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and redemption.” To these two doth the apostle refer the whole of that counsel of God, he shunned not to declare to the Ephesians, in that fore.cited scripture, Ads xx. 21. He testified to all perfons, Jews and Greeks, repentance towards God, (i. e. that they were guilty of such offences against God, as called for deep hunniliation,) and faith to. wards our Lord Jefus Christ; that is, that there was no way of escaping the wrath of God, but that of closing with Christ by farth. This is the matter of the gospel : and Christ's servants are to make it their bufuness faithfully to unfold the mind of God in reference to these two, man's state by nature, and what he may by grace be advanced to. This is called, 1 Tim. $. 17. a " Jabouring in the word and doctrine."
Tuis preaching of the gospel takes in three things. 1. A full proposal of the doctrine just now mentioned. Ministers auft, without mincing the matter, plainly diso cover to men their loft state, and the impoflibility of re. covery any other way, than by the gospel-method, through Jelus Christ, Aas xx. 21. 2. They must discover these things, not as their private sentiments, built upon some rational conclufions of their own drawing and framing, but as the word of God. It is the word of God they are to propose, and not their own private opinions ; and it is The word of God hearers are to receive from them, i Theff.
“ For this cause also thank we God,” saith the apostle, 66 without ceasing, because when ye received the word of God, which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but, as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe." 3. This preaching of the word takes in not only a proposal of the word of God, but an authoritative declaration of it by virtue of a commillion derived from God.
16 These things speak and exhort, and rebuke with all authority,' Tit. ii. 15. The word, in the first language, may be ren. dered command, with all command. Ministers are clothed with authority from God; and in his name, by virtue of a commillion received from him, they are to preach the gospel, and to speak the counsel of God, as being his mouin to the people, i Pet, iv. 11. This is the principal part of the minister's wurk ; and therefore to hear the word of God from them in this manner should be the great
design of these who call a gospel-minister, that they may hear from them as the mouth of God, what by nature they are, and what through the grace of God in Christ Jesus they may be. But now,
2. When a people call a gospel-minister, they should de sign the regular and orderly performance of the worship of God. This worship of God, as it is contradiftinguithed from the docrine of the gospel, of which under the former head, consists principally in the administration of the fa. craments and prayer; public prayer, I mean, under which PRAISES are comprehended, as belonging to, and always to be joined with it, according to our blessed Lord's appointment in that form, commonly called the Lord's Prayer, which concludes with thanksgiving. In Aas ii. 42. we have an account of the public worflip of the church, which consists in preaching, there expressed by doctrine, and breaking of bread, that is, administering the sacrament of the Lord's supper, and prayers and praises. “ And they,” faith the Spirit of God speaking of the church,
continued in the apostles doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers ;” and, ver. 47. u praising God." The celebration of the sacraments, public prayers and praises, are divine institutions for the sale vation and edification of the church, which cannot be gone about, or orderly performed, without a gospel-ministry, who only have commillion to celebrate the sacraments, and to be the mouth of the people to God in their public aftene blies, being furnified with spiritual gifts for the work, Matth. xxviii. 19. 1 Cor. xi. 23. and xiv. 16. And therefore, when a people call a gospel-minister, they Mould have this in view, as one great design, that there, by they may have the gospel-worship celebrated among: them in all its parts, according to Christ's institution, to their spiritual advantage and his glory.
3. They should call a gospel-minister to rule over them.This is one part of the minister's work, to rule over his fock, 1. Tim., V. 17. “ Let the elders that rule well, be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.” This fuperiority which gospel-ministers have, is not a lordly dominion over ei. ther the persons or faith of the flock. No, any thing of this sort that ever crept into the church, had its rise:
from the subtilty of Satan, who envied its peace; and is directly opposite to the gospel, which forbids Jordly doo minion, the gospel-minister's authority being given only for " édification, and not for destruction," as the apostle has it, 2 Cor. x. 8. And it consists, 1. In an authoritative enforcement of the laws of Christ's house. 2. In a ministerial enforcement of them, by an offer of the golpel-privileges as the rewards of obedience. And, 3. In a power to inflict, according to Christ's appointment, the gospel-punishments upon the disobedient, the highest whereof is excommunication, whereby the disobedient are “delivered over to Satan, for the destruction of the fielli, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus, as the apostle has it, i Cor. v. 5. And to one of these three ends might all be reduced, according to the corje mon distinction of gospel-ordinances, in doctrine, worship, and governinent. Boi that you may the better understand this matter, we thall name some more particular designs : and therefore we say,
4. A people in calling a gospel.minister, mould design the closing of a bargain, and making a match with Christ upon his own terms. It is the work and business they are sent out for, to espouse fingers to Christ, 2 Cor. ii 2. to woo a bride for the Lamb. They have a commillion, as Abraham': ferrant had, to go and seek a wife for their Master's Son ; and those who call thein fhould do it in or. der to the conclusion of this happy match; that from them they may liear the terms whereon they are to be admitted into this near relation, the advantages that fall accrue to them by it, the inconveniences they will run themselves into by a refufal, and the warrant they have to enter in. to so high and honourable a relation.
5. They should design their own furtherance in acquaintance with Christ. They should “ as new born babes de fire the fincere milk of the word, that they may grow thereby,” i Pet, ii. 2. that they may be furthered in their joy and faith, " growing in grace, and in the knowl. edge of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
6. They should design their own establishment in the ways of God, that they may not be 66 tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine,” but that “ being rooted and grounded in the faith, they may grow up in all things to him who is the head and Saviour of the body."
This is expressly deciared to be the design of the miniltry, Eph. iv, 11. The apostle, havingspoken of Christ's exaltation, and his having received gifts for men, tells us of him, in this verse and the following, “ That lie gave some apostles, some prophets, and some evangelists, and fome pastors and teachers, for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ ; till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ ; that we henceforth be no more children tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the fleight of men, and cunning craftiness wliereby they lie in wait to deceive,” &c. And to the same purpose speaks the Spirit of God frequently elsewhere, of the design of the ministry. Paul, in Rom. i. 11. expresseth his earnest de. fire to see them, and to " inpart lome spiritual gift”unto them, to the end " they may be established.” There who are already engaged in God's ways should design their owa establishment in them in their calling a gospel-minister.
7. They should design their own direttion through all the difficulties of religion. The Lord's people have many dark steps in their way ; sometimes they are under tenptation, and know not how to carry; fometimes they are engaged in a close fight with their adversaries, and know not how to wield their fpiritual armour to advantage ; fometimes they are out of the way, and know not how to get into it again: and therefore they need some to guide them into the mean. ing of God's word; for how can they understand, unless they be taught, Aets viii. 31.
“ How can I understand, says the Ethiopian eunuch, " unless some man should guide me:" and who should guide them but those who are guides by office, as the word may be rendered, Heb. xiii. 8. “ Con. fider them who have the rule over you," or who are your guides. This, as the end of a gospel-ministry, is promised in Isa. XXX. 20, 21. " And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of affli&tion, yet fhall not thy teachers be removed into corners any more, but thine eyes shall see thiy teachers : And thine ears fall bear a voice behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the It is impossible we fhould condescend on all thie
particular intentions or ends a people should propose to themselves in calling a gospel-niinister ; and therefore we fhall conclude all this in one, which is sure to comprehend them.
8. They N:ould seek to have one who may answer in some measure Timothy's character, with respect in the church of the Philippians, Phil. ij. 20. one who may naturally take care of them, that is, one who may, out of love to their foais, affectionately, prudently, carefully, and with impartial boldnes, open and apply the word, dispense the facra. menis, and administer discipline, for the instruction of the ignorant, strengthening the weak, comforting the discon. folate, affecting the impenitent, reproving the faulty, re. covering wanderers, directing and helping forward those who doubt and halt; that he may boih save himself and them, to the praise and glory of God's grace. We shall not infilt upon each of these particulars, which would require not one or two, but many serinons, which suits not our prefent design. We shall therefore proceed, in ile
SECOND place, to inquire, How a people mould make it áppear that they were alting upon those designs in their calLing a gospel-minisler. This inquiry miglat be understood, either to relpect their own fatisfa&ion, or the fatisfa&tion of the world, or of the minister himself as to this matter ;, but time not allowing us to be so particular, we shall hold the inquiry in the general ;, and in answer to it we say,
1. A people should discover their designs to be fuch as we have mentioned, by a punctual attendance upon all the ordinances, to be by him dispensed in public or private. Thus we see it was with Cornelius ; he not only waited on himself, but he called together those on whom he had any influence. " And Cornelius waited for them, and had called together his kinsmen and near friends,” Ads X. 24. Those who will not give attendance to the public dispensation of the word, and the private instructions, either family or personal, but withdraw, we cannot think these persons had the right end. before them in calling a gospelminifter: furely, had they been right in their aiins, they would have been ready to say with Cornelius, “ We are all here present," &c.
2. They should not only present their bodies upon such occasions, but they thould fit themselves as in God's fight,