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Christ as possessed of advantages and charged with responsibilities, which belong to no other order of human society. • Believing all that he is to teach to others, and teaching all that he does believe,' he becomes a sacred depositary of truth ; whose lips retain knowledge, whose heart meditates right things, whose conversation, whose citizenship, most truly is in heaven. Above all things, prayer fervent and ceaseless is made the very breath of his life; impresses a constant awe on his mind, the parent of watchfulness and circumspection; reflects a holy calmness on his countenance; and imparts an energy mixed with meekness and humility to his whole deportment.
In the bearing of his ministry upon others he will indeed deeply feel, and earnestly strive to imprint it on the minds of his audience, that “ neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth, but God that giveth the increase*.” At the same time he will be fully conscious, that on no ground can he expect or even ask this increase for others, but in the faithful discharge of his own solemn trust: and he will be led to suspect even favourable appearances in his flock, which have not been accompanied by a corresponding progress in grace within his own heart. There is at the best,
* 1 Cor. iii. 7.
as we too well know, in those whose souls are
of his own bosom sin, from the surrender of his own cherished indulgences, from the denial of his own passions and corrupt propensities, from the cordial devotion of himself to the work of the ministry, and the ways of God. If religion be our own burden, how can we expect it to be the joy of our flock? If formality be the measure of our preaching and ministrations, can it be otherwise than the sum of the attainments of our congregation ?
It is not for me, before an audience like the present, to enlarge in general terms on the force of example.
We know its force, and are well
assured in ancient language that " a bad life is the worst heresy.' But, as watchmen in Israel, as standing at the centre of power, and wielding through Divine grace its mightiest arm, let us remind ourselves and each other of the nature of these times. Let us feel that some whose eyes are upon us, with minds bent upon prey, are, if not desiring the occasion of our halting, at least expecting it, and determined to avail themselves of the opportunity. There are in fact at this moment "powers” of most varied and alarming tendency in preparation, or in action. The powers of blasphemy and infidelity are summoning from beneath, and in high places, all their resources with an unusual activity, as if knowing that they had but a short time. The powers of intolerance and superstition--if power it can be called, we trust a voice and nothing beyond-yet, by a late edict from the See of Rome, would make us believe that Popery had still an arm to lift against truth; certainly a mouth to utter great things. The powers of the human understanding are summoning them. selves into line, as well it is to be feared against the simple and primitive purity of the Divine word, as also we trust on its behalf; but with an energy and an effect never known before. And not least of all, the powers of nations slumbering in an uneasy peace, with one exception in Christian Europe, seem only as at rest prepa
ratory to some movement hitherto unparalleled in policy or arms:shall we say it ? all re. strained within a feeble barrier, and resembling so far the force of congregated waters, as to threaten some sudden burst, some overwhelming torrent, which shall sweep the face of nature, and discover the foundations of the world.
What, my Reverend brethren, must it not be asked, what are the powers that we are summoning to the scene of conflict? Are we acting in the spirit of that remarkable and encouraging assurance of Scripture,
". When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him ?*» Are we taking to ourselves the whole armour of God, that we may be able to stand in the evil day? We have not, and we thank God for it, very far to seek. We have not to climb to the heights above, or go down to the depths beneath. The word is nigh us, even in our mouth and in our heart: that is, the word of faith which we preach ; the belief and the confession of the Lord Jesust-the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,
This is the weapon which if fearlessly applied, and coupled with the shield of faith, will meet and master all the efforts of our strongest enemies. Already is this weapon of Divine temper, abroad as well
as at home, laying out the scene of future victories. Already are those who wield it possessed of a power greater than that of the inhabitants of the earth, and assisted by the armies of heaven. Are we at once conscious and careful of this weapon of strength--conscious of its possession, and careful of its use?
Are we conscious that with the word of God duly handled—and when I say duly handled, I mean in close and frequent application to our own incomparable forms of primitive faith and scriptural devotion, of which indeed the true use and advantage cannot by any be appreciated too highly, and by many perhaps are not sufficiently appreciated --- with the word of God duly handled, and seconded by the irresistible influence of a ministerial carriage in thorough consistency with our divine calling, we have a power which the Almighty is pledged to support, and against which the gates of hell shall not prevail ?
Are we careful, under the guidance of the sacred word of God, to make full proof of our ministry, to watch in all things, endure even afflictions, and do the work of Evangelists? Do we fight the good fight of faith ; and this, first and above all, in our own hearts ? There must the victory first be won; then in our parishes; and then with our prayers, and if need were with our exertions, in the world. With a sobriety of