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CHAPTER VI.
THE OFFICE OF ELDER.


      In the preceding chapter I examined into the different orders of church offices.

      The result of the examination was, that according to the New Testament there are but two distinct orders or kinds of officers which are of divine appointment, namely, elders and deacons.

      In this chapter I intend to consider the three following particulars respecting the first order of officers, viz.:

      I. The Character of Church Elders.

      The general character and qualifications of this class of officers are described in the following passages of sacred Writ:

      "Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods" (Mt 24:45-47).

      "This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behavior, given to hospitality, apt to teach; not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; one that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (for if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into condemnation of the devil. Moreover he must [62] have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil" (1Ti 3:1-7).

      "For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee: If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not self-willed, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; but a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers" (Tit 1:5-9).

      "The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind. Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away" (2Pe 5:1-4).

      From what is said in these and in other parallel texts of Scripture concerning the character and qualifications of an elder of the church, we may justly observe that he ought to be a man who has grace, gifts, a disposition to use them, and a blameless or holy life.

      These four particulars form the principal ingredients, or prominent features, in the character of a faithful elder or ruler of the house of God.

      1. He must have grace. That is to say, he must be no more carnal, but reconciled to God, and truly pious. In other words, he must be a soundly converted man, a man radically changed in heart, and a partaker of the grace of God in truth.

      Without this experimental religion he ought not so much as to belong to, far less be a teacher and ruler in, the church of God. Without heartfelt religion, man is blind; and if, says Jesus, "the [63] blind lead the blind," both the blind leaders and the blind followers "shall fall into the ditch" [Mt 15:14 Lu 6:39]. In full accordance with this awfully solemn truth a learned and pious author has justly remarked: "He who has never passed through the travail of the soul in the work of regeneration in his own heart can never make plain the way of salvation to others." Such a one may learn to fleece, but to feed the flock of God he never can. It is indispensably necessary, therefore, that an elder be "holy" (Tit 1:9). Holy in heart and life, destitute of which he is neither fit to minister in holy things in the kingdom of grace, nor yet to triumph in the praises, or enjoy the sacred sweets, of the kingdom of glory.

      The gospel treasure, though lodged in "earthen vessels" [2Co 4:7] is never put into unsanctified ones. And the dispensation of it ought to be left exclusively to those who, of God, are counted worthy to be entrusted therewith. These qualifications are pre-eminently important in forming the sacred character of an ecclesiastical elder, otherwise called bishop, steward, &c.

      2. An elder must have gifts, or proper abilities. Accordingly we find in the Scriptures above quoted, where the various characteristics and the different qualifications of this officer are enumerated, that it is requisite for him to be

      Sober. This word, it is commonly believed, refers to the natural qualities of the mind, and according to the import of the original it denotes a man of a sound mind or of a good understanding.

      Wise. To be wise is to be prudent, skillful, discreet, knowing, intelligent. It also implies two things, namely:

      First. A mental capacity, which enables a man to know what is fit and best to be done, according to time and circumstances. A wise man is he who is endowed with the power of proposing the best ends, and of choosing the fittest means to accomplish the same.

      Second. A well-improved or cultivated mind. A preacher of the gospel ought to have his mind well-informed and stored with suitable materials for the all momentous work of the ministry. [64] Hence, the Apostle Paul exhorted his spiritual son Timothy to "give attendance to reading" [1Ti 4:13] and to "study to show [himself] approved" [2Ti 2:15], though he had known the Holy Scriptures "from a child" [2Ti 3:15]. "The Christian minister," says an able commentator, "should cultivate his mind in the most diligent manner, for he can neither learn nor know too much."

      Apt to teach. To teach supposeth not only that he is himself well-taught, but also that he is capable of teaching, that he possesses a faculty for communicating his knowledge to others. And to be apt to teach denotes that he should be ready and willing to do so on every suitable occasion. "Not only in the pulpit and on the Sabbath; but at the fireside, by the way, in the social circle, and from house to house, Jesus and his salvation should be all his theme."

      3. An elder must have a disposition of mind to use both his grace and his gifts in the great work of the gospel ministry. Accordingly we read:

      "Feed the flock of God; not by constraint, but willingly" and "of a ready mind" (1Pe 5:2).

      "If a man desire the office of a bishop" (1Ti 3:1).

      From these expressions of the Apostles, we see plainly that to sustain the high and dignified office of the Christian ministry there ought to be a desire, or a willingness of mind, for it. In other words, a divine call to the work; without this, it is far more than probable that in nine cases out of ten it would prove a heavy, painful, and irksome office, and consequently no reasonable expectations could be entertained of such a person's usefulness. Instead of his being a "wise and faithful servant" [Mt 24:45], it is much more likely that he would turn out a "wicked and slothful" one [Mt 25:26]. The practice of some societies to appoint persons by lot, or otherwise, who have no desire for the office, fully justifies these remarks.

      4. An elder, or bishop, must have a blameless and holy life. Agreeably to this, the Apostles say, [65]

      He must be blameless, irreproachable in his general deportment, a man of good report, against whom there can be no evil proved. Happy, yea, thrice happy is that minister, who, like Paul, can appeal both to his hearers and his God, saying, "Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly and unblamably we behaved ourselves among you that believe" (1Th 2:10).

      He must be the husband of one wife. This does not mean that he must be a married man, but that he should have only one wife at a time.

      He must have his children in subjection. Train up his children in the way they should go [Pr 22:6] and manage all his domestic affairs "decently and in order" [1Co 14:40]. He that is not capable of this ought by no means to be put in trust with the management of church affairs.

      He must be of good behavior. Conduct himself with propriety, exemplify the reality and excellency of religion in his daily walk, and thus let his life coincide with, and corroborate, his preaching in the pulpit.

      He must be a lover of, and given to, hospitality. Ready to entertain strangers, and relieve the necessitous.

      A lover of good men. Of the truly pious and virtuous of whatever color, rank, name, age, or nation they may be. Accordingly, the Apostle says: "Have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons" [Jas 2:1].

      Just and righteous in his person and nature, through faith in Jesus Christ, and also in his life, by giving to every one his due.

      Temperate in his food, drink, sleep, clothing, business, &c.

      Patient in afflictions, persecutions, and in all things.

      Vigilant. Zealous and industrious in his employment.

      Not self-willed. He must not be headstrong, obstinate, and stubborn, or determined to have his own way in every thing.

      Not soon angry. He must not let his temper rise and become cross, passionate, and irritable on every trivial opposition, but keep a due command over his temper. [66]

      Not given to wine. He must not drink to excess, nor unnecessarily. "Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging" [Pr 20:1].

      No striker. Give no unkind blows, not with the tongue, nor with the fist.

      Not greedy of filthy lucre. He must not be anxious of sordid or base gain, or the gain of unlawful employments.

      Not a brawler. No litigious or contentious person.

      Not covetous. Not stingy, or avaricious; not one that loves money.

      Not a novice. That is, a freshman, or one newly converted, who is not acquainted with the rudiments or first principles of Christianity. The reason assigned by the Apostle why such a new and inexperienced convert should not be a bishop, or overseer, in the church of God, is a very reasonable and benevolent one. It is this: for fear this untimely elevation in the church should puff him up with pride, and this crime become the occasion of a woeful "fall into the condemnation of the devil" [1Ti 3:6].

      It is necessary, therefore, that a bishop, or elder, should be well-acquainted with the "faithful word," the true gospel system, whereby "he may be able both to exhort," or instruct, "and to convince the gainsayers," those who contradict it [Tit 1:9].

      Moreover, he must have a good report of them which are without. He should be a man of such correct principles, and of such a devout and godly life, that even sinners would be constrained to say, We find no fault with him. And if a minister of the gospel sustains such a distinguished character as will involve the various qualifications here recounted, if his life be a visible comment on the doctrines he preaches, and the people's eyes be taught by the holiness of his life, as well as their ears by the soundness of his doctrine, he will be accepted of God and approved by men. But if he lack these things he will be in danger of "falling into reproach," and in consequence of that be taken in "the snare of the devil" [1Ti 3:7]. [67]

      From a survey of these different items in the character of an elder it is abundantly obvious that he should be, as was stated before, a man of gifts, grace, a willing mind, and a holy life.

      II. The Vocation of Elders.

      Their vocation, or call, is twofold, to wit: internal and external.

      1. It is internal, or inward, which lies in a divine move and inclination of the mind to dedicate themselves to, and make use of their gifts and grace in, the service of the church.

      2. It is external, or outward, the essence of which lies in the election and choice of the church. The right of vocation belongs to the church, and not to the civil authorities, nor yet to the bishop, neither to the Pope. "As every civil society has a right to choose, appoint and ordain their officers, so also have churches, which are religious societies, a right to choose and ordain their own officers." The election and call of them, with their acceptance, is ordination. Election and ordination are spoken of as the same, To ordain, to choose, to elect, &c., are indifferently used for each other, as the following passages prove:

      "And he ordained twelve, that they should be with Him, and that He might send them forth to preach" (Mr 3:14).

      "Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit" (Joh 15:16).

      "And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, show whether of these two Thou hast chosen" (Ac 1:24).

      "And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed" (Ac 14:23).

      The manner of electing or choosing them should be by a vote of the church, either by all, or the male members exclusively.

      The best method of voting is, perhaps, by ballot.

      The number of persons to be chosen is discretionary or optional with every particular church.

      Their number should be in proportion to the size and exigencies of each individual church. [68]

      When the choice is made and accepted, there ought to be a public declaration and recognition of it, accompanied with earnest prayer and fasting, and either with or without the laying on of the hands of the presbytery, or elders of the church.

      Their time in office should be determined by the will of the church. Some contend that they are all life officers, that is to say, that every church officer receives his appointment for life, and ought, therefore, never to be removed but for misdemeanor in office, or some crime requiring excision or expulsion from the church. But as Scripture gives no specified rule in this matter, it is unquestionably right for a majority of the members of each particular church to determine whether its officers are to be temporary or perpetual.

      When any church-member thinks himself called to God to take upon him the sacred office of the ministry and to preach the gospel of the grace of God, he should be permitted to exercise his gifts before the church for a time; and provided they are found to be such as the nature of the holy office requires; and provided, also his general character answers the same, the individual church of which he is a member should proceed to ordain him an elder of the church of God. This should be done by the eldership of the church, but never without the consent and the direction of a majority of its members. When the ordination is regularly performed, the presbytery or eldership of the church ought to give to the person ordained a written certificate of his ordination, signed by them on behalf of the church. The form thereof may be after the following manner, to wit:

      We, the elders of the church at _________ do hereby certify that our beloved brother, A. B., has been regularly ordained and constituted a teaching elder of the church of God; and accordingly, that he is fully licensed and authorized to preach the gospel within the bounds [69] of this church, and wherever else God, in His providence, may call him.

      III. The Official Duties of Elders.

      Among the various official duties of this class of officers we shall take notice only of the principal duties they owe to the church to which they belong and in which they are appointed to officiate. It is their duty,

      First. To pray for the church committed to their care.

      This may be concluded from the nature and extent of the duty of prayer in general.

      It might also be argued from reason.

      But a few instances from Scriptures may suffice to set this subject in the clearest light.

      "We cease not to pray for you" (Col 1:9).

      "Laboring fervently for you in prayers" (Col 4:12).

      "We pray always for you" (2Th 1:11).

      These and many other passages show us how elders and ministers in primitive times labored and abounded in prayer to God for their people. And herein they gave us an example, that we should be followers of them, as they were of Christ.

      Second. It is the duty of elders to give a Christian example to the church.

      Accordingly we read,

      "Being examples to the flock" (1Pe 5:3).

      "Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an example" (Php 3:17).

      "Be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity" (1Ti 4:12).

      "In all things showing thyself a pattern of good works" (Tit 2:7).

      Thus we see that they are bound to give a good example to the church. And by so doing, they will enforce all the doctrines and duties of religion upon the people in the most powerful manner, for example teaches better than precept. But an elder whose life contradicts his preaching is one of the worst men in the world; and if [70] there be one place hotter than another in the burning lake, that will be his portion.

      Third. It is the duty of elders to rule the church. Concerning this duty we have the following passages:

      "One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity" (1Ti 3:4).

      "For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God" (1Ti 3:5)?

      "Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially they who labor in the word and doctrine" (1Ti 5:17).

      "He that ruleth, with diligence" (Ro 12:8).

      "Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the Word of God" (Heb 13:7).

      "Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves" (Heb 13:17).

      "Salute all them that have the rule over you, and all the saints" (Heb 13:24).

      From the Scripture quoted, two things may be fairly inferred.

      1st. That the right and power of ruling the church is, by divine appointment, lodged in the hands of the elders of the church.

      2d. That in the complete form of a gospel church, that is, a church formed upon the plan laid down in the gospel, there are both teaching and ruling elders.

      They are of the same order, but of different employments. The one is called both to teach and rule, the other to rule only. A teaching, or preaching elder should have a divine and ecclesiastical call, whereas a ruling elder may be appointed to office by the latter only.

      Being co-ordinate officers, they may and should cooperate in all their official duties, except that of preaching the gospel, which duty properly belongs to, and is the distinguishing prerogative of, the preaching part of these officers to dispense. [71]

      But as the elders collectively constitute the presbytery of the church, they should in that capacity co-act,

      a. In appointing all the church meetings.

      b. In presiding over and leading church meetings, whether for divine worship or otherwise.

      c. In examining and recommending applicants for membership. And

      d. In taking care of, directing, and executing the moral discipline of the church.

      In these and such like duties they should always act together, because they belong to elders in general. But,

      Fourth. To the teaching elders belongs the duty of preaching the gospel exclusively.

      It is their duty to preach. Now observe.

      1st. What they are to preach. They are directed to preach the gospel. By the gospel is meant a revelation of the boundless love and mercy of God towards the human race, through Christ the mediator. It literally signifies good news, but it is frequently put for the Christian system. To preach the gospel, therefore, includes all the subjects of preaching: every thing respecting doctrine, experience, and practice, or the several duties of religion.

      There was something similar to it from the beginning, during the Old Testament dispensation.

      a. In the patriarchal state.

      The gospel was first preached by the Son of God to Adam and Eve, in the garden of Eden (Ge 3:15).

      Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, or preached. of the second coming of Christ (Jude 1:14).

      Noah was the eighth preacher of righteousness, for so the words in 2Pe 2:5 may be rendered.

      As Abraham had the gospel preached to him, so he preached it to others as he had opportunity (Ge 16:14).

      In the times of Job (who seems to have lived before the giving [72] of the law) the sons of God, professors of religion, met together on a certain stated day to present themselves, soul and body, to the Lord in the performance of religious duties (Job 6:10).

      b. Under the Mosaic dispensation.

      Hence we read of the tabernacle of the congregation, of teaching priests and that the priest's lips should keep knowledge and publish it (2Ch 15:3 Mal 2:7).

      In the times of Ezra and Nehemiah they "read the book in the law of God" in the hearing of all the people, "and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading" (Ne 8:8).

      During this time the prophets also taught the Word of the Lord. The prophecies of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and others were delivered as the Word of the Lord and published separately and singly as sermons or discourses to the people. And of Ezekiel it is particularly said that the people came in a body and sat before him and heard him (Eze 33:31).

      c. After the Babylonish captivity.

      Some time after the Jews' return from Babylon to their own land synagogues were erected and synagogue worship was set up. A part of worship lay in public reading and preaching the law in them every Sabbath day. This was their practice in the times of Christ and His Apostles, as appears from Ac 15:21. In these synagogues our Lord Himself taught, and the Apostles also.

      Thus we see that preaching was an ordinance under the Old Testament dispensation.

      But the preaching of the gospel is more expressly made an ordinance of the New Testament.

      The Apostles of our Lord were called, qualified, and sent forth by Him to be public ministers of the Word, to "teach all nations" [Mt 28:19] and to "preach the gospel to every creature" [Mr 16:15]. Since then he has raised up and sent out others to proclaim the gospel's joyful sound. And thus he will continue to do until the end of time shall come. Among all the official duties incumbent on church elders preaching [73] is doubtless the most laborious and important. This, therefore, merits the preacher's utmost care, study, prayer, and attention.

      The truth of this will appear more manifest when we consider,

      2d. The end or design of preaching. This is twofold, namely:

      First. The conversion of sinner. And

      Second. The perfecting of the saints.

      The first chief end of preaching the gospel is the conversion of the unconverted. God having laid the executed the gracious plan of human recovery, through the mediation of His Son, dispatched His heralds abroad to inform the world of this all-merciful provision and to beseech men, in Christ's stead, to become "reconciled to God" [2Co 5:20] by the exercise of "repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ" [Ac 20:21]. This economy of grace contemplates the salvation of sinners as its chief end. And this glorious end the preaching of the gospel is the principal instrument of accomplishing. Agreeably to this, we read,

      "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mr 16:15).

      "He that believeth, and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned" (Mr 16:16).

      "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth" (Ro 1:16).

      "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Ro 10:17).

      "Of his own will He begat us with the word of truth" (Jas 1:18).

      "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever" (1Pe 1:23).

      These and other passages of the New Testament express and confirm the aforementioned doctrine in the most decisive manner.

      The second end contemplated by the preaching of the gospel is the perfecting of the saints. Wherefore it is written,

      "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby" (1Pe 2:2). [74]

      "For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted" (1Co 14:31).

      "Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep" (Joh 21:17).

      "The elders which are among you I exhort: Feed the flock of God" (1Pe 5:1-2; see also Ac 20:28 Eph 4:11-12 1Th 3:2 Col 1:28, &c.).

      Thus we see that the main end of preaching the gospel is to save sinners and to edify saints. But in order to effect this great and benevolent object it is highly important to pursue a proper method of preaching. Observe, therefore,

      3d. The manner of preaching.

      Of this subject men have formed and expressed various views, and their manner is as different as their views. But let it be borne in mind that there is but one way of doing things right; and except it be done right, it were better left undone. Why are some preachers so much more successful in their preaching than others? Because God blesses them much more than he does others. Very well. But why does he choose to bless them more than what he does others? It is because he is partial, or because he is a respecter of persons? Nay, surely not. Why then? One grand reason undoubtedly is because some take the right way of preaching the gospel, whilst others content themselves to take the wrong. Therefore, whatever other reasons may be assigned to solve this matter, it nevertheless behooves every one to see well to it that his manner of preaching be in perfect harmony with the word of God. Now, the best and most effectual method of preaching, according to what we may gather from God's word on this subject, is, in my opinion, fairly delineated in the following platform. The gospel ought to be preached,

      1st. Plainly.

      So that all may easily understand what is said. To preach signifies to discourse publicly on religious subjects. To communicate knowledge is one of its objects. But the preacher who is not [75] understood communicates nothing. Therefore, he should use great plainness of speech (see 1Co 2:1-5 2Co 3:12).

      2d. Boldly.

      Without either fearing the frowns or courting the favor of men. Paul desired an interest in the prayers of his brethren that God would enable him to speak boldly, as he ought to speak (Eph 6:19,20).

      3d. Solemnly.

      This of great moment and should be carefully attended to by every minister. Both the author and end of the gospel are eminently solemn. Of the same nature are the subjects about which it is employed. A corresponding solemnity, therefore, should always characterize the manner of preaching them.

"He that negotiates between God and man,
As God's ambassador, the grand concerns
Of judgment, and of mercy, should beware
Of lightness in his speech. 'Tis pitiful
To court a grin, when you should woo a soul;
To break a jest, when pity would inspire
Pathetic exhortation; and to address
The skittish fancy, with fictitious tales,
When sent with God's commission to the heart."

      4th. Affectionately.

      The gospel is a benevolent system. It ought, therefore, to be preached with the utmost affection and tenderness. Hence, the Apostle exhorted his brethren to speak "the truth in love" [Eph 4:14].

      5th. Earnestly.

      Thus our Lord himself preached. Thus the infinite importance of a message from God requires every one to speak when delivering it. Nothing seems more inconsistent than for an ambassador of Christ to be careless, cold, and lifeless in delivering his message to a revolted race of human beings. And no one is more deficient than he who wants zeal and earnestness in a work the most [76] momentous in its nature and the most affecting and appalling in its consequences. Let ministers, then, forget not to be earnest in their preaching, nor to pray that God would make them a flaming fire.

      6th. Sincerely.

      Without a mixture of truth and error, not deceitfully, but with consistency and purity, and from the purest and best of motives. The gospel is a two-edged sword, and woe to those who handle it deceitfully.

      7th. Believingly.

      That is, with a firm and unshaken faith in the promises and cooperating power of God. Faith is the pith and soul of successful preaching, without which we cannot please God, nor hope to win one soul. A man that preaches without faith is like a gunner shooting with blank cartridges. Neither of them expects to do execution.

      8th. Prayerfully.

      With earnest fasting and prayer for success, both before and after preaching.

      9th. Submissively.

      With humility and dependence, and with a perfect willingness that God should work in his own way. This is much more important than, perhaps, many are aware of.

      10th. Constantly.

      With diligence and perseverance.

      The gospel ministry is no sinecure. It is a work, and not only a Sunday work, but an everyday work. The Apostles were "daily in the temple, and in every house," teaching and preaching Jesus Christ [Ac 5:42]. Paul labored both night and day, and taught publicly, and from house to house. But, oh, how unlike this manner of preaching the gospel is the course pursued by many at the present day! How many stand all the day idle! And how many others count it pleasure to riot, to eat and drink, and to be drunken! Oh, what a melancholy thought! What a horrible thing to see Jehovah's ambassador playing the fool and acting like a son of Belial! But [77] surely such wicked men shall bear their iniquity. The Lord "will feed them with wormwood, and make them drink the water of gall" [Jer 9:15]; He will also "cut [them] in sunder, and will appoint [them their] portion with the unbelievers" [Lu 12:46]. These preachers, however, who strive faithfully and conscientiously to do their duty and make full proof of their ministry, "shall in no wise lose [their] reward" which is great, in the kingdom of heaven. Then,

"Preach on, thou man of God,
      Nor once at ease sit down;
Thy arduous work will not be done
      'Till thou hast got thy crown."

      Thus I have compendiously described the manner of preaching.

      The discourses of our Lord and His Apostles furnish illustrious specimens of the correctness of this sketch of the manner of preaching the gospel. And whoever will adopt this plan, and thus follow the example of his Lord and Master, shall doubtless realize the pleasure of seeing the work of the Lord revive and prosper in his hands. And by becoming the honored instrument of turning many unto righteousness, and edifying the body of Christ, he may hope to approve himself a faithful steward to his householder and judge and be amply compensated in the day of retribution with the best and highest plaudit: "Well done, thou good and faithful servant; enter into the joy of thy lord" [Mt 25:21,23], But whosoever, on the contrary, neglects, or mismanages, this notable point, so as to spoil the work of the Lord and of Christ, shall not only suffer loss, but have "a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation" [Heb 10:27], which will suddenly join him, and that without remedy. [78]

 
 
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