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LETTERS OF THE LATE MR. J. L. HARRIS.
To a young man desiring to be a missionary. “ It is
I can to be used of the Lord in helping those who are His; and I now address myself in reply to your note. Are you not impatient of the steady application which is needed for a lawful and honourable business, and therefore think you could find relief by going as a missionary or by travelling? I am aware that there
be of excitement in the ministry of the Gospel, but I am sure that it does not arise from a healthy state of soul. If an honest secular calling cannot be well fulfilled without a measure of drudgery, the ministry of the Gospel certainly cannot; it is aptly compared to the patient labour of the ox, not to the swift running of the race-horse. “I therefore endure all things for the elect's sake,' said one who knew the ministry as a solemn trust, and who yet had his heart in it. One sign of an Apostle was • all patience, and the exhortation to all Christians is, · Let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus.' Many a young man leaves a lawful calling, in order, as he believes, to give himself to the ministry of the Word, and afterwards regrets it, and finds it has been to the damage and discomfort of his own soul. Such a one does not count the cost, and when his first energy subsides he becomes dispirited. He finds he is not regarded as he reckoned he should be; he may have to contend with poverty and difficulties; he murmurs against others, and frets in his own spirit. The highest of all ministers of Christ worked with his own hands, and lost instead of gaining exaltation among men.
" It is one of the most sorrowful features of the ministry in our days that it is regarded as a profession, and a profession which is esteemed incompatible with an honest worldly calling.
The ministry is accredited as an office ; but where is the demonstration and power of the Spirit ? I am solemnly convinced that the ministry of the Gospel, if it be really of the Spirit, will never lead to exaltation or ease in the world. It will bring a man down ; so that for real ministry the most solemn conviction is needed in the soul, that it is of the Lord. So far as I can counsel you, I would say, By all means persevere in your present calling. Even to a slave the apostle could
say, ' Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God.'
“ I believe you are occupied in an honest calling, and can abide in it with God. You are yet very young in years, and need stability, and whilst your present tendency to restlessness may be partly owing to natural constitution, I have no doubt of Satan's using it as a temptation; and the word is, · Resist the devil and he will flee from you. He would divert your soul from Christ, by kindling in you a desire for change of scene, but there is no new thing under the sun;' that which is really new is to be found in Christ. “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away ; behold, all things are become new.' This is what you need, looking to Christ, living on Christ; and not occupation with yourself and your own feelings ; and I am confident that until you are delivered from self by being occupied with Christ, you will be in a restless state of soul. The Holy Ghost glorifies Christ, so that he that is born of God sees a new object-even Christ as the salvation of God.
“There is one other point of most serious importance, I mean the call to the ministry. I utterly repudiate the validity of human ordination of any kind, neither is it in the will of man.' Christ is the direct source of ministry, and the Holy Ghost the only power for ministry; and the only way in which I can recognize ministry is when it is owned and blessed of God. If one goes forth as a missionary, i.e., as one sent, he ought to go forth with the solemn conviction that he is sent of God, although he may well seek the fellowship and sympathy of other Christians. Have you this conviction ? There is,
however, divine ordination. * All things are of God, who hath reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation. If I say to others, “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good'-it must be because I have myself tasted that the Lord is good. The ministry of the Gospel is the ministry of reconciliation ;' its great subject is God in Christ, and that God hath made Christ to be sin for us. It is telling what God hath wrought.
Compared with the ministry of the law, its transcendent glory is, that it is the ministry of the Spirit and of righteousness, whereas that of the law was unto death and condemnation.
Before I received your note I had seen your father on busi ness, and talked with him about you. I mention this, because you say you are afraid to inform your friends of the real state of your feelings. I think you would find relief by freely communicating with your parents. It is God's order to honour them; although if Christ puts in His claim, father and mother are to be left; but then it must be very clear that it is Christ's will, and not our own which we are following: “ Plymstock, January 22, 1850."
J. L. HARRIS.”
Presage the victory.
“ Sure is the victory."
The songs of victory.
Thy crown of victory.
E. S. W.
THE BELOVED PERSIS.
" The beloved Persis, who laboured much in the Lord." —Rom. xvi. 12.
Such is the precious record of a long-departed Christian sister, and we know nothing more ; but heaven's chronicle will tell us much about her. This passage was brought to remembrance by the account received of a young believer who recently fell asleep at the age of twentythree, leaving a sweet savour of Christ behind her. There are many young Christians beloved in the family circle as was this one, but their influence does not extend beyond it, and we would seek to stir up such to follow in the steps of this young sister, whose memory is fragrant with the interest and sympathies she manifested in the assembly with which she was connected.
Not only has she left a void in the happy little family circle, but in our church circle her valuable help in visiting, and in gospel and Sunday school work, will be greatly missed. A brightly burning, steady, shining light has been removed ; and alas ! there are few such left. It was her highest joy to lead souls to Christ, and her deep desire for this was not only shown in her own earnest efforts, but she was ever encouraging others in the work of the Lord ; indeed she has often cheered us when we have been cast down because of hindrances to the Lord's work, Her joyful confidence in God, which never seemed to waver, was not only her own strength, but it strengthened others also.
Her patience and kindly consideration of others was especially seen during her twenty weeks' confinement to her bed. She never once complained of her sufferings, and when brethren who had become cold. hearted visited her, and had their sympathy drawn out and their souls restored, she would say, “I would gladly suffer more if I could be the means of blessing to others.”
She much enjoyed the thought of Col. i. 24, sharing the “afflictions of Christ for His body's sake, which is the Church.” Gifts of fruit and flowers, which were sent to her in profusion, she regarded as the Lord's goodness in affording her opportunities of ministering to others,
and one of her last requests on the day of her departure was that some grapes which had been received that morning should be sent to some sick and dying ones whom she named.
The last few days her enfeebled mind could not bear much truth, and she said, “I am just resting on Himself; it's all faith, believing, not seeing.” But the Spirit fixed the words of 1 John i. 7, and Deut. xxxiii. 27 on her heart. She often quoted them, and said they were all she could remember. The "blood” was her password, and the “eternal God ” her refuge and comfort. She mentioned the former word shortly before she departed; then putting her hand on her breast she wbispered, “ Put off Lord ; then slowly but emphatically she uttered the sweetest name on mortal tongue—“Jesus. her last word, and she gently fell asleep without even a sigh, in “perfect peace.” The funeral was attended by fully four hundred people, and the Lord gave us a solemn and very blessed season, and we committed her precious earthly tabernacle into the keeping of Him who has the "keys of death.” The sky was perfectly cloudless, reminding us of the time when we shall meet again in the morning without clouds."
In the bosom of the Eternal,
“THE LORD HATH NEED.”
Luke xix. 31.
Thy Lord hath need? Oh ! sleeping soul awake,
A. L. B.