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2. The preachers fhould tell each other in the spirit of love and meekness, and at the same time with humble boldness, all they think and all they fear of each other, in respect to every thing of consequence, particularly in regard to the spiritual life, the practice of devotion, and spiritual conversation. « Faithful are the wounds of a friend,” says. Solomon, Prov. xxvii. 6.
3. Ministers of the gospel should be eminently attentive to all the means of grace, particularly private prayer. We do rejoice that our ministers are examples to the flock in this respect. When in the mountains and wildernesses they have no chamber to themselves, they will retire into the woods and other solitary places, and spend much of their time in that most useful exercise. O that we may continue to preserve this spirit and practice! “ Thou, when thou prayeft," says Christ, “enter into thy closet: and, when thou hast ihut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in fecret ; and thy Father which feeth in secret, shall reward thee openly,” Matt. vi. 6. We should also in the families, where we from time to time refide, be examples to all. The whole world is composed of families. A travelling preacher may bring as many souls to glory by his fidelity in the families which he visits, as by his public preaching. See the 15th section of this chapter.
4. Preachers of the gospel fhould be much conversant in the Scriptures. They should never be without a bible. That invaluable book is like the starry heavens on a clear night: cast your eyes on any given part, and some bright stars will immediately strike your sight; but the more you gaze, the more stars will appear to your view. It is an inexhaustible mine of the richest .treasures. The more infidels despise and oppose it, the more should we love, study, and defend it. It is reproachful to see a minister of God lounging away his time, when the word of truth and salvation is within his reach. “ I love thy commandments,' says the pfalmist,“ above gold, yea, above fine gold,” Psalm cix, 127. “My foul hath kept thy testimonies : and I love them ex** ceedingly, ver. 167. “ and tby law is my delight,” ver. 174.
5. Whenever we havs opportunity to eat of the bread and drink of the cup of the Lord, we should not only as far as pollible make it á blefling to others, but also to ourselves. See the texts quoted in the notes on the 16th and 18th articles of religie
6. The duty of fasting is strongly recommended in the facred, writings. That or abstinence frequently observed, is highly necessary for the divine life. Pf. xxxv. 13. “ I humbled my soul with fafting.” lxix. 10. “When I wept and chaitened my soul with fafting.” cix. 24.“ My knees are weak through fafting." Dan. ix. 3." I fet my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and fupplications, with fafting.". Joel ii. 12. "Turn ye evce
unto me with all your heart, and with fafting, and with weepiog, and with mourning." Matt. vi. 16–18.“ W ben ye faft, be not as the hypocrites. But thou, when thou fafteft, anoint thine head, &c.--that thou appear not unto men to fait, but unto thy Father, which is in secret, &c." Matt. xvii. 14--21.
“ This kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting." See allo Mark ix. 29. Luke ii. 37. “She (Anna] served God with fastings, and prayers night and day.” Acts 1. 30..“ Four days ago I [Cornelius) was fasting until this hour, &c.” 1 Cor. vii. 5. " That ye may give yourselves to fafting and prayer." 2 Cor. vi... 5. “ In watchings, iv faftings." xi. 27. " in hunger and thirst, in faftings often.”
7. How awful are those words of our Lord, “ By thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemna cd,” Matt. xii. 37. When the conversation is always " seasoned with salt,” you will never lose a day : your whole life will be a constant blessing to all around you: only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ,” Phil. i. 27,
8. What lives should they live, who bear the sacred name of christian, and especially of christian minister. The infidels them-: frlves, in general, will acknowledge the excellence of the christian morality. But where say they is the man who comes up to the model ? They know him not, because to the poor the gospel is preached. They despise the poor and the ministers of the poor. O that the screen of formalism and hypocrisy was but removed, that the church of God might become the city set upon a hill! And it sball be removed. The Lord Jesus has already given the outward court to be trodden under foot by the gentiles; and the whole temple of God shall soon be cleansed, and Israel shall dwell alone. How soon would this be brought about, if all the minifters of the gospel did but answer the model, “ by pureness, by knowledge, by long-suffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left!" 2 Cor. vi. 6, 7.
9. Methodist preachers should love every part of their duty. It is love alone which can oil the wheels, and make them run in the paths of duty like the chariots of Aminidab. Where slavish fear is the base motive, all is misery.
But when we do every thing in the spirit of love, when " the love of Christ constraineth us," all is delight. 2 Cor. V. 14.
10. A Methodist preacher has raised up his standard, and declared open war against the vices of the world. He must expect. to be hated or despised by all men, except the children of God, and those who are seeking fo to be. This is his great advantage, if he bear it with patience. The wall of contempt which sura Founds him, preserves him from a thousand temptations to whicha
other ministers are exposed. But he has a world within him far more dangerous," the lust of the eye, the luft of the flesh, and the pride of life," 1 John ii. 16. Every converted person knows his besetting fin; and this will attack him, and conquer him, among professors, among possessor's of grace, yea, in the most folitary place, unless be watches unto prayer. “ Be not conformed to this world,” Rom. xii. 2. “Let us lay afide every weight, and the fin which doth fo easily beset us,” Heb. xii. 1.
Ir. The true minister of Christ delights in the cross. His adorable Lord has confecrated it, and he takes it up with cheerfulness, and “ follows the Lamb whithersoever he goeth.” The love of God in his heart makes bitter things fweet, and difficult things easy. “He is temperate in all things.” He eyes God in every thing, and " walks with God.” God is the joy of his heart, and the delight of his eyes, and his all-fufficient portion. “ Thou, God, seeft me,” is written upon his inmost soul. “ Whether he eats or drinks, or whatsoever he doth, he doth it all to the glory of God," 1 Cor. x. 31. “ If any man will come after me," says Christ, “let hiny deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me,” Matt. xvi. 24. See also Mark viii. 34, and Luke 9. 24.
Rules by which we should continue, or defift
from, Preaching at any Place. Queft. 1. S it advisable for us to preach in as many
places as we can, without forming any focieties?
Anfw. By no means: We have made the trial in va rious places; and that for a considerable time. But all the seed has fallen by the way-side. There is scarce any fruit remaining, . Quest
. 2. Where should we endeavour to preach moft?
Answ. 1. Where there are the greatest number of quiet and willing hearers.
2. Where there is the most fruit.
Queft. 3. Ought we not diligently to observe, in what places God is pleased at any time to pour out his Spirit more abundantly
Antw. We ought : And at that time, to send more Tabourers than usual into that part of the harveft.
1. The answer to the first question of this section, given in Europe by Mr. Wesley, after long experience and extensive trayels, is a proof of the importance of christian discipline. Where the people despise or neglect christian discipline or fellowship, little or no good is ever done. It is indeed a proof that few in luch cases are awakened. The awakened foul is ready to embrace every affiftance, which the word of God recommends, and the circumstances of things will admit of. Mal. iii. 16-18.“ Then they that feared the Lord Spake often one to another : and the Lord hearkened, and heard it; and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought up on his name. And they loall be mine, faith the Lord of hosts, ip that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own fop that serveth him. Then shall ye re. turn, and discern between the righteous and the wicked; be tween him that serveth God, and him that serveth him not.
2. Our life is short. We must not only do good, but the most in our power. As we thould, on the one hand, prefer a small congregation to a large one, if the small one produces a company of precious souls united in love to God and each other, whilft the large one affords none but those who live in the spirit of the world: so, on the other hand, we should prefer the largest congregation with proportionable fruit to any other consideration. In fort, nothing should, nothing will, influence the true minifter of Christ but the glory of God, the salvation of souls, crucifixion to the world and all things in it, and the life of God in the foul of man. Comfortable lodgings, agreeable food, or the tompany of persons of improved minds, will never for a moment by him be put into the balance. His fingle question at all tines and in all places will be, "Where shall I bring moft souls to Jesus Christ ?". “ Say not ye,” observes our Lord, “There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest ? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields ; for they are white already to harvest,” John iv. 35. That is the gospel-call for the labourer.
3. He will, therefore, above all things, attend to the out-pourings of grace. He will labour most, where the Lord moft abundantly pours foşth his Spirit. And this will be the conduct not. on:y of a fingle individual, but of general bodies of faithful mini ters. Our yearly conferences constantly take this point into conlideration. The stationing of the preachers is in the epifcom
pacy; but the determination of the number of preachers to be Tent to a circuit is in the yearly conference ; with powers invested in the episcopacy and presiding-eldership to meet the openings of grace and Providence in the intervals of the conference. We must in all things follow, and not run before the Lord. It is a great thing to study the will of God in his word and providence unitedly confidered. “ I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost," fays St. Paul; “ for a great and effectual door is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries.” However numerous or great his opposers may be, the true minister of Christ improves the gracious opportunity God is pleased to put into his hands, with thankfulness and zeal,
S E C TI O N XV.
Of visiting from House to House, guarding a
gainst those Sins that are so common to Pro
fesors, and enforcing Practical Religion. Qucf. 1. Hou can we further affif those under
care Answ. By instructing them at their own houses. What unspeakable need is there of this ! The world says, “ The Methodists are no better than other people." This is not true in the general: But, 1. Personal religion, either toward God er man, is too superficial amongst us. We can but just touch on a few particulars. How little faith is there among us? How little communion with God? How little living in heaven, walking in eternity, deadness to every creature? How much love of the world ? Defire of pleasure, of case, of getting money? How little brotherly love? What continual judging one another? What goflipping, evil-speaking, tale-bearing? What want of moral honefty? To inftance only one particular ;-—who does as he would be done by, in buying and selling?
2. Family religion is wanting in many branches. And what avails public preaching alone, though we could preach like angels? We must, yea, every travelling preacher muit inftruct the people from house to