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the church. But when the officers of the church inflict its moral and religious censures justly, though a careless world and an unbelieving age may affect to despise them, they are really more awful than any temporal punishments. Christ the great head of the church sanctions them, and they are the harbingers of an eternal retribution. Reverence them, therefore, brethren, that they may become, what they were intended to be, a salutary discipline to correct the wanderings of your souls.
4th. If the trust of your pastors be arduous and their character easily susceptible of a stain, then they have a sacred claim upon their people to make them reasonable allowances, and to shield them from unjust aspersions. To observe a tender and sympathetic spirit among those of whom he has the charge will ever be a most grateful and encouraging circumstance to any minister of the gospel who possesses a soul of sensibility. It will animate him to double diligence. It will make him bear every difficulty, not only with patience, but with pleasure, in the service of such a people. On the contrary, it must require the constant exercise of a martyr's faith to discharge, with suitable fidelity, the duties of the ministerisl trust, to an unfeeling, anreasonable, and ungrateful flock. I admit, indeed, that every minister ought to be able to say with the apostle, “ I am willing to spend and to be spent for you, though the more I love you the less I be loved;" but it should be remembered, notwithstanding, that this is a high attainment, which is rarely made in fact, and that the people who call a minister to this trial are likely to have but very little benefit from his labours. Mistake me not, my brethren. For a man, in the sacred office, whose general character is bad we plead for no indulgence. He merits the abhorrence of all, and let him receive it. But when you have no reason to doubt, either the piety or the general fidelity of those who are placed “ over you in the Lord," be tender of their character, even though there be some things that you could wish otherwise. Ministers of the gospel are “ men of like passions with yourselves:” As on this account it is but rational to expect that they will have their failings, so he who loves the religion of Christ will be cautious not to magnify and expose those failings, lest he injure his Saviour's cause while he is bitter against its imperfect advocates. Be it, then, a matter of conscience with you to repel injurious suggestions against your pastors: forbear them yourselves and discourage them in others. Thus will you strengthen their han and obey the divine command, which requires that you “estecm them very highly in love . for their works' sake.”
5thly, Finally. If your pastors ought to employ their whole time and talents in the service of your souls, then it is an indispensable duty that you owe to them, to make provision for their comfortable worldly maintenance. Hear the word of God; 6 If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things? Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.” Here it is asserted in the most explicit terms to be God's ordinance that they who preach the gospel shall live of the gospel; and if God hath ordained it, who or where is he that will gain say it? Neither is the ordinance less beneficial to those who are to contribute to the support of a minister, than it is to him who is to receive it; for a people rob themselves whenever they render their pastor uncomfortable in his worldly affairs. They rob themselves of that time which they compel him to spend in the world, and of those mental exertions which they oblige him to divert from their service to the devising and executing of plans for his own subsistence.
Thus, bretheren, have I briefly exhibited the sacred obligations which you are under to your pastors:- And now the “God of peace that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting cove. nant, make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever, amen."
No. II. The words of the historian, “ Enoch walked with God,” are explained by the apostle, when he says, that “ he pleased God. But without faith, it is impossible to please him : for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is the rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” As soon could Enoch doubt of his own existence, as of the existence of his Maker. Attentively did he examine his works, devoutly did he meditate upon, and endeavour to conform his life unto, his word, received traditionally or immediately, and his works and word were mediums of communication between the creature and the Creator.
The learning of Enoch is much spoken of, particularly his deep and accurate researches into astronomy and natural history.
The heavens and the earth were, to him, an open volume, in which the attributes of the invisible God, were strongly marked: the celestial bodies in their regular courses, vegetation in its variegating progress, pronounced Jehovah's name intelligibly in his ear: the immense multitude of creatures whose organization is well adapted to the spheres in which they are intended to move, and the admirable contrivance which has placed within their reach, when moving in their proper spheres, whatever tends to their sustenance and comfort, were satisfactory evidences of the wisdom, power, and goodness of God.
The sun speaks of God's glory; the tempest of his power; the refreshing breeze of his mercy; change, sickness, and death vindicate his justice; stability, health and safety, give assurances of his kindness and care: Enoch listened to the sun speaking of his glory; he was taught his power from the tempest; his mercy from the refreshing breeze; he acknowledged the vindication of his justice in change, sickness, and death; but from bealth, stability and safety he received assurances of his kindness and care.
How uncomfortable must their lives be to whom all things are supposed to come by chance! In prosperity they have no real enjoyment; in adversity they have no solid hope. Suspense agitates their minds. It distracts them to think in what the wild uproar shall issue; but faith like Enoch's, which realizes the Eternal presiding over the storm, calming the tumult of the people, permitting the attack of disease and death, and qualifying the attack to effect wise and gracious purposes, soothes the mind, and awakens peace and joy which are unspeakable and full of glory. Such are glad, because the Lord reigneth: the springs of their consolation are deep and permanent.
From the first, God has been pleased to communicate the knowledge of himself to men by his word as well as by his works. Hence their acquaintance with the creation of the world, and the destination of man; with the origin of evil, and the Providence by which evil should be made subservient to the purposes of heaven. These truths were known to Adam. The creation of the world was revealed to his faith, and the destination of man. He knew from sad experience the origin of evil, and was comforted with the assurance of a Providence by which evil should be, in some instances, extirpated, and in all issue in the glory of God. From him, as from a fountain, a stream of knowledge issued pure and unadulterated. Enoch drank of that stream and was refreshed; of the revelations communicated through Adam, or derived from other sources he entertained no doubt; many things in these rere
lations were mysterious, affording matter for scorn and merriment to the infidel of that day. Enoch was established in the faith; his faith, assaulted on every side, could no more be moved, than the rock upon which the furious waves impetuously dash, and fall back broken to pieces.
Such a life as Enoch desired to live, is the life for which we were originally intended. A wicked life is a deviation from the path marked out for men, and such a total perversion of God's designs concerning us, that it can only issue in disgrace and ruin; but a life of faith and obedience restores us to the right path, and must issue in honour and safety. How awkwardly wickedness sits on a man; it presses and torments him; he is out of his element, ever convulsed, and at the point of death: but holiness sits easy on him; it is a defence and an ornament; he is in his element, where he lives, and where he can live for ever.
AN EXTRACT FROM THE CHRISTIAN HERO, PUBLISHED IN 1738.
THERE was nothing in our Saviour's own deportment, or in the principles he introduced for our conduct, but what was so far from opposing, that they might naturally fall in with the statutes or forms of any civil government whatever, and regarded them no otherwise than to make us more obedient to them: yet the professors of this doctrine were told they were to meet but very little quarter, for the acceptable service they were to do them, but must lay down their very lives to bring us to a contempt of their grandeur in comparison of greater and higher pursuits: in order to this great end, their despicable artillery were poverty and meekness; the consideration therefore of those arms is no digression from our purpose: it is in every body's observation with what disadvantage a poor man enters upon the most ordinary affairs, much more disputing with the whole world, and in contradiction of the rich, that is, the wise; for as certainly as wealth gives acceptance and grace to all that its possessor says or does, so poverty creates disesteem, scorn and prejudice to all the undertakings of the indigent: the necessitous man has neither hands, lips, nor understanding, for his own or friend's use, but is in the same condition with the sick, with this difference only, that he is
an infection no man will relieve, or assist, or if he does, it is seldom with so much pity, as contempt, and rather for the ostentation of the physician, than compassion on the patient: it is a circumstance, wherein a man finds that all the good he deserves inaccessible, all the ill unavoidable; and the poor hero is as certainly ragged, as the poor villain hanged: under these pressures the poor man speaks with hesitation, and undertakes with irresolution, and acts with disappointment: he is slighted in men's conversation, overlooked in their assemblies, and beaten at their doors: but from whence alas has he this treatment? from a creature that has only the supply of, but not an exemption from the wants, for which he despises him: for such is the unaccountable insolence of man, that he will not see that he who is supported, is in the same class of natural necessity with him that wants a support; and to be helped, implies to be indigent. In a word, after all you can say of a man, conclude that he is rich, and you have made him friends; nor have you utterly overthrown a man in the world's opinion, until you have said he is poor: this is the emphatical expression of praise and blame, for men so stupidly forget their natural impotence and want, that riches and poverty have taken in our imagination the place of innocence and guilt; he therefore that has suffered the contumelies, disappointments and miseries which attend the poor man's condition, and without running into base, indecent or servile arts for his redress, hath returned upon an insolent world its scorn: he, I say, has fought a nobler fight, conquered greater difficulties, and deserves a brighter diadem, than ever fortune bestowed on the most flattered and gaudy of her favourites; but to capacitate one's self for this hard work, how necessary is that sublime and heroic virtue, meekness; a virtue that scems the very characteristic of a christian, and arises from a great, not a groveling idea of things: for as certainly as pride proceeds from a mean and narrow view of the little advantages about a man's self, so meekness is founded on the extended contemplation of the place we bear in the universe, and a just observation how little, how empty, how wavering are our deepest resolves and counsels; and as (to a well taught mind) when you have said a haughty and proud man, you have spoken a narrow conception, little spirit, and despicable carriage; so when you have said a man is meek and humble, you have acquainted us, that such a person has arrived at the hardest task in the world, in an universal observation round him, to be quick to see his own faults and other men's virtues, and at the height of pardoning every man sooner than himself; yet you have also given us to