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definitely repeats it, in the verse which immediately follows: * Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them ; for, in doing thus, thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee: that is, Take heed unto thyself; for, in so doing, thou shalt save thyself : take heed unto the doctrine; for, in so doing, thou shalt save them that hear thee.
“Î. The last words of the text are the first to be considered ; for they express the proper end of our exertions; that which, though last in the order of attainment, is first in the order of conception; that which, if it be not justly apprehended at the beginning, will rarely be attained in the progress, of our ministration. Art thou, then, a Minister of Christ? Behold the mark at which thou must aim, that thy proficiency may be manifest in all things; not in this or that particular branch of thy profession, but in all the meditations, all the studies, all the more active duties, to which thou hast been called; so that, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity, in learning, in exhortation, in doctrine, thou mayest exemplify the completeness of the Christian Ministry
“Nor should this notion of completeness be alarming to any faithful Minister of Christ. Various talents, and various opportunities, of necessity imply a variety of attainment. It is not requisite, it is not possible, that all should reach the same standard, or that any should excel in every department. In our day, as in that of the Apostle, there are diversities of gifts, diversities of administrations, diversities of operative powers. In the one body of the Church, there are many members; and each member has its distinct and appropriate office: the foot cannot be expected to discharge the functions of the ear, nor the hand of the eye; and each member of the Christian Ministry will, at the last day, be responsible only for the talent committed to his charge. But admitting, as we must thankfully admit, these varieties both of
pursuit and attainment, we should still be mindful, that there are certain leading qualifications and characteristics, which must be found in all Christian Ministers; that we must, each of us, be watchful in all these things; that we must, each of us, make full proof of our ministry in all its integral departments. Every Clergyman is called, is set apart, is bound, has promised at the altar of his God, to be a man of thoughtfulness, a man of prayer, a man of reading, a man separated from the study of the world and the flesh, a man of all faithful. diligence, in all the relations which he bears, and all the duties which he owes, to the flock of Christ; applying himself wholly to this one thing, and drawing all his cares and studies this way. This is the completeness toward which we must aspire; and this, be it observed, demands no extraordinary gifts, no splendour of abilities, no accumulation of accomplishments. Let there only be an honest and good heart, let thers only be a due sense of our own weakness, and an earnest
desire of will and ability, of strength and power from on highand then, by the assistance of God's Holy Spirit, that will be effected for us, and within us, which we never can effect for ourselves. Whether these be our dispositions, and these our desires, it is, indeed, important and indispensable that we should satisfactorily ascertain ; and, in order to this ascertainment I have, at the present, but one easy and simple criterion to propose. There is one talent, which we all equally possess, THE TALENT OF TIME. Let us each ask our own hearts, How do we employ this talent? The answer will enable us to determine, how far we possess the dispositions and desires belonging to our holy calling; how far we may hope to exemplify, in our lives and conversation, the completeness of the Christian Ministry.
“ II. The first great requisite toward this completeness is, that we meditate on all the moral and spiritual excellencies of the Christian Character: "Meditate,' says the Apostle, ‘upon these things.
“The verb Medstaw, which, from the want of a more adequate representative, we render by the English verb to meditate, has a very comprehensive meaning. Among rhetoricians, it includes all the previous discipline, study, examination of the subject, invention of topics, provision of materials, distribution of arguments, selection and arrangement of words, in short, all the kinds and degrees of preparation which the orator employs, that he may be qualified to plead with ability and success. In military affairs, and agonistic games, it embraces the scientific training, the study of tactics both in theory and practice, the habituation both of mind and body to endurance of fatigue, the performance of all manly and warlike exercises in time of peace, the indispensable though mimic conflicts of countrymen with countrymen, and friends with friends, in order, when the real conflict shall arrive, to a vigorous opposition of the foe or the rival, in the arena or the field. And with moral writers, both profane and sacred, it has a meaning quite analogous to the former two: it denotes that thoughtful investigation of goodness and virtue, which flows from a heart-felt interest in the subject, and which issues in uniform, consistent, and exemplary practice; the forecasting, also, of probable or possible contingencies, which may bring our virtue into trial; the habitual comparison of means with ends, of our duties with our powers ; the frequent resolution of human obligation at large, and of our own special obligations in particular, into their several parts and degrees, with respect to our God, our neighbour, and ourselves; the continued moral recollection of the several relations in which we stand, that there may, so far as possible, be no excess, and no defect, in our dealings and communications with our fellow-men : these are a few, and but a few ingredients of that complicated and important exercise, which moralists have been used to express by the word jederaw, and which, in its highest meaning, and to its
utmost extent, the Apostle was desirous to impress upon his own son in the faith, as indispensable in a minister and steward of the mysteries of God.
"The practical meditation thus inculcated is, to the height of their ability, the duty of all Christian Men; and he who practises it the most and best, will find himself, in consequence, the wisest and most happy. But it is, in a peculiar and paramount degree, the duty of all Christian Ministers. For they are to watch, and give account, not only for their own souls, but for the souls of others. Ordinary men may meditate, and by meditating may forecast, within a narrow compass, the whole circle of their own duty. But the Clergy man has need to be prepared for all the contingencies that may happen to all men. His range of necessary thought is co-extended with the wants, the weaknesses, the pursuits, the occupations, the doubts, the difficulties, the perversities, the scruples, of the whole flock of Christ. He is not at liberty to account any one human concern foreign from his affection and his care. With him it rests to warn the unruly, to comfort the feeble-minded, to support the weak, and be patient unto all. These offices, which angels might covet, to us it is given to fulfil; and we shall find it utterly impracticable to fulfil them, I will not say as we ought, but to discharge them in any tolerable degree, without constant meditation. And a very important branch of this meditation is most devout and servent prayer for the preventing and assisting grace of God's Holy Spirit,
“III. The second great requisite for the completeness of our ministry, is, that we devote ourselves entirely to the proper studies and pursuits of our calling: ! Give thyself wholly to these things.'
"The things here meant by the Apostle, he had just before enumerated : Give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.' In this enumeration are included, first, the appropriate studies, then, the more active pursuits, of a Christian Pastor; the former, briefly summed up in the single word reading; the latter, subdivided into its two principal branches, exhortation and doctrine, that is, private admonition, and public instruction.
“Here, then, we have placed before us the two modes of employing our time, which are to go hand in hand, through the whole of our professional career, from its commencement to its close ; first, the reading of the Holy Scriptures, and the prosecu, tion of such studies as help to the knowledge of the same; secondly, the ministry of the doctrine, the sacraments, and the discipline of Christ, together with public and private monitions and exhortations, both to the sick and whole within our cures, as need shall require, and occasion shall be given. In stating this division of our labours, I the more willingly adopt the venerable language of our Ordination-Service, in order to remind myself, and to remind you, my reverend brethren, that, in the face of the Church, and in the presence of God, we have solemnly promised, thus to study, and thus to minister, never ceasing our labour, our care, and diligence, until we have done all that lieth in us, according to our bounden duty, to bring all such as are, or shall be, committed to our charge, unto that agreement in the faith and knowledge of God, and to that ripeness and perfectness of age in Christ, that there be no place left among us, either for error in religion, or for viciousness in life.
"I am aware, indeed, that some of our profession hold the opinion, or, at least, act as though they held the opinion, that professional studies are to cease with the period of our admission into holy orders, and that, thenceforward, it is requisite only to perform the more active duties; that, in fact, the performance of these duties is incompatible with a life of studious application; and that a Clergyman is at liberty to read little, provided he works much. Not such, however, was the opinion of St. Paul; for we find him exhorting Timothy not only to read, but to read with persevering diligence; Timothy, who had received, in a miracu: lous manner, the gifts of the Spirit. Not such is the dictate of common sense : for how, at the unripe age of admission into orders, can a stripling fully understand those oracles of God, in the interpretation of which, the wisest and most learned, at the close of a long, laborious life, have felt and confessed themselves to be as little children? Not such is the testimony of experience: for who have been the most exemplary, the most indefatigable, of our parish-priests ? Who, but our HOOKERS, our HAMMONDS, our Pococks, our BEVERIDGES, and our Bulls?---Men, of whom it has been truly said, that their speculative knowledge, which gave light to the most dark and difficult subjects, was eclipsed by the more dazzling lustre of their practice : men, who came forth from the recesses of their well-stored libraries, and from the deyout retirement of their closets, like angels on missions of mercy, conveying light, and love, and consolation, to the cottages of the poor, to the chambers of the aged and decrepid, to the bed-sides of the sick and dying, to the tender conscience, the wounded spirit, the broken and the contrite heart. Be these, then, our models; and we shall come to know, and rest assured, that the calling of a Christian Minister is not merely to work much, but to work well ; not merely to exercise the body in a routine of outward services, but to come into the scene of action, with a full mind, and a purified heart; a mind, stored with solid, edifying knowledge; a heart, purified through prayer, and through the word of God.
“In our pastoral duties, then, we must be sustained by the fruits of studious application; in our studies we must be animated by the home-felt consciousness, of striving, at least, to cure the souls entrusted to our charge. These two, God hath joined together; and let no Minister of God presume to put them asunder. In his pastoral visits, an ignorant Clergyman can but drág his inutility from house to house. In his learned researches, a careless parish Minister can but offer incense to his own vanity
and pride. The former is, at best, a most unprofitable servant. The latter, it must be feared, is a sacrilegious priest, who desecrates with strange fire the altar of our God.”. **-Wesleyan Methodist Magazine.
REMARKS ON THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD, IN REFERENCE
TO THE ENJOYMENTS OF BELIEVERS. (From the Rev. Henry F. BURDER'S “ Discourses on the Scripture-Character of
God:" London, 1822: pp. 152—164.) There are Christians, and there are Christian Teachers, who entertain some views of the Divine Sovereignty, which appear to have a very discouraging aspect on the spiritual enjoyments of believers. They conceive, that in the administration of the kingdom of grace, God, by a pure act of Sovereignty, frequently withdraws from his people the light of his countenance, and suspends the joys of his salvation, when no cause of that withdrawment, or of that suspension, is to be found on their part. To my mind, these ideas appear to be unworthy of the divine character, and irreconcileable with the tenor both of the promises of divine influence, and of the injunctions to rejoice without ceasing in the Lord. On this point, my views precisely coincide with those of a valued and enlightened friend, whose words I will take the liberty to adopt:* " If we are destitute of Christian comfort and joy, it is, I think, of essential importance, to have the conviction deeply impressed upon our minds, that the cause is in ourselves,-entirely in ourselves. It is not God that withdraws from us; but we that withdraw from God. When we have withdrawn, indeed, and, by our backsliding, deprived ourselves of the joy of the Lord, and of the light of his countenance, he may make us to feel our folly and our sin, by refraining, for a time, from restoring it. But still
, let us remember, that the cause is in us; and that, in every instance in which the effect does not arise from bodily or mental disorder, the cause is, in its nature, criminal. The manner in which some have spoken and written respecting the want of religious comfort, as arising from the sovereign hiding of God's countenance, while I am satisfied that it is not, at least in general, their intention, to deny that there is a cause, and that that cause is sin in us, has yet frequently appeared to me too much calculated to produce and to foster an impression of a different kind; to lead us, when in this situation, or when we see others in it, to look upon ourselves, or on our fellow-professors, rather as tried in the course of Divine Providence, than as decidedly * sinning against our own souls;' and thus, in either case, to pity, rather than to condemn."-ib.
Dr. WARDLAW, in his Discourse on the Influence of the Holy Spirit.