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rendered objects of sense. If, then, we would convince our hearers, that we possess this faith, we must conduct in a similar manner. In other words, we must imitate the temper and conduct of the apostles; for it will appear, on a moment's reflection, that these different methods of ascertaining the means necessary to convince men of our sincerity lead to precisely the same result.
"A general idea of the manner in which a minister would conduct, to whom the great objects of faith were rendered visible, may easily be formed. He would feel that God is all in all, that his favor is the one thing needful, that his displeasure is the only thing dreadful, and that to a minister nothing, comparatively speaking, is worth knowing or making known, but Jesus Christ and him crucified. He would feel, that the temporal happiness of kingdoms, and even of worlds, is nothing, in comparison with the salvation of a single soul. With such feelings his conduct would correspond. While he contemplated the broad road, with the multitudes who throng it, and the destruction in which it ends, his compassion, grief, and zeal would be most powerfully excited, and lead him to make every possible exertion to snatch his hearers as brands from the burning. Knowing the terrors of the Lord, he would persuade men.' In the performance of this duty, he would be instant in season, and out of season, and preach the word, not only publicly in the house of God, but privately and from house to house. In a word he would give himself wholly to his work ; consecrate to it all the powers of his body and mind, and pursue the grand object of saving himself and them that heard him with unabated ardor and activity, to the close of life. "The influence of the great objects, which he beholds, would appear also in his manner of performing ministerial duties. In his public approaches to the throne of grace, he would exhibit a personification of reverence and godly fear, and evince that he was addressing a present being; that he felt himself immediately under the eye of a holy, heart-searching God. While he would make supplication for himself and his people, like one who was pleading for life, at the bar of his judge; every word and accent would show that he was deeply convinced of his guilt and sinfulness, that he felt the need of a Mediator; that he felt, also,
that holy, humble confidence, which the sight of such e Mediator, as Christ, is calculated to inspire.
"In delivering his message, as an ambassador of Christ, he would shew that he felt deeply penetrated with a conviction of its truth and infinite importance. He would speak like one whose whole soul was filled with his subject. He would speak of Christ and his salvation, as a grateful, admiring people would speak of a great and generous deliverer, who had devoted his life for the welfare of his country. He would describe religion, as a traveller describes a country through which he has leisurely passed, or as an aged man describes the scenes of his former life. He would portray the Christian warfare, as a veteran portrays a battle, in which he has just been contending for liberty and life. He would speak of eternity, as one whose eye had been wearied in attempting to penetrate its unfathomable recesses, and describe its awful realities, like a man who stood on the verge of time, and had lifted the veil which conceals them from the view of mortals. Thoughts that glow and words that burn,' would compose his public addresses; and while a sense of the dignity of his official character, and the infinite importance of his subject, would lead him to speak, as one having authority, with indescribable solemnity, weight, and energy; a full recollection, that he was by nature a child of wrath, and that he was addressing fellow men, fellow sinners, mingled with compassion for their wretched state and an ardent desire for their salvation, would spread an air of tenderness over his discourses, and invest him with that affectionate, melting, persuasive correctness of manner, which is best calculated to affect and penetrate the heart. To say all in a word, he would speak like an ambassador of him, who spake as never man spake, and who could say, we speak what we do know, and testify what we have seen.
"Nor would the great objects, which he beheld, lose their influence when he descended from the sacred desk. Wherever he went, they would still surround him, and their overwhelming importance would annihilate in his mind the importance of all other objects. Wherever he went, he would see before him immortal beings, who were either heirs of glory, or children of perdition; pilgrims on their way to heaven, or travellers to hell. To awaken,
convince, and convert the one, and to animate, instruct, and comfort the other, would be the great object of his private conversation, as well as of his public addresses; and the prosecution of this object would leave him neither leisure nor inclination to attend to secular concerns, any farther than absolute necessity required. Feeling, that he watched for souls, as one who must give an account, and knowing the secret errors, mistakes, and delusions, into which men are prone to fall, he would be anxious to acquire as perfect a knowledge, as possible, of the religious character, views, and feelings, of every individual in his flock, and would improve every favorable opportunity for this purpose. Nor, while employed in cultivating the vineyard of others, would he forget or neglect his own; but would labor to save himself, as well as to secure the salvation of them that heard him. He would be, emphatically, a man of prayer, and, like his divine Master, would often retire and ascend the mount to converse with God, and draw from the Fountain of life fresh supplies.
"It is needless to add, that he would not be conformed to the world, nor seek its honors, wealth, or applause. With a fixed and steadfast eye, he would contemplate things unseen and eternal, and count neither the joys nor the sufferings of the present life, worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed. Thus his life, as well as his sermons, would preach; his official character would never be laid aside, or forgotten; his sincerity would be manifest to the consciences of his hearers, and all would exclaim, with one voice, "this man believes, and there fore speaks."
Such, my fathers and brethren, would probably be a minister, who saw what we all profess to believe. Such were the first preachers of the gospel; and such, in some degree at least, must we be, if we would convince men of our sincerity. We must imitate the example of the apos tles, and exhibit the influence of that faith, which the scriptures describe, in the discharge of our public official duties. In the performance of these duties, we must not confine ourselves within those limits, which sloth or negligence first introduced, and which custom has sanctioned. We must not restrict our labors to the stated and ordinary services of the sanctuary. These our hearers
expect. For these they imagine that we are paid. Their regular performance is therefore considered, and justly so, as affording no proof of our sincerity. To evince the reality of our belief, something more is necessary. We cannot reasonably expect our hearers to believe that we sincerely and earnestly desire their salvation, while we do nothing more to promote it, than custom, or a regard to our reputation requires; nor is it easy to conceive how they can suppose, that we really believe them to be constantly exposed to endless, remediless ruin, while we warn them of their danger on the Sabbath only, and appear to forget their perilous situation, during the remainder of the week. If we wish them to feel convinced, that such is their situation, and that we really believe it to be so, we must show them that we fix no limits to our labors, but those which necessity prescribes.
"Of little, if any, less importance is it, that we exhibit the influence and effects of faith in our manner of performing ministerial duties. However frequently or plainly we may warn our hearers, if we address them only in a cold, unfeeling manner, we can scarcely expect them to feel convinced of our sincerity. Such, evidently, was not the manner in which the first preachers of Christianity inculcated its doctrines. St. Paul could say, when bidding farewell to his Ephesian hearers, "I ceased not to warn every one of you, night and day, with tears." Considering the sanguine temperament of the apostle, and the different constitutions and dispositions of men, it cannot, perhaps, be reasonably demanded or expected, that every minister should be able to say this; though, if any thing can justly call for tears, it must be the situation of our impenitent hearers; and to weep in contemplation of the miseries, which they are bringing upon themselves, is highly becoming in the ministers of him, who wept over rebellious Jerusalem. To say the least, some degree of apparent earnestness, zeal, and fervor, seems requisite, to stamp our public discourses with an air of sincerity; and when the natural disposition renders it impossible to manifest much warmth of feeling, as in many cases it undoubtedly does, it is peculiarly necessary that its absence should be supplied by increased solemnity and energy in the dis-. pensation of truth. Mankind are so constituted, that it is
exceedingly difficult, not to say impossible, for them to believe that a speaker is in earnest, who does not appear to be interested in his subject, or who delivers interesting and important truths in a manner, which betrays a total want of feeling; and never are they less ready to excuse such a manner, never, indeed, is it less excusable,—than when found in those who preach the glorious gospel of the blessed God, and, in his name, warn sinners to fly from the wrath to come. It is, doubtless, to their adoption of a more warm, and impassioned mode of address, that the influence of sectarian preachers over the minds of common hearers, is to be principally ascribed. It is this, which gives their loose and desultory, but vehement harangues, an air of sincerity, an appearance of flowing warm from the heart, which our more correct and methodical discourses do not always possess, but which is almost indispensably necessary to the production of a general belief that we are sincere. In making these observations, I would not, however, be understood to intimate, that an apparent want of fervency, zeal and animation, affords, in all cases, just cause for questioning a minister's sincerity; or that the degree of real feeling is always in proportion to the outward expressions of it. We readily allow, that many may firmly believe the truths they deliver, and feel deeply interested in their success, and yet, in consequence of a constitutional coolness and evenness of temper, display less warmth and animation, than others, who are far below them in real faith, and religious sensibility. Still, we cannot believe that it is impossible for any one, whose heart glows with the sacred fire of love and zeal, to preach in such a manner, as to leave in the minds of his hearers no doubt of his sincerity, or of his earnest desire to effect their salvation.
"If this be important, it is, if possible, still more so, that we exhibit the influence and effects of faith in our more private intercourse with society. 'It is here,' says a celebrated English prelate, 'that, I concieve, we of the clergy are apt to fail. We do not always, in the common intercourse of life, appear sufficiently penetrated with the importance of our function, or sufficiently assiduous in promoting the ends of our mission.' 'I could name instances,' says another divine, where it has appeared to