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reflection! to endure the curses of the God of heaven, in your souls and bodies for ever and ever, without any mixture of mercy! Those bodies which
appear in the house of God, in the time of his solemn worship, in a careless and indecent manner, will be far from levity when summoned to the judgement. The wicked will be filled with horrour, when their eyes shall behold the Lord Jesus revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Those ears that now listen to the enchanting sounds of temptation and wickedness, and hear the inviting calls of the gospel with indifference and disgust, will be everlasting inlets of anguish to the soul. How will both the soul and body of every Christless sinner be overwhelmed with agony and seized with eternal consternation, when their final sentence, Depart from me, ye cursed ! shall be pronounced. Let me remark, that as glorious and delightful as the doctrine of the resurrection is to saints, so inglorious and dreadful must it be to sinners.
7th. This subject is precious and profitable to saints.
By living a few years in these animal bodies, we naturally become attached to them; and it is affecting to think they must shortly decay, become putrefaction, and a mass of vile dust. With secret disgust, and painful sensations our minds turn from the thought
But in joyful contemplation, the believer with an eye of faith, can look beyond the grave to the resurrection, which will cause an amazing and glorious alteration. Is such a one afflicted with bodily infirmities, pained with acute diseases ? Do
Do any bear a weak, decaying body, which retards them in their journey towards the heavenly Canaan? Let such take courage, and not despond. Be comforted and strengthened; for in the resurrection, God shall wipe away all tears from your eyes, and there shall
be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying; neither shall there be any more pain. Yes, your light and temporary afflictions will shortly be exchanged for an eternal and inconceivable weight of glory.
They who have lost near and dear pious relatives and friends may receive consolation in the view of this subject. Have some of you, my hearers, seen the eyes of such, which once sparkled with life and beauty, rolled in death; that tongue, which once instructed and encouraged, sealed in solemn silence; and the whole frame a lifeless corpse, turning to the food of worms? Console yourselves. At the resurrection, their bodies will be rendered incorruptible, glorious, spiritual bodies, fashioned like unto Christ's own glorious body. Then let divine light illumine your understandings : Let heavenly rays beam with consolation upon your souls.
Christian friends, O! frequently contemplate the wonderful, the delightful, and glorious change your frail, decaying tabernacles will experience in the morn of the resurrection. Extend your thoughts a little forward, what divine and blessed realities are presented! And shall not the prospect of the glories of the heavenly world inspire you with Christian fortitude, under the trials of your pilgrimage state? It is your privilege to be profited here below, in the view of the precious, extatick truths flowing from this subject. Yet a little while, and you will mount triumphing on the celestial wings of a glorified body, soaring for ever higher in degrees of perfection; and with seraphick love, shouting God's praises in endless day. Amen.
MINISTERS OF THE GOSPEL ENCOURAGED TO HOLD FORTH
VARIETY, AS A PROMINENT TRAIT IN THEIR PUBLICK DISCOURSES.
Matthew xii. 52.
Every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of
heaven, is like unto a man that is a householder, which
bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old. THESE words the Saviour addressed to his disciples immediately after the delivery of a number of important parables. They seem to have been apart from the multitude; and he demanded of them whether they understood the things he had related. They readily answered in the affirmative, though perhaps too confidently. Christ, however, did not administer rebuke ; but his answer tended to show the importance of their being skilled in the mysteries of the kingdom of God. Jesus saith unto them, Have ye understood all these things? They say unto him, Yea, Lord: Then said he unto them. Therefore, every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven, is like unto a man that is a householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure, things new and old.
Now let us attend to a brief exposition of these words. The scribes were at this time the teachers of the Jews, under the Jewish dispensation : and the Apostles, with their successors in the ministry, were to be the teachers of the Gentiles, under the Christian dispensation. Every one of them, therefore, ought to be a scribe well instructed in all things per. taining to the kingdom of heaven. This the Saviour
represented under the similitude of a householder, who has to provide for a large family. Such a one
, will take care to have a stock of provisions on hand for their supply, to which he will be continually adding those things which he judges needful or useful. Thus the people would depend on the Apostles and other ministers of Christ as stewards of the mysteries of God, who were appointed to dispense to them the bread of life. They should, therefore, carefully treasure up in their understanding and heart, what they had learned ; and add to their fund of knowledge continually, by deriving fresh instruction from what they see, hear, and experience. Then they would be able to bring forth old truth, with new observations, illustrations, and exhortations; and to lead the people forward in knowledge, as they made progress themselves. In accordance with these remarks, the apostle Paul addresses his Corinthian brethren in the following terms: Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. Thus we are reminded, That they ought to be diligent, who have not only to be wise for themselves, but to dispense the wisdom of God to others.
These introductory observations serve to show that by the term scribe, is to be understood a minister of the gospel. But to be qualified for this important office and station, a man must be taught of God, by having his heart renewed by his holy Spirit, and his understanding richly stored with the manifold truths of divine revelation. Moreover, such a one will bring forth froin his extensive store of knowledge, things both new and old, to the people of his stewardship. One great object in his studies and rea searches, will be to have variety in his instructions.
In the prosecution of the present subject, my design is to exhibit some of the encouragements, and show how important it is that ministers of the gospel
hold forth variety as a prominent trait in their pullick discourses. But, while at the threshold, let me remark, that I am not presuming to give directions to those men whose eminent piety, experience, profound erudition, or elevated stations, have rendered them highly venerable. Let me freely confess as it respects my own character as a sinner, or as to my christian walk, I feel myself the least worthy of the ministerial office. Notwithstanding, a humble hope is entertained that the present discourse will prove profitable to both saints and sinnere, and even to some in the gospel ministry.
Then let me not waive the point in view; but let it be freely granted, that the kingdom of God is, sufficiently large to produce materials for subjects new as well as old ; not only for one, or for ten years, but for the longest period of our mortal existence. In general, the field is as vast as the works of creation, providence, and redemption, which God has made known to man; and ideas and motives may be presented as varied and interesting as can be drawn from heaven, earth, and hell. The Lord has not limited those who are called to preach his word, as it respects means of knowledge and excellent attainments; but he has made rich provision and given ample scope for the continued enlargement of all the human faculties, and the improvement of ministerial gifts and talents. As their station is an elevated and important one, which must be supported by a rich treasure and increasing revenue, so an extensive, an unbounded field is furnished to yield copious and permanent supplies. And if any are straitened, it cannot be for the want of means and diversity of objects; but because they will not arise to take an extensive view of the kingdom of God.
It is sometimes observed, that ministers of the gospel should be dismissed from the people of their charge, to take the oversight of some other congregation; and the reason assigned is expediency: as