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46 ness to bear the cross, and follow his Master, "through good report and bad report, in hopes of "that everlasting reward which awaits him in ano"ther world."* And when you, my young brethren, are about to consecrate yourselves to this important work, I hope you have examined before God, whether you have these dispositions; or, in other words; whether he hath called you to his service. I hope you can say in truth, that you "trust you are inwardly "moved by the Holy Ghost, to take upon you this "office, to serve God for the promoting of his glory, "and the edifying of his people." You will not, I trust, give God cause to complain of you, as he did of some of the false prophets of old, I have not sent them, and yet they run. This would be a crime of such enormity as you would not choose, I am persuaded, to be guilty of. For, "if a man pretend a commission from a prince, or indeed from any person, and, in consequence of it, acts in his name, the law will punish "him; and shall the great God of heaven and earth "be thus vouched, and his having moved them be <6 pretended by those whom he has neither called nor "sent? Or, shall he not reckon with those who dare "run without his mission, pretending that they have "it, when they never perhaps examined into its im"portance, nor startled at the thoughts of becoming sacriligious profaners of the name of God, and of "his Holy Spirit?"‡




* Burnet's Pastoral Care.

+ Past. Care.

† Eng. Liturgy.

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But of you, my young brethren, I hope better things. Human motives, I hope, are not those which influence you in your choice. The glory of God, and the salvation of souls, I trust, are the great end and aim you have in view. Gladly, then, will I address each of you, as Laban did Eliezer, Come in, thou blessed of the Lord, why standest thou without? It is of such labourers that the Lord hath need in his vineyard, and, on the prospect of having such for our fellow-labourers, we exceedingly rejoice.

But, on the other hand, if you have not examined yourselves, and found that you have a single eye to the glory of God, enter not the sacred place in which his honour dwells. Keep back, lest he ask you, What have you to do to declare my statutes, or to take my covenant into your mouth? If it is from selfish and worldly motives that you thrust yourselves into the sacred office, you are not the servants of Christ, but the slaves of your own corrupt passions, the slaves of the very worst ambition. Ally your concern is to get a tolerable maintenance, a comfortable subsistence in the world. Like the unjust steward, you are perhaps unwilling to dig, and to beg you are ashamed; therefore you turn your thoughts to this, as a very convenient employment. So it was in the degenerate times of the church of old. Men would crouch for a piece of silver, and say, Put me, I pray thee, in the priest's office, that I may eat a piece of bread. Hence the grievous complaint, that the priests taught for hire, and the prophets divined for money.

Itis true, God hath ordained, that they who preach the gospel should live by the gospel, and have a sufficient maintenance provided for them; and the injustice of with-holding this from them, may be one of the most crying sins of the times. But although this be their right, it should not be their motive.f When it is, it soon leads to avarice, and to an inordinate love of the world; the most sordid passion to which human nature ever stoops. In scripture, we find pious and regenerate persons falling into many sins, but, as it has been often observed, none of them into this. This is a spot never to be found in God's children; and proves more fatal than leprosy or plague, to those infected with its poison. The sin which carried Judas to his own place, was avarice. The sin which made Demas forsake the church, was avarice. The sin most directly opposite to that largeness of soul and generosity of sentiment, which the gospel inspires, is avarice. What a contradiction, then, must it be in a minister of the gospel? What a debasement of his character to yield to it? It is as if a king should descend from his throne to sit on the dunghill. Besides, this is a sin which is seldom found alone. Whoever is capable of it, is capable of

* Mal. iii. 8-10.

†The late Dr. Johnson, when in indigent circumstances, was offered a rectory, if he would enter into orders. But this great and good man, sensible, as it is supposed, of the asperity of his temper, declined it; saying, "I have not the requisites for the “office, and I cannot in my conscience shear the flock, when I "am unable to feed."

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any evil.* It renders a minister, especially, indifferent to the salvation or damnation of the souls of whom he has the charge. He is occupied only about the sordid and temporal profits to be derived from his office. Instead of using that evangelical earnestness, which almost borders on compulsion, to make people leave their farms, and their oxen, and accept of the gospel invitation, he forgets that he was sent out on this errand, and minds his farm, and his oxen himself, as much as they do. And if THE KING resented so highly, that the persons who were bidden, made light of his invitation, with how much greater severity will he treat that servant, who, neglecting his business, and betraying his trust, joins in their madness, and remains along with them! If they are treated as ingrates, he must be treated as a rebel. He goes forth to war against the world; and with the world. he joins in league against his Master.

When a minister coldly commends the things that are heavenly, and warmly pursues the things that are earthly, who can believe him to be in earnest? Who will not rather consider him as a mere player,

Who acts upon the stage an hour or two
In an unreal character; and then

Throws off the mask, and re-assumes his own?

How can this man's labours in the ministry be otherwise than lost? But his having lost his labour, and

* Quid non mortalia pectora cogis,
Auri sacra fames!

his having passed his life without ever gaining one soul to Christ, is not what affects him. This, without any complaint, he can bear with perfect patience. But what he laments is, that his function brought him no more of that filthy lucre, for which he served. Hence the source of all his grief; here the balance in which all his losses are weighed.

What then shall we say to these things? If Jesus drove the traffickers out of the temple, how will he permit such a wretch as this to enter into it? He may permit it (for he acts sometimes in the way of judgment as well as mercy,) but permit it with impunity he will not. He is a jealous God, and will never suffer any one to enter his temple, in order to bow down to an idol. This, in any man, would be the most heinous profanity; but, in a minister, the most horrid impiety. It would be a bold defiance to the Deity, and as it were, an open challenge to grasp his thunder. Why should you then, my young friends, allow yourselves to be thus impelled to your destruction by worldly motives? What shall you be profited, if you gain the whole world (of which, by the way, you can gain but very little,) and lose your own souls? Lose your own souls! Yes, most infallibly. And what is there in the world, that should tempt you to run this dreadful hazard?" The world, believe it, the world "has nothing solid, nothing durable. It is only a "fashion, and a fashion, too, that passeth away. Yes, "sirs, the tenderest friendships end. Honours are "specious titles, which time effaces. Pleasures are "amusements, which leaves only a lasting and pain

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