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proved the reverse; and all owing to such things as pride, unwatchfulness, carnality, and levity.
Eminency in grace, my brother, will contribute to your success in three way Se
First, It will fire your soul with holy love to Christ, and the souls of men; and such a spirit is usually attended with success.-I believe you will find, that in almost all the great works which God hath wroughtin any period of time, he has honoured men of this character, by making them his in. struments. In the midst of a sore calamity upon the murmuring Israelites, when God was inclined to shew mercy, it was by the means of his servant Aaron running with a censer of fire in his hand, and standing between the living and the dead !* The great reformation that was brought about in the days of Hezekiah, was by the instrumentality of aman who wrought that which was good, and right, and true before the Lord his God-and then it fol.. lows, And in every work that he began in the service of the house of God, and in the law, and in the commandments, to seek his God, HE DID IT WITH ALL HIS HEART, and PROSPERED.t
There was another great reformation in the Jewish church, about the time of their return trom Babylon. One of the chief instruments in this work was Ezra, a ready scribe in the law of his God; a man who had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments ;-a man who fasted and prayed at the river Ahava previous to his great undertaking a man who was afterwards sorely astonished, and in heaviness, and would eat no meat nor drink water, but fell upon his knees, and spread out his hauds unto the Lord his God, on account of the transgressions of the peo
*Namib. xvi. 46---50.
† 2 Chro. xxxi. 20, 21.
ple.* Another great instrument in this work was Nehemiah, a man that devoted himself wholly to the service of God and his people, labouring night and day; that was not to be seduced by the intrigues of God's adversaries, nor yet intimi dated by their threatenings, but persevered in his work till it was finished, closing his labours with this solemn prayer and appeal, Think upon me, 0 any God, for good, according to all that I have done for this people.‡
Time would fail me to speak of all the great souls, both inspired and uninspired, whom the King of kings hath delighted to honour-of Pau, and Peter, and their companions; of Wickliff, and Luther,and Calvin, and many others at the reformation; of Elliot, and Edwards, and Brainerd, and Whitefield, and hundreds more, whose name are held in deserved esteem in the Church of God. These were men of God, men who had great grace as well as gifts, whose hearts burned in love to Christ and the souls of men. They looked upon their hearers as their Lord had done upon Jerusalem, and wept over them In this manner they delivered their messages, and much people was added unto the lord.
Secondly, Eminency in grace will direct your ends to the glory of God, and the welfare of men's souls; and where this is the case it is usually at tended with a blessing. These are ends which God himself pursues, and if we pursue the same, we are labourers together with God, and may hope for his blessing to attend our labours; but if we pursue separate and selfish ends, we walk contrary to God, and may expect that God will walk contrary to us. Whatever apparent success may attend a man's labours, whose ends are evil, all is to be suspected either the success is not genuine, or if it be, it is not in a way of blessing upon him,
Ezra vii, 10. viii. 10. ix 5. x. 6. ‡ Neh. iii. iv. v. & vi.
nor shall it turn out at last to his account. It must be an inexpressible satisfaction, brother, to be able to say, as the primitive ministers and apostles did, James, a servant of God.-Paul a servant of Jesus Christ. We seek not yours, but you!
Lastly, Eminency in grace will enable you to bear prosperity in your ministry without being lifted up with it; and so contributes towards it.-It is written of Christ in prophecy, He shall build the temple of the Lord, and shall BEAR the glory -He does bear it indeed; but to bear glo. ry without being elated is no easy thing for us, I am often afraid lest this should be one considerable reason why most of us have no more real success in our work than we have; perhaps it is not safe. for us to be much owned of God; perhaps we have not grace enough to bear prosperity!
My dear brother, permit me to close the whole with a word or two of serious advice.-First, watch over your own soul as well as the souls of your people. Do not forget that thought, that it is a temptation to which ministers are peculiarly liable, while they keep the vineyard of others, to neglect their own.-Farther, Know your own weakness, and depend upon Christ's all-sufficiency. Your work is great, your trials may be many; but let not your heart be discouraged. member what was said to the apostle Paul, My grace is sufficient for thee, my strength is made perfect in weakness;-and the reflection which he makes upon it, When I am weak, then am I strong. Finally, be often looking to the end of your course, and viewing yourself as giving an account of your stewardship. We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, and give account of the deeds done in the body. Perhaps there is no thought more solemn than this, more,
* 2 Cor. xiii. 9, 10.
suitable to be kept in view in all our undertakings, more awakening in a thoughtless hour, or more cheering to an upright heart.
I have only to request, by dear brother, that you will excuse the freedom of this plain address. I have not spoken so much to instruct you in things which you know not, as to remind and impress you with things which you already know. The Lord bless you, and grant that the solemnities of this day may ever be remembered both by you, and your people, with satisfaction. AMEN.
The pernicious Influence of Delay in Religious
HAGGAI i. 2.
Thus speaketh the Lord of Hosts, saying, This peeple say, the time is not come, the time that the Lord's house should be built.
WHEN the children of Judah were delivered from their captivity, and allowed by the proclamation of Cyrus to return to their own land, one of the principal things which attracted their attention was the re-building of the house of God, which had been destroyed by the Babylonians. This was a work which Cyrus himself enjoined, and which the hearts of the people were much set upon. It was not however to be accomplished at once; and as the worship of God was a matter of immediate and indispensable concern, they set up an altar, on which to offer sacrifices, and offerings, till such time as the temple should be built.
In the second year after their return, the foundation of the Lord's house was laid; but opposition being made to it by the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin, the work ceased all the days of Cyrus, until the reign of Darius, commonly distinguished by the name of Darius-Hystaspis. During this period, which seems to have been about fourteen years, the people sunk into a spirit of indifference. At first they desisted from necessity; but afterwards, their attention being turned to the