Abbildungen der Seite

dience, will cease after a time to have the same effect, if it flow from a love of the individual, rather than from a sense of the service which God requires on his own account. It is written for our instruction, that 'Joash did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, all the days of Jehoiada the priest,' but after the death of his teacher and guide, he hearkened unto the princes of Judah'. And even had sacred his. tory been silent respecting his subsequent declension from the paths of virtue, other instances are but too frequent of unstable men who have forsaken their first love,' when the cause has been removed which kept them for a time in the form of knowledge, and the outward semblance of obedience. But, as it is natural for those who have benefited by a ministry to love the instrument by which a good work has been wrought in their hearts, advantage should be taken of that love to elevate and fix it on its proper object. When men's eyes are fastened on the earthly agents, they should be directed to transfer their affections to him who gives the blessing on their labours. They should hear, as from the mouth of Peter, Why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power of holiness we had made this man to walk ??' After the manner of Paul at Lystra, the people should be restrained that they do not sacrifice unto us,' —men of like passions with themselves,-but be led to turn from these vanities unto the living God 3.'

1 2 Chron. xxiv. 2, 17.

It is a disinterestedness of this kind, and an abstraction from personal feeling, which can alone give a ministry its proper direction and its due effect. The operating motive must be drawn from Scripture, and formed on the obl:gations of duty, for it is only by attention to the principle on which actions are performed, that vital religion can be preserved. And on this point, as on every other essential particular relative to the Christian ministry, that principle which ought to be the regulating motive stands


Acts, iii. 12.

Acts, xiv. 15--18.

exhibited so plainly, by example as well as precept, in the life and doctrines of the divine Prophet of the church, that it cannot be mistaken -Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.


Printed by S. GOSNELL, Little Queen Street, Holborn.


« ZurückWeiter »