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with this revolution in the sentiments of a certain class of christians, circumstances have arisen, connected with the more general diffusion of knowledge and the state of society, which render a higher degree of mental cultivation than was heretofore needed, indispensably requisite. The Baptist denomination, in common with other christians, have not failed to advert to this urgent and increasing demand for cultivated talent in their ministers, although they have long had occasion to lament the scantiness and inadequacy of their means of supplying it. To the Bristol Academy, the only seminary they possessed till within these few years, they feel the highest obligations, for supplying them with a succession of able and faithful pastors, who have done honour to their churches: and few things would give the patrons and founders of the seminary, for which I am pleading, more concern, than the suspicion of entertaining views unfavourable to that academy. They respect its claim of seniority; they revere the character of its excellent President; they contemplate, with the highest satisfaction, the beneficial result of its
operations, conspicuous in most parts of the king- .
dom:-but they are too well acquainted with the disinterested motives of its friends and benefactors, to suspect them of wishing to monopolize the education of ministers connected with the denomination. They feel as little jealousy of the seminary recently established in Yorkshire, which has already produced good fruits, under the culture
and superintendance of the excellent Mr. Steadman. Convinced, however, of there being still occasion for an enlargement of the means of instruction, and having, by the munificence of a generous individual, been presented with a house and premises well adapted to academical purposes, they could feel no hesitation in accepting so noble a gift, or in seconding the pious and benevolent design of the founder. The institution is yet in its infancy, and subsists on a small scale. They look to the smiles of heaven, and to the liberality of a christian public, and, especially, to the piety and opulence of the professors of religion in the metropolis, who have never been wanting in the zealous support of institutions tending to promote the glory of God and the best interest of mankind, for such an enlargement of their funds and resources as, seconded by the efforts of its worthy tutor, shall render it a permanent and extensive blessing.
2 CoRINThiANs iv. 1. + Therefore, seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not.
As you have requested me to address you upon the present occasion, I am persuaded you will deem no apology necessary for the use of that freedom which the nature of the service to which you have invited me demands, combined with those sentiments of high esteem which your character will always inspire. Having, with the accustomed solemnities, been invested with the pastoral office over this church, you will permit me to remind you of the discouragements on the one hand, and the supports on the other, which you may reasonably look for in your ministerial warfare, as far as they are naturally suggested to us by the passage of scripture selected for the basis of our present discourse. If it is necessary for the private christian, before he assumes a religious profession, to count the cost; to the minister it cannot be less so, that he may not be surprised by unexpected trials, nor dismayed at the encounter of difficulties for which he has made no preparation. A just estimate of the nature and magnitude is an important qualification for the proper discharge of whatever function we are called to exert. As you are neither a novice in the ministry, nor have failed to reflect deeply on the consequences of your present engagements, you will not suspect me of attempting, by the hints which may be suggested, to give you information, but merely to stir up your pure mind by way of remembrance.
I. Let me request your attention to the sources of discouragement connected with the office you have undertaken.
1. They are such as arise, in part, from the nature of the office itself, which is appointed for the purpose of converting souls to God, and conducting them in the path to eternal life. To you, in common with other christian pastors, is committed the ministry of reconciliation, the office of promulgating that system of truth which is designed to renew the world and sanctify the church. Under the highest authority you are enjoined to use your utmost efforts to open blind eyes, to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God. The bare mention of such an employment is enough to convince us the difficulties attending it are of no ordinary magnitude,