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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. Jf 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
The Earnestness with which he began, and conti
nued to fill up the duties of his Vocation.
The true penitent, having renounced himself for the honour of following his exalted Lord, stands faithfully in his own vocation, whether it be secular or ecclesiastic, Ile is prepared, upon all occasions, to perform the will of his gracious Master : And if he is commissioned to act as a minister of Christ, after furnishing himseli with the whole armour of God, he will expose him. self, without fear, to the most threatening dangers, that he may compel sinners to come in to the marriage supper of the Lamb. “I rejoice,' saith St. Paul, “in my sufferings for the body of Christ, which is the Church, whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispaa. sation of God, which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; even the mystery, which hath been hid from ages, but which is now made manifest to his saints; to whom God would make known, what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory; whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wis. dom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus; whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working which worketh in me mightily. For 1 would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you.' and for all those among whom the word of God is preach. ed, that their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding to the acknowledgment of the mystery of God, even of the Father and of Christ ; in when are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.' (Col. i. 24, 29 ; ii, 1, 2, 3.)
Such are the great ideas, which the apostle Paul entertained of the ministry he had received ; and observe the
assiduity, with which he discharged the duties of so important an office— Ye know,' says he, speaking to the pastors, to whom he committed the care of one of his flocks, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons, serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears and temptations: And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house, testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ. Wherefore I take you to record, this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. Take heed therefore unto yourselves ; for I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves,' unfaithful pastors, “enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Therefore, watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.' (Acts xx. 18, 31.) In every place he discharged the obligations of a minister with the same application and zeal, travelling from city to city, and from church to church, bearing testimony to the redemption that is in Jesus,' and declaring the great truths of the gospel. When the synagogues were shut against him, he preached in the schools of phi. losophers, upon the sea shore, on shipboard, and even in prisons; and while he dwelt a prisoner in his own house at Rome, he received all that came in unto him, to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the Law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening.' (Acts xxviii. 23.)
Thus the Son of God himself once publicly labourel for the conversion of sinners, sometimes going through all “Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel.' (Matt. vi. 31.) And at other times instruct. ing the multitudes, who either followed him into the fields, or resorted to the house where he lodged; "for there were many coming and going, and they had no
leisure so much as to eat.' (Mark vi. 31.) And when. through the pleasure of bringing the Samaritans acquainted with spiritual truth, he disregarded the neces. sities of nature, his disciples, requesting him to partake of the food they had prepared, received from him this memorable answer : *I have meat to eat that ye know not of_my meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work,' viz., the glorious work of en. lightening and saving of sinners. (John iv. 31, 34.)
Thus St. Paul was diligently and daily occupied in fulfilling the duties of his apostolic vocation ; and thus every minister of the gospel is called to labour in his appointed sphere. It remains to be known, whether all, who do not labour, according to their ability, are not condemned by the following general rule: “ If any will not work, neither should he eat.” (2 Thess. iii. 10.) For these words signify, applied to the present case, that they who will not labour as pastors, should by no means be permitted to eat the bread of pastors ; an evangelical precept this, which deserves the strictest attention, as the bread of pastors is, in some sort, sacred bread, since it is that, which the piety of the public has set apart for the support of those, who have abandoned every worldly pursuit, that they might dedicate themselves freely and fully to the service of the church.
The M ner in which he divided his time betrceen
Prayer, Preaching, and Thanksgiving.
The minister of the present age is but seldom engaged in publishing to his people the truths of the gospel; and still more rarely in supplicating for them the possession of those blessings, which the gospel proposes. It is chiefly before men, that he lifts up his hands, and affects to pour out a prayer from the fulness of his heart;
while the true minister divides his time between the two important and refreshing occupations of preaching and prayer ; by the former, making a public offer of divine grace to his hearers, and by the latter, soliciting for them in secret the experience of that grace.
Such was the manner of the blessed Jesus himself, who, after having reproved his disciples for the low degree of their faith, retired either into gardens, or upon mountains, praying that their faith might not fail. The good pastor, who constantly imitates the example of his Divine Master, is prepared to adopt the following language of St. Paul, in addressing the flock, upon which he is immediately appointed to attend: For this cause, I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith ; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be filled with all the fulness of God.' (Eph. iii. 14, 19.) 6 And this I
love may abound more and more in knowledge, and in all judgment ; that ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are, by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.' (Phil. i. 9, 11.) By prayers, like these, the Apostle Paul was accustomed to water, without ceasing, the heavenly seed, which he had so widely scattered through the vineyard of his Lord, manifesting an increasing attachment to those, among whom he had at any time published the tidings of salvation, and breathing out, in all his Epistles to distant churches, the most earnest desire, that God would “fulfil’in them all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power; that the name of the Lord Jesus Christ might be glorified in them, and they in him.' (2 Thess. i. 11, 12.)
Pastors, who pray thus for their flocks, pray not in vain. Their fervent petitions are heard ; sinners are converted, the faithful are edified, and thanksgiving is