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INTRODUCTION.

“I THINK it meet,” saith St. Peter to those who had received precious faith,“ so long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up, by putting you in remembrance ;” and I have often thought it meet to stir up the minds of my lay brethren, by putting them in remembrance of their high vocation, and of the manner in which they ought to "behave themselves in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."

I do not stop to enquire whether laymen ought to preach or not. I take it for granted, that every man who understands the Scriptures, and has a sufficient readiness of utterance, should be allowed “to call sinners to repentance ;” and I trust that the churches of Jesus Christ will be cautious to send none. to preach but such as are thus qualified. That preaching which is most efficacious, is the simple ungarnished tale of the THE CROSS, and this tale ought to be told, and will be told by those who have a saving interest therein. When men receive the religion of Jesus, they wish to propagate it ; nor can they bear the thought of leaving their friends and neighbours under the slavery of sin, after Christ. has made them free It was the desire of propagating the good tidings of the Cross, which actuated those Cyprians and Cyrenians, who were driven by persecution from Jerusalem to Antioch, to speak unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus. Acts xi, 19–22. These men were not apostles, nor is it probable

that they had ever received any ordination : they were probably artizans or craftsmen, who, constrained by the love of Christ, testified to those Gentiles the gospel of the grace of God, by simply relating what they had heard, and seen, and felt, and exhorting their hearers “to repent and believe the Gospel :" and the consequence was, that “the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number believed and turned unto the Lord."

It has been my design, in the following pages, to prompt all lay preachers to a proper regulation of their conduct as men, as christians, and as preachers; and to stimulate them to strive to attain to simplicity and diversity of style, so that they may “rightly divide the Word of God," and be able to “ bring out of their treasures, things new and old." How far I have succeeded must be left for time and circunstances to decide.

I am aware that I am laying myself open to public investigation and criticism, and to divers observations and remarks ; and I only crave that all men will take a proper view of the subject, and consider, that here is no pretension to anything great, but to something useful.

In the Sacred Legion of Honour which contains our national lay preachers, there are men of considerable property and influence, as well as of extensive literary and scientific attainments. There are also merchants and manufacturers, soldiers, sailors, tradesmen, craftsmen, and husbandmen ; who all in their own language, according to the ability which God has given them, “declare the wonderful works of God.” In the exercise of their ministry,

sons of thunder;” others, “sons of consolation." “ Having gifts differing according to the grace that is given to them," one is argumentative and persuasive like Paul,

some are

another eloquent like Apollos, another zealous like Peter, another loving like John. I rejoice that I have the honour to be numbered amongst such men. Brethren, “I wish you good luck in the Name of the Lord.” Go forth and preach “everywhere ;” the Lord will work with you,

confirming the word with signs following," and the word of the Lord will have free course and be glorified. “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” That you may at all times, in all places, and in every respect “ quit yourselves like men,” and “be strong," permit an affectionate brother and fellow-helper to give you a word of counsel and direction ; and, brethren, " suffer the word of exhortation."

1st. Cultivate a spirit of vital godliness—of real piety of heart, and purity of soul. I say, cultivate such a spirit; remove cvery

hindrance and obstruction, and promote the growth of grace in every possible way. Constantly aim at spiritual improvement, at closer union and intercourse with God, and a more lively apprehension of things that are not seen. Always be doing this one thing ;" forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching fort.: unto those things which are before, press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus :" and in order thus to “run with patience the race that is set before you,” look “unto Jesus, the author and finisher of your faith.” Yes, constantly look, by simple faith, to the “Captain of your salvation.” Oh I be men of living faith. See, walk, live, work by faith. “Have faith in God ;” yea, “ be strong in faith, giving glory to God." Continually repose a constant, simple, firm trust in the

atonement and mediation of Christ, and unceasingly pray, " Lord, increase our faith.” Remember the good Shepherd hath said, “I am come that my sheep might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the light of the world. I am the way, the truth, and the life. I am the Vine, ye are the branches : as the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine ; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.”

O abide in this vine, and you

shall be enabled to walk in the way, to follow the light, to embrace the truth, and to enjoy the life, in all its rich abundance. You will then love God with a pure heart fervently, and your neighbour as yourself. You will then be ready to say, “ The love of Christ constraineth us ; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead, and that He died for all, that they which live, should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him who died for them, and rose again. We are dead, and our life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall

appear,
then shall we also appear

with him in glory. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection. Knowing that Christ, being raised from the dead, dieth no more ; but liveth unto God : we likewise reckon ourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God, through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

“ This living faith is the source from whence all the sanctity of the christian, and all the power of the true minister, is derived : it is the medium through which that sap grace and consolation, those streams of peace

and joy, are perpetually flowing, which enrich the believing soul, and make it fruitful in every good work."

2nd. Attend to Family Government.--Let those who

of

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