Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

« Gospel: We hold forth the word of life faithful Ministers are "the messengers of "the churches, and the glory of Christ." It is natural for us when we think of our high office, to exclaim, " What manner of persons "ought we to be in all holy conversation "and godliness!" Permit me to turn the words of St. Peter into an earnest and affectionate exhortation: Let us, the Ministers of Christ, be distinguished " in all holy con"versation and godliness:" let us aspire to the character of Titus, and of " the mesten"gers of the churches," to be " the glory of u Christ.*' The very slightest suspicion against a Minister, is much to be regretted: even when its foundation is in malice, the effects are lamentable. "Woe to the man "by whom offences sliall come." Let us take heed to ourselves and to our doctrine, "giving none offence." Alas I offence has been given, wounds have been inflicted, religion has suffered, not by avowed enemies only. From the horrible guilt and pernicious effects of an untender, not to say an immoral conduct, in the Ministers of purity and righteousness, I turn, and exchange my indignation for the most worthless, useless and

contemptible contemptible of all men, for the pleasing ideas that are excited and cherilhed by contemplating the purity, the zeal, the success, of the faithful servants of the Lord Jesus Christ. Let us preserve, and maintain; and manifest, the purity and diligence of the faithful: let us exhibit the word of life in all our ministrations, and in the excellence of our character and deportment. Let us ever remember the views our Lord himself gives of his followers, and the exhortation he founds on them, with which I conclude. "Ye are the salt of the earth; but if the sait "have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be* "salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing "but to be cast out, and to be trodden un"der foot of men. Ye are the light of the "world. A city that is set on an hill can"not be hid. Neither do men light a can"die, and put it under a bushel, but on a "candlestick; and it giveth light unto all "that are in the house. Let your light so "fliine before men, that they may see your "good works, and glorify your Father which "is in heaven."

SERSERMON IV.

ATTACHMENT TO THE CHURCH OF SCOTLAND. [Preached 7th April 1799.]

I Corinthians, i. 10.

Now, I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the fame thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfetlly joined together in the fame mind, and in the fame judgement.

The contentions, schisms or divisions that prevailed among the Christians at Corinth, of which the Apostle had received information, are the chief occasion and subject of this affectionate epistle. Union among Christians was exceedingly dear to the apostle. Contentions and divisions were the grief of his heart. u I fear," savs he, in his second epistle, " lest when I come, I should not find "you such as I would; and that I shall be "found unto you, such as you would not: "lest there be debates, envyings, wraths, "strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, S "tumults."

"tumults." His happiness in the harmony of Christians in sentiment and affection; and his zeal to promote them, are strongly expressed in this address to the Philippians, "If there be any consolation in Christ, if "any comfort of love, if any fellowship of "the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies; "fulfil ye my joy, that ye be like minded, "having the same love, being of one accord, "of one mind: let nothing be done through' "strife or vain-glory." Nor is less earnestness manifested in our text: "I beseech you "brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus "Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, "and that there be no divisions among you, "but that ye be perfectly joined together, in "the same mind, and in the same judge"ment."

We do not'affirm that unity and harmony in church order, in the manner of providing for teaching the Gospel and celebrating the ordinances of religion, were exclusively, or even principally intended or referred to in these passages; but assuredly union in them is not excluded. Harmonious church order is repeatedly brought in view in this epistle,

and and very warmly recommended. Tumult, disorder, separation among Christians are deprecated and deplored. "God is not the "author of confusion but of peace, as in all "the churches of the saints. Let all things "(in the churches) be done decently and in "order."

A Presbyterian Minister, addressing his parishioners, his countrymen, and his Presbyterian brethren, in the words of the apostle, is, no doubt, understood to exhort his hearers, and all he can influence, to be on their guard against schisms, divisions and separations, from the Church of Scotland. This is the object of the present discourse.

But it may not be improper to observe that, the zeal for preserving attachment to our church, which we avow and recommend, is neither felt nor profesied to be, by any* means, equal to what is, and unquestionably ought to be, experienced for the interests of the Christian religion itself, and of the kingdom of Christ at large. We ought asiuredly to be more firmly united against infidelity and irreligion, than against any mode or form

S 2 -of

« AnteriorContinuar »