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party; and one is of Paul and another of Apollos, another of Cephas, and another of Christ, as if Christ himself were divided! Oh, what heart-burnings and animosities, what schisms and alienations have hence arisen, to the scandal of the Christian cause, the grief of its friends, and the triumph, not only of its avowed enemies, but of those who advocate the necessity of a paramount spiritual jurisdiction, clothed with the attribute of infallibility, that the unity of the church may be preserved. Whenever such contentions unhappily break out, whether on occasion of the choice of a minister, or difference upon some point of doctrine, and each party pertinaciously adheres to its own opinion, the least of two evils is to be preferred, namely, that of separation; and while such an event cannot but be a subject of extreme regret to every true disciple of Jesus, his consolation must be in the hope, that like the persecutions by which the primitive professors were dispersed, it may be overruled by the divine Providence to the increase and final prosperity of the kingdom of Christ and of God. With respect to ourselves, my Christian brethren, I fondly cherish the idea, that whenever the time arrives for the exercise of our undoubted freedom of choice, the nature and consequences of the business will be so thoroughly understood, that we shall follow none other things than those which make for peace. I also trust, that the principles upon which our society is founded, are in number so few, and in their meaning so perspicuous and intelligible, that they contain in themselves so little that can engender strife and disputation, that we shall always be found standing fast together in one mind; exhibiting to other churches, and to the world at large, a shining

example of all those virtues and graces which alone can render a Christian society truly flourishing and happy.

I will now suppose, that under the prevailing influence of such dispositions as these, a pastor has been appointed. I shall not take it for granted that he has a full command of those splendid and popular talents, which, at their first display, draw crowded audiences. We cannot but have observed how temporary is their effect, and, without other more solid qualifications, how little is their real worth. I will rather suppose, which is by far the more probable case, that a necessity may have existed for mutual condescension, and a giving up of individual wishes, tastes, and inclinations, from a desire to promote the general good. I hope nevertheless, that the character and conduct of the man we should choose, would be such as justly to claim from us a compliance with the reasonable and pathetic request in my text-the request of one who knew by experience the number and weight of the discouragements attendant on the undertaking, and how well they merited such a return " We beseech you brethren to know (to have a kind regard and fellow feeling for) those who labour among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake." The charge, if there be such a desire as there ought, to fulfil it well, is truly a work and a labour-a labour of the mind, which is often more injurious to the health and spirits than the labour of the body. Whether the minister's public addresses be precomposed or extemporary, a subject is to be sought, the plan digested, and the manner of expression so conceived as to af

ford some reasonable prospect that the word spoken will not be altogether as water spilt upon the ground." For the discharge of this duty he must be fully prepared, ere the sabbath arrive, whatever other engagements or affairs may in the interval call for or divide his attention. And, after all, when he comes to the house of God, full of the hope that he has something to say which will affect, interest, and improve his hearers, he finds, perhaps, a large proportion of vacant seats. For, if we may judge by appearances, there is a wide difference in respect of the obligation to attend, between him who is to speak and those who are to be spoken to; he must at all events be ready and punctual-he must be prepared at every point to perform his part; and a failure herein would subject him to a heavy censure. On the contrary, a considerable proportion of the members of many congregations seem to think their personal attendance a matter of little consequence, and to take it for granted that without them there is sure to be a sufficient number for the ordinary purpose of preaching and hearing a sermon. To put aside what is never considered as a positive engagement, it is sufficient, either that the aspect of the weather be more than commonly threatening or inviting—or that sleep may have been indulged too long-or that time may have been wanting to adjust the dress-or that there be merely felt an overpowering indolence and want of inclination. Of such persons I would be glad to know, whether, if public worship be a duty owing to God and to society, the obligation to perform it be not altogether as biuding upon the people as the minister? Whether any such excuses as I have mentioned would be allowable in his case? Or, if allowa

ble in their's, whether they are not equally so with respect to every individual? So that it is not owing to them that the minister does not sometimes find an empty house, and is obliged to retire for want of a single being to whom he may address himself! Let it not be imagined that I am so rigid or unreasonable as to allude to any whom either want of health, indispensable domestic duties, distance of situation, or other circumstances of equal necessity keep away from the service of the sanctuary, and with whom absence, from whatever unavoidable cause, is always matter of sincere regret. But surely, they are very far from acting upon the generous principle recommended by our apostle, who can, without thought or reflection, wound the feelings of their minister by such a want of respect, as in even the common intercourses of polished society they would studiously avoid. Experience and frequency of repetition may indeed have worn off his sensibility to these things, and convinced him, that however mortifying, they must be borne. But he must look for his consolation among those (happy may he think himself if they are not a few) whom he can depend on meeting in the house of God, and for whom, if he see them not in their places, he feels an anxiety lest they may have been hindered by something nearly affecting their health or their comfort. On such too he can with some confidence rely for candid indulgence to those infirmities, which, at times, cast a cloud over the faculties and throw a languor into both composition and delivery, and which transient attendance will sometimes remark and comment upon by way of palliating its own remissness.

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It may be thought by some, who entertain high notions as to the dignity of what they would call the sacred function, that the terms, to be over," "to admonish," to command," "charge," "warn," "rebuke," and such like, annexed to its execution, demand a regard somewhat more reverential than the esteem in love" recommended in the text. In the epistle to the Hebrews, even obedience and submission are enjoined. A little reflection, aided by a farther reference to the apostolic writings, will suffice to set this matter on its right footing. That the apostles were ministers of God, and ministers of Christ, and that those who immediately succeeded them, were made by the Holy Spirit overseers of the flock, is not denied-but let us attend also to what they say of themselves. "Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy." "We preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake." "The elders which are among you I exhort who am also an elder-feed the flock of God-not as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock." And how frequently do they, after the example of their Lord, style those who in several respects were their inferiors, their brethren. Now, leaving out of the question those miraculous powers which it was sometimes necessary to exert with some degree of severity for the correction of notorious offenders, and which none will at present be mad enough to pretend to, we can easily conceive that commanding, charging, rebuking, and such like, would be, in the first instance, the effects, rather of Christian love than of authoritative reprehension. And we find it was competent for the brethren themselves, to warn

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