Page images
PDF
EPUB

who taught you wrong : Complaints and murmurs are not the way to obtain good ministers,

fervent importunate prayer. Some of you may think, however, that all these sentiments in religion are new, and that we who preach them have some peculiar notions. But no, my brethren, they are not new. There are hundreds and thousands of ministers who preach no salvation but in conversion, forgiveness, newness of heart, and its holy fruits. Look into your Prayer Books: it is the doctrine of every part of them. Look into your Bibles, and you find it there. It is not new, except as everything is new that we have never attended to. It is as old as the reformers, who died martyrs for professing it. It is as old as the apostles. It is as old for substance, as Abraham, and even as the promise given after the fall. It is only because we have never studied these matters, that we think them

but prayer,

new.

II.-NOTES OF A SERMON

PREACHED BEFORE A PRIVATE SOCIETY OF CLERGY

MEN, JUNE 25, 1818.

ON 2 COR. 11. 16:

Who is sufficient for these things ?

The apostle speaks in the verses connected with my text of " a triumph in Christ,” and a “ savour of the knowledge of Christ being made manifest “ in every place.” “For we are a sweet savour “ unto Christ (he adds) in them that are saved, “ and in them that perish ; to the one we are the

savour of life unto life, and to the other the “ savour of death unto death." He then exclaims, in the words immediately before us, “ Who is sufficient for these things?" and proceeds to say, “For we are not as many, which

corrupt the word of God, but as of sincerity, “but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in “ Christ.” Even in the apostles' days we see that there were many false teachers who acted like dishonest vintners, who debase their wine with some unwholesome mixture. They dilute it, and deprive it of its real strength ; and then, to keep up its appearance and spirit, add some poisonous ingredients. The liquor still looks like wine, and tastes somewhat like it, and the fraud is not easy to be detected ; but, instead of being a medicine, it is in fact a destructive poison. Thus false teachers act with the gospel.. They preach many truths, but they covertly either leave out some essential part of Christianity, or put in some material error of their own. Men not established in the faith do not understand the difference; they know some of the doctrine is good, they take the whole of it to be consistent with the gospel, and they follow it without suspicion to their own ruin.

Who, then, is sufficient for these things ?” This is our subject; but I shall also take some notice of the beginning of the following chapter: “ We are not sufficient of ourselves, to think any

thing as of ourselves, but our sufficiency is of « God."

I. Let us first consider “ these things ;” that is, the preaching of the uncorrupted word of Godthe discharge of the duties of that ministry which is “ a savour of life unto life, or of death “unto death."

To this end consider 1st, What the holy scriptures speak of ministers ; 2d, What they

99

say to them.

1. We are to be “accounted ministers of “ Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.” 1 A minister is a steward of the unsearchable riches of Christ; a steward, not of some great personage on earth, as we read of the steward of Joseph's house, and of Eliezer the steward of Abraham's, but the steward of Christ himself; a steward, not as to some subordinate duties in the house, but as

"1 Cor. iv. 1.

to the highest parts of the office—" of the mys“ teries of God”—of the peculiar and distinguishing doctrines of Christ Jesus.

We are watchmen. “Son of man, I have set “ thee as a watchman to the house of Israel ;-give “ them warning from me.” Who then is sufficient for these things ? Men wish us to speak “smooth things” to them, and they complain of our roughness and zeal; but no one thinks gentleness and soothing behaviour the characteristic excellence of a 'watchman, who is to sound the alarm, to be always on his guard, to awaken those who are asleep in the midst of danger; and who, if he do not do all this, is accountable for all the consequences. “ If thou give not warning, “the wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but “his blood will I require at the watchman's “hand.” 1

We are ambassadors, not from some earthly prince, but from the great God of heaven. Some object to this word being used of ministers in the present day, and would confine it to the apostles. Well, let them call us envoys, messengers, servants, or any lower name; it is the same thing; the honour arises not from the person who is sent, or the name he bears, but from the majesty of the King of kings who sends him.2

We are fellow-workers with God, his humble instruments and cooperators in the great work of salvation; whilst the wicked are fellow-workers with the devil in promoting the destruction of souls.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

We are also workmen generally; and it is our duty to be approved of God as such, as “ workmen that need not to be ashamed, rightly “ dividing the word of truth." I

We are to be wise master-builders,who lay the true foundation of all doctrine, Jesus Christ and him crucified; and who build on it in gold, silver, precious stones.

But, 2. What does the scripture say to these ministers? Thrice did our Lord say to Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? and thrice enjoined on him, as the greatest proof of that love, “ Feed my sheep; Feed my lambs.”2 The love of Christ is to be our supreme motive in our ministry, so that we may take delight in feeding his flock.

The same apostle who received this command speaks thus : “ The elders which are among you,

I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness “ of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker “ of the glory that shall be revealed ; feed the “flock of God which is among you, taking the “ oversight thereof, not by constraint, but will

ingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind: “ neither as being lords over God's heritage, but “ being ensamples to the flock. And, when the “chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a

crown of glory which fadeth not away.” 4 This address I have endeavoured to make my rule throughout my ministry. Especially consider the words, “ Not for filthy lucre, but of a ready

[ocr errors]

2 Tim. ii. 15. 3 John xxi. 15-17.

1 Cor, ü. 10. *1 Pet. v. 1-5.

« PreviousContinue »