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A

DESCRIPTION

OF THE

QUALIFICATIONS

NECESSARY to

A Gospel Minister.

CHA P. I.

That Sanctification is a previous Qualification for the Reception of a Divine Inspiration to MINISTER.

A

S the Defign of the following Pages is to fet in a true Light the Nature and Neceffity of an Infpired Miniftry, and the Advantages that we receive thereby, I fhall, as introductory thereunto, briefly take Notice of a Qualification fuitable to the Receiving of that Infpiration, without which it is not reasonable to fuppofe any one to have it.

First,

First, There must be a State of Sanctification (in degree) known, by the Spirit of Judgment, and Burning, before any can be proper Objects to be Receivers of this infpiring Gift, that can only affift a Minister, and make him inftrumental of doing Good to others: The Tree must be good, e'er the Fruit can be fo; and right and true Ministers are to be known by their Fruits: This being granted, which I think can't be denied, then it follows, that none, without being thus qualified, can be called to the Work of the Ministry by a divine Infpiration of the holy Spirit; and therefore all vile and ungodly Perfons, while they continue in that natural and unregenerate State, are excluded from any Part in this Gift; and altho' fome fuch may pretend, that either with their Learning, or by their Money, or both, they may have acquired or made a Purchase of Orders for Liberty to Preach, and may on this Foundation undertake to expofe what they have to Sale; but what they fell is no other than what they have bought, while in this unregenerate State, empty and vain, and can't be of Profit to Pfalm 1. 16. the Hearers; for as faith the Pfalmift, Unto the Wicked God faith, what haft thou to do to declare my Statutes, or that thou shouldeft take my Covenant in thy Mouth, feeing thou hateft Inftruction, and cafteft my Words behind thee. And let me fay, that whofoever undertakes the Work of the Miniftry, not being first reformed themselves, cannot justly expect to

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be infpired by divine Wisdom, for the Reforming others by the Word of Truth; for fhe dwells in holy Souls, and makes them Friends of God and Prophets: Then it is reasonable to conclude, that all who live in Adultery, Fornication, Uncleanness, Lafcivious Galat. v. nefs, Idolatry, Witchcraft, Hatred, Variance, Emulations, Wrath, Strife, Seditions, Herefies, Envyings, Murders, Drunkenness, Revel lings, and fuch like Works of the Flesh, are excluded from any Inheritance in the Kingdom of God, and confequently from having any Part in that excellent infpiring Gift of the Ministry, fo neceffary to our Affistance and Direction in our Way thither.

Secondly, I fhall therefore fay fomething of the Qualification neceffary to receiving of this excellent infpiring Gift of the Ministry; and in order to it, we ought firft to examine our own Hearts with Care, praying in Secret that God, by his Spirit, will vouchsafe to direct us in a right Search after Truth; and hereby we shall find a Law in our Hearts that we have broken, and a Spirit in our inward Parts that we have rebelled against, and in our Ignorance, being hurried in the Pursuit of the Pleasures of the Flesh, and Vanities of this Life, have overlook'd, tho' we have been followed by it, and it has ftrove with us: For the Spirit worketh in us fecretly, and we know not at the first what it is; but finding ourselves very uneafy, and in great Trouble of Mind, being under Sorrow

Sorrow and Heaviness, not rightly and cooly examining the Reafon, it is often mistaken to proceed from a natural Caufe, and fo outward Means are fought for to relieve from this Uneafiness; fome by taking their Bottle with their Companions, others diverting themselves with their Sports and Gaming, others again take Medicines to help them againft what they call Melancholy; fome one Way, and fome another, thus mistake, and make merry over the Witness in them, and stiffen their Necks against the Reproof of Inftruction, which is the Way to Life; Prov, xxix, not minding the Text, which fays, He that being often reproved, hardens his Neck, fhall fuddenly be deftroyed, and that without Remedy.

I.

Thirdly, But tho' fome are thus rebellious and careless, others take a better Course, by ftrictly examining their Words and Actions, Company and Converfation, and finding it to be their great Sorrow and Burden, instead of endeavouring to get from under the Load of Trouble by any indecent Method of Sporting, Gaming, Drinking, Phyfick, or ComLam. iii 29. pany, fuch rather, as the Prophet said, fit

alone and keep Silence, putting their Mouth in the Duft, praying in fecret, that God will affift them by his Grace and good Spirit, that the Caufe of this Sorrow may be removed by an humble and fincere Repentance of all their Follies and Sins, wherewith they have offended God, and that for Time to come, they may, by the Help of the Spirit, and Direction

Direction of that Law in their Hearts, which they had hitherto overlook'd and neglected, now lead a new Life; Firft, by denying all Ungodliness, and abstaining from every Appearance of Evil; which must first be done, e'er they can perfectly practice that which is right in the Sight of God; for no Man can be righteous and wicked at one Time; and we must first expect a being brought from under the Bondage of Corruption to spiritual Pharaoh and Egypt, into the Wilderness, e'er we can offer acceptably unto God: This State is figuratively called a Wilderness, a Way we have not trod in, fhewing thereby the Neceffity of depending on our Guide, our fpiritual Mofes, that must go before and take Care of our Support: For in this Wildernefs State we have no Food, no Water, viz. no right Refreshment, but what this our Leader provides and adminifters to us: In this State we can neither pray, nor do any religious Act, without the Direction of our Leader: So that we find the Cafe is much altered with us to what it was in Time paft; for then we could pray, fing, preach, and perform other religious Duties in our own Time, feeding and fatisfying ourselves therewith; but now we are brought into the Wilderness, where there is neither Ploughing, nor Sowing; we can't now help ourselves by our own Contrivance, and Workings in our own Wills, but here we must live a Life of Faith, wholly depending on him that will (if we faint not in our Minds) bring us through

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