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Mr. Edwards's SERMON AT THE ORDINATION Of the REVEREND Mr. Jonathan Judd.

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The great Concern of A WATCHMAN FOR SOULS, appearing in the DUTY he has to do, and the ACCOUNT he has to give, represented & improved, IN A SERMON Preach'd at the ORDINATION Of the REVEREND Mr. Jonathan Judd, To the Pastoral Office over the Church of CHRIST, in the New Precinct at Northampton, June 8. 1743.

By Jonathan Edwards, M. A.

Pastor of the first Church of CHRIST in Northampton.

Ezra 8. 29. Watch ye, and keep them, until ye weigh them before the Chief of the Priests, and the Levites, and Chief of the Fathers of Israel, at Jerusalem, in the Chambers of the House of the LORD.

BOSTON, Printed by Green, Bushell, and Allen, for N. Procter, at the Bible and Dove in Ann-Street, near the Draw-Bridge, MDCCXLIII.

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The Watchman's Duty and Account.

HEB. xiii. 17.‘—They watch for your Souls, as they that must give Account.’

AFTER the Apostle had in this Epistle particularly and largely insisted on the great Doctrines of the Gospel relating to the Person, Priesthood, Sacrifice, Exaltation and Intercession of Christ, and the Nature, Priviledges and Benefits of the new Dispensation of the Covenant of Grace, as answering to the Types of the Old Testament; He [Page 6] improves all in the latter Part of the Epistle to enforce christian Duties and holy Practice, as his Manner is in most of his Epistles. And after he had recommend­ed other Duties to the christian Hebrews, in this Verse he gives them Counsel with Regard to their Duty to­wards those that were set over them in ecclesiastical Authority: Obey them that have the Rule over you, and submit your selves.—By them that had the Rule over them, the Apostle means their ecclesiastical Rulers, and par­ticularly their Ministers or Pastors that preached the Word of God to them; as is evident by Verse 7. Remember them that have the Rule over you, who have spoken unto you the Word of God: And also by the Words of the Text, that immediately follow in the same Verse, in which the Employment of those that have the Rule over them, that they are to obey and submit to, is represented. Concerning which may be observed,

1. What it was their Pastors were conversant about, in the Employment they were charged with, viz. the Souls of Men. The Employments that many others were engaged in were about the Bodies of Men; so it is with almost all the particular Callings that Man­kind do follow; they are in one Respect or other to provide for Mens Bodies, or to further their temporal Interests; as the Business of Husbandmen, Sailors, Merchants, Physicians, Attorneys, and civil Officers and Rulers, and the innumerable Trades and mecha­nical Arts that are practised and pursued by the Chil­dren of Men: But the Work of the Ministry is about [Page 7] the Soul, that Part of Man that is immortal, and made and designed for a State of inconceivable Blessed­ness, or extreme and unutterable Torments through­out all Eternity, and therefore infinitely precious; and is that Part of Man in which the great Distinction lies between Man and all the other innumerable Kinds of Creatures in this lower World, and by which he is vastly dignified above them: 'Tis such Beings as these that the Work of the Ministry is immediately conversant abou [...].

2. How Ministers in the Business they have to at­tend are to be employed about Mens Souls, they are to watch for them; which implies that they are com­mitted to their Care to keep, that they may be so taken Care of that they may not be lost, but eternally saved.

3. A grand Argument to induce and oblige them to Faithfulness in this Employment, they must give Account; i. e. they must give an Account to him that committed those Souls to their Care, of the Souls they were betrusted with, and of the Care they have taken of them.

Therefore that we may the better understand the Nature of that Work of a Minister of the Gospel and Pastor of a Church, and the grand Inducement to Faithfulness in it, spoken of in the Text, and know the better what Improvement we ought to make of these Things, I would

  • [Page 8]I. Shew that Ministers of the Gospel have the Souls of Men committed to their Care by the Lord Jesus Christ.
  • II. I would shew to what Purpose Christ thus com­mits the precious Souls of Men to the Care of Ministers.
  • III. That the Way in which Christ expects that Ministers should seek that these Purposes may be obtained, with Respect to the Souls committed to them, is by watching for them.
  • IV. I would observe, how when the Time of their Employment is at an End, they must give an Account to him that committed the Care of these Souls unto them.

And then make Application of the Whole.

I. Ministers of the Gospel have the precious and im­mortal Souls of Men committed to their Care and Trust by the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Souls of Men are his; he is the Creator of them: God created all Things by Jesus Christ. He created not only the material World, but also those Things that are immaterial and invisible, as Angels and the Souls of Men. Col. 1. 16. For by him were all Things created that are in Heaven, and that are in Earth, visible and invisible; whether they be T [...]rones, [Page 9] or Dominions, or Principalities, or Powers, all Things were created by him and for him.

God is the Creator of Men in both Soul and Body; but their Souls are in a special and more immediate Manner his Workmanship, wherein less Use is made of second Causes, Instruments or Means, or any Thing pre-existent. The Bodies of Men, tho' they are in­deed God's Work, yet they are formed by him in a Way of Propagation from their natural Parents, and the Substance of which they are constituted is Matter that was pre-existent; but the Souls of Men are by God's immediate Creation and Infusion, being in no Part communicated from earthly Parents, nor formed out of any Matter or Principles existing before. The Apostle observes the Difference, and speaks of earthly Fathers as being Fathers of our Flesh, or our Bodies only, but of God as being the Father of our Spirits. Heb. 12. 9. Furthermore, we have had Fathers of our Flesh, which corrected us, and we gave them Reverence: Shall we not much rather be in Subjection to the Father of Spi­rits, and live? Therefore God is once and again call'd the God of the Spirits of all Flesh, Numb. 16. 22. and Chap. 27. 16. And in Eccl. 12. 7. God is repre­sented as having immediately given or implanted the Soul, as in that Respect differing [...] the [...], that is of pre-existent Matter; Then [...] the Earth as it was, and the Spirit [...] God who gave it. And 'tis mention'd in [...] as one of God's glorious Prerogatives, that he is [...] formeth the Spirit of Man within him. And [...] [Page 10] Soul of Man is by far the greatest and most glorious Piece of divine Workmanship, of all the Creatures on this lower Creation. And therefore it was the more meet that, however second Causes should be improved in the Production of meaner Creatures; yet this, which is the chief and most noble of all, and the Crown and End of all the rest, should be reserved to be the more immediate Work of God's own Hands, and dis­play of his Power, and to be communicated directly from him, without the Intervention of Instruments, or honouring second Causes so much as to improve them in bringing to pass so noble an Effect.—'Tis observable that even in the first Creation of Man, when his Body was formed immediately by God, not in a Course of Nature, or in the Way of natural Pro­pagation; yet the Soul is represented as being in a higher, more direct and immediate Manner from God, and so communicated that God did therein as it were communicate something of himself: The Lord God formed Man (i. e. his Body) of the Dust of the Ground, (a mean and vile Original) and breathed into his Nostrils the Breath of Life; (whereby something was commu­nicated from an infinitely higher Source, even God's own living Spirit or divine vital Fullness) and so Man became a living Soul.

The Souls of Men being thus in a special Manner from God, God is represented as having a special Propriety in them, Ezek. 18. 4. Behold all Souls are mine: As the Soul of the Father, so also the Soul of the Son is mine.

[Page 11] And as the Souls of Men are more directly from God, by the more special and immediate Exercise of his divine Power as a Creator, and are what he chal­lenges as his by a special Propriety, and are the most noble Part of the lower Creation, and are infinitely distinguished from all other Creatures here below in that they are immortal Beings; so they are, above all other Creatures which God hath made in this World, the Subjects of God's Care and special Providence.

Divines are won't to distinguish between God's common and special Providence. His common Pro­vidence is that which he exercises towards all his Crea­tures, rational and irrational, animate and inanimate, in preserving them, and disposing of them by his mighty Power, and according to his sovereign Plea­sure. His special Providence is that which he exer­cises towards his intelligent rational Creatures, as mo­ral Agents; of which Sort are Mankind alone, of all the innumerable Kinds of Creatures in this lower World: And in a special Manner the Souls of Men; for in them only is immediately seated Reason and Intelligence, and a Capacity of moral Agency; and therefore they in a peculiar Manner are the Sub­jects of God's special Providence that he exercises in this lower World. And 'tis be to observed that God's common Providence is subordinated to his special Pro­vidence; and all Things in this World are govern'd and disposed of in Subordination to the great Ends God has to obtain with Respect to the Souls of Men. And it is further to be observed that as the Creation of [Page 12] the World was committed to the Son of God by, the Father, so is the Government of it; and in a pecu­liar Manner the Affairs of God's special Providence, are left in his Hands; and so the Souls of Men, that are the peculiar Subjects of this special Providence are committed to his Care; and more especially such Souls as are of Christ's visible Kingdom or Church, which is often in Scripture represented as the Field and Vineyard that he is the Owner of and has taken the Care of.—And what Christ's Value is for Mens Souls appears by what he has done and suffered for them.

But these Souls that Christ has made, and that are committed into his Hands of the Father, and that are so precious in his Account, he commits to the Care of Ministers. There is a certain Order of Men that are so dignified and honoured by him, as to have so great a Trust reposed in them. He as it were brings those Souls as an infinitely precious Treasure, and commits 'em to them to take Care of; as a Prince commits his Treasure, his Jewels, and most precious Things into the Hands of one of the dignified Servants of his Houshold; or as the Father of a Family, when he goes a Journey into a far Country, leaves his Fa­mily to the Care of a Steward.

I come now in the

IId Place, to enquire to what Purpose Christ commits [...] Souls of Men to the Care of Ministers.

[Page 13] I answer in two Things,

1. He commits Mens Souls to Ministers to keep and take Care of them for him, that by their Means they may answer their End in glorifying him. God has made all Things for himself, he has created them for his Glory; but more especially those Creatures that he has endued with Understanding, as he has done the Souls of Men: It is by them that God has his Glory from all his Creatures, as they are the Eye of the Creation to behold the Glory of God manifested in the other Creatures, and the Mouth of the Crea­tion to praise him and ascribe to him the Glory that is displayed in them. The other Creatures glorify God passively and eventually, as God glorifies himself in them, as they are the Subjects of the Exercise of his Power and Wisdom in their Creation and Preservation, and in those Events that are brought to pass in his Disposal of them. Thus God glorifies himself in his Works that are manifest in the irrational and inani­mate Creation, in the View of his rational Creatures that he has made capable of beholding and admiring them, and adoring, loving and praising him for them: But they only are capable of glorifying him actively and immediately; therefore all the other Creatures do as it were bring their Tribute of Glory to them, thro' their Hands, to be offered to their Creator. And therefore the Souls of Men are Beings that, with Regard to the Glory of God the great End of all Things, are of immensely greater Importance than all other Creatures in this lower World. But these, with Respect to this their great End, are committed [Page 14] to the Care and Keeping of Ministers. And there­fore Christ has furnished them with proper Means to bring them to this End: He has given 'em all need­ful Instructions; they have a perfect Rule and Direc­tory to guide them in this great Affair; and has en­join'd them the Duties they are to perform in their Office in every particular, and the Manner in which they are to perform these Duties, in the Charge which he has left them; and has furnished them with all needful Helps for the Instruction of those Souls that are committed to them, to lead 'em to answer their great End, in duely glorifying their Creator, and all proper Means for the exciting and engaging them to attend to, and follow those Instructions, as also Means for their Help and Assistance in it, that they may do it the more easily and effectually.

2. They are committed to their Care and Keep­ing that they may not be eternally lost, but may have everlasting Life. These Souls, as I observed before, are immortal and made for Eternity; and they are set in this World between two opposite eternal States, the one a State of exceeding and eternal Glory and Blessedness, the other a State of unutterable and un­alterable Misery: And as they are by Nature they are liable to either; by their original Guilt and Corrup­tion they are exposed to perish forever, in total and perfect Destruction and Misery: But Christ, from his Knowledge of the infinite Worth of Souls, and his great Compassion and Love to 'em, has, by his own precious Blood, made Way for their Escape, and at [Page 15] this infinite Expence, has procured unspeakable Ex­altation and perfect Blessedness for them in Heaven to all Eternity; which by this Means they have Op­portunity to obtain. But yet it remains uncertain what will become of them, 'till Christ's Redemption be applied to them, or they are actually cast into Hell: There is an Opportunity given, a Time of Probation, 'till the great and unalterable Event shall determine one Way or the other. In the mean Time there is a Space for the Use of Means, and the Exer­cise of Care, Prudence and Diligence for our own Souls and the Souls of others; that they may not fail of the Grace of God, but may escape that infinitely dreadful Destruction that they are naturally in Danger of, and may indeed obtain that infinite Priviledge of eternal Life, that is offered through the Purchase of Jesus Christ. And now in this grand Affair, and to this great Purpose of an Escape from eternal Misery, and the obtaining everlasting Glory, Christ has com­mitted the precious Souls of Men to the Care of Mi­nisters; that by their Means they may have the Bene­fit of his Redemption, and might obtain that which he has suffered so much to procure. Christ knew that notwithstanding all that he had done to procure Life for Souls, they would need much Care to be taken of them, and many Means to be used with them, in order to their being indeed preserved from eternally perishing, and actually brought to the Possession of Life: And therefore he has appointed a certain Order of Men, whose whole Business it might be to take Care of immortal Souls; and into their Hands has [Page 16] committed these Souls, and has betrusted them with the Ordinances of his House, and Means that he has provided for their Salvation; that nothing might be wanting that they need for their Furniture for this great Business; he has as it were committed to them his Goods, and has given them in some Respects the Keys of his Stores and Treasury; to them are com­mitted the Oracles of God and Treasure of the Gos­pel. 2 Cor. 4. 7. We have this Treasure in earthen Vessels. And Chap. 5. 18, 19. And all Things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ; and hath given to us the Ministry of Reconciliation, to wit, that God was in Christ reconciling the World unto himself, not imputing their Trespasses unto them, and hath committed to us the Word of Reconciliation.

And as the Word of God, so the Sacraments that he has appointed, and the Discipline of his House, he has committed to them, to be administred by them; and has subjected the Souls themselves that they have the Care of to them, as far as is necessary to put them under the greatest Advantage effectually to care for their Salvation, and has left a Charge to their People to obey them and submit themselves, as in the Verse of my Text.

I now proceed

III. To observe, that the Way in which he who has committed Souls to Ministers, expects they should seek that these Purposes may be obtained with Respect to them, is by watching for them,

[Page 17] Tho' great Things have been done by Christ to make Way for the Salvation of those precious Souls, and altho' Christ has furnished Ministers with all proper Means to keep them; yet they are in such Circum­stances in this World, that there is Need of the Exer­cise of great Watchfulness, and the utmost Care and Diligence, in those that have the Care of them, to prevent their being lost: for they are in the Midst of Snares, and encompass'd round with Dangers on every Side; they are in the Enemies Country, where there are Multitudes every where that are strong and subtil and exceeding Blood-thirsty and cruel, that are inde­fatigably, Day and Night, seeking the Destruction of these Souls.

If a Prince should commit some great Treasure, consisting of most precious Jewels, to the Care of a Subject, to keep for him, and carry thro' an Enemy's Country, and bring home safe to his Palace, and knew that the Enemies by the Way would be sensible that the Treasure was committed to him, and would be aware of the great Value of it, and therefore would be exceeding greedy of it, and incessant in their En­deavours to get it from him; would not the Prince ex­pect that he, with whom he had entrusted this Trea­sure, should use great Care in keeping it? Would he be esteemed faithful to his Trust, in the▪ Care of so great a Treasure, and in such Circumstances, with­out keeping up a continual Watch?

[Page 18] They that have the Care of a City in Time of War, and especially at a Time when the City is en­compassed by Enemies that lay Siege to it, are wont, if faithful, to maintain incessant Vigilance to defend it: The Watchmen of the City in such a Case had need to watch strictly, for they have the Care of the Lives of Men.—Ministers are from Time to Time represented in Scripture as the Watchmen that have the Care of the City of God; as Cant. 3. 3. & 5. 7. Isai. 52. 8. and 62. 6. and in other Places. These Watchmen han't only the Care of the Lives of Mens Bodies, but of their Souls, which are infinitely more precious. 'Tis expected of them that they should behave themselves as those that both kept and built the City of Jerusalem, in Nehemiah's Time, while they were continually observed by malicious and subtil Enemies, that diligently sought by all Means to cir­cumvent them, and to destroy the City and People; who with one Hand wrought in the Work, and with the other Hand held a Weapon; holding Spears from the rising of the Morning 'till the Stars appeared; and had a Trumpet always at Hand to sound, to give Warning of any appearing Danger, and did not put off their Clothes, nor lay up their Weapons, Day nor Night, Neh. 4. from the 16 Verse to the End.

Ministers are appointed to be Shepherds over Christ's Flock; and he commits his Flock to their Care to keep 'em and lead 'em thro' a great and howling Wilderness, full of hungry Wolves and roaring Lions: And is there not need of a strict and constant Watch [Page 19] in the Shepherds in such a Case, as they would pre­serve the Lives of the Sheep, and lead 'em to the Land of their Rest?

I come now to the

IVth and last Thing in the doctrinal Handling of the Text, viz. That Ministers hereafter must give Account to him that committed Men's precious Souls to their Care.

Christ's committing Souls to Minister's Care and Charge, and betrusting them with them as Servants or Stewards, necessarily supposes them to be accoun­table to their Master with Respect to the Charge committed to them.

He that has a Treasure committed to him by the Owner, and takes the Care and Charge of it, not as his own Possession, but only to improve or keep for an appointed Time, for him to whom the proper Possession belongs, must return that Treasure to the Owner when his Time is out, and is accountable to him how he has fulfilled that which he undertook; and if any precious Jewel be missing, he must give an Account of it.—So must Ministers give an Account of the Souls committed to their Care.

The Office and Work of Ministers is not to last always; their Care of Souls is but for a limited Sea­son; and when that is expired, they must return to their Master to give an Account.

[Page 20] After what Manner they must be called to an Ac­count, may be shewn in these two Things,

1. The Event of Things with Regard to the Souls committed to them will be enquired into. As there are so many precious Souls committed to their Care by Christ, so hereafter it will be enquired what is be­come of those Souls. As if a Person has a Number of precious Jewels committed to him to keep; when the Time of his Betrustment is out, and he comes to re­turn the intrusted Treasure, the State of it will be examined, that it may be seen whether any Jewel be lacking or not; and if any be missing, an Account must be given what is become of it. The Charge of a Minister is in Scripture represented by that of a Steward, to whom the Housholder, when going into a far Country, commits his Goods, and when he re­turns, expects that the Steward should give an Ac­count of his Stewardship. In such a Case the Hous­holder looks into the State of his Goods that he left behind under the Steward's Care. The Master in the Parable, Matth. 25. 14, &c. when he returns from his Journey, has his Goods, that he committed to the Care of his Servants, brought forth and laid be­fore him.

2. It will be enquired how far the Event that shall be found, with Regard to Souls committed to them, was owning to their Faithfulness or Unfaithfulness in that Care and Watch that was appointed them. If any precious Soul be found lacking, it will be enquired how this comes to pass; they must give an Account [Page 21] what they have done with this and that Soul that is missing, whether they were lost thro' their Neglect or no: they must give an Account what Care they have taken, and what Diligence they have used, and whether or no they can wash their Hands from Guilt with Respect to them: it shall be examined by an Eye that is as a Flame of Fire, whether the Blood of the Souls that are lost is not indeed to be found in their Skirts.—We find in the Parable of the great Supper, that the Servants that are sent out to invite Guests, return from Time to Time to their Master to give him an Account both of the Event in their Suc­cess with Respect to some that they were sent to, and Unsuccessfulness with Regard to others; and also of their own Doings and Faithfulness, whereby they are clear of the Guilt of their Unsuccessfulness, and are commended to the gracious Reward of their Success. Luke 14. 20, 21. I now come to the

APPLICATION,

In which I shall only address my self to those who are principally concerned in the great and solemn Affair of this Day, viz. to him who [...] now solemnly to be set apart to the Work of the Ministry in this Place, and to those whose Souls are to be committed to his Care.

I. I would apply my self to you, dear Sir, to whose Care the great Redeemer and Head of the Church is this Day committing a Number of precious Souls in [Page 22] this Place. I beseech you now to suffer the Word of Exhortation on this solemn Occasion: Suffer me to put you in Mind how great the Person is, with whom you are immediately and chiefly concerned in the Affair of this Day; even the great Shepherd of the Sheep, and glorious Lord of Heaven and Earth, who is to be your and our Judge. You present your self this Day before him to receive at his Hands a sacred Depositum, a great Treasure, a Number of Souls that are to exist throughout all Eternity, each one of which is infinitely more precious than all the precious Gems that the Earth affords. And I beseech you to consi­der to how great a Purpose he is about to commit them to your Care and Keeping; it is that they, by Means of your faithful Care and Watchfulness, may be saved with an everlasting Salvation. You may judge how much Christ will insist upon it that you shou'd exercise great Diligence and Strictness in the Care you take of them, by the Value he himself has manifested of the Souls of Men, by what he has done and suffered for them: he has shewn how precious he has judged immortal Souls to be, in that he, tho' a Person of infinite Glory, did not think his own Blood, his Life, his Soul, too pre­cious to be offered up as a Price for them to redeem them, that they might obtain that Salvation in order to which he now is about to commit a Number of them to your Care, and to betrust you with the Means that he has provided for that End; committing to you his holy Oracles, and the Food of his House, which is his own Body and Blood, that therewith you might feed these Souls; and in some Sense committing to [Page 23] you the Keys of his Stores and Treasures, that you might supply and enrich them, and be a Means of their eternal Wealth and Glory.

Consider, dear Sir, how great an Honour he does you whom God the Father hath made Head of the whole Universe, and Lord of all Things to the Church; that after he has provided for the Salvation of Souls by his dying Pains and precious Blood, and the Father has committed to him all Power in Heaven and Earth, that he might actually bestow eternal Life on them that he died for; he should call you to be a Co-worker with him, and should commit precious Souls to your Care, that you might be the Instrument of bringing them home to him, and bringing that to pass with Respect to them, for which his Soul travailed in the Agonies of Death, and in ineffable Conflicts with the dreadful Wrath of God. You are now about to re­ceive the precious Treasure at his Hands, which you are to keep for him: you present your self here before the Lord for this End, that you may as it were reach forth your Hand and take this great Depositum, with solemn Vow diligently and faithfully to keep it, and devote your self to that Service; so that if it be possible for you to prevent it, no one of those infinitely pre­cious Jewels may be lost, but that you may return them all safe to him from whose Hands you receive them.

Consider the Example of your glorious Lord and Master: There was a Number of the Souls of Men [Page 24] committed by the Father into his Hands, that he might take Care for their Salvation: And after what Man­ner did he execute his Office? How did he lay out himself for the Salvation of those Souls? What great Things did he do? And what great Things did he suffer? How hard was the Labour he went thro'? And how greatly did he deny himself? How did this great Shepherd of the Sheep behave himself when he saw the Wolf coming to destroy the Sheep? He did not flee to save his own Life, and so leave the Sheep to become a Prey; but from Pity and Love to the Sheep, interposed himself between them and their Enemy, stood between them and Harm, and encounter'd the Wolf, and in the Conflict gave his own Life to save their's, John 10. 11,—15.—We read of Christ's travailing for Souls, Isai. 53. 10, 11. It pleased the Lord to bruise him, he hath put him to Grief. When thou shalt make his Soul an Offering for Sin, he shall see his Seed.He shall see of the Travail of his Soul, and shall be satisfied. And how did he Travail for this Seed of his? Look into the Garden of Gethsemane, and there behold him lying on the Earth, with his Body covered over with clotted Blood, falling down in Lumps to the Ground, with his Soul exceeding sor­rowful even unto Death, and offering up strong Cry­ing and Tears together with his Blood: and look to the Cross, where he endured yet far more extreme Agonies, and drank up the bitter Cup of God's Wrath, and shed the Remainder of his Blood, lingeringly drain'd out thro' his tortur'd Hands and Feet, and extravasated out of his broken Heart into his Bowels, [Page 25] and there turned into Blood and Water, thro' the ve­hement Fermentation occasion'd by the Weight of Grief and Extremity of Agony of Soul, under which he cried out with that loud and lamentable and re­peated Cry. Thus he travailed in Birth with his Seed; thus he laboured and suffered for the Salvation of those Souls that the Father had committed to him. This is the Example of the great Shepherd. And tho' it is not required of Under-Shepherds that they should endure Sufferings of such a Degree or Nature; for Christ has suffered them to that End, that both Mini­sters and People might escape them; yet surely he expects that, as they would approve themselves as his Disciples and Followers and Co-workers with him in seeking the Salvation of the same Souls, they should not be backward to go thro' any Labours or Sufferings which may be requisite in them, in order to their most effectually promoting the great End of his Sufferings, with Regard to the Souls that he has committed to them.

And as you, dear Sir, are to stand in Christ's Stead towards this People, and to act as his Ambassador; should you not show the like Spirit, the like Love to Souls, and imitate him in his Readiness to labour and deny your self and suffer, yea to spend and be spent for them? Like the blessed Apostle, 2 Cor. 12. 15.

The Case with you, Sir, is as if the Head of a Fa­mily, that was a great Prince, with a Number of Children in a strange Land, when going home to re­ceive [Page 26] a Kingdom, should leave his Children behind him, and commit them to the Care of a Servant, safe­ly to conduct them thro' a dangerous Wilderness, and bring 'em home to him; in which Case, he has their Health and Lives committed to his Care, as well as their future Glory in his Kingdom. With what Care and Watchfulness would it be expected of a Ser­vant that he should execute his Office in such a Case! And surely if he fails of being thoroughly careful and watchful, after he has taken upon him so great a Charge, and any sad Disaster should be the Conse­quence of his Unfaithfulness; it will most justly be re­quired of him that he should answer it, and he will inexcusably fall under his Master's heaviest Displeasure.

And suffer me, Sir, to put you in Mind of the Account you must give to your Master of these Souls he seems this Day to be about to commit to you: You are to watch for these Souls as one that must give Account. If any one of these Souls should be missing hereafter, having been lost under your Mini­stry, it will be demanded of you another Day, by your great Lord, ‘What is become of such a Soul? Here are not all the Souls that I committed to you to bring home to me; there is such an one missing; What is become of it? Has it perished thro' your Neglect! If you are able to say at that Time, Lord, it was not thro' my Neglect; I have done what in me lay for his Salvation; I ceased not to warn and counsel and reprove him, and faithfully set before him his Danger, and have not forborn to [Page 27] declare thy whole Counsel to him; I have not neglected this and other Souls that thou didst com­mit to me, to gratify my Sloth, or pursue my world­ly Interest; I have given my self wholly to this Work, labouring therein Night and Day; I have been ready, Lord, as thou knowest, to sacrifice my own Ease, and Profit, and Pleasure, and temporal Convenience, and the Good-Will of my Neigh­bours, for the Sake of the Good of the Souls I had the Charge of; I have not led this Soul into any Snare by my ill Example; I have neglected no Means of thine Appointment, either publick or private, to turn him from Sin to God; I sought out acceptable Words, and studied for the most likely Means to be used for his saving Good; but he would not hearken, but turned a deaf Ear; un­der all was stupid and obstinate, and went on care­lessly and frowardly in the Imagination of his Heart’: If you are able to say in like Manner a Christ did to the Father, with Respect to the Souls that were committed to him; those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the Son of Perdition; you will be able to hold up your Head with Comfort before your Judge, your Account will be accepted, you shall be acquitted, and your unsuccess­ful Faithfulness shall be rewarded. But if when it shall be demanded of you, What is become of such and such Souls? You shall be dumb, having nothing to say, your Conscience flying in your Face, and it shall appear [...]hat it has been much owing to your Unfaithfulness; O how amazing will your Case [...] [Page 28] What Confusion and Astonishment will fill your Soul before your great Master and Judge! And remem­ber that the Blood of such Souls will be required at your Hand, Ezek. 33. 6.

And suffer me, dear Brother, to tell you, that you must another Day meet these Souls that you are now going to take the Charge of, before the Judgment Seat of Christ; and if by Means of your Faithfulness towards them, in your Work, you shall meet them at the right Hand of Christ in Glory, how joyful a Meeting will it be to you! They will be indeed your Crown of Rejoicing in that Day. But if you behold 'em with Devils at the left Hand, in Horror and De­spair, your Conscience accusing you of Unfaithfulness towards them, and it appears that they are lost thro' your Neglect, how amazing will the Sight of 'em be to you!

Your Master and mine is this Day calling me to resign the Pastoral Care of a Number of Souls into your Hands, that have hitherto been committed to my Care: 'Tis with Chearfulness that I can now re­sign 'em to the Care of one, concerning whom I can have so much Hope that he will be faithful in his Care of them. May the Lord of the Harvest enable you to discharge your Duty towards them more faith­fully than I have done, and make you a far greater Blessing to them; and may you come with them at the Day of Judgment before Christ with exceeding Joy, and in Robes of Glory, and say then as Christ [Page 29] himself will say to the Father, when he shall come with all the Souls that were given him of the Father, and present them before him in perfect Glory, Here am I, and the Children which thou hast given me.

II. I would apply my self to those whose Souls are now about to be committed to the Care of that Ser­vant of Christ that is now to be ordained to the pasto­ral Office in this Place.

Beloved Brethren, and dear Children, 'Tis your im­mortal Souls that is the precious Treasure that the great Creator and Saviour of Souls seems now to be about to commit to the Care of him whom you have chosen to be your Pastor. And indeed it is a great Charge, an high Betrustment; and he ought to use his utmost Care and Diligence that you may not be eternally lost: But if your Pastor should exercise such Care that you may be saved, surely you ought to take Care for the Salvation of your own Souls: It nearly concerns him that you should be saved; but much more nearly does it concern you. Let your Minister be never so careful and watchful, if you take no Care for your selves, his Faithfulness and Diligence will signify nothing, unless it be to harden you, and aggra­vate your Damnation: In such a Case, the more Care and Pains he takes for your Salvation, the greater will your eternal Misery be: for all will be only a Savour of Death unto Death: Those People are like to sink the deepest into Hell hereafter, that go to Hell from under the Care of the most faithful Ministers, that [Page 30] have taken the most Pains to save 'em from going to Hell. The Preciousness of your Souls has now been made use of as an Argument with your chosen Pastor to take Care for your Salvation; but much more may it be used as an Argument with you to seek your own Salvation; for therein lies the Preciousness of your Souls, in their being of infinite Worth to your selves, appearing in the infinite Loss you will sustain if they are lost, and your infinite Gain if they are saved; herein lies that Preciousness of the Soul that Christ speaks of, Matth. 16. 26. For what is a Man pr [...]d, if he shall gain the whole World, and loose his own Soul? Or what shall a Man give in Exchange for his Soul?

'Tis not only your Minister that is concerned in the Work that he is to perform among you, but you also are infinitely concerned in it: And it is not only he, but you also that are infinitely concerned in the Account that he has to give of the Discharge of his Office among you. You must all of you hereafter meet your Minister before the Judgment Seat of Christ; and if then it shall be found that he has been faithful, and that you have made an ill Improvement of his Ministry, and so failed of the Grace of God, the Sight of the Devil won't be so terrible to you at that Day as the Sight of your Minister; for he'll rise up in Judgment against you, and your Pastor that above all other Persons in the World, excepting your selves, is concerned to endeavour your Salvation, will then above all other Persons appear against you be­fore [Page 31] the Judge to witness against you and condemn you. But how joyful will it be to you, as well as to him, if he renders his Account with Joy, for these Reasons, that he has been both faithful and successful with Respect to you, and appears with you in Glory at the right Hand of Christ, and has to say to the great Judge concerning himself and you, Here am I, and the Children which thou hast given me! What a joyful Meeting of Minister and People will there be! And how will you be each others Crown of Rejoicing! But if your Souls perish, you will be present when it shall be required by Jesus Christ of your Minister to give an Account of such and such Souls that are lost, which were committed to his Care; and how dread­ful will it be to you, if you shall then hear him boldly and truly say before the Judge, ‘Lord, thou knowest that I have sincerely and faithfully endeavoured their Salvation, I have not been slack or negligent towards them, I have earnestly watched for their Souls, and diligently and unweariedly used all the Means with them that thou didst appoint; they pe­rished not thro' my Neglect, but thro' their own obstinate Negligence and Wickedness!’ In such a Case your Minister will be acquitted and justified, but you will be condemned with a most aggravated Condemnation, and your Blood will be upon your own Head. Ezek. 33. 2, 3, 4. Son of Man, speak to the Children of thy People, and say unto them, when I bring the Sword upon a Land, if the People of the Land take a Man of their Coasts and set him for their Watchman, if when he see the Sword come upon the Land, [...] [Page 32] Trumpet and warn the People; then whosoever heareth the Sound of the Trumpet, and taketh not Warning, if the Sword come and take him away, his Blood shall be upon his own Head. The good Account your Minister has to give of his own Faithfulness, will incense the Dis­pleasure of the Judge towards you. Luke 14. 17. So the Servant came and shewed his Lord these Things: Then the Master of the House being angry, said to his Servant, Go out quickly, &c.

And if you would have the Account your Minister shall have to give concerning you to be profitable and joyful to you, don't neglect your Duty towards him; endeavour by all Means in your Power to put him under the best Advantage for Serviceableness and Suc­cess among you: Do what in you lies to encourage his Heart and strengthen his Hands. This I know to be a Thing of vast Importance, as you would have your Pastor a Blessing to you, and the successful In­strument of the Salvation of your Souls and the Souls of your Children: Therefore suffer me to be a little particular with you upon this Head: I may be the more bold towards you as you hitherto have been of the Flock that Christ has committed to my Care, and I hope some of you my spiritual Children; therefore as my beloved Children I counsel and warn you.

If you would meet your Minister with Comfort another Day, don't neglect doing what belongs to you comfortably to support him, so as to enable him to attend on his great Work without Distraction, and to [Page 33] give himself wholly to the Business of seeking and pro­moting the eternal Welfare and Happiness of you and your Children; without being disheartned by the Diffi­culties and Indigencies of straitened Circumstances, or being diverted by exercising Care, and taken off by involving himself in worldly Business for his necessary Support. While we are in the Body our heavenly Father knows that we have need of these Things, and the Way that he hath provided for Ministers supply, is by their partaking of the temporal good Things of the People to whom they minister spiritual Things. 1 Cor. 9. 4, &c. Have we not Power to eat and to drink? Have we not Power to lead about a Sister a Wife?Have we not Power to forbear working? Who goeth a Warfare any Time at his own Charges? Who planteth a Vineyard, and eateth not of the Fruit thereof? Or who feedeth a Flock, and eateth not of the Milk of the Flock? Say I these Things as a Man? Or saith not the Law the same also? For it is written in the Law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the Mouth of the Ox that treadeth out the Corn. Doth God take Care for Oxen? Or saith he it altogether for our Sakes? For our Sakes, no doubt, this is written; that he that ploweth should plow in Hope, and that he that thresheth in Hope, should be partaker of his Hope. If we have s [...]wn unto you spiritual Things, is it a great Thing if we shall reap your carnal Things?Do ye not know that they [...] minister about holy Things, live of the Things of the Temple, and they that wait at the Altar, are Partakers with the Altar? Even so hath the Lord ordained, that they which preach the Gospel should live of [Page 34] the Gospel. 1 Tim. 5. 17, 18. Let the Elders that rule well be counted worthy of double Honour; especially they who labour in Word and Doctrine: For the Scrip­ture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the Ox that treadeth out the Corn. And the Labourer is worthy of his Re­ward. 2 Tim. 2. 6. The Husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the Fruits. Gal. 6. 6. Let him that is taught in the Word communicate to him that teacheth in all good Things. Christ would not have Ministers Time and Thoughts taken up about pro­viding temporal good Things for their own Support, but would have them wholly provided for by their People. Matth: 10. 9, 10. Provide neither Gold, nor Silver, nor Brass in your Purses, nor Scrip for your Journey, neither two Coats a piece, neither Shoes, nor yet Staves; for the Workman is worthy of his Meat. A­greeable to these Directions he gave the twelve Apostles, are the Directions he gave the Seventy, when he sent them out. Luke 10. 7. In the same House remain, eating and drinking such Things as they give; for the Labourer is worthy of his Hire.

You see what great Care Christ has taken in this Matter, and how full and abundant the Scripture is in Commands and Directions concerning the Support of Ministers.

I know you are small, and in your new Beginnings in this Place, and not so able as many other Congre­gations: But if we may give Credit to the Word of God, for you [...] and comfortably to support your [Page 35] Pastor, is not the Way to be poorer. Prov. 3. 9, 10. Honour the Lord with thy Substance, and with the first Fruits of all thine Increase; so shall thy Barns be filled with Plenty, and thy Presses shall burst out with new Wine. To give to the Lord is not the Way to be poor, but the Way to be supplied by the Lord. Christ now is not personally, and in his human Nature, here upon Earth, to be supported by temporal good Things from his Disciples, as once he was: But tho' he be now gone from hence into a far Country, yet he has not left his Disciples without Opportunity, in this Way of shewing their Love to him; for there are two Sorts of Persons that he has appointed to be his Receivers, viz. his indigent Members, and his Mini­sters: As of old God appointed the Poor and the Levite to receive the Tythes and other Offerings that were made to the Lord, Deut. 16. 11, 14. and Chap. 14. 28, 29. and 26. 10, 11, 12. What is given to Ministers is a Sacrifice to God; so the Apostle re­presents what was sent to him for his Supply from the Philippians, Phil. 4. 18. Having received of Epaphro­ditus the Things which were sent from you, an Odour of a sweet Smell, a Sacrifice acceptable, well-pleasing to God. And Christ when he sent forth his Disciples to preach, and had directed that they should take no Provision for themselves, because the Labourer is worthy of his Reward, he says Matth. 10. 40. He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me

[Page 36] And since what is given to your Pastor is given to Christ, you may be assured that you can't consult your own temporal, as well as spiritual Interest better, than by liberally supplying of him; for he that lend­eth to the Lord shall be repay'd again with large In­terest. And as to your Ability, if there be but a chearful, ready Mind, the greatest Difficulty is got over; if you find this, there is no doubt but that God will make the Duty of supporting your Minister in other Respects easy to you: God loves a willing Of­fering, and a cheerful Giver; if you will do your Part in opening your Hearts and Hands, God will do his Part in finding you where-withal. But if a People grudge what they do, are always full of Fears how they shall pay their Rates, and excessively cautious least they should run themselves into Difficulty, and straiten themselves and Families by giving to Christ, no wonder it proves difficult; 'tis the Way to meet with nothing else but Difficulties in their outward Circumstances; for there is that scattereth, and yet en­creaseth; but to withold more than is meet, tends only to Poverty, Prov. 11. 24.

The Jews in the Days of the Prophet Haggai were few in Number, and were under difficult and straitn'd Circumstances; and they made it an Excuse why they should not be at the Expence that was requisite in order to build the House of God, and set up his Worship; and so for a Time neglected it: And in the mean Time none of their Affairs prospered: they sowed much, and [...]ought in little; they [...]at, but [...] [Page 37] not enough: They drank, but were not filled with drink: They cloathed them, but there was none warm; and he that earneth Wages, earneth Wages to put it into a Bag with Holes: They looked for much, and lo it came to little: and the Heaven was stayed from Dew, and the Earth was stayed from her Fruit, Hag. Chap. 1. So in the Days of the Prophet Malachi it was a Time of Scarcity, and the People thought themselves thereby excused from pay­ing Tythes for the Support of the Levites, and so robbed God of his due; but got nothing by it, but God cursed them with a Curse; they made that Scarcity and Want the Excuse for their Backwardness to Support God's Ministers, which was its Punishment; and God tells them by the Prophet that if they would chearfully do their Duty in that Respect it would be a sure Way to have their Wants plentifully supplied. Mal. 3. 1, 9, 10. Ye are cursed with a Curse, for ye have robbed me, [...] this whole Nation. Bring ye all the Tythes into the Store-house, that there may be Meat in mine House; and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of Hosts, if I will not open you the Windows of Heaven, and pour you out a Blessing, that there shall not be Room enough to re­ceive it. What can God say more to encourage a People chearfully to run the venture of expending what is necessary for the comfortable and honourable Support of the Ministry?

And here let me wa [...] you in particular, that you don't only do pretty well by your Minister for a while at first, while the Relation between you and him is a new Thing, and then afterwards, when your Mini­ster's Necessities are encreased, begin to fail, as it too frequently happens.

[Page 38] Some may be ready to say, 'Tis no wonder Mini­sters should be forward to urge such a Duty as this, wherein their own temporal Interest is so much con­cerned, a coveteous Disposition will make 'em love to harp upon this String.—I have not been much in insisting on this Duty in my own Pulpit, where it would especially concern my temporal Interest; and blessed be God that I have had no more Occasion.—But whatever any may judge of the Secrets of my Heart, with Regard to the Principles that I have been influenced by, in what I have now said; it is enough for you to whom I have spoke it, that I have demon­strated that what I have deliver'd is the Mind of God; and also (if there be any Truth in his Word) that what I have recommended is not only for the tempo­ral Interest of your Minister, but also for your own both temporal and spiritual Interest.

Another Article of Advice that I would give you, is, to beware that you don't weaken your Minister's Hands, and wound your selves by Contention. You are but a small People, and you'll be a very foolish People indeed if you are divided against yourselves. Conten­tion among a People hinders all Manner of Comfort and Prosperity either of Soul or Body; it makes 'em a Torment to themselves and one another; it puts 'em every Way under Disadvantages, and weakens the whole Body like a Consumption.

There are two Sorts of Contention I would warn you against,

1. Avoid Contention among your selves about your own temporal Affairs: This will exceedingly tend to [Page 39] render a Minister's Labours ineffectual; and it is what greatly damps the Spirit and discourages the Heart of a Minister, to see his People divided into Parties, and envying one another, and entertaining mutual Preju­dices, Jealousies and Grudges, and so backbiting and reproaching one another, and carrying on secret Plots and Designs one against another.

2. Avoid quarrelling with your Minister in Matters of Church Discipline: This is a common Thing, but a most unchristian Thing, and tends greatly to weaken the Hands of a Minister in the whole of his Work, and render all to no Purpose. The Exercise of the Discipline of God's House is the most difficult Part of that great Work that a Minister has to do; and it becomes a christian People to their utmost to strengthen their Minister's Hands in this difficult Business, and say as the People said to Ezra the Priest, with Respect to the Affair of purging the Church of Israel from the Scandal of those that had married strange Wives, Ezra 10. 4. Arise, for this Matter belongeth to thee; we also will be with thee: Be of good Courage and do it.

To conclude, If you would have your Minister successful among you, and a Blessing to you, and if you would be a happy People, then love one another and love your Minister. There are some Professors, in some of our Towns, that are anti-ministerial Men; they seem to have a Disposition to dislike Men of that Or­der; they are apt to be prejudiced against them, & to be suspicious of them, and talk against them; and it seems to be as it were natural to 'em to be unfriendly and [Page 40] unkind towards their own Ministers, and to make Difficulty for them: But I don't believe there is a true Christian on Earth that is of this Character; on the contrary the Feet of them that bring good Ty­dings, and publish the Gospel of Salvation are beauti­ful in the Eyes of all the true Children of Zion; and every one that receives Christ, and whose Heart is govern'd by a supream Love to him, has a Disposition to receive, love and honour his Messengers. It was the distinguishing Mark by which God manifested the Person he had chosen to be the Wife of Isaac, that Type of Christ, that it was the Damsel that should give kind and friendly Entertainment to Abraham's Servant or Steward that was sent to espouse her and bring her home to Isaac; and therein was a Type of the Gospel Ministry, Gen. 24. 14, &c. See to it that you thus entertain the Steward of the House of God that comes on this blessed Errand to you.

If you and your Minister thus live in Peace, it will be the Way for you to be a happy Society, to flourish and prosper with all Manner of Prosperity, to have Christ dwelling among you; and for Things to be brought to so blessed an Event at last, as that he that is the great Shepherd of the Sheep, that purchased the Souls of Men with his Blood, and your Pastor that has the Care of your Souls committed to him, and your selves and Children, all should rejoice together in another World, agreeable to John 4. 36. And he that reapeth receiveth Wages, and gathereth Fruit [...]; that both he that seweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together.

FINIS.
[Page 41]

THE CHARGE Given by the Rev. Mr. Hopkins of Springfield.

Rev. and dear Sir,

GOD who orders the Bounds of every Man's Habitation, and assigns him hi [...] Business in it; fixes you in this Place, to be a Pastor to this Flock of Christ.

This People have, with one Voice, chosen you to the Work of the Ministry among them; you have accepted their Call, and devoted yourself to the Service [Page 42] of Christ in the Work of the Gospel Ministry in this Place: We also are called to set you apart, to that sacred Service and Office, by Prayer and the Imposition of Hands.

We therefore now ordain you a Minister of the Church of Christ, and of this Flock in particular: And in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, in the Presence of God, Angels and Men, we beseech, we exhort, yea we solemnly charge you, to take Heed to the Ministry, which you now receive of the Lord Jesus, that you fulfil it .

Here we must descend to some Particulars, and give you in Charge the following Things,

I. Take heed that you be a faithful Follower of Christ your self, in the careful Practice of that holy Religion, in which you are to instruct others.

Surely one who preaches the Gospel, is under the strongest Obligations to live according to the excellent Rules prescribed in the Gospel. He is under the most powerful and sacred Engagements to be a Chris­tian, whose Business it is to perswade others to be so. One who leads on the Flock of Christ in the Ways of Religion, must go before them, in the Practice of it.

Devote your self therefore wholly to God, in a Life of practical Piety: Flee youthful Lusts a seek first [Page 43] the Kingdom of God.—Mind the one Thing needful. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Add to your Faith Vertue, to Vertue Knowledge, to Knowledge Temperance, to Temperance Patience, to Patience Godliness, to Godli­ness Brotherly-Kindness, to Brotherly-Kindness Charity: a Even that Charity, which suffereth long, and is kind, envieth not, vaunteth not it self, is not puffed up, doth not behave it self unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no Evil, rejoiceth not in Ini­quity, but rejoiceth in the Truth, beareth (or rather en­dureth) all Things, believeth all Things, hopeth all Things, endureth all Things, b If you would be wise to win Souls, abound in the Wisdom that is from above, which is pure, peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, full of Mercy and good Fruits, without Partiality and without Hypocrisy. c Follow God as a dear Child.

Hereby you will, not only be an Example to the Flock, but on other Accounts also, more likely to answer the great Ends of your Ministry.

For,

If you have the Knowledge of God yourself, you will be the more desirous that others should know him; and the better prepared to lead them into an Acquain­tance with him. If you have tasted the Pleasures of Communion with God, you will be the more desirous that others should partake of those Streams of Delight, and urge them with the greater Importunity to seek [Page 44] after them. If you have had Experience of the Con­solations of God in your own Soul, you will be the better able to Comfort others with the same Comforts by which you your self have been comforted of God. If you have Skill in the spiritual Warfare your self, you will be under the better Advantage to direct o­thers, how to use the Armour of Righteousness, &c. Fail not therefore, dear Sir, of following God in a Life of strict Religion.

II. Take Heed that you fulfil that Part of the Mi­nistry which consists in your private Studies.

Close Application to Study will be needful in the Course of your Ministry, to furnish you with those Degrees of Knowledge, that may render you an able Minister of the New Testament. Give your self therefore to Reading, to Meditation, that your profi­ting may appear unto all. d And tho' other Studies may be useful to you, and imploy Part of your Time, yet Divinity is to be the principal Subject of your Meditations. Study the holy Scriptures which are profitable for Doctrine, for Reproof, for Correction, for Instruction in Righteousness; that the Man of God (the Minister of Christ) may be perfect, thro'ly fur­nished unto all good Works. e

Labour to gain such an Acquaintance with the Scrip­tures, that you may be able to explain them: To apply [Page 45] them to the Hearts and Consciences of your Hearers: To convince the Gainsayer by them; and to put to Silence those who oppose themselves. Endeavour more and more to deserve that excellent Character given to ApollosMighty in the Scripturesf

Look well to the Composures you prepare for the publick Service of the House of God. Let your Ser­mons be well studied; offer not that to your People, in the Name of God, which is crude and undigested; nor presume to depend upon immediate Assistance, in the Neglect of previous Preparations.

III. Take Heed that you fulfil that Part of your Ministry, which consists in private treating of Souls, in the great Affair of their eternal Salvation.

We hope many will come to you with that im­portant Enquiry, Sir, What shall I do to be saved?

In all such Cases you are to be easy of access. You must be open and free, pitiful and compassionate, ten­der and gentle, to those who make their Application to you; adapting your Counsels and Directions to their various Cases. Not healing those slightly who are wounded in Spirit, least they be ruined by a false Foun­dation: Not making the Hearts of those sad whom God would not have made sad, least they be discou­raged and faint in their Minds; but strengthen the [Page 46] weak Hands and confirm the feeble Knees: Like a skillful Physician suit your Directions, to the various Circumstances of particular Souls.

IV. Take Heed to fulfil that Part of your Ministry which consists in publick Administrations.

Watch against Coldness, Dullness and Formality in your publick Prayers: let a decent Fervour of Soul attend them all, that it may appear to the Congrega­tion that you are fir'd with a true Devotion, and their Hearts may keep Time with yours in the humble Ad­dresses you make to God.—With that holy Fear, with that Reverence and Devotion, which becomes Dust and Ashes, when before the most High, make your Appli­cation to him: Using at the same Time, that humble Boldness, Confidence, and Importunity, which he con­descends to encourage in his Word.

Preach the Word, [...]e instant in Season, and out of Sea­son, reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all Long-suffering and Doctrine.Do the Work of an Evangelist, make full Proof of thy Ministry. h Study to shew thy self approved unto God, a Workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth. i

Preach the Terrors of the Law to those who are secure in Sin: shew them the Relation they bear to the divine Law; that they are under the Curse; endea­vouring [Page 47] thereby to pluck them as Brands from the Burning.

Apply your self in the most clear and instructive Manner you can, to those who desire to be informed in the Way of Life. Teach them what they must do to be saved.

Apply the gracious Encouragements of the Gospel, to those who labour under spiritual Burdens. Strengthen the weak Hands confirm the feeble Knees, say to them who are of a fearful Heart, Be strong, fear not. k

Labour to rectify the Mistakes of those who are out of the Way, by plentifully declaring the Truth as it is in Jesus. Foolish and unlearned Questions avoid, know­ing that they do gender Strifes. And the Servant of the Lord must not s [...]rive;be gentle unto all Men,in Meekness instruct those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them Repentance to the acknowledg­ing of the Truth. l

Let not Believers want their Portion, even that which is good to the Use [...] edifying; That which may conduce to their spiritual Nourishment and Growth in Grace.

Thus, Sir, divide the Word of Truth: Be that faithful and wise Steward, who gives to every one his [Page 48] Portion of Meat in due Season. Blessed is that Servant whom his Lord when he cometh shall find so doing. m

Administer the Sacraments of the New Testament to those who are proper Subjects of them. Urge your People, that they do not in a careless Manner neglect those sacred Institutions of God our Saviour: And use your best Endeavours to prepare them for the Recep­tion, and your self for the Administration of them.

V. Finally, Take Heed that you fulfil that Part of your Ministry, which consists in Rule [...] Govern­ment.

The holy Ghost makes you an Overseer to this Flock, a Ruler in the House of God. You are there­fore not only to labour in Word and Doctrine, but also to rule well, that you may be accounted worthy of double Honour.

Use those Censures that Christ has appointed for them who will not be subject to his Laws. Them who Sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear. n A Man that is an Heretick, after the first and second Ad­monition reject▪ o as unworthy your christian Com­munion▪ [...] from every Brother that walks [...] p and [...]ntinues impenitent in his Crimes. Those who are humble and penitent, restore to your [Page 49] Charity and Communion, in the Spirit of Meekness. Exercise that Authority and Government in this Church, which shall most tend to its Stability, Peace and Purity.

In these and in all other Parts of your ministerial Work, endeavour to approve your Heart to God. And let the Glory of his Name, the Interest of his Kingdom, and the Good of precious Souls, be power­ful Perswasives to excite you to all possible Diligence and Faithfulness, in the Trust reposed in you: But especially that strict Account that you must one Day give to God the Judge of all.

Remember that if Souls perish thro' your Neglect, their Blood will be required at your Hands.q But if you prove faithful to God and to the Souls com­mitted to your Charge, if you feed the Flock of God,taking the Oversight thereof, not by Constraint but Wil­lingly▪ not for filthy Lucre, but of a ready Mind; not [...] it over God's Heritage, but being an Example to the Flock; when the chief Shepherd shall appear, you shall [...] a Crown of Glory, that fadeth not away. r

If you be wise to win Souls, you shall shine as the Brightness of the Firmament; if you turn many to Righ­teousness, as a Star forever and ever.s If you prove faithful to Death, Christ will give you a Crown of Life. t [Page 50] And what more moving Considerations can we possi­bly set before you.

And as it is to be your faithful and constant En­deavour, so it shall now be our humble Request, to the God of the Spirits of all Flesh; that you may be an able, diligent, faithful and successful Minister of the New Testament. That you may fulfil the Mi­nistry you have received of the Lord Jesus; that when he shall appear, you may give up your Account with Joy, and receive, thro' Grace, the Reward of a faithful Servant; an unfading Crown of eternal Glory.

AMEN.

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