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tian walk, or especially exposed to the temptations of false principles or practices, ministerial admonitions are the more indispensable to their safety. In fact, not only the young and uninstructed require the constant vigilance of the pastor, but Christians of every rank and circumstance. This is God's appointed ordinance for the nourishment of piety in the heart. This is rendered needful by the perpetual infirmity of the flesh. This is one principal design of the means of grace, both public and private, which God has commanded us to use. The very disposition also of child-like teachableness and humility which, more than any other, marks the advanced and matured Christian, is precisely adapted to welcome these faithful memorials of truth.
Accordingly we must proceed to notice the DILIGENCE AND perseverance which the Apostle determined to employ in this duty. Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance-yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle to stir you up, by putting you in remembrance. Whatever inducements, then, the minister of Christ may have to negligence, he must steadily persevere in his duty. If he should be remiss in exhorting Christians, in connection with evangelical doctrines, to zeal in good works, as the only true evidence of their calling, and the only sure
means of obtaining an abundant entrance into heaven, he cannot expect his people to be active and consistent in their Christian profession. Such topics may not always be acceptable, and ministers may be exposed at times to great temptations to omit them, or hurry them over with indiscreet rapidity. But the conscientious pastor, after the example of the Apostle, will not be negligent in discharging this part of his ministry, because it may be unpleasant or difficult. He will be no party in deceiving the souls of men, or diffusing a false and superficial religion. He will consider it meet and right, and just (dínasov), a branch of his duty, both to God and to the Church, to dwell fully on these topics. If he require any apology for so frequently insisting on them to those who know them, and are established in the present truth, as the Apostle appears tacitly to do, he will find this excuse in his affection for their welfare, in his authority as a minister of the word, in the extreme urgency of the danger, and the incalculable value of eternity. Thus will he aim at keeping back nothing profitable to his people, but being pure from the blood of all men.
And this he will do, that, AFTER HIS DECEASE, the Christian flock may continue to honour the Gospel. Moreover, I will endeavour that you may be able, after my decease, to have these things always in remembrance. The Apo
stle was not only anxious for the state of the Church during the short and uncertain moment of his continuing in his earthly tabernacle, but was desirous that the effects of his labours should survive him in the holy and consistent conduct of his flock. He was careful they should be furnished with sound principles in the grace of Christ, that, under the blessing of God, they might not depend on his personal labours; but might be able, after his departure to heaven, to guard against the error of the wicked, and preserve their own stedfastness (c. iii. 17.). I say, after his departure to heaven, for the manner in which the Apostle here speaks of his death may be noticed, as we pass on, as confirming the view we have taken of the calmness and composure with which he viewed this event. The word we render decease is odos, a going out, as the Israelites from Egypt, a departure from this world to a heavenly rest; a going out from all the sins and sorrows of time to a perfectly holy and happy eternity. The Apostle, in this expression of his anxiety, that after his decease they should have these things always in remembrance, has, undoubtedly, in his view, the Epistles which he was writing, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, for the edification of the Church. By these sacred compositions he has been, indeed, instructing the Church in every age, and is still enabling us to have these
great truths ever in our memory. The benevolent heart of the Apostle, free from all personal interests, is also apparent in this part of his language. He cares little for himself, and is only anxious, under whatever future instructors God may raise up, that the people may grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
To these various parts of the Apostle's great duty of promoting, with all diligence, the welfare of the Church, he was stimulated by the considerations of THE BREVITY OF LIFE, to which we have already adverted, and of which the present solemnity is so affecting a memorial. He felt that he had much to do, and a very short time to do it in. The impression of the frailty of his fleshly tabernacle was ever lively upon his mind. He knew that this life was not the place nor time for rest to a pastor; and therefore, as one who considered that the end of all things was at hand, he was the more alert to leave nothing undone in his duty to the church of Christ his Lord. In this respect he resembled Moses in his solemn admonitions to the people, just before his death. Joshua and David were examples also which he probably proposed to himself. Or rather, our Lord Jesus Christ, in his last affecting discourse with his disciples, was the model which he desired to imitate, as he approached the termination of his
public labours. Ministers are thus taught not to yield to indolence, as age and infirmity draw on. At this period, the influence of a pious and consistent pastor is commonly the most extensive, and his usefulness, possibly, even much greater than at any preceding period of his life. All his endeavours should be employed, with alacrity and diligence, as there is no work, nor device, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither man goeth, to occupy with his talents till his Lord come. In fact, there is, in the language of the Apostle, a peculiar authority, derived from this very source. The repeated mention of the tabernacle which he was so soon to lay aside, gives a solemnity to his counsel, and adds to it the weight of a testamentary declaration, addressed by one just about to leave this life and close for ever his pastoral instructions. With such a dying admonition the Apostle seemed willing to finish his ministry. We may consider the passage before us as the last accents of a faithful minister, father, and friend. And, indeed, nothing can more tend to produce composure in the pangs of death, and the expectation of our great account, next to the covenant of the Saviour's blood, than the consciousness that we have not sought to please men, or to obtain wealth, reputation, ease, or indulgence to ourselves, but have faithfully, simply, and perseveringly served the Lord Christ,