« PreviousContinue »
that proud, self-fufficient young will ever bow and submit to him, Pharisee, “ what lack I yet till it is a day of his mighty powAnd to bless themselves, like ano. er on their hearts. ther of the same temper, saying Poffibly some may imagine, (in their hearts at least) God I that they are willing to accept of thank thee, I am not as other , Chrift on his own terms, and that men.” How
many content them- he should have all the honor of selves with negatives? Perhaps their salvation ; but this is their they say, I am no liar, no drunk great mistake, if they do not in ard, no profane swearer, no thief, very deed embrace him by faith. or unjust person, &c. And in To yield to sovereign grace, is these and such like negative vir- so exceedingly contrary to the tues they place their confidence. pride of the human heart, that Or, perhaps, they perform many if prayers, alms, penances, and external duties to God and man ; corporal punishments might take and hence they feel rich and have away guilt, and remove the curse, need of nothing further to recom we should see none proftrate at mend them to God. And how ma- the foot of Christ. If the fruit ny depend on their external privile. of the body would atone for the ges, as well as performances—like fin of the soul, it is thought, men the Jews, we have Abraham to would rather give their first born our father; and datterand deceive for their transgressions than lie themselves in one way or another empty at the foot of mercy, and in the concerns of their souls ? receive grace as grace. Hence is For such reasons how many feel there not propriety in saying, alive? Such confidences may be that carnal unrenewed finners are termed the strong holds of Satan ; alive ? for so long as such persons con
(To te continued.) tinue under the influence of their prefent felf-righteous temper, they are his faithful servants. And indeed, thełe may be called the
On the duty of praying to God to sinners' srong bold—that in which
raife uj, good ministers. they intrench themselves, and feel
“ But when he saw the multisecure; from which all the thun. ders of Mount Sinai, and shafts tudes, he was moved with comof the divine law will not diNodge passion on them, because they
fainted and were scattered abroad, them. Nothing short of the irrefiftible, almighty power and fov- Then faith he unto his disciples,
as sheep having no fhepherd. ereign grace of God will beat
the harvest truly is plenteous, but thern off from their vain confiden
the laborers are few. Possibly perfons may be ces. awakened by the spirit, so that
therefore the Lord of the harvest,
that he will send forth laborers intheir attention to their danger
to his harveft.”
Mat. ix. 36, 37, may be greatly called up ; but
38. this will not materially alter the cafe with them; they will be of the fame legal spirit fill; they Tout an inportant dutya
HIS paffage clearly points will naturally betake themselves to fome external duties for thel- duty important at all times, but ter, but not to Chrift; none peculiarly so at particular seafo: «
of which the present is thought to work of all that fucceffion of probe one. It was the holy Jesus, phets, whom God raised up in If. who was moved with compafton. rael, to teach the things of the At what was his compassion mov- kingdom of Christ. Chrift himed? It was moved at feeing a multi- felf, in the day of his flesh, preached tude of souls, unprovided with suit righteousness in the great congreable fpiritual guides. The pitiable gation. And when he ascended up state of such he holds up to our on high, gave gifts unto men, view in this passage, under two even to the rebellious : And a. similitudes : 1. He likens them mong his afcenfion gifts, these are to a flock of sheep, starving and mentioned as some of the moft scattered for want of a shepherd to precious, apostles, prophets, evanfeed, guide and protecī them. gelifts, pastors and teachers, "for the 2. He compares fouls in this def- perfecting of the saints, for the titute condition to a large and work of the ministry, for the edipromising harvest, which is going fying of the body of Christ.” back into the ground, and is like. It is very evident, that Christ ly to be loft for want of reapers viewed a good ministry as one of to gather it in. With this last the greatest bleffings enjoyed by fimilitude in view, he calls upon his people on earth. He requirhis disciples to pray the Lord of ed Peter to testify his love to him, the harvest to send forth laborers by feeding his sheep, and lambs. into his harvest. This was as Sheep need a shepherd to lead much as to call upon them to cry them from one feeding place to mightily unto God, that he would, another ; to protect them from in his wisdom and mercy, raise up, beasts of prey, and to go in and qualify and send forth holy mini- out before them. We know that sters of the gospel, who should, Christ is the great Shepherd and through his bleffing, turn finners Bishop of souls ; and that if he from Satan to God, and build up does not feed and keep the sheep, the saints in faith and holiness. they will faint and be scattered,
With this command of Christ notwithstanding all that men can before us, we propose to make se- do. But as Christ works by veral remarks upon the duty of means and instruments in other praying to God to raise up good things, so he does in his kingdom and faithful ministers of the gof- of grace. pel.
Peter, as an instrument in the 1. It is important that we should hand of the glorious Redeemer, have it fixed in our minds, that the did, on the memorable Pentecost, gospel ministry is divinely appoint- turn three thousand of the mured; and that it is an appointment derers of Christ into his disciples. of the highest consequence to the Paul was sent of Christ to open interests of Christ's kingdom. blind eyes and turn men from SaThere were always teachers of re- tan to God. In this good work ligion from the beginning of the he prospered exceedingly: Apolworld. Noah was a preacher of los, tho' a man, “ helped them righteousness before the flood. much, which had believed through The priest's lips, under the Mofa- grace : he mightily convinced the ic dispensation, were to keep know. Jews, that Jesus was Chrift.” ledge, and the people were to seek There are witnesses enough a. the law at his mouth. It was the | mong the readers of the Maga
zine, who can testify, either that priests murdering in the way by they have had their eyes opened, confent. Hof. vi. 9. or their bowels refreshed by the Good ministers enter upon the ministers of Christ. This does not ministry, out of love to Christ and diminish their love for their great the souls of men. They are comMafter.—No, they bless him for pared to watchmen, who keep sending his servants and enabling awake, and give the warning them to be useful to their souls. voice, when danger approaches. But they are most feelingly con- They are good Itewards of the vinced, that Christ has appointed, mysteries of the kingdom of God, and does own the labors of his who bring out of their treasure ministring servants.
things new and old. They are 2. Let it be remarked, that workmen, who need not be afhathere is an important distinction med, rightly dividing the word of made, in the scriptures, between life. They give themselves whol. good and bad ministers. Christ ly to their holy work, that their directs us to pray for laborers, profiting may appear unto all not idlers. Ministers of religion men. A good minister is a man, are a blessing or a curse, accord- who takes heed to himself and to ing to their character. If they his doctrine. He is eminently a are pious and faithful, they are man of prayer. He keeps his heart a great blessing ; if they are them with all diligence ; and seeks to felves unacquainted with religion, be an example to others in all hothey are commonly a heavy curse. ly living. He not only preaches At the time when Christ's com- the word in season, but out of passion was moved at seeing the season. He does not content people like sheep scattered without himself with that merely, which a shepherd, there was no want of will procure him the reputation of teachers, such as they were. The a good clergyman : It is the good land was full of priests and levites, of souls and the glory of his Malfcribes and lawyers. These pre- ter, which he feeks. These contended to instruct the people in strain him to fill up his time with the knowledge of God : But, usefulness. And when he has alas ! they had taken away the done all, he feels like an unprofkey of knowledge : They had itable servant. If he has not shut up the kingdom of heaven come behind the chiefest apostles, against those who were entering, still he will feel that he is nothing Christ compared them to blind -that it is by the grace of God, men, who had undertaken to lead that he is what he is, and that he and guide the blind. He told has done what he has done. Ha what the natural consequence will also feel, that with all his ufewould be, that both the guides fulness, he is infinitely in debt to and the guided would fall into the divine justice and for many things ditch, that is, into remediless ru needs pardon. It is men of this in. In the ancient church we itamp, whom we are to desire to read of false prophets, who pro- be sent into Christ's harvest.phesied smooth things ; who Such, and such only will labor to prophesied deceits ; who cried gather the harveft into the Lord's peace, peace, when there was no garner. peace : And what is very surpris. 3. The Lord of the harvest, ing; we read of a company of that is, the God of the fpirits of
all flesh, can send forth laborers nifh us with good ministers.-into his harvest. This thought “ Pray, ye therefore the Lord of should be deeply impressed on our the harvest, that he will send forth mind, or we shall not comply with laborers into his harvest.” This the duty enjoined by Christ, in is one important way of obtaining the scripture now before us. It every blessing, which we need. is the God of Zion, who makes “ In every thing, by prayer and every man, and endues him with supplication, with thanksgiving, such
powers and talents as he sees let your requests be made known fit. Certain peculiar natural en- to God.” This is a matter of the dowments are necessary to make highest consequence, therefore we a man very useful in the gospel should pray much about it. We ministry. These the Creator can Mould go to God, with a coninterweave in the very conftitu. fidence, that he feels infinitely tion of the creature he is forming. more interested in this matter than Divine grace, or a renovated heart, we do--that he is perfectly able is an indispensible requisite for a to grant our most enlarged re. gospel minister : This it is the quests, and that he will be fought work of God to bestow. All unto by the house of Israel to do hearts are in his hand, and he can such things for them. When we create anew just as many as it pray to God for this blessing, we pleaseth him. In addition to ask for that, which is nearly connatural gifts and supernatural nected with his glory and the grace, some appropriate instruc- good of immortal souls. This tion is necessary to qualify one to will embolden us in our petitions, become an able preacher of the and lead us to be importunate at word. This also God can be the throne of grace. flow ; that is, he can order it so would do nothing towards obtaisin his providence, that those, who ing holy laborers to work in are otherwise qualified, should not Christ's harvest, he would not be wanting in education. The have directed his disciples to pray Head of the church is never at for them. Neither let us suppose a lofs for means and instruments that he directed them to pray for for the edification of his body. a blessing, which he was not wil. He can raise up, qualify, and send ling to bestow. He is more wilforth such men as are needed.- ling to bestow good ministers on To fend forth laborers requires his churches than they are to atk the great power of God. He can for them. make them willing to go into the 5. It appears from the passage wilderness and look up his scat- before us, that there may be tered feep ; he can make them times, when there is a special call, willing to go among the favage in providence, to the duty of pray. tribes, and jeopard their lives, to ing to God to raise up and send win souls to Christ. He can so forth laborers into his harvest. difpofe of his laborers, that there Christ called his disciples to this shall be no part of his vineyard duty, in view of multitudes, who left uncultivated. The providence were scattered like sheep without of God is very much concerned in a shepherd. He tells them, The this matter.
harvest truly is plenteous, but the 4. Christ has evidently made it laborers are few. There seemed, our duty to pray to God to fur-1 at that time, to be a peculiarly
great disproportion between the herd. The Miffionary Societies work, which needed to be done, have done much ; but still the and the laborers to do it. There people must be, in a great meawere many people in the land of sure, in a scattered condition, for Israel : these had very few teach- want of more stated pastors. A ers, whom Christ reckoned of any supply of these cannot be obtainvalue. The time had now almost ed, because the laborers are few. come, when the word of life was A view of their deftitute condito be sent to the gentiles. These tion should move our compassion, made an extensive harvest, into and lead us to pray earnestly to which it was necessary that labor. the Lord of the harveft to send ers should be sent. It needed forth laborers. Think, you, who many spiritual reapers to gather fit under the droppings of the in fo large a harvest ; “but the fanctuary, and every sabbath day laborers were few." This gave hear the preached gospel, think force to the command of Christ, how you would feel to be placed to pray for more laborers. in such a situation, as to see no
It has already been suggested, house of worship, once a year, nor that the present is an important hear the found of the preached crisis, in which the duty, enjoin- gospel, unless there should chance ed by Chrift, is peculiarly urgent. to come a travelling preacher that The harvest now is truly plente- way. While you prize your prious ; but the laborers are few. vilege of the preached word, pray The fields in many parts of Christ that your fellow Christians, and endom, appcar to be whitening to fellow men may enjoy the same. the harveft ; and more laborers There is a wide field now openseem to be needed to gather in ing in the heathen world, in which this harvest of souls. There is the ministers of Christ are called more of a hearing ear than there to labor, « How shall these has been for years past. Now | Pagans believe on Him, of whom good ministers have a good op- they have not heard ? And how portunity to be useful to their fel- shall they hear without a preacher? low men. There is a great and And how shall they preach except effectual door set open, and there they be sent?” And we may add, are many adversaries. This makes how shall we expect the Lord of the a peculiar call for able, pious and harvest will send them forth, unindefatigable ministers, who will. less, according to his command, be inftant in season and out of fea we pray to him that he would do fon. The new settlements in this it? There are millions of men, country open a very extensive field in heathen countries, perishing for for fpiritual laborers. There, the lack of vision. God has of late words of Christ may be adopted, made them to be pitied of their with the utmost propriety, “The fellow fioners, who enjoy the light harvest truly is pienteous; but of the gospel. Something is the laborers are few.” Hundreds done ; more is attempting ; and of ministers are very much needed there is room for ftill greater exerto supply the new American set. tions. Money is wanted to carry tlements. In those settlements, these benevolent deligns into effect; from all that we can learn, the but holy miniflers are needed more. people are fainting, and scattered It requires men of an apostolic abroad, as sheep having no fhep- ' spirit to go forth among the bea
VOL. III. No. 8.