« FöregåendeFortsätt »
worried and harrassed with its concerns, let them hear chearing truths concerning Christ's Love and Care and Pity, which will operate like an enchantment in dispelling the cares of life and calming the anxious perturbations of conscience. Bring forward privileges and enforce duties, in their proper places and proportions.
Let there be no extremes: yet I am arrived at this conviction:-Men, who lean toward the extreme of evangelical PRIVILEGES in their ministry, do much more to the conversion of their hearers; than they do, who lean toward the extreme of REQIREMENT. And my own EXPERIENCE confirms my Observation. I feel myself repelled, if anything chills, loads, or urges me. This is my nature, and I see it to be very much the nature of other men. But, let me hear, Son of man, thou hast played the harlot with many lovers; yet return again to me, saith the LordI am melted and subdued.
FAMILIAR INTERCOURSE WITH HIS HEARERS.
WHAT passes, on these occasions, too often savours of this world. We become one among our hearers. They come to Church on Sunday; and we preach: the week comes round again, and its nonsense with it. Now if a Minister were what he should be, the people would feel it. They would not attempt to introduce this dawdling, silly, diurnal chat! When we countenance this, it looks as though, “ On the Sunday I am ready to do my business; and, in the week, you may do YOURS.” This lowers the tone of what I say on the Sabbath. It forms a sad comment on my preaching
I have traced, I think, some of the evil that lies at the root of this. We are more concerned to be thought Gentlemen, than to be felt as Ministers. Now being desirous to be thought a man who has kept good company, strikes at the root of that rough work--the bringing of God into his own world. It is hard and rough work to bring God into his own world. To talk of a Creator, and Preserver, and Redeemer, is an outrage on the feelings of most companies.
There is important truth in what Mr. Wesley said to his preachers, when rightly understood, however it may have been ridiculed :-“ You have no more to do with being Gentlemen, than Dancing Masters.” The character of a Minister is far beyond that of a mere Gentleman. It takes a higher walk. He will, indeed, study to be a real gentleman: he will be the farthest possible from a rude man: he will not disdain to learn nor to practice the decencies of society: but he will sustain a still higher character.
It is a snare to a Minister when in company, to be drawn out to converse largely on the state of the Funds, and on the News of the day. He should know the world, and what is doing in the world, and should give things of this nature their due place and proportion; but if he can be drawn out to give twenty opinions on this or that subject of politics or literature, he is lowered in his tone. A man of sense feels something violent in the transition from such conversation to the Bible and to Prayer.
Dinner Visits can seldom be rendered really profitable to the mind. The company are so much occupied. that little good is to be done. A Minister should shew his sense of the value of time: it is a sad thing when those around him begin to yawn. He must be a man of business. It is not sufficiently considered how great the sin of idleness is. We talk in the pulpit of the value of time, but we act too little on what we say.
Let a Minister who declines associating much with his hearers, satisfy himself that he has a good reason for doing so. If reproached for not visiting them so much as they wish, let him have a just reason to assign. A man who is at work for his family, may have as much love for them as the wife, though she is always with them.
I fell into a mistake, when a young man, in thinking that I could talk with men of the world on their own ground, and could thus win them over to minę. I was fond of painting, and so talked with them on that subject. This pleased them: but I did not consider that I gave a consequence to their pursuits which does not belong to them; whereas I ought to have endeavoured to raise them above these, that they might engage in higher. I did not see this at the time: but I now see it to have been a great error. A wealthy man builds a fine house, and opens to himself fine prospects: he wants you to see them, for he is sick of them himself. They thus draw you
into their schemes. A man has got ten thousand pounds: you congratulate him on it, and that
intimation of his danger or his responsibility. Now
you may tell him in the pulpit that riches are nothing worth; but you will tell him this in vain, while you tell him out of it that they are.
Lord Chesterfield says a man's character is degraded when HE IS TO BE HAD. A Minister ought never TO BE HAD.