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TRAIT XXXI. His generous Fears and succeeding Consolations
When the church is threatened with a storm, tha worldly pastor has no fears except for himself and his relations. But the true minister, if he be at all dis! quieted 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 muc less for his own safety, than for the security of his com panions in tribulation. He fears especially for the wea. of the flock, 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 frequer opportunities of exercising his faith, his resignation, ar. his hope. “We are troubled,' saith St. Paul, 'on ever side; without were fightings, within were fears. fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled E: through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupte from the simplicity that is in Christ. I fear, lest whe I come, I shall not find you such as I would.' (2 Co vii. 5 ; xi. 3; xii. 20.) “When we could no longer fo hear, we sent Timothy to establish you, and to comfo you concerning your faith, that no man should be move by these afflictions: For yourselves know, that we a appointed thereto. For verily, when we were with you we told you before, that we should suffer tribulatior even as it came to pass. For this cause, when I coul no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by son means the tempter should have tempted you, and o labour be in vain.' (1 Thess. iii. 1, 5.)
Though these “ fightings without,' and these "fea within,' are always painful to the flesh, yet they a as constantly beneficial to the soul. If they subject til
true minister for a season to the keenest affliction, they prepare him in the end for 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 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 worketlı patience ; and patience, experience ; and experience, hope ; and hope maketh not ashamed, because 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 with a commission to pub. lish 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 e death, in preserving the life of a fellow citizen, for ti trifling reward of a civic wreath, how much greate magnanimity should a Christian pastor discover in re cuing the souls of his brethren from a state of perditio: for the glorious reward of a never-fading crown?
The grand Subject of his glorying, and i
Evangelical Manner, in which he maintain his Superiority over fulse Apostles.
The disposition of a faithful pastor is, in ere respect, diametrically opposite to that of a worldly a nister. If you observe the conversation of an Ecd 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 am his brethren, to live in a state of affluence and sp dour, and to secure to himself such distinguished pointments as would increase both his dignity and income, without making any extraordinary additior his pastoral labours: You will find him anxious to admitted into the best companies, and occasionally ming parties for the chase or some other vain amusem While the true pastor cries out in the self-renound language of the great apostle : God forbid that I shd 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 then 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 ad. versaries 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, ir. 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
world. Thus shall you honourably replace the first Christian prelates, and happily restore the church to its primitive dignity.
His Patience and Fortitude under the severest
"CHARITY is not easily provoked ;' but on the con trary thinketh no evil.' Full of patience and meek ness, Christ distinguished himself by his abundant lov to those from whom he received the most cruel treat
Thus also the ministers of Christ are distin guished, who, as they are more or less courageous an indefatigable in the work of the ministry, are enabled t adopt the following declaration of St. Paul with mor or less propriety: Being reviled, we bless ; being pe. secuted, we suffer it; being defamed, we entreat: W are made as the filth of the world, and are as the of scouring of all things unto this day.' (1 Cor. iv. 1: 13.) “Giving no offence in any thing, that the mini try be not blamed : But in all things approving ou selves as the ministers of God in much patience, afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, in stripes, in in prisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, fastings; by pureness, by knowledge, by long-suffering by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armou of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, which enables us to attack error and vice, while i shields us from their assaults ; by honour and dis honour ; by evil report and good report ; as deceiver: and yet true; as unknown, and yet well known ; a dying, and behold we live; as chastened and not killed as sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet makin