Imatges de pÓgina
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hath given for edification not for destruction, let him act with peculiar tenderness and humility. He must indeed declare the whole truth of the Gospel, he must have a conscientious regard to Christian discipline in the church, he

may at times be compelled even to rebuke offenders sharply, that they may be sound in the faith ; but in doing this, let him guard, above all things, against his own spirit, against self-will, against intemperance and heat, against harshness and disdain. Let him feel and act with evident pain and reluctance; and let him rejoice in confirming again his love to those who have fallen. Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles, said our Saviour, exercise. dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them; but it shall not be so among you ; but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister, and whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister and to give his life a ransom for many.

And here it is to be observed, that the Apostle doth not say, Neither as being lords over the flock; but neither as being lords over GOD'S HERITAGE — the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood — the flock which he claims as supreme Lord, which he esteems as his portion and peculiar treasure, over which he only has dominion, and delegates to his ministers merely the stewardship. Not that we have dominion over your faith, saith the great Apostle of the Gentiles, but are helpers of your joy; for by faith ye stand. The office of the ministry is not a tyranny, but an administration.

It is to be noted also, that St. Peter, in the text, doth not oppose to ambition, humility by name, but an universal holiness, which includes that as well as every other grace. To constraint indeed he had explicitly opposed willingness; to filthy lucre readiness of mind; but here he varies the terms of the contrast, and says, Neither as being lords over God's heritage; but being ENSAMPLES TO THE FLOCK; leaving it, as it were, to every one's conscience to say, what that ambition is which is opposed to a holy example-and what would be the state of the church, if the people imitated the turbulence and love of rule which he condemns. Let a minister only remember that he is to be the ensample to the flock, and he will soon learn what ought to be his own spirit, from the temper he would wish to see in their conduct towards himself and towards each other.

This is, then, the last and most important branch of the Christian shepherd's spirit, to be an ENSAMPLE to the flock, in all kindness, in forbearance, in meekness, in humility, in patience, in long suffering—as one who is indebted to the same mercy as they, is partaker of the same infirmities, has need of the same forbearance and compassion, is struggling with the same enemies, and marching through the same wilderness to the same heavenly Canaan. The most essential quality of a minister's mind is TENDERNESS ; just as in the shepherd the very first requisite is consideration for the feeble nature of the sheep, whom he has to conduct in all gentleness as they are able to bear it, and to whom he is to be the ensample and guide for them to follow. Like the divine Saviour, he must feed his flock like a shepherd, he must gather the lambs in his arms, and carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with

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But I pause. Perhaps I have already said too much: for after this view, bowever imperfect, of the duties and temper of the Christian shepherd, I need scarcely assure you, my brethren, that it is with unfeigned diffidence I have entered on such a subject. I cannot hope to come up, even by a distant resemblance, to this lovely pattern. But I have honestly set before you what I conceive to be the scriptural doctrine on this point, in order the more forcibly to bind my own conscience on this solemn occasion, in the sight of God, and in the pre

sence of you the flock of his heritage. Educated from early youth in the strict principles of the Church of England, and having by a course of theological study for seven and twenty years, been more and more confirmed in my attachment to the doctrine and discipline and ecclesiastical platform of that apostolical church, I am fully convinced that nothing is wanting to constitute her more and more, and in the fullest sense of the term, a blessing to our country, but a correspondent conduct and temper on the part of her clergy. I am quite persuaded that we want no changes in the church; it is in ourselves, who minister at her altar, that a change, if

any, is required. In proportion as we understand the real principles and spirit of our martyrs and reformers, and imbibe the doctrines of our Articles, Liturgy, Homilies, and Ordination Services, in their plain unsophisticated sense, shall we preach effectually the real Gospel of Christ, ensure the blessing of God on our labours, fix the affections of our parishes, and save souls.

I hope I may say it will be my prayer and desire to endeavour to act thus. I hope I shall make it my study to teach Christian doctrine, and maintain Christian discipline according to the pure and scriptural formularies of our Church. I hope it will be my first object to feed you, as the flock of God, with the sound and wholesome nutriment of the di

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vine word; to take all the care and oversight of you which the circumstances of an immense parish will allow; and in doing this, to avoid reluctance, covetousness, ambition; and to act with cheerfulness, with devotion of heart, and, above all, with unfeigned humility.

Nor do I doubt that I shall be supported in my feeble efforts by the constituted authorities in this place, by the chief persons of weight and consideration in its different quarters, and by parents and heads of families generally. I shall peculiarly need your aid. My state of health will, as I fear, disqualify me for some months for any the least exertion. Even now I am acting directly contrary to the injunctions of my physician. But if I were ever so strong, a minister can do little by himself. You must help me in your families and respective neighbourhoods, by the due performance of family devotion, by a conscientious observance of the sabbath, by the instruction of your children and servants, by maintaining and increasing our schools, by concurring in all reasonable plans for the enlargement of our accommodations for public worship, by discountenancing vice and immorality, and encouraging piety and virtue, in those dependant upon you: in short, by becoming yourselves truly the sheep of Christ by a lively faith, and acting as such in every part of

your conduct.

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