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. Col. i. 7. A faithful Minister of Christ.
THIS was Paul's honourable testimony to the character of Epaphras, who was appointed to serve the Church at Collosse, in the gospel of Jesus Christ. As on your request, united with the solicitation of your council, I am publicly to address you on the ordination of Mr. ThoMAS STEVENS, I purpose, from the words of the text, to elucidate some of the more prominent features which characterize a minister of Jesus Christ, and to enumerate a few expressions of his fidelity in the discharge of his duty.
May this discourse, under the benediction of God, have an happy tendency to confirm our brother in his right to the ministry; to stimulate those of us with greater zeal who are advanced in the work of the gospel; and to convince this church and congregation of the importance of a faithful ministry among them!
The first prominent feature to be nained, as constituting the character of a Christian minister, is, THE REVELATION OF CHRIST IN HIS HEART. Gal. i. 16. Col. i. 27. This is the work of God's Spirit, and by this alone the heart of a sinner becomes regenerate; a sensible union with the Redeemer is produced; an experience of pardon arises from an application of his blood and righteousness; and the whole man, body and soul, is brought under the dominion of grace, to live in all holiness and righteousness of life. If any man be in Christ Jesus, he is a new creature. It is this great work which makes a man to differ from his former self; it is this change and possession of Christ that constitutes the CHRISTIAN, and is the first and most important reality that forins a christian minis