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conciliation.” On this ground be claims for the ministry the distinguished rank of Christ's embassadors and coadjutors: "Now then (verse 20) we are embassadors for Christ, as though God did beseach you by us." ** We then (6: 1), as workers together [as his coadjutors). beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.” “We, in all things, approving ourselves as the ministers of God."

But this claim he still more clearly and fully sets furth in Eph. 4:7-16, where he teaches that when the Lord Jesus Christ had accomplished the work which brought him down from heaven, and had ascended up where he was before, he was pleased to bestow on his followers the gifts and graces of the ministry; constituting“ some apostles, and some prophets, and some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, 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 perfect nan, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” He affirms in this passage, of the ministry, that it is an arrangement devised, appointed, and directed by the Lord of heaven and earth, as the medium through which to communicate to the world the grace of salvation, and to fit the believer for a holy heaven.

The necessity of such an institution is exhibited by the apostle in Rom. 10:14-16: "How shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they bear without a preacher? And how shall they preach except they be sent ? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things." And still more strikingly by our Saviour himself, Matt. 9 : 36-38: “But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd [no pastor). Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few ; pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth laborers into his harvest." Great honor is here put upon the pastoral office by the Lord Jesus, who encourages bis disciples to seek from God himself, whose province it is to raise them up and fit them for their work, a large increase of such laborers. It was immediately upon this that the Saviour separated the twelve, and sent them forth, and not long afterwards, seventy others, with the glad tidings of the kingdom. Having fulfilled his course, he gave commission to the twelve to “go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." And this he did by virtue of his supreme authority as Lord of heaven and earth. “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, &c. And, lo! I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world."

Thus sent forth, the disciples songht every where to raise up a flock of humble followers of Christ, and froin among themselves to appoint over them such pastors as the people chose, by di. vine direction, to watch over them in the Lord. To the labors of these humble ministers, thus selected by and from among their brethren, and recognized by the apostles, or neighboring ministers and churches, either with or without the laying on of hands, God was pleased to set his seal, owning their ministry, giving them his Spirit, rewarding them with souls for their hire, and thus advancing his kingdom in the hearts of men. Such a seal he has ever put upon the labors of those whom he has counted faithful and enabled, putting them into the ministry.

I need not ada that such also was the Divine pleasure, under the old dispensation. A distinct order or tribe of men was, by the direction of Him who spake in Horeb, set apart to the service of God in the Levitical ministry. It was by the ministrations and through the medium of men like themselves, that God was then pleased to convey to his people the blessings of his grace. The same principle of Divine procedure runs also through the new dispensation. They whom God calls are not, indeed, made known by their genealogy or descent from any one individual by ordinary generation, or by any ecclesiastical geneal. ogy or descent from the twelve, of which notion we find po mention in Scripture. It is not at all by the will of man, not at all

, by human designation, that they are called and appointed. “All things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and bath given to us the ministry of reconciliation,” It is the rconciling and regenerating Spirit that first calls them into the kingdom of Christ, and then separates them to the work of the ininistry. Without this call-of the reality of which an existent ministry and the Church may judge, but which they cannot give-no forms or rights whatever, however consecrated by usage remote and antique, can make a man a minister. With it, and with the seal of God that accompanies it, no human power can unmake a minister of God.

Such, then, is the ministry as respects its warrant. “No man taketh this honor unto bimself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.” The office is divine, and he whom the great Head of the Church has put into it, is sent of God.

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“The legate of the skies-his thome divine,

His office sacred, his credentials clear.”

To him are to be applied the words of the Redeemer—the tremendous sanction of the Son of God: “ fle that heareth you, heareth me; and he that despiseth you, despiseth me: and he that despiseth me, despiseth him that sent me.'

I pass to consider,

II. The Work of the Ministry. Why has the great Head of the Church instituted the ministry? What is the particular work which they are to perform? What peculiar service are they to render? In reply to these questions, I scarcely need say, that theirs is not a secular employment. They are not sent to serve tables. The ministry of the Word is something entirely distinct from this. If tables are to be served—if secular work is to be done-let seven men, or more, or less, be chosen, who may be appointed over this business. The minister of Christ is neither to be a trustee nor a deacon. Much less is he to be made responsible for any of the pecuniary derangements or deficiencies of the ecclesiastical treasury. “It is not reason that we should leave the Word of God and serve tables.” This is no part of the burden laid upon him. The less he has to do with such matters the better for him. It ruined a Judas, and has been the ruin

a of thousands in and out of the Papacy—thousands who might have both saved themselves and those who heard them, had they given themselves "continually to prayer, and to the min. istry of the Word."

Nor is the minister of the gospel called and sent merely to administer the ordinances of Christ's Church. These ordinances are not without their use, and are by no means without signification. But their place is subordinate. They are but means to an end. They are not the end itself. That is quite a different thing. The administration of the Lord's Supper is of great use to the Church, and it is important in its place—highly so. But this is not the work which the ministry are called to perform. It is a part, and but a small part of the work. It is important that baptism be administered to believers and their households, and it is a work very properly to be performed by the ministry ; but it is not the work for which Christ Jesus has enabled them and put them into the ministry. “Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel.” Had Paul believed that baptism was a scaling ordinance, a saving act, identical with regeneration, he would, of course, have used very different language in relation to its administration. If he could so easily have regenerated men, he would have baptized all he could, and have given him. self to this particular work. But no; he had other and greater work to do, and therefore seldoin troubled himself about such matters, leaving it indeed not undone, but to be performed by the spiritual teacher of each particular church, as a matter of form to be duly observed in the admission of members.

The impression seems to be gaining ground in some quarters, that the due and orderly performance of these ordinances and certain antiquited rites and ceremonies is the work of the ministry. Would to God that the impression were made on the minds of Papists and Crypto-papists alone! Are there not others who

seem to think that the ministry are but appendages to--very convenient, indeed, and very useful in their place--a sort of necessary furniture for an elegant church, to go through a regular form on the Sabbath-day, of praying, or reading divine service, of preaching or performing the ceremonies of the church, for the gratification of a purse-proud aristocracy, a pleasure-loving people, and a fashion-following assembly? Is this the work which Christ has given us to do? Is it to preside at a ceremony ; to give a sanction by our sanctimony to the gayety, and pomp, and display of a Sabbath assembly? Is it, in any sense, to minister to the entertainment of our fellow sinners in the sanctuary, whether by splendid praying, or eloquent preaching; by an admirable reading of the service, or by elegance of administration ? Or are there those who make themselves content with such a work? Alas! that one such can be found.

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The work of the ministry is something vastly different from all this. It is coincident with the work which Christ hinself came into this world to do. Not indeed to make an atonement for sin, not indeed to regenerate the souls of their fellow-men, neither of which is in their power. But it is to carry forward that great design for the execution and completion of which he promised and gave bis Spirit; for the fulllment of which he sent forth, and continues still to send forth, his chosen messengers with the Word of Life. We are sent, my brethren, to be apostles, not of Temperance, nor of Emancipation, but of Christ; to seek and to save that which was lost. We are sent to arouse the sinner from his slumbers, to sound an alarm in the ear of the careless, to trouble them that are at ease in their sins, to convince, to persuade, to entreat, to exhort, to beseech the sinner to be reconciled to God. We are sent to win souls ; to rescue, if possible, the perishing and the dying ; to pluck them as brands from the burning; to set before them the cross of Christ is the only hope, and to give them no rest until they are brought cheerfully to receive this only Redeemer as their prophet, priest, and king. We are sent not only to bring you out of darkness, but to introduce you into the marvellous light of the gospel ; to lead you to the green pastures and the quiet streams of grace. We are to strive not only for the salvation of the sinner, but for the sanctification of the saints ; "for the perfecting of the saints ; for the edifying of the body of Christ," " whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we inay present every man perfect in Christ Jesus."

In short, the great work of the ministry is to preach the gospel of Christ that the souls of their fellow-sinners, as many of them, and as speedily as possible, may be truly converted and brought into the liberty of the children of God. So did the early ministers of the gospel believe and act. They saw the world lying in wickedness, under the wrath and curse of God, and hasting to the judgment; and they earnestly sought to save them. For this they labored. For this they endured reproach. For this they frowned upon the flattery of the world. For this they denied themselves, took up the cross, and suffered without the camp. For this they counted not their lives dear to them; gladly laid them down. This was their great burden. This it was that made them such weeping prophets; that made a Paul protest that he had great heaviness and continual sorrow in his heart, that he could wish that himself were accursed from Christ, for bis brethren, his kinsmen, according to the flesh. This it was that made them so often cry with the son of Hilkiah, “ Ob, that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people.”

Such, brethren, is our work—the work which is given us to do. This is the work that is to engross our thoughts, to task our energies, to lay our whole man under contribution. Unless we are doing this work we are doing nothing. We may be ever so popular, preach ever so eloquently, please and gratify the people of our charge ever so much, but it is all laborious trifling if we are not doing the work which is given us to do. “ Hard studies, much knowledge, and excellent preaching,” says Baxter, “is but more glorious hypocritical sinning, if the end be not right.” We must not be content-how can we be ?-unless by God's help we are winning souls to Christ. We must cry unceasingly in the ears of these perishing thousands, “ Turn ye; for why will ye die?" "I would think it a greater happiness, said Matthew Henry, " to gain one soul to Christ, than mountains of silver and gold to myself. If I do not gain souls, I shall enjoy all my other gains with very little satisfaction, and I

; would rather beg my bread from door to door than undertake this great work.”

In like manner we hear the missionary Brainerd exclaiming : "I care not where or how I live, or what hardships I go through, so that I may but gain souls to Christ. While I sleep I dream of these things; and when I wake, the first thing I think of is this great work." God forbid that any of us who are called to labor in this vocation should be content with any thing else than souls-very many souls--for our hire; that we should content ourselves in any thing short of the salvation and sanctification of those that hear us.

Let us now for a few moments look at

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