« Prev Rule II. His conversation is to be observed and… Next »

Rule ii. His conversation is to be observed and diligently followed, so far as he walks in the steps of Jesus Christ.

1 Cor. iv. 16, “I beseech you, be ye followers of me.” Chap. xi. 1, “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.”

Heb. xiii. 7, “Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.”

572 Thess. iii. 7, “Yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you.”

Phil. iii. 17, “Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.”

1 Tim. iv. 12, “Be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”

1 Pet. v. 3, “Be ensamples to the flock.”

Explication ii. That an exemplary conversation was ever required in the dispensers of holy things, both under the Old Testament and New, is apparent, The glorious vestments of the old ministering priests, the soundness and integrity of their person, without maim, imperfection, or blemish, Urim and Thummim, with many other ornaments, though primitively typical of Jesus Christ, yet did not obscurely set out the purity and holiness required in the administrators themselves, Zech. iii. 4. In the New, the shining of their light in all good works, Matt. v. 16, is eminently exacted; and this not only that no offence be taken at the ways of God, and his worship by them administered (as hath fallen out in the Old Testament, 1 Sam. ii. 17; and in the New, Phil. iii. 18, 19), but also that those who are without may be convinced, 1 Tim. iii. 7, and the churches directed in the practice of all the will and mind of God by them revealed, as in the places cited. A pastor’s life should be vocal; sermons must be practised as well as preached. Though Noah’s workmen built the ark, yet themselves were drowned. God will not accept of the tongue where the devil hath the soul Jesus did “do and teach,” Acts i. 1. If a man teach uprightly and walk crookedly, more will fall down in the night of his life than he built in the day of his doctrine.

Now, as to the completing of the exemplary life of a minister, it is required that the principle of it be that of the life of Christ in him, Gal. ii. 20, that when he hath taught others he be not himself “a cast-away,” 1 Cor. ix. 27; with which he hath a spiritual understanding, and light given him into the counsel of God, which he is to communicate, John v. 20; 1 Cor. ii. 12, 16; 2 Cor. iv. 6, 7; — and that the course of it be singular, Matt. v. 46, Luke vi. 32; whereunto so many eminent qualifications of the person and duties of conversation are required, 1 Tim. ii. 2–7, etc., Tit. i. 6–9; — and his aim to be exemplar to the glory of God, 1 Tim. iv. 12. So is their general course and the end of their faith to be eyed, Heb. xiii. 7. And their infirmities, whilst really such, and appearing through the manifold temptations whereunto they are in these days exposed, or imposed on them through the zeal of their adversaries that contend against them, [are] to be covered with love, Gal. iv. 13, 14. And this men will do when they conscientiously consider that even the lives of 58their teachers are an ordinance of God, for their relief under temptations, and provocation unto holiness, zeal, meekness, and self-denial.

« Prev Rule II. His conversation is to be observed and… Next »
VIEWNAME is workSection