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is to be added to it, or taken from it; nay, could it be fuppofed that an angel were to come from heaven, and publish any thing that differed from, or even that was not already expreffed in the Scripture-record, inftead of our being obliged to give him a hearing, we are told, that he himself would "be accurfed" for fo doing.
Nevertheless, that this complete and finifhed revelation might lack no advantage, and that all excufe might be taken away from thofe who fhould either contemn or counteract its dictates, our Lord Jefus Chrift, "God manifefted in the flesh," the great "Apostle and High-Priest of our profeffion," hath instituted the ordinance of a gospelministry, and committed to men the word of reconciliation, charging them to proclaim, in the ears of their brethren, "all the "words of this life," which are already delivered in writing to the church; with a special promife, that in the faithful difcharge of this important trust, " he will be "with them always, even unto the end of "the world." And to add greater weight to their holy miniftrations, he hath expreff
ly declared, that the doctrines and precepts of his word, which they publish in his name, are to be received with the fame meeknefs and fubmiflion as if they were fpoken immediately by his own bleffed mouth: Luke x. 16. " He that heareth you, “heareth me; and he that despiseth you,
defpifeth me; and he that despiseth me,
defpifeth him that fent me."-I am fenfible, that fome proud ambitious churchmen have," with great fwelling words of vanity," magnified their office beyond what is meet; laying claim to that kind of precedence which belongs to high rank, or other worldly distinctions, which men have devifed for the benefit or embellishment of civil fociety. But this is only a false blazon, that doth by no means fuit the ministerial. character. Be not ye called Rabbi,” said the bleffed Jefus ; "for one is your master,
even Chrift, and all ye are brethren.""Whofoever is great among you, let him
your minifter; even as the Son of man came not to be miniftered unto, but to minifter, and to give his life a ranfom "for many." Your true dignity confifts
your usefulness: and he that stoops loweft for the good of others, is highest in my esteem. Worldly pomp doth only tarnish the glory of my fervants, as it cannot confift with those self-denying duties which belong to their employment. Do you reckon yourselves most honoured, not when men give you title and place, but when they hearken to the instructions you receive from me, and embrace the faving meffage with which I have entrusted you. This, tho' in words fomewhat different, is, in my apprehenfion, a genuine and fummary account of what our Saviour taught the first minifters of his church, with regard to the nature and end of their office. And the language of Paul, in the paffage before us, is obviously formed upon this original conftitution: We preach not ourselves, but Chrift Fefus the Lord, and ourselves your fervants, for Jefus fake.
From an example of fuch unquestionable authority, we may justly, and without hefitation, conclude, that to preach Chrift Fefus the Lord, is the diftinguishing characteristic and proper employment of a gofpel-mini
fter. And this is the obfervation which I propofe to illuftrate in the following dif courfe.
It may be affirmed with truth, that fomething concerning Chrift hath been the principal fubject of every revelation that came from God, downward from the original promife made to our first parents, that the feed of the woman fhould bruise the head of the ferpent. The Apoftle Jude informs us, that "Enoch, the feventh from Adam,
prophefied of these things, faying, Behold, "the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his "faints, to execute judgement upon all." Mofes fpake of him when he said unto the fathers, "A prophet fhall the Lord your "God raise up unto you, of your brethren, “like unto me; him fhall ye hear in all "things whatsoever he fhall fay unto you. -All the extraordinary meffengers under the old difpenfation, were raised up by God for this very purpose, to foretel the coming of the promised Meffiah, and, by the doctrine of repentance, gradually to prepare the world to receive him. The words of Peter to Cornelius are clear and ftrong upon this head,
head, Acts x. 43. "To him give. all the "prophets witness, that through his name, "whofoever believeth' in him, fhall receive "remiffion of fins."
This, he tells us,
was the subject of their own most delightful inquiry: 1 Pet. i. 10. "Of this falvation "the prophets have inquired, and fearched
diligently, who prophefied of the grace "that fhould come unto you fearching "what, or what manner of time, the spirit "of Christ which was in them did signify, "when it teftified beforehand the fufferings "of Chrift, and the glory that fhould fol"low."
And if Christ was an object of fuch importance to thofe who lived before his manifestation in the flesh, it cannot furprise us to find, that they who could testify that he was come, and had finished the work that was given him to do, should in all their writings and difcourfes dwell upon him as their conftant and most delightful theme. The author of this epiftle informs the Corinthians, that "he determined not to know any thing among them, but Jefus Chrift, and him crucified." And elsewhere,