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speaking a word for the salvation of either. He is ambitious of bringing as many sons and daughters to glory as possible ; and it makes a part of his constant prayer, and puts life and vigour into all his services, “ that he may be pure from the blood of all men.”
A life thus devoted to God, and spent in the service of the Redeemer, cannot but end honourably: and advantageously. When this painful servant rests from his labours, his works shall follow him : his numerous converts shall rise up, and call him blessed, and be as so many jewels in his celestial crown: he shall receive the “ Well done, good and faithful servant," with general acclamation; and will appear with distinguishing lustre in that glo, rious world, where “they that be wise shall shine as' the light; and those that turn many to righteõusness, as the stars for ever and ever.”
These things are not suppositions only, the mere flights of a gloomy imagination : a very little time will prove the reality of them ; when you, Sirmand you—and you when every individual minister will be called upon to give an account of every individual member of his separate flock; of
every sermon he has preached ; of every talent, of every kind, which has been put into his hands for promoting the welfare of that particular society to' which he was more immediately related, or the church in general." Now, when the Master of those servants shall come and reckon with them, there are some of that distinguished fidelity and diligence, that the whole world will applaud the righteousness of the proceeding, when the Judge, without waiting the issue of a formal process, shall call to them from his throne, and say, " Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”. And is there not reason to fear there will be some, too, whose negligence and unfaithfulness, have been so flagrant and notorious, as that even they themselves would wish to avoid the shame of a public examination; and who (shall I say?) would be glad to be immediately dismissed, though with “ Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels?” While there are others of a more mixed character ; who, though they have been accused of wasting their Lord's goods, yet may be supposed to have something to plead in excuse, at least' in "alleviation of their guilt; whom the Judge will therefore arraign with, “How is it that I hear this of you ? give an account of your : stewardship."
I do not'ask, under which of these denominations you would wish to appear; but, which of these characters does Conscience say belongs to you? If we were this moment to be summoned from our! present seats to the bar of God, it would very probably strike confusion into our faces, if not terror 2 into our hearts. We should be for calling together our Lord's debtors, or more properly, our own creditors; and bid them “ take their bills and writer fifty;" and be ready to fall on our knees to those whose souls we had neglected, misled, and ruined, that they would not charge us with their eternal undoing. Suffer, then, my Reverend Fathers and Brethren, the word of exhortation. “I am young, and ye! are very old , wherefore I was afraid, and durst not show you my opinion. I said, Days should speak, ?
and multitude of years should teach wisdom." But the necessities of mankind were urgent; and called loudly for immediate assistance. We have not a day to lose in compliments and disputes. The world lie in wickedness fast asleep, insensible of their misery and danger ;' and shall we sleep, event as do others? Or if we ourselves are awake, is it not still more surprising that we are not all lifting up our voices, to save them from perishing? Can we see them walking in their sleep dancing, in all the exultation of imaginary felicity, upon the brink of a precipice? Can we see the bottomless pit gaping wide to receive the thoughtless multityde, and not pity them, and not watch with them and for them, till they are out of dangers Are our hearts so entirely steeled against all the impressions of benevolence and compassion to our fellowcreatures, or of gratitude and duty to God? Are immortal souls so low in our esteem, as not to be worth the little pains we have it in our power to bestow upon them?-Had they been rated at no higher price in heaven, God had never parted with his Son, nor Christ with his blood, to redeem and save them. Is it the “ Father's good pleasure to give them a kingdom," and shall we think it much to teach them the language, and form them into the manners, of the heavenly country ; or even to point out to them the way to it? Hath he “counted us fajthful, putting us into the ministry," and shall we, by betraying our cause, and selling our Master, give unbelievers room to say he was mistaken in his men ? Hath be appointed us on purpose to : watch over his flock, and shall we sink into su, pineness and sloth;; or, hireling like, desert our
post on the appearance of danger, and leave our helpless charge an easy prey to devouring wolves; or suffer them to sicken and die for want of a timely application of the Balm of Gilead ?-I therefore, as your fellow-labourer in the Lord, beseech you, by the love of God,, by the blood of Christ, by the worth of immortal souls, by the solemnity of a future judgment, by all the joys and pleasures and happiness of heaven, by every pos. sible consideration that can have any influence on generous minds-I call upon you to “ take heed to yourselves, and to all the flock over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.”
Had I time, or were this a proper place, or were it not in itself highly disagreeable to find fault, me. thinks there is some room for censure, that our people will take no more
more care of their own souls. To what purpose is all our watching, if you will invite danger and court destruction ? Must it not grieve the heart of a faithful minister, who watches over you with a godly jealousy, to see you going on merrily in the broad road, and not be able to tell you so, without being called, or thought rude or upmannerly; or, at best, to be civilly dismissed with,
“ Go thy way for this time, and when I have a more convenient season I will send for thee, and hear thee concerning this matter." And is this your kindness to your friend? Is this a suitable, a generous return, for all our pains and prayers, for all our works of faith and labours of love? Is this “ obeying them that have the rule over you, and submitting yourselves ?” What account,
do you think, 'shall we give of your souls to God? To be obliged to say, Lord, we offered them salvation, but they would not accept of it';-we published the proclamation, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden,” but no man came ;-we often called to them, "Turn ye, turn yè, for why will ye die?" but they stopped their ears, like the deaf adder ;and (for we could do'no'more) we assured them that Thou wouldst' render " indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, to every soul of them that did evil;" but they said, " We will not have this man to reign over us ;" we have loved idols, and after them will we go.'-To be obliged to say this, would be grievous to us, and it would be indeed unprofitable
Now, I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with us in your prayers, and in the most sincere and vigorous endeavours, that our labour may not be in vain iq the Lord. Let us all, in our several stations, mani. fest such a zealous concern for our own and one another's souls, as that, when the Chief Shepherd shall appear, we may each of us receive a crown of glory; and we who sow, and you' who reap, may rejoice together.