Page images
PDF
EPUB

shortly joined to supplication. Thus the same apostle

– I thank my God always on your bebalf for the grace of God, which is given you by Jesus Christ: That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance and in all knowledge. So that ye come behind in no gift, waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Cor. i. 4, 7.) ** Having heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and your love unto all the saints, I cease not to give thanks for you.' (Eph. i. 15, 16.)

Worldly ministers have no experience of the holy joy, that accompanies these secret sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving. But this can by no means be considered as matter of astonishment. Is their attachment to Christ as sincere as that of his faithful ministers ? Are they as solicitous for the salvation of their hearers? Do they teach and preach with equal zeal ? Do they pray with the same ardour and perseverance ?

TRAIT X.

The Fidelity with which he announced the severe

Threatenings, and consolatory Promises of the
Gospel.

The worldly minister has neither the courage, nor the tenderness of the true pastor. He is fearful of publish. ing those truths, which are calculated to alarm the careless sinner; and he knows not, in what manner to apply the promises of the gospel, for the relief of those who mourn. If ever he attempts to descant upon the consolatory truths of the gospel, he only labours to explain, what is nearly unintelligible to himself; and all his discourses on subjects of this nature are void of that earnest persuasion, and that unction of love, which cha. racterize the ininisters of Christ. On the other hand. his dread of giving offence will not suffer him to address sinners of every rank, with the holy boldness of the pro. phet Samuel : • If ye will not obey the voice of the Lord, but rebel against the commandment of the Lord, then shall the hand of the Lord be against you. If ye still do wickedly, ye shall be consumed.' (1 Sam. xii. 15, 25.) The faithful pastor, on the contrary, conscious that the harshest truths of the gospel are as necessary, as they are offensive, courageously insists upon them, in the manner of St. Paul—Thinkest thou, O man, that doest such things, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?' Know this, that after thy hardness and impenitent heart thou treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath, and revelation of the righteous judgment of God:' For “indignation and wrath, tribu. lation and anguish, shall be upon every soul of man that doeth evil.” (Rom. ii. 3, 5, 9.) “If every transgression,' under the first covenant, received a just recompence of reward, how shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation, which at the first begun to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him ?' (Heb. ii. 2, 3.) “This ye know, that no unclean personi, nor covetous man, hath any inheritance in the king. dom of Christ and of God: Let no man deceive you with vain words; for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.' (Eph. v. 5, 6.) See that ye refuse not him that speaketh ; for if they escaped not, who refused him that spake on earth,' viz., the Prophet Moses ; "much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven,' viz., the Saviour Jesus Christ. Wherefore let us serve God acceptably, with reverence and godly fear : For our God is a consuming fire.' (Heb. xii. 25, 29.)

But though the true minister courageously announces the most severe declarations of the word to the unbeliev. ing and the impenitent; yet he is never so truly happy, as when he invites the poor in spirit to draw forth the riches of grace from the treasury of God's everlasting love. ,, God hath not,' saith St. Paul, appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.' worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.'—(1 Tim. i. 15.) - Yezze not come unto the mount that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest. But ye are come unto Mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, and to Jesus, the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel. Having, therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, and having an High Priest over the house of God, let us draw rez with a true heart, in full assurance of faith.'—(Heb. xii. 18, 24; x. 19, 22.) If, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things ? Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth: Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea, rather that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.'—(Rom. v. 10; viii. 32, 34.)

When these exhilarating declarations are found insufficient to revive the heart of the contrite,' the evangeli. cal preacher fails not to multiply them, in the most sym. pathizing and affectionate manner. • I say unto you,' continues he, "all manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: For the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin.'-(Matt. xii. 31 ; 1 Jobn i. 7.)

And by him all, who believe, are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.'-(Acts xiii. 39.) “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Chris: Jesus:' (Rom. viii. 1 :) For where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.'-(Rom. v. 20.)

Such are the cordials, which the faithful evangelist administers to those, who are weary and heavy laden : Precious cordials, which the worldly pastor can never effectually apply; which he either employs out of season, or renders useless by such additions of bis own, as are contrary to the Spirit of the gospel.

[ocr errors]

TRAIT XI.

His profound Humility.

THERE is no evil disposition of the heart, with which the clergy are so frequently reproached, as pride. And, it is with reason, that we oppose this sinful temper, especially when it appears in pastors, since it is so entirely contrary to the spirit of the gospel, that the apostle Paul emphatically terms it, “The condemnation of the devil.' (1 Tim. iii. 6.)

There is no amiable disposition, which our Lord more strongly recommended to his followers, than lowliness of mind. From his birth to his death, he gave himself a striking example of the most profound humility joined to the most ardent charity. After having washed the feet of his first disciples, that is, after he had taken the place of a slave at their feet, he addressed them as follows: • Know ye, what I have done unto you?

Ye call me Master and Lord: And ye say well; for so I am. JE I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet ; ye also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily I say unto you, the servant is not greater than his Lord; neither he that is sent, greater than he that sent bim.'—(John xiii. 12-16.) Again he says to the same effect— Ye know, that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they, that are great, exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: But whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister : And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister.'-(Mark X. 42; ii. 45.)

Real Christianity is the school of humble charity, in which every true minister can say, with Christ, according to his growth in grace, . Learn of me, for I am meek and

lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls.' And unhappy will it be for those, who, reversing Chris. tianity, say, by their example, which is more striking than all their discourses, “ Learn of us to be fierce and revengeful, at the expence of peace both at home and abroad.” They vho receive the stipends of ministers, while they are thus endeavouring to subvert the religion they profess to support, render themselves guilty, not only of hypocrisy, but of a species of sacrilege.

It is supposed that St. Peter had the pre-eminence among the apostles, at least by his age: It is certain, that he spake in the name of the other apostles, that he first confessed Christ in two public orations; that our Lord conferred particular favours upon him; that he was permitted to be one of the three witnesses of his Master's transfiguration and agony ; and that on the day of Pentecost, he proved the power of his apostolie com. mission, by introducing three thousand souls at once into the kingdom of Christ. Par, however, from arrogating, upon these accounts, a spiritual supremacy over his brethren, he assumed no other title but that, which was given in common to all his fellow-labourers in the minis. try: The elders which are among you,' says be, 'I exhort, who am also an elder : Feed the flock of God, which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, Dot for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind: Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.'-(1 Peter v. 1, 3.) A piece of advice this, which is too much neglected by those prelates, who distinguish themselves from their brethren, yet more by an antichristian pride, than by those ecclesiastical dignities, to which they have made their way by the intrigues of ambition.

All pastors should seek after humility with so much the greater concern, since some among them, seduced with the desire of distinguishing themselves as persons of eminence in the church, after making certain ecclesi. astical laws contrary to the word of God, have become persecutors of those, who refused submission to their tyrannical authority. Observe here the injustice of

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »