Lemuel Haynes, The Character and Work of a Spiritual Watchman (1791), Part 5


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(The final portion of the sermon)


First, to him who is about to set apart to the work of Gospel Ministry in this place

Dear Sir,

From the preceding observations, you will easily see that the work before you is great and solemn: and I hope this is a lesson you have been taught otherwise: the former acquaintance I have had with you gives me reason to hope that this is the case. You about to have these souls committed to your care; you are to be placed as a watchman upon the walls of this part of Zion. I doubt not but that it is with trembling you enter upon this work. The relation that this day’s business has with a judgment to come renders the scene affecting. Your mind I trust has already anticipated the solemn moment when you must meet these people before the bar of God. The good profession you are this state to make is before many witnesses; saints and wicked men are beholding; the angels are looking down upon us; above all the great God with complacency or disapprobation beholds the transactions of this day: he sees what motives govern you, and he will proclaim it before the assembled universe. Oh! solemn and affecting thought! The work before you is great and requires great searching of heart, great self-diffidence, and self abasement. How necessary that you feel your dependence upon God: you cannot perform any part of your work without his help; under a sense of your weakness, repair to him for help. Would you be a successful minister, you must be a praying dependent one; do all in the name and strength of the Lord Jesus. Would you be faithful in watching for the souls of men, you must be much and watching your own heart. If you are careless with respect to your own soul, you will be also with respect to others. Although the work is too great for you, yet let such considerations as these revive your desponding heart. That the cause is good, better than life, you may well give up all for it. ’Tis the cause of God, and that which will prove victorious in spite of all opposition from men or devils –that God has promised to be with his ministers to the end of the world–that the work is delightful; Paul somewhere blesses God for putting him into the work of the ministry –the campaign is short, your warfare will soon be accomplished– That the reward is great, being found faithful, you will receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.

Secondly, We have a word to the church and congregation in this place.

My Brethren and Friends,

The importance of the work of a gospel minister suggests the weighty concerns of your souls. As ministers must give account how they preach and behave; so hearers also are to be examined how they hear and improve. You are to hear with the view to the day of judgment, always remembering that there is no sermon or opportunity that you have in this life to repair for another world that shall go unnoticed at that decisive court. Your present exercises with respect to the solemn affairs of this day will then come up to public view.

God we trust is this day sending one to watch for your souls: should not this excite sentiments of gratitude in your breasts? Shall God makes so much care for your souls and you neglect them? How unreasonable will it be for you to despise the pious instruction of your watchmen? You will herein wrong your own souls and it will be an evidence that you love death. You will bear with him in not accommodating his sermons to your vitiated tastes because he must give account. His work is great and you must pray for him; as in the verse following the text the apostle says, “Brethren pray for us.”

Is it the business of your minister to watch for your souls with such indefatigable assiduity, you easily see how necessary it is that you do what you can to strengthen him in this work. That you minister to his temporal wants, that he may give himself wholly to these things. The great backwardness among people in general with respect to this matter at present is an unfavorable aspect. “Who goeth to warfare anytime at his own charges? Who planteth a vineyard and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or feedeth a flock and earth not of the milk of the flock?” 1 Cor. ix. 7.

Doubtless this man is sent here for the rise and fall of many in this place. We hope we will be used as a means of leading some to Christ; while on the other hand, we even tremble at the thought, he may fit others for more aggravated condemnation. Take heed how you hear.

A few words to the assembly in general to close the subject.

What has been said about the character and work of gospel ministers shows us at once it is a matter in which we are all deeply interested. The greater part of the people present, I expect to see you no more until I meet them at that day, which has been the main subject of the foregoing discourse. With respect to the character of the people present, we can say little about them; only this we may observe, they are all dying creatures, hastening to the grave and to judgment: there must we meet you–there an account of this day’s work will come up to view–there each one must give an account concerning the right discharge of the work assigned him: the preacher must give an account, and you that hear also.

Let me say to such as our yet in their sins and proclaim it from this part of the wall of Zion, that the enemy of your souls is at hand– that destruction awaits you. Oh! flee! flee! to Christ Jesus: bow to his sovereignty; Know this, but except you were born again and become new creatures in the dispositions of your mind, you cannot be saved. Shall ministers watch and pray for your souls night and day and you pay no attention to them; since they are so valuable, having such a relation to God, did men regard divine glory they would regard their souls as being designed to exhibit it.

Be instructed then, to delay no longer, but by repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ make peace with him before you were summoned before his awful bar. Let me bear testimony against your practice too common on such occasions as this: many people think it is time for carnal mirth and dissipation, that which nothing can be more provoking to God nor incommensurate with that day and strict account that such an occasion tends to exciting the mind. May all, both ministers and people, be exhorted to diligence in their work, that finally we me adopt the language of the Blessed apostle, “As also ye have acknowledged us in part that we are your rejoicing, even as ye also are ours in the day of the Lord Jesus.”


B.B. Warfield on how God prepared the human authors to write inerrant Scripture


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One argument made from a “conservative” position against the inerrancy of Scripture is that we must admit error in the Scripture if we take the human authorship seriously. Unless we we want to subscribe to a dictation theory of inspiration (the human authors merely copied what God or an angel said to them), human error is a necessary correlate of Scripture as we have it.

Warfield responded to that argument as follows. First, he explicitly rejected a diction model of inspiration:

[T]he gift of Scripture through its human authors took place by a process much more intimate than can be expressed by “dictation,” and that tit took place in a process in which the control of the Holy Spirit was too complete and pervasive to permit the human qualities of the secondary authors in any way to condition the purity of the product as the word of God. The Scriptures, in other words, are conceived by the writes of the New Testament as through and through God’s book, in every part expressive of His mind, given through men after a fashion which does no violence to their nature as men, and constitutes the book also men’s book as well as God’s, in every part expressive of the mind of its human authors.

From his essay “Inspiration” (page 99 of volume 1 of the collected works). Warfield then explains how the work of God began well before the actual task of writing by creating and preparing the men who would be the authors to be the authors. This move by Warfield is brilliant, because it draws the fully natural act of normal men into relationship with the supernatural act of the Holy Spirit in inspiration:

And there is the preparation of the men to write these books to be considered, a preparation physical, intellectual, spiritual, which must have attended them throughout their whole lives, and, indeed, must have had its beginning in their remote ancestors, and the effect of which was to bring the right men to the right places at the right times, with the right endowments, impulses, acquirements, to write just the books which were designed for them. When “inspiration,” technically so called, is superinduced on lines of preparation like these, it takes on quite a different aspect from that which it bears when it is thought of as an isolated action of the Divine Spirit operating out of all relation to historical processes. Representations are sometimes made as if, when God wished to produce sacred books which would incorporate His will—a series of letters like those of Paul, for example—He was reduced to the necessity of going down to earth and painfully scrutinizing the men He found there, seeking anxiously for the one who, on the whole, promised best for His purpose; and then violently forcing the material He wished expressed through him, against his natural bent, and with as little loss from his recalcitrant characteristics as possible. Of course, nothing of the sort took place. If God wished to give His people a series of letters like Paul’s, He prepared a Paul to write them, and the Paul He brought to the task was a Paul who spontaneously would write just such letters.

If we bear this in mind, we shall know what estimate to place upon the common representation to the effect that the human characteristics of the writers must, and in point of fact do, condition and qualify the writings produced by them, the implication being that, therefore, we cannot get from man a pure word of God. As light that passes through the colored glass of a cathedral window, we are told, is light from heaven, but is stained by the tints of the glass through which it passes; so any word of God which is passed through the mind and soul of a man must come out discolored by the personality through which it is given, and just to that degree ceases to be the pure word of God. But what if this personality has itself been formed by God into precisely the personality it is, for the express purpose of communicating to the word given through it just the coloring which it gives it? What if the colors of the stained-glass window have been designed by the architect for the express purpose of giving to the light that floods the cathedral precisely the tone and quality it receives from them? What if the word of God that comes to His people is framed by God into the word of God it is, precisely by means of the qualities of the men formed by Him for the purpose, through which it is given? When we think of God the Lord giving by His Spirit a body of authoritative Scriptures to His people, we must remember that He is the God of providence and of grace as well as of revelation and inspiration, and that He holds all the lines of preparation as fully under His direction as He does the specific operation which we call technically, in the narrow sense, by the name of “inspiration.” The production of the Scriptures is, in point of fact, a long process, in the course of which numerous and very varied Divine activities are involved, providential, gracious, miraculous, all of which must be taken into account in any attempt to explain the relation of God to the production of Scripture. When they are all taken into account we can no longer wonder that the resultant Scriptures are constantly spoken of as the pure word of God. We wonder, rather, that an additional operation of God—what we call specifically “inspiration,” in its technical sense—was thought necessary. Consider, for example, how a piece of sacred history—say the Book of Chronicles, or the great historical work, Gospel and Acts, of Luke—is brought to the writing. There is first of all the preparation of the history to be written: God the Lord leads the sequence of occurrences through the development He has designed for them that they may convey their lessons to His people: a “teleological” or “aetiological” character is inherent in the very course of events. Then He prepares a man, by birth, training, experience, gifts of grace, and, if need be, of revelation, capable of appreciating this historical development and eager to search it out, thrilling in all his being with its lessons and bent upon making them clear and effective to others. When, then, by His providence, God sets this man to work on the writing of this history, will there not be spontaneously written by him the history which it was Divinely intended should be written? Or consider how a psalmist would be prepared to put into moving verse a piece of normative religious experience: how he would be born with just the right quality of religious sensibility, of parents through whom he should receive just the right hereditary bent, and from whom he should get precisely the right religious example and training, in circumstances of life in which his religious tendencies should be developed precisely on right lines; how he would be brought through just the right experiences to quicken in him the precise emotions he would be called upon to express, and finally would be placed in precisely the exigencies which would call out their expression. Or consider the providential preparation of a writer of a didactic epistle—by means of which he should be given the intellectual breadth and acuteness, and be trained in habitudes of reasoning, and placed in the situations which would call out precisely the argumentative presentation of Christian truth which was required of him. When we give due place in our thoughts to the universality of the providential government of God, to the minuteness and completeness of its sway, and to its invariable efficacy, we may be inclined to ask what is needed beyond this mere providential government to secure the production of sacred books which should be in every detail absolutely accordant with the Divine will.

Benjamin B. Warfield, The Works of Benjamin B. Warfield: Revelation and Inspiration, vol. 1, 101–103.

Lemuel Haynes, The Character and Work of a Spiritual Watchman (1791), Part 4


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IV. We are to Inquire What Influence such Considerations will have on the True Ministers of Christ; or when They may be said to Preach and Act as Those who must Give Account.

1. Who properly expect to give a account, will be very careful to examine themselves with respect to the motives by which they are influenced to undertake this work. He will view himself in the presence of a heart searching God, requires truth in the inward parts, and will shortly call him to an account for all the exercises of his heart. He will search every corner of his soul, whether the divine honor, or something else, is the object of his pursuit. He has been taught, by the rectitude of divine law, the God will not pass by transgression, but will judge the secrets of men. The work will appear so great, the the nature recoil at the thought, like Jeremiah, “Ah, Lord God! behold, I cannot speak, for I am a child.” Or with the great apostle, “Who is sufficient for these things?” The true disciple of Jesus will not thrust himself forward in the ministry, like a heedless usurper; but with the greatest caution and self diffidence.

2. A faithful watchmen will manifest that he expects to give an account by being very careful to know his duty, and we’ll take all proper ways which are in his power to become acquainted with it. He will study, as the apostle directs Timothy, to show himself approved onto God. He will give attention to reading, meditation and prayer; and will often call and divine aid on account of his own insufficiency. As a faithful soldier we’ll be careful to understand his duty: so the spiritual watchmen would here closely to the word of God for his guide and directory.

3. I minister that watches for souls as one who expects to give an account, we’ll have none to please but God. When he studies his sermons, this will not be his inquiry, “How shall I form my discourse so as to pleasing gratified to humors of men and get their applause?” But, “How show I preach so is to do honor to God, and meet with the approbation of my judge?” This will be his daily request at the throne of grace. This will be 10,000 times better to him than the pain flattery of men. His discourses will not be circulated to gratify the carnal heart, but he will not Shawn just clear the whole counsel of God.

The solemn account that the minister expects to give on another day we’ll direct him in the choice of this subject; he would dwell upon those things which have more direct relation to the eternal world. He will not entertain his audience with empty speculations or vein philosophies; but with things that concern their everlasting welfare. Jesus Christ and him crucified we’ll be the great topic and darling theme of his preaching. If he needs to save souls, like a skillful physician, he will endeavor to lead his patients into a view of their maladies and then point them to a bleeding Savior as the only way of recovery. The faithful watchmen will give the alarm at the approach of the enemy, and will blow the trumpet in the ears of the sleeping sinner and endeavor to awaken him.

4. The pious preacher will endeavor to adapt is discourses to the understanding of his hearers. “He will not be ambitious as saying find things to when applause, it is saying useful things to win souls.” He will consider that he has the week as well as the strong, children as well as adults to speak to, and that he must be accountable for the blood of their souls if they perish through his neglect. This will influence him to study plainness more than politeness; also he will labor to accommodate his sermons to the different states or circumstances of his hearers; he will left comforting and encouraging lessons to see before the children of God; while the terrors of the law are to be proclaimed in the ears of the impenitent. He will strive to preach distinguishing that every here are may have his portion.

The awful scenes of approaching judgment, will have an influence upon the Christian preacher with respect to the manner in which he will deliver himself. He will guard against that low and vulgar style that tends to degrade religion; but ‘s language will in some measure correspond with those very solemn and affecting things that do engage his heart and tongue. He will not substitute a whining tone in the room of the sermon; which, to speak no worse of it, is a sort of satire upon the gospel, tending greatly to deprecate it solemnity and importance, and to bring it into contempt; but the judgment what appear so awful and his attention so captivated with it I his accents will be the result of a mind honestly and engagingly taking up with a subject vastly important.

“Such a preacher will not come into the pulpit as an actor comes upon the stage to perform a feigned character and forget his real one; to sentiments or represent passion to his own.” [Fordyce] it is not to display his talents, but like one who feels the weight of eternal things, he will not address his hearers as though judgment was a mere empty sound; but viewing eternity just before them, any congregation up on the frontiers of it, this whole eternal state depends upon a few uncertain moments; Oh! With what zeal and fervor will he speak! How will death, judgment, and eternity appear as it were in every feature and every word! Out of the abundance of his heart his mouth will speak. His hearers will easily perceive but the preacher is one who expects to give account. He will study and preach with reference to a judgment to come, and deliver every sermon in some respect as if it were his last, not knowing when his lord will call him or his hearers to account.

We are not suppose that his zeal Will vented self and the frightful bellowings of enthusiasm; Buddy will speak forth the words of truth and soberness, Wwith modesty, and with Christian decency.

5 Those who watch for salsas those who expect to give an account, one ever to know as much as may be the state of the souls committed to their charge, that they may be in a better capacity to do them good. They will point out those errors and dangers which they may see approaching; and when they see souls taken by the enemy, they will exert themselves to deliver them from the snare of the devil. The onward department of the faithful minister will correspond with his preaching: he will reprove, rebuke, warning his people from house to house. The weighty affairs of another world will direct his daily walk and conversation and and all places and on every occasion.

Jonathan Edwards and Dale Carnegie


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It all depends upon how you look at it. The first quotation is from Steven Watts’ Self-Help Messiah, Dale Carnegie and Success in Modern America (2013), page 147:

Carnegey [sic] may even have glimpsed his own future. “He who can tell us how to earn more money, lengthen our lives, better our health, increase our happiness, is sure of an attentive audience,” he wrote. “If you know what people want and can show them that they will get it following your proposals, success is yours.” 

And Jonathan Edwards sermon, “The Kind of Preaching People Want”. Here is an excerpt:

If ministers were sent to direct men how they might fulfill their lusts, they would be much better received than they are now. For instance, if ministers were sent to direct people how they might gratify their covetousness, and to tell them of means by which they might grow rich and get abundance of the world, they would be a great deal better received and harkened to than they are now. They would listen to such directions as these with much greater diligence than they do when the minister directs them how they may get heaven and obtain everlasting riches.

In The Salvation of Souls, edited by Bailey and Wills, pp. 62-63.

And as a bonus, Jesus:

Matthew 6:19–21 (ESV)

19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Lemuel Haynes, The Character and Work of a Spiritual Watchman Described (1791) Part 3


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III. To show, That Ministers Must Give Account to God of their Conduct, more Especially as it Respects the People of their Charge.

This solemn consideration as suggested in the text: just the design of preaching to make things ready for the Day of Judgment. 2 Corinthians ii. 16. To the one we are the savor of dafont to death; and to the other the saver of life onto life: we are fitting man for the masters use– preparing affairs for that decisive court. This supposes that things must be laid open before the great assembly at the Day of Judgment; or, why is it that there are so many things that related thereto and our preferences therefor.

The work of a gospel minister has a peculiar relation to futurity: An approaching judgment is that too which every subject is pointing and which renders every sentiment to be inculcated, Vastly solemn, and interesting. Ministers are accountable creatures in common with other men; and we have the on airing testimony of scripture that God sure bring every working to judgment with every secret thing, whether it be good or whether it be evil. Ecclesiastes xii. 14. If there is none of our conduct too minute to be cognizable, we may well conclude that such important affairs that relate to the working office of gospel ministers will not pass unnoticed.

Arguments maybe taken from the names given to the ministers of Christ, that they must give account. They are soldiers, ambassadors, servants, stewards, angels, and et cetera. that they are sent of God and are amenable to him that sent them; as a servant or stewart count to his Lord and Master with respect to his faithfulness in the trust reposted in him. God tells Ezekiel, If Watchmen or not faithful and souls Parish through their neglect, then he will require their blood at the hands of such careless watchmen. It is evident that primitive ministers were influenced a faithfulness from a view of the solemn account they expected to give it the Day of Judgment. This gave rise to those words, Acts iv. 19, “But Peter and John answered and said onto them, whether it be right in the sight of God to harken onto you more then onto God, judge ye.” If God’s omniscience is emotive to faithfulness, it must be in this view that he will not let our conduct passed unnoticed, but call list to an account.

It was approaching judgment that engrossed the attention of St. Paul and made him exhort Timothy to study to approve himself onto God. This made the beloved disciple speak of having boldness and the Day of Judgment. 1 John iv. 17.

The divine glory is an object only worthy of attention; any displays holy character was the design of God and creation; as there was his other beings existing antecedent thereto, to attract the mind of Jehovah; and we are sure that God is pursuing the same things still, And always will. Cues of one mind and who can turn him? Job xxiii. 13. There is no conceivable objects that bears any proportion with the glory of God; and for him ever to aim at anything else, would be incompatible with his perfections. The Day of Judgment is designed to be a comment on all other days; At which time God’s government of the world, and their conduct towards him, will be publicly investigated, that the equity of divine administration may appear conspicuous before the assembled universe. It is called a day on which the Son of Man is revealed. Luke xvii. 30. The honor of God requires that matters be publicly and particularly attended two; that evidences are summoned at this open court: hence the saints are to judge the world. 1 Corinthians vi. 2.

It will conducive to the mutual happiness of faithful ministers and people, to have matter late open before the bar of God, as in the words following our tax, but they may do it with joy and not with grief. The apostle speaks of some ministers and people who should have reciprocal Joy in the day of the Lord Jesus–which supposes that ministers and the people in their charge are to meet another day as having something special with each other. The connection between ministers and people is such as renders them capable of saying much for or against the people of their charge; and if here is making the same observations with respect to their teachers; and in this way the mercy and justice of God will appear illustrious.

Since therefore, it Work of gospel ministers has such a new relation to Judgment Day; since they are accountable creatures, and their work so momentous; since it is a sentiment that is had so powerful and influence all true ministers and all ages of the world: also there connection is such as to render them capable of saying many things relating to the people of their charge. Above all, since it displays a divine glory are so highly concerned in this matter; we may without hesitation adopt the idea in the text, that ministers have a solemn account to give to their great Lord and Master how they discharge the trust reposed in them.

Lemuel Haynes, The Character and Work of a Spiritual Watchman Described (1791), Part 2


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II. Let Us Say Something with Respect to the Character of the Spiritual Watchman.

Natural endowments embellished with a good education are qualifications obviously requisite for an evangelical minister; that it is needless that we insist upon them at the same time and that the interest of religion has and still continues greatly to suffer for the want them is equally notorious.

Nearly ages of Christianity, men were miraculously qualified and calls into the work of gospel ministry; but we are far from believing that this is the present mode by which ordinary ministers are introduced.

1. It is necessary that those who hands are blessed Lord, buy those repeated interrogations to Simon whether he loved him, has set before us the importance of this qualification in a spiritual shepherd. The sad consequences of admitting those into the army who are in heart enemies of the Commonwealth have often taught men to be careful in this particular.

The trust reposed in the watchmen’s such as renders him capable of great detriment to the community. He that undertakes in this work from secular motives will meet with disappointment. What a gross absurdity as this for a man to command religion to others while he is a stranger to himself!

“The pious preacher will commend the savior from the personal fund of his own experience.” Being smitten with the love of Christ himself with zeal and fervor will he speak of the divine glory! Love to Christ will tend to make a minister faithful and successful. The importance of this point urges me to be copious on the subject were it not too biomes to require a long discussion.

2. Wisdom and prudence are important qualifications in minsters: hence that injunction the great preacher. Matthew x. 16. Be you therefore wise as serpents and harmless as doves. He is a man of spiritual understanding whose soul is irradiated with the beams of the Son or Righteousness — has received an unction form the holy one — is taught by the Word and Spirit, walks in the light of God’s countenance He has seen the deceit of his own heart — knows the intrigues of the enemy, — sees the many snares to which the souls of men are exposed, — and not being ignorant of the devices of Satan, he will endeavor to carry to spiritual campaign with that care and prudence that he shall not get advantage. He knows that he has a subtle enemy to oppose and human nature, replete with enmity against the gospel; and will endeavor in every effort to conduct with that wisdom and circumspection as shall appear most likely to prove successful.

3. Patience is another qualification very necessary in a spiritual watchman. His breast being inspired with love to the cause, he will stand the storms of temptations; will not be disheartened by all the fatigues, and sufferings to which his work exposes him; but will endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

4. Courage and constitute a part of the character of a gospel minister. A sentinel who is worthy of that station we’ll not fear the formidable appearance of the enemy nor tremble at their menaces. None of these things remove him, Neither will he count his life dear to him to defend a cause so very important. He has the spirit of the intrepid Nehemiah, “Should such a man as I flee?” He stands fast in the face; quits himself like a man, and is strong.

5. Nor let us we forget to mention vigilance or close attention to the businesses signed him, as an essential qualification in a minister of Christ. A man does not answer the idea of a watchmen unless his mind is engaged in the business. The Word, which we have rendered watch, in the text, signifies, in the original, too awake, and abstain from sleeping. Indeed all the purposes of the watch set upon the wall are frustrated if he sleeps on guard; there by himself and the whole army are liable to falling easy prey to the cruel depredations of the enemy. The spiritual watchmen is not to sleep, But to watch the first motion of the enemy and give the alarm: last souls Parish through his drowsiness and inattention.


Lemuel Haynes: The Character and Work of the Spiritual Watchman Described (1791), Part 1


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The Character and Work of a Spiritual
Watchman Described

Delivered at
February 13, 1791

At the ORDINATION of the
Rev. Reuben Parmerlee


By Lemuel Haynes
Pastor of a Church in Rutland


Litchfield (Connecticut)
Printed by Collier and Beul

Hebrews XIII.17
For they watch over your souls as they that must give account

Nothing is more evidence, than that men are prejudiced against the gospel. It is from this source that those who are for the defense of it meet with so much contempt. It is true, they are frail, sinful dust and ashes in common with other men; yet on account of the important embassy with which they are entrusted, it is agreeable to the unerring dictates of inspiration to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. 1 Thess. v. 13.

To illustrate this sentiment was the design of the Apostle of this verse, “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourself.” He was far from inculcating anything that might seem to confront what the Apostle Peter has enjoined, 1 Pet. v. 3. Neither as being lords over God’s heritage. The word signifies to lead, guide or direct.

Our text contains an important motive to excite to attention and respect that is due to the ministers of Christ on account of their relation to him; and that is the aspect of their work has to Judgement Day: For they watch for your souls, as they that must quickly give account. They are amenable to their great Lord and Master for every sermon they preach, and must give an account of the reception they and their work meet with among their hearers.

Under the influence of such a thought, let us take notice to a few things, supposed by the work, assigned to ministers in the text. — Say something with respect to their character — Whence it appears that they must give account. — When they must be said to be properly influenced by such considerations.

I. There are Several Ideas Suggested by the Work Assigned to Gospel Ministers in the Text: Which is to Watch for Souls. This Supposes

1. That the goal is of vast importance, else why so much attention paid to it, as to have a guard to inspect it? All those injunctions which we find interspersed through the sacred pages to watchmen to be faithful are so many evidences of the worth of men’s souls. What renders them so valuable is the important relation they stand in to their Maker.

The perfections of the Deity are more illustrated in the redemption of fallen men, than they would have been in the salvation of apostate angels; else why were the latter passed by, while God chose the former as the objects of his attention?

God has from eternity appointed a proper number for the display of his mercy and justice; means are necessary to fit for the Master’s use; so that the soul in this view is of infinite importance.

2. Watchmen over the souls of men implies that they are prone to neglect them or to be inattentive to their souls. When one is set to inspect or watch over another it supposes some kind of incapacity that he is under to take care of himself. The Scripture represents mankind by nature as fools or madmen and being in a state of darkness, et cetera.

Men in general are very sagacious with respect to temporal affairs, and display much natural wit and ingenuity and contriving and accomplishing evil designs; but to do good, they have no knowledge. Jeremiah iv. 22. This is an evidence that their inability to foresee danger and provide against it is that the moral kind. Were there a disposition in mankind corresponding to their natural powers to secure the eternal interest of their souls and the way God has prescribed, watchmen would be in great measure useless.

The work and office of gospel ministers suggests the idea of enemies invading: that there is a controversy subsisting in a danger approaching. When soldiers are called fourth and sentinel stand up on the wall it to notes war. The souls of men are environed with 10,000 enemies that are seeking their ruin. Earth and Heller combined to destroy. How many already have fell victims to their ferocity! The infernal powers are daily dragging away their prey to the prison of hell. Men have rebelled against God and have made him their enemy; yea, all creatures and all events are working the eternal misery of the finally impenitent sinner.

II. Let Us Say Something with Respect to the Character of the Spiritual Watchman.

Hebrew Alphabet in Egypt in 1874 B.C.


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Here’s where to read it

“Alphabetic inscriptions on an ancient stone slab (left) have been identified by a researcher as Hebrew and translated. A drawing of the slab’s inscriptions (right) shows early Hebrew letters next to corresponding modern Hebrew letters (green). Inscriptions along the left edge of the slab translate as “The one having been elevated is weary to forget.” Inscriptions across the top translate as “The overseer of minerals, Ahisemach.””


And here is someone contesting the finding.