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the candour of my fathers and brethren in believ- . ing, that mere accident of situation, not arrogance of design, has led me this day, thus publicly, to speak of their and my own duty.-And in the
First place, our office, my brethren, is represented, as a labouring in the church of Christ: “ We beseech you to know them who labour
among you.” It is one of the many vulgar errors concerning the duty and office of a minister, that it is a very easy and commodious employment. Comparisons are made between its ostensible labours, and those of other liberal and mechanical professions, greatly in our favour, in point of leisure and indulgence. This conclusion is the effect of the grossest ignorance. Ah! little does the world know the thousand heartaches and mortifications, the mental agonies and convulsions, to which a minister's occupation necessarily exposes him-beyond description more intolerable than the acutest pains which the body can suffer. The iniseries of the wretched in which he cannot but sympathize-the scorn of the proud, which he cannot escape-the intrusions of the impertinent, whom he must not exclude—the caprice of the froward, to which he must submit. “ The spurns which patient merit "s of the unworthy takes”- the bitter conflict betwixt a generous mind, and a contracted fortune the cruel necessity of wearing a smiling face, with an anguished heart. Happy, many a time, to fly to the labours of the seventh day, as a refuge from the woes of the other six-if this be a just representation of the case, and they only can tell who have experienced it, then the labour of a minister, instead of being likened to that of the mechanic at his anvil, or the galley slave at his oar, resembles more nearly the pangs of a woman in travail; with this discouraging difference still against him, that while she is supported with the hope of immediate relief, and an ample recompence, he is racked with suspense, and at last rewarded with disappointment. So various, indeed, and so complicated are a minister's labours, both active and passive, that, but for one consideration, reflection upon them would issue in absolute despair. The work is not our own, but God's-He who hath sent us to teach, and to baptize, hath likewise said, “ Lo, I am “ with you alway, even to the end of the world;" --therefore “ we so run, not as uncertainly, so “ fight we, not as one that beateth the air;"and having " finished our course and kept the « faith”—we can with trembling hope look to ts a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the
righteous Judge, shall give unto all them that “ love his appearing."
Thus animated, my brethren and fathers, let us labour more abundantly. Have we to labour among the ignorant? Our Redeemer is the co& venant of the people, to open the eyes of the “ blind." Among “ the stout-hearted, and such
as are far from righteousness?"-" The word of “ the Lord is as a fire, and like a hammer that “ breaketh the rock in pieces.” Among “ the “ wandering and such as are out of the way?-“ He is faithful who hath promised.” « With great “ mercies will I gather thee;" “ the Lord doth “ build up Jerusalem, he gathereth together the “ outcasts of Israel.” Among the afflicted ? “ the “ comforter, the Holy Ghost," is now given, for Christ is now glorified. Among the mourners in Zion? the tempted of Satan? the prisoners of fear? Know you not, that “ Jesus is anointed to « preach good tidings to the meek, to bind
up “ the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the “ captives, and the opening of the prison to them « that are bound: to proclaim the acceptable year
of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of « our God, to comfort all that mourn ; to ap
point unto them that mourn in Zion, to give « unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for
" mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit
of heaviness; that they might be called trees of
righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that she might be glorified*.” Is our work great, our strength small, are our difficulties many ? and can we not trust in the gracious word of the great captain of salvation? “ Fear not, for I am “ with thee; be not dismayed, for I am thy God: “ Į will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; " ,
yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of
my righteousness. Behold, all they that were “ incensed against thee shall be ashamed and “ confounded: they shall be as nothing; and they “ that strive with thee shall perisht,” Our best intended and most painful services may be misunderstood, misrepresented, neglected by men, perhaps be requited with hatred and reproach; “nefr vertheless, let us, my beloved brethren, be “ stedfast, immoveable, always abounding in the
work of the Lord; for so much as we know that R our labour shall not be in vain in the Lord."
In the second place, our station in the church of Christ, is described as being over our people in the Lord. A pre-eminence both dangerous and painful: : a pre-eminence little calculated to inflame our pride, but very much so to alarm our fears, and * Isa. Ixi. 1, 2, 3.
# Ibid. xli, 10, 11.
to engage our deepest attention, and to put in