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. And that this succession, which our church, I bless God, hath faithfully preserved, may be of the greater use and benefit, it is carefully provided, that all whom she admits into any holy function, may have proper qualifications and abilities for it, as far as human foresight can judge of them; such as competent natural parts and faculties, cultivated and improved by sound learning and skill in languages, by serious study and frequent meditation, especially in divine matters, digested into a sound and orthodox faith, and exemplified by a suitable life and conversation; together with a modest assurance that, they are inwardly moved and inclined by the Holy Ghost, in a rational and providential (not an enthusiastic and unaccountable) way, to take upon them that office and ministration; forasmuch as they find the principal motive determining them to this choice to be a fervent zeal to serve God, for promoting his glory and the salvation of man.
Having thus shewn who tle persons are, who may properly be said to be sent; "I proceed, 2dly, to shew, that such as are not thus sent, may not lawfully preach.
The Apostle says in the words of the text, “ How shall they preach?” Which is indeed somewhat more than if he had directly said, they shall not preach. For, 1st,“ How shall they preach? With " what right and authority? By what
authority doest thou these things, said 66' the Jews to our Saviour, and who gave ", thee this authority?" And had he not been able to give the world sufficient satisfaction in this point, both himself and his religion must soon have sunk and perished together. He was therefore at the expence of many miracles to make good - this point, and by them has given all men just reason to declare with Nicodemus their full and certain assurance of it; 66 We know that thou art a teacher come * from God; for no man can do these “ miracles that thou doest, except God 66 be with him."
"And from him the Apostles received their authority, who expressly sent them su
to preach, and enabled them to give the like evidences of their being sent of God, as he himself had given; enlarging their commission also to all nations, and empowering them and their successors to ordain fit persons for the work of the ministry for all ages to come.
no man must take this honour to himself, but he that is called of God, as
was Aaron.” And to pretend to a call from God, without a commission from his church, according to his own divine order and appointment, is to set up
God against himself; which, unless we can make contradictions true and God a liar, can never
2dly, How shall they preach?. With what ability? It is required by St. Paul, as a qualification of a Bishop or Presbyter, that he be “
apt to teach;' that hę be "able by sound doctrine both to
exhort and to convince the gainsayers.” And though the preaching of the cross, the doctrine of a crucified Saviour, may to unbelievers, that judge only accordto carnal reason and sense, seem to
be foolishness; yet to them that believe, it is the power of God unto salvation, in the hands of such as the same Apostle calls 66 able ministers of the New Testa6 ment" and such, he there says, God does make them, by opening their understandings, that they may understand the scriptures. But, that God will make any such, who will not comply with his ways and method of doing it, can neither be expected nor proved.
3dly, How shall theý preach? With what purpose and design? Their pretences are indeed usually very specious, and the ends they would seem to aim at truly glorious and excellent. They are moved, say they, to take this ministrý upon them by mere duty and necessity; by a secret impulse of the Spirit, inclining them to it; and in tender regard to the glory of God, and the salvation of souls. These are indeed specious pretences; but what is all this at the bottom, if rightly weighed, but to fly in the face of divine wisdom? God has, we
? see, by a regular designation, marked out VOL. IV.
a succession of men appointed for these very purposes: for these men therefore, to break into this order, under pretence of
promoting the salvation of souls, what is it but to say, that the means appointed by all-seeing wisdom are insufficient to bring about the ends designed by him ? What is it but to build upon God's foundation the hay and stubble of their own inventions? Well might, therefore, the Apostle call them “ false Apostles, de ** ceitful workers, transforming themselves * into the Apostles of Christ." Though they come to you, therefore, in sheep's clothing, yet inwardly they are ravening wolves; and therefore you are expressly cautioned by our Saviour to beware of them. For not having entered by the door into the sheep-fold, but climbed up some other way, he assures us, they are all but thieves and robbers; they rob God of his honour, and the church of her peace. Having, therefore, neither a just authority to preach, nor proper qualifications for it; and their designs in doing it being always presumptuous and often evil, it is, I think, sufficiently evident,