Hopkins - HP BR75 .H65 1710

Fifth Commandment, Converfation contradiCtory to their Doctrine, the People will be ready to conclude, that fo much ftri.Ctne.fs is no.t ~ccefrary, that they. only urge it as a Matter of high and nice PerfeChon m Rellgaon, and that ccrtamly they know a nearer W3 y to Heaven than through fo many Severities which they prefs upon the People; and that therefore they will take the fame Courfe, and run. the fame Venture that their Miniil::ers do. And indeed, how is it likely that Jitch a Miniftery fuould be etfe.. Ctual to bring others to Holinefs, wht:n the Mini!tcr himfelf declares to all the World by his At\:ions, that he looks upon it a~ unnece!fary? \Vhat _hold ~an his Admonitions and Reproofs take upon the Confclences ot Men? Certamly his own Guilt muft nt:cds rife up in his Throat, and choak his Reproofs. For Confcicnti... Onfncfs of the fame Mifcarriages will retorE whatfoever we can fay againft others, more ftrongly upon our felves; and fuggeft ro· us, that it is but bafe Hypocrifie to blame that which our felves practife. With what Face cauft thou prefs others to repent and reform? \~hat Arguments ca~ft thou ufe to prevail with them, who by continuing in the fame Sin, dolt thy felf Judge thofe Arguments to be of no force? indeed, it were a Temper to be wifh'd and pray'd for, that we cpuld only refpefr how righteOllS the Reproof is, and not hoW righteous the Perfon who gives it; and be content to have our Motes pluck'd out, though it be by fuch who h:.we Beams in their own Eyes: That we could learn that hard Lctfon \Vhich our Saviour gives his Difciples, to do as rhey fay, but not to do after their Works~ for indeed, thore is no more reafon to rejetl: found Admonition, becaufc it Comes from an unfound He<irt~ th:in th~re ~s to ftop our Ears again!t good Counfel, becaufe it is .d~­ livered perhaps by a fhnktng Breath. But yet fa tt ufually fares, that when Mtmfters of defiled and toofe lives, fhall yet preach up Holinefs and Strictnefs to their People, and as they ought, reprove them fharply for their Sins; they will be apt to think, What, is he in earneft? And doth he not fee that he himfelf is as bad or worfc? With what Face can he thunder out Woe, and Wrath, and Hell againft my Sins, which yet are no more mine than his own? Doth he think to fright me. with denouncing Threats and Cmfes, when he himfelf, who ftands as fair a Mark for them as _11 flights and contemns them? Or, doth he envy me my Sins, and would.ingtofs them all unto himfelf? And thus with fuch carnal Reafoningsdrawn from the evil Examples and wicked Lives of Miniftcrs, they fit hardned under their Preaching, and account all they fay, but as a Lcffon they muft repeat, and a Tale they muft tell to· get their living by. Certainly, fuch ihall perifh in their Iniqui• ties, but the Blood of their Souls God will require at your Rands. ' But now when a Minifter walks confcientioufly and exemplary before his Flock, l1is Dotl.rine gaiJIS a mighty Advantage to work upon them, by his Life. This ls building up tbe Church of C.hrift wi~h both Hands, fhewing them ~oth the Equity and the Eafinefs of thatHohnefs wh1ch he perfnades them to, hy h1s own PraCtice. When he reproves, his Reproofs break in upon the Confcienccs of his Hearers with Convj8:ion and Autho.rity; and if they do not reform, yet at leaft daunt and terrific them, and make them felf-accufed, and felf-condemned.. Here is one reproves me for Sin, who believes ic to be as ~vil as he reprefents it, by his own efchewing it. Here is one that denounces Wrath if I repent not.; who doubtiefs believes it to be as terrible as he declares it, by his own carcfulnefs to efcape it. Certainly, Preaching never comes with fuch Power and Energy into the Confcience, ,as when the Minifter preacheth as well by his Works~ as by his Words; and to induce the People to it, is firft obedient himfelf to the Truths which he teacheth them. Men are eafier led by Examples than by Precepts; for though Precepts are the more ex.. aCt:, yet Examples are t~ more eaf!e way of t~aching. And he is a perfect Work..: m~n who joineth both together, Hetther tcachtng what he will not do, nor doing What he dares not teach; and therefore it is cbferved of our Lord Jcfus Chrift the great Teacher of his Church, that he began both to do and teach, Afh 1. 1. Now Minifters muft be exemplary both in themfeh•es, and in their Families. h1 thernfelves they muft be bl:mzetefs, as.riJe Stewards of God; not ftlf-roi/1'~, ~ot foon af1gry, 11ot g~ven to Wine, no Str,kers, 110tg'ven to filrhy Ltlcre; Loven of Hofpttafzty, Lovers. of good Men, fober, juft, holy, temperate; as the Apoftle fums up their Duties, Tit. 1 , 7, 8. Thefe are the things which will give them a good Report among thofe which are without, and will recommend the Doctdncs and Truths which they teach, to the Acceptation and Love of their very Enemies, and the Enemies of their Holy Profe.fiion. X y They