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I will now observe to you this one thing more.

There are none that have so much occasion to have such a good carriage under defamations, as a faithful minister of the gospel. Upon that cause, in the fifth petition of the Lord’s Prayer, “Forgive us, as we forgive,” says Luther, Mirabilise est haec additio! What a wonder is that extra clause. The like appendix might have been added to the other petitions. As before, “Give us this day our daily bread as we disperse bread unto those who are about us.” And after this, “Lead us not into temptation, as we are loath to lead others into temptation.” Indeed, we should look upon ourselves as being so obliged. But then our Savior intimates unto us that our charity and forgiveness towards our neighbor will depend all the other good operations which are thus to be pursued. It is a world full of such offenses, that except we can forgive, we shall do very little good unto our neighbors.

But it is a remark, as I remember of a French writer, that this platform of prayer, the condition of the minister is peculiarly accommodated[1]. I will not go through all the particular, ‘tis enough to note the ungodly part of mankind will multiple injuries every faithful minister. His fulfillment of his ministry will expose him to the envy and malice of many people and a thousand injuries. For such a peculiar manner is this petition calculated, Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

It was the happy [here, “happy” means will placed, useful] Rule of a Minister [a book he had access to which was named “Rule of a Minister”] which I have somewhere recited in these terms.

It is a rule with me, rather to suffer and bury in slience any manner of injuries abuse abused from absurd people in the flock, than to manage any contention with them, on any occasion. Let the matter or the issue be what it will, I shall generally gain more in regard of the great interest[2] by remitting of my right, than by pursuing it.

A minister, above other men, should soar to heaven, live in heaven, keep near heave; and if he would do so, I tell you, what will be his experience.

The incomparable Newton[3] has demonstrated that the weight of bodied or the force of their descent toward the center decreases as their distance from the center increases.[4] A tone eight on the surface of the earth raised heavenwards unto the height of one semi-diameter of the earth-hence would weigh but one-quarter of a ton.[5] At three semi-diameters from the surface of the earth, it would be as easy for a man to carry a ton, as here to carry little more than a hundred pounds.

I know the further you fly toward heaven, the more (if I may use the falconer’s word) you must lessen. There is great reason why it should be so! Defamations will be some of the things by which you must be lessened. It’s true, defamations are heavy things, they are hard to carry. It is hard to carry well under them; some of them are ton weight. But my friend, if you were as near heaven as you ought to be, you would make like of them [they would weigh less]; you would bear them wonderfully.

[1] The command to give others has a unique application to minister. If the minister does he work well, he will find himself criticized by others. It is a paradox that being a good minister should lead to attacks. Yet that paradox leads to the minister of all people to be especially careful to forgive others.

[2] The “great interest” is salvation. See, for example, William Guthrie, The Christian’s Great Interest. You would do well to know this book, https://banneroftruth.org/us/store/christian-living/the-christians-great-interest/

[3] Isaac Newton, English mathematician, scientist, 1642-1726, commonly accounted one of the greatest minds ever.

[4] The gravity exerted by a body decreases over distance.

[5] The weight of an object on the surface of the earth will be greater than that same object raised into the atmosphere, because the gravitation pull of the earth will decrease. Just think of the images you have seen of astronauts “floating in space”.