Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

and fitted them for great mercy; as is evident by Deut. ii. 16, but he destroyed the old generation ; he swore in his wrath, that they should not enter into his rest, and their carcases fell in the wilderness : When it was a time of great mercy; and pour: ing out of God's Spirit on their children, it was remarkably a day of vengeance unto them ; as appears by the goth Psalm... Let the old generation in this land, take warning from hence, and take heed that they do not refuse to be convinced, by all God's wonders that he works before their eyes, and that they do not continue forever objecting, murmuring and cavilling, against the work of God, least, while God is bringing their children into a land flowing with milk and honey, he should swear in his wrath concerning them, that their carcases shall fall in the wilderness.

So when God had a design of great mercy to the Jews, in bringing them out of the Babylonish captivity, and returning them to their own land, there was a blessed outpouring of the Spirit upon them in Babylon, to bring them to deep conviction and repentance, and to a spirit of prayer to cry earnestly to God for mercy; which is often spoken' of by the prophets : But it was not upon the old generation, that were carried captive. The captivity continued just long enough, for that perverse generation to waste away and die in their captivity ; at least those of them that were adult persons, when carried cap tive. The old generation, and heads of families were exceede » ing obstinate, and would not hearken to the earnest, repeated warnings of the prophet Jeremiah ; but he had greater success among the young people ; as appears by Jer. vi. 10, 11. “ To whom shall I speak and give warning, that they may hear? Behold their ear is 'uncircumcised, and they cannot hearken : Behold the word of the Lord is unto them a reproach ; they have no delight in it. Therefore, I am full of the fury of the Lord; I am weary with holding in ; I will pour it out upon the children abroad, and upon the assembly of the young men together; for even the husband with the wife (i. e. the heads of families, and parents of these children) shall be taken, the aged with him that is full of days.”.... Blessed be God! There are some of the elder people, that

e.

have been made partakers of this work : And those that are most awakened, by these warnings of God's word, and the awful frowns of his providence, will be most likely to be made partakers hereafter. It infinitely concerns them to take heed 'to themselves, that they may be partakers of it ; for how dreadful will it be to go to hell, after having spent so many years in doing nothing, but treasure up wrath.

But above all others whatsoever, does it concern us that are ministers, to see to it that we are partakers of this work, or 'that we have experience of the saving operations of the same 'spirit, that is now poured out on the land. How sorrowful and melancholy is the case, when it is otherwise ! For one 'to stand at the head of a congregation of God's people, as rep. "resenting Christ, and speaking in his stead, and to act the part of a shepherd' and guide to a people, in such a state of things, when many are under great awakenings, and many are converted, and many of God's saints are filled with divine light, love and joy, and to undertake to instruct and lead them 'all, under all these various circumstances, and to be put to it, continually to play the hypocrite, and force the airs of a saint 'in preaching, and from time to time, in private conversation, and particular dealing with souls, to undertake to judge of their circumstances, to try to talk with those that come to him, as if he knew what they said ; to try to talk with persons of experience, as if he knew how to converse with them, and had experience as well as they ; to make others believe that he rejoices when others are converted, and to force a pleased and joyful countenance and manner of speech, when there is nothing in the heart, what sorrowful work is here ! Oh! How miserably must such a person feel! What a wretched bondage and slavery is this ! What pains and how much art must such a minister use to conceal himself! And how weak are his hands! Besides the infinite provocation of the most high God, and displeasure of his Lord and master, that he incurs, by continuing a secret enemy to him in his heart, in such cir'cumstances. I think there is a great deal of reason, from the 'scripture, to conclude that 'no sort of men in the world, will be so low in hell, as ungodly ministers': Every thing that is

4

spoken of in scripture, as that which aggravates guilt, and heightens divine wrath, meets in them; however some par. ticular persons of other sorts, may be more guilty than some of these.

And what great disadvantages are unconverted ministers under, to oppose any irregularities, or imprudences, or intemperate zeal, that they may see in those that are the children of God, when they are conscious to themselves, that they have no zeal at all ? If enthusiasm and wildness comes in like a flood, what poor, weak instruments are such ministers to withstand it? With what courage can they open their mouths, when they look inward, and consider how it is with them?

We that are ministers not only have need of some true ex. perience of the saying influence of the Spirit of God upon our heart, but we need a double portion of the Spirit of God at such a time as this ; wę bad need to be as full of light, as a glass is that is held out in the sun ; and with respect to love and zeal, we had need at this day, to be like the angels that are a flame of fire. The state of the times extremely requires a fullness of the divine Spirit in ministers, and we ought to give ourselves no rest until we have obtained it. And in of der to this, I should think ministers, above all persons, ought to be much in secret prayer and fasting, and also much in praying and fasting one with another. It seems to me it would be becoming the circumstances of the present day, if ministers in a neighborhood would often meet together, and spend days in fasting, and fervent prayer, among themselves, carnestly seeking for those extraordinary supplies of divine grace from heaven, that we need at this day : And also, if on their occasional visits one to another, instead of spending away their time in sitting and smoaking, and in diverting, or world

unprofitable conversation, telling news, and making thei Temarks on this and the other trilling subject, they would spend their time in praying together, and singing praises, and religious conference. How much do many of the common people shame many of us that are in the work of the miniştry, in these respects ? Surely we do not behave ourselves se much like Christian ministers, and the disciples and ambassa.

dors of Christ, as we ought to do. And while we condemn zealous persons for their doing so much at censuring ministers at this day, it ought not to be without deep reflections upon and great condemnation of ourselves : For indeed, we do very much to provoke censoriousness, and lay a great temptation before others, to the sin of judging: And if we can prove that those that are guilty of it, do transgress the scripture rule, yet our indignation should be chiefly against ourselves.

Ministers, at this day in a special manner, should act as fels low helpers, in their great work. It should be seen that they are animated and engaged, and exert themselves with one heart and soul, and with united strength, to promote the present glorious revival of religion : And to that end should often meet together, and act in concert. And if it were a common thing in the country, for ministers to join in public exercises, and becond one another in their preaching, I believe it would be of great service. I mean that minister's having consulted one another, as to the subjects of their discourses, before they go to the house of God, should there speak two or three of them going, in short discourses, as seconding each other, and earnestly enforcing each other's warnings and counsels. Only such an appearance of united zeal in ministers, would have a great tendency to awaken attention, and much to impress and animate the hearers ; as has been found by experience in some parts of the country.

Minister's should carefully avoid weakening one another's hands. And therefore every thing should be avoided, by which their interest with their people might be diminished, or their union with them broken. On the contrary, if ministers have not forfeited their acceptance in that character, in the visible church, by their doctrine or behavior, their brethren in the ministry ought studiously to endeavor to heighten the esteem and affection of their people towards them, that they may have no temptation to repent their admitting other ministers to come and preach in their pulpits.

Two things that are exceeding needful in ministers, as they would do any great matters, to advance the kingdom of Christ, are zeal and resolution. The influence and power of these things, to bring to pass great effects, is greater than cas well be imagined : A man of but an ordinary capacity, will do more with them, than one of ten times the parts and learning without them : More may be done with them, in a few days, or at least weeks, than can be done without them, in many years. Those that are possessed of these qualities, commonly earry the day, in almost all affairs. Most of the great things that have been done in the world of mankind, the great revolutions that have been accomplished in the kingdoms and empires of the earth, have been chiefly owing to these things. The very sight or appearance of a thoroughly engaged spirit, together with fearless courage and unyielding resolution, in any person, that has undertaken the managing any affair amongst mankind, goes a great way towards accomplishing the effect aimed at. It is evident that the appearance of these things in Alexander, did three times as much towards his conquering the world, as all the blows that he struck. And how much were the great things that Oliver Cromwel did, owing to these things ? And the great things that Mr. Whitefield has done, every where, as he has run through the British dominions, (so far as they are owing to means) are very much owing to the appearance of these things, which he is eminently possessed of. When the people see these things apparently in a per. son, and to a great degree, it awes them, and has a commanding influence upon their minds ; it seems to them that they must yield; they naturally fall before them, without standing to contest or dispute the matter ; they are conquered as it were by surprize. But while we are cold and heartless, and only go on in a dull manner, in an old formal round, we shall never do any great matters. Our attempts, the appearance of such coldness and irresolution, will not so much as make persons think of yielding : They will hardly be sufficient to put it into their minds ; and if it be put into their minds, the appearance of such indifference and cowardice, does as it were call for, and provoke opposition. Our misery is want of zeal and courage ; for not only through want of them, does all fail that we seem to attempt, but it prevents our attempting any thing very remarkable, for the kingdom of Christ. Hence

« AnteriorContinuar »