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relation which exists between the individual soul and Christ, but it does affect the believer in his family relations; it does affect a Church in its bearings on the world, and its capability of perpetuating the profession of a pure Christianity to succeeding generations. It modifies the union of sympathy that exists between such a body and the Churches which « retain the baptism of young children, as most agreeable with the insti. tution of Christ.”
As touching the pastoral office and authority, upon which points also there existed a difference of opinion between the congregations, Malan, in the Essay already referred to, quotes “.... the direction to a bishop to employ in the government of the Church of God that careful administration which he would exercise in his own household (1 Tim. iii. 4). As each family has its head, so should it be with every flock; and we may rest assured that He who has been appointed over His own spiritual house—that is, the Son of God—will ever be found distributing to separate pastors such wisdom and prudence as shall tend, in their manifestation, to the honour and praise of God.” (p. 148.)
It is not surprising to find that the Bourg de Four Church was subsequently invaded and spoiled by Darbyism--a system, the radical error of which is, that the spiritual Church ought to stand forth with a visible and formal unity before the world; whereas its unity, although real, is not yet visible, neither can be so while the Head remains invisible. “When who is our life shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory." Upon this fallacious principle a new communion is set up, and to this, all spiritual people, leaving the Churches in which they were converted, are commanded to join themselves as alone and exclusively the true Church of Christ.
We have regarded Malan in two respects, as a witness for the truth of the Gospel, as the head of a congregation which he had been the instrument of gathering together, and which necessarily looked up to him for guidance and direction in the difficult matter, the adjustment of relations between his own congregation and sister Churches, with whom, in conviction and judgment, he was in the main and yet was not entirely agreed.
We now proceed to consider him as a pastor. This is an office which requires special qualifications, qualifications in which Malan did not excel; and hence, although undaunted as a confessor, and excellent as an evangelist, he was not successful as a pastor. His biographer, after describing these qualifications, proceeds to say :
“ These qualifications, however, were neither natural to him, nor wero his circumstances such as to admit of his acquiring them. Truth compels me to allow that not only was a pastor's work un. suited to him, but that it differed essentially, both in character and significance, from the duties he had been led to undertake. Called to be a witness, a confessor, and an apostle, we may say of him what the chief of the apostles scrupled not to say of himself, that he was not sent to baptize, but to preach the gospel.' If, as will appear, he proved himself a loved and revered pastor to his little flock, if his memory survives to this hour in the cherished affections of his people, it is not the less true that the task to which he was summoned was one of personal testimony, and that his chapel, which had been expressly and solely founded in view of such a work, was really to cease with his own labours.
“The leading difference between the work of a pastor and a missionary lies in this, that while the latter is concerned only with eternal truths and absolute facts, the former is for ever being associated with up-springing interests, and hence is called upon to exhibit a capacity for devoting himself, without neglect of higher duties, to the thousand various contingencies which they involve.
This was very far from his gift. Looking at everything from the most serious point of view, tracing each offence, not to its secondary or accidental source, but to those abstract principles which his spirit so rapidly divined, and the issues of which he so vividly apprehended, it was too probable that with him every act of heedlessness would be a crime, every unenlightened sentiment a heresy, every opposition to his personal influence a flat rebellion against his ministerial office.” (pp. 134, 135.)
The pastoral office is a blessed, and yet an arduous respon. sibility. It is one thing to convert; another to build up. There cannot be a greater mistake than to conclude that with conversion the work is done. The foundation has been laid, but the superstructure of which St. Peter speaks,-"Giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.” This has to be raised, that like a lighthouse, whose shaft first attains a goodly elevation, and then holds forth the light, the saints of God may be “ blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world, holding forth the word of life.”
The children have been born—"born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible," by the word of God which liveth and abideth for ever—but they have to be fed with "the sincere milk of the word,” that they may grow thereby. They who nurse children, need to be well nurtured themselves; and so with pastors~" nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine,” that they may be qualified to feed the flock.
The vineyard has been planted, but the vines need to be trained in their growth-promoted, so that they may bring forth fruit.
Some of the best vineyards along the banks of the Rhine grow in the most unlikely situations. The precipitous rock yields to the industry of man, and the hard and barren surface becomes terraced into hanging vineyards. Step by step they rise until the mountain side is formed into stairs, by which you ascend from one vineyard to another. Ever and anon there crop out masses of rock, too abrupt to be turned to use, but above, below, on either side, the vines flourish. What a proof they present of the industry of man. How persistent these Rhenish labourers must be. They despair not even of the rock, and they prevail over what might to some appear to be insuperable difficulties, until the vines may be seen clinging to the very base of the old ruined castles, those old pirate-holds from whence rude warriors were wont to levy black mail, and obstruct that highway of commerce which the great river was designed to be.
Thus these vineyards have been formed, and now with what toil, nay risk, are they not cultivated, that the rich fruit may yield the good wine.
And such is a pastor's work. He should never despair of any one. There may be some under his care as hard as the rock, but God can change them. On these he should bring the Gospel to bear as a converting instrumentality; if so be, the rock may be changed into a vineyard. To such, setting aside as premature and unsuitable, the higher mysteries of the Gospel, such as election &c., he has to set forth Christ as one who came to seek and save that which was lost. Thus he should seek to win souls. The rock ought not to gain upon the vineyards, but the vineyards on the rock, and as the vines increase, how anxiously should he not tend them—some high, some low, yet all to be cared for some more accessible, others more difficult to be approached, but all alike sharing his anxiety, the good pastor being sometimes amongst the high, sometimes amongst the low, but caring pre-eminently for this, that high and low bring forth fruit to God.
There are many things likely to spoil the vines, which have to be guarded against, and so the pastor in his work finds it to be. Heresies come in like a blight. Men arise speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. The best preservative, under God, is a full and rich exposition of the whole revelation of God, the pastor bringing out of his treasure things new and old. The great saving truths of the Bible are throughout the same. They are, however, variously expressed, and exquisitely and endlessly diversified. The effective pastor is ever teaching the same truths, and yet
ughow and old. the pastor rich expositions beste
se dem in the same sy. Tbe forms and expositions of the truth are as bear d ersided as the id towers which
up ca be bez sud szocg the sheltered recesses of the loss Pressees, sed do ei us sth their sweet perfore add erste tesaiy. It is well to chimb these mountain heigb:s of reres , and thus bare the mind soothed and caimed, sad so etica from day to day, and week to week, new and charming specizens of beauty.
Tras to on perd Cons, and tic] his people, not to him. seit, bat to tis Lont-to's is the pastor's daty, and this the pastor's safety. If be take himself the centre, the work will end in disappoiniment. Bat if Corist be his own centre, around which bis axections twine; if, loving his Lord better ttan himself, he bends the affections, the heart-clinging of bis people from himself to his Lord, then he and they shall grow together; and growing around Christ as the centre, they shall be supported. Especially should the pastor's teaching be "according to the proportion of faith.” Truth, like the human countenance, consists of a variety of featares; the expression of the whole depending on the nicely balanced relation which each member or feature bears to the rest. If a portrait painter were to give an undue development to one feature, his work would be fanlty and unsatisfactory. It is well to consider whether preachers are not sometimes partial in their expositions of truth. Some one point has commended itself more especially to the attention of the preacher. He has thought most about it; has become more familiarized with it; thus in his ministrations he is led to refer more frequently to it, and to give to it an undue prominence.
But surely it would be a mistake on his part were he to expect that his hearers should adopt his own bias, and feel dissatisfied unless the peculiarity of his own views be reproduced in them. A number of persons may be looking on the same landscape, and the same points of beauty may be discernible from each stand-point. Yet in the ideal, which each has formed in his own mind, there may be a considerable diversity. One spectator has fastened his eyes on a point of salient beauty, and has allowed himself to become so absorbed in that as to withhold from other points the recognition they might have justly claimed. He has not distributed his attention equally and impartially over the whole. The other spectators may have done so, and the impressions they have received are not precisely the same with his. It is not that they do not appreciate this point of excellence which has approved itself to him, but that they view it more in combination with others. It were surely strange, if, because of this, they were accused of having failed to discern it altogether: and yet, how often good men act upon this principle !
It must be acknowledged that Malan had his peculiarities, and that there was a onesidedness in his exposition of Gospel truth. His own experience was the mould in which his expositions were cast, and he did not seem to be aware that man might be led to the same position of faith in Christ by a pro. cess of experience diverse from his own. The sovereignty of God in the election of grace appears to have first laid hold on him, so that the initiation of his Christian experience identified itself with that very truth. With many minds, however, the order is reversed, and this truth is the last received, so that they gradually rise to it. A prominent position was as. signed to it in his preaching, and it was presented, as it were, prematurely to the inquiring mind, which, by somewhat a di. verse process, was finding its way to the great resting-place. He also confounded faith with its assurance. He was not satisfied-he did not consider that individuals were safe unless they were assured. There is no doubt that such peculiarities gave a narrowness to his teaching which disadvantaged him in his pastorate, and led to that secession of many from his congregation which occurred in 1830 :
“In May 1830, my father, perceiving signs of uneasiness in many members of his flock, appealed to them generally for a vote of confidence. True to himself, he grounded his application, not on the claims of his ministry, but the soundness of his teaching; taking care, at the same time, in his conscientious uprightness, to present them with a summary of it, most explicitly worded. Thus he transformed his Church into a theological council. The result might easily have been anticipated. Even those who were capable of following their pastor into the field of dogmatic theology, did not fail to detect, when they arrived there, matter for scruple. The majority denied his right to impose upon them officially the faith which they held spontaneously, and thus the most advanced and the most independent of his adherents withdrew from the Church. It lost about a third of its members, who went over forthwith to the Bourg de Four.” (pp. 154, 155.)
Thus it is one thing to be an evangelist; another to be a pastor.
Let us give to Malan the honour which is his due. Through. out his ministry, in every phase of it, his acts were marked by a thorough conscientiousness. He did that which he thought to be right, although his judgment may have erred. This he acknowleges to have been the case :
“As for these troubles, I am prepared to give account to my Lord and Master of the souls committed to my charge, and He will have mercy on his servant. He knows whereof I am made ; that I am a man prone to error, to every species of infirmity, to every Vol. 68.-No. 382.