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of a free country are to the state-the organs of the law. Submission to them is submission to the law. If your pastors teach any other doctrine, or inculcate any other duties, than what Christ has left on record, obey bir not ; but, while urging these, it is at your peril to resist him; for, resisting bim, you resist him that sent him. It is in this view, as teaching divine truth, and enforcing divine commands, that the servants of God, in all ages, have been invest. ed with divine authority. Of the sons of Levi, it was said, they shall teach Jacob thy judgments, and Israel thy law; and, upon this ground, it was added, Bless, Lord, his substance, and accept the work of his hands : smite through the loins of them that rise against him, and of them that hate him, that they rise not again. Here lay the sin of Korah and his company, of Elymas the sorcerer, and of Alexander the coppersmith : they each, by resisting the servants of God in the proper execution of their work, resisted God, and brought upon themselves the sorest of judgments.
Thirdly: The things which he urges upon you, are equally binding upon himself. When he exhibits to you the only name given unde r heaven, among men, by which you can be saved, and charges you, on pain of eternal damnation, not to neglect it; remember his own soul also is at stake. And when he exhorts and warns you, if he himself should privately pursue a contrary course, he seals his own destruction.
There are, it is true, those who lade men with heavy burdens, grievous to be borne, to which they themselves will not put one of their fingers; these, however, are not the commands of Christ. Instead of being the commands of Christ, which are not grievous, except to unholy men, these are mere human traditions : but, though they were allowed to be otherwise, the inconsistent conduct of ministers would not exempt either them or you from obligation. Should we enforce the will of Christ upon you, while living in the neglect of it ourselves, woe be unto us! Yet this will fall upon our own heads. If we be wicked, depose us from our office; but while we are in it, let not the word of the Lord be disregarded, on our account.
Let me point out a few particulars, brethren, in which it is your duty and interest to obey him whom you have chosen to have the rule over you, and to submit yourselves.
1. With respect to his public ministry. Do not dy in the face of plain dealing from the palpit. Good sense, as well as the fear of God, will, I trust, preserve your pastor from dealing in personal reflections, or any thing designed to offend; but do not be un, willing that he should come close to cases and consciences. You may as well have no minister, as one that never makes you feel. I hope the house of God will continue to be to you what it has been ; a rest in times of trouble; a house of consolation : but do not go with a desire merely to be comforted. Go, as well, to learn your failings and defects, and in the hope of having them corrected. It is not the mere hearer, but the doer of the word, that is blessed in his work. I hope you will always exercise your judgments as to what you hear, and compare it with the oracles of God; but if you attend preaching merely us judges of its or thodoxy, you will derive no advantage to yourselves, and may do much barm to others. It is the humble Christian, who hears that he may be instructed, corrected, and quickened in the ways of God, who will obtain that consolation which the gospel affords..
2. With respect to his private visits. You do not expect bim to visit you in the character of a saunterer, but of a pastor ; and if so it becomes you to be open to a free exchange of sentiments on your best interests. No minister is always alike prepared for profitable conversation, and some much less so than others; but if he perceives in you a desire after it, it will be much more ea sily introduced. Be free to communicate your cases to him. It will assist him in his preaching more than a library of expositors ; and if, while you are conversing with him, he should be directed to impart to you the mind of Christ as suited to your particular case, do not treat it-lightly, but submit yourselves to it.
3. In presiding in your occasional assemblies. When you meet together as a Christian church, for the adjustment of your con. cerns, he is entitled to your respect. Every society places so much authority in its president, as shall be necessary to check disorderly individuals, and to preserve a proper decorum. If
will, doubtless, become him, especially while he is a young man, to be gentle and temperate in the exercise of authority: and it will no less become you to submit to it. When churches enter into disputes with heat and bitterness, when all are speakers, and respect is paid to no one more than to another, they debase themselves below the character even of civilized societies.
4. In the private reproofs which he may have occasion to administer. You do not wish that your pastor should deal in personal reflections from the pulpit; yet there are cases in which reproof requires to be personal; he must, therefore, if he discharge bis duty, be free and faithful in telling you wbat he sees amiss in you. It has long appeared to me, that there are some species of faults, in individual members, which are not proper objects of church censure, but of pastoral admonition ; such as spiritual declensions, hesitating on important truths, neglect of religious duties, worldly anxiety, and the early approaches to any evil, course. A faithful pastor, with an eye of watchful tenderness, will perceive the first symptoms of spiritual disorder, and by a timely bint, will counteract its operations ; whereas if nothing be said or done, till the case requires the censure of the church, the party may be excluded but is seldom recovered. You may easily suppose this to bé á. self-denying work for your pastor.; he had much rather visit you with a smile of affectionate congratulation : yet it may be of the first importance to you and to the church. Do not render this disagreeable part of his work more disagreeable, by an irritable and resentful disposition ; but receive reproofs with cândour, Correction may be grievous to him that forsaketh the way; but he that hateth reproof shall die.
II. Let us observe the IMPORTANT CONSIDERATIONS BY WHICH THIS OBEDIENCE AND SUBMISSION ARE ENFORCED.
These, you will perceive, are partly taken from the regard you bear to yourselves--they roatch for your souls; partly from your sympathy with them that they may do it with joy and not with grief : and even that part which seems to respect their comfort, ultimately concerns your own; for, if they discharge their work with grief, that will be unprofitable for you. Give us your serious and candid attention, brethren, while we review these important motives.
1. Your pastor watches for your souls. Your salvation let me presume, will be his great concern ; and, while pursuing this, you may well be expected to concur with him, and submit your selves to him in the Lord. You would submit to a surgeon, who was performing an operation to save your life ; or to a counsellor, who should offer you his advice for the security of your property or to a commander who should lead you forth to save your coun. try: but these are inferior objects, when compared with your soul. Observe the force of every term.
They watch. The word literally signifies to keep awake. Here, it denotes vigilance. Ministers are as watchmen on the walls, or in the streets of a city, by whose care and fidelity the inhabitants enjoy security. Their work is to rise early, to sit up late, and to eat the bread of care; for so it is that God giveth his heloved sleep. Aware of your temptations and dangers, he must be continually on the watch, that he may be ready to give the alarm. He may be thinking and caring and praying for you, when you think but little of him, and perhaps in some instances, when you think but little of yourselves. Do not binder him, but help bim in his work.
They watch for you. Recollect, that you are watched on all side, but not in this manner. Satan watches you ; but it is that he may seize his opportunity to destroy you. He watches you as a wolf does a sheep-fold ; but your pastor, as a faithful shepherd, to protect and save you. The world also will watch you, and that with the eye of an enemy, waiting for your balting ; but he, with the tender solicitude of a father, to do you good. Do not oppose him in this, his important work..
They watch for your souls. If your pastor were stationed to watch over your health, property, or life, and should discharge his trust with skill and fidelity, you would think him worthy of your esteem ; but it is not for these things that he is principally concerned. He would doubtless be happy to do you good in any way ; but neither of these employments is his peculiar province. You employ other persons to watch for you in such matters. Nothing less than your immortal interésts must engage his attention. He watches for that, compared with which kingdoms and empires
are but trifles; for that, which, if gained, all is gained; and which, if lost, all is lost, and lost forever. Do not resist him in his work, but concur with him.
They watch as those that must give acconnt. How important a station! There is an account for every one to give of himself; but a pastor has not only to do this in common with his people, but must also give account of them. At his hands the chief Shepherd will require it. And what will be the account of your pastor? Will he be able to say, concerning you, Here I am, and the children whom the Lord hath given me? O that he might! But it is much to be feared, that some of you, who are this day committed to his charge, will in that day be missing! And what account will he then have to give ?: Will be not have to say, 'Lord, some of them have neglected thy word ; some have resisted it; some have reproached me for preaching it; some have deserted it, and turned aside after lying vanities; some, who have continued, bave not received the love of the truth, that they might be saved : hearing, they have heard and not understood ; seeing, they have seen and not perceived; their heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed ? And what if, when interrogated, he should not be able to acquit himself? What if it should prove that he did not warn you, nor seek after you, por care for you ?, Ah, then you will perish, and your blood will be required at his hand! Who, alas ! who is sufficient for these things? At all events, for your own sake, and for his sake, do not hinder him in his work. Woe unto him, if he preach not the gospel; and woe upto you, if you oppose bim in it! Do not object to his dealing faithfully, both in and out of the palpit, so that it be aimed for your good. Do not binder him in the work of reproof, by siding with transgressors. In short, if you have any regard to your own souls, or the souls of others, obey the counsels of heaven, which are communicated to you through his ministry, and submit yourselves.
2. The discharge of this his work will be either joy or grief, according to the spirit of the people amoug whom he labours. You do not wish, I dare say, to grieve and distress a servant of