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the priestly, prophetic, and regal offices, with conduct them from stage to stage, and their feet which the Son is invested—in the raising up of shall not slide. May the Lord save his church that wonderful man who is ‘ as a hiding-place from from the curse of a ministry that does not spirithe wind, and a covert from the tempest—as tually and experimentally know his way. rivers of water in a dry place—as the shadow of Apollos was ' fervent in the Spirit.' a great rock in a weary land. And we see the a preacher who had zeal along with his knowway of the Lord's gracious proceedings in that ledge,—who had heat as well as light. Happy mighty, effectual call, which brings sinners out of conjunction of intelligence and fervour! Withdarkness into his marvellous light-we see it in out the latter, nothing will be done ; without the his free justification of the ungodly through the former, nothing will be done aright. Enlightened merits of Emmanuel—and in the purifying, en- fervour on the part of ministers is what the lightening, strengthening, cheering, of the souls church of God requires. of his people through the continual effusions of It is sad to see an apathetic minister. It is the Holy Ghost. If we take the second view, surely no time for indolence and slumber on the the way of the Lord is that which the Lord sets part of the shepherd, when the wolf is among
the before us, and respecting which proclamation is sheep. Apathy there is none with the enemy of made in his name, “This is the way, walk ye in souls. He is neither asleep, nor indifferent, nor it! It is the way of believing. When the jailer idle. He pursues his work of deceit and ruin of Philippi asked for the way, Believe in the with unfading zeal, and most malignant fervour. Lord Jesus Christ,' was the ready answer of what treachery then is it, if, under these cirPaul. It is the way of repenting. Except ye cumstances, the guardians of souls do not bestir repent,' said Christ, 'ye shall perish. Repent, themselves, or move, with any earnestness or and be converted,' said Peter, that your sins ardour, for the protection and rescue of their may be blotted out. It is the way of privilege. charge !
Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the Apollos 'spake and taught diligently the things waters; and he that hath no money! It is the of the Lord. For this his knowledge qualified way of prayer. Ask, and ye shall receive; him; and to this his fervour of spirit inclined knock, and it shall be opened unto you. It is him. the way of gospel obedience. “Ye are not your The devoted minister does three things. He own, ye are bought with a price; wherefore speaks the things of the Lord. He teaches the glorify God in your body, and your spirit, which things of the Lord. He both speaks and teaches are God's. It is the way to Zion. “Come unto the things of the Lord diligently. me I will give you rest.' 'I go to prepare a
The careless minister may, at canonicul seasons, place for you. The ransomed of the Lord shall speak the things of the Lord; but when he speaks, return, and come to Zion with songs, and ever- he does not teach; there is neither the ardour, lasting joy upon their heads.'
nor the painstaking fulness and illustration that To know the Lord's way is essential for all. are necessary for conveying the truth to other For lack of knowing it do the souls of sinners minds. And he is not diligent. He does not perish. It is not enough that ministers are ac- watch for opportunities to give the knowledge quainted with it. Vicarious knowledge conducts that saves. He never works with the zeal of a nonc to heaven. Yet it is most necessary that lover of souls. ministers understand it well. This is necessary in order to their own salvation; and also with a view to the salvation of their hearers. If they teach not the way aright, such as trust to their
THIRTIETH DAY.MORNING. guidance will not find it. And how can they • Moreover, it is required in stewards, that a man teach the way, if they do not know it? God must teach ministers, else they cannot
be found faithful, 1 Cor. iv. 2. know his way. It is not enough that the way of Who can gainsay this? The rule is indisputable, the Lord be described to them by men who have that fidelity is the foremost qualification of a surveyed it; they require the knowledge of ob- steward. The steward was one to whom was comservation and experience. It is the province of mitted the care of his master's property, and of the Spirit of the Lord to give them that know. his master's interests; and to whom it fell to look ledge. By him the way will be revealed to them; to the welfare and proper nourishment of his mashe will pour light into their minds so that their ter's family. own eyes shall behold it; he will lead them in it, Let it be remembered, then, by every one who is a steward, that it is required in stewards, that absolute or irresponsible right; nor is it possible a man be found faithful.' Especially let them, for us ever to reach a station, or acquire an whose stewardship is of God, remember it. authority, higher than that of stewards. Ought
But who are they that have a stewardship from this to disappoint us? Were we more than stewGod? They are the children of men. They are ards, we should be gods! those who have received the gifts of God. What But besides the general stewardship common things God has bestowed on us, he has not given to us all, there are particular stewardships. There so absolutely, as to set us free from responsibility is that of the head of a family. To him God has for the way in which we use them. He has not committed interests of great importance. God divested himself of his own lordship over the says to every parent: “Take this child and bring things which his rational creatures possess. They it up for me. Take these children and educate are ours, indeed; but only in a subordinate sense. them in my fear. Feed their souls with my word. They are ours for a season ;-they are ours for Carry them to the wells of salvation. Set before certain ends. We have no right to do with them them the rich provision of my grace. For this what we please. God's will must regulate the end I give thee all necessary authority and power; use of them. God's glory is the cause to which and I charge thee to see to their welfare, both for they must be devoted. Have we wealth? In time and eternity.' the truest sense it belongs not to us; it is God's. And there is the stewardship of the Christian We are stewards of our wealth; the proprietor is pastor. To him is entrusted the care of many God. Woe to the rich man that forgets he is a souls. He has to look to the well-being of the steward! He will never enter into the kingdom household of God. The Head-steward is Christ. of God. The man, who in the parable, was. As the chosen and much beloved servant of the clothed in fine linen, and fared sumptuously every Father, he presides over the whole family in day, while holy Lazarus lay a despised beggar at heaven and earth, goes in and out among them, his gate, thought himself to be the absolute lord and distributes to them bountifully out of that of his treasures, and dreamt not of a reckoning fulness which it hath pleased the Father should that was to come. But he did not cease to be a dwell in him. In token of his authority, he hath steward by forgetting that he was one; he neither the key of the house of David upon his shoulder; ceased to be a steward, nor escaped from the and he openeth, and no man shutteth, and shutteth, responsibility of a steward's obligations: the effect and no man openeth. But Christ has many stewof his criminal forgetfulness merely was to con-ards under him. The ministers of the gospel stitute him an unjust steward, and to consign him havea delegated authority as his deputy-stewards, to that place of darkness and torment, where the He has given them, as the symbols of their office, unjust steward must expiate his sin. Have we and the means of exercising its duties, the keys influence? Indeed, who is there, that more or of the kingdom of heaven. He has thus made less, has it not? The man who is poor and of them stewards of the mysteries of God.' Those lowly station, may have little influence; but there holy secrets, which are hid from the wise and is no man who has none. Such influence as we prudent, have been committed to them. By the have must be exercised for God. The relations keys, they are empowered to unlock the repositories and circumstances whence our influence arises, of the gospel dispensation, and bring forth those are to be attributed to him; and the fruit of them gladsome and glorious truths, which must have should be employed in his service, and for his been for ever unscrutable to the reason of man. glory. In like manner, we are stewards with They are appointed to convey to sinners the prereference to our respective mental endowments. cious knowledge of Jehovah, of his name, and his By many an unhappy child of genius has this way; to give out the reconciling intelligence of truth been overlooked—been scorned; and the his mercy and love, with his holiness, justice, and noblest qualities, and capabilities of mind, have truth, all happily blended in the cross of the crubeen traitorously employed in reviling God, and cified Son. They are stewards of the manifold casting doubt and darkness over the economy of grace of God.' On them it devolves to dishis grace, and assailing the foundations of his pense the great ordinances, through which the throne. But these guilty proceedings cannot alter supply of God's manifold grace is communicated. the truth; it remains a fact, that they who abuse Through the channel of their ministrations, the and misapply the mental powers that God has grace, whereby the secure are awakened, and the conferred on them, are in the situation of stew- dead are quickened; whereby the weak are ards, and ought to be faithful as such. Nothing strengthened, and the sorrowful are cheered; that we have, or can possess, belongs to us in whereby the lame man leaps as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb is taught to sing; through The first shedder of the blood of souls was Satan. the channel, we say, of their ministrations, the It is written of him, he was a murderer from grace, which works these varied wonders, is accus- the beginning.' How was he a murderer? Mainly tomed to flow!
by the spiritual ruin and death which he brought Alas, for the faithless stewards! Every stew- upon man. He overthrew the felicity of man, ard must render his account, and go upon his broke up his communion with the Creator, and trial. The faithful and the faithless, intermingled exposed him to the wrath and curse of the Alnow, will be separated then. To the former it mighty. Knowing the wages of sin to be death, will be said: “Well done, good and faithful ser- he enticed man to the commission of it; the tempvant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, tation prevailed; and the transgressor died. Thus I will make thee ruler over many things; enter he became a murderer—a destroyer of souls. thou into the joy of thy Lord. But no such True, the transgressor's doom was just, and he greeting awaits the steward who has neglected deserved to die; not less, however, on that his duty: “Thou wicked and slothful servant,' account, was the tempter guilty of his blood. his injured Lord will say, “thou traitor to a most The devil was a murderer from the beginning: sacred trust, thou shalt have thy merited reward. not merely at, but from, the beginning. He Come hither, ye tormentors, that execute my then assumed the vocation of a soul-destroyer, wrath! Take ye this unprofitable and perfidious and he has not yet laid it down. He is busy steward, and cast him into outer darkness: there still in his work of perdition, decoying myriads shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth!' along the broad and easy way of death!
Is the foul spirit alone and unassisted ? He is selves, and are at no pains to communicate it to not pretend from any false humility to be ignoothers, by whom its benefits are equally needed ! rant, that he and his colleagues were able minisIs not every church a candlestick? And ought ters;' —ministers who had the requisite qualificanot a candlestick to serve the purpose of distribut- tions, moral, intellectual, and spiritual, for the ing light? Does not the Lord say to every church right and efficient discharge of the duties of their that has his word, and on which the beams of office. But then he takes no vain-glorious view. the Sun of righteousness have descended, ' Arise, He is not puffed up with pride. He gives the shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the praise to God. He speaks of himself, indeed, as Lord is risen upon thee ? If these things be so, an able minister, but he mentions also how that what less than the blood of souls can that church has come to pass: he is an able minister, because have to answer for, which does not shine, sends God hath made him one. The self-renouncing forth no rays of spiritual light into the surround sentiments of the great apostle are yet more coning darkness, and leaves benighted millions to spicuous in the preceding verse: Not that we are perish for lack of knowledge ?
not alone; he is not without allies. Would that THIRTIETH Day.--EVENING.
he were! He might show his malignity, that Wherefore I take you to record this day, that 1 implacable adversary! But he could not do more, am pure from the blood of all men. For I hate if all co-operation were refused him on the part not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of the race he seeks to ruin. It needs the help of God, Acts xx. 26, 27.
of man to shed the blood of souls. Who are Paul felt as a servant to whom a great trust had they of human kind that contribute to this work been committed. We find him here speaking of death? Unfaithful pastors do it. Souls are under a strong sense of his responsibility. Look- their charge. To take means for saving souls ing forward to the time of reckoning, when his from perishing is their duty. If they neglect fidelity will be solemnly judged of, he is led to their charge, if they do not their duty, and if the take an anxious, but, as it proves, a satisfactory souls entrusted to them are lost, can we hold view of the past, and he thinks of the issue of them blameless—will not blood be most rightehis trial without dismay. There was a day ap- ously required at their hands? One great reaproaching which behoved to affect most solemnly son of their appointment is, because there is a both him who had preached the gospel, and them roaring lion walking about in quest of souls to who had heard it from his lips-a day when devour: and if they do not watch, if they sleep searching scrutiny would be taken as to the man- at their posts, if they are found secure and heedner in which he had performed his functions, and less in the hour of danger, and suffer the foe to they had dealt with their privileges and opportu- make havoc of the flock without a true and pronities. Through the grace of God, Paul had a per effort to withstand him, are they not the conscience that was void of offence. The wit- slayers of their people, and guilty of their blood ? nesses of his upright discharge of his trust were Paul could say, 'I am pure from the blood of all before him. Those among whom he had exercised men;' and every faithful minister of Christ can his office were in a situation for proving, and he say so too. O that all who have office in the now warns them that their testimony will be church could say it truly! made use of to prove, that he had done his duty. The guilt which unfaithful ministers contract, 'I take you to record this day, that I am pure is contracted by unfaithful churches also. They, from the blood of all men.' You, to whom I too, may have to answer for blood—for the have preached, are my witnesses; you that have blood of souls. Have they received the word of believed, and you that have not believed, the life—that quickening word, which is powerful to words I have spoken, are my witnesses, that I break the slumbers of the dead in trespasses and have done what lay in me for your salvation, sins? It is their duty then, to convey that word and that my hands are not stained with the blood to such as have it not. Woe to them if they of your souls!
selfishly think to appropriate its benefits to them
sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of Parents may stain their hands with the blood of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God.' These souls. They sometimes—often—do it. We think are not to be reckoned mere professions, of which with horror of those savage tribes among whom it is enough to say that they evince a becoming children are unnaturally massacred by the earthly modesty, and are graceful on the part of him from authors of their being; but are we, after all, en- whom they come. Far less are they to be thought titled to sit in judgment, and pronounce condem- of as the thin veil beneath which he endeavours nation, upon them that do such things? Are we to hide his weakness and vanity. They are words so free of all sin in that matter, 'as to be warranted embodying the rooted conviction of a humble in casting the stone of our censure at them? That Christian, and at the same time authoritatively conspecies of infanticide, which relates to the bodily veying a momentous doctrinal fact. The same fact life, may indeed be unknown among us; but are was expressed by the apostle on another occasion, we clear of a more dreadful wickedness still ? when he said: “By the grace of God I am what Alas, there are, we fear, many whom God has I am. The general enunciation of the fact, thus made the guardians of souls—of souls that ought stated with application to himself by Paul, is, to be most dear to them, because the souls of the that Christian ministers need a special work of children sprung from their loins—there are, we God to qualify them for usefulness as his servants fear, many parents, who betray their trust, and and ambassadors. It is more difficult to be an must answer for the blood of their children's souls! able minister of the gospel, in the true sense of
But, with all these aids, the great destroyer the term, than to be an able functionary in secuwould be unsuccessful, if sinners did not put their lar things, be the office what it may. Difficult own hands to the work of their own undoing. is not the word; it is impossible to be what a This should never be forgotten, Satan, ungodly Christian minister ought to be, without an interministers, and unnatural parents, may be joined position from on high, and a bestowal of grace, in a hideous confederacy to ruin souls, but it will such as in any other case is unnecessary. be all in vain, and the evil will not be done, un
“Able ministers of the new testament, says the less souls co-operate to ruin themselves. Only apostle; and then he adds, what may be taken as the soul that sinneth shall die. Its own trans- explanatory, either of the last part of the expresgression, its own impenitence, its own unbelief in sion, or of the first, ‘not of the letter, but of the the Son of God, will form the ground of a soul's spirit. Taken as explanatory of the words, the condemnation, and the cause of its misery and now testament,' his language signifies, that`minperdition. The soul that perisheth, perisheth by isters of the new testamenti differ from the its own act. When the blood of a sinner's soul teachers of the ancient dispensation, in respect of is shed, it is the sinner himself that sheds it. the difference subsisting between the economies,
which are to each other as is the spirit to the let
ter. The Mosaic institutions formed an economy THIRTY-FIRST DAY.-MORNING. of externals, a carnal system addressing itself to • Who also hath made us able ministers of the other hand, addresses itself more directly and
the senses; the Christian dispensation, on the new testament; not of the letter, but of the strongly to our inner man, and holds immediate spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth communion with our understandings and hearts. life,' 2 Cor. iii. 6.
And the two economies were intimately conPaul could not disguise from himself, and he does nected: the former was a sort of material vehicle, containing within it, until the time of their dis- but he will make for the substance, the heart, the embodiment, the principles and vitalities of the spirit of the gospel. To see a great work of the latter; and hence they stood related as body and Spirit of God will be his ardent desire; to proeoul, or as letter and spirit.
mote the commencement of such a work among If, again, we take the language of the apostle men, and to further its progress, will ever be his as explaining what he means by “able ministers aim. On these various grounds is the faithful of the new testament,' it either implies, that the pastor a minister of the spirit. And what shall ministers of the new testament constitute two we say of the pastor, who is not only faithful, but classes; the one embracing those who are minis- who finds that his exertions are attended with ters of the letter, and the other those who are success? He is a minister of the spirit indeed. ministers of the spirit; and sets forth that Paul Through his instrumentality, the enduring realities and his coadjutors, as being able ministers of the of new covenant privilege and grace are conveyed new testament, were ministers of the spirit: or it to sinners; it is not with the barren and unsubimplies, that when the Lord makes his servants stantial letter that the souls he has the care of are efficient and successful, they cease to be ministers fed; he is truly a steward to them of God's of the letter merely,—which, without his blessing spiritual bounty; and his services are honoured as on their labours, is all that they can be, -and the channel by which the Holy Ghost takes bis become ministers of the spirit, to those whose way to their hearts. conversion and salvation they are instrumental in accomplishing. This view presents the minister of the letter' in two aspects; either as a minister that is unfaithful, or as one that is unsuccess- THIRTY-FIRST DAY.—EVENING. ful. The minister who preaches legal doctrine, "These all continued with one accord in prayer sending his hearers to the old and abrogated cove
and supplication,' Acts i. 14. nant of works for peace and safety to their souls, and who unduly magnifies the externals and the For what did they pray? For the Spirit of ceremonies of religion, as though our heavenly God. Christ had left them a promise that the life depended mainly upon them, is, most assur- Spirit should come in a plenteous shower, and edly, a minister of the letter.' In another sense, now they were looking and longing for its fulfilthe minister of the letter' is he, whose labours, ment. Did they well? Yes, they did well. though assiduous, God sees meet not to bless, Christ's promises are worth waiting for and whose exhortations and warnings, though affec- seeking after. His promises are sure, and great, tionate and evangelical, are attended by no saving and precious. And what a promise was this! influences from on high, and whose complaint is the promise of the Spirit! The third Person of like the prophet's: 'Who hath believed our report? the Godhead to be the substitute of the second ! To whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?' Christ's own departure to be compensated for by The minister thus unhappily circumstanced, deli- the advent of the Holy Ghost the Comforter ! vers his message, indeed, and faithfully proclaims or rather, Christ's presence to be restored to his what is contained in the oracles, in which his people on a better footing than before, by means directory and instructions are found; but he gives of his Spirit's descent among them, and indwelhis people all the while nothing beyond the letter ling in their hearts! The apostles and other disof holy Writ: to him it is not granted to dispense ciples, both male and female, held frequent meetthat secret energy of the word, which makes it ings after the resurrection of our Lord. They sharper than a two-edged sword, and like unto a were much in each other's company. And they hammer that breaks the rock in pieces.
assembled chiefly to pray. They were of one In corresponding aspects may the ‘minister of mind as to the efficacy of prayer. And there the spirit' be viewed. The enlightened and true was a dominant wish in the hearts of them all. hearted servant of Jesus, cannot himself rest, It was that the Spirit might come—that the neither will he be content to see his people rest- Lord would fulfil his promise, spoken of old by ing, in an outward round of formal religion; he the mouth of his prophet, saying, “I will pour will aim at the subjection of every soul to the my Spirit upon all flesh,' and renewed to themtruth, and at establishing the hidden and silent, selves from his own mouth, when he said, 'It is but mighty and prevailing power of godliness in expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not the inner man. He will not exalt that nominal, away, the Comforter will not come unto you, but shadowy righteousness, which is of man; nor will if I depart, I will send him unto you. That he, in his doctrine, abido in the letter, the form; wish—that ardent desire-formed itself into