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preacher would have had any thing to say to me But when he began to talk about conversion, every word came home with that conviction and power, as if he had looked me full in the face, and said expressa ly, Thou art the man. He told me all that ever I did; and so shook me over the bottomless pit, that I believe my face gathered paleness. I am sure that my knees smote one against another; and my heart melted within me like wax. He then poured the balm of Gilead into my bleeding wounds, and told me, that if I would believe in Christ, I should certainly be saved. He said so much of the glory and grace of the Saviour, what he was originally, and what he condescended to become for my sake ; he described how freely he shed his blood, and how powerfully he pleads it, and he applied it all so particularly to me, that it seemed as if Christ came into the world on purpose to save my soul from ruin. It appeared as if Christ himself had smiled upon me, and had graciously said, “ Come unto me,
" Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest;" and was it not a reality? It could not be the minister. I have heard him many times before, and have attended upon many better preachers than he, and yet have never been so much affected. It must be God Almighty himself who put the words into his mouth, and made them so powerful for my conviction and comfort."
In this manner, you see, God secures the glory of his grace: and this is what he designed by choosing such instruments as are evidently insufficient to produce the intended, effect. “ For ye see your calling,
“ brethren,” says the Apostle ;'how that not many
wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise ; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world, to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen; yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things which are; that no flesh should glory in his presence." :. I must add, that the power of God is displayed in the continuance of the gospel, notwithstanding the weakness and frailty of ministers. Sometimes we see a minister, eminently furnished with gifts and graces, who is a burning and shining light, and by whom the whole of the neighbourhood is benefited. The pleasure of the Lord prospers in his hand; and happy are they who are able to light their taper at his torch. In the midst of his labours and usefulness, a fever, or a consumption, or an apoplexy, stops his breath; and the news of his death flies swiftly through the congregation, and the wide circle of his religious acquaintance. Consternation and despair seize every heart." What will become of the church now? It is all over. The interest in that place will come to nothing." So we run ourselves out of breath, with our distrustful and desponding conclusions. But God'will have all the churches know, that he needs not a particular instrument to carry on his work; that he could do without any, if he pleased; that it was he who furnished that minister, whose death we think will be so ruinous, and that he can easily raise up another, and another. A moment's reflection convinces us of the justness of the reproof.
“ Our fathers, where are they; and the prophets, do they live for ever?" You can look back, and reckon many respectable men, who have often stood in this place, and displayed the treasures of the glorious gospel. But though they were eminently useful while they lived, the gospel died not with them. The Lord of the harvest, you see, has sent forth another labourer into this part of the vineyard, and I trust he is come to you in the fulness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ. “ Surely it is the Lord's doing; and it is marvellous in our eyes.”
This subject teaches us not to think meanly of the gospel, on account of the infirmities of those who administer it.
It is in itself a treasure, though in earthen vessels. Though there be little in us to recommend it, it ought to be esteemed for its own excellency. The Apostle thus speaks to the praise of the Galatians : " Ye know how through infirmities of the flesh, I preached the gospel to you at first; and my temptation, which was in my flesh, ye despised not, nor rejected, but received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus.” So we wish that the gospel might not suffer in your esteem, by any contempt or reproach that'may be cast upon us. If a prince were to make you a present of a purse of gold, or a casket of jewels, would you refuse to accept of it, or would you think it less valuable, because it was sent by the hand of a common person? No, surely ; nor should our insignificance prejudice you against the gospel which' we preach. When we come to you as ambassadors of Christ, to treat with you about matters of infinite and everlasting moment; when we tell you words whereby you may be saved," do not throw away a thought about us. What signifies it who or what we may be? Let your attention be fixed on our Divine Master and message; and if Christ increase, we care not how much we may decrease.
Be not too severe upon the infirmities of ministers. Remember that we are but earthen vessels. If we have, indeed, this treasure in us, and give good proof of it, by the soundness of our doctrine, and tbe éxemplary holiness of our lives, then bear with any little imperfections which you may perceive. For we, as well as you, know but in part ; and are sanctified in part. If the world bear hard upon us, let us find countenance and support from you, If we should not always do as we ought, or, at least, as you think that we ought, do not show an unkind forwardness to censure and expose us. I mean not by this to insinuate, that you should let sin lie upon us; as if we thought that, because we are ministers, we might be as wicked as we please, and nobody had a right to give us a reproof. An immoral minister is, of all characters, the most inconsistent and detestable: and, if ever any of us should be so lost to religion and decency, we have no right to complain, if you, and all the world, should slight and despise us. All I meant was, that if you observed in us any peculiarities of temper, any defect in punctilio, any little inadvertencies in our conduct or conversation, you would cover it with the mantle of love ; and not let us suffer for it in your own good esteem, or perpit us to suffer in the opinion of others.
Further, give God the glory of all the benefit that you receive by our ministrations.
Some benefit, we hope, that you will receive. It were sad, indeed, if you should have such treasure set before you, and after all, look upon it in vain; and yet we have reason to fear that this will be the condition of many. It goes to the heart of a faithful and affectionate minister, who watches for souls, as one that must give account, to think that, when that account is called for, he shall probably be obliged to bear witness against any of those with whom he was so intimately connected. But I was admonishing those who have found benefit under our preaching, to give honour to whom honour is due. If you have been converted, or comforted, ascribe it not to the minister, nor say, “O there never was such a man in the world! He always speaks in a manner exactly suited to my experience and circumstances. I am bound to love him as long as I live. I can never be distressed; at least I can never be overwhelmed while I bear such a minister.” Ah! my friends, if you tell this minister so, and he should be weak enough to receive the flattering incense, it might be bad in the end for him and you.
« For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos , are ye not carnal? Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed ; even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then, neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth ; but God that giveth the increase.
Finally, brethren, pray for us. You see what fee. ble creatures we are. You are not unacquainted with the great work to which we are called; and you know to what hardships and hazards we are exposed. Re.