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sleepy dogs loving to slumber, and greedy dogs that can never have enough. These men are apt to dress, apt to fleece, apt to eat, and apt to sleep; but not apt to teach. Because though they may have a gift, yet they have not life; they are instruments without life-giving sound; but God says, take away the noise of thy viols; he is not charmed with violins or fiddles.
The reason of their unaptness is, there is no springing well in their hearts, no oil in the cruse, no new wine in the bottle, no divine treasure in the earthen vessel, no life in the soul, no faith in the heart. Their treasure is at least stolen from others, pilfered out of other men's works, and committed to paper; their treasure lays all in their pocket, and how should such be apt to teach who have no heart-treasure for it? If the heart be exercised with covetous practices, as Peter says, it cannot be exercised with an aptness or fitness to teach.
Others have got a strong memory, and all that they can hear or borrow they commit to that; their treasure is laid up in their head; head-knowledge without the springing well, is like a pool of standing water, soon stale, and soon dry. Yet with this stock they will at times cut a tolerable figure in a pulpit; and the godly themselves will say the doctrines are sound, the prayer is evangelical, the speech in prayer and in the sermon is sound speech that cannot be condemned; but when the preacher is out of the pulpit he is quite another thing; he
is no evangelist only when he preaches; hence enquiring souls who go to him when he has done, and make use of some part of his sermon, telling him how it agreed with their experience, can get no satisfactory answer; the sermon was one thing, the conversation is another; this is the man that wears a garment of linen and woollen together; he is a time-server, a man-pleaser, who thirsts for nothing but applause, a genteel appearance, and an idle life; such cannot preach the faith, for they have no faith; “ How can ye believe that receive honour one of another, and not the honour that cometh from God only?” These are not servants of the Lord, they serve their own belly; and as the love of God is not in them, we cannot suppose that they are apt to teach; which leads me,
Thirdly, To consider the patience of the Lord's servant, and of them that are said to wear it out. A labourer in the Lord's vineyard has need of patience, for he is called to bear the burden and heat of the day; superficial professors will condemn his plowing; erroneous men will oppose the precious seed that he bears; his zeal will be called rage; his fervour, spleen and bitterness; his attachment to study, reservedness; his continuing wherein he is called, singularity; his endeavours to separate the vile from the precious, the effects of a party spirit; preaching free grace will be called antinomianism; handling dark passages, is enthusiasm ; and refusing confederacy with them that say a confederacy, is the effect of pride; and
those that earnestly contend for the faith, have no candour. The servant of the Lord, as a labourer in the vineyard, had need of patience to bear all this, so as not to be discouraged nor frightened from his work by it; “ Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation that shall come upon all the world to try them.” The Lord's labourer is not to leave his work, because of the opposition that is made against him; he is to continue patiently in his labour, use the mouth and wisdom that God has given him, and oppose all that oppose the truth; " I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil; and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles and are not, and hast found them liars; and hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted," Rev. ii. 2, 3. Thus we see a man's patience is not to drive him from his labour, nor from trying them that say they are apostles or evangelists; this is a good work, and is coupled with patience, and is approved by the Lord; whosoever pretends to these offices is to be proved a liar by the servants of the Lord, if he is not.
Nor are we to cease plowing and sowing as the Lord's labourers, on account of the various winds of error; nor be discouraged at it by feigned pretenders to candour, nor by the clouds of false witnesses. “ In the morning sow thy seed, and
in the evening withhold not thine hand.” that observeth the wind shall not sow, and he that regardeth the clouds [of false witnesses) shall not reap."
Those that sin openly are to be rebuked before all, that others may fear; and in this work we are to continue, whatever we may suffer in it: “Preach the word, be instant in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all long-suffering and doctrine: for the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine."
The servant of the Lord has need of patience, and ought to pray for it, for the good of his own soul; for it is faith that worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope; and he has need of it in exercise daily, that after he has done the will of God, he may inherit the blessing; which will is, to try them that say they are apostles, and to prove them liars if they are not; to separate the vile from the precious; to stop the mouths of gainsayers; to oppose, and not suffer a woman to teach, nor usurp authority over the man; to oppose errors, and the vain janglings of
hose that desire to be teachers of the law fight against them that creep into houses, and lead captive silly women; and to have nothing to do with those that are heady and highminded, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God: a servant of the Lord is to purge himself from these, that he may be a vessel unto honour, prepared unto every good work.
The servant of the Lord in his military character, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ, has need of patience; soldiers, in the literal sense, are very unwelcome guests to many, especially to innkeepers; every upstart landlady, every bar-maid, and draggle-tailed girl that attends the tap, will flout and hoot at a soldier; and so a good soldier of Jesus Christ often finds it. Jezebel kills all that she could, and drives an hundred more into a cave, and then pursued one of the best men that ever lived, namely, Elijah; and swears to kill the defence of the nation, even the chariot of Israel and the horsemen thereof.
Not only Jezebel destroys them, but Herodias counsels her daughter to get the invaluable prize of a prophet's head, as a reward for her dancing; as if nothing but the blood of one of the greatest prophets that ever was born of woman, could pay the demands of a dancing miss; thus have the good soldiers of Jesus Christ suffered by old wives, harlots, and dancing girls.
Moses, who was faithful in all God's house, had no small trouble from this quarter: we read of Miriam's taking a timbrel in her hand, and going before the women, and leading on music and the dancing, and ordering her female attendants to sing to the Lord, because he had triumphed gloriously, Exod. xv. 20, 21; but soon after she opposes Moses, and wants to be a mediator and a lawgiver; and Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses; Miriam first, and Aaron afterwards ; she had engaged the high priest in her conspiracy :