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communion with us in unhallowed affections. We must imbibe His Spirit, and like the holy Jesus, at one time weep over lost sinners, and at another, sternly reprove the carnality of professors. Oh, if the ministry in the discharge of their high and holy functions, were but a mirror to reflect the affections of God, upon a lost and guilty world, convulsed and torn with selfish strifes, and dissentions; how amazing and rapid would be the success, and spread of the gospel!
We only add to the above, that in order to co-operato with God, we must beware how, in our exhibitions of truth, we violate any of the k!own and established laws, by which He governs mind. God's gracious constitution, is not at war with Ilis natural. The laws by which lle rego ulates human thought and emotion remain unchanged, and when He brings the sinner to Himself, it is not in violation of any one. For He does not work against Himself. It is essential, therefore, to the success of our ministrations, that we should know the ordinary principles which regulate the operations of the human mind and heart, lest through ignorance we may be found opposing our own design. It is one of the laws of human thought and action, that distinct or clear and vivid perceptions of truth, must be hail, in order to its assuming a powerful, or permanent influence. You need not pretend to influence a man, by addressing him in a language or style, which he cannot understand. We must therefore, see to it, that our preaching is plain, intelligible, and adapted to the apprehension of common sense. Vaque and incoherent declamation obscure and unintelligible expressions, must be carefully avoided, and the most casy, and familiar illustrations employed. Thus did He, "who spake as never man spake.” Inattention to this, oft-tiines, renders the ministration of the word, perfectly unprofitable; and no more cffcctual method can be adopted, to beguile the minds of incn, into
listless, dreaming, indifference, and stupidity, than the perpetual use of hackneyed phrases, in which, if there is truth at all, it is imperceptibly presented. What ideas will ninc-tenths of ordinary hearers of the gospel be likely to obtain from such expressions as “implanting in the heart, the principles of grace,"-"the application of Christ's righteousness to the heart by the Spirit of God,"_"infusing life into the soul,”—“injecting grace,”—“standing in our law,”—and others which we might mention? The reproof of the apostle, is as deserved in reference to much of what is charitably passed to the account of depth, or prefundity in theology, as it was to the abuses in preaching, which first elicited it. “If the trumpet give an uncertais sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle? So likewise you. except ye utter by the tongue, words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? For ye shall speak into the air." We have already noticed the inevitable effect which, a certain mode of exhibiting the sinner's inability, must have, as being at war with one of the benevolent provisions of the Great Creator. We might also notice how the want of a due respect to the operation of human sympathy, and the established modes, by which one mind influences another, 'cannot fail to neutralize, and vitiate much of ministerial effort; but it would be dilating, and digressing too far. We pass to still more important considerations.
1. 1 Cor. iv. 8, 9.
5. It is indispensibly necessary to success, that the truth be delivered on
demonstration of the Spirit”--Instanced in Paul's preaching-To be “filled with the Spirit”—What it means and whence the obligation to it Necessary as an accompanying testimony to the truth of God's message by us and for other reasons-Cannot be wanting without guilt, &c.— The necessity of a minister's being an experimental exercised christian—The very instincts and sympathies of our nature where the facts of our religion are believed, prevent indifference in the minister of Christ-Paul's spirit commended—The example of Christ and His apostles--No success to be expected if we are not filled with the Spirit-How this is to be at tained-Necessity of meditation and prayer-Important that there should be much knowledge of the human heart—6. If we would be successful we must confidently expect success--Ample warrant to expect it--Objection urged from the “divine Sovereignty" —Answered by a reference to missionary effort--A general view of the divine government--- Also from the ample warrant given us in the promises of God to anticipate success—And their actual fulfilment when plead in faith— Apostolical success—The relațion of the ministry to the government of God-Have an agency in forwarding the millenial glory--And a yet more important relation to the glorious scenes of eternity.
5. It is indispensibly necessary to ministerial success, that the truth be delivered "in demonstration of the Spirit.' To this cause the apostle referred the efficiency of his preaching. He preached, so as to give a demonstration to his hearers, that the Holy Ghost was in him. Ademonstration of this is of vastly greater consequence than of great talents or erudition. lie also preached, so as to give a demonstration that he was assisted by the Spirit in his work. To Ilis agency he referred continually as the means of his success. For His in liuence he prayed. And he tcok care his hearers should know that from that Spirit he actually derived his aid. He prcached the truth with such light and power, as to give a demonstration, that it was the Spirit's own weapon for convincing and conrerting sinners. Although it came through his lips, it was the Spirit, that effectually operated by it. It was the Spirit speaking in him.
1 1 Cor. ii, 4.
Such preaching cannot fail to be successful. We dare appeal to the experience of every zealous, and spiritual teacher, whether his ministrations have not always been successful in proportion as he has been imbued with the Spirit of God? There has been an unction, a pathos, a fervour, a power which has made the hearer involuntarily exclaim, “God is in him of a truth,” and the effects hare been very perceptible. But while this will perhaps be admitted by most, is there not reason to fear, that none of us sufficiently realize our obligations thus to preach the word. Our blessed Master led the apostles to expect that they "should receive power, after that the Holy Ghost was come upon them, and that they should be witnesses for Him." And they did receive it, and no sooner did they begin to speak, and testify to Christ, than thousands were pricked in their hearts and cried out "men and brethren what shall we do.” The words of the apostles had a much more powerful effect on them, than the miracles performed before them, or the visible tokens of the Spirit's presence. They were “baptized with the Holy Ghost," and the same promise of the Spirit, which was then fulfilled in them, reaches to this day, and authorizes the expectation of the same power to accompany us, and our minis1 Acts i. 7, 8.
2 Acts i. 5.
trations. We may and must be filled with the Spirit, and as thus furnished for our work, “how shall one chase à thousand and two put ten thousand to Night.”.
On this subject we feel deeply, and beg leave, with all modesty, to drop one or two hints, conscious that we ourselves have much to learn, nor forgetting that "days should speak and multitude of years should teach wisdom,” The obligation to "be filled with the Spirit,” cannot be dcnied. It is just as obvious, and peremptory, and as much à thing to be expected of course in christian experience, as it is that we sobe not drunk with winc, wherein is excess." Ministers and private christians, alike are bound, to "live in the Spirit,” and “walk in the Spirit.”4 If we åre not “filled with the Spirit," it is not because God, by any capricious or arbitrary dispensation, is pleased to deny us His influence, so that we must wait till a more propitious season of revival arrives. At no time does the Spirit withdraw from us, till we "grieve" and "vex” Him. And he is ready, at any moment, to return to us, when we do not, by our impenitence and unbelief prevent Him. “Draw nigh to God,” says the apostle James, “and He will draw nigh to you., Cleanse your hands ye sinners, and purify your hearts
double-minded." He "that dwells in the high and holy place, (dwells) with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. 998 If we have not the Spirit it is beyond all dispute our own fuull forsif (men) being evil, know how to give good gifts to (their) children, how much more shall (our) Heavenly Father know how to give the Iloiy Spirit, to them that ask Him?"7
1 Deut. xxxii. 20.
2 Job xxxii. 7.
3 Eph. v. 18.