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ti faving souls, are mens great motives and chief “inducements to enter into the function of the “ holy ministry • ;" these views bid fair to run through all their endeavours, in discharging that important trust; and, therefore, to render such persons “ workers together with God,” rather than troublers of the church. Such were the motives of our apostle, in entering upon the discharge of his ministry; and, accordingly, we find, what mighty influence they had through the whole of his work: “I will not be burdensome i " you (said he to the Corinthians); for I feek not “ yours, but you :---and I will very gladiy spend “ and be spent for you,” 2 Cor. xii. 14, 15.Whereas, if “ worldly designs and interests $" are mens only leading inducements to enter into that facred function, the promotion of these being chiefly in their eye, they will prosecute the ends of a gospel ministry only--in a fubferviency to them. Their heads cannot be set on the fleece, and on the interests of the fock, at the same time ; if that is uppermost with them, these must be proportionably neglected. “Wo be to the shepherds. * of Israel, said the Lord God, that do feed themos selves; should not the shepherds feed the flocks? e Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the woo!,
but ye feed not the flock,” Ezek. xxxiv. 2, 3. And on this very account, a lasting stigma lies upon the character of a once fellow labourer with Paul; “Demas hath forsaken me, having loved * this present world,” 2 Tim. iv. 1o. G3
* These are the very words of the sixth question put to ministers at their ordination. See Assem. 1711. Act 1o.
Motives, abjured by ministers at their ordination. See Quest. 6. Act 10, Assem. 1711.
their generat paftoral ench, -perhe
As such a pitiful temper must insensibly grow upon them, it cannot fail of discovering itself, in iheir general deportment and behaviour ; by which mcars their pastoral endeavours, used with whati ver assiduity, lose much, - perhaps most,-if not the whole of that influence, they might otherwise been attended with : for, let the worldling himself fay, with what success can they be supposed to recommend a superlative regard to divine things upon others, in whom the love of the world, and feen Things, evidently reigas ? He reasons well, fay they of such a teacher, for heavenly-mindedness; his arguments against fetting our affections on the world, are quite conclusive : but, as we know, that he “crouches for a piece of silver himself, " and labours only for a morfel of bread," 1 Sam. ii. 36. all he can say, is no more than a founding brass, no better to us than a tinkling cymbal:Preferring, therefore, the business, the pleasures, or the profits of life, to the important ends of a gospel ministry, office bearers may trouble the
church, and merit the excision prayed for in our | text.
2. Particular office bearers may trouble the church of Christ,-by unscriptural doctrine.--Doctrine may be considered as unscriptural three ways, either of which are equally characteristical of the perfons under view.
Exploding any scripture truth, is one kind of doctrine, whereby men, bearing office, may trouble the church. This may be done, by either Thunding to declare the whole counsel of God, dwelling on favourite topics only, to the neglect of others, equally necessary and important; or done, by actually impugning certain parts of the Christian system, and treating them with contempt. --- The former would leave hearers in ignorance ;
the latter, land them in errors :-saints would be ftarved by the one ; finners poisoned by the other. -Copying after the Athenian or Roman lages, public teachers would circumscribe their instructions withio too narrow bounds; for, in all the sy. Items of Greece and Rome, no peculiar doćrrines of the gospel can be found.--Confining themselves, therefore, to the topics which rendered Heathen teachers famous ;-would not Christian teachers bring infamy upon their characters,--and indelible reproach ?-What was virtuous in those, having no access to divine revelation, would, without more, be vicious in these, privileged with the sacred records.
But, if office-bearers, in the church of Christ, should actually impugn and reject any gospel doctrine, they would thereby trouble the church, in a more direct and positive view.-By Dunning to declare Bible traths, teachers would probably do little or no good: but, by setting up in opposition to them, they certainly behoved to do great hurt. By the former, they would only not build; but, by the latter, would they not evidently pull dowi the building? If church officers should formi their doctrines upon the “Popish, Arian, Socini. " an, Arminian, or Bourignian *" schemes of religion; then some of the most interesting truths would be shamefully buried : the prescience of God; his eternal decrees; the divinity of Christ ; the necessity of grace; the perseverance of faints t; G4
and * Doctrines disowned by ministers at their ordinati. on, according to Quest. 3. Act 10. Assem. 1711.
+ The most of these were comprehended in the Bourignian system. --Madam Antonia Bourignon is the reputed author. -See her writings condenined, 'Act 11. Affem. 1701.
ard fich like, behoved, one or other, more or all or hem, in that event, to be expunged from their creed :--and could- say, if such teachers could be confidered in any other, in any better light, than as troubles of the church ?-Would not sinners thereby be robbed of much knowlege, and saints of much comfort, they might otherwile,-the one bale attained, and the other have enjoyed ?- Vastly different from this was the apostle's plan of doc- trine ; for to the elders of Ephesus, he could confdently fay, “I take you to record, that I am pure ;" from the blood of all men; for I have not shun“ ned to declare unto you, all the counfel of • God,” Acts xx. 26, 27.
Again, as office-bearers may trouble the church, by fubftracting from ; so also, by adding to; the diétaires of the gospel. “Ye have made the com“ mandment of God (said our Lord to the Phari“ sees) of rone effect, by your tradition,” Matth. xv 6. And to their unspeakable mortification, was pleased to add, “In vain do ye worship me, teach“ ing for doctrines the commandments of men," Math. xv. 9.---in as far, therefore, as church oflicers teach men to put any authority whatever on a level with the written word, in so far are they criminally chargeable wiih unscriptural doctrine. By not speaking “ according to the law and the te. “ fimony,” do they not prove that “there is no " light in them ?” If. viii. 20.-And, if they, being lightless, lead those who are blind ; let any one lay, if either can fail of falling into the ditch ?-A plain demonstration this, how troublesome to
the The decrees of God ;-the necessity and efficacy of grace ;--the perseverance of faints, etc. were maintain ed against the Arminians, or Remonftrants, by the sy. nid of Dort, which mei Nov. 1. 1618. and sat till tlie th of May 1619.
the churches, teachers of this character would be.
Adding to the doctrines of the word obliquely thrusts at the honour of God; as if infinite wildom and love had not sufficiently provided for the edification and falvation of the church, would it not argue, that a discretionary power was left with men to supply such imagined defects ? -Nor would arbitrary additions be lefs destructive to souls, than dishonouring to the Lord; for, by admitting them in one instance, a foundation is laid for adınitting them in another, until sight of the written word
be intirely lost, and mens regards to the authority • of it wholly obliterated.
A credulous turn of mind, with respect to human authority, or an unreasonable indulgence to the dictates of fancy, are the things upon which this dangerous error will probably turn,-Weak men are most liable to the first; and wicked men to the last.-Want of judgment occasions the one; and conceit of one's judgment, the other_That argues, their having no wisdom to guide themselves; and this, their being too wise to submit to foreign direction.- Should such teachers multiply in a church, would not antient trumperies be revived, or other innovations introduced, to the manifest prejudice of the truth as it is in Jesus ? If past errors were adopted, then the Pleroma of
Platonic Christians, instead of the one God *; · the twofold human nature, ascribed by Bourignions and others, to Jesus Christ t; the five fupernu
merary * The Pleroma, or plenitude of the Deity, consil. ed, according to Valentinus, of thirty Enons or attributes. See Dupin's church history, vol. II. p. 43.
† Madam Antonia Bɔurignon alleged that Christ had one human nature which was produced of Adam before Eve was formed ; and the other born of the * Virgin Mary. See Act 11. Asie.n. -1701.