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rate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. We beseech you, therefore, bretbren, that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. (2 Cor. vi. 1, 11-18.)
This language of the Christian pastor is almost unintelligible to the minister, who is merely of man's ap. pointing. Having never converted a single soul to Christ. he has neither spiritual son nor daughter, and is entirely unacquainted with that painful travail, which is mestioned by St. Paul. His bowels are straitened towards Christ and his members, and having closely united him. self to the men of the world, he considers the assembly of the faithful as a company of ignorant enthusiasts. But, notwithstanding the spiritual insensibility of these ill-instructed teachers, who never studied in the school of Christ, there is no other token by which either sincere Christians or true ministers can be discerned, exceps that fervent love which the Galatians entertained for St. Paul, before their falling away, and which that apostle ever continued to entertain for them. "By this,' saith our Lord, shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.' (John xiii. 35.)
His Love to his Countrymen and his Enemies.
St. Paul, like his rejected Master, was persecuted even to death by the Jews, his countrymen, while he generously exposed himself to innumerable hardships, in labouring for their good. These furious devotees, inspired with envy, revenge, and a persecuting zeal, hunted this apostle from place to place, as a public pest. And when the Gentiles, on a certain occasion, had rescued him out of their hands, forty of the most
hardened among them engaged themselves by an oath, neither to eat nor drink, till they had assassinated him. But, notwithstanding the most indubitable proofs of their bloody disposition towards him, his fervent charity threw a veil over their cruelty, and made him wish to die for his persecutors.
I declare,' saith he, the truth in Christ, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, that I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart : For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ, for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh.” (Rom. ix. 1–3.) As though he should say ; It is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.' (Gal. iii. 13.) Thus Christ himself became accursed for us, and I also would lay down my life for my brethren, “that I may have fellowship with him in his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death,' (Phil. iii. 10;) and filling up that, which is behind of the afflictions of Christ, in my flesh, for his body's sake, which is the church.? (Colos. i. 24.) It is by expressions so charitable, and by actions, which demonstrate the sincerity of those expressions, that Christians avenge themselves of their enemies, and work upon the hearts of their countrymen.
If the sentiments of every sincere disciple of Christ are expressed in the preceding language of St. Paul, how deplorable then must be the state of those Christians, whose anxiety either for their own salvation, or for that of their nearest relations, bears no proportion to that eager concern, which this apostle manifested for the sal. vation of his bitterest persecutors! And if good pastors feel so ardent a desire to behold all men actuated by the spirit of Christ, without excepting even their most malicious enemies, what shall we say to those ministers, who never shed a single tear, nor ever breathed one ardent prayer for the conversion of their parishioners, their friends or their families ?
His Love to those whom he knew only by Report.
Though the true minister takes a peculiar interest in every thing that concerns the salvation of his countrymen, yet his Christian benevolence is far from being confined within the narrow limits of a particular country. He desires to bear the name of his Saviour to the ends of the earth ; and if he is not able to do this by his personal addresses, he will do it, at least, by his earnest wishes and his constant prayers. If Providence have not yet fixed him in a particular church, he writes, in the manner of St. Paul, to the inhabitants of the most distant countries — I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that I' consider myself as a debtor both to the Greeks and to the Barbarians; both to the wise and the unwise. And as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome,' where error and impiety have fixed their throne. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ : For it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.' (Rom. i. 13-16.) If he writes to stranger-converts, whose faith is publicly spoken of in the world, he de. clares his sincere attachment to them, and his longing desire to afford them every spiritual assistance, in terms like these 'God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing 1 make mention of you always in my prayers. Making request, if, by any means, I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you. For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established ; that is, that I may be comforted together with you, by the mutual faith both of you and me.' (Rom. i. 9–12.)
If the apostle Paul, when he knew the Romans no otherwise than by report, expressed so ardent a desire to see them for the sole purpose of inciting them to soek after higher degrees of faith and piety; what must be the disposition of those ministers who feel no desires of this nature even for the members of their own flock ? And in how great an error are those Christians, who frequently assemble together, either in their own houses, or in more public places, for the very purpose of mutually forgetting the restraints of piety, losing their time in frivolous conversation, and debasing their minds by puerile amusements ! Further : If the new nature of the regenerate excites in them that lively concern for the salvation of their neighbours, which St. Paul expressed for the salvation of those who inhabited the remotest parts of the earth, is it becoming in the faithful to stifle the motions of that commendable zeal, which Christian charity alone can inspire ? And if there are to be found among us dignified teachers, who, far from seconding a zeal so necessary in our day, are rather disposed to extinguish the first sparks of it, wherever they are discernible; whom may they be said to take for their model, Paul the apostle, or Saul the Pharisee ? Doubtless Saul, the agent of a bigoted sect, and the open persecutor of the faithful.
His Charity towards the Poor in giving or pro
curing for them temporal Relief.
Though our Lord came principally to save the souls of sinners, yet he was by no means unmindful of their bodies. “He went about doing good,' in the most unlimited sense, daily relieving, with equal care, the cor. poral and spiritual maladies of the people. Thus, when he had distributed the word of GOD to those that no man should blame us in this abundance, which is administered by us: Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.' (2 Cor. viii. 9–21.) Mentioning again his favourite employment, he writes to a distant church* Now I go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints. For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints, which are at Jerusalem. When therefore I have performed this, and have sealed to them this fruit, I will come by you into Spain. Now I beseech you, brethren, that ye strive together in your prayers for me, that I may b delivered from them, that do not believe in Judea ; ap that the service which I have for Jerusalem may be al cepted of the saints.' (Rom. xv. 25-31.)
Thus to wait upon the churches, and particularl thus to attend upon the poor, is to merit the name of faithful minister.
His Charity towards Sinners in offering the
every Spiritual Assistance.
To solicit alms for those, who are destitute of fa and raiment, and at the same time to withhold the w of God from those who hunger and thirst after rig eousness,' is to manifest an unhappy inconsistency character. Such inconsistencies, however, are frequen discoverable even among pastors, who pique themsel upon their disposition to works of benevolence 1 charity.
Man has an immortal soul. This soul, which is perly himself, is rendered, by disobedience, so toti ignorant and completely miserable, that she seeks to rich herself with the vanities of the world, and gratify her inclinations with the pollutions of sin,