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a clergyman than that grave, austere, and abstracted severity, which we are habituated to expect in his behavior."
Having shown, in various respects how ministers must give themselves wholly to their work, I now proceed to suggest several reasons, why they must give themselves wholly to it.
1. And here the first reason that occurs is, that by giving themselves wholly to the ministry, they will make the duties of it more easy and pleasant.
Their work is truly great and laborious, which needs to be made as light and easy as possible. And though by giving themselves wholly to it, they will neither omit, nor curtail any of its duties and labors; yet they will render these very duties and labors more pleasant and delightful. Those who give themselves wholly to the ministry, make it their supreme object; and men always pursue their supreme object, with a certain degree of pleasure and satisfaction. To some men, labor is exceedingly disagreeable and irksome, but to others it is very pleasant and agreeable. The reason is, that some men give themselves wholly to their pleasures, and never labor only when absolute necessity calls. To such men their business is a burden. But to other men, who pursue their business as their chief concern, labor is agreeable and pleasant. So, to some ministers their work is their delight; but to others it is their greatest burden and aversion. Those who do not give themselves wholly to the ministry, consider their office as a toil and fatigue, and perform its various duties as a painful drudgery. They go into their study as into a prison, and never feel themselves at liberty, till they leave it and mix with the world. But those who give themselves wholly to their work, find a pleasure in reading, meditation, and
retirement. They feed their own minds, while they feed their people with knowledge and understanding; and pursue their own supreme happiness, while they guide and assist their people in pursuing theirs. Their burdens, if they i ave any, arise not from their business, but from those incidental cares and avocations, which divert them from it, or obstruct them in it. If ministers then wish to live a pleasant and agreeable life, et them give themselves wholly to their work, which will render their peculiar office their peculiar happiness.
2. Ministers should devote themselves wholly to the service of their people, because this is the wisest and best way to secure their love and respect.
We love to see a person heartily and zealously engaged for our good. This is human nature. The sick man esteems and values the physician, who devotes himself to his service, and stands by him day and night, to watch his every motion, and to extend his healing hand at every call. The client is charmed with his counsel, who exerts all his ingenuity, learning and eloquence to secure his property, or to save his life. So a people revere and respect a minister, who appears willing to spend and be spent, for their eternal welfare. They prefer a warm, lively, animated preacher, to one who is cold and unconcerned for the good of souls. Accordingly, the first thing which they most critically observe in the minister who is settled among them is, whether he appears to devote himself wholly to their service; or whether he appears to seek some different and sinister object. And therefore the first step which wisdom and prudence dictate to him is, to make it appear that he loves his people, and devotes himself wholly to their service. And as long as he invariably pursues their good, and makes
their happiness his uniform and supreme object, he will deeply impress upon their minds a most amiable idea of his person and character, which will naturally claim It is true. and secure their inward respect and esteem.
indeed, men are so corrupt and depraved, that they may imagine that a minister has become their enemy, because he tells them the truth; and even hate and oppose him, for the same things for which they once respected and admired him. Christ before he was a preacher, grew in favor with God and men; but afterwards he was sometimes applauded, and sometimes hated and opposed. And the apostle tells us, that he was hated and opposed by those, who once were so passionately fond of him, that they would have plucked out and given him their eyes. The same thing has often happened since, and is still to be expected. But yet it remains a truth, that the wisest and best method which a minister can possibly pursue, to gain the esteem and respect of his people, is to give himself wholly to their
3. Ministers must give themselves wholly to their work, because this will be the best security against the snares and temptations to which they are exposed.
As men, and especially as ministers, they are very much exposed to danger. For many wish to lead them into those practices, which will sully their character, destroy their example, weaken their hands, and discourage their hearts. They should never, therefore, allow themselves to be idle, for this will expose them to every temptation; but industry and activity in the service of God, will be a great and constant security. The industrious man, who gives himself to his proper business from morning to night, is out of the reach of vice and immorality. So the minister, who gives himself wholly to his work, is out of the way of
those spares and temptations, by which loose and idle ministers are often overcome and destroyed. Nor is this all. For those who give themselves wholly to the ministry, will have no taste for vain company, insipid conversation, fashionable amusements, and refined vices. They will carry about with them a constant and deep-rooted aversion from the manners and spirit of the world. And of this the world will be so fully convinced, that they will never dare to solicit their company in parties of pleasure, amusement, and vice. If ministers then wish, and they certainly ought to wish, to escape the temptations and pollutions of the world let them firmly resolve to give themselves wholly to their work. For this will be a strong and constant security.
4. Ministers must give themselves wholly to their work, because this is the best way to become extensively useful.
Every industrious man, in every lawful calling, is a useful man. Industry makes the useful farmer, the useful mechanic, the useful physician, and the useful magistrate. And one principal reason why men are so often useless is, that they neglect their own profession, and divide and shift their attention among a multiplicity of objects and pursuits. If ministers then indulge themselves in ease, idleness, or dissipation, they may expect to be barren and unfruitful in the vineyard of Christ. But if they give themselves wholly to the ministry, and lay themselves out to fulfil it, they may expect to become able divines, good casuists, and successful preachers. Activity and faithfulness in the service of God, is always accompanied with that constant and ardent desire of success, which has a natural and moral tendency to obtain it. Those therefore who have pursued this course in the ministry, have commonly be
come eminently serviceable in the church of Christ. We have many examples to illustrate and confirm these observations. Paul was remarkable for his labors, and as remarkable for his eminent usefulness and success. Dr. Doddridge, Mr. Baxter, and Mr. Edwards were great and useful divines And these men, it is well known, were remarkably diligent, laborious, and faithful in the discharge of their office. If others then wish to be equally serviceable in promoting the cause of truth and the interests of religion; let them be equally diligent, laborious, and faithful in their sacred calling.
5. Ministers must give themselves wholly to their work, because they actually engage to do it.
When they take the pastoral watch and care of a particular people, they publicly and solemnly devote themselves to their service. They engage to be the servants of their people, and to employ all their time and strength, all their powers and abilities, in promoting their spiritual benefit. Hence says the apostle, speaking in the name of ministers, "We preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake." And again, he suggests the same idea to Timothy. "Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier." A minister has no right to make the least reservation of his time, of his talents, of his heart or his hands, but is bound to devote his all to the ministry. If he is, therefore, either idle, or entangleth himself with the affairs of this life, he is guilty of violating his public and solemn engagements. We should all judge so in any other instance. If a hired servant neglects our business, and spends his time in his own, or Occa.