(The final portion of the sermon)
A FEW PARTICULAR ADDRESSES
First, to him who is about to set apart to the work of Gospel Ministry in this place
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.”