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in ministering to the spiritual wants, and promoting the spiritual welfare, of his people: for which reason, among their other titles, they are styled shepherds or pastors, as those who have something to take care of and to feed, and the people are called their flocks, as taken care of and fed by them. In this capacity also, it is required of them that they be found true to their trust, and prudent and discreet in its management; tempering the provision and quality of the spiritual sustenance which it is their duty to administer, both to the necessities and to the capacities of those who receive it; founding and grounding, as well as building and edifying; sowing and planting, as well as training and nurturing to maturity; supplying the milk of the word for babes in Christ, and strong meat for men, but enough, and that too, of their proper food—according to the exigencies of the case, for the improveinent of all in spiritual health and strength.

They are intrusted, likewise, for the better discharge of their delegated functions, with a portion of the power and authority of the Master whom they represent, over every order of persons in his church; that is, with so much of it as is necessary to enforce the observances of Christian duty, and the rules of Christian discipline, in Christian societies as such ; and to establish a just and legitimate accordance between the actual lives of the nominal members of the communion of the church, and the principles of the religion which they all profess. And in the exercise of this branch of the ministerial prerogative more especially, it is requisite that the deputies and representatives of the Head of the church be found temperate and judicious, as well as honest

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and faithful. For as nothing is more agreeable to the inclinations of human nature than the possession of power and superiority over others, this is that part of the ministerial privileges, which of all is most likely to be coveted, and except in the hands of consummate wisdom and equal fidelity, of all is most likely to be perverted.

It is evident too that the ministers of religion are capable of every species of the abuse of the ministerial commission, which would be most at variance with their proper discharge of it, and most opposed to their proper duty, as consisting in the faithful administration of their several trusts. They may corrupt and falsify the word of God; they may dem prave and pervert it, in a variety of ways; they may turn it to purposes for which it was never intended, and withhold it from others to which it was always meant to be subservient; they may abuse it to inculcate error in faith, and to justify viciousness in practice; and may render it wholly ineffectual for wholesome instruction in points both of doctrine and duty_for vigorous reproof and necessary correction, for animating encouragement and exhortation. They may neglect their pastoral duties, and abuse their pastoral powers; and either care and concern themselves little about their flocks, or only mislead and misgovern them. They may both deteriorate the kinds, and stint the degrees, of the spiritual food and nourishment, which they are bound to furnish them. They may withhold from the people the means of grace, and deny them their due share in the covenanted blessings and benefits of the Gospel. But above all they may take advantage of their ghostly influence over the consciences of the people,

to pander in a variety of ways and under a variety of false pretences, to their own secular views and criminal purposes, their thirst of power or worldly advancement, their love of money and filthy lucre, or what is equally possible, their voluptuous passions and carnal appetites.

The return of the Master, in this parable also, is the cominencement of an economy of retribution to both classes of the servants whom he had left in trust behind him, the deserving and the undeserving alike. And the return, as in the former instance, being sudden and unexpected, the mode of occupation in which it surprises the several subjects of these trusts, is construed, as before, into a proof and criterion of their habitual mode of administering them, all along; and is rewarded or resented accordingly. For on the one hand, a blessing is pronounced on the servant, who should be discovered employed in the honest and prudent discharge of his commission, according to the purpose for which it was intended, the good of the Master and the benefit of his family-promising him a reward in kind; that is, in return for the faithful and meritorious discharge of an office of inferior dignity and minor confidence, the specific distinction of being invested with another of superior consequence and greater trust; which implies both a reward, and a reward in kind. “ Of a truth I say unto you, he “ will appoint himn over all his possessions.” And this kind of recompense, we shall perhaps have an opportunity of shewing more at large elsewhere, to be that which is specially promised to the due fulfilment of the ministerial trust.

On the other hand, a punishment of correspond

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ing magnitude is denounced against the servant, whom the unexpected arrival of his master should surprise in the abuse of his delegated commission : “ The lord of that servant shall coine in a day “ which he expecteth not, and at an hour which he “ knoweth not, and shall cut him off, and set his

portion among the unfaithful b.” Here, as the word which is rendered to cut off, expresses only a preliminary and therefore an imperfect act, it must be descriptive merely of part of the punishment threatened under such circumstances, and that too, the least severe of all. To what end the preliminary act is directed, appears from the sequel; he shall set his portion or his place with the unfaithful—the unbelieving—or as St. Matthew has it, with the hypocrites; with those who reposed no confidence in the assurance of their master's return; with those

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Epictet. iv. i. 544: xâv eŰphs TOLOÛTOV (that is, a man not yet free from the dominion of passion, prejudice, or the like) Neye δούλον ανοχάς έχοντα έν Σατορναλίοις λέγε ότι ο κύριος αυτού αποδημεί, είθ' ήξει και γνώση (leg. γνώσεται) οία πάσχει (leg. πράσσει). τίς ήξει ; πας δς αυτεξουσίαν έχη των υπ' αυτού τινός θελομένων (corr. δεδομένων) προς το περιποιήσαι ταύτα ή αφελέσθαι. Cf. Revel. iii. 20.

Valerius Maximus, iv. 1. Extern. 1. relates this anecdote of Archytas. When after a long absence from home, he was returned to his country, ac rura sua revisere cæpit, animadvertit negligentia villici corrupta et perdita : intuensque male meritum : Sumpsissem, inquit, a te supplicium nisi tibi iratus essem. Ac veluti famuli, mendax


mortis herilis
Nuncius in luxum falso rumore resolvit,
Dum marcent epulis, atque inter vina chorosque
Persultat vacuis effrena licentia tectis;
Si reducem dominum fors improvisa revexit,
Hærent attoniti, libertatemque perosus
Conscia servilis præcordia concutit horror.

Claudian. de Bello Getico, 366.

whom the consciousness of their own responsibility could not induce to be upon principle, faithful to their trust; or with those who, under the specious exterior of fidelity, zeal, and personal attachment to a master, assumed during the presence of their proper lord and superior, to gain his confidence, and to render themselves the objects of his choice to further offices of authority and trust—disguised the vices of dishonesty, faithlessness, selfishness. This punishment is not supposed to be undergone in all its magnitude and all its terrors, until the lot of the unworthy servant is thus cast, in some state of being appropriated to persons of that description; where, as St. Matthew concludes his account by observing, “ shall be wailing and the gnashing of “ teeth.”

. It appears, therefore, that though dixotoueîv, the word rendered by cutting off, may properly denote to cut asunderand though as a mode of punishment sometimes resorted to in the East, to cut in two, to saw the body asunder, might be literally understood; yet such is not its meaning in the present

instance. It denotes, here, merely to cut in two, in the sense of cutting off, that is, excommunicating or excluding, one member of a certain society from any longer participation in it; in its name, its privileges, or the like. The lord of the servant, on the discovery of his unworthiness, begins with severing him from the rest of his family ; setting him aside from the number of those whom he intends to belong still to his household, to live in his society, and to partake in the benefits of the relation of one of his servants to himself. This may well be considered an act preliminary to something else. The punishment of the servant under such circumstances, may begin with this kind of retribution, which is more negative than positive, and consists rather in the loss of good than the acquisition of evil; but it cannot stop short with it. The loss of positive good under such circumstances must entail the acquisition of positive evileither proximate or remote ; and he who begins with being shut

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