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save in the Great Shepherd of the fold, who first shed tears over Jerusalem, and then blood.” He unbosoms to us his inward motives, and feelings, and principles. We learn what a sense he had in his heart of the constraining “ necessity laid on him to preach the Gospel ;*" what a care to be 56 pure from the blood of all men,” by “not shunning to declare” unto those he ministered unto, “ all the counsel of God :” up what a humble distrust of his own
sufficiency for these things :"} what a dread of his own corruption, lest, by the outbreaking and victory of that secret enemy, “when he had preached to others, he himself should be a cast-away;"'\ what a grateful remembrance, that, by “the grace of God, he was, what he was ;"|| with what dutiful lowliness of mind, he would check in himself the thought, or the word, that savoured of self. satisfaction in his labours, “ more abundant” though they were, “than those of all the Apostles,"—recollecting, and making himself confess, that, in truth, it was "not he that laboured thus, but the grace of God that was with him."| He has left us, indeed, some few positive precepts as to what the minister of the gospel should be ;—and carefully, doubtless, should they be laid up in our mind and heart, and made to live in our lives ; but it is from observing him, as a minister of the gospel himself,-from incidental and unstudied, but most precious touches and lights, scattered here and there in his writings, revealing to us the inmost workings of his spirit, as well as “how holily, justly, and unblamably he behaved himself among them that believe ; exhorting, comforting, and charging every one, as a father doth his children, to walk worthy of God, who had called them to his kingdom and glory,"* that we may learn, far the most, how the character of the faithful steward of the mysteries of God should be drawn, and how it should be fulfilled, by those called to the same peculiarly high calling.
* 1 Cor, ix. 16, + Acts xx. 26, 27. 12 Cor. ii. 16; iii. 5.
§ 1 Cor, ix, 27. ll 1 Cor. xv. 10. q 1 Cor. xv. 10.
It is as being one among many expressions of his, thus carelessly poured out from the fullness of his heart,-trifling perhaps in appearance at first, but pregnant with a rich treasure of exemplary instruction, and affording, when examined, a deep insight into the Apostle's ruling principles of action,--that I have chosen the short sentence just read for my text : “ I seek not yours, but you.” The words appear to afford matter for consideration, which may be deemed not unsuitable to any occasion, when, as at present, even but a few of those, who must especially take to themselves St. Paul's injunc. tion—“Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ,”* are met together for united worship, and for that mutual exhortation, which, to the most perfect and advanced, can never be superfluous,-for who, in such a work as ours can be perfect and advanced enough ?-and which even the most backward and defective may venture, without presumption or offence, to offer to those far above and before him ; since he speaks, not in his own name, but in the name of Him that sent us all; he urges, not what he can hope that he has truly realized and accomplished himself, but, that which he feels is still with him,-perhaps with all,—of “the things that are before," and unto which, it were well to be reminded, continually to “reach forth,” and press forward.”
* 1 Thess, ii. 10, 11, 12.
It is scarcely necessary to remark, what must beobvious to any oneon referring to the passage, that St. Paul is here alluding to a matter, which he had occasion to mention several times in these two Epistles,-namely, his practice hitherto, and his full determination still, to maintain
*1 Cor. i. 1.
+ Phill. iii. 13, 14.
himself, at whatever personal labour and cost, independently of the disciples at Corinth, and without laying any burthen on them. While at the same time he distinctly asserted his own right, as an Apostle, (whenever he should choose to assert that right,) and the divinely apportioned right of every true Minister of God's word, to be maintained by the altar at which he served, and by means of the flock whom he fed,*-this independence, from personal motives and feelings, and in order to prevent all possible calumny, and misrepresentation of his conduct, and the injury that might be done thereby to the cause of the Gospel,—“ to cut off occasion from them that desired occasion,”f he had rejoiced to preserve ; it was with him matter of boasting—such boasting as he permitted in himself,—and of satisfaction. Accordingly, his words here are, “Behold the third time I am ready to come to you ; and I will not be burthensome to you ; for I seek not yours but you ; for the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children. And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you,” (or, “for your souls”)—“ though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved.”
Taken then in their first and literal meaning,
* 1 Cor. ix. 7, &c.
+ 2 Cor, xi, 12.
the words amount but to a profession of disinterestedness on the part of St. Paul in his Christian labours : they do but express, that he had as little thought of the lucre of gain in all he had done, and ever would do, for the Corinthians, as a parent has, in all his affectionate cares and self-denying exertions for his beloved and dependent family: that he sought no worldly profit from them, but to be spiritually profitable to them ; to gain no gift of them for himself, but to gain them for ever for God. If, however, no wider meaning could be assigned to them,-if they did not rather imply a principle of general application, than merely exhibit St. Paul as an example to us in this single particular, of entire freedom from thoughts of deriving worldly gain through his sacred ministrations,—the words would bear in too small a degree on our peculiar temptations, and set forth too little of the peculiar spirit, that should be in us, to be at all especially suitable to an occasion like the present. It is among the blessed results of the general endowment of the church, on any footing that guarantees a permanent provision for its ministers, independent of the fluctuating favour of the congregations, to the care of which they may be appointed, that no place is thus left for the