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the ill effects of their unfaithfulness. 96 Manners 6 are every day becoming more corrupt among us, 16 because the zeal of ministers is daily becoming: 6 colder; and because there are found among us "few apostolical men, who oppose themselves, as
a brazen wall, to the torrent (of vice. For the "most part, we behold the wicked altogether at - \ ease in their sins, for the want of hearing more
4 frequently those thundering voices, which accomspanied with the spirit of God, would effectually 14 rouse them from their awful slumber. The want
of zeal, so clearly discernable among pastors, is c" chiefly owing to that base timidity which is not 6 hardy enough to make a resolute stand against
common prejudice, and which regards the worth4 less approbation of men, beyond their eternal in. 66. terests. , 'That must needs be a worldly and "icriminal consideration, which makes us more
anxious for our own glory, than for the glory of ." Gon. That must truly be fleshly wisdom, which 46 can represent religious zeal under the false ideas 56 of excess, indiscretion and temeritv: a pretext " this, which nearly extinguishes every spark of 16 zeal in the generality of ministers. This want of .."courage they honour with the specious names of “ moderation and prudence. Under pretence of not 6 carrying their zeal to an excess, they are content
to be entirely destitute of it. And while they are
solicitous to shun the rocks of imprudence and . precipitation, they run, without fear, upon the
sands of indolence and cowardice. They desire is to become useful to sinners, and at the same time, "to be had in estimation by them. They long
to manifest such à zeal as the world is disposed " to applaud. · They are anxious so to oppose the · 4 passions of men, that they may yet secure their
praises ; so to condemn the vices they love, that 4 they may still be approved by those they con1.4 dem. But when we probe a wound to the bot
U tom, we must expect to awaken a degree of peon 66 vishness in the patient, if we do not extort from him some bitter exclamation.". Time in i ?
.« Let us not deceive ourselves," continues the same author; “if that apostolical zeal, which once." o converted the world, is become so rare among us," w it is because, in the discharge of our sacred funç « tions, we seek ourselves, rather than the glory of « Christ, and the salvation of souls. Glory and « infamy were regarded by the apostle with equal' « indifference, while he filled up the duties of his « important office, He knew it iinpossible to 4 66 please men, and to save them; to be the servant of “ the world, and the servant of Christ. Neverthe.“ « less, there are many among us, who are seek.. uing to unite these different services, which the " apostle believed to be irreconcileable." : 7033
Mons. Roques agrees with the pious bishop in. condemning those ministers, who neglect to copy thie example of St. Paul. “The little piety, that is « to be found among ministers,” says this excellent writer, “is the most effectual obstacle to the prou gress of the Gospel. By piety, I mean that sincere 6 and ardent love for religion, which deeply inte. u rests a man in all its concerns, as well as in every " thing, that respects the glory of God, and of our “ Lord Jesus Christ. If this divine love was found 6 reigning in the hearts of those who proclaim u Christ; if every preacher of the Gospel was en. 4 abled to say with the sincerity of Peter, Lord ! : « thou knowest all things ; thou knowest that I love « thée : thou knowest, that I have no ambition but " for thy glory, and that my highest pleasure con€ sists in beholding the increase of thy kingdom.co “ we should then perceive the word of God in their « hands, like a two-edged sword, cutting asunder 6 the very deepest roots of sin. But as the Gospel
is preached more through contention, through: “ vain glory, and through the desire of getting a
“livelihood by serving at the altar, than through « an ardent zeal to advance the glory of God ; “ hence it is, that ministers fall into various errors, « giving evident proofs of that indolence and un“ concern, which afford matter of scandal rather " than of edification."
Mons. Ostervald speaks the same language in his “. Third source of the corruption which reigns among christians." " A great part of our ecclesias“tics,” says this writer, “ may be justly charged
with the corruption of the people, since there are
among them many, who oppose the re-establish-. "ment of a holy discipline, while others render “ the exercise of it totally useless, by an ill-timed * softness, and a shameful indulgence.”
..^lexcept those," continues this venerable pastor, “ who ought to be excepted. But, on a gene" ral view, in what do ecclesiastics differ from “ other men? Do they distinguish themselves by "an exemplary life? Their exterior, indeed, is " somewhat different: They lead a more retired “ life; they, in some degree, save appearances ; 56 though all do not go thus far. But, beyond this, " are they not equally attached to the world ; as “ much engaged with earthly things, as wholly ta“ken up with secular views, as constantly actuated “ by interest and passion as the generality of man65 kind."
Christian prudence required, that these portraits of lukewarm ministers should be exhibited, as the designs of pastors, who have been eminent for their piety, their rank, and experience, and who, on that account, had a peculiar right to de. clare those truths, which might give greater of fence, were they to come from less respectable per. JONS..
. THE PORTRAIT OF FALSE APOSTLES, *** BETWEEN the state of careless ministers, and false apostles, there is not, in reality, so vast a difference as many are apt to imagine. An unworthy labourer in the spiritual vineyard, gives speedy proof of a lukewarm temper, in the service: of his Lord ; shortly after, his heart becomes en. tirely cold with respect to piety, and what is still more lamentable, he frequently manifests as warm a zeal for error and vice, as the true minister can possibly discover in the cause of truth and virtue. Such is the state of those who may properly be termed preachers of the third class, and who are spoken of by St. Paul under the title of false apos..
These unworthy ministers are known by their. works. Like many of St. Paul's unfaithful fellow, labourers, they prefer the repose and pleasure of the world, before the service and reproach of Christ. Like Judas and Simon the sorcerer, they love the honours and revenues of ministers, while they abhor the crosses and labours of the ministry. Like Hophni, and Phinehas, they are “sons of Belial, and know not the Lord. Their sin is, very great before the Lord ; for," on their account, many “ abhor the offering of the Lord." Like the wicked servant, described by their reputed Master, instead of providing “ meat for his household in due season," they begin to smite, or to persecute those of their fellow-seryants, who are intent upon discharging their several duties ; while they pass away their time in mirth and festivity, with the ri. otous and the drunken. They may justly be compared to lamps extinguished in the temple of God. “ Instead of shining there to his praise," says
bishop Massillon, “they emit black clouds of smoke, « which obscure every object about them, and be" come a savour of death to those, who perish. 46 They are pillars of the sanctuary, which being s over-thrown and scattered in public places, be6 come stones of stumbling to every heedless pas4 senger. They are the salt of the earth, and were ,66 appointed to preserve souls from corruption ; båt “having lost all their savour, they begin to 'cor(6 rupt what they were intended to preserve." They - are physicians, who carry to their patients infection - instead of health. From the spiritually diseased, they withhold the healing word of God, while they distribute among them the dangerous poison of a lax morality, setting before them an example of bitter zeal against the truth, puffing them up with that wisdom, which “is earthly, sensual, and de. vilish." ;
66 A false pastor," says, Mons. Roques, or a false apostle, “is a minister whose heart is not right be.
" before God, and who lives not in such a manner :.66 as to edify his flock. He knows the holy course
“.of life, to which christians in general, and minis"ters in particular, are called ; but, in spite of all « his knowledge and his apparent zeal, he fears not " to trample under foot those 'very maxinis of the • " Gospel, which he has publicly established and - preached with the utmost energy. Every day " he performs acts of the most detestable hypoc. .'" risy. Every time he preaches and censures, le 66 bears open testimony against his own conduct: but " he publicly accuses, without ever intending to cor:( rect himself. He is a constant declaimer against « vice, in the pulpit ; but a peculiar protector of it, 6 while he is engaged in the common concerns of « life. While he exhorts his hearers to repentance, 66 he either imagines himself above those laws, 66 which he proposes to others on the part of God ; 4 or he believes himself under no other necessity of