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the mind of all faithful Christian ministers, here we have found the great help in all our conferences with each other to edify one another in love ; here is our grand store of medicine for all the spiritual diseases of our people ; here is the sure light amidst the increasing darkness of the world that lies in wickedness. Here is our shield and safe-guard against all errors on the right hand and on the left : the Bible read with much prayer, digested in patient meditation, made our own by being received in true faith into the heart, forming daily the guide and rule of our thoughts, words, and works, and brought into every part of our ministry, through the constant indwelling of its great author the Holy Spirit, residing in us as in his own temple. Here is the real sufficiency ; here is the spring head, the library, the power of usefulness, and the daily delightful meditation of the Christian Minister, enabling him to glorify the God of his salvation, and to be wise to win souls to Christ.
But we all acknowledge this! Why then press it ? From the peculiar temptations of this day in the vast multiplication of books, from the thrilling interest of the times through which we are passing ; from the great progress of science, from the wide-spread means of rapid intercourse ; it is more than ever difficult to give in these days close and constant attention to the Scriptures. It is needful that we should discern the signs of the times ; it is needful that ministers should know themselves the dangers to which their flocks and Churches are exposed ; and in acquiring important knowledge for the ministry the danger multiplies of not giving chief attention to that Divine gift, which requires indeed faith and prayer and the aid of the Holy Spirit, but with these is as a heavenly light, spread over all knowledge and all Providence, all politics and all commerce, all arts and all science, shows all in their due subordination to the Kingdom of Christ, and all to be redeemed from evil to his glory and the good of
It enables us to give our fellow men divine instruction, amidst the distractions of worldly occupation, and the snares of commercial prosperity or adversity, and the triumphs of earthly science, to guide them safe to their heavenly and eternal home. Let us not then be in any way seduced from a daily, prominent, considerate, and full study of the word of God, as indeed ministers in the Church of England are taught by the appointment of the Church Lessons in the Calendar ; thus, among its other excellences, our Church leads its ministers and members to a daily full study of the word of God. Let the Word of Christ dwell in ои richly in all wisdom. No acquisition of general or theological knowledge, can compensate for the serious loss sustained in our own souls and in our ministry by a neglected Bible, or by a careless reading of it without faith, meditation, and prayer.
THE MINISTRY, WITÆ THE DANGER OF
Though the world by wisdom knew not God, and it is still true that the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God, yet there are no lessons which men are more slow to learn. We are taught in the same Epistle to Timothy, which has furnished the chief ground for this part of my work, of the decay of truth in the Christian Church, and it is put on man's hatred of truth and love of what the Apostle calls fables. The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but after their own lusts will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears, and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and be turned unto fables. But there is also a description of those graces which God gave to the Apostle Paul and his fellow-labourers which are worthy of all our pursuit as the highest practical wisdom, and the surest way to extensive usefulness. Calling Timothy to stir up the gift which was in him, by the putting on of the Apostle's hands, he grounds the exhortation on the spirit which God had given to them, for God hath not given to us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
The Church has had much painful experience of false teaching. The cultivation of the true spirit of the Christian minister, may preserve us from many of the snares of this day, and quicken us to every good work. I will therefore give a distinct chapter to the consideration of this subject, in connection with the danger of relying on our own intellect. The more excellent any gift is, the more diligently it is to be improved in the service of God, and no gift is more important than that of the Christian ministry.
It is the more needful to direct attention to spiritual graces, as the idolatry of talent is both a temptation and a great snare at the present time. We may see something of this in the late Dr. Arnold.* He was
* While stating objections to Dr. Arnold, I desire unequivocally to express an assurance of the value of many things in his writings, and of the depth of his real piety. Much may be learned from him. It would not be wise or Christian, because he despises evangelical ministers as men of narrow minds, or because he could not enter into the scriptural depth and largeness of their views and labours, therefore to despise his writings and undervalue the many lessons which he may teach us. I will quote a passage which will show the reader how evidently and deeply the root of the matter was in his mind: Writing to a pupil he says:--- The one great lesson for us all is, that we should daily pray for an “ increase of faith.” There is enough of iniquity abounding to make our love in danger of waxing cold ; it is well said, therefore, “ Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me." By which I understand that it is not so much general notions of Providence which are our best support, but a sense of the personal interest, if I may so speak, taken in our welfare by Him, who died for us, and rose again. May His Spirit strengthen us to do
so possessed with the great importance of mental ability and intellectual
that it led him to despise others, and greatly marred his many excellences of different kinds. Without expressing the slightest doubt of his real piety, and fully admitting his acknowledged many superior qualifications for his situation, this overvaluing talent left him exposed to many inconsistencies. There was much truth, and much to love and admire, and yet he has been left to fall into contradictory, as well as seriously erroneous and mischievous opinions.*
The art of Satan here is so to mingle leaven with the meal, so to scatter the tares with the wheat, that it is peculiarly difficult or impossible, to separate them. Satan employs the best instruments he can be permitted to use, to introduce his most hurtful falsehoods with the most precious truths. Nothing can preserve us, but constant attention to God's word, and deep spirituality. He that is spiritual discerneth all things. And it is a great duty in ministers to take forth the precious from the vile. Jer. xv. 19.
his will, and to bear it, in power, and love, and in wisdom. God bless you.' He says again, in another letter, ‘I hold all the scholarship that ever man had to be infinitely worthless in comparison with even a very humble degree of spiritual advancement.'
* The reader will find a very able review of the most favourable side of Dr. Arnold's writings in the Churchman's Monthly Review for January 1845, and of his serious errors in the Record newspaper of February 2, 1845.