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contempt for the world. It is “ behind his back,"—a thing for which he cares not, a thing which has in his mind no estimation. And it points out, also, that by him the world is forgotten. So should it be with every Christian minister.
not that it is so actually with all; they are men of like passions with others, and the world has the same attractions for them that it has for other Christians; but this is one feature of the character of a Christian minister, towards which every minister ought to aspire-that the world is despised and forgotten, “is behind him,” is not an object of his contemplation or of his ambition.
The fifth mark is, that “he stands as if he pleaded with men.' Oh! how earnest ought to be the Christian minister! Can he speak coldly, or carelessly, or as if he did not feel what he is saying, who has realized the value of a soul immortal, who has comprehended in his glance a world lying in wickedness, who has thought of that awful time when “the dead small and great" shall stand before God's tribunal, and of thousands “perishing for lack of knowledge"? And when he thinks of some unconverted within his church, beneath his eye, and listening to the sounds of his voice, must he not, impelled by a shuddering awe of that judgment which is awaiting them, and by deep, fervent longings for their souls' salvation, stand as if he pleaded with men ? And so said the apostle
Knowing the terrors of the Lord, we persuade men.'
The sixth mark is—"The crown in view.” A crown of pure gold is, as it were, hanging over the Christian minister's head. There is the summit of his ambition, to have “a crown of glory,” when the chief Shepherd shall appear. There is the prize of his high calling”—a crown not glittering with earthly lustre, but radiant with heaven's eternal glory. Would that it were always so—that every minister were thus thinking only of that eternal reward—that thoughts
of earth and of earthly ambition never pervaded and never inspired his mind! This ought to be the mark of every Christian minister--that the crown he seeks is a crown laid up for those who are “ faithful unto death."
Here, then, you have some marks of a Christian minister-some features of that character which ought to be found in every true spiritual guide.
II. The second vision is that of the Law and the Gospel contrasted. And what does the law ? It reveals the state of the soul, and it raises, when that revelation is made, a fearful tumult within the anxious mind. Clouds_clouds of fears, clouds of doubts, clouds of sins rise up, and fill the chamber of the soul. But the law, although it has raised that internal tumult, cannot allay it; it has produced it, but it cannot tranquillize it; it can show the sinner that he is a sinner, and make him realize with full force his state of depravity, a consciousness of his guilt, and the fearfulness of impending wrath; but it cannot point out the way of happiness, of safety, and of peace-it cannot allay that storm.
And then grace comes, and gently, with the rich dews of the Spirit bedewing the heart, allays the storm, tranquillizes the soul, and in so doing cleanses it and makes it pure. How beautiful the portraiture, then, of the Law and Gospel beheld in contrast! The law is necessary and useful; the value and efficacy of grace would never have been known, if it were not for the previous work of the law. “I had not known sin," said the apostle, “ but by the law;" that is, 'I should never have felt myself to be a sinner, if God's law had not put it before me; I should have thought myself upright, holy and without sin, if God had not revealed to me the purity, the rigour, and the uprightness of His law. So that “when the law came sin revived,”—that is, sin rose up, and showed itself to be sin—"and I died.” And this is all the law
can do; this is all that it was meant to do. But it prepares for grace; it is, therefore, useful and necessary. You inust have law work before you can have grace work; you must have the storm raised within your soul, before grace can come, to tranquillize it and to make it holy:
How needful it is, then, that this should be comprehended by the young believer, at the beginning of his Christian course! He hitherto knows more about law than he does about grace. He has realized more of the consciousness of sin, than he has of the preciousness of the Saviour, and the efficacy of the Saviour's grace. He has come just to this point: the chamber of his soul has been swept, as by the besom of the law—a fearful tumult has been roused, and he stands in dismay, and astonishment, and fear, asking, “How shall the storm be quelled ?" And when he learns that it is grace which does this—the grace of a Saviour's love, the grace of a Saviour's atonement, the grace of the Holy Spirit's operations in the soul-he has learned much; he has come a step nearer Christ; he has learned to prize that Saviour's love and that Saviour's work.
III. The third vision is, the Work of Patience. The young Christian will at first have many temptations to discontent. He will expect, as we have been just saying, all to be bright, all to be serene, all to be triumphant. He is to journey towards heaven as on beds of roses. He does not take into account the many dangers and difficulties that may ariseor, if they have come across his mind, he thinks of them as things easily to be overcome, as things which in his present joyful state of mind will be as nothing. And when new temptations approach, when he discerns that so far from there being nothing but roses, he will have more thorns strewing his Christian paththat, so far from everything being pleasant here, he will have to acknowledge that it is through much
tribulation that he is entering the kingdom—there is danger of discontent entering his mind. He will begin to think, Where is the blessedness I thought of? and he will say to himself, Oh! that it were
with me as in times past, when the candle of the Lord shined upon me! why is it not now shining upon my head ? why
I not now able to experience so much "joy and peace in believing" as I used to do ? And lest he should be thus swallowed up with discontent, lest he should begin to think that anything had failed of those good things which God had spoken concerning him, he must learn to look to the issue—to look not at the present things which are seen,” but to those "things which are not seen and eternal,” remembering that here he is to have his evil things, and in the world to come his good things, and that he is, therefore, not to envy the children
of this world, because they have for a short time their good things, which are their only enjoyment—but to remember, that what they call happiness will soon disappear, that their pleasures "perish with the using," that their gold and silver“ take to them. selves wings and flee away;" whilst his good things consist of "treasure in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves cannot break through and steal," and that “where his treasure is there his heart” ought to “be also."
"LORD, HELP! OR WE PERISH."
BY FLORENCE GREENVILLE.
see Thee as Thou art.