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of his inheritance, in the saints : And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward, who believe.' (Eph. i. 16–19.) And the same end which this apostle proposed to himself in his private supplications, st. John also proposed to himself, in writing his public Epistles—“That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye may also have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son, Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.” (1 John i. 3, 4.) As though he had said, We write, if haply we may excite you to seek after higher degrees of faith, charity, and obe. dience ; that being rooted and grounded in love, ye may be able to comprehendwith all saints, the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge ; that ye may be filled with all the fulness of God.' (Eph. iii. 17—19.) The attentive reader will easily perceive, that what was once the subject of St. Paul's most ardent prayers, is at this day considered by nominal Christians in general, as a proper subject for the most pointed raillery.
5. Those ministers, who are not yet furnished with Christian experience, and who are not seeking after it, as the pearl of great price, held out to us in the gospel, are not yet truly converted to the Christian faith: And (I repeat it after Mr. Ostervald) being destitute of Christian piety, far from being in circumstances to preach the gospel, they are not even able to comprehend it. These are they, who, having a form of godli. ness, deny the power thereof.' (2 Tim. iii. 5.) And the greatest eulogium, that can be pronounced upon such characters, is that with which St. Paul honoured the un. believing zealots of his time: “I bear them record that they have a zeal for God ;' but that zeal is unaccompanied with any true knowledge, either of man's weak. ness, or the Redeemer's power : “ For they, being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted them. selves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that be. lieveth.” (Rom. x. 2–4.)
6. Whoever has not experienced that conviction of sin, and that repentance, which is described by St. Paul in the seventh chapter of his Epistle to the Romans, though, like Nicodemus, he may be “ a doctor in Israel,' yet he shall never see the kingdom of God. Totally carnal, and satisfied to continue so, he neither understands nor desires that regeneration, which the gospel proposes and insists upon. He endeavours not to fathom the sense of these important words: “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.'—(John iii. 8.) He considers those who are born of the Spirit, as rank enthusiasts, and disdains to make any serious enquiry respecting the foundation of their hope. If his acquaintance with the letter of the scripture did not restrain him, he would tauntingly address the artless question of Nicodemus to every minister, who preaches the doctrine of regeneration- How can a man be born, when he is old ? Can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born ?' (John iii. 4.) And unless he was withheld by a sense of politeness, he would rudely repeat to every zealous follower of St. Paul the ungracious expression of Festus— Thou art beside thyself; much’ mystic learning doth make thee mad.' (Acts xxvi. 24.)
7. On the contrary, a minister, who is distinguished by the second trait of the character of St. Paul, at the same time proportionably possesses every disposition, necessary to form an evangelical pastor: Since it is not possible for Christian piety to exist without the brilliant light of truth, and the burning zeal of charity. And every minister, who has this light and this love, is enriched with those two powerful resources, which ena. bled the first Christians to act as citizens of heaven, and the first ministers as ambassadors of Christ.
Ilis intimate Union with Christ by Faith.
I au come,' said the good Shepherd,' that my sheep night have life, and that they might have it more abun. dantly.' (John x. 10, 11.) "I am the light of the world.' (John viii. 12.) “I am the way, the truth, and the life.' (John xiv. 6.) “I am the vine; ye are the branches.' (John xv. 5.) The faithful minister understands the signification of these mysterious expres. sions. He walks in this way, he follows this light, he embraces this truth, and enjoys this life in all its rich abundance. Constantly united to his Lord, by a hum. hle faith, a lively hope, and an ardent charity, he is enabled to say, with St. Paul, “The love of Christ constraineth me; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead; and that he died for all, that they, which live, should not henceforth live unto them. selves, but unto him who died for them and rose again.' (2 Cor. v. 14.) "We are dead, and our life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall we also appear with him in glory.' (Col. iii. 3, 4.) · For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the like. ness of his resurrection. Knowing that Christ, being raised from the dead, dieth no more ; but liveth unto God: We likewise reckon ourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God, through Jesus Christ our Lord.' (Rom. vi. 5, 9, 11.)
This living faith is the source, from whence all the sanctity of the Christian is derived, and all the power of the true minister : It is the medium, through which that sap of grace and consolation, those streams of peace and joy, are perpetually flowing, which enrich the
believing soul, and make it fruitful in every good work ; or, to speak without a metaphor, from this powerful grace, proceeds that love of God and man, which influences us to think and act, either as members, or as ministers, of Jesus Christ. The character of the Christian is determined according to the strength or weakness of his faith. If the faith of St. Paul had been weak or wavering, his portrait would have been unworthy of our contemplation : He would necessarily have fallen into doubt and discouragement; he might probably have sunk into sin, as St. Peter plunged into the sea; He must, sooner or later, have lost his spiritual vigour, and have made the same appearance in the church, as those ministers and Christians who are influenced by the maxims of the world. The effects of faith are still truly mysterious, though our Lord has explained them in as intelligible a manner as their nature will permit: "He that abideth in me,' by a living faith, and in whom I abide,' by the light of my word and by the power of my Spirit, “the same bringeth forth much fruit; for without we ye can do nothing. If any man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and' being withered, is cast into the fire and burned. Herein is my Father glorified, that,' united to me as the branches to the vine, “ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.' (John xv. 6, 7, 8.)
Penetrated with these great truths, and daily cleaving more firmly to his living head, the true minister expresses what the natural man cannot receive, and what few pastors of the present age are not able to comprehend, though St. Paul not only experienced it in his own heart, but openly declares it in the following remark. able passage : 'I am crucified with Christ : Neverthe. less, I live; yet, not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.' (Gal. ii. 20.)
His extraordinary Vocation to the holy Ministry
and in what that Ministry chiefly consists.
Every professor of Christianity is acquainted with the honour, which our Lord conferred upon the apostle Paul, in not only calling him to a participation of the Christian faith, but by appointing him also to publish the everlasting gospel. A just sense of this double honour penetrated the heart of that apostle with the most lively gratitude~ I give thanks,' saith he, to Christ Jesus our Lord, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious. But I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbe. lief : And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abun. dant in me, with faith and love, which is in Christ Jesus. Howbeit, for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all long. suffering, for a pattern to them which should hereaf. ter believe on him to everlasting life.' (1 Tim. i. 12, 16.) The evangelical ministry, to which St. Paul was immediately called, is in general the same through every age enlightened by the gospel, and consists in publishing the truth after such a manner, that the wicked may be converted, and the faithful edified. The commission, which this great apostle received from Christ, contains, essentially, nothing more than the acknowledged duty of every minister of the gospel. Leave out the miraculous appearance of our Lord ; pass over the circumstance of a commission given in an extraor. dinary manner; substitute the word sinners for that of Gentiles, and instead of Jews, read hypocritical profes. 80r3 ; and you will perceive, that, with these immaterial