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When the mind is troubled about the one thing needful, some fly to their business and redouble their industry, to drive away thought.' They like not to tremble at God's word. Common blessings also prove snares. In short, the pretexts for delaying to the “ convenient season,” in awakened sinners, are innumerable: all think it time enough, counting upon days and years to come, though a moment may bring them to
We will fly to any thing, sooner than to Jesus, to ease the conscience. 'Tis sovereign grace alone, that constrains a resort to the precious Saviour. Is the minister of the Gospel faithful ? We abstain from hearing him, because we do not wish our peace destroyed. Does conscience speak?
We bid it go its way; we fly to company, to business, to pleasure ; we please ourselves with honours, riches, learning, and the like. All these baits which Satan uses, operate upon our corrupt nature, to destroy the efficacy of Gospel truth.
1. How necessary and valuable, then, is the Gospel ministry to strengthen the me
mory, and recall the attention to the one thing needful!
He who discharges the duties of this office aright, states the whole truth honestly; deals conscientiously with souls ; regards their good; and is above the consideration of perishing vanities. Though he often touches the feelings, and lays open unpleasant failings in a person, yet he speaks the truth. Another minister may speak more learnedly, write more elegantly, and be more eloquent, but he aims at the heart, and desires the happiness of his flock. Like a skilful physician, who probes the wound of a patient to the bottom, he honestly unfolds the character and state of every man, from the word of God. Such fidelity is absolutely necessary for the welfare of sinners. What is the design of the Gospel ministry ?
Is it not to enlighten the minds, and reform the lives of men, by leading them to the Lord Jesus for salvation ? And do not men need such care and instruction ? Are we not blinded by sin, prone to evil, and wanderers from the right way? If they who are appointed by God to teach and warn, do not perform
their duty, the consequences must be awful. But happy are those who enjoy upright ministers. Such servants of Christ are to be esteemed very highly in love for their work's sake. They may meet with difficulties in the discharge of their commission. Many love to remain in ignorance, and hate to be apprized of their danger. Their opposition, whilst it proves the necessity of faithfulness in the ministers, proves also the value of ministers thus faithful. Verily they are sent, like their Master, for the fall or rising of many in Israel. And they who love their Master, will love his servants also.
2. Immediate attention to, and reception of the Gospel, faithfully preached, is the duty of every man who hears it. Felix, by delaying such attention, ruined himself; and so thousands do in all ages. Awful is their mistake who cry,
“ Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep.” Only reflect for a moment upon the uncertainty of life. Who is sure of the next day? nay, of the next hour ? What is our life? “ It is
even a vapour, which appeareth for a little
h Prov. xxiv. 33.
time, and then vanisheth away".” How many
have been cut down in a moment, who looked to many years before them! We are exposed to accidents without number. In the midst of life, we are in death.
But even if life be continued, who can ensure a proper disposition at any future period to attend to religion ? Will not delay render attention to this subject more irksome and difficult? Habits grow stronger with years,
and become more rooted in our frame. These habits will present barriers insurmountable by human power. They who delay their reconciliation with God, rivet their chains to Satan, and seal their own hardness of heart, if God does not interpose in a sovereign way. The directions of Scripture are all intended to produce an immediate compliance with the call of the Gospel. “Behold, now is the ac“cepted time; behold, now is the day of sal“vation'.” “ To-day, if ye will hear his voice, “ harden not your heartsk.” There is no promise to those who defer duty to a future period. On the contrary, we have reason to apprehend the divine displeasure. They who slight his mercy when offered, cannot
h Jam. iv. 4.
i 2 Cor. vi. 2.
k Heb. iji. 7, 8.
expect it when they need it.“ Because I have “ called, and ye refused, I have stretched out
my hand, and no man regarded; I also “ will laugh at your calamity; I will mock 66 when
fear çometh'.” Solemn declaration! Awful truth! The Spirit of God will not always strive.
A time will come, when the things belonging to our peace will be hid from the contemners of Christ, and the slighters of his salvation. The patience of Jehovah will be exhausted by repeated provocations, and he will swear, “ These “ mine enemies shall not enter into my “ rest.”
Think of these things, ye who have hitherto not improved your enjoyment of a faithful ministry. God has knocked at your hearts for admittance, through the instrumentality of your late pastor'; but you have denied him. O! let him not still stand without, while he again renews his application through your present pastor. He has manifested the riches of his goodness unto you. Let his goodness lead you to repentance. Cast down your weapons of rebellion, and close with the offered mercy.
e Dr. Griffin.
d Prov. i. 24. 26. VOL. I.