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EPISTLE FOR THE FIRST SUNDAY AFTER THE
ROMANS XII. 1-5.
1 I BESEECH you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God,
to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable 2 to God, which is your reasonable service. And be not
fashioned according tol this age; but be ye transformed by the renewing of the mind, that ye may prove what is the will
of God, even that which is good and acceptable and perfect. 3 For I say, through the grace which was given me, to every
one that is among you, not to be high-minded beyond what he ought to be minded, but to be minded so as to be sober
minded, according as God dealt to each one a measure of 4 faith. For as in one body we have many members, and all 5 the members have not the same office; so we, the many, are
one body in Christ, and, regarded one by one, each other's members.
11 Pet. i. 14.
CONFORMITY AND TRANSFORMATION.
ROMANS XII. 2.
Be not conformed to this world.
The work of a Christian minister, my brethren, is SERMON
I. He has the common difficulties of all men in maintaining a right conversation and a clear conscience, and he has others all his own.
That public ministry which is often regarded as a mere matter of course; those sermons to which his hearers often give little heed; that exposition of revealed truth, and that application of the truth to practical life, which is often treated as if any one could utter, as if every one knew it; these things cause no little anxiety, involve no little exertion, to one who would make full proof of his ministry, and desires not only to be instant in season and out of season, but also to be wise in the choice of subjects, and successful in the enforcement of the truth upon the consciences of those who hear.
The will of God has deprived you for a time-I hope and believe but for a time—of the public exercise of that faithful ministry which you have long and, I am sure, thankfully enjoyed. Most unexpectedly, and in some senses most unwillingly, I have been called to stand before you in another's
In all sincerity and in all humility I would ask you, my brethren, to join your prayers this day with mine, as for the restoration to health and activity of him who is now laid aside, so also for an especial blessing on that subsidiary and temporary ministry by which it is sought to fill the void.
In many respects, the teaching of a temporary instructor must be most deficient. He cannot know, in detail, the cases and the circumstances of those to whom he is to minister. He must, to a great extent, draw his bow at a venture. But there are two considerations which may lawfully encourage him. One is, that the human heart is not many,
but As face answereth to face, so the heart of man to heart. If a man knows one heart well, even his own;
much more, if he have had any enlarged intercourse with other minds and lives, though it may have been elsewhere and under different circumstances; he may hope that, by God's blessing, his words will not be altogether vague, nor his aim wholly missed : let him speak as a man to men, let him speak to them that
are bound as bound with them, to them that suffer SERMON
I. adversity as being himself also in the body, to them that are tempted as himself liable to temptation, to them that are struggling as himself in the conflict, to them that would win heaven as having himself also that hope and aim, to them that are sinful and weak and often stumbling as himself also in like case with them; and he may rely upon it that an echo will come back to him from the souls addressed, they will recognize a brother's voice, and give it entrance into their hearts.
The other encouragement is this, that the Word of God suits all cases, and is the same in every place. The office of the Christian instructor is to preach the Word ; not his own word, but God's. Let him do that —with all plainness of speech, with all closeness of interpretation, with all explicitness, with all fulness; let him explain it, let him apply, let him aim, let him enforce it; and He from whom the Word comes will carry
it home: God desires the edification, the progress, the comfort, the salvation, of the souls here present before Him; He desires these things, and He has given His own Word, in all its variety and in all its compass, to effect them : therefore, if a man mistrusts himself, let him turn there ; let him throw himself
upon the purpose as well as the promise of Him in whose name he speaks; and he may be assured that some fruit will follow, something which