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Nothing can supply the want of Grace. They who are not taught themselves the Truth, as it is in Jesus, cannot be fit to teach others. All the useful Learning, with which Men can be furnished is, (as one well expresfes it) but like the laying a Ground of some meaner Colour, which afterwards is designed to be overlaid with Gold. Grace is the Gold and Silver, without which all Acquirements, tho' in themselves highly valuable are comparatively but as Hay and Stubble. They who are Pastors after God's Heart must be furnished with his own Spirit: Ornamented with the Fruits andGraces of the Spirit: Which inward adorning is in the Sight of God of great Price. There may be a Refemblance of thefe Things in some Men, who are yet really destitute of them.
And whatever Resemblance of Meekness, Temperance, Self-denial, Hospitality, Love so good Men, &c. may appear in the most refined Person while ungenerate, “It is but
a meer Shadow: And as different in its " Nature from these divine Virtues as they
are found in a gracious renewed Heart and “ Life, as Apples or Grapes of Wax-work
are different from the natural Fruit of the
“ Vine or Tree. He is at best, but a Wolf “ in Sheeps Cloathing; or rather, the very " Picture of the Devil in Samuel's Mantle."
And where these neceffary Qualifications are wanting; and Men wretchedly ignorant of the Principles of the Christian Religion, nay, tainted with pernicious Errors: and of notoriously wicked and profligate Lives, are put into the Ministry, tho' by an Episcopal Ordination, they were never authorised by Christ to teach and rule in his Church; nor are such capable of answering the great Ends of their Office. And therefore says God, of fuch Teachers, they shall not profit my People at all. (v) We may hence fee, of how much
greater Importance it is, what the Qualifications of a Teacher in the Church are, than by whom he is invested in his Office. And that
may not imagine these to be the Sentiments only of rigid puritanical Dissenters, I will give the opinion of two very eminent Prelates of the established Church.
God may feed his Pcople (fays Bishop Hop
Jer. 33. 32.
kins,) as he did Elijah, by a Raven; and make a cold Breath kindle the Sparks of Grace in the Hearts of others, and blow it up into a Flame. But yet it is far more comfortable and profitable to the People to fit under a Minister, who shall go before them in Example as well as in Doctrine; such a one who speaks from his Heart is most likely to speak unto it: and having himself experienced the Way of Holiness, cạn more favourily recommend them to the Acceptation of his Flock.
And, says Bishop Bull, the Priest that is not cloathed with Righteousness, tho' other, wise richly adorned with all the Ornaments of humane and divine Literature, and those guild, ed over with the Rays of a Seraphic Prudence and Sagacity, is yet but a naked, beggarly, despicable Creature; of no Use or Şervice in the Church of God.
The unholy Teacher, let him preach ever fo well, discourseth to little Purpose. There will be no Life in his Doctrine, because his Life is so deftitute of the Spirit of Holiness; he will sooner damn his own Soul, than fave any Man's else. (9)
Companion for the Candidates of holy Ordere,
And now, from these Confiderations I think it appears a heavy Judgment of God upon a People, when, in the Conduct of his holy, just and all wise Providence, he pemits them to chuse and settle such as Pastors and Teachers in the Church.
Surely then, there can be no Deprecation in the Litany more necessary than this, viz. From ungenerate Ministers, good Lord deliver
3. We hence learn who are best qualified for the Work of the Gospel Ministry, viz. Such as are endowed with the Gifts and Graces of God's holy Spirit.
Gifts without Grace will not do: they must go together. Though I Speak with the Tongues of Men, and of Angels, and have not Charity I am become as founding Brass, or a tinkling Cymbal. And tho I have the Gift of Prophecy, and understand all Mysteries and all Knowledge; and though I have all Faith, so that I could remove Mountains, and have no Charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all those Goods to feed the poor, and though I give Ar
Body to be burned, and have not Charity it profiteth me nothing. (s)
As God hath a Church in the World, aa gainst which the Gates of Hell shall not prevail; fo he continues to qualify those whom he fees fit to employ, in preachin; th: everlasting Gospel, for the perfecting of the Saints, for the edyfying of the Body of Christ, &c (1). It is well observed, Goi hath not thought fit to fend his Gospel to us by the Ministry of Angels, but in great Wisdom harb committed the Dispensation of it to Men, tj frail finful Men, to Men of the like Corruptions and Paffions with their fellow Creatures: yet can preach the Word more experimentally than could be done by Creatures of any
For Ministers being of the same Frame and Constitution, and under the same common Circumstances with other Men; they feel th:
God within them: they meet with the fame Snares, ani are in all Tings tempted as other Men; have the famc failings, Infirmities and Imperfecti
EN) 1. Cor. 13. do 2; 3. (c) Eph. 4. 11, 12, 133