« PreviousContinue »
they will approve themselves to every man's conscience. Though all men naturally hate the doctrines of the cross, yet their reason and conscience are always on the side of divine truth. Address these
powers and faculties of the soul, before you attempt to move the passions. Rightly divide the word of truth, and give to every one his portion in due season. Always aim to instruct your people upon every subject which you handle in public. But if you would in. struct them, you must instruct yourself. Give yourself to reading, meditation, and prayer. Study the Bible and your own heart, and you will be able, through the whole course of your, ministry, to bring forth out of your treasury things new as well as old. In a word, remember, that you watch for souls as one who must give account, and if you are only faithful to God and to your people, you will be a sweet savor of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish.
Brethren and friends of this church and congregation, permit me to ask you on this solemn and interesting occasion, whether you are as well united in the gospel, as you are in the man whom you have called to preach it? Do you desire to be fed with the sincere milk of the word? Are you willing to receive the same precious truths, which the primitive Christians gladly received from the lips of the apostle? If these are your desires and feelings, there is a promising prospect before you. Your pastor will preach with pleasure, and you will hear with no less pleasure and delight. The more he unfolds the gospel, the better you will be pleased with his preaching, and instead of becoming his enemies, because he teils you the truth, you will sincerely and ardently love him for his work sake,
“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.” If you only receive the truth in love, your peace and harmony will increase, and the union between you and your pastor will strengthen, and you will be happily preparing to be each other's joy and crown of rejoicing in the day of the Lord Jesus. Amen.
Delivered June 19, 1805, at the Ordination of the Rev. STEPHEN CHAPIN, to the
Pastoral Care of the Church and People in Hillsborough.
Acts xx, 21. Testifying both to the Jews and also to the Greeks re
pentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.
AS the apostle Paul was returning from Macedonia to Jerusalem, he came to Miletus, from whence he sent and called the elders of the church of Ephesus. When they had come together, he delivered a discourse, which was directly calculated to assist and animate them in the work of the gospel ministry. And among other things, he called their attention to his manner of preaching, while he formerly resided among them. “Ye know, says he, how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shown you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house, testifying both to the Jews and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” As these words were originally designed to administer instruction to the ministers of Christ, they naturally lead us, on the present occasion, to consider how the apostle Paul preached the gospel, and the propriety of his mode of preaching.
I. Let us consider how the apostle Paul preached the gospel. Though he sometimes preached to the Jews and sometimes to the Gentiles, and though he sometimes preached on one subject and sometimes on another; yet, amidst all this variety, there was a certain uniformity in his preaching, which deserves particular notice.
1. He always made a point of explaining the gospel. To preach is to instruct, and to instruct on any subject, it is generally if not always necessary to explain it. Much of the force and perspicuity of preaching consists in explaining the gospel, and making men see the real design of God, in the method he has taken to save sinful and perishing creatures. Here Jews and Gentiles, all men of all descriptions, stand in peculiar need of instruction. The apostle, therefore, determined to know nothing in his preaching save Jesus Christ and him crucified. He knew that it would be preposterous to call upon men to embrace the gospel before he had explained it to them in a clear and intelligible manner. And it appears from the whole history of his ministerial labors, that he excelled all the other apostles, in unfolding the meaning, the harmony, and the connexion of the first principles of Christianity. Just as he was about to take his final leave of those whom he addressed in the text, he called upon them to bear testimony to his fidelity in explaining to them the gospel of divine grace. “And now behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more. Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.” To declare all the counsel of God is to explain the great plan of redemption, which was concerted before the foundation of the world, and which comprises all the designs and operations of the Deity. Hence the apos. tle viewed it a privilege as well as a duty, to explain the gospel to all his hearers. In the third chapter of his Epistle to the Ephesians he says, "unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearch
able riches of Christ, and to make all men see, what is the mystery which from the beginning of the world kath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ. To the intent that now unto the principali. ties and powers in heavenly places might be knowo by the church the manifold wisdom of God, according to his eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” By this declaration it appears, that the apostle meant to explain the gospel so plainly and fully, that all his hearers might see God, and Christ, and angels, and saints, and signers, and all created objects, in that relation and connexion, which they bear to each other in the work of redemption. Whether he preached to the Jews or to the Gentiles,, to the learn. ed or to the unlearned, he made it a primary object in his public discourses, to unfold the nature, design, and final consequences of the gospel, without the least ambiguity or reserve.
2. After he had explained the gospel to his hearers, he next taught them what it was to embrace it. «Не testified both to the Jews and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Je
Repentance and faith both flow from pure,
disinterested love, but are exercised towards different objects. In repentance, the sinner fixes his eye and his heart upon God, whose character he has hated, whose law he has broken, and whose displeasure he has incurred. He loathes and abhors himself for all his transgressions, accepts the punishment of his iniquity, and cordially approves of that justice which condemns him. In faith, the sinner fixes his eye and his heart upon the Lord Jesus Christ, and loves him for loving righteousness and hating iniquity, for condemning sin in the flesh, and for doing that, which renders it consistent with all the perfections of God, te Occa.