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not truly pray for our minister: we cannot feel such an interest in his trials, as to present them before the throne of grace, and at the same time be unfriendly and uncandid towards him, and disposed to publish and exaggerate his failings and imperfections. My brethren, I will venture the enmity of the man who sincerely and daily prays for me, and carries my failings to the throne of grace. He will not exagerate them there; nor, after carrying them there, will he be disposed to exaggerate, or expose them elsewhere. To pray for our enemies tends to prevent or soften down the acerbity of feeling, which might otherwise exist, and to call into exercise a proper temper towards them. How important then, it is that we pray for ministers of the gospel, and especially for those, who watch for our souls! It will probably be a means of rendering them faithful; and will certainly tend to render us friendly and candid, and thus prepare our hearts to receive the word of God which they dispense, and to bring forth the fruits of inward godliness, in a well ordered life and conversation.
What remains is a brief
1. Do unfaithful ministers expose themselves to a dreadful condemnation, and should we therefore pray that they may be faithful? How unreasonable then it is, and how evidential of perverseness, to censure them, even in one's heart, for exhibiting such truths as are evidently contained in the bible! Can the bible be the word of God, and yet teach doctrines not to be preached, by those who are under obligations "to declare the whole counsel of God?" Indeed should any really differ from the preacher in sentiment, yet, to treat him unkindly, to speak of him with bitterness and malignity, or even cherish unfriendly feelings towards him in the heart, would be very disingenuous, and totally unchristian. Would
any serious mind think the better of a man, for withholding, or disguising what he supposed to be the truth, merely to please his hearers? Would any wish his minister not to be a man of integrity? Would he wish him to be a mere temporizer, who, even in speaking to God for immortal souls, would attempt to please at the expense of truth? Yet when any censure, or are angry with ministers for inculcating what they think to be the truth, they practically declare that they would have them disregard all honesty, truth, and duty. No person who sincerely prays for his minister will be guilty of this.
2. In view of what has been said, how important, how solemn, how arduous, must appear the undertaking, to preach the gospel to perishing sinners, and take the charge of immortal souls! And in this view, how solemn is the present occason, and how interesting the expected transaction of the ensuing week, to our young brother, the colleague pastor elect of this people!
You doubtless feel the transaction to be, in its consequences, infinitely important, and that you need the prayers of all the people of God, that you may be prepared for the scene. But we trust you have counted the cost, and sincerely committed the matter to God, saying, "Lord what wilt thou have me to do?" and that you are ready to serve, in the gospel of his Son, in this place, if he open to you the door, giving yourself unto this people, as their servant in Christ Jesus. Be exhorted still to give yourself to humiliation and prayer, that you may be prepared for the solemn day of your consecration. Should you be set apart to the ministry, Oh! how much would you need the presence of God in that transaction!-How much in the whole course of your work!-You are doubtless ready to say, as did Moses, "If thy presence go not up with me, take
me not hence." But while you feel your own insufficiency, and look to the head of the church, you may hope for his presence, to support and succced you, while laboring in his name, for he hath said, "Lo I am with you.".
3. Is the gospel ministry of so great importance to a people as we have seen; and faithfulness or unfaithfulness in it, of such serious influence and lasting consequence? Then, this day is also a solemn day to this church and society.
You are contemplating, my friends, an important transaction. Your aged pastor, having worn out his life and strength in your service, has the satisfaction of seeing you, who are all his children, united in the choice of one to be a colleague and successor in the ministry, to whom he can cheerfully leave you. You are hoping that the great head of the church is about to bestow upon you an ascension gift,—a pastor after his own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding. If you are sensible of the value of such a gift, you will be humble on this day in view of your unworthiness; and will rejoice on the day appointed for the bestowment, with humble thankfulness and holy joy. Such a gift, God grant that you may receive, and that we may all be prepared to give up an account of the improvement of our talents. Amen.
REST FOR THE PEOPLE OF GOD.
HEBREWS IV. 9.
There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.
THE apostle in this chapter is endeavoring to
show, that for Christians under the gospel, as well as the Israelites, there is a rest as an object of their hopes and labors-a rest, typified by God's resting on the seventh day, and blessing it; and by Israel's resting in the land of Canaan. He proves this, by the words of David in the ninety-fifth Psalm, which intimate that there was then a rest to be obtained by God's people; and that, in order to possess it, they must hear his voice, and not, as their fathers were, be unbelieving and disobedient.
The reasoning of the apostle, in brief, is this: that if Joshua had given to the Israelites that final rest, which God intends for his people, David would not have spoken of another rest which was future, as he did, even when they were in possession of Canaan. He therefore draws the conclusion in the text, that "there remaineth a rest to the people of God."Suffer me, my brethren, to lead your minds, from these words,