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can be sufficient for these things?" It was an usual saying of LUTHER, "Etsi jam senex, et in concionando exercitus sum, tamen timeo quoties suggestum conscendo." And he found by experience, that when he was most distrustful of his own preparations, then were his labours accompanied with some special blessing and efficacy; and, on the other hand, when he was most confident, then he failed most.
2. Against too much fear, consider, that it does not become the business we are about; we should speak the word with boldness; God has promised his assistance, that his strength shall appear in our weakness. It does not become the dignity or excellency of our calling; we are the angels, the ambassadors of God (ruveYO!,) his fellow-workers. And besides, this timorousness in the speaker will much hinder the efficacy and power of the word on the hearers. In brief, the most proper manner of clocution is with modesty and gravity, which will best suit our calling and business.*
To conclude; the observation of these helps and directions, together with frequent, diligent practice, will (as far as art can effect) quickly produce a good habit, and, by consequence, facility.
* Dr. BLAIR, in perfect harmony with what our author inculcates, observes: "The chief characteristics of the eloquence suited to the pulpit, as distinguished from the other kinds of public speak. ing, appear to me to be these two, gravity and warmth. The serious nature of the subjects, belonging to the pulpit, requires gravity; their importance to mankind, requires warmth." See Lect. xxix. On, The Eloquence of the Pulpit, throughout; which, perhaps is one of the best of his admired performances and certainly to a preacher the most interesting.
CHRISTIAN PREACHER, &c.
OF PREACHING CHRIST.
§ 1. Introduction. § 2. (I.) What regard a minister should have to CHRIST in his preaching. § 3. (i.) He should be the END of our preaching. $ 4. Our ultimate end, his personal glory. § 5. The subordinate end, the advancement of his kingdom. § 6. To glorify the justice and long-suffering of Christ is also implied. § 7. All which must be sincerely intended. § 8. (ii.), Christ should be the MATTER of our preaching. § 9. (iii.) A continual REGARD to Christ should distinguish our sermons from discourses on mere natural religion. § 10. Particularly on the subject of duties. $ 11. (I.) We should represent duty as the fruit of faith in, and love to Christ. § 12. (2.) Enforce duties with motives respecting Christ. § 13. (3.) To be performed by his grace; and § 14. (4) Acceptable through his merits. § 15. (iv.) We should express our thoughts in a STYLE becoming the gospel of Christ. § 16. (II.) Some reasons, and motives to inforce the friendly admonition. (i.) It is the only way to acceptance and communion with Christ. § 17. (ii.) The only way to win souls to Christ. Which is, $18, Confirmed by observation. § 19. (iii.) It is a direct imítation of the apostles of Christ. § 20. As appears from some of their discourses on duties the most moral. § 21. And the nature of the motives used. § 22. The Remonstrants reproved. § 23. (iv.) So only shall we deserve the name of CHRISTIAN PREACHERS. While some neglect the peculiarities of the gospel, and, § 24. Others do not promote holiness, § 25. The true christian preacher preserves both, and avoids all extremes. § 26. Yet, to arrive at any tolerable perfection is no easy task.
$1. PROFESSING ourselves christians, I hope, we are satisfied, upon careful and rational inquiry, that the religion of Jesus comes from God;* and that it is a most glorious dispensation, no less for the sublime wonders of its doctrine, than the divine purity of its precepts. Now, in all the peculiar glories of this religion, CHRIST is interwoven like Phidias's name in the shield, which could not be effaced without destroying the shield itself; so that preaching Christ, and preaching the gospel, are, in scripture style, synonimous terms.
§ 2. (I.) To preach Christ, therefore, is our charge, our business, and our glory. But "who is sufficient for these things?" Give me leave, then, my dear brethren and friends, to remind myself and you, What regard a minister should have to our REDEEMER in his preaching.
§ 3. (i.) Let us make Christ the END of our preaching. If we seek principally to please men, then are we not the servants of Christ. If we look no farther than our own reputation, or temporal advantage, appropriating our talents to our own private use, how shall we make up our accounts to our divine Master?
§ 4. Our ultimate end should be the personal glory of Christ. That the glory of Christ, as God, is the ultimate end of the gospel, none can doubt; so that it is said of this divine Person, "All things are for him, as well as by him;* Is he not worth ten thousand of us? Of more worth than the world; the only begotten Son
* Eminent writers on the evidences of Christianity are so numerous, that it is not easy to make a selection; but there is one publication, which, on account of its moderate size, force of reasoning, excellence of composition, and urbanity of manner, I wish warmly to recommend to the christian student and preacher, as richly deserving repeated perusal; I mean the DISSERTATION on MIRACLES, by the late Dr. GEORGE CAMPBELL, Principal of the Marischal College, Aberdeen; where the most daring and subtle objections of infidels are analysed, detected, and exposed, in an interesting and masterly manner. Third edit. one small vol. 12mo. Edinb. 1796. There is also a 4th edit. in 2 vol. 8vo. 1797, with additions, sermons, &c.
† Col. i. 16. Heh, ii. 10,
of God, whom the highest angels adore? Now if the glory of Christ's person be the principal end in the divine schemes and actings, it should also be our highest view and design.*
§ 5. Again, as the glory of Chist's person should be our ultimate end, so the advancement of his kingdom of grace among men should be our subordinate end. The immediate design of the gospel is the recovery of fallen creatures to holiness and happiness. Christ is 66 come into the world to save sinners;" and he sends us to preach his gospel, in order "that men might live soberly, righteously, and godly, looking for the blessed hope." We should not think it enough to inform, to amuse, to please, to affect, but we must aim farther to bring them to trust in Christ, to be penitent and holy; and every subject must be managed with this view. And let it be our great care, on a speculative subject, still to keep the end in view, and apply it practically.
§ 6. Let us by all means endeavour to save precious souls, but yet aim at a higher end, that we ourselves may be" a sweet savour of Christ unto God;"§ and then, though we miss of our secondary end, and are not as we could wish, "the savour of life unto life" to any great number, yet in being "the savour of death unto death to them that perish," we shall be the instruments of glorifying the justice and long suffering of Christ, and be witnesses for God," that there has been a prophet amongst them." Our primary end is answered, 66 our labour is with the Lord," and we, in the mean time, are supported, " though Israel be not gathered," for the word shall not return empty."
§ 7. Nay, further, it is not enough that the strain of
* On the subject of these two sections, the reader is referred to Dr. OWEN's treatise, on The person of Christ, as a rich mine of scriptural information; and to his Meditations on the glory of Christ, which contain a savour of divine things truly delightful and enriching. See a just character of this last book in Mr. Hervey's Theron and Aspasio, vol. iii. p. 75, Lond. 1767.
† 1 Tim. i. 15.
§ 2 Cor. ii, 15.
our preaching be adapted to the true design of the gospel, but we must at heart sincerely intend it; otherwise, though our discourses be unexceptionable, and others be saved through our ministry, yet if our designs be wrong and base, we "shall be castaways."*
8. (ii.) Let Christ be the MATTER of our preaching. Let us display the divine dignity and loveliness of his person, as "God manifest in the flesh,"-unfold his mediatorial office, the occasion, design and purport of his great undertaking,-remind our hearers of the particulars of his incarnation, life, death, resurrection; ascension and intercession,-set forth the characters he bears, as a prophet, priest and king; as a shepherd, captain, advocate and judge. Let us demonstrate the suf ficiency of his satisfaction, the tenor and excellence of the covenant confirmed with and by him, our justification by his righteousness, adoption through our relation to him, sanctification by his Spirit, our union with him as our head, and safe conduct by his providence; and how pardon, grace and glory accrue to the elect through his suretiship and sacrifice, and are dispensed by his hand. Let us declare and explain his most holy laws in his name, and teach the people whatever duties he has commanded, to God, our neighbour, and ourselves; quicken the saints to duty, raise their hopes, establish and comfort their souls, by the exceeding great and precious promises of the gospel, which in him are
A preacher may sincerely intend what is recommended, in dif. ferent degrees, but he should aim at the highest, and cultivate an earnest and fervent manner, as well as firmness and gravity. And in order to improve this, he will find a frequent perusal of the most animating writers of great service. Among them I would reckon, after the Holy Scriptures, the works of Mr. GEORGE WHITEFIELD, particularly his Letters. In these he will discover a genius naturally sublime, raised by holy ardour, and supported by the wings of unabated zeal, fully bent on "the advancement of the Redeemer's kingdom of grace among men,” and crowned with success almost unparalleled. What Alexander and Cæsar were as warriors, that WHITEFIELD was as a christian evangelist; nor are the adventures and commentaries of the two former better calcu lated to excite the martial flame, than the life, journals, letters, and sermons of the latter to animate the benevolent zeal of the christian preacher.