Page images

honour you, as his instrument in bringing many sons to glory. If he have designs of mercy towards any of the poor, perishing sinners of this congregation, he will, I hope, honour you as the means of their conversion. If he would comfort any that are mourning in Zion, he will honour you as the messenger of those glad tidings; and so in all other cases, whatever the Spirit hath to say to this church, he will honour you as the instrument of conveying the message. But the greatest honour of all will be, when you shall be dismissed from your stewardship ; not turned out for any real or supposed breach of trust; not charged with any want of fidelity to Christ, or of compassion to souls ; but when after a long course of faithful and successful service you shall be permitted to resign your employment, and rest from your labours; when, having given up your account, and the Judge, upon examination, having pronounced it satisfactory, you shall be bidden to enter into the joy of your Lord: then, my dear Sir, then glory will begin! Then honours, celestial honours, will be heaped upon you, with a profusion that mortality could not have supported. Methinks I see the gates lift up their heads, the everlasting doors fly open, and you enter into heaven, as the recovered cripple went into the temple, walking and leaping, and praising God! Methinks I see the people of your charge, (those of them I mean who were first awakened, or afterwards confirmed and comforted, under your ministry,) methinks I see them flocking about you to congratulate you on your appointment to a seat of such distinguished lustre, in that region where those that are wise shall shine as the light, and those

that turn many to righteousness, as the stars, for ever and ever. Methinks I see Peter, and Paul, and all the most eminent and successful preachers of ancient and modern times, flocking about you, to congratulate you on God's having counted you faithful, putting you into the ministry, and crowning your labours with such abundant success. Methinks I see an ianumerable company of angels congratulating you on the distinguished privilege you enjoyed, in being a steward of those mysteries which they desired to contemplate. Methinks I see the Lord Jesus himself, coming forward to meet you, with a rapture-giving smile; and presenting you to God, the judge of all, with these words : “ This is the man that so boldly confessed me. This is the man that was not ashamed of me, and of my words, when I was despised and rejected of so many. This is the man that fed my sheep of yonder fold, with so much understanding ; and has brought so many of his congregation with him to heaven. Father, I will that a seat be prepared for him near to

I can look no longer !—There is more behind.

O my highly-favoured Brother, the best is yet behind. But heaven must tell you what it is ; for eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of any mortal to conceive, what shall be done to the man whom God delighteth to honour!

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

WHAT a multitude is here assembled to see an Ordination! Many of you were, perhaps never, present at such a solemnity before; and I should be very sorry, if, when the assembly breaks up, you should go away with visible disappointment, and say Is that all ?Why, “what came ye out for to see?” Did you expect to see a number of Apostles met together, to lay their hands upon the head of a young minister, and communicate to him some miraculous powers ? Alas! we have them not ourselves. If we had, you should not take all this trouble for nothing. If we had, you should have something by which to remember an ordination as long as you live. If the Holy Ghost were at our command, most gladly would we lay our hands upon you all : and this assembly should be like that mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles ; 66 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.” But what we cannot command, we may humbly and earnestly supplicate. Shall I then beg the favour of you to join with me in this short ejaculation to the God of all grace?

“ O God the Lord, to whom belong the issues from death, pour out thy Spirit upon all in this assembly;

and command on every one of us a blessing out of Zion, even life for evermore. Amen.”

Forgive me this wrong. But I was unwilling that you should suppose that the minister to be ordained was the only person concerned in these solemnities. You are all concerned ; and now that we may hope Heaven's treasury is open, and spiritual blessings are distributed with a liberality (I had almost said with a profuseness) peculiar to the Father of mercies, I would have every one of you apply for a share ; and crowding round the mercy-seat, importunately cry, “ llast thou but one blessing iny Father? Bless me, cven me also, O my Father.” And if you should succeed, if you should all, or any, of you succeed, it will be a glorious proof of the truth and propriety of that obscrvation of the Apostle, which I have chosen for the foundation of the following discourse, 2 Cor. 4.7. But we have this treasure in earthen ressels ; that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

We have this treasure in earthen vessels. Blessed be God that we have it in any! Let us be permitted to keep this treasure, and we shall better bear the loss of every thing besides. What had the world been without this blessed revelation? What had its inhabitants been, but wanderers in search of treasure which they never could have found, if God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, had not shined into our hearts, to give us the light of the knowlerige of the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ.

Tie Apostles were the first to whom this precious trust was committed; and glorious were the effects

of it wbithersoever they went. What an astonishing sight must it have been, to behold several illiterate fishermen, almost at once, come forth popular and powerful preachers of the gospel! How must they have been surprised, to hear them speak many dif. ferent languages with as much fluency and propriety as their own mother tongue; to observe the authority: with which they delivered their new doctrine, what success attended their ministry, and what multitudes followed them from one place to another; and to see how many were turned from idols, to serve the living God, in consequence of their labours !

I say, is it any wonder that the populace should be so affected as we find they were at Lystra, when, after beholding the miraculous cure of the cripple, they lift up their voices, saying, " The Gods are come down to us in the likeness of men !” Would it have been at all wonderful, if the Apostles themselves, who. were so highly honoured by God, and so greatly admired by men, had been, through the frailty' of human nature, a little, proud of their gifts ; and had been induced to think too highly of themselves? But God well knows what is in man; and therefore, when he puts any considerable honour upon his servants, he accompanies it with some mark of diminution, to prevent them from assuming to themselves or others from ascribing to them, that praise which is due to God only. The apostle Paul appears to be deeply sensible of this ; for, after having spoken highly of the gospel ministry, and the boldness and success with which he himself and his companions had preached, fearful lest any should imagine, that it was owing to their superior ability, industry and zeal,

« PreviousContinue »