, rebuke ; but we must do so, “ 4 beseeching by the gentleness and goodness of Christ,” we must not “5 abuse our power in the Gospel, for though we be free from all men, yet we must make ourselves servants unto all, that we may gain the
2 1 Cor. iv. 2.
Luke x. 16.
* 2 Cor. x. 1.
1 Cor. ix. 16. $ 1 Cor. ix. 18.
more ;" we must not be as “lords over God's heritage, but ensamples to the flock,” “? giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed; but in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings; by pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, by honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report; as deceivers, and yet true, as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as chastened, and not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich ; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things." Though we may “3 magnify our office," we must take care “*not to preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord;" we must have the word of God, and that word only, in our hearts and hands; “ 5for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds ;" we must“ meditate upon the Scriptures; we must give ourselves wholly to