Page images

ing.--Let us endeavour then not only to appear, but to be patterns of purity, of gravity, of piety; from the good treasure of a good heart, bringing forth all the fruits of a holy life that person never will be despised who thus acts up to his character; who shews that he is in earnest with regard to the great business of religion. Would we wish to escape contempt, would we wish to do good, let us study to be good,

A second security against contempt, is constantly to make it appear, that our great aim is to promote the essential, the eternal interests of mankind; that we have nothing so much at heart as to make them wise and good, wise unto salvation. When people observe, which perhaps they are too quick at doing, that ministers make their preaching and other ministrations merely a matter of form and custom, a kind of secondary business, they must and do conclude, that the pastoral charge is undertaken for the emoluments of it, or from some other motive equally base, and must accordingly hold in great contempt any who are capable of such meanness and absurdity; but if, on the other hand, they observe a constant and zealous attention to their true and proper business, a disinterested concern for the cause of real vital godliness, an assiduous

watchfulness over their own conduct, and the “ flock over which the Holy Ghost hath made « them overseers;" they will of necessity, admire, revere, and love such a character,

Thirdly, Let us endeavour, as much as in us lies, to get above worldly hopes and worldly fears. A minister of Jesus Christ should be above fear, for what has he to fear? and what has this world to excite his hope? God knows, we have little to lose, and it is matter of thankfulness, that we are in no danger of losing that little; and the utmost we have to expect as ministers, either in point of wealth or honour, is, comparatively speaking, but a trifle, and thus providence has wisely placed us in that happy middle state which seems secured from pride and ambition on the one hand, and a mean dependance on the other. Let us then assert our own independence, and stand in awe of our great Master alone; let our hopes and fears be excited only by his promised approbation and threatened displeasure, doing all things as unto God and not as unto men, and the love of men will come unsought, will follow of necessary consequence. Finally, let us in compliance with the apostle's advice, speak, exhort, recommend, inculcate in public and in private, by preaching and by ex


ample, the great doctrines of the gospel, that

may edify both ourselves and them that “ hear us,” and promote the glory of the great head of the church,“ who gave some, apostles; “ and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; “ and some, pastors and teachers; for the per“ fecting of the saints, for the work of the mi

nistry, 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 per“ fect man, unto the measure of the stature of < the fulness of Christ.” To which glorious state of happiness and of perfection, may all of us, in God's good time be brought, through Christ our Lord. Amen.



JONAH i. 6.

What meanest thou, O sleeper ? arise, call upon thy God.


IN a country like Great Britain, whose prosperity in peace and success in war greatly depend upon the numbers and virtue of its sea-faring men, it is surely the duty of every good citizen to contribute all in his power to the increase of virtue among that class of his fellow subjects: and it is, in a particular manner, the duty of every minister of the gospel, to consider and attempt every probable mean of impressing the minds of all under his charge with a due sense of religion, which exalts and supports both nations and individuals.

This, it is hoped, will sufficiently evince the propriety of my addressing a discourse to my hearers of that profession. In so doing I would humbly presume to flatter myself, that I shall render an important service to a very important part of that flock over which God in his good providence has placed me in the pastoral office; and at the same time have an opportunity of advancing my mite toward the happiness and security of my dear native country.

* This Sermon was delivered in the church of South Leith.

Since, therefore, my brethren, I have seen it to be my duty to compose and deliver a sermon, with a particular view to your improvement in goodness, and consequently in true felicity, I hope you will consider it as your duty to listen to it with particular attention.

A wise and gracious providence has surrounded our happy island with the strongest of ramparts, the sea, and has given much additional strength to this natural bulwark, in our almost numberless naval squadrons, which national pride not unjustly accounts the glory of the whole earth. Were but the conductors of these squadrons universally actuated by the noble principles of religion and patriotism, what people under heaven could pretend to rival us, in strength, in glory, and in happiness?-And, in this, my very dear friends, every one of you has the deepest

« PreviousContinue »