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His Detestation of Parly-Spirit and Divisions.
While the spirit of the world is confessedly a spirit of particular interest, pride, and division, the spirit of true religion is manifested, among its sincere professors, as a spirit of concord, humility, and brotherly love. The true minister, animated in an especial manner by this divine spirit, losing sight of his own reputation and honour, is unweariedly engaged in seeking the glory of God, and the edification of his neighbour. Perfectly satisfied with the lowest place, and distinguished as much by condescension to his brethren, as by respect to his superiors, he is ever on his guard against that spirit of party, which is continually seeking to disturb the union of the church, whether it be by too great a fondness for particular customs, by an obstinate zeal for any system of doctrines, or by too passionate an attachment to some eminent teacher.
Without persecuting those, who are led by so danger. ous a spirit, the good pastor employs every effort to re-unite them under the great Head of the church. Argu. ing against the folly of those who are ready to separate themselves from the company of their brethren, he takes up the language of St. Paul, and says, “O foolish Chris. tians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evi. dently set forth, crucified among you? Are ye so fool. ish? Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh ?' (Gal. iii. 1, 3.) “Ye have,' indeed, been called unto liberty: Only use not liberty as an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this : Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, among which are these, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, and heresies : Of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they, which do such things, shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spi. rit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, faith, meekness, temperance. If we live in the Spirit, let us walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another.' (Gal. v. 13, 26.)
There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. Endeavour, therefore, to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.' (Eph, iv. 3, 6.)
When the people seek to honour a true minister by placing him at the head of any party in the church, he refuses the proffered dignity with a humble and holy indignation. His soul is constantly penetrated with those sentiments, under the influence of which the apostle Paul thus nobly expressed himself:
"I seek not my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.” (1 Cor. x. 33.) I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you ; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind. For it hath been declared unto me, that there are contentions among you: And that every one of you saith, I am of Paul, and, I of Apollos, and, I of Cephas, and, I of Christ. But is Christ divided ? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul ?' (1 Cor. i. 10, 13.) Who is Paul, but a minister by whom ye believed? Therefore let no man glory in men, whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas.' (1 Cor. iii. 5, 21, 22 ;) but rather in our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named.' (Eph. iii. 14, 15.)
By such exhortations, it is, and by maintaining, at the
exhortations, that every faithful minister endeavours to engage Christians of all denominations, to walk toge. ther • in love, as Christ also walked.' (Eph. v. 2.) • Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord,' (v. 10.)
and submitting one to another in the fear of God,' (v. 21,) till the arrival of that promised period, when the whole company of the faithful shall be of one heart and of one mind.
But after all these exertions, for the extirpation of a sectarian spirit from the church, they, who content them. selves with the exterior of Christianity, as the Pharisees were contented with the ceremonies of the Mosaic worship, will, sooner or later, accuse every evangelical pastor of attempting to form a particular sect. When modern Pharisees observe the strict union which reigns among true believers, a union which every faithful minister labours to establish among his people, as well by example as by precept; when they behold penitent sinners deeply sensible of their guilt, and frequently assembling together for the purpose of imploring the blessings of wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption ;' they immediately take the alarm, and cry out— These men do exceedingly trouble our city, teach. ing customs, which are not lawful for us to receive,' and maintaining such a conduct as is most inconvenient for us to follow. (Acts xvi. 20, 21.)
Happy are those cities, in which the minister of Christ is able to discover a Nicodemus, a Gamaliel, or some worshippers possessed of as much candour as the Jews of Rome, who desired to hear what the persecuted Paul had to offer, in behalf of that newly-risen sect, which
every where spoken against.' (Acts xxvii. 22.) Till this anriable candour shall universally prevail among the nominal members of the church, true Chris. tianity, even in the centre of Christendom, will always find perverse contradiction, and sometimes cruel per. secution.
* BLA, 114
His Rejection of Praise. The minister of the present day labours chiefly with a view to his own advantage and honour. He endeavours to please, that he may be admired of men. He loves the chief seats in synagogues, public greetings, and honourable titles, (Matt xxiii. 6, 7,) thus tacitly challenging, by his unreasonable pretensions to the respect and homage of men, a part of that glory which is due to God alone.
A totally different character is maintained by the true minister. His discourses, his actions, his look, his de. portment, all agree to say, Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth's sake.' (Psalm cxv. 1.) If the arm of the Omnipotent enables him to perform any extraordinary work, which the multitude do not immediately refer to the Author of every good and perfect gift,' he cries out with St. Peter, “Why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness' we had performed what appears to excite your astonishment ? “The God of our Fathers hath,' upon this occasion, 'glori. fied his Son Jesus; and the faith, which is by him, hath effected this extraordinary work in the presence of you all. (Acts iii. 12, 13, 16.) On all occasions he can say with the great apostle, "Do I seek to please men? If I yet pleased men,' unless for their edification, • I should not be the servant of Christ.' (Gal. i. 10.) With me it is a very small thing, that I should be judged of you, or of man's judgment.' (1 Cor. iv. 3.) • But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men but God, who trieth our hearts. Neither at any time used we flatterof you, nor yet of others.” (1 Thess. ii. 4, 6.) By such a conduct he distinguishes himself as a faithful Ambas sador of the blessed Jesus, who expressed himself in following lowly terms, to those who had reproached his with a spirit of self-exaltation : "I do nothing of myself but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things I seek not my own glory : There is one that seekett and judgeth. If I honour myself, my honour is nothing. It is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye sas. that he is your God.' (John viii. 28, 50, 54.)
There may be peculiar cases, in which a ministering servant of God may be allowed to call upon Christiaza for a public testimony of their approbation, and whes this is refused, he is justified in modestly calling the attention to every past proof of his integrity and real Thus St. Paul, as a proper mean of maintaining his authority among the Corinthians, who had manifested a unjust partiality towards teachers of a very inferior orde. entered into a long detail of those revelations and labours. which gave him a more than ordinary claim to the respect of every Church. But whenever he commended himself he did it with the utmost reluctance, as one constrained by the peculiarity of his circumstances to act in immedi. ate contrariety to his real disposition. Hence, whenever he recounts the particular favours with which God had honoured him, he speaks in the third person, as of another man: "Of such a one will I glory ; yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities.' (2 Cor. xii. 5.) “For we dare not make ourselves of the pum. ber of those, who commend themselves, measuring themselves by themselves, without any reference to the excellent graces and endowments of others. But be that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth.' (2 Cor. x. 12, 18.)
Nothing affords greater satisfaction to false apostles than commendation and praise ; while the true minister shrinks with horror from those very honours, which they assume all the forms of Proteus to obtain. When the multitude, led by their admiration of a faithful preacher,