Imatges de pÓgina
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creatures, unworthy of God's favour, and unfit for heaven-obnoxious, on account of their wilful sins, to God's displeasure, and fitted for destruction. Then, under the sense of their guilt and misery, they will be disposed gratefully to receive the doctrine of salvation through the merits of that Saviour who must be displayed to them as the Word made flesh, paying, in the sacrifice of the cross, the infinite price of their redemption. They must be taught that there is salvation in no other; but that in him, the Son of God, there is fulness of redemption and grace. They must be taught, that to become partakers of this salvation, they must exercise a true and lively faith-with the heart as well as the understanding embracing the joyful truth, that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners.

But the faithful minister of Christ, while he thus makes faith the leading principle of salvation, must be careful to maintain the necessity of good works as its fruits, and of that spiritual change which, renewing the soul to righteousness, can alone qualify it for the presence and enjoyment of God. Viewing, agreeably to the dictates of reason and the declarations of Scripture, the faith which is the principle of salvation, not as an irresistible, but a moral principle, he will inculcate the necessity of cherishing it, of preserving it, and of calling it into active exercise, by diligence, by resolution, by watchfulness, and especially by the participation of the ordinances of that church to which, as the body of Christ, all his faithful members must be united, and in which they are quickened, sanctified, and comforted, by that Holy Spirit which he bestows upon it. It is a truth generally overlooked,

almost wholly, I may say, disregarded in the present day, but which prominently appears in the writings of inspired apostles, and which was earnestly cherished by the primitive Christians, that by communion with the church, the mystical body of the Redeemer, by the participation of its apostolic ministrations and ordinances, in the exercise of penitence and faith, must communion be maintained with its divine Head. The nature of this church of Christ, therefore, and of those sacraments and ordinances by which communion with it is to be maintained, and the orders and authority of that ministry by which these sacraments and ordinances are to be administered, and this spiritual society governed, are important parts of the plan of salvation, which it is the indispensable duty of the Christian minister to explain and enforce. With unceasing solicitude he will call on those who are without the fold of the Redeemer, to enter into it by baptism, that they may thus be translated from their natural state into a state of salvation. The young, who, by this holy sacrament, were made in infancy members of Christ, children of God, and heirs of the kingdom of heaven, he will diligently prepare, by catechetical instruction, for ratifying their baptismal privileges in the laying on of hands. He will earnestly exhort all the members of Christ's mystical body to maintain their communion with him, its divine Head, by devoutly participating of the life-giving symbols of the body and blood of their Lord. And he will excite them, by every motive of gratitude, duty, and interest, by the hopes of heaven promised to the faithful, by the fears of hell denounced against the disobedient, to walk worthy of the voVOL. II. 31

cation wherewith they are called, and to adorn the doctrine of God their Saviour in all things; and to exhibit with increasing lustre, in the progress of their Christian course, all the graces of the Spirit, by which only they can be fitted for the inheritance of the saints in light.

In the illustration and defence of divine truth, and in the addresses and exhortations of the sanctuary, he will seek to exert all the powers of reasoning, and all the force of elocution, that he may both convince the judgment and permanently engage the affections of the heart.

But whatever may be the fidelity, the zeal and earnestness with which the minister of Christ discharges the duty of preaching the word, if those to whom he dispenses it, value the addresses of the sanctuary solely or principally as they gratify the fancy, the taste, or the passions; if, while, as the messenger of the Most High, he denounces the terrors of a violated law, unfolds the truths of the everlasting Gospel, and proclaims the promises of mercy to a lost race; if, while he is enforcing truths of infinite moment, the conduct of those to whom he ministers is marked by indifference, inattention, or levity-his preaching will be in vain-alas! it will be worse than in vain; for his divine Master hath declared-"Whoso heareth you, heareth me; and whoso despiseth you, despiseth me." If, however attentive they may be in the sanctuary to the exhortations which he delivers, they permit the business or the pleasures of the world to dissipate the serious thoughts and pious resolutions which were excited and formed-in vain to them will prove the preaching of the word. For, concerning these negligent and unprofitable hearers, God hath

pronounced a fearful sentence-" Because I have called and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; but ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: I also will laugh at your calamity: I will mock when your fear cometh; when your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: for that they hated knowledge, and would not choose the fear of the Lord: they despised all my counsel; and would none of my reproof; therefore they shall eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices."

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3. Lastly. Important and interesting, in respect to parochial duties, is the priest's office, and the relation which the people sustain to it.

In his intercourse with his flock, the Christian pastor should be an example not only of a blameless, but of a holy life. He should exhibit not only a character in which malevolence can detect no stain, but one which attracts universal esteem, by the lustre of those holy, and mild, and benevolent graces which adorn it, and which endear him to his people, not only as their guide and pastor, but as their friend. Shunning that sanctimonious piety which, as it haughtily stalks abroad, seems to say to every one in its progress" Stand off from me, for I am holier than thou;" he will seek, by the cheerfulness, and the kindness, and the condescension that distinguish his deportment, to diffuse happiness in every circle in which he moves, and

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to heighten those innocent joys of social and domestic intercourse which, while they unbend and relax, refine and exalt the mind and the heart. But, never losing sight of the sacred nature of that calling which ranks him as a worker with his divine Lord in the salvation of the souls of men, he will not descend to the commission of slight indecorum, still less will he degrade the sanctity of his character by approaching the precincts of unhallowed indulgence. Steadily keeping in view the object to which the most solemn vows have devoted him, the turning sinners to righteousness, he will permit no opportunity to escape in which, without infringing on the laws of courtesy and propriety, (for religion does not dispense with them,) he may impress some religious truth, or enforce some moral precept. The constant tenour of his life and conversation, the fervour of his zeal, the fidelity of his labours, will all evince that the service to which his divine Lord calls him, occupies his supreme solicitude; that the advancement of that church which the Redeemer purchased with his blood, and which is the fold in which the sheep of Christ are secured from the snares of error and the paths of sin, and nourished and prepared, in truth and holiness, for the glories of the heavenly rest, is the object which engrosses the highest powers of his understanding, and the most elevated affections of his heart.

Behold the faithful minister in the discharge of his parochial duties. Behold him mild, for his blessed Lord was gentle; yet, when duty demands, like that Master, resolute. You behold him humble, for his Master was meek and lowly; yet, when the interests of his Master are concerned, zealous and

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