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A SERMON Wherein is Shewed,

I. That the Ministers of the Gospel need, and ought to desire the Prayers of the Lord's People for them.

II. That the People of GOD ought to Pray for His Ministers.

Preached at Roxbury, October 29. 1718. When Mr. Thomas Walter Was Ordained a Pastor in that Church, by his GRAND-FATHER, Increase Mather. D. D.

Acts 6. 4. We will give our selves continually to Prayer, and to the Ministry of the Word.
Acts 14. 23. When they had Ordained them Elders in every Church, and had Prayed with Fasting.
Phil. 1. 19. For I know this shall turn to my Salva­tion, through your Prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.

BOSTON: Printed by S. KNEELAND, for J. EDWARDS, at his Shop next door to the Light-House Tavern, in King-Street, 1718.

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THE PREFACE

IT is Asserted in the Sermon Emitted herewith, that the Lives of Ministers depend much (under God) on the Prayers of the Lord's People for them. I am a living Example on whom that has been verified. When I Ordained a Son who has been since that Labouring with me in the same Vineyard, for above Thirty-Three Years, I little thought of living to Ordain a Grandson. It is high time for me to be willing to leave a sinful World. I bless the Lord I am [Page ii] willing, having seen an end of all Per­fection, and willing humbly to wait the Lord's time. The only thing that makes this World desirable, is, an opportuniy to do Service for Christ. But when Abilities for Serviceableness is Expired, (as they are with me Expiring) why should we desire to live longer! I con­fess I did so when I was Young. But the case is altered with me. Now my Prayer is, that my Children, and Chil­drens Children may do greater Service (if they do not they will do very little) for Christ and for his People than I have done. Amen!

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Ministers of the Gospel ought to desire the Prayers of the Lord's People.

HEBREWS XIII. 18.Pray for us.

THAT the Writer of this Ad­mirable Epistle was no less an Author than an Apostle, and particularly, that the Apostle Paul was the Writer of it, seems evident in that there are many Paulins Phrases in it. And Peter writing to the Hebrews or Christanized Jews, says, Our beloved Brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him of God, has written to you. [Page 2] The Conclusion of the Epistle begins with these Words, Pray for us. Undoubtedly he intends himself in special. It is not improbable but that there might be other Ministers of the Gospel under Confinement with him at Rome, whom he would also have them Prayed for. Now considering he was divinely Inspired in requesting the Prayers of these Christians, that is documental to other Ministers that they should do the like, and instructive also to People that they should comply with the Ex­hortation.

THE Doctrine then before us, is, THAT the Ministers of the Gospel should desire the Lord's People to Pray for them, and the Lord's People ought to Pray for them.

THERE are Two Propositions to be insisted on.

PROP. I. THE Ministers of the Gospel ought to desire the Prayers of the Lord's People. They need the Prayers of the Lord's People. If such an one as Paul needed them, how much more do other Ministers, who have not his Abi­lities and Accomplishments. He was an Apostle and the Chief among them. There were some among the Corinthians who compelled him to say, In nothing am I behind the very chiefest A­postles, 2 Cor. 12. 11. He was no less a Subject of Divine Inspiration and Revelation than any of them. But moreover had the advantage of [Page 3] a Learned Education. He was the Pupil of a very Learned Doctor, brought up at the Feet of Gamaliel. The Jewish Writers say, that Gama­liel was the President of their Sanedrim. Yet Paul notwithstanding all his Learning and Ex­traordinary Qualifications, requests the Prayers of the Lords People for him. He does so not only in this his Epistle to the Hebrews, but in all his other Epistles to the Churches. And sometimes he desired the Prayers of particular Godly Persons as well as of whole Churches. He requested Philemon to Pray for him. Yea, and Apphia also, a Godly Praying Woman sup­posed to be Philemons Wife. The greatest Saint may need and be benefited by the Prayers of the meanest Saint. It has been related concerning that Great, Learned and Holy Man, Dr. Usher, that after he was the Arch-Bishop of Armagh, he would sometimes step into the Houses of Poor Men of Eminent Piety, only to request that they would particularly Pray for him. The Ministers of God need the Prayers of His People. For,

1. THEY are called unto a great and difficult Work, which they are not able to manage a­right without special help from Heaven; There­fore it becomes them to say, Pray for us. They that think their Work is easy know not what it is. Nehemiah said, I am doing a great Work, Neh. 6. 3. Why? What was he doing? He was repairing the Walls of Jerusalem. The Ministers of the Gospel are engaged in building not the Material but the Spiritual Jerusalem, [Page 4] and that's a great Work. Precious Souls are committed to their Care and Charge, for which they must be accountable. And if any of those Souls perish through their negligence the Ac­count will be dreadful. In the Verse before my Text it is said, They watch for your Souls, as they that must give Account. Is not the work of a Watchman attended with difficulty and hazzard? The words of God to the Prophet are exceeding awful, Ezek. 33. 7, 8. I have set thee a Watchman to the house of Israel; when I say to the Wicked, O Wicked Man thou shalt surely die, if thou dost not speak to warn the Wicked Man from his way, that Wicked Man shall die in his iniquity, but his Blood will I re­quire at thy hand. The thought of that is tre­mendous. A Minister of the Gospel is engaged in a Work for which it is said, Who is sufficient, 2 Cor. 2. 16. The ablest Minister in the World has not self sufficiency for so great an under­taking. 2 Cor. 3. 5. We are not sufficient of our selves to think any thing as of our selves. Are we are able by our thinking or studying, to pre­pare Sermons that shall Convert or Edify Souls? No: all our sufficiency is of God. Therefore He is to be Prayed unto. It is said concerning the Levites who were Ministers and Teachers, that they managed their bearing the Ark as became them, when God helped them, 1 Chron. 15. 25. Then it concerns them to say, Pray for us, that God will please to help us in the Work whereunto He has called us, and sepa­rated us.

[Page 5]2. THE Ministers of the Gospel reed the Prayers of the Lord's People for them, consider­ing they are subject to the like Infirmities with other Men. They are indeed called Angels. Among the Jews the Chief Ruler in the Syna­gogue, was called Shaliac Tsibbor, the Angel of the Congregation. Thus the Pastors of Chur­ches are called, the Angels of the Churches. That Name should put them in mind of their Duty, that they should endeavour to live Angelical lives. But they are Angels not in respect of Nature, but Office. Angel signifies a Messen­ger. A Minister is the Messenger of the Lord of Hosts. But he is an infirm Creature, and has not the strength of an Angel to work with. It was well spoken by one that was Ordained in a particular Church, who said, he hoped the Church which had called him, would consider that they had not called an Angel, but a poor frail Man, who needed their Pity and Prayers. Ministers are subject to the same natural infir­mities with other Men. The Apostle advises Timothy, to drink no longer water, but to use a little Wine for his stomachs sake, and often infirmi­ties, 1 Tim. 5. 23. He counsels him not to continue to drink Water alone, but to mix a little Wine with his Water, for that might conduce to his Health, who was often subject to Infirmities. Ministers are as subject to Bo­dily Sicknesses and Diseases as any other Men. Epaphroditus a Faithful Minister of the Gospel was Sick nigh unto Death, but God had mercy on him, and restored him to Health again. It [Page 6] is said of the Prophet Elisha, that when Joash wept over him, he was Sick of the Sickness where­of he dyed, which seems to intimate that he had been Sick of other Sicknesses before that, which did not prove mortal to him. Nor are Ministers of the Gospel free from moral Infir­mities, as long as they are in this World. The Prophet Elias was an extraordinary Man, ne­vertheless, it is said of him, He was Subject to like Passions as we are, Jam. 5. 17. The holy Man discovered too much of Passion and Im­patience, when being Persecuted by a cursed Queen, he requested for himself that he might dye, and said, Lord take away my life, 1 Kin. 19. 4. Jonah was a famous Prophet, his Name is ho­nourably mentioned in the Book of God. 2 Kin. 14. 25. The word of the Lord which he spake by the hand of his servant Jonah the son of Amittai. Yet this Servant of the Lord was one subject to strange Passion. It displeased him that God spared Niniveh, and he was very angry, Jonah 4. 1. The time in which the City was threatned with destruction was lapsed, and the City not destroyed. He thought he should have the dishonour of being counted a false Prophet, and rather than so, he was willing that many Hun­dreds of Thousands of Persons, Men, Women, and Children should perish. What amazing, what unmerciful Passion was here. Luther ac­cording to his Name, and the Prediction of the Martyr Huss an hundred Years before, was the Swan of his Age; of whom Calvin in one of his Epistles says, If he calls me a Devil, I will call him [Page 7] a Faithful Servant of Christ, yet he was a Man of violent Passions; would reflect furiously, on those whose Sentiments differed from and were more Orthodox than his. The Lord leaves the best Men to discover that they are but Men, that so we might cease from Men, and not ido­lize any Man, tho' never so Eminent.

3. THE Ministers of the Gospel are more ex­posed to Temptation than any other Men in the World. Therefore have they cause to say to the Lord's People, Pray for us. The Devil hates them above all other Men, for he knows they are the greatest destrovers of his Kingdom. When the Lord Jesus Christ sent His Ministers to Preach the Gospel, He said, I beheld Satan as Lightning fall from Heaven, Luk. 10. 18. Some­times by the Preaching of the Gospel whole Kingdoms have been recovered out of Satans hand, and become visibly the Kingdom of Christ. The Thunder of the Gospel has caused Satan to fall like Lightning. And therefore it is not to be wondred at, if the Devil has a peculiar spite at the Preachers of it. He will molest them with inward Temptations. Within are fears, it may be very afflictive ones; and yet altoge­ther groundless ones. The fiery darts of the wicked one enter into their Souls. And he will raise Persecutions from the Word upon them, In the Twelfth Chapter of the Revelations, the Devil is called a Red Dragon, because of his be­ing the Author of bloody Persecutions; and it is said, that he cast a Flood out of his mouth. That Flood Interpreters suppose intends the Arian [Page 8] Heresy and Persecution. The Historians informs us, that that Persecution fell chiefly on the Ministers of the Gospel. And often times it is so, that Persecuting Laws take hold on Mi­nisters when their People escape. They shall be Silenced, Imprisoned, and subject to severe Penalties for Preaching the Gospel. They shall be Subjects of obloque and reproach, more than others in the World. Shall be slandrously re­ported, and hear the slander of many. If there is a Minister that the wickedest of Men cry him up, we may conclude that he has not been Faithful in bearing witness against the Sins of the time. Christ says, Luk. 6. 26. Wo unto you when all Men, the generality of wicked Men, shall speak well of you, for so did their Fathers to the false Prophets. But how was it with the Faithful Prophets of God? Christ has said in another place, Blessed are you when Men shall revile you, and speak all manner of evil against you, for my sake, for so persecuted they the Pro­phets which were before you. We often see that if there is a Tree in our Orchards, that has better Fruit on it than others, many sticks and stones will be thrown at it. If there is a Mi­nister that is more useful and fruitful than his Neighbours, he shall be sure to have many stones in own at him.

4. MANY times it sares with the Ministers of the Gospel according as their People Pray for them. Therefore they have reason to say, Pray for us. The Lives, the Health, the Liberty of Mini­sters depend much on the Prayers of their Peo­ple. [Page 9] They may by their Prayers be instrumen­tal in delivering them from feared evils. This the Apostle was very sensible of. He was a­fraid lest the unbelieving Jews who hated him above any Man in the World, would have done him mischief at Jerusalem, wherefore in his Epistle to the Romans, he does importu­nately beg their Prayers, I beseech you Brethren for the Lord Jesus Christ his sake, that you strive together with me, I'll Pray my self, but do you join with me, in your Prayers to God for me, that I may be delivered from them that do not believe in Judea, Rom. 15. 30, 31. Truly Prayer for him was not in vain. He was delivered out of the hands of those unbelievers when in the emi­nentest danger. For they dragged him out of the Temple, and as they went about to kill him, a Roman Colonel with his Captains and Soldiers rescued him out of their hands. And was not that deliverance an answer of many Prayers of the Apostle and of his Christian Friends? When a Minister is fallen into deep Affliction, the Prayers of the Lord's People, es­pecially if many Pray for him, may prove his Deliverance. 2 Cor. 1. 10, 11. God has deli­vered us from so great a death, and does deliver, in whom we trust that He will yet deliver, you also helping by your Prayer for us, that for the gift, i. e. for the deliverance given to us, by the means of many Persons, thanks may be given by many in our behalf. When a Minister is de­prived of Liberty to Preach, either by the hand of God confining of him, or by Persecutors, it [Page 10] may be the Prayers of the Lord's People for him will obtain his restoration. Thus in the Text before us, Pray for us, I beseech you the rather to do this, that I may be restored to you the sooner. He speaks after the like manner to Philemon, Verse 23. I trust that thro' your Prayer I shall be given to you. We have a miraculous confirmation of this in the Apostle Peter. He was put into Prison bound in Chains, & Four Quater­nions of Soldiers appointed to keep him. The next Morning was to have had his Life taken from him. Did Peter live a considerable time after this, and do great Service for Christ? He did. The Prayers of the Lord's People saved his Life. It is said, Act. 12. 5. Peter was kept in Prison, but Prayer was made without ceasing of the Church unto God for him. These Prayers brought an Angel sent from Heaven, who knocked off the Chains from Peters hand, opened the Prison doors, and caused the Iron Gate which led into the City to open of itself. Furthermore, Churches may by their Prayers, obtain not only Temporal, but Spiritual Blessings for the Ministers who are set over them. Hence the Apostle said to the Church of Philippians, who when an exercising Affliction befell him, I know that this shall turn to my Salvation through your Prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, Phil. 1. 19.

PROP. II. THE Lord's People ought to Pray for the Ministers of God.

IF they omit to express their desire for it, [Page 11] they ought nevertheless to Pray for them; much more when they earnestly request it. Prayer is a mutual duty which Pastors and Peo­ple owe to one another. When a particular Church shall Elect and Ordain a Pastor, they ought to do it with Solemn and Extraordinary Prayer. It was so in the Apostles days, and has been so practised in the Churches in New-England. Acts 14. 23. They Ordained them El­ders in every Church, and Prayed with Fasting. And there is great Reason why People should Pray for those, that are called to the Work of the Ministry.

1. WE may Reason from the Relation which there is between the Pastors of Churches, and their People. Such as are in Office Relation chosen by a particular Church, Christ has made them Rulers therein. Heb. 13. 17. Obey them that have the Rule over you. It is true that the Mi­nisters of the Gospel have no disputeck Authority. Nevertheless, they have Spiritual Authority, which ought to be regarded. They are Ha­goumenoi, as the Original Word there is, they are Leaders and Captains, under Christ their General, when in their Ruling they obey Him, they ought to be Obeyed. All Rulers ought to be Prayed for. Pray for all in Authority. It was well spoken by one of the Reformed Ger­man Divines, That if People instead of censuring and finding fault with their Rulers, which they are very apt to do, would Pray more for them, it would be better for their Rulers, and for them­selves too. Shall Rulers in the Civil State be [Page 12] subjects of Prayer? And shall not those whom God has appointed Rulers in His Churches be so? Moreover, they are Fathers. 1 Tim. 5. 1. Rebuke not an Elder, but entreat him as a Father. Which doubtless is to be understood not only con­cerning Elders in respect of Old Age, but of Office. It is not unbecoming the greatest Man in a Con­gregation to esteem his Pastor as a Father. When the Prophet Elisha was Sick and on his Death Bed, the King of Israel visited him, and wept over him, and said, O my Father, my Father, the Chariot of Israel and the Horsemen thereof, 2 Kin. 13. 14. Are not Fathers to be Prayed for?

2. FAITHFUL Ministers of the Gospel are great Blessings to the World. Altho' they have merited nothing from God, they merit the Prayers of His People. As the Apostle speaks in another respect, 1 Cor. 9. 11. If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things. So if the Mini­sters of the Gospel are Blessings to their People, is it a great thing for them to Pray for them. Certainly they owe them that and more. The Prophets were wonderful Blessings to the Lord's People. By a Prophet the Lord brought Israel out of Egypt, and by a Prophet he was pre­served, Hos. 12. 13. There were ordinary (as well extraordinary) Prophets who were great Blessings to the Lord's Ancient People. Such as were Educated in Schools and Colleges, that so they might be qualified to be Teachers and Instructors of others. These were called, the [Page 13] Sons of the Prophets. There was a College at Najoth, where Samuel was the President. Elijah had Young Scholars under his Tuition. So had Elisha after him, of whom it was said, that the Sons of the Prophets bowed themselves to the ground before him, 2 Kin. 2. 15. It is mentioned as a singular favour of the Lord, I have raised up of your Sons for Prophets, and of your Young Men for Nazarites; Such as were separated and set apart for God, Amos 2. 11. Faithful Ministers are Blessings by their Prayers: that's a special part of the Work which they are to give attendance unto. Act. 6. 4. We will give our selves continually to Prayer and to the Mi­nistry of the Word. He that would prove him­self to be a Minister of God, must discover it by his Prayerfulness. Jer. 27. 18. If they be Prophets, and if the word of the Lord be with them, let them make intercession to the Lord of hosts. By their fervent Prayers, holy Mini­sters of God, avert Judgments from their Peo­ple. Jer. 18. 20. Remember that I stood before thee, to speak good for them, and to turn away thy wrath from them. When there was great danger of a Famine, the Prophet Amos Prayed, and the Lord said, It shall not be. The threatned Judgment shall not be, Amos 7. 3. By their fervent Prayers they do not only prevent Judg­ments, but obtain Blessings from Heaven. When there was a sad drought for a long time, the Prophet Elijah, Prayed earnestly, and the Hea­vens gave Rain, and the Earth brought forth her fruit, Jam. 5. 18. Ministers are Blessings by the [Page 14] Sermons which they Preach. Thereby they are Instruments of Converting Sinners, and so of saving Souls from Death. It may be there is a Minister, that many Souls will bless God that ever they knew him, because He has been their Spiritual Father. Sometimes God has blessed one Sermon for the Conversion of many. One of Peters Sermons Converted Two Thou­sand. Such Conversions are rare: yet I re­member I have read concerning Luther, that by one Sermon he Converted a whole Town from Popery, to embrace the Protestant Reli­gion. There are Ministers now living that many Thousands have been Edified by their Ministry. It may be there are many Hundreds in a Congregation, and there is a Sermon Preached which all that hear it will remem­ber something, which they will be the better for it as long as they live. Holy Ministers of God are Blessings by their Example as well as by their Doctrine. A Minister of the Gospel should be able to say to his Hearers, do not only as I say, but as I do: Follow my Exam­ple and it will lead you to Heaven. Phil. 3. 17. Brethren be followers together with me, and mark them which walk so as you have us for an exam­ple. It has been said, Ministri vita est Cynosura, the Ministers Life should be like the Pole Star, to direct those that are Sayling to Heaven in a right course. Indeed Ministers (tho' Good Men) may err, and then they ought not to be followed. Only Christ is an unerring Ex­ample, and it is impossible that He should Err­or [Page 15] Sin because He is God as well as Man. Mi­nisters are to be followed so far as they follow Christ, and no further. 1Cor. 11. 1. Be ye fol­lowers of me, even as I also am of Christ. When a Faithful Minister of the Gospel comes to a People he does not come empty handed, but with both hands full of Blessings. Rom. 15. 29. I am sure when I come unto you, I shall come in the fulness of the blessing of the Gospel of Christ.

3. IF God shall bear the Prayers of a Church for their Pastor, the benefit will be their own. God has ordained Ministers for the sake of His Church in the World. He has not made His Church for Ministers, but Ministers for His Church. Therefore are they peculiar Subjects of the Churches Prayers. There are some Ministers who are eminently Gifted above others. Whatever Spiritual Gifts they are blessed with, they are all for the Service of Christ, and of His Church, as we see in that Scripture unto which some have given the Name of the Churches Invantory, 1 Cor. 3. 21, 22. All things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos, or Cephas. Apostles are Ordained for your E­dification, so are all inferiour Ministers. All Sacred Offices, and Officers are for the Churches benefit. Then it is the Interest as well as the Duty of the Lord's People to Pray for such.

I might have added, that God does sometimes bring Afflictions on His Ministers, out of respect to the spiritual good of His People as well as of [Page 16] their own good, that they may be the better able instruct, and comfort and edify them. If we are afflicted it is for your comfort and salvation, 2 Cor. 1. 6. Sometimes the Lord visiteth a Mi­nister of His with Sickness. Prayer recovers him. After that Affliction, (notwithstanding he was a godly Man before that,) he will be more Prayerful, more Humble, and more Holy than before that Affliction, and so a greater Blessing to His People.

THE Enquiry here will be, What things ought the Lord's People to Pray for in behalf of His Ministers?

Answ. 1. THEY should Pray that the Lord will pour more abundantly of His Spirit upon them. That He will furnish them more and more with the Gifts and Graces thereof. Did not Moses make such a Prayer for the Ministers of God? Deut. 33. 8. Let thy Thummin and thy Urim be with thy holy one. The Minister that is Conse­crated to God is in that respect an holy one. Thummin signifies Integrity and Piety. Urim signifies Light & Knowledge. Pray that those may be increased in His Ministers. The more sanctified knowledge a Man has, the more sen­sible he is of his want of more knowledge. As we see in Agur, who was a very knowing as well as a very pious Man. But what Opinion had he of his own knowledge? Prov. 30. 1. We have there the Prophecy, that is a Sermon of Agur, which he spake to Ithiel and Ucal. They seem to be two of his Scholars, who had an high opinion of their Teachers wisdom and know­ledge, [Page 17] and therefore applied themselves to him for further instruction. Alas, (says he) you come to a poor ignorant creature. I have not the understanding of a man, nor have the knowledge of the holy. There are many holy Men who far excell me in wisdom and know­ledge. They that have the most, have need of a great deal more knowledge. How shall a Pastor feed his Flock with knowledge and with understanding, if he has not himself an inlarged understanding in the Mysteries of Religion, and of the Scriptures. There is Grace enough in Christ the Glorious Head of the Church, to supply all His Ministers. And the more Christ fills them, the better will it be for those that sit under their Ministry. Therefore Pray for us. Without Christ they are nothing, nor can they do any thing. Wherefore Pray,

2. THAT the presence of the Lord may be with them. There is an encouraging Promise for it, Mat. 28. 19, 20. Go teach all Nations, I am with you even to the end of the World. Pray that His Ambassadors may enjoy His Promised Pre­sence. If they will bear a faithful Testimony against the Sins of Men, they will have Ene­mies that will prevail over them if the Lord does not stand by them. So if they stand up in the defence of the Truth. There is that which is called the present Truth, 2 Pet. 1. 12. In the days of the Prophets, the present Truth was a Testimony against the Idolatry and A­postacy of that time, which if the Prophets had not enjoyed a singular protection from the [Page 18] presence of God with them, they could not have been witnesses for Him. In the days of the Apostles the present Truth, was, that the Promised Messiah is come, and that Jesus of Nazareth is He. In bearing witness to that Truth the Apostles were exposed to great difficulties and dangers, espe­cially from the Jews who looked on them as the greatest Hereticks, but the Lord protected them until they had finished their Testiomony. In these last Ages, the present Truth has been to bear witness against Popish Idolatries and Superstitions. God raised up Luther to be a Champion in that Cause. What powerful Enemies had he to conflict with? He said odium et impetum totius orbis sustinui. But the Providence of God wonderfully protected him. One says of him, That a poor Frier should set himself against the Pope and all his Cardinals, was a miracle, but that he should prevail in his opposi­tion was a greater miracle, but that he should live to be above Threescore years of Age, and at last dye quietly in his Bed was the greatest mira­cle of all. A Testimony against all remainders of Antichristianism, and the Asserting of Purity of Worship and Discipline, is the present Truth of this day. They that appear in this Cause will be Sufferers. Pray that the Lord will stand by them, and support them until they have finished their Testimony. And Pray for the Ministers of the Gospel, that the Prosper­ing Presence of the Lord may be with them. That their Labours may be made Successful for the Conversion of Sinners. A Minister may [Page 19] Preach admirable Sermons, and continue to do so for many Years, and not one Sinner Con­verted, except the Spirit of God shall make His Labours effectual. The ablest Preachers are not always the most successful. The best Preacher that ever was on the face of the Earth, but few Souls were Converted by His Sermons, viz. Our Lord Jesus Christ. Never Man spake like that Man. Yet he complains of the unsuccessfulness of His Labours. Isai. 49. 4, 5. I have laboured in vain, I have spent my strength for nought, my work is with my God, though Israel is not gathered. God regards His Servants not according to Success which is His Work, but according to Labour which is our Work. Edification as well as Conversion, de­pends on the Presence and Power of God going along with the dispensation of His Word. 1 Cor. 3. 5, 6, 7. Who is Paul, or who is Apollos, but Ministers by whom you believed, even as the Lord gave to every man. I have planted, Apollos wa­tered, but God gave the increase. So neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that water­eth, but God that giveth the increase. The in­crease, the success of Preaching is all from God. Paul had never Converted the Corinthians, nor had Apollos by all his waterings made them Fruitful, and built them up in their most holy Faith if God had not given the Increase; Suc­cess to both their Labours. Therefore let Mi­nisters and People go to God by Prayer.

WE proceed now to the APPLICATION.

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USE I.

IF Ministers of the Gospel ought to desire the Prayers of the Lord's People, Then they ought to approve themselves so as that His Peo­ple may be encouraged to Pray for them. Thus the Apostle in the Text before us, encourages the Christian Hebrews to Pray for him since he was an honest Man, having a Conscience void of offence towards God and towards Men, not­withstanding the false reports that were raised of him, as if he was an enemy to Moses, be­cause of his having rejected Juadism for Christi­anity. Both his Conscience and his Conversa­tion did witness for him. Pray for us. For we trust we have a good Conscience, in all things willing to live honestly. If we would have the Prayers of Good Men, we must be Labourers and not Loy­terers in the Lord's Vineyard. Godly Men will not Pray for a Loyterer except it be that God would either mend him, or remove him. But for a diligent Labourer they will Pray. Therefore Ministers should keep close to their Studies. They may not wander from House to House, and then come into the Pulpit hand over head, and offer to the Lord and to His People that which cost them nought. They must study to find out profitable which will be accepta­ble Words. They must study that they may shew themselves Workmen that need not to be ashamed. There was use of Oyl in the Sanctuary; that Oyl was to be beaten. A well [Page 21] studyed Sermon, is beaten Oyl for the Sanctu­ary. And let a Minister Live Sermons as well as Preach them, and then see if his People will not prize him and Pray for him. It is spoken concerning Ministers of God, They that honour me I will honour. God will honour them by making His People honour them and Pray for them. The Apostle directs Timothy what he should do, that notwithstanding his being a Young Man no body should despise him. 1 Tim. 4. 12. Let no Man despise thy Youth. The A­postle does not only caution others not to des­pise him, but adviseth Timothy what he should do that so he might not be despised for his Youth. But he thou an Example of the Believers, in Word in Conversation, in Charity, in Spirit, in Faith, in Purity. When a Young Man shall ex­cel in these Graces, he will not be despised for his being Young, but rather reverenced the more for being so Exemplary in his Youth.

USE II.

IF the Lord's People should Pray for the Ministers of Christ, they ought to Love them dearly. Then they will Pray for them the more fer­vently and frequently. Love discovers it self in Prayers and good wishes. A Person whom a Man has an extraordinary Love for, he will Pray for that Person in a singular manner. There was in Thessalonica an Organized Church, a Church furnished with Teaching Officers, concerning whom 'tis said, 1 Thes. 5. 12, 13. [Page 22] Know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; and esteem them very highly in love for their works sake. Its difficult to express in English the full empha­sis of the Greek. Hyper ek Peristhou, imports Love and Esteem with an Hyberbole. There were some had such love and esteem for the A­postle Paul, as that they had rather dye them­selves than that he should dye. Rom. 16. 3. Priscilla and Aquila have for my life laid down their own necks, to whom not only I give thanks, but also all the Churches of the Gentiles. It is related that when the City of Ausburg prayed the Duke of Brunswick that their famous Mi­nister Urbanus Regius might be restored to them, he replied that his whole Kingdom fared the better for that one Man, and he would as soon part with his Eyes as let him go. The Church in Smyrna continued their love to Polycarp, (who is supposed to be the Angel spoken of, Rev. 2. 8.) when he was under decays by reason of a great Old Age. The nearer he was to Heaven, the more loth they were to part with him. When Chrysostom was like to be Silenced, his People Petitioned for his Liberty to Preach, saying it was better the Sun should not shine, than that Chrysostom should not Preach. I plead for no extravagant Applauses. But it must be said, that Faithful Teachers and Pastors, altho' it may be they are mean, their Work is ho­nourable, and for their Works sake they are to be esteemed highly in Love.

[Page 23]

USE III.

I Conclude with a Word of Exhortation. Pray for the Lord's Ministers. There are a considera­ble Number, above Twenty Pastors of Chur­ches in this Assembly, they all say as the A­postle here does, Pray for us. Let every Godly Man or Woman that belongs to this or that particular Church, when you are alone with God for your own Souls, remember your Pastors before the Lord. Who can say how great Blessings you may obtain for them? Are there not Ministers of the Gospel here before the Lord, who have been Sick nigh unto Death, but the Prayers of their People have kept them Alive unto this Day. I am sure there is one such. I that am speaking to you am such an one. Let me declare it freely that the Prayer hearing God alone may have the Glory of His Mercy. In my Younger Years I was Three times brought to the Gates of the Grave, by dange­rous Feavers which proved mortal to some. But the loving People among whom I have been Preaching the Gospel above Seven and Fifty Years, set Days apart to beg my Life at the Hands of God. The last time that I was visited with an acute disease, which is now above Four and Thirty Years since, the Church desired Blessed Mr. Eliot, to assist them in Prayer to God. I shall never forget the words of Faith which he then expressed to me when the Publick Exercises of the Day were finished, he came to me in my [Page 24] Sick Chamber with these words, Blessed be God you are ours still, you shall not dye by this Sick­ness. He was perswaded God had some further Service for me to do for Christ and for His Churches in New-England, before He would take me out of this World. And now behold I that was looked upon as a dying Man above Thirty, nay Nine and Forty Years ago, having obtained help from God through the Prayers of His People, continue to this Day, and have lived so long as that I cannot, I do not desire any Friend I have in the World, to Pray that I may live one day longer. I have great reason to say with Old Simeon, Now Lord lettest thou thy Servant depart in Peace. Only Pray that while it shall be the pleasure of the Almighty to detain me here, I may continue serviceable to Christ and to the Souls of Men.

BUT I would direct this Exhortation in spe­cial to the Church of Roxbury. Pray for Him who has been your Pastor now for the space of Thirty Years. He needs and desires your Prayers, in respect of Bodily Infirmities which have ren­dred him unable to attend the Lord's Work a­mong you, as in many Years formerly. God has encouraged you to Pray for him, since when above a Year ago, he was brought very low, and not able to go abroad, you set apart a Day to Pray for him, soon after which the Lord restored him to the exercise of some part of His Ministerial Office. Continue Praying for him, and it may be God will restore him to the full exercise thereof. And God has answered [Page 25] your Prayers in raising up his Son, whom you this Day Chuse and Ordain to be your Pastor in Con­junction with his Father. And that is a rare favour of God, that a Father and a Son should be conjoined in the Pastoral Office. I remem­ber not Two more such Instances in any Church in New-England. Pray then for Him who is this Day to be brought into the dreadful Bond of Office Relation. David was concerned in his Spirit for his Son Solomon, considering that he was Young and tender, he was but Twenty Years Old, yet called to build a Temple for God. He whom you this Day Call to be your Pastor, is Young. So Young as the Canons would not allow him to be Ordained. Those Canons have been dispensed with. Famous Dr. Usher was Ordained when he was but One and Twenty Years of Age. Pray for him whom you this Day Ordain, and notwithstand­ing his being Young, the Lord can make him instrumental in carrying on the Building of His Temple in Roxbury. Pray that he may be like the Renowned Eliot, who has by some been called, the American Apostle, and who served Christ in the Work of the Gospel Threescore Years in this Church. That he may be like him in Humility, in Labouriousness, in Zeal for God and against Sin, in stedfastness in the Truth, both as to the Faith and Order of the Gospel, and in being a Preacher of Christ, That holy Man was in his Element when he was Preaching Christ, and would often lament that Christ was no more Preached. Pray that [Page 26] he may be a Blessing not only to you, but to your Children, yea, and to your Childrens Children, that the Children unborn may have cause to Bless God for the Solemn Transactions of this Day. I shall mention a Scripture to encourage thus to Pray, and Conclude. It is that in, Isai. 59. 21. My spirit and my words shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seeds seed.

THE END.

ERRATA.

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IT has been (and is still) Customary in the Churches of New-England, when a Minister is Ordained, for the Messengers of the Churches in the Neighbourhood, con­sisting of Elders and Brethren, to Depute One in the Name of the rest to give, The Right Hand of Fellowship to the Person Or­dained. The like has been practised by the Protestant Churches in France, & in Bohemia. The Scripture for it is, Gal. 2. 9. At the late Ordination in Roxbury, Doctor Cotton Ma­ther was desired to perform that Office of Love and Communion. He has been en­treated to give a Copy of the SPEECH made by him on that Occasion, which is here Annexed to the preceding Sermon.

IT is a Thing abundantly Sensible unto all who have any true and just Sense of so impor­tant a Matter, That the Ministry of the Gospel is a work that calls for very great Assisten­ces. The Men who are set apart for the In­struction of other Men, in the Principles and Practices of the Glorious Gospel, have a Work to do, whereof it may be said unto them, This thing is too heavy for thee, and thou art not able to perform it thy self alone.

WE have a known saying, as undoubted as Ancient; If any Man desires the Office of a Bi­shop, (and it is to a Demonstration Evident, [Page 28] That when the Twentieth Chapter of the Acts was written, every Presbyter in the Church of our Saviour was a Bishop) he desires a Good Work. It was the Remark of a Father in the Primitive Church, famous for the asserting of this parity, That the Ministry of the Gospel, is to be considered as a Work rather than a Dig­nity, more of a Work than an Advancement. Indeed the Book which Thorougly furnishes us for it, and which never miscalls any thing, has called it, The Work of the Ministry. To desire this Work, while he that had a Station in it, usually stood in the Front of Danger, and as the Last, (if indeed one) of the Good Bishops of Rome Observed, Primus ad Martyrii tormenta ducebatur; This was an Ambition that could not easily be taxed for a Faulty one. But the only thing, that in our more easy times of Safety, can Legitimate the desire of it, is, That it is a Work: A Work, I say; A Work wherein we are Workers together with GOD. Thy Ambition, O Man of God, it is to be Indefatigably Em­ploy'd in the Fatigues of a vast Labour, which requires uncommon Degrees of Dili­gence, of Patience, of Self-Denial, unto the per­formance of it. But in such a Work, Oh! What Assistences are called for!

IT is indeed a Good Work! The whole In­tention, of it is, To do Good; The whole Busi­ness of it, is, To make Men Good: All it aims at, is, To fill the World with Goodness. And the Best of Men are not at all too Good for to be used in it. I will not content myself with [Page 29] saying Renowned Princes have been Preachers; but I will also say, The SON of GOD Himself, a Greater than Solomon, was once a Minister of the Gospel.

A Good Work! And a Great One. Certainly, The Great Salvation, which it prosecutes, is enough to render it so! The Great Objects, and the Great Effects of it, are enough to ren­der it so! A Minister at Work about the Gos­pel, and the City of our God, may say to all Avocations: It is a Great Work that I am doing of!

AND a very Hard Work it is, as all Good and Great ones use to be. If the Work of an Architect, be an Hard Work, the Sweltring Husbandman will say, His Work is barder than that; and the Souldier will more fiercely come in, and say, His Work is yet harder than that. But what then is the Work of the Mi­nister, who is to Build the House of God! The Minister, who sets an Hand unto the Plough in the Field of God! The Minister, who must En­dure hard things as a Good Souldier of our Lord Jesus Christ! What can a frail Man do in such a Work, without Assistences!

MY Brethren; How Hard is our Work, When Legions of Devils are continually falling upon us, with Various and Furious Temptations, to Defeat or to Revenge the Damage which we do unto their Kingdom in the World! Can any Man be set upon a Pinacle of the Temple, and not be assaulted with Singular Temptations there? Can any Man shine among the Stars of Heaven, that are the Light of the Earth, and [Page 30] feel no Strokes and Stings from the Tail of the Dragon there? But at the same time, to be encumbred with a Flesh that Sides with Satan, and is an Enemy to every part of the Work! What Assistences are needful, that such a Work may be carried on as it ought to be!

A Work, which lies in Watching for Souls that must before a most awful Tribunal be Ac­counted for! A Work, which must prepare costly oblations not only for a People in very dif­ferent, and oftentimes very difficult Circumstan­ces, but also for the Lord of Hosts Himself: A Great King, whose Name is Venerable! A Work, for which a Man must be accomplished with many Talents, if he would be a Workman that needs not be ashamed!

WHAT Assistences must be Requisite! A Work which the Shoulders of Angels may tremble at; How shall a Man that is a Worm, yea, tho' he were a Son of Man, that is to say, a very Eminent Man, undertake it without Great Assist­ences?

BUT, whither, Oh! Whither shall we go for the Assistences? Lord, Whither shall we go from Thee!

IS our Address unto Man for them? If it were so, truly our Spirit might then be Trou­bled. No, our Assistences come from Him, from whom come all of our Salvations; And, Our Help is in the Name of the LORD; in the SA­VIOUR whose Name is, The Lord JEHOVAH. We have a SAVIOUR, and a Great One; One [Page 31] Mighty to Save; One Infinitely Able and Wil­ling to afford us His Assistences; and One who has Promised unto His Ministers, Lo, I am with you always, even to the End of the World. A Word worth a Thousand Worlds!

NOW, That we may have our Blessed SAVI­OUR with us, and so secure and enjoy His Gracious Assistences, most certainly the best Method that can be taken will be, for us to have Him Always in us; For us to have Proper, Holy, Impressive Thoughts of Him on every Turn rol­ling in our Minds; Our Minds ever dwelling on Him, and so He dwelling in our Hearts: For us to have our Thoughts on all Occasions repair­ing to Him, and affecting our selves with His Beauties, His Merits, His Patterns, His Maxims, what He has done for us, and what He designs to do: Verily, The whole Christian Asceticks, knows nothing so Enriching to the Soul, or so supplying of a constant Light and Life unto the Soul, as this Exercise of Godliness. And having first got a Soul as full of a CHRIST as ever we can hold, then to have our Ministry as full of Him, as we can possibly render it: NOW, Lo, I am with you; saith our Dear SAVIOUR; Yea, He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. And the House which our Mini­stry shall make an House of His Glory, NOW! 'twill be an House which He will Glorify.

BUT, Syrs, They are our Prayers, as well as our Thoughts, that must carry us unto our SA­VIOUR [Page 32] It was of Old said, The Lord is with you, while you are with Him. Every Article of our Ministry, it ought surely to be carryed on with our Prayers unto Him, from Whom we have received it. In what Posture shall we re­ceive our Burdens, but as the Camels do, upon our Knees, and with our Prayers unto Him, from Whom we have received it. In what Posture shall we re­ceive our Burdens, but as the Camels do, upon our Knees, and with our Prayers unto Him, still casting our Burdens on the Lord?

WILL an Unregenerate Minister, an Un­sanctified Minister, take this Method for the Divine Assistences? Or, does our SAVIOUR say, Follow thou me, unto any but those who cease to remain among the Dead? Or, is a Dead Man likely to Prophecy over the dry Bones with any Efficacy? Surely, When an Ungodly Mi­nister, has been called, Spiritual Nonsense, very good sense has been spoken, in so terming of it. Can they Work to any purpose for GOD, who have not begun to Live unto GOD?

MT Son, and my Brother, We hope that you do so; That, This my Son is Alive; And that the Life of GOD has begun in your Soul, which will dispose you to lay out your Excellent Fa­culties and Attainments, with a proportionable and incomparable Industry for the Service of the Glorious Lord, unto whom you are this Day with all Solemnity brought under an in­violable Consecration. You are not the Dead Man; of whom the Prophet uses that Expression, His Uncle shall take him up; No, but being passed from Death to Life, you will in a most [Page 33] lively manner apply your self unto that Work, whereof a Crown of Life will be the Recom­pence.

HAVING first pointed you to the Assistences of your SAVIOUR, for the Admirable Work, which you have this Day your Hand filled withal, We are now also to Encourage you, with our Pro­mise of all Brotherly Assistences from the Pastors of the Churches of the Neighbourhood.

THIS Hand is in their Name now given to you, as a Token of the Helping Hand, which we shall be at all times ready to give you, as it may be called for. By this Hand we Testify it, That we Accept of you as One Regularly Or­dained unto the Ministry of the Gospel, and unto the Pastoral Charge of the Flock with which we are now Assembled; and that we Resolve to do what lies in us, to Strengthen you with all Brotherly Assistences in that Good Work, unto which you are now devoted.

AND at the same Time, we Congratulate unto this Church of the LORD, the Precious Gift of our Ascended SAVIOUR, sent unto them so Seasonably, so Agreeably, with such Remarkable Operations of His Providence. This Church, in the Testimo­nies of Respect which they have shown unto their Pastor and his Family, have been a bright Ex­ample of that Generous Goodness and Gratitude, which all the Congregations in the Country may behold with Satisfaction, and the Grace of our SAVIOUR in it will be magnified.

[Page 34]MY Brethren, Blessed be ye of the Lord, in that ye have shewn this Kindness unto the House of one whom GOD has in his Day made a rich Blessing among you; And now the Lord shew Kindness and Truth unto you. Yea, Your SA­VIOUR will Requite you this Kindness, because you have done this thing. And the Ministry which you now Honour with even a Macedonian Liberality, will be Blessed of GOD unto you, with such Successes, and your Souls will be so Fatned and so Thriving under it, as will in Spiritual Blessings richly Compensate for all the Free-Will-Offerings which with the Beauties of Holiness His pleased Eyes behold among you. Nor shall you be losers in your Temporals, while the Sixth of Matthew, and the Thirty Third; or the Third of the Proverbs, and the Ninth and the Tenth, find a due Regard among you.

THE Pastor who this Day takes the Care of you, (My Son is Young and Tender,) must have Your Assistences, as well as the rest, that have been proposed unto him. You will Assist him, with your Prayers for him, as you have been Exhorted. You will Assist him with your Supports to him, as they may be needed. You will Assist him, with giving him that Consolation of GOD, your greatly improving in Piety under his Ministry. And may you be a Crown and a Joy unto one ano­ther, at the Coming, and in the Presence of the Lord. Oh! The Satisfactions, with which you will meet each other in that [Page 35] Glorious World; when you shall say, Great GOD, I Bless Thee, that ever I saw the Face, and heard the Voice of this thy Servant! And he shall say, My GOD, I Bless Thee, for all the Good, which Thou didst Employ me to do, for these thy Chosen ones!—A Satisfaction, and a Consolation, beyond what any Tongue may declare, or any Heart conceive!—

FINIS.
[Page]

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