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greater interest, and more powerful sway, in public events, than those important men who appear at the head of affairs, and seem to hold in their hands the fate of empires. What a treasure, then, has the earth in a godly Pastor how inestimable a blessing is he, not merely to the Church of which he is a member, but to society at large, to which he belongs Powerful, then, my Reverend Brethren, are our motives, and animating our induce= ments, to renew within us the spirit of our holy calling, and never to suffer that first fervor which consecrated us to the service of the alter, to cool into negligence, or be smothered with lukewarmIn CSS.
But a Minister of the Gospel is a fellow-laborer with God in the salvation of souls by the preaching of the Word, by the administration of the Sacraments, by the discharge of all the pastoral duties which conduce to the everlasting happiness of mankind. A holy and enlightened pastor is the instrument of various blessings to the world. How many righteous men are, through his means, supported in piety how many careless sinners made sensible of their danger, awakened from their impenitence, converted to the truth by the force of his arguments, and the persuasion of his life " If he preach the Word, he informs the ignorant, convinces the doubtful, confirms the pious: and such is the prevalence of his example, that it at once instructs and persuades, and is even Wore instrumental in bringing sinners to God than his public discourses. What blessings then may not one apostolic Minister diffuse among men! Twelve only were employed in the conversion of the whole earth.
Although a righteous Minister shall confine all the good he does to the efficacy of an exemplary and edifying life, although he should only appear as a private character, his engaging demeanor, and pious conversation would authorize us to affirm that he is ordained for the salvation of many. Great, then, is the blessing to mankind, when God sends an holy Pastor, whose instructive piety is an object of admiration to men and angels! Such an one is a perpetual Gospel, which mankind have constantly before their eyes, and against which they have nothing to allege. If his example does not reclaim, it at least inspires them with a respect for virtue; it compels them at least to acknowledge that there are still some righteous men upon earth; it repairs the injury which is done to the sacred character in the public estimation by unworthy Ministers, and rescues it from the contempt into which it is fallen by the irregularity of their manners; it corrects, at least, the censures and derisions which profane men are continually throwing out upon the sacred ministry; it adds, if I may be allowed to say it, honor to the character. For it is, my Reverend Brethren, against us, chiefly, that the world delights to level its most poignant darts; it forgives nothing in a profli
gate pastor; the more he appears to love it, to be attached to it, the more he becomes the object of its satire, of its contempt, and indignation.
In one word, a godly Minister is one of the greatest blessings which God can give, or society receive. What were the mercies promised to the Israelites, by his Prophet, if they would return to him, and renounce the evil of their doings?— What?—the empire of nations?—the entire destruction of their enemies?—a cessation of the evils which afflicted, and of the calamities which overwhelmed, them 2–a land flowing with milk and honey?—He had, it is true, in preceding ages, made these magnificent promises, but the possession of them had not been sufficiently powerful to confine the Israelites to the observance of his law, nor to prevent them from offering their homage to strange gods:–He renounces, then, these splendid promises, so admirably calculated to make an impression upon a people, whose actions were all suggested by carnal and worldly motives; but it is only for the purpose of making them a promise unspeakably greater, infinitely more precious:—“Turn, O backsliding Israel, saith the “Lord, and I will bring you to Zion, and give “you pastors according to mine heart, which shall “feed you with knowledge and understanding.” Raise up, O God, faithful priests in thy Church, and pastors according to thine heart. We ask not, Father, an end of the calamities with which thou afflictest us, the cessation of wars and of tumults, happier seasons, the return of abundance and of prosperity:—give us holy pastors, and with them thou wilt give us every thing!
I comprise the substance and utility of this exhortation in one reflection; I can neither singly destroy nor save myself; from the moment I became one of the Lord's Ministers, I have been either a scourge in his hands for the affliction of men, or a blessing sent down from heaven for their salvation.
How powerful a motive to fidelity in the discharge of my duty, to vigilance over my conduct, to zeal in my ministry, to hope or dread in the expectation of the second coming of Jesus Christ, who will present to me the souls he had entrusted to my care, either as my condemnation, if they have perished, or as my glory and crown, if, through my ministry, they are admitted to life and salvation!