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men with glowing ardour and affection ; rising nobly superior to the vain, affected, popular arts of rhetoric on the one hand, and, on the other, to all the puerilities of trifling allegory, and all the meanness of indecent and vulgar expresşion. In the most nervous and yet simple manner he reasons, and with a pathos exceeding that of a Demosthenes or a Cicero, he persuades. Would we, could we wish him to have been possessed of one jot of learning less than he hadma kind of learning, in all the views we have taken of it, so admirably adapted to promote the essential interest of mankind, to confound the accusers of the truth, and to put to silence the powers of darkness ?

Thus have we considered the question of learning in its respect to the apostle, and from thence are led to consider its utility in regard of ordinary ministers. Here we shall speak of learning in three points of view, or rather of three different kinds of learning--that which is necessary to make a man a Christian-that which is necessary to make him a ministerand that further learning which, though not necessary, is yet highly ornamental and useful to a preacher of the gospel.

1. As to the learning that is necessary to make a man a Christian.

Repentance from dead works, and faith towards God, the apostle represents as first principles of the doctrine of Christ. In these the foundation of real religion is laid. He therefore who would be a Christian man must be born again, as our Sa- . viour insists in his discourse with Nicodemus. A moral change must pass on his heart. From a bad man he must become a good man, from a lover of the world a lover of God, and from a miserable vassal of Satan a willing servant and dis, ciple of Christ. It is not

It is not necessary that he should be an adept in all questions of divinity, that he should have a comprehensive, accurate view of the Christian scheme. But it is necessary that he should discern the difference between good and evil, that he should be made acquainted with his own heart, that he should be sensible of the value of his immortal soul, that he should perceive the dangers to which his guilt has exposed him, that he should look for the mercy of God

alone through Jesus Christ, and that he should be willing to submit himself to the discipline and instruction of the divine Saviour.

Now I am sensible that the old distinction is a very just one, that it is grace that makes a man a Christian, and gifts a minister. Yet, sure I am, he will make a very indifferent minister, be his gifts what they may, who is wholly destitute of the grace of God. It is true a graceless man who possesses knowledge, judgment and eloquence may be capable of instructing others, and his exertions though not directed to the right object, may by an over-ruling influence attain it. He may clearly state many truths, and in a masterly manner defend them. But it is not conceivable how one who has not entered into the spirit of religion, should discourse of it as the apostle did with pathos and energy; or indeed how he should properly explain those devout exercises of the mind, and those various painful struggles of a truly Christian heart with which he is totally unacquainted. Besides, the duties of the ministry are of such a nature, and attended with such numerous discouragements, that it is not imaginable a man wholly destitute of the love of God and his fellow-creatures, should have a heart, at least for any length of time, for the zealous and cheerful discharge of them.

On the contrary, a firm persuasion of the truths he teaches, and a lively sense of their excellence, sweetness and importance, will greatly assist and forward a minister in the discharge of his duty. Feeling his own personal obligations to Christ, and ardently wishing to be the instrument of saving men's souls and making them happy for ever, he will preach, not like a drý, cold, sleepy philosopher, but with a warmth and animation, especially on some occasions, wonderfully adapted to engage the attention and affections of his hearers. The apostle felt his religion, and so he spake warmly as well as soberly. From his feelings as well as his understanding he addressed his audience at Athens, Antioch, and Cesarea. And it was his eager vehement manner, that was one ostensible ground, as we have shewn, of the charge of insanity exhibited against him by Festus in our text. A minister too being a hearty friend as well as a servant of Christ, will be restrained by a principle of ingenuous love, from many improprieties of conduct he would otherwise fall into, and be prompted to many exertions he would otherwise slothfully decline.

And thus appears beyond a doubt the importance of personal religion to the character of a Christian minister. This sort of learning is absolutely indispensable. Let us then my brethren, look well to this! The glory of God, the success of our ministry, and our own comfort are all concerned. This learning indeed comes from God, as does every good and perfect gift. But there is a duty lying upon us. He teaches, and we are to learn. Let us go then, and meekly sit as Mary did at the feet of our divine Master, and humbly intreat him to lead us into an experimental acquaintance with our own hearts, and with the vital salutary influence of his sacred doctrine. Let us beseech him to diffuse the savour of this heavenly knowledge through our breasts, and to give us that anointing of God which abideth in those who have received it. Let us cultivate this learning, of all others the most important, by diligent self-examination, by frequent reading and meditation, and by fervent prayer and supplication.

To proceed

II. There is a kind of learning, distinguishable from what we have been speaking of, that is necessary to qualify a man to be a Christian minister.

It is not every Christian that is called of God to instruct others. There are gifts peculiar to the ministry, and absolutely necessary to it, gifts which come from God, and which are capable of being cultivated and improved by attention and industry. Let me point out these to you, and represent their utility, to the purpose especially of enabling men to reason, like the apostle, soberly; and to persuade, like him, with energy.

No one surely would take it into his head to suppose, that a dumb man is called of God to be a public speaker. With very nearly as little reason would one suppose that a person wholly destitute of what we call elocution, should be destined by divine providence to the character of a Christian minister.



A bishop, we are told, and it is equally true of other ministers, should be apt to teach. They should not only have the organs of speech, and a voice that may be heard, but a natural, casy, agreeable faculty of speaking. Now though elocution is the gift of God, it is capable of being improved. And will any one say that it is not the duty of a candidate for the ministry to make use of every means within his compass to that end? Is there not a fitness in his being taught to avoid such improprieties of accent, tone, and gesture as may hurt his hearers, give a mistaken turn to his meaning, and excite unfavourable ideas of vanity and affectation? And is there not, I ask, a fitness in his being taught how to modulate his voice, so that he may be understood, and how to carry his meaning by sounds that will not offend but please? A little of this sort of learning is necessary-necessary I mean, in order to a man's being intelligible and acceptable.

Common sense is another necessary requisite to the character of a Christian minister. A fool may be wise unto salvation, but it does not thence follow that he is qualified to be an instructor of others. Nor yet do I mean to say that wit, genius, or extraordinary natural parts are necessary to enable a man to dispense the gospel. But surely a good understanding, a sound judgment, and a retentive memory, are qualities of great importance to a Christian teacher. How should he who has little or no discernment, state and explain divine truths? He who has no ability to compare and separate his ideas, reason and infer? He who has no inventive faculty or power

of recollection, illustrate and persuade ? And he who cannot arrange and methodize his thoughts, instruct and edify? These powers are the gifts of God, and we may reasonably presume that the man who is wholly destitute of them, whatever talents he may have for talking, and however loud and sonorous his voice may be, is not called of God to preach. Now a plain good understanding is certainly capable of being cultivated and improved. God can, if he please, in a preternatural manner strengthen and enlarge men's faculties; he can pour knowledge instantaneously into their minds; and he can enable them without any premeditation or study to speak intelligibly and instructively to their hearers. Such miraculous interpositions and assistances were frequent in the first age of Christianity. The circumstances of the times made them necessary, though they were not even then granted with a view to supersede all attention to the natural and proper means of improvement in human and divine knowledge. But miracles are now ceased. There is no further occasion for them. And though we may still expect the instruction and assistance of the Holy Spirit in an ordinary way, yet it would be presumption in any to ask and hope for those blessings, while they lived in the allowed neglect of those means of cultivating their understanding which reason and the Bible direct us to.

And now what are those means, or what is that learning by which the understanding and judgment of a young person arc to be improved, in order to his becoming capable of reasoning like the apostle, soberly ? Surely none can be at a loss here. One would wish him to learn to read : for if he cannot read he will be shut out from

many useful and necessary sources of information. One would wish him to learn to write, for the purpose of enabling him to think more closely, and to retain many things that might otherwise be lost. One would wish him to learn his mother tongue, that he might speak intelligibly, and not confound his hearers by gross improprieties of speech. One would wish him to learn by books and proper instructors, how to range his ideas methodically, that his preaching may not be incoherent unedifying declamation. One would wish him to be instructed in the art of reasoning, that he may see where the turn of an argument lies, may

be on his guard against the sophisms of adversaries, and may

be able to set truth before the eyes of his hearers in a clear and convincing light. One would wish him to be acquainted with the evidence of natural and revealed religion, to have a comprehensive view of the great doctrines of Scripture, and of the various modes of opposing and defending them; to understand the connection between sacred and profane history; to be versed in the customs of patriarchal and Jewish times, and to have an idea of the constitution of the Christian church, and the events that happened to it in primitive times.

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