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2. As there are some persons, whose nomy is strongly marked, and who have so peculiarly striking in the whole turn of th tenance; so there are some, the traits of ral character are equally striking, and who. sion is distinguished by uncommon circo Such was the apostle Paul. But a train derful occurrences is by no means necessa
version. For example.... It is not necessa> |believers should be actually cast to the
that groaning beneath the weight of their under the conviction of a twofold blind,
should continue in prayer for three days a
drinking. But it is absl.
Venly nature produced within them. This sin-
Christian piety constitutes the great differenc
Is observed between true ministers and unw
that is observed be
perhaps, to relieve one another in the discharge of those duties, which they esteem heavy and painful. But the desire of communicating to sinners that spiritual knowledge, which is more precious than rubies, is the grand motive for preaching with the true ministers of God. They publish Christ, like St. Paul, from sentiment and inclination ; exposing themselves even to persecution on account of preaching the gospel, like those faithful Evangelists, who, when commanded to teach no more in the name of Jesus, answered with equal respect and resolution ; " Whether it be right in the sight of God, to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye ; for we cannot but speak the things, which we have seen and heard."
4. It is worthy of observation, that St. Paul supplicates not only for all public teachers, but for every private believer in the church, the highest degree of grace and christian experience. “I cease not," saith he to the Ephesians, " to make mention of you in my prayers ; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him : the eyes of your understanding being enlightened, that ye may know, what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his in. heritance, in the saints : and what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward, who believe." And the same end, which this apostle proposed to himself in his private supplications, St. John also proposed to himself in writing his public epistles.... " That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.” As though he had said, we write, if haply we may excite you to seek after higher degrees of faith, charity, and obedience, " that being rooted and grounded in love,
ye may be able to comprehend with all saints, the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge; that ye may be filled with the all fulness of God." The attentive reader will easily perceive, that what was once the subject of St. Paul's most ardent prayer, is at this day considered, by nominal christians in general, as a proper subject for the most pointed rail. lery.
5. Those ministers, who are not yet furnished with christian experience, and who are not seeking after it, as the pearl of great price, held out to us in the Gospel, are not yet truly converted to the christian faith : and (I repeat it after Mr. Ostervald) being destitute of christian piety, far from being in circumstances to preach the Gospel, they are not able even to comprehend it. These are they, “who having a form of godliness, deny the power thereof.” And the greatest eulogium, that can be pronounced upon such characters, is that, with which St. Paul honoured the unbelieving zealots of his time : “ I bear them record, that they have a zeal for God ;" but that zeal is unaccompanied with any true knowledge, either of man's weakness, or the Redeemer's power : “ For they, being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness to every one that believeth."
6. Whoever has not experienced that conviction of sin, and that repentance, which is described by St. Paul in the seventh chapter of his epistle to the Romans, though, like Nicodemus, he may be a doctor in Israel, yet he shall never see the king. dom of God. Totally carnal, and satisfied to contiņue so, he neither understands nor desires that regeneration, which the Gospel proposes and insists upon. He endeavours not to fathom the sense of those important words : “ Verily, verily, I say unte
thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” He considers those, who are born of the spirit as rank enthusiasts, and disdains to make any serious enquiry respecting the foundation of their hope. If his acquaintance with the letter of the scripture did not restrain him, he would tauntingly address the artless question of Ni. codemus to every minister, who preaches the doctrine of regeneration...." How can a man ba born, when he is old ? Can he enter the second time into his mother's womb and be born?” And unless he was withheld by a sense of politeness, he would rudely repeat to every zealous follower of St. Paul the ungracious expression of Festus...." Thou art beside thyself; much" mystic “ learning doth make thee mad."
7. On the contrary, a minister, who is distinguished by the second trait of the character of St. Paul, at the same time proportionably possesses every disposition necessary to form an evangelical pastor : since it is not possible for christian piety to exist without the brilliant light of truth, and the burning zeal of charity. And every minister, who has this light and this love, is enriched with those two pow. erful resources, which enabled the first christians to act as citizens of heaven, and the first ministers as ambassadors of Christ.
THE PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL
IMATE UNION WITH CHRIST
IIS INTIMATE UNION WIT
on of this
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« LAM come,' said the good sheps o that my sheep might have life, and that might have it more abundantly. I am the X of the world. I am the way, the truth, and life. I am the vine ; ye are the branches.") faithful minister understands the signification these mysterious expressions. He walks in s way, he follows this light, he embraces this true and enjoys this life in all its rich abundance. Co stantly united to his Lord, by a humble faith. lively hope, and an ardent charity, he is enabled say, with St. Paul ; " The love of Christ constraine me; because we thus judge that if one died for a then were all dead: and that he died for all, that the which live, should not henceforth live unto then selves, but unto him, who died for them, and ros. again. We are dead, and our life is hid with Chris in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall ap. pear, then shall we also appear with him in glory. For if we have been planted together in the like. ness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection, Knowing that Christ, being raised from the dead, dieth no more ; but liveth unto God: we likewise reckon ourselves to be dead indeed unto sín, but alive unto God, through Jesus Christ our Lord,"
This living faith is the source, from whence all the sanctity of the christian is derived, and all the power of the true minister: it is the medium, through which that sap of grace and consolation, those streams of peace and joy, are perpetually flowing, which enrich the believing soul, and make it fruitful in every good work : or, to speak without a metaphor, from this powerful grace proceeds that love of God