« PreviousContinue »
and ready to expire, he casts a mournful eye, upon the sandy waste about to become his grave; he drinks, and life seems to flow afresh within his veins; his courage returns with his strength, he resumes his journey, and seeks the combat, confident of victory.
Read the Scriptures, then, diligently; read them especially when you perceive any abatement.in
your zeal. There will happen, even to the devout, moments of coldness and indifference, when they scarcely know themselves, and seem to have lost all the ardour of their character. There will happen to the minister discouraging circumstances, distressing checks, which extinguish all his fervour, and plunge him into the gulph of despondency. Then it is, that
you must fly to the Scriptures, to renew your energies, and enable you to be faithful to your trust. In perusing those sacred books, you will find so many passages mutually throw light upon each other, so many passages will be brought home to your hearts, so many simple and sublime truths will be unfolded to you, that FAITH-the source of life--will revive within you. The concerns of eternity—the hopes of your “ high calling”—will there be presented to you in their immortal grandeur; and before that glorious prospect, you will feel all the anxieties, the fears, and passions of this world, vanish away; you will be enabled without difficulty to practise the first virtue prescribed by Christ-SELF-RENUNCIATION. You will read the lives of the Saviour and his Apostles: you will see both Master and servants directing every thought and deed to the great design of human salvation,—the Son of God expiring upon a cross, to accomplish it,-Paul, when charged with the “mystery" of love which he was to reveal to the Gentiles, “ rejoicing to fill up
that which remained of the sufferings of Christ,”— James, extolling the happiness of him “ who converteth a sinner from the error of his way,” and “ saves a soul.” Then will be revived in you ZEAL—that ardent disposition which raised up so many faithful servants and martyrs for Christ. From the same sacred source, courage, forbearance, wisdom, love, will be by turns supplied to you. Thus you will be enabled to “add to your faith virtue, and to virtue knowledge, and to knowledge temperance, and to temperance patience, and to patience godlidess, and to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness charity,”—a bright constellation of graces, in which you will find your happiness and your power! Thus re-ascending to the sources of your ministry, you will recover strength to sustain the combat, and to snatch the
It is impossible, My Brethren, that this study should fail to have a powerful effect upon singleminded men- upon the young, especially, ardent and devoted as they are at your age. Who has not felt, that there is something contagious and sympathetic in examples and lessons of piety? The sight of all that is great, of all that is glorious, of all that is worthy of praise, of all that displays human nature under the most favourable view, and consequently of all that is religious, naturally awakens in us the principles of life, though often dormant and obscured. The contemplation, in the Bible, of those noble and excellent characters, who do so
much honour to Christianity and to human nature, the meditation of those sublime lessons of perfect godliness, which we never could have imagined, but which we nevertheless can understand, which we cannot refuse to admire, or avoid longing to put in practice,--a sense of the presence of that God who has manifested himself to us in revelation, who there speaks to us, urges us, appeals to us at once through his compassions and his greatness ;-all these motives to lové, to zeal, to self-renunciation, to faith, will find noble answers in your bosoms, and will rouse within you every pious and disinterested sentiment. THE BIBLE-the assiduouș, attentive, and conscientious study of the Bible, it is, by means of which you will be enabled to become zealous pastors, as well as Christian orators, and wise and faithful teachers ! It will be the guardian angel which will conduct
like the young Tobias, on your way into a far country; which will deliver you from the monsters of the wave and the powers of the air. Its counsels will supply you with wisdom, its presence will procure your safety, and will give
assurance of your welfare to those friends, who follow you with eager looks at your departure, and recommend you to the care of heaven.
My Brethren-why should I hesitate to say it? when we reflect upon the career on which you are now entering, and on what you will there meet with, it is impossible but that, having the care of directing your first steps, we must often be uneasy respecting your future course. We know what dangers threaten you,—what seductions, what errors, what snares, may impede or destroy you. May not presumption overtake you—that bane of men of ability, to which the preacher is but too liable? or cold indifference, which too often comes with business, habit, and years ? Will you stand firm against Rationalism, which, disguised under a specious show of free inquiry, withers both faith and feeling, and defeats the work of Christ? against fanaticism, which, full of furious zeal, and setting up an exclusive claim to the Gospel, at the same time mistakes its true spirit and maxims, and blackens its Divine features? Some of
you, perhaps, in passing from under our care, will be