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pected 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, 56 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 through your neglect ?" If you are able to say at that time, “ Lord, it was not through 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 hin his danger, and have not forborne to 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 myself 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 myill exam. ple; Ì have neglected no means of thine appointment, either publicor 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 as 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 perdidition ; 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 that it has been much owing to your unfaithfulness; O how amazing will your case be! 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 hands. Ezek. xxxiii. 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 is 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 them 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 through your neglect, how amazing will the sight of them 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: li is with cheerfulness that I can now resign them 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 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.
2. I would apply myself 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, It is 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 wbom 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.
minister be never so careful and watchful, if you take no care for yourselves, bis 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 have taken the most pains to save them 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 yourselves, appearing in the infinite loss you will sustain if they are lost, and your infinite gain if thev are saved; herein lies that preciousness of the soul that Christ speaks of, Matt. xvi. 26. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and loose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul ?
It is 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 will not be so terrible to you at that day as the sight of your minister; for he will rise up in judgment against you, and your pastor, that above all other persons in the world, excepting yourselves, is concerned to endeavour your salvation, will then above all other persons appear against you before 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 1, 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 other's 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 nor 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 through my neglect, but through their own obstinate negligence and wickedness!" In such a case your minis? ter 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. xxxiii. 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, he blow the 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 xiv. 17. So the servant came and showed 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, do not 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, do not 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 give himself wholly to the business of seeking and promoting the eternal welfare and happiness of you and your children ; without being disheartened by the diffi. culties 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. I Cor. ix. 4, &c. Have we not power to eat and to drink? Have we not pow. er 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 sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things? Do ye not know that they which 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 shall live of the Gospel. 1 Tim. v. 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. ii.6. The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits. Gal. vi. 6. Let him that is taught in the word communicate to him that teacheth in all good things. Christ would not have minister's time and thoughts taken up about providing temporal good things for their own support, but would have them wholly provided for by their people. Matt. x. 9, 10. Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, nor script for your journey, neither two coats a piece, neither shoes, nor yet staves ; for the workman is wor. ihy 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 x. 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 só able as many other congregations. But if we may give credit to the word of God, for
well and comfortably to support your pastor, is not the way to be poorer. Prov. iii. 9, 10. Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the first fruits of all thine increase ; so shal thy barns be filled with plenty, and ihy 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 though he be now gone from hence into a far country, yet he has not left his disciples without opportunity in this way of showing 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 tithes and other offerings that were made to the Lord, Deut. xvi. 11, 14. and ch. xiv. 28, 29. and xxiv. 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. iv. 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 VOL, VII.