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very true and

Neither does he, like others, give long and tedious expositions of doctrine, which may instruct a few, and make them critical and captious; but which put the mass of the audience to sleep, and leave the consciences of all unaffected and untouched. Neither does he, like others, give utterance to cold and barren generalities, which every one acknowledges to be

very good, but which no one applies to himself, nor seems to suppose any other object intended by them than to fill up the time and space usually devoted to this part of the public service. No!-the preacher who looks to Paul as his model, almost immediately takes hold of his subject, exhibits it in a few prominent lights, and then presses it home upon the consciences of his hearers. He preaches to his people, not before them : his aim is not to dazzle the imagination, but to reach the heart; not to argue so much as to persuade; not to instruct the mind so much as to stir


the affections; not to change opinions, but principles; not merely to reform the morals, but to renovate the soul. The conversion of sinners unto God is the object for which he prays preaches-labours incessantly in his public and private ministrations. This leads me to observe

2. The effective preacher, in every address from the pulpit, makes a clear distinction between the converted and unconverted. The Scriptures, with amazing perspicuity and emphasis of expression, lay down the tests by which the natural man is characterized, as well as the believer; and these should not on any occasion be kept out of view by the preacher, if he wish to preserve bis hearers from self-deception. The natural man, we are informed by the word of God, and our own experience amply confirms the statement, 'fulfils the desires of the flesh and the mind;'-be walks according to the course of this world;' he is a lover of himself,' and lives to himself;' he 'is flesh, and minds the things of the flesh.'

The believer, on the other hand, crucifies the flesh with its affections and lusts' —minds the things of the Spirit -is

not conformed to the world loves the brethren-walks humbly and tenderly with Goda

Here are obvious and irreconcilable differences. The believer and the sinner differ in the motives and objects of their conduct; in the principles and rules of their course of sentiment and action; in their joys and sorrows; in their hopes and fears; in the whole spirit and aspect of their character ; for every hearer, it should be remembered, belongs either to one of these classes or to the other; is either a child of God



or a child of the devil; is moving either towards heaven or hell; and he should be distinctly told what he is, and whither he is going, that he may be preserved from despondency on the one hand, and from presumption on the other. He should - be specially guarded against those delusions which are most apt to deceive and destroy immortal souls, even under the superintendence of a Gospel ministry. It should be impressed upon him, that he may bave an Orthodox creed, and may be able to combat with success every form of heresy that enters into controversy with bim, and yet may have no claims to the title of Christian after all; that he may be a scrupulous attendant on all the ordinances of religion, and yet be no Christian; that he may be blameless and harmless ; nay, he may hold the bighest place of estimation in the world and even in the church, and yet be no Christian. “If any

be in Christ,” that is, if he be indeed a Christian," he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are be. come new.And if a man be not a new creature, then it matters not what may be his knowledge of Orthodoxy, and general acquaintance with the word of God; it matters not what his sayings or doings, his character in his own estimas tion, or in that of his brethren, he is not in Christ he is no Christian. In Presbyterian congregations, which are gene: rally well-informed in the first principles of the Gospel, the attention of the members should be habitually called, not only to the elementary question, "What must I do to be saved ?' but to one which belongs to a more advanced stage of inquiry, * How do I know that I am in the way of salvation ? What evidence have I that I am a Christian? Let me try myself by the infallible tests laid down in the word of God. It is astonishing to find how many years individuals may continue to sit under the sound of the Gospel without putting to themselves the simple and obvious interrogation--Let it not be forgotten from the pulpit.

3. The effective preacher should carefully distinguish not only the two great and leading divisions of converted and unconverted hearers, but also the several varieties into which these two divisions are distributed. It is this discriminating skill in addressing his audience that the apostle urges Timothy so sedulously to acquire, 2 Tim. 11--15: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” A minister is a steward in the house of God, and he must dispense the heavenly food entrusted to his care, according to the spiritual constitution and necessities of those for whose health and well-being he is appointed to labour. " Who is that faithful and wise steward, whom his Lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season.” “Blessed is that servant, whom his Lord, when he cometh, shall find so doing.” The application or improvement of sermons is, in general, too little studied; yet it is here that the preacher's knowledge of the human character, and experimental acquaintance with the divine life are most clearly discovered;

and here should the collective force of the various truths brought forward in the progress of the sermon, be concentrated, and made to bear with accumulated and irresistible power upon the hearts and consciences of the various classes of the audience.

Throughout the whole of the previous address there may be, and I think ought to be, inferential applications occasionally deduced from doctrines laid down and principles explained; by which means the attention of the audience would be more effectually maintained, and opportunity would be afforded for more lengthened and diversified improvement of the subject. But in the conclusion, the preacher should gatlier up all his strength, and with holy boldness and uncompromising fidelity, yet with all gentleness and affection, declare the counsel of God in a direct appeal to the several distinctions of character before him. Sometimes he should address. the aged, sometimes the young, on their respective duties and privileges; sometimes the rich and sometimes the poor. The merchant, the mechanic, the apprentice, the husbandman, ought not to be overlooked. The husband and wife, the parent and child, the master and servant have their respective characteristics delineated in the word of God. Most frequently, however, the preacher should classify his hearers according to their spiritual state and history. The Sabbathbreaker, the drunkard, the liar, the profligate, the hypocrite, the backslider, should each be addressed, as opportunity permits, with affectionate faithfulness, and their condition in the sight of God be described, with its fearful consequences, from · the holy and incorrupted word of truth. Believers also are to be treated according to the amount of spiritual strength they have acquired. A different style of address is requisite for children; for young men ; for fathers in Christ; for those who are skilful, and those who are unskilful in the word of *righteousness ; for those who have just tasted the heavenly gitt, and 'those who, by reason of use, have their senses exa ercised to discern both good and evil;' for those who are suffering from family bereavements, or spiritual desertion, or besetting temptations. To speak a word in season to persons so variously affected, requires no ordinary acquaintance with the word and work of God'; yet it is by such aptness to teach, by such accurate discernment to perceive, and judgment appropriated to administer to the infirmities and wants of the hearers, not by the brilliancy of his imagination, or depth of his reasoning, that the superiority of a preacher is to be estimated.

4. As to the choice of subjects. The effective preacher never preaches at random. He has always some specific object in view in his public ministrations. He does not listlessly open bis Bible for the first text that may present itself to his eye, nor turn to a common-place book for some passage that seems to admit of easy exposition, or bears on a subject with which he is already familiar. He has his heart in his work, and he is never at a loss for topics of discoursé. Sometimes they are pressed upon him by the general aspect of his congregation-sometimes by the character of individuals sometimes by sins to be relinquished--sometimes by works to be done, and attainments to be made-sometimes by the conversations held with his people during the previous weeksometimes by the strong and almost irresistible impulse of his own mind towards a particular subject-sometimes by the judgments, sometimes by the mercies of God, in his providential dispensations, whether in reference to individuals, or to the community at large.

As to the particular portion of Scripture selected for the illustration of these several topics, sometimes the preacher fixes on a single verse, sometimes on several verses of a chapter. Sometimes he takes a whole chapter, if it appear to suit the purpose he has in view, sometimes he lectures continuously over a book of Scripture. It appears to us, indeed, that if the system of lecturing were more generally and habitually adopted, our congregations would be far more intelligent in the word of God, and far more solidly built up in our most holy faith. A lecture brings a large portion of divine truth before the consideration of an audience, not only in the language, but in the arrangement which the Holy Ghost teacheth' it affords facility, by the variety of topics introduced, and by the familiarity of style almost necessarily employed, of assailing particular sins, which could scarcely be glanced at without giving offence, in a more formal address ;

and it counteracts the temptation to which some Ministers are exposed, of indulging in argumentative essays, or injurious disquisitions, or oratorical harangues, instead of setting forth the truth in simplicity and godly sincerity. This mode of instruction should, therefore, I humbly conceive, be universally pursued in one, at least, of the Sabbath-day services. Nor can we ever hope, as I apprehend, to have the mass of a congregation well instructed, until its Minister lecture as well as preach, and see his expositions followed out by the people with the Bible in their hands, who shall not only on the Lord's day in the sanctuary, but every day at their own houses, search the Scriptures like the noble Bereans, to see “whether the things which they have heard be so."

It is unnecessary, I trust, to remind the Ministers of the Gospel, that there is one theme which must prove always new, always interesting to the people, and which must never be forgotten by the preacher. It is that announced by the Apostle Paul to the Ministers of the Corinthian church, when he declares that he “ desires to know nothing among them, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.' Jesus, in the glory of his person and in the sufficiency of his work, is the centre of Christian doctrine and the source of Christian obedience. There is no doctrine of the Gospel which is not essentially and inseparably connected with the Son of God, and which does not derive its sweet and constraining power from that connexion ; there is no duty of the Gospel which is not recommended from love to the person of Christ, by the influence of his grace, and with dependence on his merits alone for acceptance with the holy and righteous God. The more enlarged our experience of the Christian life, the more clearly will it be discovered that Christ is all;' and the history of the church abundantly testifies that these have been the most successful preachers, whose discourses have dwelt most fully on the boundless and unsearchable excellency of the Lord Jesus. I would respectfully, but urgently press upon the consideration of the Ministers of the Presbyterian Church, whether it be not from a comparative inattention to the glorious majesty of Christ's person, and to the perfection of his finished work, and to the rich provision which he has made for the present peace, as well as the future blessedness of the believer, that the addresses from our pulpits have frequently less of attractiveness, and of what is called by some unction, than the discourses delivered by Ministers of other religious communities.

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