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temptation of worldly profit to work on any to “ handle the word of God deceitfully”-to“prophecy not true things,” but “ smooth,” if “the people love to have it so," or to fall in, against conscience, and a sense of truth and propriety, with the reigning taste,—with the new, or newly-revived, phrensy of the day,—to attract notice, and draw crowds of followers, by some bold and startling departure from what is timehonoured and suber-minded, and founded on the rock of truth; or to conciliate good-will, by bending to the prevailing current, whether of error in doctrine, or of lukewarmness in practice. The minister of the church in England, (except when circumstances have unhappily compelled a departure from her true constitution) neither owing his station originally to a popular call, nor dependent for daily bread on continued popular favor ; looking scarce for any thing at their hands, should he in the conscientious discharge of his holy duties among his flock, attain that “very high esteem"* which it is their duty (as it is written) to bear, at any rate, towards his office; and beset with no fear of worldly loss, should his boldness of speech in delivering his high message from God, be received in an evil spirit, by those who “ will not endure sound doctrine,” * or who look on him as “ become their enemy, because he tells them the truth,”+ stands in a happy position, far out of the way of this grievous snare at least. He has none of the wretched difficulty of disentangling his dutiful hopes of success in his ministry from the base thoughts of increasing emolument, which can hardly but be experienced, even where it is wholly mastered, by those whose worldly support and comfort are mainly rested on their power of gathering and keeping together a congregation. His lot may be one far enough from wealth,-far from what, in a wordly sense, is called independence; but so long as the church is allowed to retain the portion of her lawful ancient inheritance, he can preserve, with gratitude, his inward independence of soul towards all but “his own Master,” -- like the great Apostle, “neither at any time using flattering words, nor a cloak of covetousness, as God is witness."* God forbid, indeed, that we should be supposed to say that there cannot be this conscientious independence, even amongst those, whose position is, unhappily, not such as this; but, instead, very adverse to such“ simplicity and Godly sincerity;" or, that there is not strength enough in the Chris. tian Minister's motives to exertion, and in the grace of God, on which he must habitually lean, and in which he inust live and walk, to overcome the most powerful solicitations of worldly interest, to silence the urgent pleadings of worldly necessities, and to render, under all temptations, even the earthly vessel of clay, unswerving, uncompromising, and faithful, even as one of kindred clay, of like passions, was-St. Paul himself. But God forbid, also, my brethren, that we should forget to be thankful for our exemption from any trial, to which we know others are exposed—that we should not acknowledge the blessing, that,-being free to “ give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word,"* and removed from the necessity of secular cares and labours, (which was the Apostle's only alternative, if he accepted not the gifts of the disciples) we may rejoice in not being burthensome to our flocks ; and, receiving whatever is our portion, not from personal and voluntary contributions of our hearers, but from ancient charges and provisions, sanctioned and regulated by law, and which press personally upon no man, we may feel in our consciences, without any struggle
* 1 Thess, v, 13.
or misgiving, and may have it believed of us, by those wc minister among, that, in very truth, we are “ seeking not theirs, but them.”
There are, however, other objects of a higher, but still of a worldly character,-in the gift of our several flocks,—that may become our snare ; and but the more dangerous, because less likely to be suspected by us, and because it is just in what appears to be, and indeed is, the path of zeal in discharging our duties, that they are chiefly set. Such objects are, their praise and admiration, and their good-will. Any Christian,-surely, at least, any Minister of Christ,—would be put on his guard, -would feel alarmed, did he detect covetousness of wealth to be evidently his actuating motive. To find himself to be speaking, indeed, in the name of the Lord God,“ whose he is, and whom he serves,” but, in his heart, not caring to please Him, but to obtain his wages and reward from mammon,—this were a discovery, which none of us could pass over lightly, cloaking the matter with an excuse, and still speaking peace to his soul. But,—to aim at obtaining the praise, and conciliating the good-will of our hearers and our flocks,-it is easy-however predominant we might find these objects with us,—to persuade ourselves, that they are quite compatible
with all the higher motives that, we hope, are also influencing our hearts; that it is, in truth, not our own gratification that we are thereby aiming at, as our end, but (what we are bound surely to seek,) the enlargement of our power of usefulness,—the increase of opportunity for the very purposes, for which we are set in the Church,-namely, the promotion of the salvation of men, and of the glory of the Most Highest. So far as this be absolutely and purely true with us, it is, of course, well. But, surely St. Paul's is the only wise and correct principle of action, -to propose to ourselves but one object—the gaining,—the saving those, over whom we are set in the Lord ; and to beware of seeking any thing to ourselves from them by the way, however conducive it may seem to us to that end;-in singleness of heart, and with singleness of purpose, to look to that glorious end, directly, and alone ; alike in our public ministrations and discourses, and in our daily conduct, keeping that only in view, and never allowing ourselves, consciously, to be seeking “ theirs"-seeking anything that it is in the power of our flocks to give,—their praise and admiration—their good will and good opinion, --but only “ them,” their souls, their salvation.
There is, it is obvious, (even without the