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and did all drink the same spiritual drink: {for they drunk of that spiritual rock that followed them: and that rock mas Christ.) But with many of them God was not well pleased : for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examvies.Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall! As if he had said, 'Are you members of a community which has the promised presence of Christ? Our fathers also were under the cloud. Has God interposed in your favour? They passed through the sea, as on dry land. Have you been baptized? So were they. They descended in a body into the sea; were buried, as it were, by the cloud above them, and the waters on each hand of them ;• and afterwards ascended on the other side. Have you been admitted to the holy supper? They also ate of that food, and drank of that stream, the spiritual intent of which was much the same. Yet all this afforded them no security, when they provoked the divine jealousy. Notwithstanding these privileges they fell, and were destroyed of the destroyer. Tnese things are recorded for our admonition.'—Of what account then will our baptism be to us, if, instead of being dead to the World and alive to God, we be the reverse? Will baptism save t«? No: U will bear witness against us!

And though we may not fall into so fatal an error, as to substitute baptism in the place of holiness, righteousness, and godliness; yet if we cherish a fond conceit of ourselves, magnifying our advantages, to the neglect of a spirit of humble watchfulness; louf baptism, instead of aiding us, will become a snare. We do not always act up to our advantages. It is very possible that Christians who are behind us in this particular, may notwithstanding be before us in their general character. It were vain and foolish to imagine, that our possessing the truth in one instance will secure us from error in every other; or that our fulfilling this command of Christ, however important, will ensure a course ttf universal obedience.

Let us never forget, that however adapted this or that ordinance, form, or mode of church government, may be to promote our spiritual interests, yet if we rest in the means, they will deceive us; or rather, we shall deceive ourselves. It is the presence of Christ only that can keep us alive, cither as individuals, or as churches. While, therefore, we recommend the means which he has prescribed, we devoutly add, with the Apostle, The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all! Amen.




Beloved Brethren,

The ministry to which God by your election has called us, forms a distinguished part of the gospel dispensation. Divine instruction, was communicated under the Old Testament, and an order of men appointed of God for the purpose : but their work can scarcely be denominated preaching. They foretold the good news: but it is for us to proclaim it. The poor having the gospel preached to them is alleged in proof that the Messiah was come, and that they were not to look for another.

The very existence of Christian churches is in subserviency to the preaching of the gospel ; or they would not have been described as golden candlesticks, the use of which is to impart light to those around them. We speak not thus, brethren, to magnify ourselves. There is an important difference between Christian ministers, and the Christian ministry. The former, we are ready to acknowledge, exists for your sakes. Whether Paul, Apollos, or Cephasall are yours; but the latter, as being the chosen mean of extending the Redeemer's kingdom, is that for which both we and you exist. Ye are Christ's, and Christ is God's.

These considerations will enable us to account for the joy which the apostle ecpressed in Christ's being preached, even though it were from envy; and may teach us to rejoice in the same thing, though it be in the most corrupt communities, or even from the most suspicious motives. But though God may cause his truth to triumph, wherever and by whomsoever it is taught; yet it should be our concern to publish it willingly, and to the best advantage.

The primitive churches were not mere assemblies of men who agreed to meet together once or twice a week, and to subscribe to the support of an accomplished man who should on those occasions deliver lectures on religion. They were men gathered out of the world by the preaching of the cross, and formed into society for the promotion of Christ's kingdom, in their own souls, and in the world around them. It was not the concern of the ministers or elders only: the body of the people were interested in all that was done, and according to their several abilities and stations took part in it. Neither were they assemblies of heady, high-minded, contentious people, meeting together to argue on points of doctrine or discipline, and converting the worship of God into scenes of strife. They spake the truth; but it was in love: they observed discipline; but, like an army of chosen men, it was that they might attack the kingdom of Satan to greater advantage. Happy were it for our churches if we could come to a closer imitation of this model!

We trust it is our sincere desire, as ministers, to be more intent upon our work; but allow us to askfor your Assistance. Nehemiah, zealous as he was, could not have built the wall if the people had not had a mind to work. Nor could Ezra have reformed the abuses among the people if nobody had stood with him. But in this case, the elders, when convinced of the necessity of the measure, offered themselves willingly to assist him. Arise, (said they,) for this matter belongeth unto thee: we also mil be with thee: be of good courage and do it. Such is the assistance, brethren, which we solicit at your hands.

We might enumerate the different ways in which your assistance in promoting the interest of Christ is needed. We might ask for your prayers, your early attendance, your counsels, your contributions, and your example: but what we have to offer will arise from a review of the different branches of our own labours. hearing us, we shall preach to you under great disadvantage. The apostle complained of many things being hard to be uttered, owing to the Hebrews being dull of hearing; and that for the time when they ought to hare been teachers, they had need that one should teach them again which were the first principles of the oracles of God. Thinking hearers gire a facility to preaching, even upon the most difficult subjects; while those whose minds are seldom occupied at othe" times can scarcely understand the most easy and familiar truths.

In the discharge of our work, we have to do with four descriptions of people, and in dealing with each we stand in need of your assistance: namely, serious and humble Christians—disorderly walkers—persons under concern about salvation—and persons manifestly unconverted.

First: It may be supposed that in every church of Christ there will be a considerable proportion of serious and humble Christians. Our work in respect of them is to feed them with the wholesome doctrine of the word, and to teach them the mind of Christ in all things. The assistance which we ask of you, brethren, in this part of our ministry, is that you would not only pray for us, but be free to impart to us the state of your minds, and whether our • labours be edifying to you or not. It is not so much by a systematical statement and defence of Christian doctrines that believers are edified, as by those doctrines being applied to their respective cases. This is the way in which they are ordinarily introduced in the scriptures, and in which they become words in due season. But we cannot well preach to the cases of people unless we know them. Add to this, the interest which you discover in the things of God has a more than ordinary influence on our minds in the delivery of them. You cannot conceive the difference between addressing a people full of tender and affectionate attention, whose souls appear in their eyes, and answer, as it were, to the word of God; and preaching to those who are either half asleep, or their thoughts manifestly occupied by other things. By looking at the one, our hearts have expanded like the flowers before the morning sun: thoughts have occurred, and sensations have been kindled, which the labours of the study could never have furnished. But by observing the other, our spirits are contracted like the flowers by the damps of the evening; and thoughts which were interesting when alone have seemed to die as they proceeded from our lips.

It will tend not a little to increase your interest in hearing, if you exercise yourselves on other occasions to reading and reflection. If you attend to the things of God only or chiefly while

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Secondly: In every church we must expect a greater or less proportion of disorderly walkers.—Our work in respect of them is to warn, admonish, and if possible, to reclaim them; or if that cannot be to separate them, lest the little leaven should leaven the whole lump. But in these cases, more than in many others, we stand in need of your assistance. It is not ministers only, but# all who are spiritual, that the apostle addresses on this subject; and spiritual characters may always expect employment in restoring others in the spirit of meekness. It is of great importance to the well-being of a church, that men are not wanting who will watch over one another in love, observe and counteract the first symptoms of declension, heal differences at an early period, and nip disturbances in the bud. By such means there will be but few things of a disagreeable nature, which will require either the censures of the church, or the interference of the pastor.

There will be instances, however, in which both the pastor and the church must interfere; and here it is of the utmost consequence that they each preserve a right spirit, and act in concert. There are two errors in particular, into which individuals have frequently fallen in these matters. One is a harsh and unfeeling conduct towards the offender, tending only to provoke his resentment, or to drive him to despair; the other is that of siding with him, apologizing for him, and carrying it so familiarly towards him in private as to induce him to think otkers who reprove him his enemies Beware, brethren, of both these extremes, which, instead of assisting us in our work, would be doing the utmost to counteract us. We may almost as well abandon discipline as not to act in «eu««rt. It was oit this principle that the apostle enjeiued it on

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