« PoprzedniaDalej »
TRACTS FOR THE TIMES.
For the sake of this Church, which Thou hast purchased with Thy most precious blood, enable them for the work unto which they are called, that they may teach well, and that they may live well, and be examples of all the holy graces and virtues which they shall recommend to others. Sanctify their persons and their labours, that they may be respected by their people; and, for Thy authority in them, be heard and obeyed, that they may be able to give a comfortable account at the great day. Amen.
John xxi. 15. "JESUS said unto Peter, Lovest thou Me? Yea, LORD: Thou knowest that I love Thee. He said unto him, Feed my sheep." O Sovereign Pastor, who lovedst and gavest Thy life for us, make our love for Thee, and our care of Thy sheep, so great and sincere, that we may feed them constantly, and diligently watch over them, that not one of them may be lost through my neglect, or the fault of those whom I send into Thy service. Make us every day mindful of our charge; and every day more able to perform it, remembering the account we must give. Grant this for the glory of Thy grace, and the good of Thy church, which Thou hast purchased with Thy most precious blood.
John xxi. 7. " JESUS said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me?" Though JESUS CHRIST knew Peter's heart, yet He asked him three times whether he loved Him? To teach those to whom the power of ordaining belongs, to be very solicitous and careful, and not content themselves with a slight inquiry into the dispositions and qualifications of those who are to have the care of souls committed to them. It being entirely at the bishop's discretion whether he will admit any one to the order of priest or deacon, and being not obliged to give any reason for his refusal1; he will be more accountable to GOD, both for ordaining unfit persons, and for any prejudice against such as are worthy. As we consult GOD, as JESUS CHRIST Himself did, when we ordain men to His service, so should we consult JESUS CHRIST, when we assign them a place in His family. Would JESUS CHRIST have given this man the charge of the souls of
1 Vide Clerg. Vade-Mecum, p. i. p. 42.
this parish? That we may have the comfort of knowing that we enter into the ministry by a choice which proceeded from GOD, we must have some assurance from our own hearts, that the glory of GoD, the good of souls, was in our intention, and that we were called regularly, and according to the intention of the Church.
All persons being concerned in the choice of pastors, every body ought to pray for good pastors.
1 Cor. i. 1. "Paul, called to be an Apostle of JESUS CHRIST, through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother." Not through his own will-not through motives of worldly lucre, &c.
1 Tim. iii. 10. "Let these first be proved; then let them use the office of a Deacon, being found blameless." It is not sufficient to secure the dignity of the ministry even in its lower ministries, that men have taken up virtuous resolutions, unless they be also proved, to see whether those resolutions will continue, &c.
N.B. To give every person I ordain some short hints in writing, of the nature, dignity, several branches, hazard of not discharging them faithfully, &c. of the ministry.
Matt. xxviii. 20. "Lo! I am with you." The chief care of a minister of CHRIST should be, not to render himself unworthy to have CHRIST present with him in the exercise of his ministry. John xvii. 16. "They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world." The repetition of this truth ought to make us sensible how different our life ought to be from that of worldly
The True Pastor.
1 Pet. v. 1, 2, 3, 4. "The elders I exhort: Feed the flock of GOD, which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being
TRACTS FOR THE TIMES.
ensamples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away."
N.B. We must feed the flock, not live in idleness;-not with imperiousness as over subjects, but with love as over brethren; not with an eye to self-interest, but with regard to an heavenly reward.
So JESUS CHRIST called the twelve; that the world might know from whom they had their mission, and that such as are not sent by Him, and by those that have their powers from Him, are not His apostles.
Luke vi. 16. "And Judas Iscariot, which also was the traitor." A man may have a lawful call to the priesthood, to dignities and benefices; and yet, for want of answering the ends of his calling, may be a traitor to the Church, to CHRIST, and to his own soul. The good LORD grant that I may often think of this with great seriousness.
Luke vi. 39. "Can the blind lead the blind?" It belongs to Thee, O HOLY SPIRIT of grace, to send such guides into Thy Church as may lead Thy people in the right way, and to be the guide of those guides. O do so, for Thy mercies' sake, to this Church and People. Ignorance in pastors, forasmuch as it is likely to destroy the foundation, is sometimes worse than vice itself, being the occasion of superstition, disorders, and infinite evil consequences, taking error for truth and truth for error.
N.B. Remembering, that a minister of CHRIST can save himself but only by labouring to save others. The business of the ministry is, to preach, to make men love, and to confirm them in, the truths of the Gospel. Happy that pastor, whose life and zeal, and labours, do all testify, that he loves his flock, and that he loves them for CHRIST's sake. Nothing can supply the want of such a pastor's presence. They whom God, by a terrible judgment, leaves to enter into the ministry solely of themselves, are generally puffed up with a carnal notion of its dignity; while they that through His mercy are called to it, at the same time that they know its dignity, are humbled under a sense of its
weight, and the account they must one day give. Such as the heart of the pastor is, such is his behaviour. He who suffers the priesthood to become vile in his own person, does not remember, that he is an ambassador of Christ. The dignity is great, and so ought the sanctity to be, of one who is in Christ's stead'.
2 Cor. vi. 3. Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed.” A pastor's life must not contradict his doctrine. He must preach by his actions. 2 Cor. vi. 4, 5, &c. "In all things approving ourselves as
. the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings; by pureness, by knowledge, by long-suffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, by the word of truth [preaching it sincerely], by the power of God [depending entirely upon His assistance], by the armour of righteousness, on the right hand and on the left [defending us both in prosperity and adversity), by honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report; as deceivers, and yet true ; as unknown, but yet well known ; as dying, and behold we live; as chastened, and not killed, [believing that God chastens His servants not to destroy them]; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing, [rejoicing in afflictions]; as poor, yet making many rich, [with true, not perishing riches); as having nothing, and yet possessing all things, [possessing all things in depending upon God.]”
1 Tim. v. 22. Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men's sins : keep thyself pure." A bishop engages to answer before God for such persons as he by advice, ordination, &c. causes to enter into a state of life so very hazardous, and which requires so great a stock of virtues. It is happy for a minister of God, that the life he is to lead, and the very outward acts he has vowed to perform, will help to change his heart, and create in him those dispositions which will make him like his Great Master. For instance; he has solemnly promised to read the Holy Scriptures daily; he will therefore have daily
1 2 Cor. y. 20.
TRACTS FOR THE TIMES.
before his eyes the precepts, the instructions, the example of Christ; the rewards and punishments of the life to come. He is obliged to catechise ; and the more careful he is to instruct others, the more effectually he will learn himself how far we are fallen from God, and what pains we must take to be restored to the image and favour of God. He has promised to lead an holy and exemplary life. If he does not do this sincerely, he will be the scorn of men now, and of devils hereafter. It will be impossible to converse with
poor and needy people, and to seek out for help for them, without partaking of the spirit and compassion of the blessed Jesus, who laid down His life for them. If he is careful to read divine service distinctly, with deliberation and gravity, it will beget devotion in himself, as well as in those that hear him. If his sermons be plain and practical, they will affect his own heart, as well as the hearts of those he preaches to. Every child he baptizes puts him in mind of the vows that are upon himself. And he cannot administer the other sacrament as he ought to do, but it must needs fill his soul with a thousand holy ideas and devout thoughts; with an holy fear, lest he should offer the prayers of the faithful with polluted lips, or distribute the bread of life with unclean hands :-with an ardent love for Jesus Christ, whose love and death he commemorates ;-with a perfect charity for all the world for whom He died. And the oftener he administers this sacrament, the more he will find his graces increased. In visiting sick and dying persons, he will be put in mind of his own mortality; and in fitting them as he ought to do for the account they are going to give, he will be put in mind of the much greater he is himself to give. When he exhorts, reproves, admonishes others, it will bring to his mind the words of the apostle, Thou that teachest another, teachest thou not thyself! When he calls to mind, that he has promised all faithful diligence, &c. he will give himself wholly to these things, and will be ashamed to be found wholly taken up with business which no way relates to the salvation of souls. If he is diligent in prayer, which he promised to be, God will certainly enlighten his mind with saving truth and grace. In short; if he has an ardent desire to save souls, and really strives to do it as effectually as he