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blessed work, have never yet realized those views which we desire to impress on every one's mind. There is often great danger from fluency of utterance, -a most valuable gift, as opening a communication from a well-stored mind; but, without that treasure, it is an evil of the greatest injury to individuals, and also to the Church; it leads to much harm,-it leads, for instance, to a habit of saying a great deal, when we have very little to say; it leads us to mistake a collection of words for solid instruction; it exhibits a collection of dupli cates, instead of a well-assorted stock of knowledge, like an ill-furnished house, filled, we may say, with a multitude of arti cles, but all of the same kind: now it is plain, therefore, that whatever there may be for a little temporary interest, and excitement, there is nothing here to feed the Church of God,→ to feed the flock,-that are committed to us. Why, whatever some may have thought about it, I confess, I should just as soon think of building a navy from the oaks of my own planting, or of building a house by my own personal, unassisted labours, as of going to the diversified cases of my own people, with my own unassisted treasure, without previous preparation and study, as well as prayer. I remember, an old writer asked this question, how can the people grow, if the minister does not grow; and how can the minister grow, if he does not study to enlarge his treasure, as well as refresh his own soul? You know, that the nurse or mother who has an infant to feed, is obliged to feed more largely than others; so we, who have children languishing for food, must, indeed, have food to give them, or else both we and they will lan guish in consumption: it is a responsibility resting on you all, who feel what a work the ministry is, to study and pray, and pray and study again; and in this way alone, I may expect to fulfil my own responsibility, and to stand before my God, and render an account of my work; in this way alone, may hope to build up my people in the solid establishment of Christian profession, and be able to anticipate a joyous meet ing with them, and they with me,-perfect in that, through the manifestations of the Gospel. I remember well that the special gift of God to his Church, and the distinguishing marks of the pastor, after God's own heart, are these,-they shall feed His people with knowledge and understanding; and I remember, too, that the description drawn of a well-instructed scribe, is one who has a store-house, and who is able to bring out of that store-house things new and old; so that in the scriptural moulding of the Christian ministry, we feel


that we have much responsibility lying upon us, and much, and deeply, indeed, are we responsible from day to day, to labour and pray,-labour and study,-to labour and work, and concentrate all in our great and glorious object,-saving souls, feeding souls, winning souls, and rearing families for heaven. I would only remark one more recollection on this subject, the exceeding imprudence of neglecting the responsibility of this work. What should we think of the man who was laying out more than he laid in ? What should we think of the man who is laying out his capital, without increasing it? Why, we cannot but feel that that man is in the high road to bankruptcy. It is plain, then, that while we have such demands on us for knowledge and wisdom, to direct and to control, to establish and to uphold, to comfort and to rebuke, and to exhort, we have, indeed, brought upon us all the responsibility that we have just been alluding to. Perhaps this may lead us to another point, very natural, indeed,-if we are to gain these stores, from whence are we to obtain them? Now, of course, we come first to the Book of God; it is, indeed, the priest's book; the book to which we may well apply the rule of an ancient father,--"There is no study so enriching as the deep, and diligent, and accurate, and meditating study of the Word of God." There is an utter barrenness in all other studies, even if they be ever so accurate, if this book, in all its rich unction, and all its divine influences, be not the ground, and substance, and foundation of all. But oh! how barren is even the Book of God, if it is not read and studied on our knees! How utterly uninstructive it is to us, if we are not walking in fellowship with our dear Lordand Saviour! It is only when we are walking with him, and he with us, and opening to us the Scriptures, that our hearts burn within us. And so, with regard to this point, I would just observe, that it is no trifling matter to sit down to the study of the Word of God; there is a great deal of time frittered away, even in the reading of that sacred book; I feel deeply the responsibility and value of that rule, "Let the Word of God dwell in you richly, in all wisdom;" I feel that that rule directs to the profitable study of the Word of God; I have seen and heard sermons that were full of Scripture, and yet that are most unedifying sermons; I have seen and heard sermons, in which the sacred treasure has been largely drawn on, and yet they are profitable neither "for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction, in righteousness;" the power of the Word of God depends not on the letter,

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not on the careless, promiscuous throwing in of a passage in a sermon, but on the way we direct a suitable and practical application. I hope I shall not be supposed to derogate from the entire sufficiency of the Word of God, if I should shew the importance, (as opportunity is offered, and Providence should enable us,) of pursuing, more or less, a course of sound theological reading. I feel that in so doing, I am, in no respect, dishonouring the perfection of the Word of God; I feel that I am only revering and admiring the contemplation of that wisdom of God, by which he has made man a helper to his fellow-man; I feel that part of the delightful privilege of the communion of saints, is the communion and fellowship with that world of contemporaneous minds, which is embodied in their writings; and even though they be dead, we may say, they speak to us, and we with them. I feel that our own minds, our own conceptions, obtain an enlargement, a simplicity, a more vivid power of interest and attraction, by the help we receive one from another in a simple dependence on God, and a careful distrust of man, and in the habit of the soul to try every spirit by the Word of God. But, again, when we speak of the importance of concentrating study on the Word of God, and on the course that may be set before us, we are speaking, not of the posture of study, or of the time that may be given to it, but of the mind, concentrated, and fixed, and stable. You can easily conceive,I have no doubt of such a thing,-of sitting at a study-table without thought, or our thoughts wandering to the ends of the earth, for want of the power or habit of concentrating them. We have sometimes known that the time of study is frittered away in preparing for study, and that all the while there is the chaining power of indolence shrinking from the decided habit of application and vigourousness of mind, equally repelling every effort of concentration; and, therefore, we see the great importance of considering the value of intellectual habits as means of an effective communication of truth. I have once or twice thought of recommending to my dear brethren a work totally free from any glow of feeling, and, therefore, most uninviting in its form and character. I cannot but recolle self the great value, in the establishment of my own mind, I derived from an attentive digestion of a very small but invaluable book, "Locke's Essay on the conduct of the Understanding." I hope there may be no reluctance to discipline the mind into habits of thought, which will enrich the mind with a far deeper store of the Word of God than ever was


known or understood before. I would only just remark farther on this point, that if I could relieve any of my brethren from the dryness of such a book as that, I would just bring before them another book in which, according to the testimony and verdict of Dr. Johnson, these principles are ramified and brought out with a glow of animation more suited to Irish minds. I remember, when I was a child, one who knew me best gave me "Watts' Treatment of the Mind." I never affect to be so old as not to derive new and increasing benefit from the repeated perusal of that inestimable book. Now, I hardly know, my dear friends, what I have more to say to you upon this matter, except one or two words of a local nature. I think it likely that my dear younger brethren feel sometimes a difficulty in persevering in habits of study; and I tell you where this difficulty shews itself in a very natural, but a very hurtful way. Now, for instance, in the matter of choosing a text for our sermons, we are led, we will suppose, to choose a text for the next Sabbath ministration; but, upon going through the text, it does not seem so fruitful as we at first anticipated, or rather, it requires more labour and activity of mind and meditation than we feel either time or disposition to give to it; and so, it very often happens, that this text, before the week is ended, is changed for some other text. Now, I cannot but think that that is a habit in young ministers to be watched and checked, with a most determined effort. If we select a portion of the Word of God, as a minister ought to take it, (I suppose that we have taken it as the result of prayer,) I feel, therefore, that in that spirit we ought to consider it as God's text, and not ours, that it is God's appointed means of feeding our people on the next Sabbath. I conceive, then, that any difficulty we may find in drawing out materials for that text only just shews this, that the iron of our spade is somewhat blunt; and you know the Scripture rule, if the iron be blunt, do not lay it aside, but put out more strength, and I conceive we shall never fail, even in all the difficulties that belong to even the minute exercise of our ministry, if we are living and acting in the spirit of our dear Master, we shall "find grace to help in the time of need.” Do we want more light? Shall we ever go to God and be disappointed of our hope? and then when we have gone to God, and removed that textual difficulty to which I have just referred, let us go to our people and break up the groundwork of our text in some simple application to some two or three of our people to whom it may be more directly applied,

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and it will be wonderful how we will break up the soil,-how rich the soil will appear,-how full of matter,-hów full of mind, and that mind, the mind of God. With regard to the evil of indulging this changeable spirit, see the inroad it makes on the habit of mental perseverance, which is about one of the most valuable ministerial habits which our God and Father could infuse into us, and, by the exercise of which, we not only enrich ourselves with the riches that before had escaped our view, but we establish a habit of steadiness and application, which is increasingly valuable from month to month, and from year to year. I would just, in concluding this subject, again remark, as to preparation,-sometimes, a brother clergyman tells me, that he found himself greatly encouraged when he had made little or no preparation, as well as greatly straitened when he had made very diligent preparation; and, therefore, the natural result, as it would appear from this, would be, it is better to make no preparation at all. Now just mark, how exceedingly misconceived this view of the matter is; it is judging by feeling,-by sense, instead of by the standard of the Word of God. We are to walk by faith; and what is faith? Why, faith is the habit of diligence. God is the God of means. We trust God, therefore, in the use of means, and we tempt him in the neglect of them. I should really have thought of very little else than my own want of self-knowledge, if I were to judge of the fruitfulness of my own ministrations by any such uncertain impressions from my own mind and feeling. I confess, my dear friends, in plain words, that habitually to neglect diligent preparation for my work, would be insulting both God and my own people, insulting my God, in serving him with that which hath cost me nothing; and insulting my people, in stunting their growth in grace, and in the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. But those who neglect preparation have not thought so deeply on this matter as I trust they will think of it. We have little idea of what a personal loss it is to our own selves; I can conceive of no more interesting exercise or employment in the world, than intellectual exercise, and a spiritual habit on the deepest book in the universe of God; I can conceive that where the heart and mind are both engaged, that there is no exercise of the inner man so rich in enjoyment, and so fruitful in blessing, as our intense and persevering application of the mind, so as to point out and apply the Word of God. Here is a field at once for the expansion of the most splendid intellect, and for the

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