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· It ought, however, to be observed, that many very serious peo. ple are unable to speak their experience with the fame ease and freedom, as those who are endowed with a better elocution. And it ought also to be observed, that it is simplicity and truth, not a fludied speech we expe&t in the class. We expect to hear what God has done for their souls, and to hear it in a plain and unstudied manner. There are few, indeed, who succeed better in speaking their experience than colliers, tinners, and other illiterate people who live in the country villages. As few of these could read before their conversion; and as they are totally unacquainted with the ordinary phrases in which more intelligent christians express themselves; their manner is altogether new and peculiar to them. selves. They relate as well as they can, the sinfulness and misery of their former lives; how they heard and how they received the gospel ; what they suffered under conviction for fins; how the promises were applied, and how the love of God was shed abroad in their heart. Their manner is distinguished by a certain boldness which strongly evinces they feel what they speak'; and the whole of their narrative is so ingenuous and incapable of art, as cannot fail to interest and entertain the most enlightened believer. Moreover, they furnish us with a mof decisive argu ment in favour of vital christianiiy. Would we discover the native beauty and power of religion, would we triumph over scepticism, and be confirmed in the faith, let us go to the school of these innocent people, who are taught of God. They cannot prove by learned arguments the authenticity of the Scriptures, but they know that they are true, because they have felt the force of the threatnings, and tasted the sweetness of the promises ; they cannot vindicate the miracles, and defend the Godhead of Chrift, but they know that he is glorified with the Father, because he has given them the Comforter; they cannot contend for the divine authority of the christian faith, but they know that it is from hea. ven, because it has raised their souls from a carnal, sensual life, and ennobled them with the image and presence of God. · Those who are weak and dejected, should be careful not to give way to the thought, that their experience is so low and inconsi. derable, as not to deserve the attention of the more holy and intelligent. Such a temptation might be as injurious to them on the one hand, as presumption on the other. As the smallest plant and minutest infect, is worthy the observation and study of the greatest philosopher; so is the experience of the feeble' child of God, worthy the notice and attention of the most enlightened and diftinguished christian. All those that sincerely love the Lord, are fincerely attached to his people; and to comfort and support their weak and feeble brethren is not considered as a toil, but is the most pleasing and instructive of all religious duties.'
ADVICE TO YOUNG MINISTERS. By an aged Servant of God, in the last Century. DRESUMING you will accept of Advice from one that you
I know moft sincerely loves and wishes you well; and whose comforts are much bound up in your well-doing; I thought it my duty to deal plainly and faithfully with you, in a few seasonable Admonitions.. · 1. Take particular care that in all your Studies and Preaching, you chiefly mind JESUS CHRIST. Let the Glory of God, and the Salvation of Souls, be your grand design. Remember, that you are called to preach the Gospel; and the Gospel is the Doce irine of the Saviour, and the fender of a free, full, and present Salvation, through faith in his Nime. Think much on that faying of Luther, “When I meditate upon religion, I always take " care to keep CHRIST in my view.” Is it any particular sin you fpeak of ? remember it stillas a piercer, a perfecutor, a crucifier of Chrift. So look on it, and him together, as to cause you to mourn over both. Is it a duty you would inforce ? remember always whence strength comes to perform it. Without Chrift we can do nothing; no not so much as think a good thought. Is it a divine threatening you denounce ? Let it be considered as a fpur to greater diligence. Or is it a Promise you would explain ? let it be considered as a lure to draw ihe soul to the Lord Jesus Chrift. The threatening may be used as a rod of the Law, a schoolmaster ; but the promise, as a branch of the covenant of grace, which through Chrift, is yea and amen. Do you offer Prayer or Praise unto God, not only remeinber the formal, or common close, “ Through Jefus Christ our Lord," but in every branch, let the hand of faith, with holy, humble, and lively affeca tion, tender and deliver it into the Mediaior's hand, that it may be accepted of God through the beloved. · Thus shall you avoid the unfavoury way of giving Lectures on Moral Philosophy, instead of Preaching ihe Gospel ; and follow: ing the example of the blessed Apostle, determine “ To know nothing but Jesus Christ, and him crucified." . 2. Seriously remember the grand end of Preaching, which is to teach men, into what an hoiy, spiritual, and heavenly state of mind the Lord will bring them; and how in that state they may live to his glory. Direct your speech so as that it may, by the blessing of God, enlighten the mind, and touch the tenderest part of the heart. What we speak to God in prayer, inust be aimed at his heart; and what we speak from God to man, must be aimed at theirs. The Church is Chrift's School, every member is a Diro ciple or Scholar, and a Minister is a Teacher sent from God. He fhould therefore personate at the least a Tutor, if not a Father, feeling the same tender concern for the people, which the Apostle expresses when he says, “ My little children, with whom I travail
in birth till Christ be again formed in you.” A Father does not make Orations to his children, but in a familiar way he suits his. instructions to their particular state of mind, fo as he judges will make the deepest impression. · I would not wish young men fo to personate Fathers, as to put on an affected gravity, nor conceit to themselves greater authority than they really have. This would render them and their dilo courses more ridiculous than reverend. But yet they should with a modest and humble seriousness, and boldness, so address themselves to the consciences of men, that there may be perceived in them an hearty defire to do real service to God, and real good to the souls of the hearers. Lively affections, and warmth of spirit are much more suitable to pious young Ministers than a grave formality. If you do not yet know how to speak to those who are older than you, as unto children, yet you may affectionately entreat them as faihers, as young Timothy was advised. "As for the opinions of men, you need not be any further con. cerned, than with relation to the fruit of your labours, and the end of your preaching. Think often, that all you do is designed to please and serve the Great God. If you stand before the mount of Holiness, of what consideration is the dud of the bale lance! Let the words of vain critics pass unregarded; only labour fincerely to approve yourselves to God, and you will be also approved in good men's consciences. . ,
3. My next advice is, that by Prayer and Meditation you would endeavour to have your hearts well affected with the matter you are to deliver. We believe and therefore speak, faid Paul of himself, and of other Ministers of Christ. Endeavour you to be of that number. It is the most likely way to affc&t the hearer, and the only way to discharge the minilleria} duty of setting forth the whole mind of God. God, in the Holy Scriptures, communi. cales to us his mind, not only in delivering truths, but with thein he also expresses suitable affections, Thus, he gives us Promises, with an express affection of Love. He threatens, with expressions of displeasure. Sin is mentioned with abhorrence; and duty with approbation. He therefore that speaks of these things without concern, does not set forth the whole, yea scarce half of the mind of God. And indeed this seems to be the great difference between Preaching and only Reading, in the Congregation of God. Bare reading cannot express the affe&lions, although the matter and perhaps the very words, are the same.
Now because of the intimate conne&tion of the Soul and the Body, there is great communication and influence to and from the affecar mons, by the deportinent of the outer man. Let me advise you to avoid all extravagant tones in preaching. Do not begin your discourse leisurely, and then speak too quick in the close of each fentence. Give your hearers some little tiine. to weigh what you lay. Beware of impertinent repetition of words and sentences, which has a tendency to flatten the attention of the hearers; and
as you must pleafe, in order to edify, you must avoid every thing disagreeable in gesture, for although I would not wish you to be nice, yet I would not have you to be slovenly in so great a performance. . 4. I advise you to lay the stress of all your discourses on plain and pertinent texts of Scripture. I mean not a multitude of texts. But when some are chosen molt agreeable to your subject, let them be explained as need may require; and always let the text in reference to the matter in hand, be especially taken notice of, and inculcated. The reason is, because men's consciences, (with which you have to do) is in their judgment subjected to the Judge ment of God. If you can therefore fix them by some manifeft text of Scripture, it will hold them fall, .as a nail driven in a fure place. .
This may commonly be done, by first collecting most of the Scriptures relating to your subject, and afterwards by referring each to its proper branch of your Sermon. Not first laying down all your Heads, and then seeking Scriptures to confirm them. For then you would be apt to ftrain a text from its proper mean. ing. But first be furnished with Scriptures, and out of them draw your heads, which will of course be well confirmed by them. :
5. Be diligent in hearing the most pious, practical and experi: mental Preachers, and such as you see do most prevail with the hearts of men. Let not your youthful fancies carry you to hunt after notions : for these without practical holinels, will turn to very small account. ? Írue piety and heart-engagement to be the Lord's, are the great things. These you should first receive yourselves and then trans, mit them to others : And surely they are best attained by hearing those sermons which favour the most of a fanétified vesel. Words warmed with heavenly fire, will be of double advantage to you: As at one and the same time, they will teach you how to live, and also how to preach. And such exemplary inftru&tion will, as to the effect, transcend all rules and directions. Talk not of one Preacher being fitter for Scholars, and another for grown Chris. tians. The way of Salvation is the fame, and a found word the more heartily handled, is the more profitable for them both. It is too superficial for Ministers to be taken with external modes or flourishes, or to dislike solid, wholefome, and savoury discourses on these very slight occasions. Mind the main design before-mentioned ; and then if you think that you see something uncomely, you may at least Icarn this thereby, to avoid it yourselves. But certainly there are workmen in our Israel who need not to be alhamed; smiths to sharpen your goads, thereby to quicken the flock of Chrilt; and to prepare your mattocks to labour in his Vineyard. * 6. Let your discourse be mostly practical and experimental. Preach Christ in all the riches of his Grace in all the fulness and
freeness of his Salvation. Let the people have no reft till they are brought to Christ, and built up in him. Wrangling divin ty will but put your spirits out of the comely Chriftian frame. You had better first season the people with truths which are of a more christian favour and relith. It is not only more easy, but abundanily more safe, to lay the foundation in unquestioned truths : And of these, as to the manner of handling, be more sparing in che doctrinal than in the practical part : And refer, as much as you conveniently can, to the application ; because you will genes rally find the deepest aitention when you come to the application. The old and useful meihod I would advise you to keep close to, and not to run in!o the new way without any observable method, wherein a corrent of words are poured like water over a mill-wheel and the continued unnatural flaih leaves no space for diftinét observation. In the other honest and useful way, more of the Chris, rian will appear, and not less of the man of sense. Your praise in the Gofpel will be more genuine, as good Christians than as great Scholars. For in that you are taught by i he Holy God, you Ihall be instruments in his hand of saving your own souls and those who hear you. One thing more I would intimate; the proper place for conviêlion and reproof, will be, when you have ex. plained and confirmed your doctrine. And remember always, to close your discourse with comfort and encouragement. Such last impressions will leave a good liking to the word, and will by hope quicken to resolution and endeavours, that are evangelical, and most agreeable to the genius of men, who love rather jo be drawn than driven. : 7. Be well disposed as to the present or the future dispensations of Providence towards you. If temptations or allurements come, and fine offers of preferment shake your stedfastnefs; consider the vanity of these things, in comparison with the holding of God's favour, and a clear unconfounded conscience. Consider the harde ships, difficulties, and dangers, those who have gone before you have pafled through, and praise God for the greater privileges which you enjoy. But if difficult circumstances should also pinch you, be not discouraged, God will protect, and he will provide for you. But when, and where, and how, I know not. He knows best, who knows all. Wait his pleasure. Never saw Iibe Righa teous forsaken, said David. “ Dittrelled, yet not forsaken," said Paul. Remember you have not yet been cast into prison, nor perhaps, deeply in debt; nor obliged to sell your books, or your houshold furniture, to buy bread for your wife and children. The more work and service you have, the more comfort you may take therein: And as to temporal encouragements, you did not count much upon these when you entered upon this work. If you did, you must begin again, and not count so much upon friends and favours, as upon enemies and injuries. .. If you say, “ But we are not properly encouraged by our Faa thers; they do not efteemn or pay that regard to us, which we