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I. THE QUALIFICATIONS AND ENCOURAGE
MENT OF A FAITHFUL MINISTER, ILLUSTRATED BY THE CHARACTER
CESS OF BARNABAS.
Delivered at the Settlement of the Rev. ROBERT FAWKNER, in the Pastoral Office, over the Baptist Church at Thorn, in Bedfordshire, October 31, 1787
II. THE PERNICIOUS INFLUENCE OF DELAY IN RELIGIOUS CONCERNS.
Delivered at a Meeting of Ministers at Clipstone, in North. amptonshire, April 27, 1791.
III. THE IMPORTANCE OE A DEEP AND IN TIMATE KNOWLEDGE OF DIVINE TRUTH.
Delivered at an Association of Baptist Ministers and Churches, at St. Albon's, Hertfordshire, June 1, 1786.
By ANDREW FULLER.
PRINTED BY W. TUTTLE.
The Qualifications and Encouragement of a faithful Minister, illustrated by the Charac ter and Success of Barnabas.
MY DEAR BROTHER,
IT is a very important work to which you are this day set apart. I feel the difficulty of your situation. You need both counsel and encouragement; I wish I were better able to administer both. In what I may offer, I am persuaded you will allow me to be free; and understand me, not as assuming any authority or superiority over you, but only as saying that to you, which I wish to consider as equally addressed to myself.
Out of a variety of topics that might afford a les. son for a Christian minister, my thoughts have turned on this occasion upon that of example. Ex. ample has a great influence upon the human mind: examples from scripture especially, wherein char acters the most illustrious in their day for gifts, grace, and usefulness, are drawn with the pencil of inspiration, have an assimilating tendency. Viewing these, under a divine blessing, we form some just conceptions of the nature and importance of our work, are led to reflect upon our own defects, and feel the fire of holy emulation kindling in our bosoms.
The particular example, my brother, which I wish to recommend to your attention is that of
Barnabas, that excellent servant of Christ, and companion of the apostle Paul. You will find his character particularly given in
ACTS xi. 24.
He was a good man, full of the Holy Ghost, and of faith; and much people was added unto the Lord.
WERE we to examine the life of this great and. good man, as related in other parts of scripture, we should find the character here given him abundantly confirmed. He seems to have been one of that great company, who, through the preaching of Peter and the other apostles, submitted to Christ soon after his ascension. He gave early proof of his love to him, by selling his possessions, and laying the price at the apostles' feet, for the support of his infant cause. As he loved Christ, so he loved his people. He appears to have possessed much of the tender and affectionate, on account of which he was called Barnabas, a son of consolation.* Assiduous in discovering and encouraging the first dawnings of God's work, he was the first person that introduced Saul into the company of the disciples. The next news that we hear of him is in the passage which I have selected. Tidings came to the ears of the church at Jerusalem of the word of the Lord being prosperous at Antioch, in Syria. The church at Jerusalem was the mother church, and felt a concern for others like that of a tender mother towards her infant offspring. The young converts at Antioch wanted a nursing father; and who so proper to be sent as Barnabas ? He goes-and, far from envying the success of others who had laboured before him, he was glad to see the grace of God so evidently appear; and exhorted *Acts iv. 36, 37.
them, with full purpose of heart to cleave unto the Lord. As a preacher, he does not seem to have been equal to the apostle Paul ;* yet, so far was he from caring about being eclipsed by Paul's superior abilities, that he went in search of him, and brought him to Antioch to assist him in the work of the Lord. It may well be said of such a character, that he was a good man, full of the Holy Ghost, and of faith that we had more such ministers in the church at this day-that we ourselves were like him! Might we not hope, if that were the case, that, according to God's usual manner of wor king, more people would be added to the Lord?
There are three things we see which are said of Barnabas in a way of commendation-he was a good man, full of the Holy Ghost, and of faiththus far he is held up for our example: a fourth is added concerning the effects which followed, and much people was added unto the Lord-and this seems to be held up for our encouragement. Permit me, my dear brother, to request your candid attention, while I attempt to review these great qualities in Barnabas, and by every motive to enforce them upon you.
1. He was A GOOD MAN. - -It were easy to prove the necessity of a person being a good man, in order to his properly engaging in the work of the ministry-Christ would not commit his sheep but to one that loved him+-but on this remark I shall not enlarge. I have no reason to doubt, my broth. er, but that God has given you an understanding to know him that is true, and a heart to love him in sincerity; I trust, therefore, such an attempt on this occasion is needless. Nor does it appear to me to be the meaning of the evangelist. It is not barely meant of Barnabas that he was a regenerate man (though (though that is implied;) but it denotes that he was
*Acts xiv. 12
† John xxi 16.