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“ holding them forth, except his known engagé. “ment to such a work, and the salary he receives “ for the performance of it."
Mons. Ostervald, in a work already referred to, makes mention of these pastors in the following terms." « How many do we see, who regard their << holy vocation in no other light, than the means of « procuring for them a comfortable maintenance. " Are there not many, who bring a scandal upon " their profession, by the licentiousness of their “ manners? Do we not see them hasty and outrage« ous? Do we not observe in them an extreme ate 6 tachment to their own interests? Are they care. 66 ful to rule their families well? Has it not been a 16 subject of complaint, that they are puffed up with “ pride, and are implacable in their hatred! I say .66 nothing of many other vices and defects, which
" are equally scandalous in the clergy, such as vain ." and loose conversation, an attachment to diversion ." and pleasure, a worldly disposition, slothfulness, " craft, injustice, and slander.
“ It is impossible to find a person,” adds Mons. Ostervald,“ surrounded with more powerful motives " to piety than a man, whose ordinary occupation is 6 to meditate upon religious things, to discourse of . « them among others, to reprove vice and hypocri« sy, to perform divine service, to administer the « holy sacraments, to visit the afflicted and the dy. « ing; and who must one day, render to God an ac6 count of the souls committed to his charge. I « know not, whether it be possible to find any “ stronger marks of impiety and hypocrisy, than " those, which may be discovered in the character W of a person, who, in the midst of all these favour16 able circumstances, is, nevertheless, an unrigh" teous man. Such a one may be said to divert « himself with the most sacred things of religion, 66 and to spend the whole of hislife in performing the o part of an impostor ..... And this he does to his
* cost : since there is no profession in the world, " that will more effectually secure a sentence of con“ demnation than that of the priesthood, when ex. " ercised in so unfaithful a manner.”w:
But it is chiefly in the holy scriptures, where these unworthy pastors are pourtrayedi n so strong a point of view, that every enquirer may readily discern their distinguishing features. Son of man, “ saith the Lord, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, and say unto them: Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed, but ye feed not the flock. The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost : but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them. Therefore thus saith the Lord God, behold. I am against the shepherds: and I will require my flock at their hand. As Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth : men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. · Woe unto them ; for they have gone in the way of Cain, and run greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gain-saying of Korah. Clouds they are without water, carried about of winds, trees without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots ; raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame ; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.”
St. John has not only drawn the character, but has likewise given us the name of a certain tyrannical teacher, who began to disturb the peace of the primitive church.. I wrote unto the church," saith he to Gaius, concerning the reception of stranger evangelists: “but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the pre-eminence among them, receiveth us not. If I come I will remember his deeds, which he doth, prating against us with malicious words: and not
content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and .casteth them out of the church.” Behold a striking description of proud and persecuting ecclesiastics! " But, perhaps, the most complete description of these persons is given by our Lord himself, where he treats of worthless pastors, in general, under the particular names of scribes and pharisees. Here, a divine and impartial hand delineates the jealousy, the pride, the feigned morality, the malice, and the persecuting spirit, which characterize this class of men in every age of the world. “Do not ye, saith Christ, after their works : for they say and do not. All their works they do to be seen of men. They love the chief seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets. Woe unto you, hypocrites ! for ye shut up the Kingdom of Heaven against men ; ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them, that are entering, to go in. , Ye neglect judgment, mercy and faith. Ye outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. Because ye garnish the sepulchres of the righteous," ye vainly imagine yourselves free froin a persecuting spirit, while in other matters, as “ the children of them which killed the prophets," ye are labouring to.“ fill up the measure of your fathers. Behold I send unto you prophets" and zealous preachers of the word, “ and some of them ye shall kill, and some of them ye shall persecute from city to city."
We need take but a cursory view of the new testament, for sufficient proof, that these worldlyminded scribes and these furious bigots above represented, where the very persons, who pursued the first evangelists with such deadly rancour. Nay, had it not been for Annas and Caiaphas, Herod and Pilate would silently have permitted the preaching of Jesus himself. These who were the chief men in the state, after refusing to embrace the word of God, on their own part, would most probably have contented themselves, with denying its truths, and ridiculing its follewers: but they would never have passed a sentence of death, upon persons of so admirable a character, as Christ and his fore-runner.
The peculiar opposers of Jesus and his disciples, were powerfully influenced by jealous pride; and with the same malignant disposition, every false apostle in the christian church is deeply infected. The prelate, whose pen we have already borrowed, gives the following lively description of this unhappy temper. “ This despicable jealousy not 6 only dishonours zeal, but supposes it extinguished 66 in the heart. It is an infamous disposition which 6 afflicts itse feven for the conversion of sinners, and 6 for the progress of the Gospel, when it is through 16 the ministry of others, that God is pleased to work " these miracles. The glory of God seldom inte. 6 rests us so much, as when our own glory appears « to be mingled with his. We endure, with some
6 kind of regret, that God should be glorified : and .« I will dare to acd, that some of us could behold our 66 brethren perishing, with pleasure, rather than « see them rescued from death, by other labours 6 and other talents than our own. St. Paul rejoiced 66 to see the Gospel spread abroad, though it were by " the ministry of those, who sought to disgrace him « among the faithful; and Moses desired, that all his “ brethren might receive the gift of prophecy : but 66 we are anxious to stand alone, and to share with no “ person the glory and success of the holy ministry. « Every thing that eclipses our own brightness, or
shines too near us, becomes insupportable, and we 6 appear to regard the gifts of God in others, merely 6 as a shame and reproach to ourselves.” Observe here the true source of those specious pretexts, which are professedly drawn from the order, the customs, and even from the prejudices of the world: pretexts under which we dare to oppose the zeal of our brethren, to withstand the word of God in its course, and to render the cross of the ministry more burthensome to those, who carry it further than we are disposed to do. One distinguishing mark of these turbulent evangelists, is that of being thorn's in the sides of true ministers, whom they never fail to represent as deceivers or novices, causing the truest piety to wear the semblance of enthusiasm and folly. "They speak evil of the things they un. derstand not :' and by the most malicions discourses, which have always an appearance of zeal for relie gion and order, they are gradually rousing anew that spirit of persecution, by which the name of Christ has been so universally disgraced in the world.
In the earliest age of the christian church, these false apostles, swelling with envy at the success of more faithful ministers, made use of every effort to render them contemptible, by giving false representations of their holy zeal and their exemplary actions. Thus they accused St. Paul of walking "according to the flesh;' and asserted, that though « his letters were weighty and powerful, yet his bodily presence was weak, and his speech contemtible." Nay, so anxious were they in seeking oca casions for offence in the conduct of this Apostle, that he believed himself obliged, in the end, publicly to expose them...." These are false apostles, says he, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel, for Sa. tan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing, if his ministers also be transformed, as the ministers of righteousness ; whose end shall be according to their works." As our Lord foresaw, that these strenuous opposers of real religion, would bring his church to the very brink of ruin, he exhorted his disciples continually to stand upon thier guard against them. And the Apostles, after steadily following their Master's im