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the Apostle's meaning, as implying previous fitness for the work, and a powerful impressiveness when actually engaged in it. And just here it is that I think you are exposed to danger. A careful perusal of those portions of the word of God which relate to the subject, will show us that this previous fitness implies the combination of SPIRITUAL and INTELLECTUAL power. And wherever there is combination, there seems to be a tendency in man to seek to separate what God has joined; and so to view the arguments by which one part of the question is demonstrated, as to lose sight of the equally cogent ones which establish another. Of this, we have a decisive instance in the case now before us. Look at the condition of man as a fallen sinner; and at the work of salvation, as depending from first to last on the influence of God's Holy Spirit; and what can be done by him whose word is not accompanied by the living power of God? They who “are dead in trespasses and sins can be awakened and quickened
by no voice but that of the Son of God. (John v. 24–26.) What need I say more, on the necessity of spiritual qualification for the successful exercise of the ministry? And without piety and prayer, that spiritual qualification can neither be obtained nor preserved. But look at man as an intelligent creature, to be wrought upon by methods suited to his intelligent nature; wrought upon by arguments which expose his errors, remove his prejudices, enlighten his darkness; wrought upon by appeals which arouse and alarm his slumbering or misguided conscience; wrought upon by persuasions addressed to his hopes, to his fears, to his desire of good, to his dread of evil: thus look upon man; and suppose that the whole work of the ministry consisted in the influence which mind, by the constitution of our nature, may exert upon mind; and say, what ought to be the intellectual qualifications of the man who goes forth to address his fellow-men upon subjects most intimately connected with their present and eternal well-being? And here is your danger. Either of these may be considered separately. Each is demonstrated by its own system of arguments; and in looking at each separately, we may forget that the full qualification is constituted by neither,
standing alone, but by their well-adjusted union. Keep both continually in view, and seek to secure both, and to employ both. Only ask yourself such questions as these :—How would I prepare for preaching, and how would I preach, if I knew that the success of my ministry exclusively depended upon the divine influence which may accompany the word spoken by me? How would I prepare for preaching, and how would I preach, if I knew that the success of my ministry exclusively depended upon the influence which I, as an intelligent creature, may, by the constitution of human nature, exert upon intelligent creatures like myself? Each will, without difficulty, suggest its own reply. Combine the answers you have thus obtained. Very exalted will be the standard of qualification which will now plainly appear to be involved in the idea of ministerial efficiency. But surely not too exalted? Only look at the work to be done; I do not mean indirectly and remotely, but directly and proximately. You work for the glory of God, and the salvation of immortal souls. You believe the Bible. You want not to be a professional minister, creditably performing a round of official duties, and receiving your pecuniary recompense as the members of other professions receive theirs. You stand upon higher ground. You believe the Bible to be a revelation from God; a revelation of indubitable facts. Well, then, if such they be, take three classes of them, and reverently but distinctly contemplate them. I might place many before you; but the three which I shall now mention will be sufficient for my present purpose. And, first, go back, in sacred recollection, to Gethsemane and Calvary; and devoutly meditate on the agony and bloody sweat, the passion, and cross, and death, of the Son of God and the Saviour of the world. Your ministry is to promote and secure those objects for which Deity became incarnate, and the Lord Christ, thus having “taken upon him the form of a servant, became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Then, secondly, look, though it be with shrinking, at that terrible state which our Lord himself has described by those awfully mysterious phrases,—“the damnation of hell,” where their worm dieth not, and where their fire
is not quenched.” Pointing to that condition of unutterable woe, and assuring your hearers that God willeth not the death of a sinner, you have to cry to them, “ Turn ye, turn ye, from your evil ways; for why will ye die, 0 house of Israel?” And, thirdly, look to the glorious heaven which the Scriptures reveal: not, indeed, gratifying our curiosity, but setting before us a prize well fitted to excite our desires, and attract and animate our utmost efforts. Think but of one single description; only weigh well each word of which it is composed, —"an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you.” Are you benevolent? Does your heart rejoice in the contemplation of human happiness? Does your inmost soul exult in the prospect of contributing to it? Then look at the happiness of heaven; and remember, that happiness, that weight of glory, is for ever and for ever. And your work is, pointing to that same crown of righteousness, the believing, hopeful view of which so animated the soul of St. Paul, when, knowing that the time of his departure was at hand, he felt that he was ready to be offered up,—to tell all that hear you that that crown was not to be given unto St. Paul only “but unto all them also that love the appearing of the Lord Jesus.” Such is your work. Can any qualifications be too exalted for its due performance? Or, without the accompanying blessing of God, can any human qualifications, however exalted they may be, at all avail for its successful performance? I again say to you, view the proper combination of spiritual and intellectual power, as constituting, according to the Scriptures, ministerial efficiency. Set your standard high; and by the diligent use of suitable and well directed means, seek for a constant progression towards it.
Upon the first branch—spiritual power—I shall make no additional observations; only, I wished you to notice the indissoluble connexion between personal piety and ministerial qualification. The two words PIETY and PRAYER, rightly understood and applied will bring the whole subject before you. Only let me remind you that what is necessary for others, is necessary for you with a doubly binding obligation: Decessary for your own personal salvation; and necessary
for the right discharge of your ministerial duties, with which the salvation of others is very closely connected. " Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; for in doing this, thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee."
PREACHING, TO BE EFFICIENT, MUST BE DISCRIMINATING,
PARTICULAR, AND POINTED. S. We now come to the question of intellectual qualifications. But you will find it necessary first of all to take a more discriminating view of the work in which you are to be engaged. Many of its minuter details you must discover and examine for yourself; but there is one distinction, not only very obvious, but likewise very important, and to which we must pay particular attention, because of its relation to the manner in which what I may term your pulpit duties, are to be discharged. We are not now discussing religious systems. We have both, not I hope without sufficient care and examination, decided at least this question,-Wherein consists the nature of personal religion, according to holy Scripture? I am aware that there are two very different ways of answering this question. By one, religion is made mainly to consist in the due administration of certain external rites, connected with a proper regard to the cultivation of religious and moral habits, and the formation of religious and moral character. They who have embraced these opinions cannot be expected to attach any great importance to preaching. Besides, by the nature of their opinions their discourses will be so governed, as to be altogether inappropriate where other, and very different, views are entertained. We, not less than they, attribute importance to the sacred rites of the New Testament; but not on the same principles, nor in reference to the same objects. We endeavour to take a comprehensive and connected view of the entire system; and, with the New Testament as our guide, we have come to the conclusion that the great blessings of the Gospel (ranging all under the two which indicate a change of our state in reference to God, that is, justification;
and a change in our own heart, producing one in our life, that is, regeneration) are to be obtained by a personal application to the throne of grace, through the merit and intercession of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have embraced the religious system, in a word, by which the reformation from Popery was effected, and of which the characterizing principle is justification by faith, understood practically, and consistently carried out into all its legitimate results. This, you will see, is not one of those cases which leave the ministrations of the pulpit unaffected. Admitting the principles you have embraced, they both suggest and require a division of your hearers into certain classes. As I said, I must leave minuter details to your own examination; but you will now be prepared, I think, to state the broad distinction which the subject makes between the various members of the congregations which you may have, from time to time, to address.
J. You refer to the distinction between those who have, and those who have not, earnestly sought, and scripturally accepted and received, the great and comprehensive blessings of the Gospel,-justification and regeneration?
S. I do. And I attach so much importance to the subject, that I must request you to allow me to read to you a few passages serving to illustrate and confirm the views I have stated to you, from a sermon just now published.
J. I shall be glad to hear them.
S. The text is, 1 John v. 11, 12:-“This is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” The preacher says, “ What first strikes us in these words is, that eternal life is not granted to man as reason is granted, or the power of motion is granted, to the whole race alike. It is not given as a sure and universal possession, to be enjoyed without an effort on man's part, like an estate, which descends of course from a predecessor to his heir. But God has offered to us eternal life through certain means: 'He that hath the Son hath life.
He has made it dependent on certain circumstances: 'He that hath not the Son of God hath not life.'