Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

will make us cry aloud. The love of God is wise, and deep, and full ; and yet he sends angel upon angel to give warning of the danger of the apostacy with increasing vehemence; and the third says with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead and in his hand, the same shall drink the wine of the wrath of God which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation. The deep love of God never calls us to harmonize with Babylon, or to get as near it as we can; to say as some do, “everything we have left is the more precious if it be shared with Rome ;" but quite the reverse ; divine love bids us to say to all in Babylon, Come out of her my people that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. Let our wisdom be the wisdom of God's word, and our love like his. · Through the energy of faithful Protestant love, and not by delusive fair speeches, millions may yet, we trust, be rescued from the ruin of the Mystical Babylon.

2. We will now briefly notice THE HELP OF DIVINE TEACHING in the ministry. This is what is especially needed in every part ; for personal conversion, for the call to the office, for the fulfilling it, and for success in it. Ministers can do nothing, from first to last, without Christ and his all-sufficient grace. We shall be misled on every side without the Heavenly Teacher.

And blessed be God nothing can be more sure than that this help will be afforded on seeking it. Our Saviour has expressly promised I will pray the Father and he shall give you another Comforter that he may abide with you for ever, even the Spirit of TruthHe will guide you into all truth. He supplies so the absence of Christ (John xvi. 7.) that when our Lord gave his last commission to his apostles, he assured them, Lo, I am with you always to the end of the world. Ministers labour not then alone. In themselves they are altogether weak and insufficient. They feel the Apostle's words to be true, We are not sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves, and which of us may not add, Our sufficiency is of GodI can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. To this Divine teacher let us constantly apply ; seek his grace and go forth in his strength.

Permit then, an elder brother in the ministry, to speak very distinctly, on the vast importance of praying without ceasing

However diligent and active, however regular and persevering in our ordinary ministerial work, have not we ministers, I speak what I feel, to mourn over the failure of plans of good, and the scantiness of success where there is not complete failure, and the outbreakings of evil among our flock, and our disappointment in those of whom we once hoped well ? and may it not be in part at least occasioned by want of more diligence and constancy in the most important of all means to be used by us for attaining success? The chief work is not

crown

ours but God's, and he makes this more and more clear to us.

We are merely instruments in his hands. Are we not depending too much on our part of the work, and thence seeking too negligently the only Giver of the increase. With real feeling of personal deficiency I ask, might we not hope that if we were more instant in prayer, gave more time, morning, noon, and night to communion with our God, we should speedily see a fuller success our labours, and many more spiritual children would rise up at the last to call us blessed ?

If prayer for our flocks be neglected ; if prayer for ourselves be cold and formal, our want of spiritual life is clear, and we cannot expect to impart to others what we do not possess ourselves. If practically our private prayers be with us an inferior part of our duties, and are through pressure of other things hurried over in negligence, and to quiet merely an uneasy conscience, we cannot be successful in the ministry. God must be honoured and exalted in the innermost man. pray in the Holy Ghost we prosper in all our spiritual labours. The neglect of that always labouring fervently in prayer which the Apostle commends in Epaphras, enables the enemy to sow the seeds of division, strifes, heresies, questions about words, the infidelity of Neology and the revived danger of the bygone superstition of Popery. It is much easier to have some cheap way of being religious by mere outside forms or theories, or

As we

prayers for

by burning zeal for partial truths, while men remain worldly-minded, proud, self-righteous, selfish, and earthly, than to struggle with inward corruption, walk in the Spirit, rise to daily and hourly communion with the great God, and aim to live up to the high and holy, meek, tender, and loving standard of Christ's example, and yet in every thing renounce all righteousness of our own and glory only in him.

See how through St. Paul's epistles, on this part of our subject, two things are prominent ; his his people and his earnest request for their prayers for himself. Again and again he asks their prayers ; (Eph. vi. 19. Col. iv. 3. 1 Thess. v. 25. 2 Thess. iii. 1. In every epistle he pours out prayers for them. Let us abound more then in these two parts of a successful ministry : prayers for our people and asking their prayers for ourselves. St. Paul's most earnest exhortation to Timothy was on this duty. I exhort, therefore, that first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions and giving of thanks be made for all men. May then, Christian ministers everywhere practise and press this duty. May the Spirit of grace and supplication be largely, very largely granted to us and it will bring showers of blessing on our families, our parishes, our Church, our country, and the world.

While we thus press divine teaching as the chief help required, let us however remember that this help is given for the full and profitable use of a gift already bestowed, as God's own treasury of truth. When the Lord opened the understanding of his Apostles, it was that they might understand the Scriptures. Teaching from above may be assumed and not real ; it may

be wholly unconnected with, and unregulated by the inspired volume, and then can only deceive ourselves and others, and lead them astray. We want thus a test not only for human, but also for assumed divine teaching. Let us then proceed to consider another important truth.

CHAP. III.

THE REAL SUFFICIENCY OF THE HOLY SCRIPTURES.

the ver

In the midst of all the danger of self-deception and of all the errors of human teaching and all the evil men and seducers who wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived ; in the midst of these perils of the last days, there is one pure and holy light. It was the glory of the Reformation to give it to the Church nacular language, as an open book to be read by all. It is a clear, plain, and infallible Teacher ; not darkness but light, not mixed with error but unmingled truth ; not unintelligible doctrines, but truth to be preached to the poor and to be understood by them; a sure, perfect guide, using great plainness of speech, (2 Cor.

« ForrigeFortsett »