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.