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Office and Responsibility of Ministers.

Office and Responsibility of Ministers.

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Published by glennpease
THE REV. C. SIMEON, M.A.


Ezek. xxxiii. 8. IVhen I say unto the wicked, ivicked wan,
thou shah sure!]/ die! if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked.
from his way, that ivicked man shall die in his iniquity ; hut
his blond will I recjuire at thy hand.
THE REV. C. SIMEON, M.A.


Ezek. xxxiii. 8. IVhen I say unto the wicked, ivicked wan,
thou shah sure!]/ die! if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked.
from his way, that ivicked man shall die in his iniquity ; hut
his blond will I recjuire at thy hand.

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Published by: glennpease on Jun 25, 2014
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OFFICE AD RESPOSIBILITY OF MIISTERS. THE REV. C. SIMEO, M.A. Ezek. xxxiii. 8. IVhen I say unto the wicked, ivicked wan, thou shah sure!]/ die! if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked. from his way, that ivicked man shall die in his iniquity ; hut his blond will I recjuire at thy hand. THE office of a Minister is the most important and most difficult of any that we can be called to sustain. It is the most important, because the sal- vation of multitudes depends upon it : and it is the most difficult, because it requires such self-denying habits, and spiritual affections. The responsibility also that attaches to it is such, that no man would dare to take it upon himself, if he had not a promise of peculiar assistance in the discharge of it. Mini- sters are the messengers of God to men : to them they must faithfully declare his whole counsel : how- ever painful the truths may be which they are to de- liver, and however averse men may be to hear them, they must execute their commission at the peril of their souls. To this effect God speaks in the words before us : in which we may notice, I. What God saith to the wicked — It is scarcely possible to conceive a more solemn declaration than that before us ; "I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die !" Consider, 1. Who are the people addressed — [These are all who do not unfeignedly turn from sin to God. It matters not whether they be rich or poor, old or young, learned
 
or unlearned. In some sense, it matters not whether then- sins have heen more or less heinous : for though there certainly are degrees of guilt, and some are more wicked than others, yet all are Avicked, who are not following after God in righteousness and true holiness ; and consecjuently, all such persons, however their characters may vary in other respects, are addressed in the text.] 2. The declaration of God unto them — [Death is here denounced as the judgn,ent to be inilicted on all who turn not to their God : and to the same effect the Inspired Writ;ers uniformly speak*. or are we at a loss to determine what is nieant by " death:" it is the wrath of God'', the misery of hell*". This is the judgment that will come upon every individual who shall be found in the state l)efore dcscrilied. God may be considered as addreLssiug himself to every individual of the human race; " O thou wicked man !" or is this fatal result of vvick- edjiess expressed in doubtful terms : there is no peradventuie; the decree * Isai. iii. 1 1. Rr,m. vi. 23. Jam i. 14, 15. ' Uom. i. 18. ' Kc\. xxi. 3. 190 EZEKIEL, XXXITI. 8. [585. decree is fixed; '^Thou shalt surely die !" Who can reflect on these words as proceeding from a God of infinite power and of inviolable truth, and not tremble ?] 3. The condition implied in that declaration — [If there were no condition implied in the declaration, it would have been to no purpose to make known the declaration itself; since it could have no other effect than to torment men before their time. But as in the message to ineveh, " that in forty days ineveh should be overthrown," there was an implied condition, that, if they repented, the threatened vengeance should be withheld ; so, in this case, there is an implied assurance, that
 
the wicked, if they will repent, shall not die. And this is ex- pressly stated in the following context*^: so that, awful as this passage is, it is no less encouraging than it is awful ; because it assures the contrite and believing sinner that he shall never perish.] Together with this warning, we see in the text, II. The necessity imposed on Ministers to pro- claim it — Ministers are described as watchmen, or sentinels, placed at a distance from the camp to give notice of the enemy's approach. ow this very character marks both their duty and their responsibility. But the consequences of neglect in any Minister are de- clared in two respects : 1. The person whom he neglects to warn, will perish — • [If through the sloth or treachery of the sentinels a camp be surprised at midnight, nothing but confusion and ruin can en- sue. Thus, if a person appointed to warn the wicked, neglect to do so, the wicked will continue regardless of their impending doom, till it is too late to avert it. And when the hour of venge- ance is come, it will be to no purpose to say, *' I was not aware of my danger ; my Minister has betrayed me." o ; the wicked have means of information within their own reach, independent of their Ministers ; and they have secret intimations in their own consciences that they ought to repent : and therefore they must take the consequences of their own wickedness ; " they must die in their iniquity." How awful is this effect of one Minister's su- pineness ! Alas ! that hundreds, and perhaps thousands, should perish eternally, when, if he had warned them faithfully, they might have been saved for ever 1] 2. He •* ver. 14—16.

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