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ercise the christian graces and discharge the christian duties. The recollections of former experience, and the conclusions as to our state thence drawn, afford no sensible enjoyment, save as they contribute to induce the repetition or renewal of gracious exercises. To look, therefore, for growth in grace, by a dull monotonous use of outward means, is just as unauthorised, and will prove as fruitless, as in the unconverted sinner's case. Truth is the means of the Spirit's influence, as well for sanctifying as for regenerating, and the ordinances are but outward, formal, stated, modes of exhibiting that truth. Unless the words of Christ abide in us, and we give our attention and interested thoughts to the great concerns of our soulsoften fix them in contemplation of Christ and his cross, and through the sacraments, and prayer in all its various modes-especially in secret, let our minds and hearts be engaged in close communion with God, actually loving Him, actually believing what He says, actually repenting of our sins, actually fearing and hoping in Him,-there will, there can be no spiritual improvement, and no satisfactory evidence of our affiliation. Hence the apostle exhorts professing christians to "desire the sincere milk of the word that they may grow thereby, if so be they have tasted that the Lord is gracious. “Wherefore holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the apostle and high-priest of our profession, Christ Jesus."2 "They that are Christ's have crucified the affections and lusts. If we live in the spirit, let us also walk in the spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain-glory, provoking one another, envying one another." Such are the means of conversion and of growth in grace approved and rendered efficacious of God. Let us beware how we substitute others. In so doing we shall violate alike our com
1. 1.Pct. ij. 2, 3.
3. (al. v. 24-26.
2. Heb. iii. 1.
mission as ministers of the gospel,--the principles of our natore as rational voluntary agents, -and the whole constitution through which God has ordained that the efficacious influence of His Holy Spirit, shall be exerted for the conversion and sanctification of sinners.
His own example, and his own exhortation, evidently designed and calculated to induce our interested attention, and the entire consecration of ourselves to Him, are a suficient testimony in favor of the praipes, and warrant for the mode of procedure, which we advocate. “Those things hast thou done, and I kept silence. Thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself: but I will reprove thee and set them in order before thine eyes. Now consider this, ye that forget God, lest 1 tear you in pieces and there be none to deliver." "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet they shall be as white as show; though they be red like crimson they shall be as wool.” “Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labor for that which satisfieth not? Hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your car and come unto me, hear and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David."" "If ye then be risen with Christ seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right handof God. Sel your affections on things above, not on things on the earth.”
1. Psalm l. 21, 22. 2. Isai. i. 18. 3. Isai, lv. 244. 4. Col. m. 1, 2.
Tas subject stated in a further inference from the fact of the Spirit's moral
suasion, viz:5: It is only as the ministry of Christ exhibits the truth, so as to prove the vehicle of the Spirit's influence, that their ministration, become efficient--The ministry, the more immediate means, employed by the Spirit, for the exhibition of His truth--Mat. xxviii. 18-20: Rom. 1. 14, 15: 2 Cor. vi. 1: 1 Cor. lii. 9: iv. 15–Iriquiry whether there is such a mode of exhibiting the truth, as to prove the efficacious instru. ment of the Spirit's influence--The answer turns upon the particular philosophical views, which may be held, as to the character of the Spirit's agency–Not in the nature of man to take a lively interest in mystic op. erations--1. It is essential there should be the exhibition of scHIPTUBAL truth-- This mode of preaching, opposed to various, which lave at dif. ferent times obtained--Danger of preaching and studying systems of the. ology, and the iinpcrtance of every candidate for the ministry, learning for himself from the moutlı of God, what is to be believed and taughtDanger also of preaching the dogmas of sect--2. Those evangelical truths should be seleeted, and most frequently urged, which are appropriate to the general condition of men-- Various truthis to be variously exhibited-But "Cunist ANO u.. CHUCIFI7.0," the grand cardinal theme--3. The exhibitions of truth, should be adapted to the complex nature of man-Not deferring to the taste of unbelieving minds, but being adapted to the intellect, the heart, and the conscience of men-The inefficiency and mischief of 2 dechmatary style of preaching-Also where it is purely intellectuai---The importance of actual frieling in the preacher, appropri. ate to his theire--Tre best method, to preseive te intellect and heart in union, ie to address conscience--1. It is important, that in his exhibition of truth, the minister of Christ should be found co-operating with the Spiris--God's design in the preaching of the gospel, is the reconciliation of sinners to Himself--For ministers to lose sight o? this end, is to cease from co-operation with God-Different pernicious ends sometimes aimed at in preaching the gospel--Animadversions on the spirit of sectarism
Co-operation with God, in the display of the temper and spirit, which characterised the Saviour, ip His ministry--Care also necessary, lest in our exhibition of truth, we violate any of the known laws, by which God
If it is the truth, in the hands of the Spirit, that is efficacious for the conversion and sanctification of the sinner, it is easy to perceive the secret of ministerial success, and the duty of every one, who bears the high commission of an ambassador of peace. To His co-operation must he look for all his efficiency. Without it, he will never win a soul to Christ. It becomes, therefore, a very interesting and solemn question, to every one who would convert singers, from the error of their ways, how they may best exhibit the truth, so as to secure the co-operation of the Spirit, and render their ministrations successful. We shall adventure a reply to this question, in the present chapter, as the great practical issue of all our previous discussion, and as tending to show the manner in which this subject stands connected with the permanent interests of the Divine Gorernment. This we shall do by introducing to the readers attention, the fifth and last inference, out of many we might submit, from the fact of the Spirit's moral suasion, being the efficient agency, exerted for the conversion of the sinconfirmation of the truth, which requires our attention. Its importance we deem to be of infinite moment, not only as it may affect the interests of particular individuals, destined to an endless existence; but also as it effects those of the divine Government in general.
5. That since ministerial success depends on the agency of the Spirit, and since the truch is the instrument of that agency, it is only as the ministry of Christ, exhibit the truth so as to prove the vehicle of the Spirit's influence, that their ministrations become efficient. The truth of the general position, will not be disputed by one who believes, that the great apostle of the Gentiles spake the truth, when he said, "Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man! It is the illustration, therefore, rather than the
1 1 Cor. i. 5.
It is the ministry of reconciliation, by means of which, in a more especial manner, God is pleased to operate for the subjugation of the rebellious minds and hearts of men. When our Lord Jesus Christ put into the hands of the apostles, their high and extensive commission. He prefixed it by a declaration, which shews, that they stand closely allied, in the exercise of their functions, with the loftiest anthority in the universe,--that they do indeed come forth from the very throne of the Grand Universal Sovereign,and that their instructions are stamped and emblazoned with JEHOran's great seal of state. "All power,” said He, just before He ascended to Ilis throne, -"all power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you, and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen!" With the mission and execution of their trust, the apostle identifies the spread of the gospel, and the extension of the Redeemers sway. “How shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? As it is written, how beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” And, in the execution of their trust, the same apostle does not hesitate to denominate them, "WORKING TOGETHER (with
1 Mat. xxviii. 18-20.
2 Rom. X. 14, 15.