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the joy of this zealous imitator of Christ were generally influenced by the varying states of the faithful. When any, who had once run well, were seen loitering by the way, or starting aside from the path of life, he expressed the most sincere affliction on their accountThere are some, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ.” (Phil. iii. 18.) On the other hand, the progress of believers was as marrow to his bones, and as the balsam of life to his heartWe are glad, when we are weak, and ye are strong: And this also we wish, even your perfection. (2 Cor. xiii. 9.) My brethren, dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved. Be blameless and harmless, the sons of God without rebuke, holding forth the word of life, that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither la. boured in vain.' (Phil. iv. 1; ii. 15, 16.)
Reader, whoever thou art, permit me to ask thee an important question. Art thou acquainted with that ardent charity, that influenced the apostle Paul ? If his Christian love was like a rapid and deep river; is thine at least like a running stream, whose waters fail not ? Do thy joys and thy sorrows flow in the same channel, and tend to the same point, as the sanctified passions of this benevolent man? Relate the chief causes of thy satisfaction and thy displeasure, and I will tell thee, whether, like Demas, thou art a child of this present world, or a fellow citizen of heaven with St. Paul.*
* Have you more joy, when your preaching augments your income, than when you observe a wandering sheep conducted into the right way? Then conclude, that you preach more for mammon than for Christ.
TRAIT XXXI. His generous Fears and succeeding Consolations.
When the church is threatened with a storm, the worldly pastor has no fears except for himself and his relations. But the true minister, if he be at all disquieted with fear, when the Lord's vessel is driven with the winds, or appears to be in danger through the indis. creet conduct of false or unloving brethren, he feels much less for his own safety, than for the security of his com. panions in tribulation. He fears especially for the weak of the fock, and for those of the faithful who are expos. ed to violent temptation : And these generous fears, which equally prove his holy zeal and brotherly love, without robbing him of all his joy, afford him frequent opportunities of exercising his faith, his resignation, and his hope. “We are troubled,' saith St. Paul, on every side; without were fightings, within were fears. I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. I fear, lest when 1 come, I shall not find you such as I would.' (2 Cor. vii. 5; xi. 3; xii. 20.) “When we could no longer for. bear, we sent Timothy to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith, that no man should be moved by these afflictions: For yourselves know, that we are appointed thereto. For verily, when we were with you, we told you before, that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass. For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter should have tempted you, and our labour be in vain.' (1 Thess. iii. 1, 5.)
Though these • fightings without, and these "fears within,' are always painful to the flesh, yet they are as constantly beneficial to the soul. If they subject the
true minister for a season to the keenest affliction, they prepare him in the end for 6 strong consolation.' Observe the manner, in which the great apostle expresses himself upon this point. We would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble, which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, inso. much that we despaired even of life. We had the sen
tence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in 215 ourselves, but in God which raisetb the dead : Who
delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: In whom we trust, that he will yet deliver us.' (2 Cor. i. 8, 10.) 'I would ye should understand, brethren that the things, which happened unto me, have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel; so that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places ; and many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.' (Phil. i. 12, 14.) Hence, we glory in tribulations : Knowing that tribulation worketh patience ; and patience, experience ; and experience, hope; and hope maketh not ashamed, be. cause the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.' (Rom. v. 3, 5.)
Blessed be God, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.' (2 Cor. i. 2, 5.) If those who are honoured ith a com
ission to publish the gospel were fully convinced how gracious and powerful a Master they serve, instead of being alarmed at the sight of those labours and dangers which await them in the exercise of their ministry, they would stand prepared to run all hazards in his service ; as courageous soldiers who fight under the eye of a generous prince, are ready to expose their lives for the augmentation of his glory. Can it become good pastors to manifest less
nary warriors for the destruction of their prince's foes: And if the Romans generously exposed themselves r: death, in preserving the life of a fellow citizen, for the trifling reward of a civic wreath, how much greater magnanimity should a Christian pastor discover in res cuing the souls of his brethren from a state of perditior for the glorious reward of a never-fading crown?
The grand Subject of his glorying, and ti
Evangelical Manner, in which he maintain his Superiority over false Apostles.
The disposition of a faithful pastor is, in eve respect, diametrically opposite to that of a worldly r nister. If you observe the conversation of an Ecc siastic, who is influenced by the spirit of the world, will hear him intimating either that he has, or that would not be sorry to have, the precedency amd his brethren, to live in a state of affluence and spl dour, and to secure to himself such distinguished pointments as would increase both his dignity and income, without making any extraordinary addition his pastoral labours : You will find him anxious to admitted into the best companies, and occasionally 4 ming parties for the chase or some other vain amusemd While the true pastor cries out in the self-renounc language of the great apostle : God forbid that I sho glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto world.' (Gal. vi. 14.)
If the minister, who is really formed to preside in church, were singled out from among his brethren, placed in an apostolic chair, he would become the i hnmble for his exaltation :-If such a one were slig and vilificd by false apostles, he would not appeal,
the honour of his character, to the superiority of his talents, his rank, or his mission ; but rather to the superiority of his labours, his dangers, and his sufferings. Thus, at least, St. Paul defended the dignity of his character against the unjust insinuations of his adversaries in the ministry—“Are they ministers of Christ ? (I speak as a fool) I am more.' But in what manner did he attempt to prove this ? Was it by saying, I have a richer benefice than the generality of ministers ; I am a doctor, a professor of divinity, I bear the mitre, and dwell in an episcopal palace ? No : Instead of this, he used the following apostolic language : • In labours I am more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. In journeyings often, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea , in perils by the Heathen, in perils among false brethren : In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Besides those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches. Who is weak and I am not weak ? Who is offended and I burn not? If I must needs glory, I will glory in the things which concern mine infirmi. ties. (2 Cor. xi. 23—30.) From henceforth let no man trouble me: For I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.' (Gal. vi. 17.) Such are the appeals of holy prelates. But for a man to glory in having obtained a deanery, a professor's chair, or a bishopric, is in reality to boast of his unfaithfulness to his vocation, and to prove himself unworthy of the rank to which he has been injudiciously raised.
Ye who preside over the household of God, learn of the Apostle Paul to manifest your real superiority. Surpass your inferiors in humility, in charity, in zeal, in your painful labours for the salvation of sinners, in your invincible courage to encounter those dangers which threaten your brethren, and by your unwearied patience in bearing those persecutions, which the faithful disciples