Imatges de pÓgina
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SERM. wilful breach of God's laws must necessa

rily lead to. It is truly melancholy then to reflect, what fatal mistakes men are apt to make in this respect; how disposed they are to treat those as their most hateful and obnoxious enemies, who are in reality their truest and best friends: how prone they are even to take arms against those who would do them a real and lasting service; and to give way to lusts and passions, that are all the while warring against their souls. But what then is to be done; is no advice to be given? Are those who can see, not to stretch out their hand to save the blind from falling into the ditch ? Are we to suffer our fellow , creatures to rush rudely on to their destruction, and tell them nothing of the dreadful precipice in their way? Are we to manifest our friendship by letting them perish untaught and unadvised? Are we to let them wander, and not turn aside to guide them into the paths of peace? No, this is not the part of a man; certainly not of a Christian! We ought all of us, one with another, like the blessed Saviour of

the

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the world, to put ourselves forward, to be SERM. eyes to the blind, and feet to the lame! B it the Lord of Heaven, who knoweth whereof we are made, has not really left this matter to the mere option and will of mån. He has not only given us a law, but he has provided for our constant instruction in it. He has not only spoken the word, but appointed a succession of stewards and ministers to guard and preserve it, and to secure obedience to it. Now it must needs be admitted, that not only in this high and important trust, but even in lesser matters, it is always “ required in stewards " that a man be found faithful *;" not temporising with those they have to deal with, but steadily and honestly administering the business of their trust, regardful only of the charge committed to their care. He, therefore, who is called to be an apostle of the Lord, should judge it

small thing to be judged of man's judgment,in the advice he may think it incumbent on him to give, or the reproofs he may feel it necessary to pronounce;

he

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* 1 Cor. iv, 2.

must

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SERM. must boldly maintain the truth, and boldly

make it known to the very worst of sinners if they come in his way, leaving it to his Lord and Master to vindicate him in the last day, when the time shall come for setting right the perverse opinions and prejudices of mankind, and for making manifest the hidden counsels of the hearts, What a glorious example did our blessed Lord set us, not only of boldness in doing the work of his Father that had sent him, but of that calm and patient courage which the minister of truth should always manifest; who,“ when he was reviled," (as trying a persecution perhaps as any we can be exposed to) “ reviled not again ;” when even through the malice of his enemies he suffered, he threatened not,” but committed bimself to Him that judgeth righ

teously." What an example did the Apostle St. Paul, whose words I am preaching from, set us, through the long and trying course of his ministry. Not only did he despise some of the sorest calamities, and bitterest misfortunes of human life, in travelling about to propagate the truth, but even where his reputation stood high, and

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his popularity was great, never would he sERM. pass over a fault to preserve any false fame.

. It is on this account that his Epistles in general have a peculiar effect and interest; for they were most of them written in consequence of some notice he had received, in his absence from those he was addressing, of their being in danger of falling into error, and of being seduced from the faith, In that particular Epistle, whence my text is taken, and in the words of my text themselves, he proceeds upon this principle. It seems he had been the first to cnlighten the Galatians, and draw them away from their idolatrous corruptions to the profession of Christianity; in doing which, as it appears, they had shewn themselves abundantly sensible of their obligations to him, and manifested a regard for him, bordering almost upon enthusiasm : I bear

you record,says he, “ that if it had been
possible, ye would have plucked out your

eyes and have given them to me." This was so great popularity, that surely if hę had only coveted mere human glory, he would have rested contented, and meddled

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SERM. with them no more; at least not at any

risk. But St. Paul was not such a time-
server; he was always equally prepared
to censure their misdoings, as though he
had no fame to lose, and therefore, as soon
as he had notice given him of their be-
ing in a wavering state, and in danger
from false teachers, he freely admonished
them, reminding them of his former re-
gard for them, and of their attachment to
him, and boldly demanding of them at
once, whether he was to be considered as
their s
enemy,

" because for the purposes of
wholesome correction and advice, he had
judged it right to tell them the truth.
The regular ministers, of the present day,
stand in the place of the Apostles of old.
They have the same word to preach, the
same sacraments to administer; the same
threatenings against sin to denounce, the
same promises of pardon and forgiveness,
through the blood of Christ, to proclaim;
of them, undoubtedly, is required the same
vigilance to preserve those committed to
their charge, from all errors either of faith
or practice; from the seduction of false

teachers

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