AND AT THE ORDINATION OF
REV. ELIPHALET PEARSON, LLD.
SEPTEMBER 28th, 1808.
BY THE REV. JONATHAN FRENCH
THERE are but few transactions among men, in their nature and consequences more solemn and important1 than that of consecrating a person to the sacred work of the gospel ministry, as a servant of the most high GOD, to show unto men the way of salvation.
The consecrating prayer and the laying on of the hands of the Presbytery are perhaps the only rites, essential to this solemn transaction. From the first ages of christianity, however, a solemn charge or exhortation has usually been given to the person ordained. Having, agreeably to ancient usage, performed these rites, we now declare you, Dr. ELIPHALET PEARSON, "to be ordained and set apart to the work of the gospel ministry, in whatever part of the vineyard of the LORD the great Head of the Church may occasionally call you to labour." In particular, you are to co-operate with other Professors, in the newly founded THEOLOGICAL INSTITUTION, in which, it is contemplated, a Church will in time be gathered and established.
We now, reverend and dear Sir, solemnly exhort you before God, the LORD JESUS CHRIST, and his elect Angels, to take heed unto thyself, and to the people of God, to whom you may be called to minister; to feed them with the sincere milk of the word. Shun not to declare the whole counsel of God. Keep nothing back, that may be profitable to them, who shall hear you. Put on the whole armour of GOD. Hold fast the faithful word, that you may be able both to exhort and to convince gainsayers. By manifestation of the Truth endeavour to commend yourself to every mans conscience in the sight of God. In imitation of our divine Master, the meek and humble JESUS, be clothed with humility; and may you enter on the arduous duties of your Office, strengthened with the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left. Be sensible of your continual need of divine light and grace. Seek continually the truth of the gospel, and with energy defend and propagate it against the attacks of infidelity, in what font soever it may appear. Be watchful against the numerous errors, which prevail, and are levelled against pure morality, true piety, and the very foundation of unadulterated christianity. Be vigilant, be zealous, remembering that, while men slept, the enemy sowed tares.
Preach the word, not as a man pleaser, but with singleness of heart. Amuse not your hearers with unedifying speculations or questions, which only engender strife. Though, when called to alarm the hardened sinner, you are with the energy of St. Paul, knowing the terrors of the Lord, to persuade men; yet be thou to the returning sinner, like Barnabas, a son of consolation. Assail the hosts of infidelity with the boldness and resolution of Boanerges; but to them, who love our LORD JESUS CHRIST in sincerity, exhibit the mild, the engaging temper and affection of that disciple, who leaned on Jesus' bosom. In all your discourses remember the momentous consequences of what you deliver, that the word will be a savour of life unto life, or of death unto death.
If called to invest others with the sacred office of the ministry, remember the solemn injunction of the Apostle; "lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men's sins." You are now authorized to administer the ordinances of baptism and the Lord's supper to proper subjects. Wherever you are called to minister, bless the pepple in the name of the LORD.
In managing the discipline of the Church, wherever this may be incumbent on you, regard the rules prescribed, and the examples exhibited, by our divine Saviour and his Apostles. Do nothing by partiality; but, as circumstances may require, reprove, rebuke, and exhort with all long suffering and patience. Do the work of an Evangelist in all things, and make full proof of thy ministry. Often peruse, and strictly observe, the solemn charges, written by inspired men and recorded in the sacred word. Discharge the duties of your office with that meekness, seriousness, and good fidelity, which the gospel requires.
As you and your colleague Professors are to be heads in this new School for raising up of our sons for Prophets, and of our young men for Nazarites; great, very great, will be the weight of duty incumbent on you. The glorious gospel, you are called to teach, was accounted foolishness by the learned Greeks, and is still scornfully termed foolishness by a vain philosophy, and science falsely so called. It becomes you to consecrate your literature and talents to the important purpose of showing that the religion, which the scriptures reveal, is most consistent with true philosophy; a science, which reason approves; and the power of GOD, and the wisdom of God for salvation, to every one, that believeth.
From your known character, age, capacity, erudition, and experience, much will be justly expected of you; the eyes of thousands will be upon you. The eyes of the benevolent Founders and Benefactors of this Institution; the eyes of its Visitors and Trustees, the eyes of the Clergy, the eyes of the friends and of the enemies of religion, will be upon you. Moreover the eyes of the elect Angels, of the blessed JESUS, and the eternal GOD, will be upon you. Impressed with a sense of this high responsibility, be thou faithful unto death; and may the blessing of thousands come upon thee.