Billeder på siden

Observer, June 1, '75.

then ought we as servants of

God to be encouraged to labour diligently, since success is so certain. If success does not follow faithful labour, it is because we do not either believe in the certainty of victory, or have not the endurance to persevere until the end. God has given us His truth which can never be overcome, He has given us the armour by which we may fight and win ; it is ours to be steadfast and unmoveable in the truth, and always to abound in His work, and if we do so we are assured by Him that cannot lie that our labour will not be in vain ! And in this working of God with man how vast do we see God's condescension and man's exaltation. For God to have formed so close a relationship in labour with the angels, whose lives have not been stained by sin, would have been an exhibition of extraordinary condescension ; but for Him to stoop to fellowship and work with man, who is daily sinning against Him, is marvellous humility and compassion. But in all this God seeks to inspire man with His own spirit, to lift him always higher than himself, to draw him away from those pursuits of life which are in the end profitless, and to interest and engage him in a sphere of truth, righteousness, bliss, and glory, where God Himself continually is, and there to fit him, through divine grace, with powers of heart and intellect as shall conspire to increase his faithfulness and zeal in working for God among his fellows, with the view of also drawing them from their low depths of degradation and introducing them into the Kingdom of God. It is only in this way that the world can be reformed and saved-only in this way can the servants of God be successful—to expect that it may be otherwise would be as vain as to expect that Satan would convert the world to Christianity.

From what has already been said some idea may be formed of the causes of the want of success in Christian work. It is impossible that we can notice in detail all the causes which in our opinion may militate against success. So far as practical deeds of kindness and benevolence are concerned, the absence of these in the life of any Christian whatever, can only be attributed to the want of a true conception of the truth of God and its promises, or a wilful neglect of them. But in regard to exhorting, teaching, or preaching in the church, we may point out some of the chief causes which render them fruitless, and these causes, we think it will also be found, must be traced to faults in ourselves. One may have a very extensive acquaintance with the truth, but if he has noť love power to make him speak the truth as a living message from God, it will be spoken to little effect. Love must form the strength of every word, love must bring all the powers of head and heart into fullest exercise in order that he may present the truth with such a power as shall melt the heart of the sinner, and convince him of his sin and the need of a Saviour. Of but little real use is that teaching or preaching which may commend itself to the head, but which is void of that power which can only send it into the heart. On the other hand some may have the zeal but lack the requisite knowledge and educational ability necessary to make the proclamation of the gospel successful. person of this character may misinterpret Scripture and absolutely refute the very truth he is seeking to establish, and in this way he may make the cause which he has espoused to be lightly thought of. Above all things no preacher or teacher should venture to speak anywhere, publicly


[ocr errors]

Observer, June 1, '76.

or privately, without first studying, so as to be able to put forth intelligibly the proof of the truths he may wish to enforce. He cannot reasonably expect hearers to understand that which he has failed to understand himself. Preachers of this kind should not be permitted ; nay, they are not desired by the Lord, who has said that they should be apt to teach and to instruct those who are turned out of the way. Another hindrance to the success of the truth is pride. Such a preacher is not in private what he is in public. On the platform he may speak of the love of God in such enrapturing. eloquence as may melt the hard heart; but see him in private, and he is arrogant, haughty—too proud to speak a few minutes with a humble inquirer in quiet conversation ; he

says he has not time to spare, and refers his inquiring friend to some address he is about to deliver. Such men forget that though they may

. speak with tongues of angels and have not charity, they are become but as sounding brass or tinkling cymbals. Pride and love cannot live nor work together. Pride and the truth are incompatible, for the truth inspires humility. The wise and truthful man, who loves the truth because it is God's power in him, is ever the most humble; and the want of humility may ever be taken as a sure sign that the heart has not been sufficiently sanctified by that knowledge which leads its possessor to act with all lowliness and wisdom. Pride lives in applause, in flattery, is impatient under adverse circumstances. The preacher who is actuated by pride cannot bear discouragements; disappointments prove


death as such. To be true and successful preachers and teachers we must ever remember that “God resisteth the proud but giveth grace to the humble,” and that “he dwells with him who is of an humble and contrite heart, and that trembles at his word," and who feels that he has nothing to commend him in the sight of God but the love of God. Pride hardens the heart, and as this is the very opposite effect of the truth by which God speaks, it is impossible to expect that God will bless the labours of such a preacher. God hates the arrogant and froward man. Humility ought to characterize our whole life, and add a lustre to it, which should prove attractive to hearts convinced of sin, and who in their helplessness may be inwardly moved to seek help, to enable them to learn the way of life more perfectly. The humble preacher will also be the prayerful preacher, and the more he prays the greater will be his humility; the greater his humility, the greater will be his strength to work for God, and the deeper his love and sympathy for all. Men, brethren, if the social and spiritual welfare of the world, and even our own salvation, depends on the truth being presented by us in the manner which God approves, and on our daily work and conversation, how solicitous should we be to get rid of all the hindrances which exist in ourselves personally to the spread and success of the truth? To effect this no pains should be spared by us, in order that we may be successful workmen, and workmen that need not to be ashamed.

The work of the servant of God is one that will be richly rewarded. For all work in which men engage in this world on behalf of themselves or a master, they receive their wages, but it is a wage that perishes; a reward which lasts only for a moment; but the servant of God has for his wage eternal life with God. No other work gets such a wage. God


Observ er, June 1, '75

only can give that; and He has declared that He will give it only to those who faithfully and diligently serve Him. That which all men desire, both saint and sinner, is an unending life in heaven, but God has declared that heaven is only for those who are prepared for it here in holiness and in His service, and to whom He will, when he


the flood-gates of the glory of heaven upon them, say---- Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” It is of no use to call God, “ Lord, Lord,” and not to do the things He has commanded. If we will not thoroughly subject our wills to His, train and build ourselves up in our most holy faith, and show by our good works that we really and truly abide in Him, it is vain brethren for us to ever expect to be gladdened by the sight of the glory of the eternal city. God works for the glory of man, and man must work for the glory of God, and unless man does so he will never enjoy the reward of blissful immortality. His work may incur self-denial and persecution, but these will only increase the glory of heaven in his view ; the warmer will his heart burn with zeal, and the nearer will he draw to God. And O how unspeakably blessed will the result of his labours for Jesus be !-an inheritance among the redeemed of the Lord, whose light and glory will ever shine undimmed, whose enjoyments will ever be pure, sublime, and holy, whose fellowship will never break up, and whose bliss will never end ! To see his Saviour-Him who died for him--and not only to see Him, but to live with Him for ever and ever! Truly this is a reward beyond human conception; and while the expectation of it should stimulate us to become more diligent servants, to lead holier and more useful lives, to be more prayerful and more devout in our adoration, it should also increase our conception of God's marvellous majesty, greatness, power, and condescension, and our sense of our own poverty, weakness, and unworthiness. Blessed service of God! There is no service like it in its character, or in its results, or in its reward! And yet it is such that even the humblest, the most unworthy, may engage acceptably and be abundantly rewarded, for our Saviour has declared that whoever gives even a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple shall not lose his reward. Surely then nothing more need be said to induce all to labour more heartily and truly for God !

May we resolve with all our heart,

With all our powers to serve the Lord;
Nor from His precepts e'er depart,

Whose service is a rich reward.
O may we never faint nor tire ;

Nor wandering leave His sacred ways,
Great God! accept our soul's desire,

And give us strength to live Thy praise !


ORDINATION OF EVANGELISTS. To the Editor of the Ecclesiastical Observer, Birmingham, England. DEAR brother in the faith.--An article appears in your February issue on ordina. tion. I once studied this subject, but cannot now recall the particular line of my cogitations. But my general conclusion was, that ordinatiov or orderly appointment is vory clearly exemplified in the inspired creed.

Observer, June 1, '75.

In your article you are pleased to testify: “We know of no ordination by the authority of the apostles other than that of elders and deacons.

Referring to the action of the first Church of our Lord established in Syria, Acts xiii., you are free to affirm Paul had been fully doing the work of an apostle and, in the highest sense, that of an evangelist for some nine years before hands were laid upon him at Antioch.

It was not ordination. It was blessing, or commending to God. It had not reference to a work began years before and to end when Paul had fought his last battle for Cbrist. It covered only that work which was completed when he returned to Aptioch. This is briefly bnt clearly stated in the next chapter, where we are told that they then “sailed to Antioch, from whence they had been recommended to the grace of God for the work which they fulfilled."

If it be evident that to appoint a man to a work and ordain a man to a work are two styles of expressing the same reality, why should the beloved disciple who conducts the Observer. witness that Paul was not ordained at Antioch ? If he had fulfilled the work for which he was appointed, beginning and ending it within a week, why not affirm he was duly appointed, and because appointed therefore ordained ?

I thus speak, not to initiate conflict between an editor in England and an editor in Canada, for shall we not freely say that there is no occasion to join issue on such a question, but my purpose is to incite to further inquiry in the direction of order and simplicity. To my own mind, it is pleasant to conclude that appointment and ordination are, practically, in numerous instances, in the heaven-given creed, the same.

For the truth and


of heaven, London, Canada, March, 1875.



Finding or not finding the ordination of Evangelist in Scripture is not, in any degree, with us a matter of preference. Either way will give us equal pleasure. We only want to be right. Our good brother, whom we have long esteemed, considers appointment and ordinution one and the same, and asks, why not, if appointed, deem them ordained ? Because ordination is everywhere understood to mean something more than mere appointment. We appoint a woman to take charge of our chapel, clean, and open the same; were we to say she had been orduined to that office our neighbours would think that we had done something which we had not done, or else that we were using a word out of its recognized meaning. In the case of Paul he was not even appointed by the church in Antioch; he was appointed, that is selected and called, by the Holy Spirit. The church sent him away using a recognized form of blessing, which was not an installation into any office, and had no reference to his life's work, but only to that particular journey which he was then by the Lord directed to take.


ON RAMBLING SERMONS. “IF his text had the small-pox, his sermon would never catch it," an old lady is reported to have once said of a rambling preacher.

Some preachers having announced their text take a long farewell of it. It is with them a mere point of departure; they read it and off

The writer once heard a preacher introduce his discourse by reading the 13th Chaper, 1 Cor., laying emphasis on the concluding words, "The greatest of these is love." From this he inferred that the

they go.

Observer, June 1, "75.


There are,

[ocr errors]


discourse would be on love, but this proved a delusion, the speaker, in the course of his earnest remarks, which were well listened to, simply ignoring the subject suggested by the passage.


course, varieties of ramblers. Some ramble to the purpose, while others maunder about in a hopeless, helpless sort of way, like the pilgrim whose eyes had been put out by Giant Despair, and who were doomed to wander amongst the tombs.

It may be presumed that mathematics have never been much in favour with ramblers. They abhor straight lines. Their windings and turnings are legion. You know not when a rambler will stop, nor where he will conduct you. He goes, on up hill and down dale, from Genesis to Revelation in his excursions, sometimes beginning with the creation and ending with the sound of the last trumpet. Several times he appears to be about to conclude, but he turns down another lane, and the sermon takes a new lease of its life.

“ There are no clocks in heaven,” said a dear old rambler once when he noticed some of his hearers looking pretty frequently at the clock during one of his travels. To this it might have been courteously retorted, “Nor any rambling preachers."

A rambling address might be made up in this way-Read a chapter -make a few comments—then go to another chapter, saying, “ Will you turn with me, my friends, to such and such a passage”-make

more remarks—and so go on until the congregation begin to wriggle about on their seats and look weary and miserable-take no notice of this—still let your motto be onward.” Some impatient people may so far forget themselves as to leave the meeting. Do not be discouraged-proceed, until you have tired yourself, then observe that time will not permit your saying all that you would like on that important subject, but you hope to finish it on some future occasion.

The most acceptable ramblers are those who ramble to the purpose, as for instance in the case of one of the old-fashioned Methodist preachers, of whom an aged Lutheran minister said, when asked, “ Does not Mr. B. wander very much from the subject ?” “O yes, he do wander so delightfully from de subject to de heart."

A digression of this nature one would readily pardon.

A speaker who would gain the confidence of his hearers must study to be definite and coherent. If he can better reach the heart by an occasional ramble from the plan of his discourse, who would venture to say nay? But that he should, as a rule, present a clear and connected train of thought will scarcely admit of a question.

It may then be asked, Are ramblers to have no opportunity of exercising their gifts? To this the answer might be given, by way of suggestion, that their case would be met by a night in the week being set apart for all who have rambling affinities to meet to edify themselves after their own peculiar manner, full liberty being given to everyone in his turn to ramble about as much as he please. Should a listener be compelled to tear himself away before any address be finished, he might say of the speaker (after the style of reporters who say " the court was left sitting"), “the rambler was left rambling."

S. H. C.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
« ForrigeFortsæt »