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Chapter IV.

Of the duty of God’s people in cases extraordinary concerning his worship.

This being thus determined, I return again to the main ζητούμενον, concerning the duty and privilege of the common people of Christianity in sacred things; and, first, in cases extraordinary, in which, perhaps, it may be affirmed that every one (of those, I mean, before named) is so far a minister of the gospel as to teach and declare the faith to others, although he have no outward calling thereunto. And yet, in this case, every one for such an undertaking must have a 29warrant by an immediate call from God. And when God calls there must be no opposition; the thing itself he sends us upon becomes lawful by his mission: “What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common,” Acts x. 15. Never fear the equity of what God sets thee upon. No excuses of disability or any other impediment ought to take place; the Lord can and will supply all such defects. This was Moses’ case, Exod. iv. 10, 11: “O my Lord,” saith he,” I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue. And the Lord said unto him, Who hath made man’s mouth? have not I the Lord?” So also was it with the prophet Jeremiah. When God told him that he had ordained him a prophet unto the nations, he replies, “Ah, Lord God! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child. But the Lord,” saith he, “said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak,” Jer. i. 6, 7. Nothing can excuse any from going on His message who can perfect his praise out of the mouths of babes and sucklings. This the prophet Amos rested upon when he was questioned, although he were unfit for that heavenly employment either by education or course of life: “I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet’s son; but I was an herdman, and a gatherer of sycomore fruit: and the Lord took me as I followed the flock, and said unto me, Go, prophesy unto my people Israel,” Amos vii. 14, 15. So, on the contrary, St Paul, a man of strong parts, great learning, and endowments, of indefatigable industry and large abilities, yet affirms of himself that when God called him to preach his word, he “conferred not with flesh and blood,” but went on presently with his work, Gal. i. 15–17.

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