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Apostles. For the bodily presence of Christ is withdrawn; the number of officers in His church is increased with its wide extension in an incalculable degree; temporal emoluments and honours are annexed to the ministerial office; and the spirit of persecution which, directed more particularly against the leaders of the holy flock, tended in the early ages to preserve the fold from the intrusion of wolves in sheep's clothing, is now in many places almost extinct; or, at least, manifested not against the office, but only against fidelity in the execution of it. Under these circumstances how needful is the prayer that the ' church may be preserved from false Apostles!

But what persons may be considered as false Apostles in the church of God?* Surely all such persons as declare their “ trust that they are in

wardly moved by the Holy Ghost to take upon " them the sacred office and administration, to "serve God for the promoting of His glory and * the edifying His people," + when they are unconscious of any other motives than what are wholly of a secular nature—unless indeed they have, since their ordination, been awakened to a due sense of their past hypocrisy, and have renewed their vows to God and His church by selfdedication to the work of the ministry. All those are false Apostles, who having solemnly promised, “ the Lord being their helper, to be diligent in

prayers, and in reading of the Holy Scriptures,

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* It is evident that our collect relates not to the outward call, but to inward qualification. For though, to constitute a true minister, the former must be legitimate as well as the latter, the want of the former can have no reference to Judas, who was called to the Apostolate by our Lord Jesus Christ Himself.

+ Ordination of Deacons.

“ and in such studies as help to the knowledge of “ the same, laying aside the study of the world “ and the flesh;"'* and yet are devoted in heart and life to the world and the flesh, seeking only the advantages of the former and the gratification of the latter. “False Apostles” are all those who, being unconverted, ignorant, and careless, have entered into holy orders with false professions on their lips, and with worldly motives in their hearts, and who are not influenced with fervent zeal for the glory of God and the salvation of their fellow-sinners, who spend their time and employ their talents in the pursuit of sublunary objects, regardless of their own solemn vows and the tremendous account which they must one day give. Our deprecation extends not only to those persons who are vicious and immoral, but also to all those who are not imitators of the spirit and conduct of the true Apostles of Jesus.

But why do we so earnestly deprecate the intrusion of false Apostles into the church of Christ? What injury can arise to the church from them? The greatest; for their propagation of erroneous doctrine and exhibition of a vicious practice tend directly to the depravation and ruin of the church, whose welfare is closely connected with the character and conduct of her clergy. For Godliness is not connatural to the human mind, so that without instruction, and notwithstanding the malign influence of contagious example in those to whom it is directed to look up, it will maintain its own ground; but it is a plant that requires the aid of all those advantages which God hath appointed in His church, in order that it may thrive and flourish.

Ordination of Priesto:

ners.

But who is the “ faithful and true pastor,' whom we distinguish from “false Apostles ?" He is one who " first takes heed to himself,” (1 Tim. iv. 16) and is careful to have a work of Divine grace begun and carried on in his own heart, “lest that, after having preached to others, he « himself should be a castaway." He has himself cordially renounced the world, the flesh and the devil, before he undertakes to require it of others. He has preached to his own heart, before he attempts to preach to the hearts of his fellow-sin-'

He is furnished with those essential qualifications of a Christian minister, self-knowledge and a knowledge of Christ crucified. He has carefully examined his motives in entering on the awful office, and those which engage him to con tinue in it, lest, like Judas, he should sell his Master for silver, or “make merchandize of the « flock." He labours to be himself a pattern of humility, of self-denial, of heavenly mindedness, and of every virtue which is necessary to the Christian character. He devotes his time and talents to the appropriate duties of his station; he is instant in season and out of season in preaching, prayer, and administration of the holy sacraments. Personal inspection and private instruction of his flock are not forgotten by him. The young and the sick of his people have their share of his pastoral anxiety and labour. In short, his heart is in his work. He can address his people and say with the Apostle, “I seek not yours but you." The conversion and edification of souls is, next to his own salvation, the grand object of his desires and strenuous exertions. He draws all his studies and cares this way, “that he may both save him"self and them that hear him.”

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When we pray that the church of God, “ being “ always preserved from false Apostles, may be “ ordered and guided by faithful and true pas“ tors,” we implore that the visible head of the church, in the nomination of those who are to preside therein as her Bishops, may be directed by God's Holy Spirit to the choice of such persons as may fill their elevated stations to the glory of God and the spiritual prosperity of our Zion. We moreover pray that “our heavenly Father, “ " who hath purchased to Himself an universal ( church by the precious blood of His dear Son, “ would mercifully look upon the same, and so

guide and govern the minds of His servants, " the bishops and pastors of His flock, that they

may lay hands suddenly on no man, but faithfully and wisely make choice of fit persons to

serve in the sacred ministry of His church;" not only investigating the literary and moral qualisications of the candidates that offer themselves for ordination, but more especially their motives, principles and habits, rejecting those whose ends are corrupt, whose doctrines are unsound, and whose habits are unholy, without respect of per- :

We pray also for all who are "ordained to any holy function,” beseeching God to give them “ His grace and heavenly benediction, that • both by their life and doctrine they may set " forth His glory, and set forward the salvation “ of all men, through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Nor do we forget those to whose hands is intrusted the important right of patronage, whether individuals or corporate bodies, but implore for them spiritual wisdom and uprightness, that they may commit the precious treasure of immortal souls to suck men only as will feed them with the true

sons.

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bread of life, without being induced by any motives of relationship, friendship, or personal interest, to prefer to the cure of souls an hireling who careth not for the sheep.

How important is the prayer which the commemoration of St. Matthias suggests for our use ! May the reader feel its importance, and be excited to offer it to the throne of grace with that fervour and importunity which its weighty nature demands! And Oh! that God may hear and answer it, “through Jesus Christ our Lord! Amen."

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