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On the Mutual Duties of Pastor and People.

On the Mutual Duties of Pastor and People.

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Acts x„ 29.

"I ask, therefore, for what intent ye have sent for me."

Acts x„ 29.

"I ask, therefore, for what intent ye have sent for me."

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Jul 10, 2014
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved


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O THE MUTUAL DUTIES OF PASTOR AD PEOPLE.BY REV. ADAM EMPIE, D.D., Acts x„ 29. "I ask, therefore, for what intent ye have sent for me." Such was the question, my hearers, that the Apostle Peter put to the centurion, who, by Divine direction, had sent for him to his house. And the answer of the conscientious heathen was as memorable as the question was pointed : " "We are all here present before God," said he, " to hear all things commanded thee of God." Here we are taught, then, the mutual duties of the minister and his people. Here the cen- turion, at once, acknowledges the authority of the Apostle, and declares himself solicitous to hear liis instructions, and to abide by his commands. He meets the man of God with a spirit and disposition, with a cordiality and solicitude, that are at the same time honorable to himself, grateful to the Apostle, and acceptable to God ; for they are unquestionable proofs of the nobleness of his mind, of the integrity of his heart, and of tlie anxiety which he possessed, to become ac- quainted with all the truths and duties of rehgion. And it was well, both for him and for the Apostle, that his wishes were so pure and his motives so exalted ; for, had they been otherwise, they would have met with the decided opposition and disapprobation of Peter. He deeply felt his awful re- * Written and preached at Wilmington, orth Carolina, ovember, ISIl ; being the first sermon llie author ever preached to a congregation of which he was sole pastor; after having been for two years and a half asaistaat-miniHter of St. Geiiga's Church, Hempstead, Long-Island. 1
14 MUTUAL DUTIES OF PASTOR AD PEOPLE. sponsibility. He knew that he was commissioned by the Son of God to publish the " glad tidings" of salvation, and, (in the language of the Apostle.) " to declare the whole counsel of God," " to turn men from the error of their ways," and to lead them from the darkness of natural religion to the light of Christianity. He felt himself accountable to Heaven for his conduct ; and he was conscious that the blood of those who through his neglect perished in their sins, would be I'equired at his hands. He knew that he was directed and empowered by the Spirit of God, and he was determined vigorously to oppose all error in principle, all immorality in practice. The commands of God, the blessed influences of the Holy Spirit accompanying his truth, the eternal ruin of the wicked, and the e\ erlasting life and hap- piness of never-dying souls, were matters too awful and momentous to be neglected or to be regarded with indiffer- ence. These subjects required, upon them he was com- manded, and had engaged to bestow, and to them he did devote, his time, his talents, his reputation, his fortune, his life. The everlasting happiness of millions of immortal spirits depended, under God, upon his exertions. To have been inditferent or negligent would have been cruelty, would have been treason, Avould have been rebellion. othing less, therefore, than the centurion's answer could have satisfied the zealous and conscientious Apostle. When he preached to professed unbelievers, he was bold, strong, authoritative ; and his language to sinners of every description was familiar and unreserved, breathing an affec- tionate regard for the temporal and spiritual weliare of men, and springing from a deep and impressive sense of those awful realities to which he called their attention. He was at no time either disheartened by the opposition, or awed by the threats, or deterred by the persecutions of the world. The truth he unhesitatingly declared ; to the truth he unde- viatingly adhered, and for the truth he triumphantly suffered. With his Divine Master, he at all times spake " as one
having authority," and as one who " feared not what man could do" unto him ; but was determined upon a conscien- tious and prudent discharge of his duties. Had therefore the centurion, instead of becoming a dis- ciple, and ingenuously opening his heart for conviction, MUTUAL DUTIES OF PASTOR AD PEOPLE. 16 endeavored to draw the Apostle from the performance of his duty, by calling his attention to worldly concerns, or by entering into useless disputes ; had he refused to listen to the truth, and shut his ears against the remonstrances of reason and the voice of inspiration, the Apostle would have ex- horted, would have entreated, would have threatened. Pie would have displayed to his viev/, as he did on similar occasions, the goodness and the justice, the mercies and the  judgments of Heaven. In the name of his God, he would have presented in the one hand the olive branch of peace, and in the other the thunderbolt of war ; entreating him not to fight against God, but to repent, and to attend to the " things that belonged to his everlasting peace," before they were hidden from his eyes. And he would finally have parted from him as he did from Simon Magus, declaring that he was still " in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity;" and that it Avould be "more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for him." Such warmth, energy, and simplicity of speech our Savior used to the unbelieving Jews and the hypocritical Pharisees ; and such the Apostle used, both to Jews and Gentiles. My brethren, you will not, I trust, condemn me, for copy- ing after these models. Permit me, then, to tell you, that I feel myself bound in conscience, and with the Apostle Paul, am " determined to know nothing among you, save Jesus Christ and Him crucified ;" who, although a " stumbling- block" to the worldling and the unbeliever, is to the Christian "the power and wisdom of God unto salvation."

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