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How poor, then, is the applause which may fall to the vain and selfish, compared to the solid and lasting reward of the useful and faithful minister of Jesus! And, if the first be yours, my brethren, in the latter you can never have any share. For you will never be honoured as the instruments of saving souls. Or if, by an uncommon miracle, and the extraordinary grace of God, you should, yet be assured, that, after having thus preached the gospel to others, you yourselves must be cast away. Many of those servants whom the King of heaven hath sent out to invite his guests, although they may have had some success in their message, will not have the honour of sitting down with him at his table; yet he will gird himself, and, as it were, condescend to serve such of them as were most zealous and faithful, whose sole aim was to promote his glory, and bring souls to heaven.

In subordination, however, to this honour, which comes from God, I would not have you to be altogether indifferent to that which comes from men, especially from the wise and good. To the man who combines great virtue with great knowledge, and who employs both in promoting the temporal and eternal interests of mankind, the veneration of mankind is due; and, to make altogether light of it, is rather a sign of pride than of humility. But, if this honour is not altogether to be despised, it is still less to be courted, and, least of all, to be aimed at. We preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord. And, if we preach him as we ought, our discourses

will rather be felt by the heart, than praised by the tongue. That they should be followed by both these effects, was thought so unlikely by one of the fathers, that he wept when his hearers praised his sermon; for then he thought he had missed his purpose.

Besides examining thus into the purity of your intentions, you must observe, that your morals be also pure. Read, read often and carefully, the epistles of Paul to Timothy and Titus. These, as St. Augustin says, ought to lie for ever before the eyes of all persons set apart for the holy ministry. In these you see what an unblemished character is required of such as minister in holy things. And without such a character, you must not presume to enter the holy of holies, lest the invisible hand of that .God, who guards his own sanctuary, thrust you back as a bold intruder, and a profaner of his holy place and name. The man who appeared at the gospel supper in an ordinary robe, without the wedding garment, is rejected, although called; and will you, in a robe only ordinary, appear where you are to preside, to distribute, and to consecrate? If God required, that even his sacrifices should be without blemish, how can he bear that the priest himself should be impure? Can you, uncalled of God, thrust yourself forward, without the necessary qualification which we speak of, to that altar which even angels may approach with fear? Can you, being dead yourself, become the minister of life to others? Can you inspire them with a love to that piety to which your own soul is a stranger? No; the man

that shall ascend to the hill of God, or dwell within his holy place, must have a pure heart, and clean hands. Like the brightness of Goshen amidst the obscurity of Egypt, his example and conversation must be a burning and shining light amidst the ignorance and darkness of the world. He must have a more than ordinary piety, and, with all that, a lively and deep sense of his own unworthiness impressed upon his soul. He must have that soft and gentle, that meek and humble, that charitable and compassionate temper, which Jesus requires more peculiarly of his ministers, and of which he himself was so bright a pattern. He must be willing, that all he is, and all he has, should be spent, and, as it were, absorbed in the service of God. For, the glory of God, in the salvation of souls, is the end in which all his prayers, desires, studies, labours, living and dying, ought to centre. And, if he may only promote this, he obtains his highest wish, his joy is fulfilled. For, his heart's desire is to sacrifice himself, his means, his health, his life, to Christ; begging of him to dispose absolutely of them all, for the advancement of his glory, in the salvation of his people. And if such, my young brethren, are not your morals, if such are not your sentiments and dispositions, you ought to have neither lot nor part in

this matter.

You must further examine, if you have talents suited to the sacred office to which you aspire. Moses himself, however well qualified by all his learning and wisdom, was afraid to enter on the embassy to

which God called him, because he was slow of speech. Men rush not on ordinary employments in life, without talents suited to these employmer.ts. And will you, without the proper qualifications, venture upon the most august and important office under heaven? "Were I desired," says Chrysostom,*"to pilot a "ship, with the most valuable cargo, through the "tempestuous Egean sea, I would retire with terror "from the dangerous office to which I was not equal." But how much more dangerous and important is the task of guiding souls to happiness? And how rash and mad must he be, who will undertake it without the proper qualifications? How many souls must he involve, together with his own, in one general ruin!

Besides talents, you must have an insatiable passion for study and improvement, without which the brightest talents will soon contract a rust, and become, in a great measure, useless to the world, and to their owner. He, therefore, who neglects to cultivate his talent, acts the same part with him' in the gospel, who hid it in a napkin, and may one day expect to share in his fate. But of this subject I have spoken already, and need not here enlarge. Let me rather call upon you, my young brethren, to examine, in the presence of the great Searcher of hearts, whether your views be upright, your morals pure, your talents good, and your application to study unwearied and unremitting. Examine, whether you

* De Sacerd.

have that knowledge, zeal, piety, meekness, love, and other qualifications mentioned, as belonging to the sacred character. If you have, we rejoice to give you the right hand of fellowship. And, when God thinks fit to call us away, we shall, with the greatest pleasure, resign our life, and resign our charge, when we have the view of being more worthily succeeded.

But, if you have not these qualifications, we tremble for the church, we tremble for the souls of whom you take the charge, but, most of all, we tremble for yourselves, when we see you come forward, with unhallowed hands, to touch the ark. Any pretence of a call to the sacred office, without these qualifications, is false. Without these you must not, therefore, rush upon an office with which God hath not honoured even angels. And, to thrust yourselves forward in the place of Christ, as his ambassadors, and to handle his ordinances, uncom missioned, uncalled, unqualified; heavens! what treasures of wrath must you heap on yourselves if you do it. You may perhaps think, that a call or commission from men may bear you out. Ah! no; their licence is but a permission to rush on to your own perdition; their imposition of hands is but the giving you over as a devoted victim, to the wrath of heaven. It is but loading your head, like that of the scape-goat of old (if I may use so sacred a type for a comparison,) not with your own sins, but with the sins of your people. Wherefore, my young brethren, I beseech you, let no vain imagination of profit, honour, or ease, impel you blindly on to this important office,

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