Page images

But is not this harsh and uncharitable? Hear the words of Christ himself." Except a man

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

deny himself, and take up his cross and follow

me, he cannot be my disciple." "Except he "forsake all that he hath, he cannot be my disci

ple." Does charity consist in contradicting "the true and faithful Witness," yea, the all-merciful Saviour, or "in speaking peace, when there "is no peace?" The case is the same as it was of old.--Some daringly blaspheme and openly reject the Son of God: others use respectful language; but their actions shew, that they value the pleasures of sin, the friendship of the world, the pride of life, filthy lucre, or the praise of men, more than him and his salvation. But all such persons virtually declare, that they who, actuated by various worldly motives, concurred in nailing him to the cross, did right. None, who lived at that time, and might have heard his doctrine or witnessed his miracles, were wholly free from the guilt of his death, except the remnant of his true disciples and none at present are wholly free from the charge of "crucifying the Son of God afresh," who persist in neglecting his great salvation.

"Blessed then are all they that put their trust "in him." They are blessed in their present security and privileges; and they shall be blessed in their eternal inheritance. To you my brethren, who thus cordially welcome the Saviour, and

[blocks in formation]

submit to the king of Zion, with unreserved obedience and fidelity, though with many lamented imperfections; to you belong peace with God, peace of conscience, the adoption of children, and the consolations of the Holy Spirit. It is your privilege to "rejoice in hope, to be patient in tri"bulations;" to find support in trials, safety in all dangers, victory over every enemy, and a rich advantage from all losses and sufferings. Whether you be rich and prosperous, or poor and afflicted; whatever be your station or circumstances, you are blessed; for God himself hath pronounced you so: you shall be blessed through life and in death, and when the Redeemer shall appear to judge the world. "Lift up then your heads, for your re"demption draweth near:" and when others shall cry to the rocks to fall on them, and hide them from the wrath of the Lamb; you shall exclaim with triumphant exultation; "This "is our God, we have waited for him, and he will

[ocr errors]

save us; this is the Lord;-we will be glad and "rejoice in his salvation."



Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts; and then shall every man have praise of God.

THE manner in which the zealous, unwearied, and disinterested labours of the apostle Paul were required from mankind, forms the most conclusive proof of human depravity; next to that arising from the contradiction, contempt, and cruelty, which his divine Master had experienced. Not only was this distinguished servant of God "every "where spoken against ;" and treated as "the "filth of the world, and the offscouring of all "things," by unconverted Jews and gentiles: the whole body of Jewish converts also were exceedingly prejudiced against him; many of the churches he had planted were alienated from him; and his Corinthian converts had been so perverted by false.

teachers, as to entertain the most injurious suspicions, as to the motives of his ministerial conduct. But fervent zeal for the honour of Christ, and affectionate longing after the salvation of souls, kept him from fainting, and rendered him "stedfast, "unmoveable, always abounding in the work of "the Lord:" and he even submitted, with the most evident reluctance, to vindicate his character, and magnify his ministry, to the disaffected Corinthians; that, by re-establishing his apostolical authority, he might recover them from the delusions into which they had been seduced. In attempting this, he warned them against exalting some and despising others, of those who had laboured among them. "Let a man," says he, "so “account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and "stewards of the mysteries of God." All Christians are servants of Christ, and the word rendered ministers denotes those servants, who wait on any person, as ready at all times to execute his orders with unreserved assiduity.-But ministers are also stewards of the mysteries of God: they are not mere teachers of morality, but they are entrusted with the great mysteries of revealed truth, that they may declare them to mankind, as they have received them of the Lord. "Moreover, it is re

[ocr errors]

quired in stewards that a man be found faithful." It is not necessary for ministers to be orators, courtiers, philosophers, or even men of distinguished genius or learning; but integrity and

faithfulness are indispensable. Any person of common prudence would prefer a down-right honest steward, though but moderately qualified, to the most accomplished man in the world, who, he was aware, would oppress his tenants and embezzle his property. Thus faithfulness is the grand requisite in a minister; without which, talents, however they may recommend him to the applause of men, will not procure him deliverance from the wrath of God. "But," says the apostle, "with "me it is a very small thing, that I should be "judged of you, or of man's judgment; yea, I "judge not mine own self: for I know nothing "by myself, yet am I not hereby justified; but he "that judgeth me is the Lord."-It must not be expected, that every one who aims to be faithful, should thus decidedly rise superior to the opinion of men, especially those within the pale of the church. At the call of duty, a minister may be enabled to venture giving offence; yet do it reluctantly and be drawn into many reserves, under the notion of prudence, which may greatly impede his usefulness, Christians should therefore take heed, that they do not inadvertently tempt ministers to unfaithfulness, or render faithfulness uneasy to them. The apostle no doubt did examine his own motives and conduct; but he knew that an appeal lay from his decision to that of his heart-searching Judge; and that reflection gave rise to the caution and warning of the text;

« PreviousContinue »