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And sold for the benefit of the Institution, by
At a Meeting of the Board of Trustees of the New-YORK BAPTIST THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY, held on the 30th day of December, 1824, .
Resolved, That the thanks of the Society be presented to the PRESIDENT, for the DiscouRSE delivered before them at their last Anniversary; and that a copy be requested for publication.
- Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth vot to be ashamed,
rightly dividing the word of truth.”—2 Tim. ii. 15.
PERHAPS, I cannot better express the nature and design of the THEOLOGICAL Society, who are this evening convened to hold their Anniversary, than by offering a few considerations on the text which I have selected. Paul called Timothy his own son in the faith; whether he had been instrumental in his conversion; or had been the means of conveying more abundant knowledge to his mind than he previously possessed; or assisted at his ordination by the laying on of his hands, is not now so material to be determined. Certain it is, that Timothy was a member of the church at Lystra; that when the Apostle visited that church, such was his knowledge of this young disciple, and so strong was his affectionate attachment to him, that he wished him to be his companion in his future travels to preach the Gospel. To this request the church not only consented, but also gave Timothy a good report, as a commendation to other churches and people with whom he should be disposed to associate. And, as such testimonials were in use among the primitive churches in favour of their ministers; so, they continue to be of the highest authority and advantage in the present day. Paul, advancing in age, and knowing that the time of his departure was at hand, under the influence of the Spirit of Christ, wrote these two Epistles to Timothy, that he might know how to behave himself in the house of God. A comprehensive expression this, which includes all the duties of the christian ministry. These two Epistles, with the one addressed to Titus, not only describe the character, qualifications, and duties of pastors, teachers, and deacons, with other important
subjects. but, they stand in the New Testament as divine directions to the ministers and churches of Christ in all ages, until time itself shall be no more. One of those directions is in the words of my text-" Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” To assist pious young men, already called to the work of the ministry, to study and rightly divide the word of truth, is the important design of this THEOLOGICAL Society now assembled. This is highly necessary; for if the word of truth be not correctly studied, and rightly divided in its various parts and applications, it is not possible that it can instruct, or be received with advantage by a congregation; I will, therefore, claim your attention to this advice of Paul to Timothy, and
I. The first thing that will engage your attention will be, the Apostle's description of a Christian MINISTER ;-he is a workman. This man is opposed to an idler; one who is introduced to service, wastes his time, neglects his duty, and dishonours his employer. I wish there were none such idlers in the churches of God! The workman may likewise be opposed to what Paul calls a novice, one newly instructed, of little knowledge, and less experience. By a workman, we may refer to a labourer in a vineyard; for by the well known parable recorded in the twentieth chapter of Matthew, we learn that our Lord engages his servants at various parts of the day, and saith unto them, go work in my vineyard; and to a vineyard the Gospel dispensation is correctly applied. The church is likewise compared to a building fitly framed together, growing into an holy Temple in the Lord, and in the erection of which, ministers are employed as workmen. And, from the duty required of Timothy, rightly to divide the word of truth, as a workman divideth his materials, I am the more disposed now to contemplate the character of a minister as a workman employed in a building. Solomon erected a magnificent Temple for the worship of the God of Israel, and for its completion employed a vast number of workmen; and behold! a greater than Solomon is here. Jesus, the Son of God, by virtue of the gift of his Father, the value of his sacrafice, and through the influence of his grace, raises, not a material, but a spiritual, Temple