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your fuffering this word of exhortation, and complying with it, is quite conclufive... And fee
That God's promifing to render the gofpel, when published, effectual to the falvation of Gentile finners, affords the highest encouragement to all who are any how intrufted with that facred meffage, to deliver, explain, and warmly recommend it. Though all are not warranted to act in the capacity of public teachers, or, as office-bearers in the church of Chrift, called to labour in word and doctrine all are permitted, yea, commanded, according to the different spheres in which they move, to recommend Jefus Chrift to the faith and esteem of others.
Parents, in particolar, have great encouragesment from this doctrine to inftruct their children, and mafters their fervants: encouragement to aim, not only at informing the judgment, but at greaching and affecting the heart...--Through diligence, in this way, numbers have been brought to the kingdom of heaven,where children praife God that ever they were bleffed with fuch parents, and fervants that they were bleffed with fuch mafters on earth. Though the fruit of your endeavours, who are parents or mafters, may not ap pear to your comfort now, the feed of Godly inAtruction which you have fown may grow to a beautiful harveft, after you are gathered to your fathers.
If there is no other way in which you can endeavour to bring finners to the kingdom of God, -you may recommend Chrift and Chriftianity to others by the holiness of your converfations. Our Lord confidered this as a very proper and probable mean of falvation, when he faid to his difciples, "Let your light fo fhine before men, that they may fee your good works, and glorify your "Father
"Father which is in heaven."-As if he had faid "Walk worthy of the vocation wherewith you. "are called; because, in as far as your practice
fhall give the lie to your profeffion, you will caft "a ftumbling block in the way of finners, and "marr their acceffion to the true church, either 66 on earth, or in heaven." Nor is it in the leaft improbable, that when the family of redemption are fully convened, it may appear how frequently the circumfpet behaviour of faints was a mean of conviction, converfion, and edification to fin
Nothing, we are affured, is more prejudicial to the fuccefs of the gospel, amongst even the wild Americans, than the irregular lives of many who bear the Chriftian name. And the effect, upon finners, of a Chriftian's not acting in character, must be the fame in Europe as in any other division of the globe. It wounds Chriftianity under the fifth rib;-ftrengthens the hands of open enemies; and, where others halt between two opinions, it feldom fails to cast the balance on the fide of infidelity.
Though, therefore, you fhould have no zeal or ambition to be inftrumental in the converfion of finners; yet if you would not wish to have even an indirect hand in their final perdition, make confcience of ordering your converfation aright.
Minifters of the gofpel are more especially encouraged, by the promife in our text, to ftir up the gift that is in them, with a view to the converfion and falvation of Gentile finners.— Though God hath not confined himself to particular means,-in infinite wisdom and fovereignty, he hath feen meet, more generally, most usually, to fave men by the foolishness of preaching. Our labours, indeed, may not always fucceed to our
with; but they must not, on that account, be laid afide; for no untuccessfulness can juftify the neglect of our facred truft. The harvest is our Mafter's, and he may reap when, where, and by whom he pleafeth. Men's getting good by the gospel, and our having accefs to know it, are very different things; the former, we truft, hath often place without the latter; and if the great end be reached, what though our Lord referve the fatisfaction to us of fecing it until our arrival at his Father's houfe? And yet times of refreshing, even upon earth, may be awaiting us, wherein God fhall make us glad, according to the days in which we have feen evil and had grief. Or,
Though, for argument's fake, it were admitted, that fome of us laboured altogether in vain, and fpent our ftrength wholly for nought;-if we are faithful in the difcharge of our paftoral duty, and continue fo unto death, we fhall not lofe our reward. But how ravishing the thought of fucceeding in the work of the gospel, as well as getting our own fouls for a prey! Would the numerous converfion of finners under our miniftry, be in itlelf an unspeakable reward of all our toils?— How inconceivable, then, muft the glory be, of hining forth in the kingdom of God, as the fun, and as the stars for ever and ever!
Since the caufe is good, and the fuccefs fure; fince the work is honourable, and the reward immenfe; let us exhibit line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little, and there a little. Do our dear brethren in the American fervice, with a view to convert the foreforn natives, fubmit to hard hips unknown in our ipheres of action? and fhall we grudge to perform a much easier task with a view to convert our own brethren and kinf
men!-Do the very enemies of Chrift compafs fea and land to enfnare precious, but filly fouls? and fhall any ftone on our part be left unturned, in ' order to break the fnare whercin finners are caught, and effect their falvation ▸
SYNOD OF JERUSALEM:
COURTS of REVIEW in the Christian Church confidered *.
ACTS XV. 31.
-They rejoiced for the confolation.
S a proper introduction to the bufinefs of this Provincial Synod, my reverend and dear hearers will, at once, fee the propriety of the fubject we have pitched upon; to whatever exceptions the profecution of it fhould be found liable.
The words tranfmit a fhort, but comprehenfive, account of the dutiful reception with which a judgment of the radical Synod at Jerufalem met, from the Chriftians in Antioch; "They rejoiced for the "confolation."
The context will fall under view afterwards, and therefore, without introduction, we fhall, through divine
* This fermon was preached at the opening of the Synod of Glasgow and Ayr, at Irvine, Oct. 13th, 1707.