Here then is, I. Your duty. II. The degrees and excellence
of your duty.
The duty is double: 1. Holiness of life. 2. Integrity of doctrine.
Both these have their heightenings, in several degrees. -
1. For your life and conversation, it ought not only to be good, not
only to be holy, but to be so up to the degrees of an excellent example,
“Ye must be a pattern.”
2. Ye must be patterns, not only of knowledge and wisdom, not of contemplation
and skill in mysteries, not of unprofitable notions, and ineffective wit
and eloquence; but of something that is more profitable, of something that
may do good, something by which mankind shall be better; of something that
shall contribute to the felicity and comfort of the world; " a pattern
of good works.”
3. It must not be a tupov, —‘a type’ or pattern
to be hidden or laid in tabernacles, like those images of Moloch and Remphan,
which the Spirit of God in the Old Testament calls twnb
twko—'Succoth Benoth,’ little repositories or booths to hide their
images and patterns of their gods; but pazecomenov
tupon,—‘you must be exhibited’ and shewn forth, brought forth into
action, and visibility, and notorious observation.
4. There is also another mystery and duty in this word; for Moloch and
Remphan they were patterns and figures, but they were tupoi
ouv epoihsanto,—‘patterns which the people made;’—but to Titus,
St. Paul commanded that he himself should be pazecomenov
tupon,—‘he should give a pattern’ to the people; that is, the ministers
of Christ must not be framed according to the people’s humour, they must
not give him rules, nor describe his measures; but he should be a rule
to them; he is neither to live with them, so as to please their humours,
or to preach doctrines “populo ut placerent, quas fecisset fabulas:” (Terent.
Andr. Prolog. 3.) but the people are to require the doctrine at his mouth,
and he is to become exemplar to them, according to the pattern seen in
the mount, according to the laws of the religion and the example of Christ.
5. It must be en pasin; he must be a pattern
“in all things:” it is not enough that the minister be a loving person,
a good neighbourly man, that he be hospitable, that he be not litigious,
that he be harmless, and that he be diligent; but in every grace he must
‘praeferre facem,—hold a torch,’ and shew himself a light in all the commands
of God. These are the measures of his holiness, the pattern in his life
Secondly; integrity of doctrine. The matter of the doctrine you are
to preach, hath in it four qualifications.
1. It must be adiafyozov,—“incorrupt;” that
is, it must be xat analogian pistews, it must be ‘according to the analogy
of faith,’ no heretical mixtures, pure truths of God.
2. It must be semnov,—‘grave,’ and clean,
and chaste; that is, aneu fluaziav, no vain
and empty notions, little contentions, and pitiful disputes; but becoming
the wisdom of the guide of souls, and the ministers of Christ.
And, 3. It must be ugihv,—“sound speech,”
so we read it; the word properly signifies ‘salutary’ and ‘wholesome;’
that is, such as is apt for edification, eiv oicodomhn
pistewv cai agaphv; —“ for the building men up in a most holy faith,
and a more excellent charity ;“ not feeding the people with husks and druff,
with colocynths and gourds, with gay tulips and useless daffodils, but
with the bread of life, and medicinal plants, springing from the margin
of the fountains of salvation. This is the matter of their doctrine; and
this also hath some heightenings, and excellences, and extraordinaries:
4. It must be acatagnwstov, so evidently
demonstrated, that ‘no man shall be able to reprove it;’ so certainly holy,
that no man shall be willing to condemn it.
And, 5. It must be afyaztov,—‘sincere,’ not
polluted with foul intentions and little devices of secular interests,
complying with the lusts of the potent, or the humours of the time; not
biassed by partiality, or bending in the flexures of human policy: it must
be so conducted that your very enemies, schismatics and heretics, and all
sorts of gainsayers, may see that you intend God’s glory, and the good
of souls; and, therefore, that as they can say nothing against the doctrine
delivered, so neither shall they find fault with him that delivers it:
and he that observes all this, will indeed be a pattern both of life and
doctrine; both of good words and good works.