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daily withdrawing our people from the scene of instruction into an eternal world. And therefore a faithful pastor will never “ cease his la“ bour, his care and diligence, until he hath “done all that lieth in him, according to his “ bounden duty, to bring all such as are com“ mitted to his charge, unto that agreement in “ the faith and knowledge of God, and to that “ ripeness and perfectness of age in Christ, that “ there be no place left among them, either for “ error in religion or for viciousness of life."*
What can be more solemn than the following apostolical injunction, addressed to Timothy and to all who are invested with the pastoral office in Christ's church? “ Preach the word; be “ instant, in season, out of season." How strict the precept! How extensive the obligation! The high responsibility of their character of a truth surpasses all the power of language; and the unremitted assiduity, with which they are required to attend to the discharge of their appropriate duties, is sufficient to deter from undertaking so arduous an employment every conscientious man who does not actually experience in himself a confidence or trust, founded on solid reasons, that he is moved thereto by the Holy Ghost. And every clergyman of this description, wben in the concluding moments of his life he shall take a serious review of his past conduct, both private and public, will be impelled by the feelings of his heart, instead of vindicating himself before God, to adopt the dying supplication for pardon uttered by Archbishop Usher, “ But, Lord, in special forgive
* Ordination Service.
• my sins of omission!”—strange words, dropping from the lips of a shepherd in Israel so eminently distinguished by Christian virtues, ministerial talents, indefatigable diligence, and abundant success in the work of the Lord!
We proceed to pray that God would “make " the people obediently to follow His holy “ word,” as it is diligently preached by the bishops and pastors of His church. The propriety of this petition will be clear to every one who considers that though “Paul plant and Apollos
water, it is God who giveth the increase.” With whatever zeal and perspicuity the holy word of God may be proclaimed by His ministers, it is His grace
alone which can render it effectual to the salvation of the hearers. Conversion is the work of God; for it is a new creation. (2 Cor. v. 17. Eph. ii. 10.) And without His Divine operation on the heart, no powers of moral suasion can produce either saving faith or a corresponding practice.
On the diligence which bishops and pastors manifest in preaching the word of God, not indeed as an insulated act of duty, but as an essential link in the chain of ministerial offices, and on the obedience which the people pay to the word of God thus preached to them, depends, respectively, their reception of “the crown of everlasting “ glory” which God has prepared for His devoted servants, whether clergy or laity. Not that either fidelity in the pastoral office, or obedience to the word of God, is meritorious of salvation. But God has graciously connected the reward which He has prepared with a consciencious discharge of duty. Awful will be the end of all those “ who obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus “ Christ.” But the chiefest torments are reserved
for those who, having intruded themselves from worldly motives into the office of the ministry, make it a mere engine of secular interest or carnal gratification; and who, either through an unpardonable ignorance or a wilful neglect of the duties peculiar to their sacred function, suffer the precious souls of men to perish everlastingly!
ST. JAMES THE APOSTLE.
Grant, O merciful God, that as thine holy Apostle St. James, leaving his father and all that he had, without delay was obedient to the calling of thy Son Jesus Christ, and followed Him; so we, forsaking all worldly and carnal affections, may be evermore ready to follow thy holy commandments, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
ERE the story of the Apostles and Evan
gelists distinctly known and circumstantially related, we may suppose that it would afford materials of exquisite pleasure to every Christian mind. But there never arose in the church any historians, like Thucydides and Livy, to illustrate the actions of saints. Heroes and statesmen have their reward here; saints, hereafter. Christ's kingdom must not appear to be of this world; and while large volumes have been filled with the exploits of warriors and the intrigues of statesmen, those men who were the Divinely appointed instruments of evangelizing souls, are for the most part unknown. * Even the memoirs of the Apostles and Evangelists, which the New Testament affords, are brief; their acts being no further mentioned than as they are necessary to lead men to Christ, and to illustrate Christianity; and introduced not for the purpose of gratifying curi- . osity but of improving the heart.
* Milner's History of the Church of Christ, val. i. p. 113,
These remarks are occasioned by the scantiness of that light which the Scripture has shed on the life and character of St. James. He was the brother of St. John, the son of Zebedee, and a fisherman by occupation. He is styled in ecclesiastical history, St. James the Great, in contradistinction to another of the same name, called James the Less, the son of Alpheus, and the brother of our Lord. By his mother Mary, surnamed Salome, he is supposed to have been related to his Divine Master. St. James and St. John were called to be disciples of Christ at the same time with Andrew and Peter, the sons of Jonas; and when the Apostles were selected, they were placed in the catalogue next to the aforesaid bro. thers. The sons of Zebedee were also of the favoured triumvirate who were admitted to be witnesses of some transactions in our Saviour's life from which the other nine were excluded, such as the resuscitation of Jairus's daugher, the interview which took place on the mount of transfiguration, and the gloomy scene in Gethsemane. To them also, as to Peter, was a new name given on their call to the Apostolate; for our Lord surnamed them Boanerges, or the sons of thunder. By this appellation He probably referred to the natural energy and impetuosity of their character, and to the bold and resolute manner in which they should propagate the doctrines of the gospel, fearing no menaces, and daunted by no opposition; but thundering in the ears of a sleepy and careless world the awful truths of God, awakening the torpid consciences of men by their vehement eloquence, and rending the hearts of men with conviction of sin, as the voice of the Lord, in natural thunder, breaketh the cedar-trees and shivereth in pieces the oedars of Lebanon.