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be given you than to do your duty quietly and contentedly, and to let things take their course. You may have been brought up with different notions, but be assured that for once that preferment is forfeited by modesty, it is ten times lost by intrusion and importunity. Every one sympathizes with neglected merit; but who shall lament over repulsed impudence ?
The last expedient I shall mention, and, in conjunction with the others, a very efficacious one towards engaging respect, is seriousness in your deportment, especially in discharging the offices of your profession. Salvation is so awful a concern, that no human being, one would think, could be pleased with seeing it, or anything belonging to it, treated with levity. For a moment, in a certain state of the spirits, men may divert themselves, or affect to be diverted by sporting with their most sacred interests; but no one in his heart derides religion long-What are we—any of us ?-religion soon will be our only care and friend. Seriousness, therefore, in a clergyman is agreeable, not only to the serious, but to men of all tempers and descriptions. And seriousness is enough: a prepossessing appearance, a melodious voice, a graceful delivery, are indeed enviable accomplishments; but much, we apprehend, may be done without them. The great point is to be thought in earnest. Seem not then to be brought to any part of your duty by constraint, to perform it with reluctance, to go through it in haste, or to quit it with symptoms of delight. In reading the services of the church, provided you manifest a conscientiousness of the meaning and importance of what you are about, and betray no contempt of your duty or of your congregation, your manner cannot be too plain and simple. Your common method of speaking, if it be not too low, or too rapid,
do not alter, or only so much as to be heard distinctly. I mention this because your elocution is more apt to offend by straining and stiffness, than on the side of ease and familiarity. The same plainness and simplicity, which I recommend in the delivery, prefer also in the style and composition of your ser
Ornaments, or even accuracy of language, cost the writer much trouble, and produce small advantage to the hearer. Let the character of your sermons be truth and information, and a decent particularity. Propose one point in one discourse, and stick to it; a hearer never carries away more than one impression—disdain not the old fashion of dividing your sermons into heads in the hands of a master, this may be dispensed with ; in yours, a sermon which rejects these helps to perspicuity will turn out a bewildered rhapsody, without aim or effect, order or conclusion. In a word, strive to make
discourse useful, and they who profit by your preaching will soon learn, and long continue, to be pleased with it.
I have now finished the enumeration of those qualities which are required in the clerical character, and which, wherever they meet, make even youth venerable, and poverty respected; which will secure esteem under every disadvantage of fortune, person, and situation, and notwithstanding great defects of abilities and attainments. But I must not stop here; a good name, fragrant and precious as it is, is by us only valued in subserviency to our duty, in subordi. nation to a higher reward. If we are more tender of our reputation, if we are not more studious of esteem than others, it is from a persuasion that, by first obtaining the respect of our congregation, and next by availing ourselves of that respect, to promote amongst them peace and virtue, useful knowledge and benevolent dispositions, we are purchasing to ourselves a
reversion and inheritance valuable above all price, important beyond every other interest or success.
Go, then, into the vineyard of the Gospel, and may the grace of God
with you! The religion you preach is true. Dispense its ordinances with seriousness, its doctrines with sincerity—urge its precepts, display its hopes, produce its terrors—“ be sober, be vigilant”—“ have a good report”-confirm the faith "
” of others, testify and adorn your own by the virtues of your life and the sanctity of your reputation—be peaceable, be courteous; condescending to men of the lowest condition—"apt to teach, willing to communicate ;" so far as the immutable laws of truth and probity will permit, “ be everything unto all men, that ye may gain some."
The world will requite you with its esteem. The awakened sinner, the enlightened saint, the young whom you have trained to virtue, the old whom you have visited with the consolations of Christianity, shall
pursue you with prevailing blessings and effectual prayers.
You will close your lives and ministry with consciences void of offence, and full of hope.To present at the last day even one recovered soul, reflect how grateful an offering it will be to Him, whose commission was to save a world—infinitely, no doubt, but still only in degree, does our office differ from His-himself the first-born; it was the business of his life, the merit of his death, the counsel of his Father's love, the exercise and consummation of his own, "to bring many brethren unto glory.”